extra! extra! read all about it!

Today’s post is brought to you by the best cup of coffee I’ve made in weeks.  And my strange shirt with deer on it.  Oh and my tasty cookie with frosting that I had for breakfast.

I’ve had some interesting happenings this week and I figured saving them for one post was a good idea.  That way it seems like I am whining less… hopefully?  The other day Simon woke me up at 4:30 am.  This is not unusual, however, he comes up and walks by my face and IT SMELLED BAD!  Great.  TMI but Simon is a long-haired kitty and at times poop gets stuck to his bum.  I figured this was the issue and quickly got up and scrubbed his bum.

this is a fair assessment of both of our feelings… btw when I looked up “cleaning a cat’s butt” an article stated that a cat’s behind is his health barometer. weird.

Later, I came home and found poop on the floor.  I do feel sorry for the little guy though because about a 1/2 hour later he puked his guts out.  Kitty stomach flu.

(Strange pic ahead!!!)  Then my (male) co-workers and I were discussing birth and the placenta.  We had a disagreement so I looked up placenta online.  And I found this

yep, it’s a teddy bear made from the placenta. I am now torturing my co-workers with it because that’s the type of person I am

I showed my other male co-worker and he said at first he thought it was a pastry teddy bear that just needed some powdered sugar.  I took so much sick delight in telling him what it really was!

The other night I was attempting to balance my beautiful BLT (minus the L), with a can of pop while getting Simon’s toy for him.  In slow motion my BLT hit the carpet.  So sad!  And no, I don’t do the 10 second rule on carpet especially with a pet.  Plus there was the aforementioned poop issue!

this is exactly how I felt – james you get me

There was some stress at work this week hence the cookie for breakfast.  Wednesday, I got home and locked the door behind me.  It was hermit time.  Thursday when I got done at noon(!!), came home, took care of some things and left for a run.  10 big fatty miles!  It was a great run that boosted my Dopey training confidence.  It was also amazing weather 39* and dry.  To not run would be slapping mama nature across the face!

To be honest, I was tempted to hang on the couch again but then two things happened: a) my friend texted and helped kick my butt in gear and b) I realized I didn’t like the underwear I was wearing so I would get to change it after running and then showering.  I am absolutely serious.

It’s been a strange week.  Monday was the two year mark of my mom’s passing.  I wrote a post about it but not sure if I will ever hit publish.  It’s easier this year than the last and I have conflicted feelings about this.  I know healing is important and I am grateful for it but…

I’m looking forward to heading back to WA on Monday!  I’m going to stock up on my favorite blend of coffee, smother my family in x’s and o’s, run and relax.

holidays are scary vol.1

The following isn’t a grinchy outlook on holidays.  I just wanted to put that out there so my message isn’t lost

Yesterday I read a post about how to avoid the holiday season blues.  While I liked the article and it had some good points/advice I felt the advice was a bit… plucky.  Maybe the advice was quality for a case of the “blues” but not so much for those of us who have dealt/deal with depression.

This got me thinking about my own experiences of struggling during the holidays.  It usually starts out with Halloween and the fact that my job has turned it from a holiday I used to enjoy to one I now fear.  Halloween is just a mixer for alcohol at this point and it results in some debauchery and late night emergency calls for yours truly.

vomit

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday as I’ve already professed.  Since I don’t have family close by, I always take the shift for work since others do.  It’s not so bad but it does mean most years I spend the holiday on my own.  I cook a big meal because that is “Thanksgiving” for me but then I eat alone.

Then Christmas.  The Christmas season is lovely albeit the horrific Kay jewelery commercials that play from now until Valentine’s day.  However, it will be two years on Dec. 16th that my mom passed away so the holiday has changed for me a bit.

Essentially, this is NOT a recipe for a lighthearted and fun holiday atmosphere.  The last two years were pretty rough due to my mother’s passing and I really want to avoid my all-out feelings of despair this year since it takes a lot to recover from.  So, here are my suggestions/plans of actions for this year.  Maybe it will help others who don’t feel so jolly when it seems like the rest of the world is.

it’s okay to be cranky even if *everyone* else is trippin’ holiday balls

1.  Lower the expectations: this was suggested in the other article but taking it one step further is important in my case.  Of course lowering the expectation for “the most fantastic holiday season EVER!” is there.  But even more important lower the expectations of yourself to feel you have to go all in simply because it seems everyone else is.  Don’t feel bad if the stockings aren’t hung on the chimney with care or you don’t have elf ears on to go caroling around the neighborhood.  Instead, do something you really enjoy.  I want to bake some cookies for a cookie exchange and make some Christmas gifts.  I don’t want to decorate my apt or get a tree.  I need to avoid any guilt associated with this.

