speaking of more time

I’ve been taking advantage of my free (er) evenings during the week to relax and enjoy some hot tea with collagen powder. I’ve also been getting some healthy meal deliveries to make things a bit easier during the bulk of the week and have mostly stuck to keeping off of the mindless Facebook scrolling. Go me!

The hot tea relaxes me and in addition to making me look 20 years younger (not), I heard a few mentions that the powder helps with joint/gut/immune health.. yes please to all of that. I am giving it a try. So far there is nothing major to report except my skin seems a bit plumper and one most painfully persistent joint seems to be easing at least during the day. Maybe I will turn into a spry supermodel-esque creature yet – just kidding, not really my goal set.

the universe was not letting it go

This week’s rituals for living challenge set to me by my planner was all about fiber and good fats (yawn!).. since that is already on my agenda, I decided not to be slack and randomly picked another. Goodbye screen time- I had just listened to a podcast on this very subject. Quickly following, I received a Mindlove email (how do they always know?) about tackling new habits. You’d think I would take a hint..

Somewhat later I pulled a card from the moon deck (more on this later) – clarity. It was about paying attention to the big picture and seeing things from a clearer perspective. The accompanying ritual was short – spend 30 or so minutes at the start of the day tech free and drink a glass of warm lemon water to cleanse.. then see what having that extra time brings. I was sporadic at best in keeping to this.

Then, my seasonal self care intro box landed (don’t judge – I love it with a love that knows no bounds) with a theme of manifest. I quickly wrote down quiet and simplicity. I realized the universe was not letting this one go.. so I started tacking these on to other established habits. I hear this is the best way to be successful.

I added the lemon water onto the morning fat cat feeding – they require a certain amount of belly rubbing before I am released from my duties so I figured I could fit it in then. My sleep/wake reminders are on my phone so I just bag it after I cut them off before I start my meditation. It’s a bit of cheating on the tech but I need my three alarms. By the time I do the go coffee packing and head out for the drive (and a podcast), I have clocked in at least the 30 minutes.

I also moved my messenger and Facebook off of my home screen, squelching the at a glance siren song of the notification counter.. I live in the idea of getting rid of one or both one day. This gives me more quality time to do the things I like to do.. read, cat snuggle, hang out with the husband. I do miss the cat memes though.

 

getting clean

I would have liked this post to have been about all the wonderfully relaxing bubble baths I’ve been able to enjoy since being on meds but it’s just not.. I’m a dirty girl. Even with the much less pain the Cymbalta has afforded me, I have yet to still shake the exhaustion on many days. During the week I just try to get dinner on and something productive done before I fall into bed. Bathing takes a lot of effort and I still find it hard to wash (much less style) my hair in any sort of regular interval.. I am working on it. For now I just try to lay in some hot soapy water on my off days, dry shampoo the hell out of my bangs, and hope for the best. Full disclosure – this isn’t even every day.. don’t judge.

This is about slowly switching over to clean ingredients in the products I use most often and simplifying my routine to a manageable level. Your skin is your biggest organ yadda yadda, and since I am trying to do better with what I put in my body.. I figured it couldn’t hurt to devote some time to what I put on my body. It’s a controversial subject, and there are varying degrees of what is considered clean but I think such things do have an impact on health and choose to err on the side of smart choices as best I can.. so I’ve been slowly switching over.

As a bonus, because skincare often gets pushed to the side as well, my usual everyday routine consists of two products (of which you can get at all price points, I just wanted to treat myself in hopes the siren song of the pretty vanity would lure me into regular use).. coconut oil and a facial balm/oil. Full disclosure – I do have some Thayers rose petal toner for the really lazy/flare times.. where I just swipe and go.

Most days, I honestly can get away with just coconut oil. I can massage a tiny bit in my skin in the morning and evening and take off with a warm washcloth.. usually this is enough for my skin to stay soft. I use a bit more in evening to take off makeup and the grunge of the day. On my dry days, I supplement with the oil or balm. I am currently using the Live Botanical repair balm with hopes to explore more of their stuff in future but I like to switch up (this one takes just a tiny bit so it will last forever). I also make my own sometimes (recipe below, play with it). It’s quick, and even on my most tired days I enjoy the few seconds it takes to feel a bit pampered.. amazing how relaxing a warm washcloth and coconut oil can be.

Patchouli Argan Facial Oil:

fill a 2 oz bottle 2/3 of the way with argan or jojoba oil (or a mix/one tailored to your skin needs. Add three to five drops of carrot seed oil (opt). Put in 1-2 small drops of Patchouli essential oil (you can also use lavender, sometimes I mix.. or none at all, or you can use what makes your skin happy so long as you research and pick a skin friendly one). Top off with rosehip seed oil and shake before use.

