Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Call Me Crazy …. But …

And believe me, I can't believe I'm saying this, but it is nice to see some real New England Winter weather today. Even though the impending Snow Storm wreaked havoc on my Fibromyalgia symptoms yesterday, I'm enjoying this wintery day.

This morning I thought Shrek had an appointment today, but he said no, it's Friday. With the winter weather getting worse later in the day, I told him I was not going to have the truck today because I was not going to drive in this weather, no matter what. I cannot handle the focus I need to have on the road, other drivers, it completely exhausts me (thanks Fibro!), AND I wanted to sleep in this morning. Guess What???

It Was “I” Who Had a Dr. Appointment....

Thank goodness Mr. M's office is within walking distance, and I was actually looking forward to the walk. It is a great time for me to be “Mindful” of what I experience on the walk, and I'd be leaving and getting home before the storm was supposed to get here. Leaving in plenty of time, I started on my journey, enjoying the chirps of the birds, paying attention to how individual cars' engines sound differently, noticing bushes with bare branches, and the trees with gnarled branches. Not to mention the Architecture on some of these old houses! (That's another blog, when I can take Shrek with me to take pictures of what I saw.)

If you look close, you can see a grapevine wreath, and a curtain
valance at the top
Check out this Re purposed Window Frame.  Not the greatest picture, but it is adorable.

One of the unique things about New England weather is how quickly it can change, and change it did. I was almost there when I noticed the first flurries tumble down. Light, tiny, whispy flakes. I smiled.......go ahead, call me crazy!

As much as the weather changes bother my Fibromyalgia, and I get chilled to the bone so easily, I missed the “quiet” the snow brings. An hour later, the flakes were tumbling more quickly. I bundled up with my extra wide, extra long scarf and began the walk home. A whole new landscape for me to see, and I smiled.

Call Me Crazy!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Welcome to FibroFog

This morning, I was talking to my Bestie "Queen Colleen" (my granddaugter when she said Aunt Colleen, it sounded like Queen Colleen, and it is also quite befitting) while I was trying to help my granddaughter get ready for school.  "go brush your hair, pancakes or chocolate chip waffles (frozen), all while the Queen was on speaker, AND I was the one trying to talk to her.  Wasn't working out too good.  My mind was so confused, I couldn't get out what I wanted to say, couldn't get the pancakes in the toaster.  I was DAZED and CONFUSED.  Thank goodness I can laugh about it now, but in the beginning days of my Fibromyalgia, I didn't laugh too often at this stuff.  Of course my bestie said "Annie, you can call me back...we don't have to talk right now, as she laughed".  She could definitely tell I was in a "STATE" of "MIND".

Anyway, grandaughter walked to school in the nice cool (cold) fresh New England Air and a trip to the basement to unearth some of the things I have left over from my flea market booth so I can sell on ebay.  That meant three flights of stairs to  get to my haven.  My brain litterally feels fuzzy and spongy and my hands and legs are shaky.

Can Anyone Relate?

So it's bed, heating pad on the feet, laptop on the lap, and switching between Auction Hunters and AMC Movie Desperate Measures.

I'll shut up in a minute.  I tend to digress (thanks to my ADD) and I love to think and get things off my mind,'s my last bit:  One of My Pet Peaves

When friends and acquaintances, who don't really "GET" Fibromyalgia, say, "I wish I could stay in bed and watch TV all day."

Not sure about my other Spoonies, but seriously, 'NO YOU DON'T.  Not when you don't have a choice of whether you do it or not.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Can The Sounds We Hear Bring Us To A Slower Pace?

How many of you have a hard time finding the time to meditate throughout your day? I know I do, even though I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it makes me feel so much better. Even before I had Fibromyalgia, I meditated to bring my stress level back down to a “0” on the “StressoMeter”.  

I'm not sure how other “Spoonies” feel, but because it takes me forever to finish a task, no matter how simple it may be, and because I have to stop and rest, not only my body, but my mind, it takes up those precious “spoons” of time and energy. So, I Do Not want to give up my precious time, and I try to stretch it whenever possible, even though I know that the mediation would help.

