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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Today starts a brand new month with a blank slate to create new habits, new memories, and new content. I love the start of a new month, especially after a long break or being out of my normal routine which has definitely been the case for me the last two months. It’s time to begin anew!

Tomorrow morning, I report back to work to start another year at HGCS. I’ll remain in my position as an Instructional Coach; however, I will only be working four days a week. YEP! I’m extremely excited about having Fridays off to pursue other endeavors. I’ve been wanting to reduce my hours at my day job for quite awhile, so I am happy that it has finally become a reality. The faculty will meet for the first two days this week with time to work in our classrooms after lunch each day. Our students officially start on Wednesday which will be a half day for them.

Since I truly embraced the summer break with vim and vigor, I will track my time for a week, starting tomorrow. Tracking my time will help me to reFOCUS and get back on course with my goals which I mentioned in my “A Lesson from Impatience” post. I’ve been suffering from hayfever for about a week, so I’ve abandoned some of my good practices and been kind of lazy. It will be a good week to get back into the swing of things at work and use my afternoon/evenings for contemplation and creative work.

My new running shows arrived yesterday afternoon. You know what that means, dear reader! Tomorrow starts my running program. I have been on a walking streak since 23 March 2020 and lost 13 pounds on the first round of the Fast Burn Challenge. I’m ready to take it up a notch by adding running and strength training to my fitness regimen. My running goal is to become a 30-minute runner by the end of the year. The running program that I use is designed for 10 weeks; however, I plan to listen to my body to determine my progress. Week #1: Walk 30 minutes a day, at least three times a week.

And, I would be remiss if I did not mention that today is my sweet baby’s birthday. Andrew is officially 20 years old today. What an AWESOME reason to celebrate the first day of August! We actually celebrated the anniversary of his birth yesterday with family. He had simple requests…his dad to BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs, and I bake him a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. My gift to him, books of course, at his request.

Even though the summer season has technically not ended, my summer break is a few hours away from taking its final bow. Surprisingly, I’m ready for the next season in my life. I feel certain I can accomplish a great deal in the upcoming months and finish this year healthier and happier. I’m almost finished writing my blog post on my adventure at This Is The Place Heritage Park in Utah which I hope to publish sometime this week. Kelsi and I will also be chatting this week on the remaining films we watched for our Summer Slasher Movie Marathon. If you haven’t checked out our conversation about the Fear Street trilogy that premiered on Netflix in July, please check it out on Kelsi’s YouTube channel or click on the link below. And, finally the members of the Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club chose Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia as our August selection. Lots of awesome content to pass the time. In the meantime, dear reader, please stay safe, appreciate the little things, and spread lots of love. Happiness!

“Life isn’t a race, it’s a dance. Every step forward and every step back, stepping sidewards and twirling in circles, are part of the dance we call life.” ~ Matthew Kelly 

Top photo by Fauzan Fitria on Pexels.com

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For the most part, I consider myself a patient person. However, I recently learned that I am selectively patient. I had a few days where I was in a sort of holding pattern that forced me to play the waiting game. Initially, it caused me stress, worry, and unhappiness, but then it necessitated several days of quiet reflection. The universe was telling me to slow down and rest. So, I listened and took a break for a few days. I watched several episodes of The Good Place, read, spent time in prayer, reflected, watched a couple of horror movies, read and reflected some more when I realized that I have been in a state of impatience for the last couple of months.

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.”

~ Saint Francis de Sales

When I started this year with my 21 for 2021 list and a schedule to accomplish the goals on that list, I was optimistic and energetic because I had a plan. I quickly realized a couple of weeks into January that decluttering and organizing each room in my house was not going to happen. It was difficult finding the time to devote to that task with everything else I wanted to accomplish on my list, so I nixed it in February and planned to revisit it later in the year. Unfortunately, I have not revisited that task since I put it on the back burner and have not even attempted to start many of the other ones on my list.

I really thought that once I wrapped up commitments in April and returned from my trip to Colorado, I would hit the ground running and check items off my list left and right. Instead, I modified one of the items on my list that took more time than was allotted (intermittent fasting), added new activities for the summer (summer fun list), and abandoned some items altogether (completing courses) which led me to becoming distracted, overwhelmed, frustrated, and unproductive concerning my goals. Ultimately, I grew impatient with myself because I set too many goals that required a huge amount of time and commitment and veered off course by creating more options. This epiphany finally hit me when I got sidelined days after writing about my mid-year checkup on my 21 for 2021 list.