2.  Do you what you need and want to do:  okay, so this sounds pretty selfish but let me put it in context.  Does going to holiday parties make you feel more alone if you are single?  Does going shopping on Thanksgiving eve/Black Friday make you feel guilty?  What about buying your own presents rather than spending money on others?  Well, skip the party, go shopping and buy yourself something – IF THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT.  There are some obligations that are meant to be kept and others can be politely declined.

3.  Be wary of being a hermit:  I’m very good at being a hermit.  Being able to spend time alone is a healthy quality however, I take it to the next level at times.  So, this year, I am working on forcing myself out and about during the craziness of the season.  But I am being selective about how I’m doing it.  I’m choosing to spend time with people who make me laugh.  I’m also fighting (seriously, with every fiber of my being) NOT to cancel plans once it’s time to leave.  I do this.  A lot.  Why?  Because I want to stay home in my sweatpants and avoid all of the anxiety (real and imagined) that’s wrapped up in being out and about.  Most times I have a great time!

4.  Exercise:  this was also one listed in the other article and I know it’s true.  Even when I don’t feel like heading outside I need to force myself to go.  Fresh air is good for you, or so they tell me, and I need to keep sickness, headaches and low self-esteem away.  Exercise can help with all of these.

5.  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors’ goods:  or the fact they have a spouse, or a baby, or a dishwasher or a washer/dryer.  Whatever it is that friends and family members have that seems like it would make life easier or better, try not to let it over shadow what you do have.  I’m terrible about this.  All of those things I mentioned are things I want and feel could make the holiday season more fun (and functional!) but it’s not in the cards for me YET.  I need to remember the YET part rather than getting trapped in the “it won’t be for me EVER” downward spiral.  So far this year, I’ve accomplished this by buying myself lots of stuff since I don’t have to spend it on anyone else.  Sort of a silver lining but it could also lead to buyer’s remorse later so I need more tools in my toolbox to help with this.  Definitely in progress.

patience is not a virtue I possess

6.  Feeling unsettled or out of sorts:  currently I feel the need to rid myself of ALL THE THINGS (yes, I know this goes against my buying of all the things but I can’t always help what goes on in my brain).  I want to purge my spare bedroom of the clutter that I no longer use.  It comes from my feelings of restlessness during the holidays and I’m going to take advantage of it.  The stuff I’m not using is bogging me down.  The stuff I did purchase is actually useful – it’s a nice change.  The other part is, I know I will feel out of sorts and I need to accept it.  But I don’t need to over analyze it.  Easier said then done but I’m working on it.

it happens…

7.  Avoid some of the holiday movies… like the plague:  Hallmark channel and ABC Family air these incredibly dripping with love and holiday cheer movies constantly during this time of year.  DON’T WATCH THEM!  They are completely unrealistic and there is no way in hell I’m going to fall on my ass ice skating and some ridiculously hot guy is going to help me up and three days later propose to me…  While it’s snowing fat fluffy snowflakes with children singing the song from the Grinch.  Even though I know this in my mind, my heart starts to feel badly because maybe if I were better _________ then it would happen!  Lame.  Not to mention, when the movies focus on a generic meaning of the “true spirit of Christmas” and this doesn’t hold true for you, it can be depressing.  And lonely.

The thing is, there aren’t a whole lot of ways to completely avoid feelings of stress, loneliness, sadness or whatever during the holiday season.  And I think this may apply to everyone at some point during this stretch.  What am I going to do about it?  I’ve mostly listed the issues above and now I need to think of an action plan to help keep negative nellies at bay.

I’m going to care bear stare the negativity

I’ll post the list this week as it’s still in progress and I would love to hear some input from all of you!  How do you uplift your spirits during the holidays if feeling down or anxious?

time needs to stop now!

Ugh – Monday and Tuesday I continued to feel under the weather.  I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling so lethargic and it dawned on me that pain killers probably aren’t keeping me bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Yesterday, one of my fellow Dopey runners posted the following on my fb timeline: “Only 70 more sleeps!”.  I think I threw up a little in my mouth.  Remember how yesterday I said I should chill out because I’m not in peak training?  Well, that went out the window as soon as I read that!

