Monday musings…

me-feeling-sunnyYesterday was amazing. The temperature went up to 25C and I was in shorts and a tshirt. Plus Value Village had a 50% off sale where I got five new tshirts that I love and a pair of lacy shorts.

The only down part to the day was I just had 3000 steps for the whole day, not nearly close enough for my 10 thousand steps goal. So I put on my sandals and went for a walk in the woods that evening.

I know I make it sound so easy but it’s not. I struggle the whole time I’m going to the conservation area and the whole time back. Even in the woods I struggle a fair bit of the time, although it’s easier there. I used to wonder when this anxiety would fade away. I’ve finally realized the answer is never. I did, however, enjoy the walk. Except for the mosquitos. I didn’t have mosquito repellent at home so I used Vicks Vaporub since half the internet insisted it worked amazing as a repellent. I had some reservations about it but the mosquitos sure didn’t. I’m pretty sure a sign went up saying “fresh meat” and then they descended en masse. I was so itchy last night, trying to scratch everywhere at once.

Meanwhile, by the time I’d finished my walk I had over 16 thousand steps, which is a great amount! I my-steps-on-the-9th-2went to bed very happy with my accomplishment. Then, of course, I wanted to weigh myself this morning. I think it’s a mixture of curiosity and anxiety that fuel my urge to weigh every day. I managed not to this time and I’ll keep holding off on weighing myself until July 7th.

Today is not so amazing. It’s calling for rain all day long and is 10 degrees colder. I’m currently hiding out in my room with my little electric fireplace puffing out warm air. I do have to get cat litter so that will be some outside time. Otherwise I’m going to hit the treadmill this evening. Not as nice as a walk outside but considering a walk outside would be miserable today, it’s a decent alternative.

Oh my goodness, adorableness alert. Lara and Blackie were curled up with their heads touching and they looked like they were making a heart. Of course I carefully turned my phone on and gently swiveled my chair around before quietly standing up, which is when both cats looked up at me curiously. So no picture but it was sweet.

I’ve got so much ahead of me, short term is getting ready for Colin’s birthday this Wednesday. I can’t believe he’s going to be 22 years old. And my packing. I’ve got two boxes done now, which is good for a movie in October. I had no idea how much stuff was in the corner of my room until I started packing it up. There’s still so much left. I’d been under the impression that I had one box of kitchen supplies and a box of decor. Boy was I wrong! It’ll all look amazing in my new place though.

It’s almost lunch time. I better get out to No Frills and buy the kitty litter (and hopefully some fresh berries) then start cleaning up the living room so it’s ready for Colin’s birthday on Wednesday. I hope you’re all having an amazing Monday!

glitter monday

 

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Positive steps…

makes you happyFor the longest time my life was defined by being Katie and Colin’s Mom. Meals were picked with their palates in mind, activities planned around their interests. My free time was marked out by their bedtime; once the bath, stories, and lullabies were done… then I got to creep downstairs and do some activities of my own. At least before I got too tired to do them.

Then they got a bit older, Kait upgraded her name, and they had more freedom to explore, leaving me with a bit more freedom too. But even with that extra freedom my life revolved around their needs.

I’m going to be moving in a few more months and, for the first time since I was 25 years old, I am going to be on my own in my own empty nest. No one will be counting on me (other than the cats). I will be cooking for one and cleaning for one. And all my free time will be my own.

It’s a hard thing to wrap my brain around after almost a quarter century putting myself blog picturein second place. And it’s made doubly hard with depression and anxiety. But I am determined to do it. I’ve metaphorically dusted off my digital scrapbooking program and am making an album for our Dominican Republic vacation. Plus I’ve been taking time each night to sit in my swing chair and watch YouTube videos. I love music and this relaxes me before bed. And I see friends of mine several times a month to sing karaoke. The microphone is a cheapie that I picked up for twenty dollars but it works well enough for us. And singing with just the three of us gives us the confidence to branch out on songs we aren’t 100% sure of.

And even more changes will happen once I move. Their transit system stinks so I’ll be walking a lot more. Plus there’s going to be a Planet Fitness nearby which I’m determined to join (and attend). I’ve been told that there will be groups held in my new building, which means the potential of making friends with my neighbours. I’ve lived here for five years and I don’t think I’ve even seen some of my neighbours.

I used to write almost every day and regularly for several hours at a time (obviously while the kids were busy or asleep). I’ve got out of practise when it comes to writing and am hoping a quiet apartment with no distractions will help me get back into practice again.

