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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Feeling blessed

Reservoir unfrozen!
Reservoir unfrozen!

Sometimes it’s the simple things that set you up for having a good day and a good mood. For me, this morning, it was running before sunrise. My beloved reservoir has finally completely unfrozen, and if you start running early enough, you can have it all to yourself. On Saturday mornings, I need to open the gym by 8 a.m. so if I’m going to work out before then, it’s going to have to be pretty early! So this morning, I got my butt up and got running by around 5:45. Sunrise was set for about 6:13 a.m. There is just something about being able to run while the moon is still out and the sun is starting to come up.

I run to music but I kept my loudness level down for the first loop around, just so I could hear the geese calling to each other, and also for safety reasons, in case anyone was to sneak up  on me. Right now, the vegetation around the reservoir has yet to fill in (our spring explosion of color has not happened yet, but I suspect it might start this week as the temperatures are slowly starting to creep upward.) It was just a short run – probably about 3.3 or 3.5 miles in total but it was all I knew I had time for and it was just enough to wake me up and feel blessed for being able to run.

I know that after my surgery, I won’t be able to run for about 6 weeks. I’ll only be able to ride a stationary bike or walk which is going to be hard for someone as active as me. I also can’t lift any weights more than 8 pounds for 6 weeks. I usually dumbbell press 30 pounds in each hand right now, so I hope to not lose too much of my fitness. I know this surgery is necessary if I want to get rid of these fibroids and start feeling more like myself when I look in the mirror.

To explain what I mean about my stomach — the doc told me the other day that my uterus is about the size of a woman who is 20 weeks into her pregnancy. So you can imagine how depressing and disheartening it has been for someone who normally works out 4-5 times per week to look in the mirror and see that. However, in the last month as I have changed my diet, I’ve seen the stomach I used to know come back, slowly. Parts of my abs are becoming more defined as I’ve been trying to work them hard in advance of the surgery. The middle bulge is still there, but I know its days are limited and that makes me extremely happy.

Again, I’m not a vain person but I do pride myself on being able to push myself harder than a lot of folks who are my age. I like being the girl dressed in pink at the gym, standing next to the guys in the free weights section and being able to use some of the same size weights as them for some exercises! The hard work pays off as most people think I’m a lot younger than I really am. And the change in my diet to being vegan has also done a great deal for my self-esteem or morale. I used to think of how little will power I had when I would walk by cookies or cakes, etc., and now I can look at something and if it has “milk” or dairy in it, I just think of the animals that have suffered for it, and it’s amazing how that urge goes away.

The sun has started to shine a lot more in the northeast after several days of drizzle and rain. It is so freeing to no longer be a slave to the bus schedule! When I’m riding along in the rain and beginning to feel miserable about the weather, I just think to myself how much money I’m saving by using  my own two legs to get back and forth to places, rather than driving a car. That, and the fact that my rain jacket and rain pants were SO worth the money I spent on them. 🙂

The weather really does affect how I feel about my day to day life, and so I am glad I am going to be someplace warmer by next year. You can see the differences in Bostonian’s faces as the weather warms – we’re still “tough” on the outside, but you can tell people are feeling better with the warmth. During that period of February when we got almost 9 feet of snow, I cannot tell you how miserable and exhausted everyone was, but I’m sure your imagination can fill in the gaps. I’ve never heard so many car horns with so much frequency, and that’s saying something in this town, known for its rude drivers!

I was also able to see a good friend yesterday that I had not seen in a while. She’s part of our animal loving “tribe.” She said that when she came into my apartment she felt like she was looking at one of those pictures that asks “how many cats do you count in this picture?!” She held Osito for a little while and Osito worked her usual magic, licking her hands as her way of giving kisses. It’s impossible to not love that little girl when she does that or plays “hard to catch” and runs back and forth in the living room with me. (I’m telling you, for an almost completely blind dog, she gets around pretty well!)

Anyway, this is all my long-winded way of saying how blessed and grateful I feel on days like today. I know in my heart that I’m on the right path. As I found myself picking out kitchen cabinets the other day, I thought to myself, “wow, this is so surreal.” After so many months of planning, things are starting to fall into place. I watched another movie the other day that had profound effects on me – I’ll write more about it in a separate post, and started reading a book called Farm Sanctuary by Gene Baur. With every page I read, I think my future is becoming clearer and clearer. It’s a great feeling, one I wish for all of you.

