Tuesday Thoughts, Thankfulness, Totally Awesome Links

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I was so grateful to see this way-too-cute-for-words pairing yesterday. Usually HoneyBun moves when she sees Osito heading toward her bed, but right before this photo was taken, they were snuggled up and sleeping together. ❤ HoneyBun and Osito

Good Tuesday to all of you! This week, I’m thankful for the Patriots having won against the Cardinals on Sunday night’s football game. I admit, without Tom Brady, I was a bit worried about how we would do, but I have a lot of faith in Bill Belichek. To watch the game with some Arizona Cardinals fans, and have the right to talk some smack was just awesome! LOL.  They knew it was all in good fun.

As I announced last week, in my post called What the Heart Wants, I’ve decided to go back to school to become a vet tech, with an eye to possibly working with wildlife in the future, or hospice care for animals. (We’ll see what happens!) Being older and wiser than the first (or second or third) time I achieved a degree, I’m determined to find as many options for scholarships and free money to go to school.  Last week, I mentioned FastWeb. Today, I came across an app called Scholly. They charge $2.99 to join and that’s the only charge, and the app itself is free to download for iPhone and Android.  I don’t watch the show Shark Tank, but I understand his app was featured on that show! Another website I’ve just come across is Scholarships.com – it’s a free database that you can use to look for scholarships, and supposedly is updated every day. I’ll be testing it out this week.

Now, I know not everyone reading this is thinking of going back to school, so I’d like to share another website that I’ve come across recently, and it’s about intentional living (and in part, minimalism, which usually goes hand in hand with intentional living.) It’s called Break the Twitch.  In case you prefer to watch videos over reading text, he makes a lot of videos that you can see on YouTube at this channel

And with this, I need to get off the computer and get ready to go down to the local animal shelter so I can walk some doggies!! Then it’s off to the gym again to try to push myself and sweat a lot! I hope you will all have a wonderful Tuesday! Please feel free to drop me a line below and let me know if there are any amazing links you want to share or think I should highlight in a later post, or what you are feeling thankful for this week!

Also, let me know if you think these posts should come later in the week – would Thursday or Friday be better?

As always, thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Tuesday Thoughts, Thankfulness, and Totally Awesome Links

This photo was taken while on the Panoramic Cruise around Lake Powell yesterday. Enjoy!
This photo was taken while on the Panoramic Cruise around Lake Powell yesterday. Enjoy!

Why Tuesdays?  Well, I know on Monday we all have to get back to work. By Tuesday, we’ve caught up and if we work in an office, we might have some time to take a few moments and check out blogs or whatever else we like to surf on the net. So, I hope that this post will be a good distraction for you and if you’re reading it in the morning, help you get your day started on a good note. And I promise to keep them short!

They will include some new links of possible interest to  you, thoughts about things for which I am thankful (it used to be its own series on this blog, so this is my way of bringing those back to life), and possibly different perspectives to help you get through the day. Hope you like this new series!

By the way, if you need some cuteness overload, check out my new blog page: The Herd. Yep, there you will find pics of my awesome furballs.

  1. If you’re sitting at your desk, and not  loving your job, think of it this way – you are earning a paycheck, and outside of work, you can work on changing our work situation. Spend some time updating the resume, or take time to research into other options, even if it’s only on your lunch break. If you feel stuck, take at least one small step today to make yourself unstuck. It’s empowering. Trust me. For me, I’m grateful to at least have money coming into my life that allows me to put a roof over my head and that of my pets. I just need to stay disciplined, and it can help me to save money for my new future that I’m envisioning right now.
  2. I’m very thankful that my family (my older brother and his family) have been able to travel to the southwest for a week. They are spending a few days in Lake Powell, and then heading to Flagstaff on  Tuesday. I’ll be hanging out with them for the day!  It has been over a year since I saw them.
  3. As I’ve been trying to gain control of my financial life, I’ve started seeking out others who write about this field and came across some awesome podcasts: Budgets and Cents, and Martinis and Your Money.  Both make me feel like I’m listening to a conversation between friends, and I’ve definitely been binge listening! The latter had an amazing episode called Frugality for Depressives. Having struggled with depression, it really hit home and the lady she interviewed had some really insightful comments.
  4. Sometimes you need a little inspiration or to see beautiful things to help you get through your day – I hope you enjoy these two photography blogs that I’ve just added to my links (can’t believe I didn’t do it before): Adventures of Dorrie Ann and Joyfully Green.
  5. Like I said above, check out the newest page on this blog, The Herd!!