While discussing this with the “infamous Mr. M”, he suggested that some time in the morning I stop and mediate for ten minutes. I could choose any type of meditation, mind picture, prayer, body scan, sound. Since we had experimented with the Sound Meditation at our last session, and I really liked how it gave me a mindful state of mind, that is what I chose. He suggested I do it the same time, to develop the habit. Now, in my mind, my Type A personality immediately went to “ok, I'll do sound meditation every day at 9:30”. No sooner did I say that in my mind, than he says “ start with two or three days a week”. Humpff, ok. So I chose Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Last week was a blowout (or is that bust?? FibroMind). I would remember when I was doing my afternoon prayer meditation/nap, or when I was going to bed, OR it wasn't on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday...I remembered this week, and wrote it in my planner.

Of course, being Type A, I decided to do my morning Sound Meditation after I walked my granddaughter to school, and continued on to the Post Office to mail a package (multi-tasking? - mindful? decide...). Although we live on the fringe of a Quaint New England Town, there is a lot of traffic, especially on a Monday morning. The first thoughts that went through my mind as I began to focus on the sounds around me was “how can meditating on sound while you're around traffic be mindful?” As I got away from the traffic, I began to hear the birds. There were some birds chirping on the left of me, and it sounded like another bird on the right of me chirped back; there were some other birds, I think finches, just a jabbering away. It almost sounded as if they were all scurrying to get on with their day, chirping to each other in a rushed way, kinda like the sounds I hear while my kids are getting ready for school, and we're all bustling around the house. There was also the clanging of the pully on the flag pole. I was really hoping for some different sounds that were barely noticeable, unless you were meditating on sound, but I guess it was just too busy around me.

On the way back, I continued to meditate on the sounds around me. The same birds, flagpoles, and traffic. I breathed in the crisp, fresh air and realized I was walking slower, felt a peace throughout my body, and a relaxed state of mind and body. Approaching the busy intersection, the noise of the traffic became a little louder, so I used a tactic I use with my kids when they say they don't like a person, a place, a thing, whatever. “Choose to find something good, even just one thing, in that person, place, or thing. As a truck pulled up to the stop light, I listened to the sounds the truck made. The rumble of the engine as it slowed down, the sound of the tires on the sandy road as they came to a slow stop, and that noise a large diesel truck makes when it stops, as if it is letting out a few sighs. When the light turned green and the truck began to move, there were the sounds of the engine revving up, the shifting of the gears, the power of the diesel engine as it seemed to take in deep breaths to move the truck forward, and the gears, I could hear the clicking of the gears as the driver shifted. I smiled. Listening, really listening to the sounds of the “noisy truck” put me in touch with that moment in time. Isn't that what mindful living is about? Living in the moment of time.  

Friday, February 24, 2012

Joyce Meyer Tweets - Simple But Speak Volumes

This past week I've been busy with selling ebay items, organizing papers, my husband having lapband surgery (he's doing great!), and the kids being home on school vacation, so I've been very lax with my Blog, Tweets, and Pinterest. This bothers me, just a little, because it has become part of who I am (a Blog post on that in the near future); I'm just starting to learn how to juggle it.

In the meantime, I decided to post a Blog with some of my recently favorite Joyce Meyers Tweets. Simple, but speaks volumes. Many of these “spoke” to me. I hope you find meaning, peace, understanding or something from them as well.

Let me know which ones you like the best!

If you're not taking care of your thoughts and words, then you're wide open to the enemy. (Prov 25:28)

Are you frequently frustrated, upset or misunderstood? Learn how God’s Word can provide stability in your life: (check it out!)

Let the Word of God have the final say in your decisions.

Choose to do what is right no matter how you may feel.

Coffee ~ God's Word ~ Love

Your mess can be your ministry if you’ll have a positive attitude and let everything you go through prepare you for what’s ahead.

If you're too busy for God, then it's time to change your schedule.

Everything God ever asks you to do, even if it’s difficult, He asks because He has something great in mind for you.