The silver lining is I can recuperate from this bout of impatience since I now know what I have been dealing with these last couple of months. I must take the time to re-evaluate my goals for the year, make a few decisions, adjust some of my goals, and restructure how I plan to spend my time for the remainder of this year. I want to have a new plan in place before school starts again in August.

In the meantime, dear reader, I leave for Utah tomorrow morning to visit my Aunt Carolyn and my cousins for a week. I look forward to spending time with family while enjoying a change in scenery. This trip will be a nice way to change my mindset, gain a little clarity, and recharge my batteries. Happiness!

“Patience is power…it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.” ~ Fulton Sheen

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My weekend started off with beautiful roses from my hubby. A note written on the back of some scratch paper was placed halfway underneath the vase, thanking me for taking care of our fur babies. What a wonderful way for my old man to show me his appreciation! I was surprised and touched by the thoughtful gesture since my sweetheart rarely buys me flowers for ordinary moments. Little does he know that his kindly deed turned the ordinary into the extraordinary, at least in my mind anyway. Every time I look at them, I smile big and get a happiness boost.

On Thursday afternoon, Andrew and I took a ride to Covington to visit our favorite comic book shop, Big Easy Comics. We were specifically going in to check our subscription box. While buying our comic books, we learned that the store is closing up shop in October of this year due to several circumstances. Needless to say, we are bummed about the news, especially since comic book stores are far and few between, and we happen to really love this one. I had been wanting to get a board game called Wingspan for Andrew which he had spotted in the store while I was checking out and called my attention to it. I figured we should purchase it because it might not be there when we go back in a couple of weeks.

And, I am so happy we bought it. Andrew and I started playing the game shortly after getting home, and we played again yesterday afternoon. It is a great deal of fun with lots of interesting facts about birds, their habitats, their diets, and so much more. I see lots of Wingspan in my future.

As many of you know, I am participating in a Fast Burn Challenge to improve my health. Fitness is a huge component of the program, and on a few of the days, walking a certain number of steps is the goal. On Friday, my fitness goal was to walk 14,000 steps. I accomplished it along with some additional steps.

I must admit, it is easier to reach this goal when I am at work because I walk around the school campus quite a bit. In order for me to complete the number of steps at home, I walk longer in the mornings (an hour plus a few minutes) and take a shorter walk (20-30 minutes) in the evenings after dinner. In the mornings, I listen to the podcast, Levar Burton Reads, as I walk around the neighborhood which makes the first walk extremely enjoyable. On Friday, I listened to “SPAM” by Savannah Michell. Today, I also have to reach 14,000 steps. This morning, I listened to “End Game” by Nancy Kress. I highly recommend both short stories and the podcast.

As I am writing this post, I have already walked 10,224 steps. Not too shabby, dear reader. I’m grateful that I’m physically capable of accomplishing my walking goals and that I really enjoy walking in general. It is one of many things that I have enjoyed doing this weekend and this month. May is quickly coming to an end, and it has been a whirlwind of a month. I’m ready for June and all the activities that I have planned with my family and friends. What are you looking forward to in June, dear reader? Happiness!

“Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for your life to begin and start making the most of the moment you are in.” ~ Germany Kent

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Since returning from Colorado two weeks ago, I feel like my life has been moving at warp speed. Life, both at work and at home, has gotten busier. The school year is wrapping up (four weeks left) with lots of deadlines and end-of-the-year activities on the horizon while my personal life is ramping up. What’s more, I could not be happier! In the midst of it all, I am unbelievably calm because I am so looking forward to summer break and the influx of time that will flood my calendar.

Therefore, I have taken some time this weekend to indulge in a bit of distraction, a sort of calm before the storm. My hubby’s work picnic was cancelled yesterday due to impending weather, so he asked if we could go to the movies and have dinner afterwards. Sure! I’m always game for a movie and sushi. And, yes, I can have sushi on my Fast Burn program provided that it falls within the guidelines. He wanted to see Nobody which was a terrific choice. I think Bob Odenkirk aka Nobody did a wonderful job in the lead role.

