52 Week Blog Challenge ~ Week 4

If you missed Weeks One, Two and Three, you can find them by following the links.

This weeks prompt is Top 5 Places I’d Like to Visit.  This one is hard for me since I can’t really travel much anymore.

13615407_1728881887366503_6566130084186107801_n

Last year, we drove all the way to Florida to see TimberLeaves and the trip was super hard for me.  By the time we got there, I was exhausted and in a lot of pain, not exactly how you want to start your visit with someone you haven’t seen in 20 years.

Now, when I think of the places I’d like to visit, I wonder if I’ll ever actually get to see any of them, but it never hurts to dream!

  1. Scotland – It’s beautiful.  I’d like to see the lochs and rolling green hills.
  2. Whales – I found out I’m Welsh on my bio father’s side.  Explains the red in my hair and the blue eyes, I suppose.
  3. China and/or Japan – I’ve always felt a connection to Asian art and culture and I think it looks beautiful over there.
  4. Titanic – Again, something I’ve always felt drawn to.  I’d love to spend some time over where the remains of the Titanic are and pay my respects to those who perished.
  5. New Orleans – I’ve always wanted to attend Marti Gras and walk the Garden District that I heard so much about in one of my favorite Ann Rice series, The Mayfair Witches.

An odd little list, but those are my top five places I’d like to visit one day.

Beltane Blessings

I won’t lie and say that I have a huge Beltane post ready for you today, I don’t.  It’s actually kind of snuck up on me this year with all the other things I’ve had going on and I find myself unprepared.

I did manage to get out and do a bit of gardening yesterday, but that’s about it.

The kids were supposed to come over today and get some yard work done and I’d thought we might have a little bonfire to honor the season tonight but I woke up to rainy, dreary skies and a wet ground this morning, so I guess it’ll be more of a personal day with everyone working.

I did realize yesterday, with more than a little dismay, that all of my gardening tools have disappeared over the last two years.  At least, I couldn’t find them anyway.

Even so, I managed to get my green onions transplanted into the dirt and out of the kitchen window.

 

2015_1493569542187
Green onions

 

 

I spent some time out on the porch both alone and sitting with Chicklet.  After waking up to my soggy world this morning, I’m glad I took the time yesterday.

Dinner was kind of a throw-together event that mostly featured my harvested green onions.

 

2009_1493569527739
Marinating steak bites

 

 

 

 

These are marinated steak bites.  A very throw-together kind of main dish, but they were very good.

I’m not sure what it is, but I’m finding a special kind of joy in eating things we grow ourselves and I’m thinking I want a garden again, even if it’s a container garden on the front porch with a herb garden over the sink.

Right now, the apple tree just finished blooming and I’m excitedly watching to see the process of the apples starting to come out since this is the first time I’ve owned an apple tree.

We also have some wild cherry growing out there, too.

Mini-Me and The Pain found several places when we were cleaning up the yard for Easter/Ostara, where blackberry vines are coming up in the yard and I’m more than a little excited about that.

Every time I open my door, I get hit with the sweet smells of honeysuckle and I have found where it’s growing all around the edges of the yard.

I want to look for ways to use honeysuckle before they fade away.

I also think I may have found some wild lettuce growing near my steps. It’s said to be nature’s morphine and one of the strongest natural pain-killers available.  If I find out for sure that it is wild lettuce, I’m going to be harvesting it and finding out how to use it as a natural pain alternative.

Here’s an article I found over on Ask A Prepper about wild lettuce.

Something about foraging my own property is appealing to me, just like intentionally growing my own food.

There’s something that I don’t think I’ve mentioned on this blog before, and today’s post seems like the right place to bring it up.  Paul and I used to have our own little homestead.

 

13895024_1740579029530122_6874929764942479979_n
The view from the pallet porch at the camper after we moved it to Chicklet’s yard.  This was taken after the accident.  A cookout with extended family last summer.

 

 

We used to live in a camper in a “friend’s” yard.  We shared a communal garden with them and there was talk of chickens, but then the accident happened and my entire life got put on hold.  It’s taken two years (it’ll officially be two years on June 13th) for me to even consider picking up the pieces of our old life.

While I’m fully aware that my physical limitations will prevent me from doing a lot of the things I was doing two years ago, I see no reason why I can’t do at least some of those things, just from a more modern-homestead approach.