As I said, I want to keep these posts brief, so I hope you will all have a good Tuesday!  If you have anything you are thankful for in your life right now, please feel free to drop a line below and let me know what it is! And if there are some good links you want to share with others, please do that too!

As always, thanks for reading!

Reflection

IMAG0780.jpgI drove home earlier today from the Clarkdale, AZ area. It’s south of Sedona and Flagstaff. Everyone told me to be sure I didn’t drive on the major highway, but to instead take the drive along Oak Creek. And I’m so glad I did. The drive reminded me more of the east coast types of woods I am used to. I saw the creek flowing and was able to sit under the trees and listen to the breeze rustle their leaves, the way the breeze used to ruffle the leaves of the trees near the reservoir back in Boston.  I remembered what it felt like to lay down on my back under the trees and see them swaying above me, and then how it felt to take a picture of them with my cell phone pointed up toward the sky.

Today’s drive was about more than taking the scenic way home. It was about remembering and realizing anew what makes me happy. Being one with nature, and using as many of my senses as I can to appreciate it. I looked, really looked, at the greenness of the leaves around me. I listened to the creek babbling as the water fell and flowed downward past me. I smelled the air around me and the freshness and slight dampness to it that you just don’t get in the Lake Powell area (unless a storm has just moved through, which is rare.)  While I sat there, I finished my organic green superfood drink I had just bought at the natural grocers store – a brand I had never had before but would like to get again. I felt good about consuming it, knowing it will only do good for my insides.

I took a small notebook down with me to the side of the creek. I wanted to write whatever just came to me, and here’s what I wrote.

Three questions: 

  1. What do I need?
  2. What makes me happy?
  3. What gives me peace?

Then I just started writing thoughts as they came to me, and in no particular order. I didn’t want to censor myself. I’ve put brackets around a few of them just to give you some context.

  • being in a health food store like I just was, with so many vegan choices so I could be more true to my principles
  • eating green again
  • feeling whole
  • hearing the birds outside
  • hearing the water rush downstream
  • being able to write again
  • remembering this feeling when I am no longer here [i knew i would want to recreate it for myself]
  • having these trees provide shade to me, and so much more.
  • lots and lots of trees.
  • beauty
  • sound of wind through the trees
  • freedom
  • feeling after a really good run, when you feel like you could go on forever [thinking of what used to make me happy and wondering if it could, again]
  • familiar [the comfort you can sometimes draw from the familiar, whether it’s people, or surroundings, etc.]
  • learning
  • growth
  • freedom
  • nature
  • beauty in the simple
  • being alone to learn about myself and not feel like i am lacking
  • [being or feeling] centered
  • having a goal
  • having something to focus on
  • peace
  • calm
  • feeling like no one else is around
  • water
  • ginger
  • organic
  • feeling that i never want to leave
  • positivity
  • being true to myself
  • the smell of the woods
  • the smell in the air right before a storm
  • my animals and how excited they get to see me
  • seeing my family and reconnecting with them again
  • taste of ginger
  • eating well
  • taste of real food (and yes, I even underlined it at that time when I wrote it)
  • idea that i could come back here again so easily
  • the color green, from leaves
  • living frugally
  • living simply
  • not having waste
  • eating raw, but also pasta [they had so many good raw vegan foods in the natural grocers store, but i realize i really, really love pasta! and that is ok!]
  • fresh food
  • fresh produce
  • knowing i needed to stop [on the road]
  • taking the time to stop [following my feelings]
  • the beauty of a spring day
  • hope
  • anticipation
  • love
  • rebirth
  • can do whatever you want to do and set your heart to

So there you have it – my stream of consciouness. I may not have been in what is known as one of the four vortexes that are in Sedona but I feel like sitting by that stream, the place just called to me. I could have stopped anywhere along the road, but I decided to stop there. And then I heard the water, and then I knew I had to go sit by the stream  or creek. I knew i would also know when I was ready to move on, and I did.

