Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Monday, October 28, 2013
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Summary: Prioritize self-care! Self care = functionality = less stress. I am a big believer in the mind-body connection, so a lot of dealing with stress for me is making sure my body (and therefore mind) is up to the task.
1. Go to bed early. Hoard sleep like it is going out is style.
2. Eat good foods. Eat non-processed, low sugar, whole foods like avocado, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, lentils, oatmeal, salmon, and cottage cheese. Walk away from the donuts, especially on an empty stomach. Sugar + stress = crazed weasel tendencies. The temporary burst of taste is so not worth it. PS - srsly. I mean it. Even the Smarties. They do not make you smarter.
3. Meditate. Let go. When in doubt, take deep breaths.
4. Pamper with food, hot baths, and well-loved books.
5. Spend time alone to re-charge. Hi, I'm Ondrea and I'm an introvert! Go away (please).
6. Take the easy way when possible and be forgiving. Say no to obligations I will not have the energy for, let non-essential chores slide, and sometimes spend extra money for more convenience.
7. Stick to routine. Boring, yet beneficial. Also, autopilot clears headspace for other things.
8. If the stress is work related, I keep my nose to the grindstone. Eyes on the prize.
9. Keep the negativity you exude and consume to a minimum. Ruminating only extends the pain. Glom onto the positive instead. Laugh instead of cry.
10. Move your body. Walk. Stretch. Bellydance. Yoga. Play Fruit Ninja on the X-Box Kinect. Unfold your hunched shoulders.
11. When your boss tells you to go home, go home.
12. Write an action plan that gives me stepping stones. Boil life down to to-do lists. Post on blog since blog posts can't be misplaced like post-it notes can. Refer to when needed.
Monday, October 21, 2013
I picked Percy up from a Petsmart. I honestly intended to go with a rat rescue to honor my animal shelter roots, but I played with him on a whim and it was akin to being hit by a spiritual truck. I was a gonner and had to have him. He bloomed into an intelligent, feisty, and adventurous companion. His favorite thing to do was follow you around the house in his over-sized hamster ball. He never sat still unless it was to gobble a dried cherry.
In the space of a weekend road trip when he was about a year and a half old, I came home to discover he had scratched all the fur off behind both his front legs. There were quarter sized patches of scabs while the rest of his fur remained glossy and healthy. His upper lips were also swollen. A skin scraping at the vet turned up mites, so we started treatment for both rats in our house (each were already housed individually). The vet also prescribed antibiotics in an effort to treat the lip. Then more concentrated antibiotics because Percy was sneaky about spitting the doses out. Then a different combination of concentrated antibiotics because there were hints of improvement. A ring worm test turned up negative.
Meanwhile, the other rat in the house (who kind of became the default "control" rat to rule out infectious disease even though I kept them very separate) continued happy and healthy and Percy's scabby patches grew and his lip became even more swollen and started scabbing over. He started loosing weight so I switched his diet to soft baby food in an effort to keep weight on him, which he devoured.
Side note that did not sit anywhere else, but might be useful to somebody: I had a cat in high school who was also diagnosed with an autoimmune disease where prednisone was the treatment. Albert presented with the same swollen upper lip as Percy, but instead of raw patches on his shoulders Albert's paws would bleed. After several years Albert's end was also euthanasia. I noticed and worried about similarities early on in Percy's illness, but the vet seemed quite convinced antibiotics were the best initial treatment in the hopes the illness wouldn't require steroids.
Ugh. I have been trying for weeks to think of an adequate closing to this post, to give some sort of closure beyond e-hugs and love and sympathy to anybody else going through this. I even thought about not posting it because why dwell on the end when there was so much good before that? Somehow I do not think Percy would understand my brooding. Rats are the greatest teacher of zen I know. Falling in love with a creature who has a big personality and naturally short lifespan only serves as a reminder to stay anchored in the present moment and enjoy the good while it exists alongside you.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Saturday, September 7, 2013
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Blogging and boundaries is a topic never ceases to fascinate me. On the one hand, it would be very easy to pour my soul into this blog. Letters to the world. I love writing letters and sharing secrets and telling stories. On the other hand, privacy WHAT. As I was growing up I hoarded privacy and put significant energy into controlling who knew what. Slowly I have opened up, thanks to five years in an liberal college environment, yet I still tend to become hostile when I learn unintended people have learned something I meant for private ears only. And my wee blog on teh internets? Why, it is open to EVERYBODY. How bloody terrifying is that? VERY. Mean, judgmental people are out there!! Instead of hyperventilating, I try to look at the flipside: How friggen awesome is that? VERY. Friends and besties and social connections ahoy!