Afterwards, we went to Kirin where we ate dinner at the sushi bar. Barry and I enjoyed talking to the sushi chef who prepared our meal. I had a small snowcrab salad and a Michelle Roll (snowcrab, crab stick, boiled shrimp, asparagus, avocado, and cucumber wrapped in soybean paper. NO rice! Barry ordered the Who Dat Roll and the Samurai Roll. It was a fun date night!

Once home, we settled in for the evening. Andrew was home, so he and I watched a few episodes of Modern Family. We are finally getting to watch Season 11, the final season.

The rest of the weekend will be spent scheduling my upcoming week, planning and prepping my meals for Week 2 of the Fast Burn Challenge, exercising, taking care of some chores, and relaxing. Yes, I will be partaking in some relaxing today, dear reader. I want to daydream a little bit about the upcoming summer break, read, and watch Fear the Walking Dead. Furthermore, if I can squeeze out another 1 1/2 hours of today, I will watch The Evil in Us which is the last movie on my Holiday Horror Movie Marathon list. Happiness!

“It’s all about finding the calm in the chaos.” ~ Donna Karan

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Back in June, I had listened to Episode #6 (“Dial D for Distracted”) of Season 2 of The Happiness Lab podcast. The episode included an enlightening conversation between Dr. Laurie Santos and Catherine Price, a science journalist and author of How to Break Up With Your Phone. Shortly after listening to the episode, I bought Price’s book because I felt like I had a phone problem. After reading the first part of the book called The Wake-Up, I scheduled The Breakup which is a hands-on approach to establishing a healthier relationship with your phone. The experience of breaking up with my phone revealed surprising information about myself, my relationship with my phone, and helpful tips to dealing with screen time in general. 

Initially, I thought I was addicted to my phone. After spending 30 days  (July 06-August 04) breaking up with my phone, I realized that I had an unhealthy relationship with screens in general, specifically internet-related screens and mainly with social media. And, that relationship, which was having an adverse effect on my mental health and well-being, took root rather quickly and stemmed from the uncertainty and isolation brought about from COVID-19. At the start, it was fun staying connected through Facebook, playing games, and taking silly quizzes. Additionally, lots of time was spent watching the news, scrolling daily through data on COVID, and reading articles about life during the pandemic. Unfortunately, as time passed, fun was replaced with feeling depleted and numb which then turned into shame. And, being “informed” nonstop about the pandemic and its negative effects on the world was causing me to become anxious. For three months, I spiraled down the rabbit hole of mindless scrolling and unconscious living. Without having the ability to freely go places or engage in work or social activities with other people outside your pod made me feel stagnant. Except for my daily walk, I was not spending my spare time intentionally.

Break up PhoneThankfully, Catherine Price’s handbook brought me back to reality and helped me reclaim my time and sanity. The first task Price assigned was downloading a time-tracking app on my phone. I chose Moment which she recommended in the book for iPhone users. In my opinion, this app is helpful. I still have it on my phone. My goals were set for 3 hours of screen time and 50 pickups. Looking at my Moment Data, it is clear that I rarely go over my screen time or my pickups. There was one day that my screen time was 6 hours and 47 minutes. This was the day that Shelly was taken to the ER in Florida. Texting was our line of communication between one another and our friends. My heaviest pickup day was 12 August with 68 pickups. School was back in session, so most of my pickups were school-related texts. For me, this app curbs my craving to constantly check my phone or reach for it to check Facebook, so that is the main reason I still have it on my phone.  

On Day 5 of the plan, Price recommends deleting social media apps. The only social media apps that I have on my phone are Facebook and Instagram. I immediately deleted Facebook. I rarely use Instagram, so there was no need to delete it. The point was to make accessing these apps more difficult and less appealing. It worked! I have since reinstalled the Facebook app on my phone; however, my time on the app is limited to mainly posting pictures/inspirational content and checking on family/friends, and my usage is at designated times of the day and for a designated amount of time. On Day 9 of the plan, she recommends tidying up your apps by organizing them in categories. This was quite simple since I don’t have many apps on my phone. My only junk food app is Trivia Crack which is an enjoyable game. While it can be a big time suck, it did not consume as much of my time as Facebook, so I chose not to delete it. Since the breakup, I have limited my game time tremendously.