So, I watched “Spirit of the Marathon” last night.  It really is such a good story and is so inspirational.  My favorite runner is Lori O’Connor.  It didn’t tell her finishing time but I was finally able to locate it (yes, I was a stalker) and she finished in 4:21.  I just really liked her determination and her confidence in herself.  She knew she had put forth the training and come race day she was ready.  I’m excited to feel this way!  And I know I’m on my way!

be prepared – this will be used again!

I also want to put a shout out to my baby brother!  It was his birthday yesterday!  This whacky kid (adult) ran his first marathon when he was 12 or 13.  He thought the finish line was closer than it was and basically sprinted the last few miles.  He ran that puppy in 3:30-something.  I know, AMAZING!

here is my mom and an almost baby kevin!
here is my mom and an almost baby kevin!
kevin was 8 months old when he started walking!  he is already wearing his marathon shorts!
kevin was 8 months old when he started walking! he is already wearing his marathon shorts!
everyone used to think we were twins - I loved it
everyone used to think we were twins – I loved it

Happy Birthday Kev!

“we’re going to pinterest the sh*t out of this christmas”

As I mentioned, this Christmas is going to be tough.  Mom LOVED Christmas and has always done it BIG.  My friend once walked into our house, looked around and said, “it looks like Hallmark threw up in here.”  I think my mom would have been slightly offended but she adored my friend and knew he spoke out of awe/love.

I super duper love this grumpy cat

So, this Christmas season, we have been floundering a bit.  Do we stick to all of our traditions?  Do we add new ones?  To be honest, it has been a tad overwhelming.  My dad is hesitant about sticking to all of the traditions although my sister and I have bullied him into putting up the tree and maybe a few decorations.  Heid and I were on the phone and maybe she could tell I was starting to get a bit anxious and then she said this:

“We’re going to pinterest the sh*t out this Christmas”

Immediately, I laughed and felt better.  No, Christmas (or anything else for that matter) will ever be the same but it can still be good.  Special.  Wonderful, even.

Last year, I created a Christmas Bucket List of all the things I was going to do to celebrate the holiday season.  Midway through, I started to feel as though it were a to-do list and became a bit angst-y because what if I couldn’t get it all done?!  Semantics and language are important to me and while I liked the idea of creating fun things to do for the season I needed to change it up and incorporate my sister’s and my plan to reconstruct our holiday.  I give you

My “Holiday Hope To” list…

*Run a holiday race – done x3 and there will be one more next week!  Not to mention one on New Year’s day that I am really pumped for.

first holiday race of the season!

*Decorate my apt and get a tree – I can’t wait!  This will be happening tonight!  I have pink lights for it.  Maybe I will hate it but maybe it will be <3 instalove <3

*Make cinnamon ornaments – I vaguely remember my mom doing this back in the day and it’s all over pinterest.

these are so cute and they make your house smell yummo!

*Advent Calendar – a sweet friend of mine bought me an advent calendar the other day when she saw my post on facebook asking for suggestions on new Christmas traditions… it has chocolate behind each day – yay!

*Make cookies, send out Christmas cards and exchange names with the fam for stockings – these are definitely not new but are still filled with dear memories for me and are happening again this year

*Go wassailing… haha, no, I actually have no idea what this is… I won’t be doing it

*Participate in the Elf 4 Health program and Runner’s World Run Streak – both of these are going so well!  My “elf” is very kind and supportive and I feel super lucky to have been matched with her!  The run streak is a good challenge for me and is reinvigorating my love/discipline for running.

I can’t help myself – this image cracks me up!

*Ornament and Toughie gift exchange – I signed up on a blog to exchange an ornament with another blogger – this has been cool!  We will be getting our ornaments in the next week or so!  Then I signed up to participate in the Tough Chik gift exchange – love it!  Goodies in the mail I didn’t buy for myself?!  Awesome

*Other things on the docket as possibilities are jammies on Christmas eve, a movie day with the whole fam, Les Mis, a special breakfast (beyond what we usually do – cinnamon rolls are dancing through my head!), making decorations out of candy, making some Christmas presents, going to see the Zoo lights in WA…

I want to make serving trays out of candy!

I renamed it because these are things I *HOPE* to do but don’t have to.  If I don’t make cinnamon ornaments that’s okay.  My holiday spirit will not be dashed  by things I DIDN’T do.

Do you have any traditions you would be willing to share?  I would love to hear them!