The few years we spent building our homestead was when I fell in love with making my own things like butter, cool whip, bacon bits, laundry detergent and skincare products.

It was the time when I also learned a lot about using what you have and reusing and repurposing things.

Life has changed a lot in the last two years and there are some things that will probably never be the same, but since Beltane this year is going to be a solo day, I think I’ll spend the day looking back on what life used to be like and making some plans for what’s to come!

SOC Sunday ~ Week in Review

This week has been busy.  Mini-Me is attempting to plan a wedding that is now just over a month away and has now turned into a wedding in my front yard.

The transmission went out in Chicklet’s truck, so I had to go help get her and her truck home and now we’re sharing my truck or I’m running her if I have to have it, too.

I’ve been staying so busy with family that I’ve been having a hard time getting things done around here when they’re supposed to be getting done and by the end of the day, I can barely stand up.

My allergies have been raging out of control as well.  All the pollen.  Everything looks beautiful blooming out there, but it’s wreaking havoc on my sinuses.

Paul and I have also been trying to sort out some things between us.  It’s still a work in progress, but at least we’re trying.

Because I feel so crappy, today’s post will be short.  I hope you all had a beautiful weekend!

Here are the links to a couple of posts from earlier in the week, just in case you missed them.

This one is about the FlyLady System that I follow in my own home (usually).

This one was my 52-week blog challenge post for this week.

And here is the one I did about using up the left-over shampoo, soap and conditioner you might have lying around the house.

What’s a FlyBaby and why I follow this system?

Just a note:  I am not affiliated with FlyLady or her website in any way.  I do not get paid for anything to do with her or her system.  All thoughts and opinions are my own and are not associated with any type of monetary gain, I just think she’s awesome!  🙂 


So, what’s a FlyBaby?  A FlyBaby is a term coined by The Original FlyLady, Marla Cilley, to describe the people who follow the FlyLady system.  It’s a term of endearment she uses when speaking to her “FlyBabies”.

I first found The FlyLady about 10 years ago thanks to my sister-of-the-heart, TimberLeaves.  I was a young mother, Mini-Me was about 13 years old and had just come to live with me full-time.  My entire life was in an uproar, but my house was in C.H.A.O.S., or Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrom.  (This is also a term coined by The FlyLady which basically means that my house was a mess and I was embarrassed for anyone to come over beyond one friend who’s house was in worse shape than mine.)

I was just over 30 and that was one of those milestone ages for me.  I was so stressed over my weight, my home, my life, my marriage, everything.  I was helping one of my best friends, SweetPea, raise her three special-needs teens as well.  Then my teenage daughter who had lived with my first husband for 10 years suddenly decided she wanted to live with us.  To say my life was a literal madhouse would be an understatement.

Although I’d been raised by a woman who I distinctly recall on her hands and knees in six-inch heels and a dress, cleaning the corners of the kitchen floor with a toothbrush when I was very young (my mother was very OCD and a clean-freak), it seemed that I had not gotten that gene, a fact that greatly disturbed my mother and caused us many problems throughout my life.

Dust coated everything in my house.  Clutter was everywhere.  Mt. Washmore was climbing the walls.  Paul had a very bad habit of sticking dirty dishes in the oven and not telling me they were there and I was too unorganized to remember to check myself.  My refrigerator was a science project unto itself.

I was disorganized and overwhelmed, something that it seemed like I always was.  It seemed like the only good habits I’d developed as an adult were meal planning, frugal shopping and keeping the pantry organized.

Truth be told, when I first found FlyLady, all I did was “flutter”, another term used by The FlyLady to describe FlyBabies who tried to follow the system but couldn’t quite stick with it.  It helped, but I was still prone to Emergency Cleaning whenever my mother would call to say she was coming over and I was still in a constant state of stress 99% of the time.

I kept going back though.  Her system seemed like it should be so simple, yet I was having the hardest time with it and I couldn’t understand why.

Truth be told, it took me years to understand what I was doing wrong and a few more years to start to break the habits that were keeping me chained to my stress.  Looking back now, I realize part of the problem was that I was still young myself, but the biggest problem that was holding me back was perfectionism from being raised by an OCD mother that rarely did anything but clean and who constantly made me feel that my efforts at cleaning were not good enough.