I hope that each and every one of you can have an experience like this, or have some time to be introspective, if it helps you. I didn’t originally want three days off in a row but now I am so grateful to have had them. It allowed me to spend more time with my oldest brother and his wife than just quickly at the wedding, and it gave me the time to drive home slowly today, to see the beauty around me and really take it all in.

And today, I am feeling better about things and myself. And I’m really thinking about what I want to be the NEW Me.  As someone said in a comment to my last post, sometimes it’s not about going back to who you were, but becoming who you are now. And embracing it.

Thank you as always for reading, especially since this makes two posts two days in a row!!

Let’s Catch Up, Shall We?

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Lake Powell from near my RV about an hour before sunset. Yes, I’ve edited the pic for color but it gives you an idea of just how beautiful it is. 

So it’s been a busy few weeks since I last posted. I finished up the job at the animal sanctuary and then moved a few days ago to the small (but still bigger than where I just left) town of Page, AZ. You might not have heard of the town’s name, but it’s home to a huge lake (2nd largest reservoir) called Lake Powell. Simply put, it’s gorgeous. I don’t care what the naysayers say about “oh the lake’s level is down so far right now, it’s just a pond compared to what it once was… blah, blah, blah.” You know what? I’m not gonna let them rain on my parade because the view I see every morning and every evening makes it all worthwhile.

The move here was a bit rough at first – some downed trees, and the campsite I wanted didn’t have water running to it. So I ended up taking the site next to it, and am now just hoping the downed trees get cleaned up sooner rather than later. There are also some problems with the water at the new site, but they are workable. I also can’t wait to make my space more inviting – it will have to wait until I get a paycheck as I’ve used the credit card too much lately. But more inviting, it will definitely be! Luckily, the animals seem to have adjusted to the move rather quickly. For the first day, Callie and HoneyBun hid a lot and were clearly freaked out, but they seem to have recovered just fine by now, as you can tell from the photo below.

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HoneyBun appears to have settled in comfortably.

So I also just started my new job this week.  I will be supervising and yes, it’s been a while since i did that in any official capacity, so I’m a bit nervous, but think I’ve learned  a lot over the years from my supervisors, both bad and good. Going to try to discard all the bad habits and things I saw, and do my best to keep the good, plus tweak those things with my own personal style. And you all know me, I like to research the hell out of anything so I’ve been reading some self-help/teach-yourself books on management, and will be trying to hone my people skills as well. I know it won’t all be easy but I hope to not disappoint the ones who believed in me enough to offer me the job.

When it comes to managing, in the past, I’ve tried to always lead by example and make it very clear to folks that I will never ask them to do something I’ve not done or won’t do myself. I hope that will come through loud and clear. And God knows, for 6 months, I took care of a lot of animal poop so I think it’s safe to say there isn’t much I won’t do, if it needs to be done. From what I hear, we get extremely busy in the summer and there will probably be some overtime in my future. If that’s the case, I’ve already decided I will be trying to save as much $ as I possibly can. If it works out for me here, I could see myself trying to buy a small house or condo.

I finally got to take a tour of the Glen Canyon Dam. It’s the second largest, and also Lake Powell is the second largest reservoir in the country, trailing just behind Lake Mead in terms of capacity. I will also be attending a fundraiser for the local animal shelter/adoption agency, known as PAAA (Page Animal Adoption Agency). Hoping to meet other like minded people there – something tells me I will!