Days 20 and 21 were the most challenging part of the plan. This is the trial separation from your phone for 24 hours. I chose 7:00 in the evening on Friday, 24 July through the following evening on Saturday, 25 July. In addition to disconnecting from my phone, I also disconnected from my other devices. In the beginning of the trial separation, I was antsy. My main concern about this assignment was someone trying to reach me since my phone is also my family’s home phone. To put my mind at ease, I turned my ringer on, so I could answer any calls. Checking text message was limited to twice during the 24 hour period. Once I accepted the challenge and put my phone away, I felt lighter and excited about the next 24 hours. From my data log, the screen time and pickups on Friday were prior to 7:00 that evening. On Saturday, the data shows 4 minutes of screen time and 4 pickups. Clearly, my time was well-spent, and I felt a sense of freedom.

At first, the hardest or worst part of the breakup was feeling disconnected from others virtually. In addition, observing others constantly reaching for and checking their phones made me feel uncomfortable. Unfortunately, our world relies too much on technology to feed the mind and soul. I kept a time log during my breakup to see where my time was going when not using my phone. In the beginning, I discovered I was playing a bunch of Words with Friends on my iPad, as well as scrolling mindlessly through Facebook. Fortunately, the best part of this experience outweighed the worst part. I quickly realized that I hadn’t become addicted to my phone, but to social media and games. Luckily, I now view my phone more as a tool that allows me to communicate with others both personally and professionally, listen to podcasts and music, access necessary information (maps, email, appointments, etc.), and record memories through pictures, video, and audio. Facebook is no longer on the main screen of my phone and is no longer checked first thing in the morning. Trivia Crack is played daily but only for a few minutes. Since the breakup, I put my phone away more often when working on tasks or participating in activities. I find that I am more creative, more focused, and happier. As for other devices, I limit any frivolous time spent on them. I would rather use my time to write, scrapbook, read, play card/board games, watch something on television, or spend time with family and friends. 

Breaking up with my phone was a valuable experience, dear reader. I gained new insight about myself, gained more time to be creative, and gained healthier habits with screens. If you feel like you have a phone problem or a social media problem, I would highly recommend How to Break Up With Your Phone by Catherine Price. For more information on budgeting screen time, check out Episode 23 (“Good Screens and Bad Screens”) of Season 1 of The Happiness Lab podcast and Catherine Price’s website Screen/Life Balance. Happiness! 

“The difference between technology and slavery is that slaves are fully aware that they are not free.” ~ Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Game

This is “The Royal Game of Ur” created by Andrew’s girlfriend Aileigh as a gift to Andrew which I recently learned to play in my spare time.

 

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Autumn officially commenced on Tuesday and brought cooler temperatures with it. While the summer of 2020 was not how I originally envisioned spending my break, thanks to COVID-19, it turned out to be fairly pleasant. Back in June, I created a list of acceptable activities I could participate in while following the constraints mandated as a result of the pandemic. With the exception of planting new flowers in my garden (still weeded and watered existing plants), I participated in all of the activities on my list and added some additional ones. 

Bushwacker

Bushwacker

Social distancing limits socializing with people “in person” which is difficult for me because I greatly enjoy socializing with people in person; however, I did get to spend some “in person” time with my parents and a few friends. My hubby and I had a couple of drink nights with Shelly, her hubby, and additional guests (her mom, Mr. Mike, and our friend Karen). In June, we drank bushwackers (not a new cocktail for me, but new for my hubby) which are super yummy because they contain ice cream.

Jaguar Juice

Jaguar Juice

In August, we had two drink nights which featured two new cocktails, a Strawberry Cream Martini and Jaguar Juice. In addition to in person hangouts, I attended quite a few virtual improv hangouts this summer. And, thanks to my friend Brian, our improv group recently had two celebrity guests attend our hangout for Q and A sessions. One Tuesday night, Greg Proops hung out with us. The next evening, Jonathan Mangum joined us. Both have appeared on Whose Line Is It Anyway? and shared so much terrific information and encouragement with us.  

I scrapbooked a fair amount this summer on Andrew’s Ireland scrapbook. I have some journaling to complete on a few of his Ireland pages as well as his Wales pages, and then I can move on to his adventures in London.