When I would start back on FlyLady’s system, I was forgetting some of the principals her system is founded on.  No whining allowed. You can’t clean clutter.  You’re not behind, just jump in where you are.  And my favorite, Cleaning done imperfectly still blesses your family.

I was like my mom in that I was a housekeeping martyr.  When I did clean, I did Emergency Cleaning to the point that while I was happier with how the house looked, I was completely exhausted mentally and emotionally, then I guilt-tripped my family for all that I had done, and their part in letting it get that way, and was too tired, stressed and overwhelmed to keep up with it.

Before the accident, I felt that I had finally figured out the system and how to keep myself on track with it.  My house was reasonably clean at all times, I didn’t mind if someone stopped by unexpectedly, and I’d finally stopped stressing and obsessing over all the little details.  I stayed busy, but not so much so that I couldn’t get up and do it again the next day.

Then we had the accident.  We couldn’t go home for nearly 6 months because of my wheelchair and then my walker.  When we finally did go home, I was still in incredible pain, barely able to walk and unable to stand for more than a few minutes at a time.  Paul tried to help, bless his heart, but he’s no housewife, lol.

Eventually, I sent him back to work and then he didn’t have time to help.  I was improving my physical abilities, but it was still so hard.  I fell back into the old habits of guilt-tripping myself for all I wasn’t doing.

We moved in with Chicklet a few months ago, and I was overwhelmed by the state of her house, too.  An ex-girlfriend and some family that had lived with her had not done anything to help around the house and it had fallen into pretty bad shape while she worked insane hours and tried to have some kind of a social life.  Again with the bad habits, I busted my ass trying to do everything at once and burned myself out again physically, mentally and emotionally.

I was keeping up with the day-to-day stuff, but just barely and I realized I was entering that martyr mindset again.

Then this morning, I got up to dishes everywhere, clean laundry climbing out of a laundry basket, boxes all over my living room from trying to go through things that had just been shoved here and there when we moved, and the thing that sent me over the edge, Paul had to go into work and didn’t have clean work pants.

I had to shuffle clean clothes from basket to basket to get an empty basket to gather up the dirty clothes that were piled up on my bedroom floor.  I saw my unmade bed and realized that although I’d washed our sheets over a week ago, I never got them back on the bed.  I very nearly sat down and cried.

Instead, I put the clothes in the washer, made a cup of coffee and sat to down to evaluate what was happening and what I needed to do about it, a new habit I’ve been working on to try to manage my stress and anxiety.

I realized that while I thought I was following the FlyLady system, I really wasn’t.  I was missing the main principals again and was about to run head-first into a crisis cleaning that was only going to make me hurt again.

You’re not behind, just jump in where you are, right?  And while you’re at it, No Whining!

So far, I’ve gotten the dirty clothes washed, all the clean clothes folded, hung and put away including what I washed this morning.  I got dressed and fixed my hair.  I swished and swiped the bathroom and gathered all the dirty towels and rags to be changed out and started gathering trash from the small trash cans around the house.

In between when I sit down to rest, I’ve been writing this blog post and feel like I’m finally overcoming that weird kind of writer’s block I mentioned in my post about not sleeping and suffering from mild exhaustion.

It also helps that I have managed to sleep better the last two nights than I was for nine days straight.

It’s not even quite noon yet and already I feel like I’ve got a game plan, a healthy attitude and have made progress on the house.

Now, I’m off into the rest of my day.  Time to think about what’s for dinner and get something laid out and wash the dishes so I can shine my sink.  🙂


If you’re not familiar with The FlyLady, hop over to her website and check her out.  I also found a wonderful lady on YouTube named FlyLady Kat that follows the FlyLady system and she helps break things down and explains some of the steps in her videos!

SOC Sunday ~ Week in Review 4-23

Where pain and sleep were concerned, it was a rough week.  Read about it here.

We had Easter last Sunday.  I slept for 5 hours, the longest I’d slept in days, in the middle Easter 2017of when I was supposed to be getting ready for the Easter cookout.

In spite of that, fun was had by all.  The food got done and was good and Squishy had a good time.  Even my dad had a good time, although he had some pain issues of his own going on.