The ironic thing is the blogs I love the best are the ones that bear all. Joys, fears, pain, challenges, laughter, advice. As a reader there is nothing I like more than feeling I am a best friend the author is imparting secrets to. I devour archives and life stories. I swear I'm not a stalker, but I do sometimes feel like a creeper who should occasionally send out an email saying "HI THERE. I read all your secrets. In exchange, a list of my secrets is attached. Kthxbai."
So here I am, trying to strike a balance. Trying to be respectful of my friends and family and employers that might not want their stories shared while being true to my own. Trying to follow my intuition and write soulful posts I would really like as a reader, even when they take courage and personal pep talks to post. Trying not to be a perfectionist and edit my archives to erase or update my story. Trying not to make this blog into something it's not or somebody else's vision.
So here's to future blog posts and the archives of the past: may I be a writer who is brave and coherent enough to tell a story that contributes to the blogging world and seeks to repay the joy I have reaped for so many years.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
1. With the magic of one cross-country flight I get to spend the next few days with some of my favorite people. HOORAY!!
2. I made it to the airport with no snafus! (I am always paranoid about this.) Hooray!
3. I get to see a new region of the country. Adventures ahoy!
4. See number 1. And they're totally getting married too. Hooray!!
5. *Censored secret things* Hooray!!
6. I am totally shoe twins with the lady sitting across from me.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
1) It was expensive! Fortunately my health insurance covered it. HOORAY!!
2) I could not get it that appointment. I had to come back after they ran their required tests and checked with my insurance.
3) Also, the implantation appointment had to be schedule when I was on my period. Since I have not given birth, that was the time my cervix would be the most willing to have something shoved through it. (Yeah, I know. It's not rainbows and unicorns.) My doctor also performed a pelvic exam to gauge whether or not I could sit still through the IUD implantation process and to see if my uterus, which has not been stretched out by pregnancy, was actually big enough to accommodate the IUD.
How was the pain?
How was the implantation procedure?
How was the emotional side of things?
Can you feel it?
How's the sex?
Have you noticed any change in periods?
tl;dr Logistics summary, please?
- 3 doctor's appointments (initial, implantation, follow up) over 2 months
- $1000ish that insurance covered
- 1/2 day vacation (I totally had the best ice cream date with myself afterwards)
- 1 week of tenderness
- 3 months of heavy periods
- 10 years of birth control! w00t w00t!
Help, I'm still nervous!
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Hooray for Houseguests!
|Still having fun with Instagram|
Hooray for Belly Dancing!
Hooray for Belly Button Piercings!
Sunday, July 21, 2013
tl:dr I'm on Instagram as GesundheitArt. It might be cheesy and I might be late to the trend, but it makes me happy!
It wasn't until I sorted through all my childhood paraphenalia that I realized how much my life revolved around photography as I was growing up. It was a hobby that both family and friends embraced. I spent many hours posing, taking, developing, and printing pictures. To me it was a universal art that could be shared with everyone important, creating memories as well as preserving them. It is the reason I now have 10+ boxes of photo albums detailing the first 18 years of my life. I put the hobby on hold in college for lack of materials and a thirst to try new things, but I am nagged by this persistant desire to spend a whole month's rent on a droolworthy, digital SLR camera.
Of course, my inner Scrooge thinks this is a terrible idea. A whole month's rent?? Do you know what you could DO with that money? Pay the rent! Geeze Louise. You always procrastinated processing digital photos anyways. Would you actually use the camera if you bought it? If you really want to just post snapshots online, you can jolly well use Instagram. It's FREE.
My Ego protested that Instagram was too popular and overdone and so not my thing before being whacked upside the head by the thought "Screw you Ego, why don't you want to be happy?"*
Ever since then I've been happily Instagramming away. My joy was compounded when I started experimenting with hashtags (it pays to be easily amused sometimes). It is not professional grade photography and a digital SLR is very likely still in my future, but this free app fills a need in my life I had forgotten about. I like taking pictures. At this moment in time I am in love with shapshots. I like sharing the details I notice with other people. Instagram is a way to do that, and the rent still gets paid. Hooray!
*yes, window to my brain right here.
For the billionth time this summer, it is raining. Dark and kinda dreary with pitpatpitpatpat on the roof and flashes of lightning through the window.
It is the perfect day to stay inside and Get Shit Done because my to do list, oh! She has a clarity I have sought after for years and is a thousand miles long and I am soclose to jumping on my dreams. But my attention span wanes and my drawing hand is sloppy and I find myself staring into space in the middle of thoughts.
So instead of muddling through my arts I try to take breaks to refuel with family time, fresh green foods, homemade pretzels, lavender bath salts, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, and sleep. I try to embrace taking care of myself and recognizing the crash after the creative burst, the rain that comes after the sun. Life is a balance. I know this. I try not to get overly fussed about it. But dang. Do I have a hard time with my brain not playing the following on infinite repeat:
Rain rain go away
come again another day
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Saturday, July 13, 2013
So I ended up at my belly dancing lesson an hour early (instead of researcing times last night I just kind of fell into bed...it was one of those weeks) and I was kind of disgruntled because All The Projects are at home a long drive away and what was I going to do for an hour besides shopping that I don't want or need to do and also I forgot my knitting?