Rock of Cashel

As I wrote in my last post, I enjoyed my “Summer of Poe.” Even though I didn’t get to read Poe’s entire body of work this summer, I plan to read the remainder of it in the near future. 

Chicken TaquitosChicken QuesidillasI did try my hand at some cooking this summer. I made chicken quesadillas, baked chicken bacon ranch taquitos, cranberry pecan chicken salad, crispy air fryer chicken tenders, and meatloaf with brown gravy. Yes, I know…lots of chicken. The recipes that I tried are basic (not many ingredients) because I don’t really enjoy cooking. Also, whatever I cook needs to also appeal to Andrew’s taste buds. Thankfully, he is not as picky as he used to be as a youngling. Out of everything I tried, he did not like the chicken salad which Barry and I absolutely loved. Since the summer is over, I have no desire to try any new recipes for the remainder of the year. 

Chicken Salad

As for exercising, I stuck with walking all summer. Rain or shine, I have not missed one day since I started back in March and hope to continue my streak. As for my weight loss journey, I wound up not taking it, even after all the preparation to start on June 1st and attempting to recommit in July. I also haven’t done much running. I dropped the ball, and I have had to reconcile myself with the fact that it may not happen this year. I’ve felt fragmented since all this COVID stuff has started, and I haven’t been able to focus on any one area for any length of time. I have too many irons in the fire, and I know I need to schedule my time better in order to get to everything I want to accomplish both personally and professionally. But, we all know, dear reader, that time management is my kryptonite. In fact, instead of taking items off of my plate and putting them on the back burner for a little bit, I have added more items which requires more time.  In addition, I’m not doing so hot on my 20 for 2020 list. Although, I still have a glimmer of hope that I can knock a few items off of my list in the remaining quarter of this year. We’ll see what the next three months have to offer. 

Despite not seeing friends I usually see, not doing activities I normally do, or not meeting goals I generally meet, I am grateful that I still had a summer break. My summer was different, dear reader, but much of it was also restorative, relaxed, and simple. And, sometimes, that is the blessing. Happiness!

“When summer gathers up her robes of glory, and, like a dream, glides away.”     ~ Sarah Helen Whitman

Kentucky

at my Uncle Manuel’s home in Nicholasville, Kentucky

 

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Just when you think that 2020 can’t get any worse, Mother Nature decides to send not just one hurricane to Louisiana, but two. What the heck! The school I work at has only been in session since 05 August, and we face being shut down for an entire week to weather the storms. Marco arrives sometime on Monday followed by Laura on Wednesday. Do you think it’s possible that the storms could take out COVID when it rolls in and out?

On a happier note, a good friend of mine has started a blog. It’s called Kelsi Explains It All. She’ll be writing about her passions which include: the 90s, Halloween, horror movies, cartoons, TV show binge-a-thons, and much more. Her first post features a Halloween movie marathon list that she created, and it includes some helpful links and resources to help other folks create their own marathon lists. I have already subscribed to Kelsi’s blog and plan to use her Halloween movie marathon list starting in the fall. Mwahaha!

For my dear readers who enjoy podcasts, I have two new recommendations.

Desert Island Discs is the first one. Guests are invited to the show as a castaway and choose eight recordings, a book, and a luxury item that they would like to take with them on a desert island. While discussing their lives with the host, a snippet of each recording is played and the guests explain the reason it was chosen. Before the guests are cast off to the imaginary island, they are given the Complete Works of Shakespeare, the Bible (or other religious/philosophical work), name their luxury item, and indicate one of the eight songs they would save above all if the discs are swept off the island. I’ve absolutely enjoyed learning about the guests and listening to some terrific music. I’ve even added some new tunes to my playlist.

The Gratitude Diaries is the second one. The host, Janice Kaplan, provides practical tips on how to add more gratitude to your daily life. She touches on gratitude in every aspect of your life. I find listening to this podcast on my way to work helps me to get in the right mindset to tackle whatever craziness will happen that day. School life amidst a pandemic is difficult even on a good day, so having a little pep talk about facets of your life that you can be grateful for prior to facing the day helps immensely.