I didn’t sleep all week beyond an hour or two here and there and by yesterday, I was exhausted.

Still, it was DH’s birthday and the kids planned a cookout for him.  We had ribs that The Pain made and they were delicious! Here are a few pics from yesterday…

Me n Heidi on P's 44th44

Last night, I actually slept for like six hours.  Apparently, most of this was done without moving.  This morning, my back is killing me, but it was worth it to wake up knowing I’d had more than 2 hours of sleep at one time.

Not much else to say today, it was a slow week because of the lack of sleep.  Here’s hoping that last night was a turning point with my insomnia.

Have a great week!

 

Running on Empty

I’ve been MIA recently and missed some of my own deadlines here on the blog.  I’m still kicking, but the pain issues I mentioned in my last post lead into a horrible bout of insomnia which has left me suffering from mild exhaustion.

funny-sleeping-animal-memes-7I’m going into Day 9 of little to no sleep.  My mind has reached such a state of breakdown from lack of sleep that it’s been hard to even think of writing anything useful.  The ideas have evaporated along with any hope I have of sleeping more than two hours at a time.

The ideas seem to have evaporated along with any hope I have of sleeping more than two hours at a time.

The pain has finally started to ease some, at least back to where it feels tolerable again, but it has caused such a disruption to my sleep patterns that now I find myself unable to sleep like I normally do.  Granted, “normal” for me still isn’t great and hasn’t been for two years now, but it was better than this.

Easter Sunday, the one day I really needed to be up and accomplishing things, I slept for

Easter 2017
Squishy and Mini-Me hunting eggs.

around 5 hours consecutively in the middle of the day and ran late on our family cookout.  The cookout was still fun and the food was still good, but by the time we got outside to start the egg hunt portion of the day, we were losing light fast.

 

The cookout was still fun and the food was still good, but by the time we got outside to start the egg hunt portion of the day, we were losing light fast.

Squishy was still adorable in her Easter outfit and since she’s only three, I don’t think she really remembered her first two Easters well enough to be disappointed that we only got to hide the eggs once, which was a plus.  She still had a good time as well and racked up on Easter gifts, but it didn’t ease my guilt over everything coming together so late in the day.

I was more than a little disappointed in myself that everything felt so rushed at the beginning and that I spent the entire first hour or so everyone was here in the kitchen doing the things I’d intended to be doing while I slept for nearly 5 hours.

The lack of sleep is causing some kind of brain-fog where it’s hard to think straight 90% of the time.  I’m awake at all hours and when I do finally sleep for a couple of hours, it’s at weird times and I’m starting to have nightmares that are leaving me feeling like I haven’t actually slept at all and the exhaustion is leaving me without the motivation to do anything other than sit at my desk and stare at the screen.

It’s also caused a drastic increase in my anxiety.  Logically, I know that I’m beyond tired, that I’m actually suffering from mild exhaustion and that I shouldn’t let things get to me, but when you’re as tired as I am, it’s often hard to control the emotional side of things.

The brain-fog I feel like I’m trapped in has caused some sort of weird writer’s block when

Sleep Meme
I totally feel the way that monkey looks lately.

it comes to the kind of material I had hoped to be producing here.

 

The timing of starting a new blog and this happening couldn’t have been worse.

This morning, I felt compelled to share something, even if it was just to say that I’m practically not sleeping and can’t seem to form meaningful content at the moment.

I’m sure most of you have experienced issues of some sort with writing at some point or have had trouble sleeping for one reason or another to the point that you feel practically useless beyond the bare minimum.

So please, bear with me.  My life is a bit of a train-wreck at the moment.  I hope that it all straightens out soon.

Oh, and today is Paul’s birthday.  We’re going to Mini-Me and The Pain’s for a cookout later today to celebrate.  Maybe I’ll get some pics while we’re there if I can remember to charge my phone today, something I kept forgetting to do over and over yesterday.

 

Pain Management

I have felt like I needed to write all day, but because of my pain levels, it seems all that is rumbling around in my head right now is about pain, so let’s talk about it.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have been permanently disabled for 2 years this June.  I was injured when the moped my husband and I were riding was struck from behind by a truck doing approximately 55 mph.