OH WAIT! Here is my fully charged smartphone with the internets. Internets, instead of being disgruntled I am going to tell you about my life with some hoorays:
1. Pirate and I are married! While I loved our wedding and wish it could have been a whole day affair instead of just an evening one, I am overjoyed at the emotional, mental, and physical space I have now I am not wedding planning. (Seriously, one year of planning for 7 hours? Per APW, I suppose it's all about defining the relationship instead of just the party.) Married life is peaceful and amazing and I wouldn't trade it or the journey that got us here for anything. Hoooray!
2. While the two weeks of waiting for it after the wedding were excruciating, the honeymoon itself was awesome! We went on a cruise to the Caribbean. We spent most of the wedding weekend seperate due to different social obligations, so it was exceptionally nice to have the honeymoon as a unifying (tasty, sun drenched, tropical, caarefree) experience. Hooray!
3. This hedge I am parked by. What can I say, I like hedges. I park next to them at work too. Hooray!
4. Unexpected time to blog. I am off to write posts on different subjects now. Hooray!
Friday, June 28, 2013
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Thursday, May 9, 2013
With big events I tend to wait until the last minute to get excited, and when I do I want the exciting thing to be here NOW. This means that all the excitement for our wedding (now LESS than a month away!) pounced on me this weekend as I wrapped up some of the final wedding projects. I'm having a hard time sitting still, having any other expression on my face other than a stupid grin, and I am repeatledly checking the counter on my Wedding Party picture app as the day ticks ticks ticks closer. I feel like I should be writing this post in ALL CAPS because I am SO EXCITED. Excited to see this thing we have been planning for a year to bloom, excited to see friends and family from across the country, and excited to be upgraded from fiancee to husband and wife. Excitement! Impatience!!
This is in stark contrast to my job where I read about death all day. I open a chart and read about someone dying who bears striking resemblance to one of my loved ones and my heart aches for what that family is going through. It is an odd juxtoposition to my happy home life and the wedding only seeks to magnify the differences. It makes me hug the Pirate to excess, give my people calls and emails, and write Hoorays! posts.
It also, oddly, made me wig out a bit yesterday and buy lots of random bath products and a single purple cabbage.
29 days 6 hours 6 minutes and 58 seconds.
I AM SO EXCITED!!
“After awhile you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn that love doesn’t mean possession
and company doesn’t mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises and you begin to accept
your defeats with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of an adult not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build your roads today
because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
and futures have ways of falling down in mid-flight.
After awhile you learn that even sunshine
burns if you get too much so you plant your
own garden and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
that you really are strong
and you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn…”
Poem by Veronica A. Shoffstall
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
As I composed the post I found that forming an action plan wasn't what was bothering me. I feel comfortable that I know (most of the time) when to speak up and when to just move forward, that I (most of the time) have the courage to do so. small, everyday conflict I'm okay with. It's the tolerance bit I (and society, apparently) find tricky.
What was baffling me was why is it so hard to accept another person's worldview that is different than your own. I'm not even talking about accepting the troublesome worldview AS your own, but accepting that it EXISTS and not being hateful or resentful about that fact. I turn the problem over and over in my head, and mostly what I think of is bonobos.
Bonobos, the a little known great ape that provides science a ripe opportunity to study the biological basis for tolerance. For more information, read this book, because the author explains it far better than I can:
I am also reminded of this little story:
“An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life…..He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me. It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. One wolf is evil – he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego. The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth,compassion and faith. This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”
His grandchildren thought about this for a minute, and then one child asked, “Which wolf will win, Grandfather?“
The old Cherokee replied softly, “The one you feed.”
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
I have finally reached the point in my knitting career where I can complete a project without Learning a Lesson. After graduating from knitting garter stitch rectangles of varying length, it seemed every project I cast on involved periods of alternatively banging my head against the wall and wanting to gnaw off my fingers until I fully understood the Lesson. A Lesson could be anything, whether it be how to purl correctly, the anatomy of a yarn-over, or what a twisted knit stitch looked like.
It is so satisfying to know after a year of Expanding My Horizons (i.e. knitting something other than garter stitch rectangles), my knitting skills have improved enough that I can actually craft a garment I am proud to wear or give as a gift.
Being a reasonably competent knitter doesn't mean I don't have a favorite swear word on Ravelry, though.