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One of the most gentle dogs I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. After his initial shyness, he and I are buddies now. I’ve been licked on the face several times to prove it. 🙂

I just started pet sitting for a good friend, and will be for the next week or so in the evenings. He has the most awesome, old-souled (yes, “souled” is a word, I’ve just created it!) dog that I swear is part Australian Shepard and Lab by the looks of him, shy but super-loving dog. (In the pic, he has a dog treat on his head. I was trying to bond with him at the time by lying next to him on the floor in the closet where he went and hid when I tried to take his pic. I think the treat convinced him enough to sit still for this one pic.)  He also has a very handsome and talkative Siamese who has epilepsy and thus requires medication twice a day. I’ve never seen a cat take a pill so easily in my entire life. You just pop his mouth open and shove it in, and you’re done. Awesome! If I go to Lone Rock tomorrow (as  you all know, one of my favorite places to be out here), I may be taking his dog along for the ride and an involved game of Fetch. (In case you are all wondering, yes, Baby O is doing just fine and she’s snoring next to me as I type this, in fact.)

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Balloon coming in for a soft landing on the third and final day of the Kanab Balloons and Tunes festival. That was a perfect weather morning and as the balloon landed, I could hear the birds singing. 

Before I left UT last week, I was able to take in a balloon festival with a new, but very good friend of mine. For three days, the balloons were able to get into the air, which is just awesome. They also had a Balloon Glow portion to the weekend where they had all the balloons set up on the street and at certain times, all would light up their balloons with the propane-powered hot air. It was a pretty amazing sight to see, and it just felt good to be leaving Kanab on an up, rather than down note.

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It was so difficult to snap a photo at just the right time as the balloons were lit up! 

In case any of you are wondering, yes it’s been two weeks since I’m completely Prozac free as I mentioned in my last post. I’m feeling great. I’ve been getting up and running in the mornings, and went to the local gym for the first time today. Had a great workout that left me feeling tired and famished, and a bit sore, which is just the way I like to feel at the end of a great workout. It’s a feeling I’ve not had in a long while, so I think things are looking up in that department and in so many others as well.

And on that note, I think I will end this post. Thanks as always for reading.

 

Off the Prozac!!!!

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The pic of my beauties, Osito and Max, has nothing to do with Prozac of course, but what would a blog post be without some of my furballs??!!

That’s right, folks, as of yesterday, all the Prozac is out of my system! Gone! Finito! Out of here!!

Those of you who have read my blog for a long time know how important this is to me and what a long road it’s been. I know my last post on the subject said that i was going to stay on it. And at the time, I did. But about five weeks ago, I just decided, “you know what? Maybe my occasional down-ish feelings right now are just situational. Or, just normal down periods, like everyone has. I wonder how I would feel if I were to just stop taking it for a day, and then maybe two. You know, see where it goes?” So, I did.

You see, 20 mg is usually the starting dose that they have you take. I remember the difference in the beginning – how that one little pill would make a subtle (but noticeable to me) difference in my alertness. It was if things were a bit “sharper.” Maybe heightened is another word to use to describe it. At any rate, that’s the best way I can describe it.

So, when I started my new regimen of no Prozac on a daily basis, this time I didn’t say anything to anyone other than my friend Dan, and one person here in UT, my friend, M. Dan isn’t local but he knows my struggles with this in the past so he was there to check up on me since we text/facebook message almost every day and he would notice any mood swings, if they occurred.  Same thing for my friend here in Utah. They’re both people I trust a lot to tell me things straight up, No Bullshit. I think it’s important we all have at least one or two awesome people in our life like that, don’t you agree?

As I went for a run earlier today, I thought of how my life has changed in the past five years since I’ve been on Prozac. About how I’ve changed, internally, and what has gone on during that time, externally. It’s been quite the ride.