I am looking so forward to letting the real me step outside. I’ll always be Kait and Colin’s Mom but from now on I’m going to be known mainly as Kathleen. And that feels good.

A week of contemplation…

The time between Christmas and New Years seems almost like a holiday, even though it isn’t one. It doesn’t feel like a busy party with presents and too much food but a contemplative party heading toward the birth of new year.

20181225_202409-01We opened all our presents yesterday and I got the gift I was hoping for… a new scale that says “You are amazing”. I need that daily affirmation, I think most of us do. I also got two pairs of slippers, one unicorn and one with mermaid sequins and two hot chocolate mugs, one with a unicorn that says “be magical” and one is a white cat with legs. Plus I got an ornament for my tree, a round, pink pig with wings and a crown. I knew they were sold out at every Pier One nearby, I didn’t realize my Mom had picked up one of the last ones.

More importantly was the time spent with family. Kait, her boyfriend, and their baby came over for Christmas morning, complete with stockings and cinnamon rolls. Then we all went over to my parents’ house for more presents, conversation, and yummy meals.

But Christmas is over and now it’s time to look forward to 2019. I have my main goal, I want to get on track diet wise so I can be a decent weight for our family Dominican Republic trip. I’ve slipped up this month and regained four pounds (arguably it could have been worse).

I want to spend more time with my friends and family. I’ve been enjoying Saturday karaoke nights with my friends each week and Sunday visits with family. I need to make it a priority to see Kait regularly too. I was going quite often when the baby was born and now the pendulum’s swung the opposite direction. I’d like to see her once every week or two.

I also want to get moving consistently. I don’t have to reach 10 thousand steps every day but I do need to get physical. It’ll help both my weight and my sleep.

My contemplative self wants a peaceful year. No worrying about trolls, whether they’re on Facebook or anywhere else. They can deal with their negativity on their own. And more connecting with my online friends. A message means so much more than a like.

The hardest one will be getting back into writing. I just don’t have the concentration I used to have. I read that writing in comic sans can help with concentration and creativity so that’s worth a shot. I can change the book back to garamond later.

This week will be spent converting our apartment back to it’s usual appearance. The tree will unravel back into plain green and the village will abandon it’s spot on the kitchen table. Soon they’ll all be tucked away in rubbermaid bins and moved into our storage unit. Recycling will be sorted and placed into the outside bins and our big garbage bag of gift wrap removed from our front hall. And, all the while, I’ll be ever so conscious of the new year looming ahead with it’s promise of a fresh start.

Hello 2019. I think I’m ready for you!

20181225_183803

Me at my parents’ house on Christmas evening

Living in the nineties…

I joked to Colin last month that I’m going to be eating like I’m living in the 90’s again but it’s true. I was vegetarian back then and, when I went out, often my only choice on the menu was a grilled cheese sandwich and fries, which isn’t exactly vegan friendly. The vegan option then was a salad. There were no Beyond Meat burgers, Ben and Jerry’s almond ice cream, Haagen Daz almond ice cream bars, or vegan cupcakes.

The grocery store across the street dropped the price of a  three pack of Haagen Daz chocolate peanut butter bars down to $4.99. Tell me that isn’t tempting. It’s far too tempting for me. They taste so good and I can easily down three of them over the course of an evening.

So now I’m eating more lentils, fruits, and vegetables and making sure I get out for a walk every single day. I have a once in a lifetime vacation in March and I want to make sure I can fit my summer clothes.

One thing I’ve done is started a weight loss scrapbook, not to print, just for inspiration. I make a page every couple of days and scroll through when I need encouragement.

blog page

Four of my layouts

So far the scrapbook has been a huge help. I have a tendency to look back and picture myself screwing up. Now I can go back and see that wasn’t the case, I’d done just fine.

Winter is coming early this year and it’s cold, yucky, and wet. I won’t be able to walk my favourite Cedar Valley trail for much longer and today’s walk was simply to drop off Colin’s ADHD medication at the drug store and stop in at Value Village so Colin could see if there was something exciting there. It was a miserable walk, windy and alternating between icy rain and snow, but we did get out of the apartment. I even found two tank tops that I love…

tank tops for Dominican Republic

The one on the left has silver glitter and the one on the right shimmers in gold, burgundy, and purple. They’re both light weight and will be absolutely perfect.

Now, since I didn’t get much of a walk outside today, I’m heading downstairs to the treadmill for a half hour of just me and my music.

It’s my life and I’m going to live it to my fullest!