The accident broke multiple bones, both hips, split my pelvis in half and shattered the left side, separated my pelvis from my spine and I took a pretty bad hit on the head when I hit the road (yes, I know, not wearing a helmet was a very immature and a very bad decision and one I would never make again if I could ever ride anything smaller than a car again, which I can’t).  It also nicked my femoral artery on the right side and I very nearly bled to death.

The accident launched me up into the air and I landed in the road flat on my back from some distance up.

I spent an entire weekend in ICU, paralyzed all but my arms and head and most of it knocked out with the medications they were giving me to keep me sedated so I didn’t move too much.  They could not even attempt to put me back together over the weekend because my vitals kept crashing and would not stabilize.

I had surgery on Monday, with my vitals still not reacting well, and came out with almost the entire left side of my pelvis wired together with metal plates and pins.

I have extensive nerve damage on the left side as well as sciatica.  To say that pain is an everyday occurrence is an understatement.

Some days are worse than others, though.

What I experience is considered chronic pain, meaning that it never really stops, it’s more a matter of degrees of pain.

Lately, it’s been worse than usual, which is saying something because my average pain level is pretty high to start with.

I have been hurting pretty bad all day today, which is why I was putting off writing to start with, but then I fell.

Let me say here that I have always been clumsy by nature.  Never very stable on my feet to start with, always tripping and running into things and falling for no apparent reason.

After getting pregnant with Mini-Me, dizzy spells also became a common occurrence.

The head injury I sustained during the accident has made the dizzy spells more common as well.

Tonight didn’t really have anything to do with being dizzy, although clumsy and unsteady on my feet due to the damage on the left side played a part.

I was home alone, which I am most evenings because of DH and Chicklet both working nights, and we have six dogs that spend most of their time inside.  It was time to let them outside to use the bathroom and we kind of bottle-necked at the threshold between the living room and kitchen and I got tangled up with them and lost my balance.  I sat down hard, something that left hip and my lower back no longer deal with well.

I finally managed to get up on my own with the help of a nearby chair and let DH know I’d fallen.  He, of course, came home to check on me and found that my left hip was no longer seated properly in the joint, the bone in the very bottom of the back of my pelvis that broke when my pelvis shattered is a bone that will never heal (along with the break to the bone in the front of my pelvis that split in half) according to the doctors and from time to time, especially if I fall, that bone shifts somehow as well.

He, of course, came home to check on me and found that my left hip was no longer seated properly in the joint, the bone in the very bottom of the back of my pelvis that broke when my pelvis shattered is a bone that will never heal, (along with the break to the bone in the front of my pelvis that split in half) according to the doctors, and from time to time, especially if I fall, that bone shifts somehow as well.

He got my hip and that bone re-seated but I still had severe pain in my back and leg. Apparently, I had a nerve pinching in there somewhere as well.

Now, before I hear cries of emergency rooms and doctor’s appointments, let me say that I have already been told that there is little, if anything, that can be done for me at the hospital or doctor that the physical therapists and nurses didn’t teach my husband how to deal with at home.  All they can really do unless something breaks is give me medication and a hefty bill, which we can’t afford, so we deal with most things at home.


It’s been 2 days since I started this post, and while my pain levels have decreased from what they were when I started this post, they are still running higher than normal.  Yay me.  NOT.

Chronic Pain is often a day to day coping experience.  I never know when I go to bed at night what the next morning will bring.  Sometimes it’s better, sometimes it’s not.

I have barely slept since I fell.  The pain keeps waking me up.  I’m getting around and doing what has to be done, but it’s almost like performing a feat of strength and endurance to do it.  I’ve taken the last 2 days off from cooking and most of the cleaning beyond washing the dishes and keeping picked up.

I’ve taken the last 2 days off from cooking and most of the cleaning beyond washing the dishes and keeping picked up.  That’s about all I’ve managed.

I’ve also been dealing with high levels of anxiety and feel like I’m fighting off one of my depressive periods, which I hate.  The combination of them tends to make me non-functional in my life, which is what I’ve been dealing with the last few days.  I’ve been forcing myself to get up and do the things I have to do, that’s the only reason things are getting done.

Hopefully, my next post will be a little more upbeat, but I’ve promised myself that this blog will be nothing if not honest.  Coping with chronic pain and mental illness isn’t easy. Trying to stay functional through it is even harder.