What costs us very little may mean a lot to someone else. Take time to bless others even in the small ways

When you stay in peace, the devil doesn't know what to do with you.

Before you judge someone else, stop and think about all that God has forgiven you for.

Happy Valentine’s Day! May God’s love mean more to you than all the flowers and chocolates in the world!

If you’re going to do anything great for God, you have to take chances. You have to be courageous!

Deposit yourself with God, trust Him to meet all your needs, and get busy loving out loud!

Ask God to fill your mouth with the words you need to say today. No issue is so small that it doesn’t require God’s wisdom.

Don't judge others. God likes variety and we've all got our own little brand of "strangeness."

Place your desires before God. Pray about them and trust God to give them to you if and when they’re right for you.

Remember to give thanks to the beautiful Artwork God Does for us~!

Monday, February 13, 2012


     A long, long time ago (when I can still remember...) when I was about 18 my love of vintage things came back to the surface. A woman I babysat for had old, colored bottles that glistened beautiful colors as they sat on the window sills in her farm house. (This was the original farm house, The Jones Farm, that our 7 acres were on) She would walk the stone wall to find the “dumping place” and there she would find these bottles. How exciting – treasure hunting for things from the past. So I found books on collecting old bottles learned a lot, started going to the local flea market, and mentioned to my mom how I'd like to sell antiques. She told me that there are people that have done that for years, and their families have been selling for years, so they have much more experience and knowledge than I do. I love my mom dearly, but my parents were definitely the realistic type. So I went to community college and became a secretary.

     Being a secretary did serve me well. I had a lot of great jobs, and built half a career in credit and collections for a large company until I became a stay at home mom when #3 arrived. I digress a lot...oooppss....anyways

     Somewhere along the line I got the bug to run a small business. Tried MLM's, direct sales, etc. and somehow I decided to sell vintage and collectible items on ebay and the flea market that just opened up in town. This led to doing a few house clean outs and going to auctions to find “stuff” to sell. That was it! I Had The Bug! I fell in love with being able to buy something at auction, or obtain it doing a house clean out and then selling it at a profit. I got to buy old “stuff”, admire it, hold it, wonder who it came from, and then make some money when I sold it. Could it get any better than that?

     We had an eclectic array of vintage items which our customers loved and each week they looked forward to seeing what new items we would bring in. Some things just had to be sold on ebay to get a better price. Along the way we met other seller's; some who were nice and taught me so much, others who were more leery in sharing their knowledge. I could spend hours going through books and researching items on line, without tiring from it (except my eyes!) Getting up each morning and being excited to get to work on my stuff was a great feeling. After three years, I found the balance of what to buy to sell, what expenses weren't needed, what Items to sell at the flea market, and which ones to sell on ebay; I had just broke even. At that time, “realistically”, I had to go back to work. Booooo!

     I never lost the yearning to go back, but with 5 kiddos, 2 grandkiddos (a husband) and working, it just wouldn't work. Now that I'm home with the Fibro, and missing my job, I'm just getting back into it. This is something that I absolutely LOVE and can do at my own pace. Even when the FM is kicking my butt, the fact that I love my “stuff”, I can push a bit to work on it, can do it at my own pace without letting anyone down, and it gives me great enjoyment and a feeling of accomplishment. Important things to a spoonie.

I Collect Mary's - She's a little chipped, but I love her colors

Blue Hamper to re-purpose

Pink Can to re-purpose
     So, back in October Shrek and I went to an estate sale. Found soooo much fun stuff! Some things for re-purposing like the vintage blue hamper, and this pink can that I have no idea what it was used for and a whole lota vintage Catholic medals, scapulars, funeral cards, statues and pictures. I Love going through the stuff. I don't usually find a strong desire to keep things; it's relatively easy for me to sell the items that I love. It took me till mid January to start writing the descriptions, and last week to take the pictures, and finally posted them on ebay last Sunday. It helps brighten my day to watch how things are going, and until I sell this stuff, I can't go to any estate sales, so even more incentive to get things rolling! Check out my “stuff” at . Ebay ID Carms47