Life in the land of Colin…

The phone rang while I was in the washroom. I swore as I got off the toilet and ran awkwardly to my room as I pulled up my pants. It stopped ringing as my hand touched the phone. It was Colin. No one else has that bad timing. I called him back.

“Mom? I’m done school now. Can you meet me at the voting place? I have my one piece of ID.”

I voted

Me voting and looking cute as hell doing so!

And I had his voter’s card. I agreed and went to get ready. I had one foot in the air about to put my shoe on when the phone rang again. Of course it was Colin, he was just getting on the bus. So I got my shoes on and headed out the door with my ID and both voter’s cards. It was a two for one deal. I was getting out to vote and getting in more steps for my fitbit (which is currently at almost 15k steps).

I met Colin by the traffic lights and headed into the school with him, where we both got directed to different stations. I agreed my name and address were the same, listened to the voting instructions and headed off to vote. Meanwhile Colin was busy chatting up the volunteers. I’d finished voting when he finally made it to the voter’s booth. This year we had an electronic counting program, sitting on a cardboard box instead of just a cardboard box with a hole cut out on the top. It beeped. Colin looked intrigued. And then we headed out.

“Do you know what I think would help voting?” Colin asked. He didn’t wait for an answer. “Basketball.”

I couldn’t wait to hear this one.

“In order to vote you’d have to shoot a hoop,” he continued. “There’d be lower ones for people in wheelchairs, otherwise it wouldn’t be fair.”

I must have missed something. “Umm… why would you need to shoot a hoop in order to vote?”

“For exercise!” he exclaimed, looking at me like I’d lost my mind. “We have an obesity epidemic. If everyone had to shoot hoops to vote, think about how much practicing they’d get done.”

I decided not to tell him that some people actually don’t vote and that would increase if shooting hoops became mandatory. There was no point in opening that can of worms.

“If you’re that worried about obesity, you could always go for walks with me,” I pointed out.

He looked affronted, “I walk every day to the bus with this huge red basket!”

The basket doesn’t even reach his knees.

“Besides, I’ve lost 30lbs, which is really hard to do considering I have to eat junk food because we’re broke.”

“I don’t eat junk food,” I pointed out. “And I’m just as poor as you.”

“Well what do you eat?” he scoffed. “Besides lentils.”

“I eat pasta-”

“Bzzzt!” he interrupted.

“-with tomato sauce and lots of vegetables.”

“That’s not healthy.”

“I eat frozen mixed vegetables with-”

“That’s so not healthy,” he interrupted, again. “That’s like 20 or 40 or half the amount of nutrients that are in regular veggies.”

“No, they have the same amount of nutrients as fresh veggies and sometimes even more,” I responded. He looked mulish and I sighed, “Just talk to Daisy, the nutritionist, if you don’t agree with me.”

He nodded then continued, “Do you know what’s really good and nutritious? Preservatives!”

I must admit I did not see that one coming.

“They have them in so many things, even bananas.”

“Bananas don’t have preservatives,” I replied. “They’re picked green and sprayed with a gas to ripen during transit.”

We walked into our building and checked our mailbox then Colin asked, “Do you know what we need?”

I was a bit scared to answer.

“Okay what,” I replied hesitantly.

“Radio free zones. They block out everything. Microwaves, wifi, everything. That way if there’s an alien trying to communicate with us, we’ll have a chance of hearing them.”

I was under the impression that radio free zones were simply camping areas that were more quiet than the rest of the park but I didn’t feel like arguing. I pushed the elevator button instead and held the door for someone else to get on.

“And they help with allergies too, like with people who think they’re allergic to wifi or radio waves. You know, the placebo effect.”

“I thought the placebo effect was for medicine,” I replied. By this time my head was starting to hurt.

“That’s one definition. You can also make someone feel more pain by saying a needle’s going to hurt.”

“Will I find these definitions in the dictionary or did you just make them up yourself?” I asked.

“It depends on the dictionary,” he said scornfully as he followed me into my room.

I opened up Facebook and found a blog post I wanted to read. Meanwhile Colin continued on about radio waves and how if aliens were trying to reach us, we were likely blocking their signal. I didn’t bother mentioning that if their message was reaching us now, they were likely long dead. Meanwhile my head was now pounding.

“Colin? I love you but my head’s pounding and I need some quiet,” I pleaded.

“But it’s really important. There could be aliens trying to contact us right now but our microwave isn’t letting them!”

“I’m serious. Quiet.”

“Fine,” he said scornfully and flounced out of the room. I’d like to say it ended there but that was when the cats started crying for attention. So I fed them and now finally have peace, well as much peace as I can while Colin talks to his computer.