Even though all of my plans have been cancelled in 2020, I will soon be embarking on an unexpected adventure with my Daddy in a couple of weeks (unless the two storms interfere). He asked me to drive him to Kentucky to see his older brother. He has been wanting to visit my Uncle Manuel for quite some time, and with my uncle’s wife passing away a few weeks ago, his desire to visit has become more urgent. Therefore, on 03 September, our journey to the Bluegrass State will begin. I’m sure the road trip will be exciting, albeit terrifying and arduous at times; however, I’m up for the challenge (I think).

In Other News:

Good News! My BFF Shelly does NOT have cancer. It has been determined that her damaged heart is the culprit that caused the pleural effusion on her left lung. She is not completely out of the woods and will eventually need to have surgery to repair her heart; however, NO cancer is awesome news, and she is feeling terrific. Sophie’s tail is healing properly, and if she continues to cooperate with her wound care, her tail should be back to normal soon. As for my dental issues, I had my barrier removed this past Monday afternoon. I have been pain-free all week. My next dental appointment is in early November and will likely be the start of the implant process.

Before logging off today, I want to express how grateful I am for all of you, dear readers. The Kat Files: Finding Adventure in Everyday Life has turned 10 years old. I’m in the process of thinking about how I want to celebrate this momentous milestone. A HUGE thank you to everyone who has been on this ride with me. Happiness!

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie.

white house beside grass field

Photo by Brandon Randolph on Pexels.com

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Today’s post centers around reflection. When allowed a moment for contemplation, circumstances that appeared daunting and overwhelming lose its seriousness in the dawn of a new day. Revelations blossom from the stressful experiences providing armor for the next wave of challenges that will surely be faced in the future.

The last few weeks have been physically uncomfortable for me. I had my back bottom tooth on the left side of my mouth extracted on 22 July because it had a fracture and caused pain every time I ate a meal. It was replaced with bone and barrier with the intention of getting an implant in a few months. I’m experiencing pain daily from the barrier which will not be removed until 17 August. I’m not a fan of prescription pain medicine, so I have resorted to taking Ibuprofen when I’ve had enough discomfort. Then on 31 July, while making my way to turn off my alarm clock at 5:30 in the morning, I tripped over Sophie (it was dark and she was not sleeping on her bed) and fell hard on both elbows and my left knee. Needless to say, I could never be a stuntwoman because I cried like a baby for about 10 minutes and prayed that nothing was broken. Thankfully, Sophie was not hurt, and I did not break anything; however, I still have bruised elbows.

Prior to this (7 July), my BFF Shelly was rushed to the emergency room in Florida because she could not breathe. She had a pleural effusion on her left lung which had to be drained and biopsied. Now, she is on the path to determine the culprit, cancer or her heart which was damaged by radiation received when she had Hodgkin’s at 16 years old. This is weighing heavily on my mind. Although, each test that she has is leaning more in the direction of the heart, the results are not conclusive. And, there are more tests to be run and information to gather in the next few weeks. Concern is playing on the periphery of my mind like background music.

Sophie 8-4Mix in a wound on Sophie’s tail that turned out to be a growth that needed to be removed because it wouldn’t heal on its own. She is 12 years old. The procedure to remove the growth was performed on 30 July. She did well, and came home that afternoon. Unfortunately, she made it difficult to clean her surgical site (even though she is sweet, she can be ornery), and the decision to bring her back to the vet on 05 August was made on Tuesday evening.

On Wednesday, 05 August, I dealt with Sophie on top of worry for my friend, my own physical pain, and going back to work in the midst of a pandemic. School looks extremely different this year. One of my duties is morning carpool. I now take students’ temperatures before they get out of their car. My first morning carpool duty was Wednesday which happened to be the first day of school. My husband left to go out of town on Monday, so I had no truck to transport Sophie to the vet. My BFF offered her vehicle, but she could not drive because she had an angiogram the day before and was unable to drive for 48 hours. I had to drive. More stress added because driving her vehicle is like driving a bus. Andrew had to go to SLU at 10:00 that morning, and I needed him to help lift Sophie (she weighs 72 pounds) inside her kennel into the vehicle. Therefore, I had to leave work immediately after carpool duty, drive to Shelly’s house to pick up Shelly and her vehicle, drive to my house to pick up Sophie, drive to the vet and drop Sophie off for an extended stay, drive back home to drop off the kennel, drive back to Shelly’s house to drop her off with her vehicle, and then drive back to school to work for the remainder of the day. Oh, and I failed to mention that after work, I had to drive to Metairie to see my dentist so he could remove the stitches in my mouth.