Great Vintage Fabric~

Friday, February 10, 2012

My Cow Blankie - and How It Came To Be

     So are you ready for the Cow Blankie story? I had to take a picture of the blankie with Molly our Chihuahua because I think it's funny how she blends into the blankie. Not to mention, although she is #1's dog she has been a constant companion of mine since I started with the Fibromyalgia crap. (no #1 didn't take her when she moved, she couldn't, and if she could Molly would be lost without most of the gang; and we love the little rat!) First a little background info:  

     My dad grew up in the Bronx (b. 1919), and when he and my mom married, they moved out to the Island, Long Island, which is where I grew up. Dad's dream was to retire in the country, and about 38 years ago, he finally found the piece of country he had been searching for. He found his little piece of heaven in a little town called Stephentown, NY. While he was having the house built, we would go “upstate” on weekends from spring to fall and stay at The Broken Wheel Campground (www.BrokenWheelCampground) a few towns up in Petersburg, NY. It was a fun place with lots to do, and over the several years we camped there, I (we) made many good friends. One of those friends, Karen, and her family, actually went to the school I was going to be going to. The summer before I started my Junior year, we officially moved into the house, and Karen's mom thought it would be a good idea if Karen introduced me to one of her friends who would be on my bus, so I know someone my first day of school. The person she introduced me to became one of my bestest friends; her name is Colleen. We've been friends for 34 years (she hates when I put a number on it, but I think it is so cool!)

      Now, keep in mind, I grew up on Long Island, a suburb. Paved roads, neighbors less than an acre away, you didn't know everyone in the town, there was a McDonalds, people had dogs and cats (a few people had horses); I played curb ball, flipped baseball cards, kickball in the street and road my bike through many different neighborhoods (yes, come to think of it we had neighborhoods!) This was all I knew for 16 years of my life. Our new house was settled on 7 acres of “farm land” at the base of a mountain; the view was magnificent. We did have neighbors, but there was quite a bit of distance between the houses. About a mile up the road, one of the locals raised pigs, and sometimes you'd have to wait for the pigs to cross the road before you could continue on the road. As a matter of fact, a lot of the families in these neighboring towns had farms or animals they raised for their own food.

     Colleen lived on a dirt road that connected to two main “routes”. The street was named after her family – imagine that; cool thing #1 in my mind! Cool thing #2 was on her property she had cows, a lot of them, and a little pony named Suzie. This was so far from the land where I grew up. I thought it was amazing; it was a whole different way of living, and I was mesmerized by all of it.

     It didn't take long for me and Colleen to become good friends. We talked the whole way to school, had lunch together, stayed after school for sports, went to eachother's lockers, and all the fun stuff that goes along with being a teen girl. It was during one of those “at your locker” conversations that I popped the question. Mid stream through a whole different conversation, I very seriously asked her “Is it fun owning cows? I was dead serious! What was it like? I mean, not that cows do anything, you don't let them come into your house like a dog or cat, but really, what was it like? Do I have to tell you that she BURST INTO LAUGHTER. Well she did. She thought it was the funniest thing, something that she took for granted, that she lived with everyday of her life, I found very intriguing. And so it goes, and so it goes, we have a thing for cows. I can never find anything “unique”, and don't want to just get her any ole' cow, and she seems to find the coolest stuff like the cow salt and pepper shakers she gave me, the cow card she sent me, and of course, my cow blankie that she made me (could it be the fact that she grew up with them in her back yard?). She told me that every time I'm using it, I can think of her and her son giving me a hug. And believe me, I do! 

       One last thing I'd like to add: She's my little Sis! She never had an older sister, and I never had a younger sister, so we decided many years ago to become sisters. She's the one person I can tell everything to, the one I can cry to, the one who's always there to support me no matter what life throws me. I Love her!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why I Love My Shrek

      Yesterday, on the way to taking him to work (because I needed the truck, Yuck), Shrek not only got me a Starbucks coffee, he got me a surprise – a brownie. He said “Last night you said you wanted a heart with chocolate (boxed heart, valentines day), so I figured I'd get you a brownie as a stop gap before next week”. He's so awkwardly cute! I Love him!

