Giving my system a break

Louis_Rémy_Mignot_SolitudeWell, I’ve overdone it on the trail mix. All those little seeds have caused my diverticulitis to flare up, and last night I was nearly doubled over in pain. It’s that lower left quadrant pain that tells me exactly where my colon is. And my intestines definitely were not happy, last night.

That’ll teach me.

Today, I’m taking it easy on my digestive system. I’m drinking a lot of fluids and staying clear of the fruit-and-nut combination. I’ve been eating too many nuts, lately, anyway. Worst of all, those little tiny seeds are what get me, and I had a bunch of them yesterday.

Gotta take care of the digestive system.

Today, it’s a raw fruit and vegetable kind of day – and plenty of distilled water. Something to keep everything from shriveling up from dehydration.

I had a good meeting with my neuropsych yesterday. They’re helping me get my act together and take care of all the stuff that has… languished, since I fell in 2004. I haven’t been able to rally very much at all, and the progress I’ve made has been stop-and-go… very uneven.

So, I’m fixing that. I had great plans, when we bought this house in 2002. but then I fell less than 2 years later, and everything fell apart. I’ve been trying to get myself back in gear for some time, but my old neuropsych didn’t seem very focused on helping me do that. It was really about just keeping me stable. That was my priority, also, because I didn’t have a good foundation. Now I have a good foundation, and I can finally start digging in.

So, this weekend, I’m going to take care of a few key things that have needed to be done for some time. My spouse is out of town for 3 days, and I have the place to myself to get in order. When they’re around, I’m limited because their health is not great and they can’t tolerate a lot of noise and dust and smells. While they’re away, I can take care of things that have been on my list — some of them for years.

First, clean out the lower cabinets, re-surface them with contact paper, and replace all the pots and pans in an orderly fashion.

Second, wash the curtains from all the bedrooms.

Third, check a gap where I think some bees have been getting in/out of the house walls — and plug it. I don’t want bees in my walls.

Fourth, put up a new house number, so emergency vehicles and delivery vehicles can find us. We do have numbers, but they’re not as visible as they need to be. I have been meaning to tend to this for years, now, but this weekend, it’s actually going to get done.

And that will be an accomplishment. I’ve got a few other things I need to take care of — yard work, some more minor maintenance, and just cleaning up after myself. I need to get organized, so I can actually live my life without making things even more difficult. I need to cut myself a break from all the various distractions — and that includes clutter.

It’s happening. And about time…

So, it’s all coming together. And it feels pretty good. And it’ll feel even better, when I manage to cross some of these items off my list. My gut is feeling better, now, and I don’t have the radiating pain coming from my lower left side. That’s progress.

It’s all progress.


After a good, long day

Calming it down, one breath at a time
For today, I decided to be the master of my own destiny. It was fun.

I spent the day working around the house and yard. I got an early start (for a Sunday), getting my breakfast and starting at 8:30, and working till about 10:00. Then I stopped for a snack, made myself a soft-boiled egg and a banana and a big glass of water, then I went back to it.

I finished everything up around 2:35. So, that’s about 5-1/2 hours of good hard work behind me. I had a lot of cleanup to do around the yard, raking up dead leaves and pulling out dead plants, moving around fallen limbs and branches, and making sure the front bushes are okay after having limbs fall on them. I also found some things I need to fix — the front stairs have a gap in front of them, and if you step into it, you can get hurt. Repair folks coming to the house, the first year, often stepped in that gap.

Mind the gap

Now I need to go get a long 2×4 to lay across the gap. The other one rotted out.

I also had to clean up along the edge of the driveway, where I had let leaves and weeds pile up into a kind of compost heap. I clean that out every couple of years, because it builds up from nature doing its thing, and it’s a hard place to keep clear. This was the year I did it. I got out the wheelbarrow and a shovel and took three loads of “compost” down to the ditch along the road. The compost has a bunch of different stuff in it, including some non-organic materials, so it’s better off down by the road, where it will just help fill in the ditch.

By the time I was done, I was DONE. I was completely worn out, and I didn’t have the energy to fold up the tarps and put away the leaf blower. I just left everything in the empty bay in the garage. I’ll get to that later.

For today, that’s enough. I took a little nap afterwards, then woke up feeling like I needed to check Facebook, for some weird reason. I looked, and I saw that one of the younger members of my family who has been going through some tough times just got a massive break — their life has turned a corner for the better, which is really phenomenal. They remind me a lot of myself, when I was their age, and now that they’re getting on the good foot, they don’t necessarily need to go down the self-destructive road I was on, when I was 30 years younger than today.

So, it’s good. Work is a bit of a pain — my boss was emailing me today, but I’m not in the mood to deal with that. I’m OFF work, till tomorrow. Then I’ll worry about things. I’m sure it will all be very exciting and dramatic. No doubt about that.

Lying down earlier helped the pain — a lot. I’m feeling better. I also feel better when I move around, instead of just lying in bed, and I ran out to pick up my spouse’s medication a little while ago. It was good to just get in the car and drive.