 

blame it on New Orleans

As my New Orleans trip crept up on me this past August, I quickly realized that my body just was not going to cooperate. As much as I wanted to go, I was not up to the walking. I gifted my tickets to someone unknown who really wanted, grabbed onto that bit of joy, and decided to make the most of my stay-cation.

First, let me say that it all started off very smart and full of good intentions – catching up on housework, getting in a husband date, reading.. but then came the Prosecco. With it came late night movies, lots of indulgent food/sweets, and way too much drinking.. I am all about some nibbles and wine.

By Sunday I was exhausted and had way too much sugar roaming about my system. I was stiff and hobbling about like the old crone that I was pretending not to be. By Tuesday I decided my evil, albeit delicious, new bubbly friend and I needed to go on a break. You would think that I would learn something by my age.. I blame New Orleans.

*much belated post, in my brain fog I had forgotten

allow me to complain a bit

September, I hear, is pain awareness month. Normally, I don’t like to detail my pain. I try not to dwell because I want to enjoy my now. Often I dread the husband asking how I am feeling today because I feel sure he has to be tired of hearing it. Usually I just give him the highlights and try to move on. I may share with people who also live with chronic pain.. who knows what we can learn from each other in managing it. With most other people though, I try not to.. I don’t want “the look”.

You know that look.. rolled eyes, that just suck it up sitting heavy on the tip of their tongue. I dislike it intensely and so I do my best to avoid it. I know loads of folks have it worse. I get it. However, this is every day for me with no end in sight and my feelings matter too. So, in interest of pain awareness month, I am not going to go through everything but here was one day in the life..

I get up after my third alarm.. having woken up several times in the night, I am exhausted. I have already cut off the other two and am running late but I still don’t want to get up. It’s an effort. Moving hurts. Laying on my side hurts my shoulders.. the sockets feel like there is a sharp ice pick being continually jabbed in them.. it is what wakes me the most often.

Lying on my stomach is the most comfortable but is the worst position in the long haul. It makes my neck creak and the muscles sore and stiff. Lying on my back makes my arms go numb. I get chills in my legs and my feet cramp. The first thing that normally gets me going is grabbing the blanket to move because that sends a jolt of searing pain through my right hand.. and I have to keep repeating it because my hand is swollen and stiff and doesn’t always grasp the blanket. I often cry quietly because it is just so painful. I sit up and try to start working out some of the joint stiffness so I can get dressed.

I trudge slowly into the bathroom because I am never sure if my knees are going to give out or if I might still be woozy if I get off my cymbalta schedule.. or probably on top of these I stayed up too late because I want to spend time with my husband in the evenings. Sometimes I push through my skincare, etc because I am trying to feel normal and take care of myself. I feed the fish and head downstairs.

The younger fat cat will be on the step so I automatically death grip the banister in case she gets frisky. Stairs are incredibly hard and painful for me. Every step is like nails being driven into my knees and my ankles. I am not sure if my knees plan to betray me and I try to go slow. I feed the fat cats and crouching, try to hold my body steady to give them the kitty loving they deserve. I start the coffee and food prep portion of my morning. The smoothie machine is tough because my hands scream at the twisting motion needed.. however I also have to make the magic potion. So far so good.

I gather all the things I need to take with me to work. It is an hour drive and my joints ache after awhile but the car ride is doable on most days. Sometimes my hands lose grip on the steering wheel or the pain of sitting in one position gets to me but it is what it is. I will be stiff by the time I arrive so I am thankful to get out of the car.. except this week. This week my hips have been very painful and even the skin of my lower torso.. so when I sit they get stiff and my clothes feel like fire. When I walk, it feels like the bones are scraping in their sockets and my clothes still feel like fire. Too bad they frown upon coming to work naked. I make it through the day though and manage to avoid having to go into the warehouse.. the concrete floor hates me.

The drive home is pretty much the same in reverse. If I am lucky I don’t have to brave the anxiety of the grocery store and can go straight home. I try to avoid the glass of wine calling my name and the siren song of relaxation it promises. I talk myself into a warm decaf instead. I do any chores I can manage and by then the husband is home and we usually have dinner and watch some tv. I try to remember to take my meds on time. I know I will have weird muscle twitches and who knows what else if I don’t.. plus I still have to climb the stairs and don’t want the odds stacked against me. I am often exhausted and just want to sleep but I know I need movement.

Sometimes we go for a walk. I try to get to bed early and on schedule knowing I have a repeat performance the next day early but I like to sit with my husband. The winning party varies. No matter what, I am still thankful I am able to do this much and enjoy life. Hug your person who is in this same arena, tell them you love them because we need it most days.

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sleep eludes

When I move on from this world, they will have to pry three things out of my cold dead hands – my Coop pillow ($$$ totally worth it $$$), my Lunya sleep mask (fyi-I don’t look near as sexy as the site model but it’s still amazing), and my weighted blanket. Then again, I may just take them with me.. they’ve helped that much.