Have a great weekend! If you’ve liked this post, please hit like or subscribe or drop me a line below and let me know for what reasons you feel blessed some days!

Little Things for Which I am Thankful

All bundled up for the first walk of spring -a sweater, a jacket and a scarf! I <3 Osito.
All bundled up for the first walk of spring -a sweater, a jacket and a scarf! I ❤ Osito.

My friend Kelvin, over at Going Uncomplicated, recently wrote a post about his trip to Haiti last year. Even though he didn’t write it as a minimalism post, it really made me think. We live in such a world of abundance, and there are so many people out there that have barely anything to their name. Some of them are happy, some aren’t. But I will be that more of us in the “first world” with our “first world problems” are unhappy, even with all of our stuff.

After I read Kelvin’s post, I thought to myself, and here I am – my goal is to pare down my clothes so I only have one dresser, and some in my closet. God, we don’t know how lucky we have it! Anyway….

  1. It snowed this morning. NO, I am not thankful for that, but I have to admit, it makes it seem all the better when the sun shines around here. I’m sincerely hoping it is the end of it, but who knows?
  2. I took Osito out for her first walk of spring. Although we didn’t go that far (she is 14 and we have to build her endurance back up again for our summertime walks/carries), I could tell she was happy and relieved to be outside. Even little ones like to feel the sun on their face, you know?
  3. I’m going to be seeing my best friend and her husband tonight for dinner. I don’t usually go out to dinner, and I don’t get to see her or them often enough, so it’s a definite treat for me. Something to look forward to and motivate me to get some stuff done, like this post.
  4. Some of you are friends with me on facebook so you already know this, but I am thankful that my surgery to have my fibroids removed (and other body parts) has been scheduled. April 21st, I go under the knife. I am happy that it is the day AFTER the Boston Marathon, as I live on the route, and I love to cheer the runners on, elite runners, complete strangers and friends. Also, I’m lucky to have a few people offering to help me out with rides, pet duty, etc.

    Speaking of the Boston Marathon, Jill of Jill Will Run will be staying with me this year. This is HUGE. We have known each other online for 7 years now and we have never met face to face, before now!  I’m really looking forward to taking her around to see the sights of Boston.

  5. I paid my taxes this week. NO, I’m not thankful for the fact that I owed (due to my 1099 work last year), but I am grateful that I had the money saved to pay them.
  6. The snow is melting. Finally! I can even see some of the soft dirt on the path around the reservoir behind my building. I’m hoping to go for a run myself this coming week, as my cold is just about gone. I think will do immeasurable things for my outlook and self-esteem.

Anyway, folks, just a short post today, which Kelvin’s post inspired me to write. (By the way, if you haven’t checked out his blog, you definitely should. He’s a great writer.)

If you’ve liked this post, please hit like or subscribe or drop me a line below!

Little Things for Which I am Thankful

Max, my diva....sleeps
Max, my diva….sleeps

I know, it’s been a long time since I wrote one of these posts. But there are a few things I would like to talk about, briefly.

  1. Had a doc appointment with the surgeon who will be removing my fibroids, via hysterectomy. Before I left, he said “that bulk you are talking about in your abdomen, that will go away when you have the surgery.” Thank God. I don’t think of myself as a vain person but I (usually) work out a lot, and I push myself to lift heavier, sweat more with cardio, do more miles, etc. So when someone asked me if I was “expecting” about a month or two ago, I was devastated. I was like “my god, has it gotten that bad?!” I called a colleague and asked her to please shoot me. I used to  have a very flat stomach and a six pack, and that’s what I WILL have again. I worked too hard for it the first damn time.

