The Week “Flu” By

A person can learn a lot about themselves when they have the flu. For instance I figured out that two days is about all I can really stand of delusional sweatiness without risking death in a shower. Or that choosing television shows to binge on Netflix should NOT include a show about the flu virus killing off most of the population. Bottom line is, even if the show is good, your dreams will not be. I also learned that nothing hurts the heart like hearing my babies sick in the next room and being too sick to take care of them. Maybe the greatest thing I learned is that next year I will be getting the flu vaccine, maybe the greatest, but not the most important. Here are the top things I learned while crying and chanting “Take care of my little bears” over and over in a delusional stupor certain I would succumb to my illness and die before seeing my boy’s next birthdays.

  1. When your husband tells you he is sick you should not instantly doubt the severity of his illness or you might just get a taste.
  2. Heating pads are your friends.
  3. Survivors is an awesome show unless you don’t like cliff hangers because it ends on one AND was cancelled (you suck BBC). I will never know what happens… never.
  4. The world falls apart when moms get sick. Seriously, I was only out of it for 4 days and no one fed the fish, watered the plants (can you not see it dying?), or managed to keep the mail in one spot. Not to be morbid but I am seriously considering a “If I should die…” Book with just the high points of what I do in case someone has to fill my shoes. PS the fish are fine.
  5. Nothing tastes as good as gluten when you haven’t eaten in days. Seriously, gluten good.
  6. By day two of the flu you will be ready for an audition on The Walking Dead. You won’t even need to act. And yes, I might have eaten brains I was so lost.
  7. Work doesn’t care if you are sick, they will call you at home and see if you can do “just one thing” ah the hazards of working remotely, people assume you are always well enough to login.
  8. You will lose weight, but it won’t be the kind you want. Water weight and a little bit of muscle loss never made anyone look better. Seriously, I think I am part Sharpei, at least my middle part is. ;)

But in all seriousness. I hated being sick. I hated being away from my kids, my husband, my dogs, my life. I found out how much I really love this crazy life of mine. Sure I was just sleeping/sweating in my bedroom mere feet from the life I love, but I wasn’t able to participate, I wasn’t able to be included. And it killed. There is no other life than this one. The idea of wasting even a couple of days of it was repulsive. But it occurred to me, that some people waste their whole lives, and I’m not talking about being sick.

Some people are wasting their every day, their every moment. They are upset or angry or depressed that “things” aren’t what they wished for, wanted, or believe they deserve. So many people out there unable to appreciate what they have or work for what they want. So many people wasting life, their life, the only true thing they will ever have and they are just pissing it away, every day. What the hell people?

I don’t think I am wasting my life, I don’t think I have been unappreciative, but somehow being forced out of my life for a short time made me realize how much I really do love it. I love my little house and that I can see my kids pretty much no matter where I am standing. I’m thankful I don’t have to heat/clean/decorate a bigger home with more things. I love my husband and his silly sense of humor, even if he won’t hug me during illness and it was his cooties that got me sick. I love my little boys even though one of them thinks spitting is a sport he plans to take to Olympic levels and the other is never wearing any pants (totally bare tushie). I love my dogs, despite the dirt in my bed and the gas in my living room. I love my job and the flexibility it affords us and the money it provides to pay our bills and keep us fed. I love my friends who seem to know the exact moment I need a pick me up and have an uncanny ability to contact me out of the blue at the very moments I need them. I love the TV shows that can make me cry, the books that make me skimp on my chores to read them, the moments at the gym (even the bad ones that remind me how lucky I am to be able to work out). I love it all. I wouldn’t trade it, I wouldn’t ask for more.

So getting sick sucked. I haven’t been that sick in a long time (no my husband didn’t hug me that time either, though strangely he did say he would kiss me if he found me dead. Go figure.). I haven’t cried that much in a long time. I haven’t felt so useless and helpless and fragile and afraid in a long long time. It was just the flu. Just some dumb little virus, so small I can’t even see it. Just a dumb little virus that reminded me how fragile life is, how great my life is, and how lucky I am for all of it. I don’t often wax nostalgic for things in my past and I rarely talk about what I hope my future will bring (neither seems to bring happiness) but I think, at least I hope, that from now on I can see my present as clearly as I did in my flu induced haze. I can see everything I have at this moment that make my everything so amazing. So forgive me if I brag a little bit, but damn it, It really is a Wonderful Life.

What I am watching: Sons of Anarchy- Okay seriously, if the flu didn’t kill me the finale might have. Spoiler alert: don’t read on if you haven’t seen it yet. I wasn’t ready for that end. The next day I contacted my friend to discuss it I said did you see the finale? Her response: “Yeah WTF can you believe Jax is single now!” I love her so much. Someone dies with a carving fork to the cranium and her silver lining is the character is now single. lol. I’m traumatized for life, but alls good because she might be able to get it on with a fictional hottie. Kerry, you kill me. And thanks.