Quality sleep for me is ever elusive. Often I wake up several times on a good night and almost always around 3 am (ish).. what’s up with that? Once awake, any minute noise keeps me that way.. which makes the long drive to work that much more fun.

I have tried many things – failures being earplugs (ouch), sound machine (please refer to minute noise reference above), and even wine.. okay the wine works but one can’t drink every night. Currently I am exploring – hot tea, aromatherapy mister, and a set bed schedule that includes thirty minutes of down time. That last one though hasn’t really been kept to.. working on it. If you ask me, I am finding these mythical tales of “waking up refreshed” a bit suspect.

gotta getaway

The husband and I took off one weekend day recently to live above our means pretending to be fancy beyond our usual.. it was his birthday after all and I wanted to treat him to something special. He truly is the best husband in all the land you see.

We spent our day (a full 24 hours – we milked it) at a local(ish) resort, complete with massages and schmancy pants food. I can’t even tell you how amazing that was.. or how much I ate. The food itself was edible art – revolving around local fare and presented to compliment the natural surroundings.

We took time to walk the trail around the lake and play in the butterfly garden. I think we all need more times like this in our life where we can spend a few hours not focused on responsibilities and truly just being present. We returned relaxed and refreshed.. I plan on future to take more time as such.. even if it is just locking the doors and hiding the phones.

not an only water baby

There’s something about a less is more concept that pulls at my inner obsessive (still working on my Kondo). So when I came across this article, I squealed joyfully at the thought of a complete reset and handed over my last Amazon book credit. I was totally on board with this water only laziness.. plus the word detox had me (in my mind) spending all those extra minutes lounging in my newly beautiful skin munching on organic fruit while my cats gave me a massage. What? It’s plausible..

There are three levels:

  1. supplement (3+ days) – keep your current skincare but add in one of her recommendations.. I liked the idea of honey as a face cleanser
  2. eliminate (1 day) – no product or makeup of your own, replace them with her suggestions.. she has a ton of recipes, I really enjoyed the chickpea mask
  3. detoxify (3 days to 2 weeks) – no products or makeup at all and you cleanse with water only.. she suggests a washcloth for the body and 10 to 20 splashes for the face, rubbing the water across with your hands

I went all on with level 3.

Did I mention that the water only method includes not just your face but your entire body and your hair? Yeah.. I wish not to talk about it. My face, however, became quite soft and pore shrunken within a few days after just a quick bout of mild dryness. I didn’t even mind going around with a naked face.. that is, until the spots came stampeding in.

Purging.. just purging, I figured – and I stayed strong. Then one night, when things had gotten a bit out of hand, I broke and dotted my nemeses with blemish lotion. It was my only cheat night. They eased but never left. They invited friends. Towards the end of the two week trial I finally had to call it.. I was developing quite a prominent rosacea red mustache. Obviously, I was not an only water baby.

I gleefully scrubbed myself from head to toe and then proceeded to march around the house in my unders proclaiming my cleanliness far and wide.. well, to the husband, the fat cats, and possibly a neighbor passing by the window anyways. Bless all the folk that this worked so well for, but it was just not my cuppa. I continue on working out the perfect clean routine in an effort to see if that makes any differences in my body and it’s infinite weirdness.. to be continued..

The chickpea mask:

Mix 1 tbsp of mashed chickpeas (what I used) or chickpea flour with enough turmeric to tint it yellow. Then add 1 tbsp of water and apply. Leave on until dry then rinse off. Easy chickpeasy.

what I have learned from the fat cat

My voluptuous polar bear sized beautiful baby boy has taught me so much these past few months. He is the most chill cat that I have ever had and even though he has been sick for over nine months with no clear diagnosis, he really gives no ducks.

He still enjoys his day to day.. belly rubbing, sofa scratching, water sports in the kitchen floor, and of course most of all – sleeping. He doesn’t over tax himself and when he feels like I am not appreciating the moment (or him) enough, he gives me a sharp bite in the soft meat between my toes and brings me back to center.. total kitty zen.

mind over matter

The past weekend was a mind over matter sort.. Friday I cleaned my car and cooked a nice healthy dinner. Saturday I finished the dreaded mopping. By the evening my body was killing me but I felt like I stuck to it and accomplished something. I rewarded myself with a tiny bit of chocolate cheesecake and some red wine.. okay, a lot of bit of cheesecake but I earned it. It caught up with me by Sunday and I slept most of the afternoon.. totally worth it though to have that feeling of getting things in place. I am still learning my balance.

This week’s rituals for living challenge in my planner asks me to sit in front of a fire (apparently they don’t have a grip on what summer in the south feels like) and to imagine it burning up any negativity.. in its place filling your body with light. I spent Saturday morning early while the house was quiet sitting at the hearth with candles lit doing just that. I plan to repeat this again in the coming week. With my eyes closed and feeling the candlelight on my face, I felt much more at peace.