    So why such a drastic step in surgery? Well, fibroids can have side effects, and they will keep coming back until you hit that certain stage in a female’s life where you no longer have to worry about kids. I already know I don’t want kids and hell, I’m 42, so in my opinion, “go ahead, take it all!” In case  you are worried, they will leave my ovaries so I won’t go through all the crap that would otherwise occur, just about immediately. (Sorry, men, if that’s TMI. I know women will totally understand why I mention this.)The surgeon was extremely nice, and I don’t know why, but I was surprised. He is the head of the practice, and he said he himself will do my surgery. He was recommended to me by two doctors I trust, so I feel like I’m in good hands. It still has to be scheduled, but I know I will be out of work for 4-6 weeks. Since I’m in good shape, I’m hoping my recovery won’t be too bad. I already know what to expect in the pain department, so that is an improvement over the first time. I know that it will hurt like hell when I shift from sitting or laying down to standing, and that walking will help a ton. I know it’ll hurt like hell when I cry and when I laugh. But that’s ok, I know it will eventually go away. Fear of the unknown is always worse than the reality. 

My Sebastian....when he sits like that, it's everything I can do to not reach over and poke him in the belly!
My Sebastian….when he sits like that, it’s everything I can do to not reach over and poke him in the belly!

2. Uber and my smart phone. Since the weather has absolutely sucked here in Boston for the past several weeks,  (no exaggeration), I have begun to use Uber via my iphone to get home from work at the gym on Thursday evenings. It just feels so nice to be able to be picked up and make it home within 5-8 minutes, rather than waiting for the bus, which may, or (more likely) not be on time, in the freezing cold, after I’ve worked an 11ish hour day. I know it costs money but I figure it’s worth it to keep my sanity, and it gets me home to the furballs a bit earlier so I can enjoy hanging out with them before I fall asleep for the night. The app is pretty cool because it shows you where “your” car is on a map relative to where you are, and gives you information about what car you will be in, who will be driving and license plate info. I don’t know why, but having that info makes me feel safer.

3. Zipcar, so I can enjoy my Sunday mornings at the shelter in Dedham, working with the farm animals. There is a pair of goats at the shelter who have been very skiddish the entire time that they have been there. But today, while I was cleaning out their pen and leaning over, I realized the male goat had leaned in close to me, and was sniffing around my ear, checking me out. He must have liked what he found because he did it a few more times. That means progress. He knows I’m not there to hurt him. I felt like I had scored a major victory.  I know I have a good way with animals – I think they can sense I mean them no harm, so it just cemented further into my mind the idea of working with animals in some shape or capacity, whether it be at a shelter or on a farm, or at a sanctuary. I’m going to try to keep an open mind about the opportunities out there. I do know I have a lot to learn, and I look forward to that.

My ladies, in their girly pink princess beds. <3
My ladies, in their girly pink princess beds. ❤

4.  I was sick this week, and am still fighting the last stages of my cold. The other morning, I woke up to having five animals in the bed with me. Yes, 5 of 6! (For some reason, I can’t get them all in it at the same time, lol.) Four cats, and of course, Osito, squeezed right next to me. I felt very loved. It may not be the situation I expected to be in at this stage of my life, but it’s one that makes me happy, so it’s alright. Yes, I do get lonely sometimes, not having dated or cared to date in a while, but I have hope that I will find the right person for me at the right time. And one thing I know is that they will LOVE animals. Because, well, these furballs are staying whether or not anyone else likes it.

5. Received some information on the house last week and I think I am going to likely go with the smaller model to keep costs down. I’ve watched and re-watched some of my favorite tiny house videos and it’s reaffirmed in me that I really don’t need that much. Plus, I think back to when I was considering moving all of us into an RV. It’s reminded me to focus on what is truly important and when you do that, it’s very easy to let stuff go.

6. Daylight Savings Time. It may make it harder to get up in the morning but seeing the sunset at night over the Charles again while on my way home, it’s just absolutely beautiful. I know it’s only a matter of time until it’s very bright early in the morning. I know that very soon, (if the snow melts a bit more and stays gone) I will be able to go for my morning runs on the Charles, and I can’t wait.  There is no better feeling than being out there, running along, feeling like nothing can stop you, one foot landing in front of the other, and seeing the sun rise, turning the water a beautiful shade of lavender. Put the crew teams on the water at the same time, and it’s so inspiring. Best way to start the day, in my opinion.