What else I’m watching: Survivors. Wow, BBC you always do good work. But why or why did you cancel this before I could find out what happens? 12 hours of my life and no closure. BBC you cancel too many shows. seriously you need to consider a website dedicated to what would have happened on all the shows you killed off too soon.

What I’m reading: Reading?!? Have you tried to read with the flu? I don’t think so. But I did find this. and this is how I get all the fellas, though my husband reports that this is NOT how I got him. Little does he know.

What I’m listening too: Head on by Man on man

What else I am listening to: Let go by RAC Does anyone else hear Morrissey? or maybe Yaz in this song??

For those of you who don’t know Yaz: Weridos. Only you

Now moment: My husband winning the employee of the year award. So proud. So proud. Yep, I almost cried, but luckily the only person who saw was the man giving him the award. Shhh Brian, don’t say a word.

 

 

 

Book em Dano! Spoiler alert: This is not about Hawaii 5 O

I once met a man who told me with great pride that he “wasn’t a reader”. He seemd not only proud of this fact, but worried that I might assume he was a reader and therefore judge him harshly. He was about to begin a story about getting spooked after reading a certain book, and he wanted it to be clear that the particular book in question was the ONLY book he’d ever read that wasn’t required for school. It was really hard for me not to give him the polite, yet condescending, golf clap.

There are two things wrong with this man, okay there were way more than two, but for the sake of this post lets go with two. The first was he thought that being viewed as a reader was a bad thing. That being a reader implied something negative about a person and so therefore it must be clear he is not associated with that group. The second was he thought I would understand or even agree with this. He clearly did not know his audience.

I am a reader! I am a proud reader. No seriously. I can remember reading long before starting school. Begging the librarian to let me check out the big kid books in the second grade, and often feeling like the only people who understood me were fictional. I love to read and I can’t understand people who don’t. I just don’t get it. I would never choose television over a good book. If I were trapped on an island I would want there to be books. When I am bored, or even doing other things, I am thinking about books.

It wasn’t until I started this blog that I realized just how much I love them, or how much a part of my life reading is. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t “in the middle” of a book. I always have something I’m reading laying around. I buy my next book usually before I finish my last book and ibooks is my new bff (we cuddle at night but don’t tell my husband) But writing this blog every week and posting the what I’m reading at the bottom was sort of an eye opener. I read at least one book a week, sometimes two, this past week three! (It was a great, can’t put it down trilogy. I won’t apologize for my level of nerdom. All hail Veronica Roth!)

Until what I was reading was there every week staring me in the face, forcing me to consider the author and the name, I didn’t realize I actually read that many books a year.  If I keep up my current pace, by the time the blog reaches its one year anniversary I will have read close to 70 books. Seventy!  Even I can’t fathom that, and I am the zealot reading them.

I have been looking for a happier life and a more peaceful way of being. I now realize, through sharing my weekly book choice, that reading is one of the ways I find peace. Call it escaping, letting my imagination run wild, or just plain old entertainment, books are still some of my best friends and I am grateful I get to spend my spare time with them. They never complain about how far away my house is or the dog hair on the couch. They never judge my unbruushed hair or my snack choice. Books just beam happiness that I am reading, the rest doesn’t matter to them.

How we spend our free time says a lot about us, and I think it also determines our happiness, creativity, thoughtfulness, and outside human interactions (wait there are real humans out there?). I work a full time job from home with two children under the age of 4. Its sort of like having 5 jobs and spinning like a top while you balance plates on your nose. It sucks all available time and energy from your body and mind. Sure I am always home and available to do laundry and dishes between tushy wipes and dull government requirement editing, so I don’t have a lot of chores left when the work day is officially over, but I also have little alone time or moments to breathe.

When the work day is over, and I have created a wonderful home cooked gluten free meal for my men, I clean up, give baths, feed dogs, put children to bed and finally crash on the couch. I then spend questionable “quality time” (how can mindless tv be quality?) with my husband while we watch our favorite television shows for about an hour and a half (there are over 200 hundred hours of things stored on the DVR and we will never have enough time to watch them all). Then, when the night is still and my children are done stirring and my husband is snoring, I finally get to read. I only tell you about my day so you don’t tell me you don’t have time to read. If I can eek out even an hour at the end of the day, then I think just about anyone can.  Most people spend three times that watching terrible television. There is no excuse for not reading.

I love my time alone in the dark reading books that make me laugh, make me think, make me fall in love with new people I will never get to meet only to bring me back down when they die. I love that I don’t need anything but a single book to make the world okay, and make my fears and stress disappear.  Reading a book is like escaping to another world where I don’t matter, where no one needs me to feed them, pay bills, or remember to give medicine. Books make me feel alive and whole. Is it any wonder I want to get my own book published? Nothing could be greater in this world than knowing as an author that your words reach thousands of people, inspire them to change, challenge them to think. Wow the power of the written word!