In five years, I’ve gotten divorced, and began volunteering with animals. I’ve had one serious long term and long distance relationship with someone who was completely different from my husband, and I learned I did have the capacity to love and be loved again. I was not completely broken and wouldn’t have to spend the rest of my life alone, as I feared when I first began thinking of leaving my marriage.

Back in Boston, I met some wonderful women who quickly formed a great circle of friends, and whom I miss greatly now. There is one in particular who even became a sister to me, Sarita.  I call her family my “Massachusetts family.” While I knew I was lucky to have her and them in my life back then, as the saying goes, you never truly know what you have until you don’t have it anymore. I can keep up with all of them on facebook and the like, but it’s not the same when you can’t just call them up and say “hey, do you want to come over and hang out?” Sarita and I used to do that a lot – we just “got” each other, from the very beginning. I call her my sister by another mother. And I really miss her.

In those five years, I realized that working at a job that pays you well monetarily is not the end-all of life. I’ve given up a good paying job that just didn’t fulfill me anymore to move across the country to a place where I didn’t know a soul, and to where I could work with animals full-time. I thought that move was my dream come true, but have now realized, it wasn’t. I’m still figuring out why that is the case, but I’m confident in deciding it was not the place for me to stay, long term.

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Yep, another picture of Zion, this one taken last week while I went with a friend! Btw, there are absolutely no changes made to this pic – the sky was actually THAT blue!

And again, I’ve made one very good friend here who I know I will miss seeing on an almost-daily basis, M.  I’m using that initial for her first name and for the fact that many of us call her “Mom” at work. Seeing her makes me smile because she always tries to get through every day with a positive attitude. She is the one who taught me to start the day with a hug from someone who cares. I’m comforted by knowing she will only be 75 miles away or so, rather than the 2500+ distance that separates me and Sarita, but it’s scary to think of starting over again, you know? Once again, being the new person in town. However, while it’s scary, it’s also exciting. I get to see things again for the first time. And this time, I do have a friend who already lives in town, J.

These friendships have made me realize I was not really living and trying to be my authentic self when I was married. I was going through the motions of life, carrying out what I thought was supposed to be my dream life. Having a house and a dog and a husband to come home to every night. Having friends in the form of other couples (who were really his friends and not mine) to hang out with. Having a healthy(ier) bank account and less worries, knowing there was someone else to lean on. I didn’t work so hard to create friendships of my own. There were a few individuals I was friends with, but those friendships, while one or two may still continue on today, were not as strong  or intense as the ones I made afterward, while on my own.

 

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It was beautiful to see the Virgin River flowing and looking so clear, compared to how it looks in the summertime.

While I was running, I was also thinking, how I feel like I’m a different person, or a bit of a different person, than I was five years ago. It’s weird though- physically, I’m still the same (if not wanting to be in the same shape as I was in after the divorce) person, but mentally and philosophically, there have been many changes. And I think there are many more to come.

What is that saying – if something doesn’t scare you, then it’s not worth doing? Well, then I guess this move of location and job is worth doing.

 

 

 

 

 

No Matter How Old You Are, You’re Still Someone’s Baby

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These two will always be my babies, even though they are 14. (Bonkers and Osito)

I talked to my mom last night on the phone. As usual, she worried about me “freezing to death” in this RV of mine. No matter how many times I have told her I am ok, I have lots of warm blankets, and the animals to curl up with at night, plus two space heaters, she still worries. She worries about the heat and the money situation. She’s a mom. I’m 43, and she’s turning 77 this year, but I’m still her middle child.

After I hung up the phone, I realized I should have said to her, “Mom, don’t worry about me. You taught me right.” We didn’t have a lot growing up, and she ended up cleaning houses after my parents split, to make ends meet and also to be home when we got home from school. But what she taught me is that there is always a way to make things work. I may not make a lot of money right now, and it does seem frustrating when I figure out my bills for the next pay period and see “wow, I’ve got like 120 to make it through including my food and gas” but then I remind myself, it’s doable. I don’t need a lot. And I only have that small amount because I am insisting on putting some money into savings every month. I refuse to live, as they say “paycheck to paycheck.” It is very, very important to me to have a cushion. If there’s one thing I have learned over the past several years, it’s that I never EVER want to go back to that feeling of having pretty much nothing in the bank and a maxed out credit card to boot.