      Yes, I call my hubby Shrek. Why? Well if you've been around him a while, you'd get the picture, but here goes...He's big and strong. There are times when he gives me a hug and literally he takes my breath away because he hugs too hard (he says he was barely squeezing). He doesn't know his own strength, as several of my children can attest to: I think it was #2, when she was 4 or so, she had a rope tied onto a Big Wheel. He would hold the end and she would ride as fast as she could and just as she was coming to the end of the rope, he would “tug” on it – needless to say it didn't take long for her to flip over. Then there was the time at Santa Land, in the playground is a “swinging gate”.   He swung and swung #1 and the next thing I know, she's holding on to the top of the gate and her feet are in the air! And of course, we can't forget about the time he was throwing the kids into the pool, and by the time he got to #5, she was the lightest, and ooooppppsss...she almost made it completely to the other side of the pool.

      All in fun, and he reminds me that's why I married him, because he brought fun back into my life, and he did. You know the saying “You end up not liking them for the same reason you fell in love with them”. So now, I take my mind back to the days (when things were more simple) and remember why I fell in love with him, and I am falling in love with him all over again.

      Now back to the “Shrek” Thing: In the first Shrek, when Shrek and Fiona were walking in the field and she bumped into him, and he bumped back...but a little too hard; I know there's more examples in all of the Shrek movies, but I can't remember them due to the FibroFog. Anyways, he's just a big ole' “ogre”. He can look big and tough, but he's the sweetest man around and he can just be very silly. He says things just like Shrek “Better out than in I always say”. He's still doing the fart jokes and silly sayings like “up your but and around the corner”; where did that one come from anyway? And singing with grandchild 2A “I'm gonna party with my friend Marty, who likes to farty”.... the kids love it; I roll my eyes.

      When it all comes down to it he just reminds me of Shrek; the big ole' Ogre, who once you get to know is a very kind-hearted person who loves more deeply than he shows. I, of course, am his Fiona. When he calls me, a picture of Shrek comes up and the ring tone is “Then I saw her face, now I'm a believer”. He has a picture of Fiona for me when I call; I can't remember my ring tone. Now the grand kids call him Papa Shrek – LOL. Gotta love it and HIM! That's why I married him twice. This picture of Shrek and Fiona was  colored by a teen friend of ours and given to us in a frame when we renewed our vows in the church. I LOVE it!

P.S. This morning as he left for work, he put my “cow blankie” over me. It is a blanket my best friend (yes, at 50 I have a best friend!) made me. The “cow” part is a long standing joke, but....that's another story.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Trip to My Happy Place, The Bleu Willow – Fall 2010

     One Sunday, Beckie, Lilly and I went on a road trip. I wanted to go to one of my favorite stores, the one that brings me to “My Happy Place”, The Bleu Willow. It is a 30 minute drive down Route 10/202 through Westfield, Southwick, Granby, and into Simsbury. I told Beckie it wasn't a clothing or shoe store, it was one of my favorite types of places, you know chippy furniture, fun vintage things, and we can stop anywhere she wanted to, along the way.  She laughed and gave me that "Okay, Mom", that we all know.

     One of the things me and my girls love about road trips together is the time we spend together in the car. The destination is the reason we’re on the trip, but the whole trip becomes a memorable experience that is always filled with lots of talk, laughter, and fun. One of the first “funny” conversations we had was about how St. Mary’s Cemetery in Westfield is Haunted.