Wednesday was an extremely stressful day for me due to the number of events that was happening that day and the logistics surrounding them. I’m no Superwoman; however, I made it through the day and accomplished everything that needed to get done. That evening, I cracked open a can of Bad Seed (fruited gose) and ruminated on the day.

Revelations:

  • I am responsible for my anxiety. Don’t catastrophize.
  • Although rather slowly, I can drive Shelly’s vehicle. It was not as scary as I thought.
  • I survived the day despite all that unnecessary anxiety because I allowed myself to lean on others and trust instead of thinking I had to do it all myself.
  • Gratitude trumps stress and anxiety. I’m grateful to Shelly, Andrew, Julia (my co-worker), Dr. Davis (our vet), and Terri (my administrator and friend) for helping me get through Wednesday.

As I’m writing this post today, dear reader, I feel silly that I worried so much. I’ve marked this day in my calendar so that the next time there is a day in my life that seems insurmountable, I can remind myself that I’m not expected to be Superwoman. I’m blessed to have people in my life who are always willing to help me. I just have to ask. Happiness!

“If we could remember the miracles God has done in our past, we would not so easily fall into worry and fear when we have new challenges to face.” ~ Joyce Meyer

Bad Seed

 

 

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Happy Groundhog Day! Punxsutawney Phil did NOT see his shadow this morning which means, according to legend, that we will have an early spring. I sure hope that is the case because I am over this funky, cold, and damp weather we have been experiencing in Louisiana as of late. Thankfully, Mother Nature gave us a reprieve today and provided us with a lovely day of sunshine and warmer temps before our next bout of rain comes early this week.

Emma & KatToday, the happy factor is not only limited to the groundhog, but also to the hedgehog. Yes, it is in fact National Hedgehog Day. Those cute, little critters share their special day with Phil. It also happens to be Super Bowl LIV. The San Francisco 49ers will be playing the Kansas City Chiefs later this evening at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida. However, while all these events are wonderful and provide a happiness boost to many, nothing compares to the biggest happiness boost for me on this day. Today is my beautiful niece’s birthday. Emma has officially turned sweet sixteen. She is not only beautiful and sweet, but she is also intelligent, vibrant, compassionate, and cheerful. Happy 16th Birthday Blessings to Emma! My only regret is that I cannot be with her today to celebrate.

Although February is starting off with a bang, I must address January 2020. Where did the first month of this year go? I’m astonished with how the rapidity of time has slipped by me with nothing much to show for it. Yet, I have done more last month than most Januarys of the past. Generally, the winter months with dreary weather and lack of extended sunlight hours often relegates me to hibernation after the workday. I surmise taking a weekly improv class (#7 on 20 for 2020 list) on Tuesday evenings, meeting with my acting coach most weeks, reading daily, and diligently sifting through paperwork to discard has contributed to time passing more quickly. My only regret is that I did not blog more.

Improv 1I thoroughly enjoyed the Level I Improv class, so much so, that I’ve decided to continue with Level II Improv this month. David Hamilton is an awesome teacher who makes the class interesting, challenging, and enjoyable. Every week builds from the previous week. I’m feeling more confident and less fearful when making choices, and I’m hoping to see that carry over in future auditions. My classmates are wonderful actors, and with the exception of one student Michael who will be traveling to Spain, our class will be together again to learn and play for the next session.

I read five books in January: The Institute by Stephen King, Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton, Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham, Count All Her Bones by April Henry, and The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry. I enjoyed all five of them, and I’m one book ahead of schedule for the Goodreads 2020 Reading Challenge.

What are your plans on this gorgeous 02/02/2020, dear reader? I plan to bask in the sunlight and the hopefulness of an early spring, crack open a new novel to wile away a couple of hours, and await joyfully for anything else the day may offer. Happiness!

