Thursday, March 20, 2014

Finally able to breathe again!

Well things are slowly getting put back together, and I feel like I can finally breathe some days!  I didn't realize just how "backed into the corner" I have been feeling this year - it kind of snuck up on me this time, so when I had a last minute thought pop into my head, I followed it!  I ended up working through my first 3 days last week, so I could take the weekend off and go to Las Vegas!  What a great trip that was!  I left the house as-is, put the dogs in day care, threw a few clothes together, and went for a 10-hour drive, to spend a weekend with my sister, a couple of friends, and the SUNSHINE!!! 

I enjoyed a great sunny drive, and I was able to be there to support Brenda, my sister with her final dress-fitting, and then attend her bridal shower the next day, in preparation for her wedding in a month.  It is so fun to see how excited she is through all of this!  She is going to be a beautiful bride and I can't wait to be there!

Another big "bonus" on this trip was meeting an old friend for lunch, and finding that he really is as easy to spend time with as he is to talk to in e-mail and text!  Got together with Brenda and another friend, David for dinner that night and was surprised that we actually got COLD while eating dinner outside (for 3 hours!) before we were finished.  So I took a chance and invited both guys to go out the next night and walk around the Strip together for a while.  They both wanted to go, and we all had a GREAT time!  Fun to discover that this old friend I am getting to know well for the first time also likes to laugh and enjoy life as much as I do!  I haven't felt these feelings in many years!  It was a whirl-wind trip and went way too fast!  After a few hours sleep, it was time to load up and head home.  I spent the last morning laying on a blanket in the park in the SUN with this new friend, and enjoyed just talking, laughing, sharing stories, and soaking up the sun for 3 hours!  It was over WAY TOO FAST, but what a great time we had!  I can't wait to go back for the wedding in a month, and spend more time with family and friends!  This was exactly the break I needed!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Losses and Life

Years ago when I was in my teens, I came across a quote that really struck me, so I copied and kept it.  I do not remember where I found it or who the author is, but here is the quote:

What would I have done differently in my 20's and 30's if I had known then what I know now?  For one thing, I would have laughed more; seen more Laurel and Hardy movies.  And I would have grieved less.  I would have understood earlier that not all losses are permanent and that some things lost were not worth keeping.
I would have taken more time to note the changing seasons.  ("Can you believe it?" an elderly friend asked me one spring day.  "Can you believe that even if I live to be a hundred, I will see all this only 100 times?")
I would have been more daring.  Emotionally daring, that is; in the spirit of Eudora Welty's observation that "all serious daring starts from within."
I would have understood sooner how profoundly satisfying the ordinary transactions of daily life can be:  the perfect cup of morning coffee; the son shouting down "Good night!" from his room; the ginger-colored cat caught napping in a triangle of sunlight.
Over the years, I have lost many things in my life...  I have lost my keys, I have lost money, I have lost weight, I have lost good friends and family, some of whom never knew what they meant to me.  I have lost a few years of pictures and journal entries from a crashed hard drive.  At times I have lost my faith and religion, and my belief that most people really are trying to do their best in this life.  I've even lost my mind a time or two!

Through it all, I have often reflected on the lessons from the quote above, and especially the line that I memorized in my teens:  "I would have understood earlier that not all losses are permanent and that some things lost were not worth keeping."  Through some of my more devastating losses, this has brought me comfort, as I reflect on the hope that line brings.  I often wonder - is this something that will eventually come back to me, or is it something that was not worth keeping, but I had failed to recognize or acknowledge that?  Sometimes we don't know until years later just how much of a blessing some losses can be!  I find great comfort that in the middle of things, it is worth hanging onto that belief that indeed many of these losses do find their way back, and that when they don't, sometimes our lives end up better than if they had!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

I just want my life back!

This week is going to be a BUSY one, and I'm hoping I get everything done ok, and maybe THEN I can reclaim my life.  Grad School is no picnic most days, but having to do a semester's worth of clinical hours in 2 months instead of 4 has had me on my toes.  It was supposed to be done by the 28th of February, but I'm extending by hopefully just one week.  I have almost 24 hours left to put in at the clinic, which doesn't sound like much until you figure in all of the other things I HAVE to do this week - like a major exam and clinical forms for the summer.  Oh and I picked up an extra shift at work (4 hours) because I thought I would be done by now.  Good times.

I set aside everything in my life for 2 months to do these clinical hours - I had done all of the stock-up shopping so I wouldn't run out of anything that wasn't perishable during this time, and so I was able to strip everything out of my life that didn't NEED to be there, for 2 months.  But now the 2 months are over, and my life is not yet back on track...the hours just keep dragging on!!!  This last week, I noticed things were starting to "break down" - I was wearing clothes out of the dryer for half the week instead of folding them and putting them away.  The house needs to be deep-cleaned desperately!  This light brush-over isn't covering it anymore.  Some areas need to be scrubbed, others could use some paint touch-up.  The yard needs to be picked up.  We are running out of supplies and I need to make a run to Costco, which ends up being a few hours because I have to go to Pocatello (52 miles one-way).  I want to start my seedlings for the garden this summer, and they need 8-12 weeks before you plant them in the ground...that's NOW.  I need to get in better shape for my sister's wedding in a month (ie...losing the extra 15 lbs that I gained last semester!).  My DVR is almost full.  And the dogs are STINKY!

A few weeks ago I had one of the dogs with me in PetSmart, and we met another Golden Retriever who was very friendly.  As I got close, I was embarrassed for the owner because her dog was STINKY.  You could smell him from 4 feet away!  I didn't want to pet him and have my hands stink with another dog's smell.  I judged her harshly in my mind even though we had a nice conversation.  Now I am that owner!  I don't dare take my dogs in public right now!  It's embarrassing!  They both need baths badly, and a nice trim would be good too.  And they are both neglected.  So sad.

Catching up on school work would also be helpful.  Time to actually learn the things that I want to remember longer than the exam.

So many things...It's really motivating me to get these hours DONE so I can reclaim my life and make it not only look better, but be functional again!!!