Sunday, May 5, 2013
My pet rat Percy is finally responding to his medication after a few months of trial and error medicine! Hooray! Because if the steroids didn't work there was nothing else left to try, and that would have been very sad. It appears to be an autoimmune disease that initially presented as mites. He is also regularly (and happily) gobbling baby food from a syringe. I just stuffed him full of sweet potatoes and chicken, so hopefully he won't be so bony in the coming weeks.
I am inching ever closer to being done with wedding planning and wedding decisions. Hooray! This weekend I figured out the remaining details of what I am doing with flowers, tables, cupcakes, and sound system. I am hoping to finish the program and menu before I go to bed.
We had some nice weather and got to deep clean the car! Hooray for that because it had been bugging me for several months. Now I won't sit in traffic and feel gross.
And on a related note that deserves its own hooray, I finally got a CD binder for all the cds floating around the car. Now all the cds are organized and protected from our feet...a definite upgrade from their previous living space of any nook, cranny, and floorboard.
Last week I did something that was personally terrifying for me, but will ultimately bring many benefits. I did it with grace and courage and the Pirate brought me the most colorful flowers that still look lovely.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Friday, April 26, 2013
--The Pirate has recently become enthusiastic about sushi, so we have been seeking out Sushi Adventures. (We have the best Adventures.)
--Tonight we are celebrating an accomplishment of the Pirate. Hooray Pirate!
--Of course this means celebrating with an extravagent sushi bar restaurant tonight. The menu has flavors we didn't even know existed. (We are still somewhat limited in our sushi experience so this isn't hard, but exciting nonetheless!)
--We also spent an evening exploring our local stores and international markets for sushi ingedients and had a pretty good first run at a basic recipe.
--Since we can manufacture the sushi ourselves, this means I can make personal sushi that contains nothing but avocado!
--I brought my colored pencils and sketchbook into work today for entertainment on my lunchbreak. Hooray creativity!
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Well, it turns out the wheelchair room is no longer needed and I couldn't remember if I had cancelled it. So I called to make sure because I didn't want my card charged. Thinking ahead and prepared for every credit card bill, right? Only when I give my name and date range, there's nothing there....not even the reservation for myself and my groom.
So this means I have called the hotel five times. Bless you, Best Western in Elyria, for being kind to a frazzled bride. Because I'm pretty sure I have talked to the same person each time.
1. To reserve special rates for the wedding guests.
2. To book a wheelchair room in case there isn't one available later.
3. To book my room.
4. To cancel the wheelchair room (and they probably cancelled all reservations under my name)
5. To cancel the wheelchair room, but instead find there are no reservations whatsoever to cancel and end up booking a room for myself.
And that, my friends, is the story of how I very nearly had to couch surf at my own destination wedding.
(Don't worry, I totes wrote down the confirmation number she gave me!!)
Sunday, April 21, 2013
--Salmon chowder soup for this week's lunches.
--A satifyingly whittled down to-do list and neatly wrapped personalized wedding favors.
--Friends! And the technology that allows you to keep in touch over time and distance.
--The bike trail right next to my house and birke rides with the Pirate.
--Re-discovering old cross-stitch projects. Bonus: all thread present, accounted for, and sorted (thanks, Ondrea of the past!)
--That sweet spot between dreaming and waking when you snuggle down into your bedfellow
--That I have access to a private porch, chair, and sunshine since I spent a good majority of Sunday like this:
.5 or 1 avocado
.5 pepper (red, green, or yellow depending on your mood. I like green.)
.5 onion (red or yellow. I like red....which are technically purple)
Mozzerella cheese (or whatever cheese you have hanging around)
2 medium-sized tortilla shells (I prefer whole wheat)
1. Slice the onion and pepper. For minimum onion-crying, put the onion in the freezer for a few minutes before you slice it---keeps the scent of the onion depressed long enough for you to chop it up. Or wear contacts, that helps too.
2. Saute the onion and pepper in oil until slightly limp. Use the time while they are cooking to do the dishes (why are there always dishes?) and prepare the rest of the ingredients.
3. Lay out your tortilla shells and sprinkle cheese on one half. (shredded, chunked, sliced...whatever is available). Slice the avocado and place on top of cheese. I use half an avocado per shell, but I like avocado.
4. Spoon the onion/pepper mixture on top of the avocado. (good opportunity to sprinkle more cheese here) Another delicious addition at this point is black pepper. Fold tortilla in half.
5. Place the halves of the tortilla shell with all the tastiness on the skillet. Let cheese melt and tortilla crisp. Flip on to other side. Crisp.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Five things I am thanksul for, in no particular order:
- The Blogger app, which allows me to tap out blog entries on my work breaks.
- TAZO Zen tea
- The Pirate for a lovely evening of edamame bites, X-Files, and pet wrangling.
- Re-reading books from my high school days and realizing I like them just as much as I remember
- It is still cool enough in the South to open our windows and enjoy the weather (also, that I live in a quiet neighborhood)