My BonkMan (aka Bonkers) and the diva, Max. They fight when awake, so this picture was particularly endearing to me to capture.
My BonkMan (aka Bonkers) and the diva, Max. They fight when awake, so this picture was particularly endearing to me to capture.

7. Last but not least, while I was home sick last week, I decided to give up coffee. I felt like I was depending on it too much to get going in the mornings, and also, because I don’t like drinking it black, I realized how much extra sugar I was putting into my body. So now, every morning when I wake up, I have a cold glass or two of water with lemon juice. It helps my congestion and also gives me some energy.

Oh, and did I mention it’s snowing AGAIN? Probably not going to amount to much, but the ability to be warm and safe inside, looking out at it, while knowing these furballs are safe and cozy warm with me, well, it’s a good feeling.

If you have liked this post, please hit like or subscribe, or drop me a line below. Thanks for reading!

Little Things for Which I am Thankful

Some days, you just don't want to get out of bed. I <3 my diva, Max.
Some days, you just don’t want to get out of bed. 

Just so you know, my cat Max didn’t crawl in under the pillows in the above pic. Rather, he refused to get out of bed or from under the covers so I made my best attempt at making the bed around His Highness. I’d say this past Thursday, many of us felt the same way.

I know I haven’t written this type of post in a while but I have not been in the mood to do so.  Not sure why, but when I’ve thought about writing the post at the end of the night, I’ve just felt way too tired. I know I should always be thankful for what I’ve got, so I’ll try to get back into the routine again.

  1. As of the time I’m starting this post, they’ve caught three of the four suspected terrorists in France. Well, killed three of four of them. I’m just thankful they have caught them, and hope they find the fourth.  With all the news reports making comparisons to the Boston Marathon Bombings, which are still fresh in a lot of our minds, it’s a bit depressing, going back to that day in my mind, when my friend Lisa, Mom2Marathon, was running and got stopped just before the 26 mile marker. I remember her saying she was having a crappy run that day, but that crappy run probably saved her life, so I’m thankful she had an off day.
  2. So thankful the heat is included in my rent, especially when it gets so bitterly cold as it did for most of the country this week. Thursday morning, the temp was -2F and it felt like -22F. In a word, it felt brutal.
  3. My cat Bonkers has a heart murmur so the vet suggested he get an echocardiogram before we give him a dental procedure in February. His results? All good, as I thought they would be. Speaking of pets, my friend Penny from PlanetYnnep Photography has a Australian cattle dog who had a procedure done earlier this week to remove a mass. So far, she seems to be recovering from surgery very well. I don’t know her prognosis as of yet, but it seems like she is recuperating very well, and I’m not surprised as Penny is one of the kindest people I know, and also such a great fur mom.
  4. I went to my mailbox at work the other day and was so surprised to see a gift card in my mail from a professor with whom I’ve worked a bit over the past several years and worked on a somewhat lengthy project. It was totally unexpected and the amount of it made my mouth fall to the floor, quite literally. I was speechless. Still am when I think about it, as it’s been put to good use already and there’s still a good portion of the balance left! Since I had found out earlier that day that I have an unexpected medical bill, it kind of evened things out.
  5. I was able to connect via phone with the vet who handles the large animals for the ARL and she was completely awesome! We talked for over an hour on the phone and I am definitely going to shadow her one day, or if she doesn’t have calls, she said she could show me how she takes care of her horses and other animals. Yay!!! We talked about where I was thinking of moving to and she said something that supported what one of my friends was saying the other day. My friend said when she thinks of horses, she thinks of VA and NC first before Kentucky. The vet said most of her clients who have horses move south to NC.

    So I started looking into NC again as an option. I looked at LocalRanchVets.com, and found that there is an insanely high number of vets or vet practices in or around Greensboro, NC. that work with large animals. It’s a bit over an hour from the Raleigh area and in the area that most people refer to as the Triad, rather than the Triangle. (It’s near Winston-Salem, and High Point, etc.) I started looking at job postings on craigslist for vet assistants/receptionists/technicians and wow, there are a ton!  And even better, the cost of living appears to be doable!