One thing I need to be careful of, this holiday season, is drinking too much coffee and eating too much candy. I have been hitting the Halloween stash a little too heavy, these past couple of weeks. It’s funny, because I don’t even celebrate it — just eat the candy. Halloween is just an excuse to load up on sugar, and on top of that I haven’t been exercising enough for my own good.  I’ve been caught up in a new project that I want to get done this month. Fortunately, I’ve worked like a crazy person for a week, so I am actually ahead of my self-imposed schedule.

With the holidays just around the corner, I need to keep steady and take good care of myself. I’ve been drinking more coffee than usual, lately, as well. I get tired in the late afternoon, so I have a little cup before I drive home. It’s really not good for me — makes my migraines worse. I’ve been very fortunate, over the past few months, to have far fewer headaches than usual. Ever since I cut back on the coffee and also really focused on keeping my heart rate lowered, the headaches have been almost non-existent. I still get some, now and then (I’ve got a little one now), but they’re nothing like they used to be.

So, it’s all pretty chilled out, right now. My spouse has been in a foul mood, all day. Something must have happened at their business event yesterday evening — but they’re not telling me about it.  They sometimes make poor choices about who they do business with, and they realize it too late — and after they’ve described the behavior of their new “business partner” to me. I think they may have done or said something unwise, and they’re embarrassed about it. They don’t want me to know. They keep their phone close by, and they spent most of the day in bed… hiding from who knows what.

Anyway, I have a few more things I need to do, this evening, then I’m turning in. I’m much less sore now, than I was a few hours ago, and I hope tomorrow I’ll feel even better. I have a light week, this week, with only one appointment in the evening, so I want to get to the pool every day… as much as I can. I’m also considering joining a local health club that has a sauna. I really want to use saunas regularly, because it’s incredibly good for you and helps clean out your system. I feel like I need to “flush out” a lot of the stress and gunk in my system.Of course, working out each morning would help, but I’ve been so antsy. I’ve been so caught up in my new project.

Anyway, I’m going to back off a bit on the pressure, and just see what the next week brings. I’ve got a number of different irons in the fire, as regards my little projects, and it’s time to shift them around and shake things up — keep interesting. Break up the monotony. I haven’t been hiking in over a week, which is unfortunate because the weather has been next to perfect, and winter is not far off. But I had other things going on. And now my yard is looking good.

I’ll paint the kitchen ceiling next week.

I do look forward to that. I’ll be able to get it done early, and then spend the rest of the day in the woods, if I so choose.

Or maybe I’ll work on my projects…

The main thing is, I need to keep productively occupied. I can’t let myself get down in the dumps, because I know better. I have things to do, I have a purpose to serve. Even if it’s not world-shaking and earth-shattering, it’s my own little way of making the world a slightly better place.

At least, that’s the plan.


A productive weekend, even so

How could I pass up this?

Well, most of what I planned to do over the weekend did not happen. I had every intention of finishing my taxes, which I started weeks ago, but that was not to be.

Instead, I spent Saturday working on a programming problem that still had me stumped by the end of the day. It soaked up the entire day and rendered me distracted and confused and frustrated, and I was only a few steps closer to a resolution, when all was said and done.

On the bright side, it became incredibly clear to me that programming as a way to make a living is NOT what I want, anymore. I want to design programs, not code them up. And this is something I can do, for sure.

This is really good news because I got an amazing idea over the weekend, which I think has a lot of potential, and it’s something I can pretty easily document and hand off to a capable developer to create. If I insist on doing the coding myself, it will only slow me down. But this is the sort of thing a really capable programmer could “bang out” in short order.

So, I’m pretty psyched about that.

I have been getting in my way with so many things, mainly because I have been rigid and hard-headed and haven’t been willing to entertain other possibilities — or let go of old things that no longer fit me.

But after a full day of focusing on the computer screen, trying to solve one little problem that had me hung up all day, it’s pretty clear that I don’t want to do that anymore. I ended up sore and stiff and feeling like I’d been trampled by elephants. Plus, I spent a full day off — which was beautiful — inside, staring at a computer.

No thank you.

Saturday evening, I made up for that and went for a long walk in the woods. Saw a herd of 12 deer. Got some good exercise. Unwound.

Sunday I turned the tables and started the day with a walk, then did yard work for about four hours. Got a lot done. Wore myself out. Took a long nap. Got up and went for a ride with my spouse, to get some fresh air and just hang out. We’ve both been working really hard, and we needed some “away time”. And we got it. It was really nice to just get out of the house together and relax.

Last night, we had supper, watched some television, and then I trundled off to bed. I briefly took a look at my taxes, but the weekend was mine, and I wanted to just enjoy myself. I would have made better use of my time working on taxes Saturday, than getting stuck on that programming problem, but that didn’t happen.

The thing is, I hate using my free time off for drudge work. The kind of drudge work I had to do, is really best broken up into chunks of time — focusing in for only a few hours, instead of a full day. I really need my time off, to do what I please, when I please, and concentrate on the things that I want to do. I spend my weeks taking care of other people’s business. The weekends are mine. And I have a hell of a time relinquishing them for anyone — especially for something like taxes.