If you’ve ever wondered what life with Colin’s like, this would be it. Kind of like a talk show host doing a stream of consciousness monologue while high. I love the kid dearly but he is very hard to follow sometimes.

And it’s his 21st birthday on Tuesday! We’re going to our local mall on Saturday and meeting up with his cousins to try out the new virtual reality location. Hopefully it’s amazing and fabulous. Just like him.

A fresh start…

The winter months are the hardest ones for me and they have been since I was a teenager. Back then I didn’t know much about depression, all I knew was that winter sucked. I dreamt of having a small garden of grass (the green lawn variety) that I could simply smell and rub my hands across, something tangible to remind me of spring. And now I have my room to remind me of summer, with it’s teal walls, big windows, and lots of greenery.

I have depression and anxiety all year round but winter means colder, shorter days with less time for walking. Plus the cold is a good incentive to stay home. And then there’s the carb cravings. I’ve gained thirteen pounds this winter and I’m pretty sure I’m having a brownie baby. One studded with chocolate chips.

Right now it’s still blah, all greys and brown. It’s still chilly too and the forecast for this week is mostly rain. It’s not the first of the month or even the start of the week. It’s got nothing going for it to be a fresh start but it is, simply because I feel like starting again now.

I’m not going to track my food intake. I tend to get obsessed over what I’m eating and anxious that I’m eating too much or not enough. Instead I’m simply going to use my Fitbit to track my steps. I got my 10 thousand steps in yesterday and, depending on how hard it’s raining, will get them in again tomorrow.

I am determined to be healthier and feel healthy. This summer I’m going to be back in my favourite t-shirts. This summer is going to be amazing!

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Enduring winter…

Some days I think of Robin Williams and am sad he died so young. Other days I’m amazed that he lived so long. It’s all in my perspective at the time.

Depression and anxiety are separate illnesses but they feed off each other in a continual loop of fear and hopelessness, making even the smallest task seem insurmountable. I’ve found having a routine helps but that’s not perfect and some days find me rocking in the kitchen, too anxious to start dinner and too uncomfortable to leave.

I spent two weeks in the mental health ward of our hospital last winter. That’s something both my psychiatrist and myself want to avoid in 2018. So I’ve been trying to keep myself busy. I’ve got two groups each week and they each do a variety of activities from bowling to making bath bombs to playing games (I love Headbands) plus a social worker from the Canadian Mental Health Association comes on Fridays to check in on me and make sure I’m doing okay. That still leaves the bulk of my days empty, which is good in some ways. I often need time to wind down and relax after an activity. But the time alone doesn’t help the intrusive thoughts or being thrown into an anxiety attack over a load of dishes. I don’t even know why I’d have anxiety over something so small, yet it happens.

One friend of mine and I have decided we need to get together more often. She lives in the building behind us so it’s not exactly a hardship to meet. She’s well aware of my anxiety as she got to witness it full blown the day she and her husband took me to Costco. I’d been there before but on a weekday morning, not a Saturday afternoon. From the crowds you’d think there was a massive blow out sale going on but there was nothing, just lots of people buying until their wallets exploded from the pressure. I have to admit, the jumbo sized container of laundry soap packets was a good deal but it was nothing I’d go back for. So now we stick to karaoke at the quietest bar I’ve ever seen. Like so quiet I’m expecting a “for rent” sign on their door any day now. My friend also goes to another bar but has informed me it’s way too loud and crowded for me to handle.

My other friends have social anxiety and get anxious and cancel at the last minute. Which is generally okay because I’m taking deep breaths and trying to avoid an anxiety attack at the same time. But none of us are scary so I’m going to make more of an effort to connect with them. I’m sure we can manage getting together for tea.

Then there’s just the general suckage of winter. It was -22C this morning when I woke up. That would be a good number without the minus but it’s horrid with it. That’s not walking in the woods weather, it’s staying at home weather. But I can’t sit at home for three months either.

Colin and I have disability passes to our local recreation centre so we can walk on the track, which is boring but doable… especially with an MP3 player. And hopefully we’ll get some -2C weather to go walking outside.

And now I sit, watching as the sky turns dark so early, working up the courage to go make dinner. The window beside me is emanating cold air but otherwise my room is warm and summery, comfy enough that all five cats are napping in here. I study them, sprawled bonelessly across my bed and mat then I look back outside and settle in to wait for spring.

my room

My safe space and sanctuary from winter. I think it’s cozy and the cats certainly agree. There’s a strand of white lights on the wall but they don’t really show up here.