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” ~ Hal Borland

 

 

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I hope those of you who are celebrating the holidays had a joyous week. My family started our Christmas festivities the Saturday before Christmas Day with my husband’s side of the family. We celebrated at my mother-in-law’s home. Good food, good company, and good vibes. On Christmas Day, we celebrated at my home. It was a small gathering that included my hubby, Andrew, my Daddy, and my mother-in-law. My mother was in Atlanta visiting my sister and her family, and my oldest son celebrated the day with his girlfriend and her family. Later in the evening after our guests departed, Andrew and I went to my BFF’s home (annual tradition) and hung out with her and her family for a few hours where we enjoyed each other’s company while drinking wine and apple martinis. Unfortunately, my hubby had to work on Thursday which meant he had to retire to bed early, so he wasn’t able to hang out with us this year.

Stella in kitchenIn the midst of this jovial holiday season, we were entertaining an unexpected guest who arrived at our humble abode on Monday evening. A sweet female pooch wandered into my garage as I was closing up for the evening. Since she was making no attempt to leave any time soon and was friendly, I gave her some dog food and water and let her be, figuring she would return from whence she came. Wrong! When Andrew came home later that evening, she was still hanging around. I did some research on Lost Pets of Tangipahoa and found a picture of a lost dog that looked just like my new furry friend. I contacted Lost Pets of Tangipahoa to inquire about the dog on her site which was in fact the same dog. She had been found near the Ponchatoula Wal-Mart the week before, secured for five days, and released when no one came forward to claim her. The finder could not keep her because she had a male dog and this little lady appeared to be in heat.

So, Amanda, the admin for Lost Pets of Tangipahoa, posted her picture again for me, and I agreed to keep her over Christmas. On Tuesday morning, Andrew and I took her to a vet nearby to see if she was chipped, and sadly she was not. Christmas came and went and no owner. As much as I do NOT need another dog and even though Tooty does not like her being in our house, I considered keeping her. I thought over time that Tooty would come around and learn to like her. After all, my German Shepherds, Sophie and Sonic, accepted Tooty when we took him in off the road. Unfortunately, she has one flaw…she does not like cats. That is a deal breaker because we have our beautiful kitty Puar. Needless to say, it has been interesting and a little stressful keeping all the fur babies separated.

Stella with toysOn Thursday and Friday, I contacted local rescue groups to see if they could help me find a place for her. I also reached out to my FB friends and family to spread the word about her situation, hoping for suggestions, guidance, or someone who could take her. If I could not find a good home for her, I was left with no choice but to bring her to the local animal shelter and hope for the best. Sadly, our animal shelter in Tangipahoa Parish is a “limited intake shelter.” I was striking out with some groups (full or no fosters) and receiving no responses at all from others. Finally, I contacted Amanda with Lost Pets to tell her that I was running out of options, and we were going to have to bring her to the shelter by the end of the day on Friday. Amanda contacted Northshore Humane Society to see if they could help. At the same time, Shelly had a possible family that wanted her. The family fell through because they have three cats. Northshore came through with Amanda’s help; however, we would have to wait until Saturday to bring her to the facility.

Stella & AndrewWell, dear reader, the baby girl is still with us. I spoke with Briana at Northshore on Saturday morning, and she asked if we could keep the pooch for a couple more days until they could find a foster to take her. Of course, I said yes. Although every day that she stays with us, we get more attached to her, and she gets more attached to us. On Northshore’s FB page, it appears a foster was finally found yesterday evening, but we have not been directly contacted, yet. I’m hoping we will be contacted tomorrow morning, so we can get her placed in a good home (without cats) where she can receive the love that she deserves.

I have been pretty emotional throughout this whole process. I have a soft spot for animals. Undoubtedly, I am more of a cat person than a dog person; however, this sweet canine has stolen my heart, and I want to do right by her. I’ve learned these past few days that unwanted/abandoned fur babies are an epidemic, and there are not enough people/resources to advocate for them. God bless everyone who does advocate for them. If my circumstances were different, I would keep her in a heartbeat, and I would name her Stella. Happiness!

“People leave imprints on our lives, shaping who we become in much the same way that a symbol is pressed into the page of a book to tell you who it comes from. Dogs, however, leave paw prints on our lives and our souls, which are as unique as fingerprints in every way.” ~ Ashly Lorenzana

 

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