When I tell people that I think my fifth wheel is too big for me and my fur family, you should see the looks I get from some people. It’s quite clear that they think I’m insane. But what I see is a big trailer that has high ceilings, which, while I love their sense of openness, cost more to heat, and cool. What I see is that in the evenings, after I eat my dinner, we all hang out together in the bedroom portion of the fifth wheel (in my case, it’s a front bedroom so it would be the part of the trailer that would be hanging over the bed of the truck, if there was one attached.) We all hang out on my cozy bed, with a space heater cranking away, and either a good book or a TV show or something on netflix to keep us comfy. They tend to gather close to me, and I feel very loved. When I wake up in the morning, they are usually all still there.

So, we don’t need all this space. I don’t need the big closet that spans the width of my trailer. I have two dresses I brought with me from Boston, and have yet to wear them. None of my clothes need to be ironed. (In fact, I don’t even own one and plan on never needing one again.) I could fold them all and put them in bins and be just fine, which would most likely be the case in a smaller RV.)  My animals are all seniors (two turn 15 this year) so they don’t have all the crazy energy of young kittens and puppies. They like to be warm and to rest. (As I write this, one is sitting on my lap with his head on the table – if he could reach the computer keyboard to rest it there, trust me, he would.)

Making a lot less money than I ever have before in my life, I realize now what is important to me. The beauty of the natural world around me, good friends, the love of my animals, a great book to keep me company (currently reading Man’s Search for Meaning, by Victor Frankl, which was  a gift from someone and I highly recommend it). Food that allows me to retain my health. Exercise to keep myself strong. Having my priorities straight for my life and trying to evade the negativity of others and the world when it rears its ugly head. Making sure I have enough food to feed myself and my animals. Knowing I will see family in just less than two weeks when my brother embarks on yes, another 100 mile race, and when my sister will be coming to visit in February. It’s these things I have been trying to focus on, rather than what I don’t have.

And yes, Mom, not freezing to death in the winter. 🙂

What do you focus on to ground yourself in this life?

As always, thank you for reading.

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Thankful

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Yep, another pic from Zion. This is from a location that is east of the big tunnel. 

The other day I wrote how I’ve been feeling kind of down lately. It definitely helped to get it out onto paper (or in this case, the screen.) I also decided to write down a list of things that I was thankful for, as I figured that would make me realize how good things really are. You know, look at the glass as hall full, not half empty. So here is what I came up with, and it’s not in a particular order of importance.

  1. my animals and their good health
  2. a roof over my head
  3. a job that pays my bills (barely, but I do live frugally)
  4. warm clothes
  5. warm bed to sleep on
  6. my car runs reliably
  7. neighbors who look out for me
  8. my family is in good health (relatively, anyway)
  9. my best friend, Sarita
  10. my writing ability
  11. the full tank of gas that was in my car at the time
  12. I have friends that care about me
  13. I can choose where I want to be next year
  14. I can walk and breathe fresh air.

In addition to all of this, I had a really good conversation earlier this week with someone who has offered to mentor me with my writing. Out of the goodness of her heart. I’ve had people come out of the blue, just from reading my blog, offering to help me, in various ways. I can’t tell you how much that means to me.

Thank you so much to everyone who read my last post and responded and offered support and encouragement. It helped a ton. Even though I’ve talked about depression and other things on this blog, I was still very afraid to write that post. There is still always this stigma about it. But it always helps me to write about it and get it out. Cathartic, in a way. And also, I got more back into my gym routine this week and it helped. One of the regular ladies there in the mornings reads my blog and we had a good talk.

It’s important to always be thankful, isn’t it?

Thank you for reading, as always.

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