I recently read about people making promises to themselves to run every day from Thanksgiving to New Years. I thought that was pretty cool and maybe I would do that too. Setting goals is a great way to achieve dreams and often times something bigger. Then I remembered I don’t run. The fact that I read this while running on a treadmill is merely ironic and hardly noteworthy. But there are things I do do. And there are goals I can make, that I can achieve, that will make me happier and healthier. And that is, after all, the goal of this blog. Happiness, peace, realization, intentionality, Zen.

So my goal is to read, everyday for at least two hours. This should get me two books a week without much of a problem. The books will be fiction and not about anything that touches my own life. In other words I don’t want to read about motherhood, sick babies, or dysfunctional relatives. I don’t want my mind to linger or stray to real life. I want books that take me somewhere new and make me believe that great things are happening, even if the great thing is just perfect literature. I challenge you to read. I challenge even the “not a readers” out there to pick up a book and just start (and Yes Candace I mean you!). You never know who you will meet, where you will go, or what you will learn. You will never know how great it can be until you do it.

What book will you read?

As a sub goal, I want to write everyday as well. I want to write my ass off. Now who wants to babysit two sweet angelic boys while I do that?

 

What I am reading: The Entire Divergent Series by Veronica Roth. I don’t even know how to gush on about how much I love these books. I’d tell you that if you like the Hunger Games you will like these, but that would be wrong to compare these books to anything else. I just finished the third book last night, and the nerd in me is going to read them again.

What I am listening to: Little Lion Man by Mumford and Sons

Now moment of the week: Hanging Christmas tree lights with my husband. I always wanted outdoor lights as a kid but we never did them. I think my little kid mind felt you had to have a daddy to do them. I used to drive by houses counting which houses had daddies and which did not, like the lights were a badge of identification, honor. I never did them as an adult either. It seemed like a lot of hassle without little kids to be in awe. But this year we did them together, Mommy and Daddy. And we laughed, and it was silly and over too quickly for me. And now I promise you, and the little girl inside me, that we will always have Christmas lights on our house this time of year. (not year round of course, my husband maybe a redneck but I am not, after all I’m a “reader” ;))

Inspirations from the ether: Amazon Prime. I really can’t say too many awesome things about it. I’ve had it a year now and given our gluten free celiac status it makes grocery shopping for specialty items easy and shipping is free. I can read books for free on my kindle and watch tv and movies for free through my Blue ray player. Seriously, I heart Amazon Prime. You complete me Amazon Prime.

How to be Happy in 19 Fairly Painless Steps

 

I may not have found the holy grail of happiness just yet, but I have managed to eek out a little bliss every now and then in these stressful shark filled waters I call my life. So I have decided to take a look back at the things I have done or tried in my journey thus far. It seemed like a good time to sum up the specific steps I’ve taken so I can take stock, move forward, readdress those things that didn’t take the first time, or reassess why things didn’t work at all.