So now I need to finish up my filings in the next two days. It’s no big deal, because I am 80% done. It’s just that extra 20% that has me stumped. I figure I have tonight and tomorrow night — and possibly Wednesday morning — to do them, so that gives me plenty of time. I’ll go into work early today and tomorrow, so I have at least 4 hours each night to devote to them. That is more than enough time, actually, so I’m not really worried. It’s just a thing I need to get done with 100% focus.

Yes, getting my workdays out of the way and having free time in the evenings is the right way to go. And after my taxes are done, I will focus on my new project, getting the documentation together so I can find a programmer. I had a really great weekend, even though it didn’t turn out the way I wanted.

It’s all good.


Working my plan(s)

Got a ton of stuff done over the weekend. Sore as hell, but it’s a good sore — the kind that tells me I was productive.

Spring is definitely here, and with it comes a sudden surge in energy. The trip to see family did me good, in that it broke me out of my rut and got me thinking again about how I want my life to be, and how I need to shape it. Seeing my family members — both sides — all pretty much stuck in their status quo lives, with their resignation to “how things are” and their petty in-fighting and their self-satisfaction over “accomplishments” which are from just doing what they’ve been told to do, year after year… that was so depressing.

But it woke me up. Status quo… they can keep it. I’m much more interested in living my life, living it as an adventure rather than a task list, and really experiencing things around me — not just slogging through with “just a job” till retirement shows up.

Because to be perfectly honest, I don’t think I’m going to be retiring anytime soon — probably not at all.

See, here’s the thing. I have no retirement savings. Zip – nada – zilch. I am barely keeping afloat with my everyday expenses, let alone building up some savings. Adding any money to a 401(k) or an IRA is a joke to me – I cannot afford to contribute even 1% of my earnings. Truly. So, even though much of the working world has rearranged itself to have people my age retire around age 55  (which gives me about 7 years), the simple fact is, I’m going to be working well into my 80s, maybe beyond — if I live that long.

So, the pressure is off, in terms of retirement timeline. And there’s really no reason for me to freak out over things like saving enough for retirement, paying for medication and all those other expenses that aging people accrue. Because I’m not going to stop working anytime soon. I will always have an income, doing something. And I’m fine with it.

My family members are a little horrified by the idea, but who the hell cares? They can have their retirements. They can fade into the background. They can drift away into a life of leisurely “rewards” for all the crap they’ve had to put up with, all those years.

Me? I’d rather not have to put up with the crap… be happy while I’m working (not after)… have a life I can enjoy, right here and right now… and continue to be active and engaged long into the future.

That means getting up and going. Doing. Being active. Keeping things going. And constantly re-adjusting and recalibrating as time goes on.  Not getting stuck with one set idea about How Things Should Be. It’s pointless for me to latch onto that, because it just doesn’t happen for me the way it does for others. This is not a criticism of myself, nor is it a reason for despair. This is just how things are with me – no reason to be upset or be down on myself. Just to acknowledge and adapt accordingly and really live to the max.

See, that’s the thing — everything in the world doesn’t need to be established and “perfect” and according to plan. All around me, people are so invested in the status quo, in being part of the establishment, in “playing their part” in the Big, Big World. That’s fine, but there are other things to do, and there are other ways to be, and sometimes it’s perfectly fine to be on the margins, to live the alternatives, and to walk to the edge and see what is there.

It’s like we’re all in this big boat, and most people I know are trying to stay near the center line of the boat, so it keeps its balance and it doesn’t tip over. When I am most anxious and tired and beside myself with worry, this is how I become. But there are some of us who would rather sit (or stand or climb) to the far edges of the boat, so we can have a better view. And we worry less about falling in, because we know we can swim.

I can swim. That’s for sure. And I don’t mind the edges of the boat. I don’t mind the wind in my hair, I don’t mind the mess, the spray, the salty residue that cakes on my face and hands. In fact, I rather enjoy it. Because it’s life. It’s just life. Sailing is dangerous stuff, to be sure, but I’m no good at the center of the boat. And everyone who is trying to put (and keep) me there — as much as they may mean well — is holding me back from living my life.

My family means well. Most of the people around me at work and in the community mean well. My healthcare providers mean well. They want me to be safe.

But safe is a terrible place for me to be. It’s dull and drab and it doesn’t keep me awake — literally. I’ve been hit in the head too many times — my tonic arousal (how awake my brain is) tends to be for shit, especially when I’m tired and overworked. My brain gets sleepy and it gets slow, when things are too safe and secure.

I need to be out on the edge, seeing what else is out there. I don’t need dysfunction, and I don’t need artificial drama. I need authentic, daring life that has something to offer me besides safety and security.

I need something more. Something real. Something untamed. Something leading-edge and vibrant. It’s not that I don’t want to plan my life and follow through. I don’t want some loosey-goosey flit-flitting around from one thing to the next. That’s fun, but it leads me nowhere. I need to move forward into areas that far exceed what others think or believe is possible for them — and me. I need to test waters and see what else can be done, what else can be achieved. The plans of the status quo are not for me. I need my own plans — and I’ve got them. I’m working on them. And things are coming along — not the way others envision, but the way I envision.

And with that, I’m off to start my day. We’ll see what happens. For real.

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