    Needless to say, I will do more research but am excited. When I found myself thinking of Kentucky, I was feeling this little nagging feeling in the back of my mind as I saw how many houses were available in a very low price range and was worried it also meant that the job market was extremely bad. I could be wrong. Hell, I could be wrong about a lot of things!  But I plan on making at least one trip pretty soon, maybe even in February to check out areas. Even if it’s only for a long weekend, it’s better to see something in person and do your own research than to rely on other’s opinions.

  6. Earlier this week, I paid my tuition for my prereq classes – thank you to all of you who have supported and encouraged me as I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up! 🙂

If you’ve liked this post, please hit like or subscribe, and if you’re thankful for something this week and feel like sharing, drop me a line below!

Little Things for Which I am Thankful

Friday, people. It’s Friday. Thank freaking god.

My office mate is now officially gone to her new job on the other side of the country. Although I love having an office space all to myself, it’s just not the same. We shared an office for five years. You get used to the other person’s habits and quirks and we used to bounce ideas and questions off of each other pretty regularly. She knew all the business stuff and she knew the foreign and international treaty stuff so it worked well. I would hear the words “securities, equities, stocks” and start to hear “wa wa … wa wa wa” (those of you old enough to remember the Peanuts comics, just think of the voice you would hear every time a parent was talking) and she felt the same way every time mentioned “treaty” so like I said, it worked. So I’ve been kind of bummed this week, but now it’s the weekend.

Remember how I said I thought I had lost my wallet for good at the Animal Rescue League and I feared it might be in the manure pile?? Well, someone found it, thank God. I finally got my replacement zipcard so now I can actually go to the ARL and retrieve my wallet. And that means I can go and volunteer this weekend again, so yay, back to picking up poop and petting animals!

Not sure why, but two nights ago, I rode my bike home from work around the same time I usually do. I feel like lately it’s been pitch black at night every time, like I feel like it’s midnight, it’s so dark. That night, however, there was a gorgeous sunset and I was able to see it reflecting off of/over the Charles River. Just beautiful.

My list is short and sweet this week – I’ll be very honest, I’m just glad this week is about to come to an end because I’m just super tired.

But, if you have liked this post, please hit like or subscribe or drop me a line letting me know if there’s anything you feel thankful for in your life this week!

Little Things for Which I am Thankful

I'm very thankful for this little muffinhead! Baby O!
I’m very thankful for this little muffinhead! Baby O!

It’s Thanksgiving week, so there is a lot to be thankful for. The roof over my head and that of my animals (two of which are sleeping very close to me as I start typing this post).  The great meal that I have been invited to with the parents of my best friend. The extra hours I am working at the gym tomorrow and Saturday to keep plugging away and adding to my savings before my big move next year. Knowing my brother is traveling to my mom in upstate NY for the holiday so he won’t be alone. Having an awesome niece in MI who I love more than anything else being able to text back and forth with me regularly, on her mom’s phone. She’s amazingly fast and correct when she types – none of these stupid acronyms that most kids use!  (Although, yes, I do use a lot of acronyms myself when texting, lol)

Now, what’s not so great about this week is that somehow I lost my wallet earlier today when I was at the ARL down in Dedham taking care of the livestock. I retraced all of my steps and couldn’t find it. The only thing I didn’t do was to go through the manure dumpster. It’s the only place it could be now, so if nothing else, I’m grateful for knowing my bank card won’t get used fraudulently. If it is in there, no one is going in to get it, trust me. Have you ever smelled rooster poop?? Good God, it stinks!!

Ok, so picking up rooster and chicken poop and horse poop isn’t the most awesome job in the world. But you know what? I love being with the animals. I loved hearing the roosters and the chickens cooing as I took care of them, and especially when their feed bowls were replenished. One of the other volunteers said “ohhh they sound happy….”  This morning, Fancy, the beautiful horse, came right up to me when she saw me (they had kept her in the barn overnight due to the weather). She put her head next to mine and I got to pet her face and give her a kiss. I was like “yep, this is where I want to be right now.”

I’m grateful for having taken the Scribie transcription test last week and having passed it! Now I can start to do transcribing on my own time and make some extra money for emergencies, etc. It will also make me keep my listening skills strong, and that’s never a bad thing.

What kinds of things are you thankful for this week and this holiday?