  1. Identify what is great about you. You might be surprised at how awesome you already are. Make a list to see the awesomeness on paper.
  2. Really make those traits of your life a priority or use them more often to shine. If you take what you do well or the traits about you that rock and you do them more often, of course you are going to find more reasons to smile.
  3. Make a conscious choice about who you are. A choice not driven from history or others labels, but one that is truly you, or the you you would like to become. Make the choice of happiness when you do this. Stop blaming others for your position in life and take charge. Blaming others gives them the power, taking charges puts you in the driver’s seat. I prefer power every day of the week.
  4. Formulate your personal identifiers. These are the attributes you want to live by or be known for. This is your chance to chose who you are going to be. This list doesn’t have to be true at this moment, it is a work in progress. Include your current attributes as well as those you are working towards. Many people find happiness in reaching toward goals. Easier to reach for them if you know what you are reaching for.
  5. Review the people in your life and decide if they help or hinder your progress in either happiness or your intentional identifier goals. They may be friends or family and you may love them dearly, but if they don’t get your new life then they may hold you back from truly succeeding. I’m not saying let them go, I’m saying put them in perspective.
  6. Clean up your financial mess, or at least put it all out on the table and in the open so you can start looking at it. Knowledge is half the battle, the truth really can set you free. This is the path to fixing it.
  7. Take action to implement or move toward an intentional identifier. It isn’t enough to make a list, you have to take action. You have to remind yourself everyday of who you want to be and you have to do something to work toward that goal as often as you can.
  8. Let go of all the negative things that draw you down or hold you back. Whether it is people, things, habitual thoughts, or ruminations on your past, let it all go and start new.
  9. Stop patterns of behavior that do not work for you or bring you closer to your goals and happiness. Stop doing everything that negates who you want to be or what you want to have in life. Just stop it.
  10. Adjust your beliefs to allow your goals to be reached. If a belief is preventing you from reaching a positive lace or a remarkable goal it is time to rethink why you are chosing to believe something tat is clearly holding you back.
  11. Live on the edge and do things that scare you; you might be surprised at what you find or discover about yourself. Often living in the safety zone prevents growth and opportunity to make your life the way you really want it to be. You must be bold to move forward and out of your comfort zone and onto the edge. Those who make history or are fabulously happy are out there on the edge, trust me.
  12. Learn to live in and experience the Now- I I know it sounds new agey. Let go of the past and stop worrying about your future. If you live in the now the past is nothing but a memory and the future will only be brighter if you really truly just live in this moment.
  13. Be better to your partner. Give them what you want and they are likely to reciprocate. If not then have them read this. Remember they have value and possibly are right.
  14. Write your best about me. Avoid titles and roles you play in life and instead focus on the true things about you, See mine for inspiration.
  15. Choose to be healthy. Make one small healthy change every week and be surprised at how it catches on and how good you feel.
  16. Be productive. Do things that create peace or simplicity in your life. Do things that need to be done and can shrink your to do list. Do things that instill a great sense of accomplishment. Do the trivial things that get in the way of your greatness.
  17. Get creative! Do something new and creative everyday. This is to get your brain working and firing neurons it usually doesn’t use. Brush your teeth with your opposite hand, paint a mural, bake cookies, make an obstacle course… just do something new and interesting that is totally for fun or nonsensical. There is a lt of brain up there just going to waste.
  18. Exercise, but use your limited time wisely. Moving everyday can make a huge mood shift. If you don’t have time for a big workout just squeeze in something, anything. It will make your mind feel  happy and your body relaxed. This morning I did 20 min of yoga with a two year old on my back. It wasn’t proper, it wasn’t “correct” but I did feel better and he sure laughed a lot. :)
  19. Stop taking on responsibility for others feelings. You cannot control what they choose to feel or what they choose to believe. If you have not been hurtful or intentionally cruel then their emotions are not your responsibility. You will waste a considerable amount of time in life trying to solve the problems of other people. Usually those people have made the decision to be miserable and their beliefs have less to do with you than their own choices to feel unhappy. It will hurt, it will be hard, but you have to realize at some point in your life, you are only responsible for your own reactions and feelings. Not those of others.
  20. Fake it. Fake everything you want to do or be until you reach your goals. You can get where you are going, it just takes a little bit of creativity and embellishment sometimes.

I have now been on this quest to find a better way of life since July of this year. And the really cool, if surprising bit, is that I really do feel better. I really am seeing a difference in my mood, my outlook, and my life. Just imagine if you had been following the journey and doing it to. What might your life look like now? What changes would you have made? How far could you have come?

For those keeping score, or are simply curious. I have accomplished the following by taking the steps above:

  • I’ve lost 5 pounds without dieting
  • I now fit in my pre pregnancy pants, I’m talking the ones before our first child
  • I’ve cleaned up our finances and we can now pay all our bills with a little left over to fix an ailing truck and toddler
  • I can find things in my organized house
  • I’ve sold or given away much of my clutter
  • I’m nicer to my children and we have a lot more silly times together
  • I’m sleeping better
  • My to do list is remarkably shorter
  • I am reading like a fiend
  • I am halfway through a new fiction book I hope will be the winner winner to getting published and being a true writer
  • I have eaten gluten free with only two breaks ( this was for my son’s Celiac Disease, but I won’t lie and say I don’t think I am healthier or that it didn’t improve my mood)
  • I feel more at peace
  • I feel like I have found part of me I thought was forever gone
  • I can cope with the unknown with less anxiety
  • I no longer have ruminating thoughts about things I can’t control

What I am Reading: Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hall a man buys a ghost off the internet… enough said, if that doesn’t make you curious, nothing will.

What I am listening to: Life is Beautiful by Keb Mo.  Thank you Carri, for giving me his voice.

What I am watching: Before you poo poo me… I am a HUGE Star Wars fan (see first edition original movie poster in my house or my son being practically named after Darth Vader), but I am also a huge believer in raising amazing little men. I hope when asked who they liked best they will choose wisely. Food for thought. Honestly though, at 8 years old I chose Chewbacca.

Inspirations from the ether: I clearly didn’t utilize my baby’s sleep time well enough. Must see photos. Seriously,  no really, click it!

Now moment of the week: A potty trained two year old who did it all by himself one day and  hasn’t looked back. Bonus moment, finding out from his special doctor that he only has 6 more months of leg braces! 1 regular doctor visit down! Three more to go!