 “Really? How do you know?” asked Beckie. Well of course, “Because I found it listed on a website, and Kate said it was.” Now mind you, Lilly (age 5) is in the back seat listening. So I suggested, maybe, if we feel like it when we get back, we can go take a walk through the cemetery. Of course Beckie agreed, and then Lilly pipes in “we’re going to walk through a cemetery with ghosts?”. Beckie and I exchange glances at each other, and I turn to peak at Lilly; she appears a little perplexed. So I proceed to tell her, yes, it’s lots of fun (for those of you who don’t know yet, I love, and have always loved cemeteries, but that’s another story), and you don’t have to worry about the ghosts. Just like there's good people and bad people, there are good ghosts and bad ghosts, but mostly good. And anyway, if a ghost is bothering you, all you have to do is say “I believe in God and you can’t touch me!”. She’s says “Oh, because they have no arms.” I was cracking up over that. Here I go on this big thing about don’t be afraid, God can protect you, and she, very simply, goes right to the obvious. Too precious, and was just the beginning of our day of fun.
        Our first stop was to Salmon Brook Antiques. I first visited this antique shop somewhere around 1998. It is a consignment shop for antiques, so there is plenty of variety, from vintage jewelry and buttons to vintage toys and china. An eclectic mix of new and old bookshelves, glass cases, and tables creates nooks and cranny’s for visitors to explore (don’t we all just love treasure hunting in the nooks and cranny’s?!). Beckie and I started off by going to the left, making sure Lilly knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she was to hold one of our hands, and was NOT to touch ANYTHING! (It’s great that she listens and abides by those rules, and will ask if she can touch something, or asks us to go see something she wants to see, which means more fun for me, because I love to share this time with her and hopefully creating lasting memories for her.) Before I knew it, Beckie and Lilly had disappeared; apparently off hunting in another area of the store, and I thought “oh good, she’s exploring”. I continued on around the perimeter, into one back room, and around to the middle. As I admired all the vintage dishes, pictures, and linens, I soon found myself just gazing over the objects. There were a few things that caught my attention, like the little plastic baggies of vintage buttons priced at $1, or the iron stage coach toy, that I wondered if it was a good buy to resell. And then, from another back room, Beckie and Lilly came strolling over, she found some really fun stuff to look at, we finished our browsing and were ready to head over to the candle store which was just a few steps away. (But not before Lilly asked to go see a doll, just one more time.)
          As we walked into the shop, we were instantly met with the smell of scented candles and a lovely woman who owns the shop with her husband. We slowly walked through the store looking at the wonderful array of candles, enjoying the scents along the way. The woman gave Lilly a bag with some matches and an information sheet, and told her she could go over to the table of votive candles and pick out one candle on “her”, any scent she liked. Lilly was in her Glory, and we immediately headed over to the table, after a quick detour, per Lilly, to check out the Christmas Tree. We walked around the table, she picked up different colored candles and smelled them, and eventually settled on a “freesia” candle. The woman also came to Beckie and said she could choose a candle, as well, and proceeded to tell us that she and her husband bought the shop and all the recipes 8 years ago. Her husband makes the candles, and she works in the store. She is such a lovely person who truly loves what she does and loves to share it with others.

     We continued to drive through to Simsbury, checking out the artistic horse figures displayed at various stores along the way. We noticed several little café’s that looked like they would be fun to try; not the usual chain store café, but the quaint, cozy type of café. Both of us had our heads moving from side to side, so as not to miss an interesting stop, when Beckie noticed an old cemetery that gracefully spanned a gentle hillside. “Maybe we can stop there on our way back?”, she asked. Absolutely, was my reply! And then …

Front Porch of
     There it was, The Bleu Willow.  Oddly, I am a little nervous, a little excited, and a little impatient, as I waited for Lilly to unbuckle and get out of the car….and then the three of us ran to the steps of the store. As I walked up the porch steps, I lingered, looking at the weathered and weathering candelabras, bird cages, and metal boxes; I didn’t want this moment to slip by, I wanted to savor every step, every object. I opened the door and instantly, I was in My Happy Place. We all walked to the left, into the first room; there is so much to behold. I just stood there taking it all in, when Beckie calls me over to look at these vintage glasses she found on a chippy vanity covered with all kinds of white, vintage, romantic bits of everything. She looks at me and whispers in a secretive, hurried voice “can I put these on?”, “will you take my picture” (we're looking for the picture). I replied in like whisper, “Well, yeah, will they fit your face, will you stretch them?”. She got her “phone” ready for me to take the picture, checked that the glasses would fit on her face without stretching them, she looked at herself in the mirror, laughed, turned to me, and I quickly took the picture. We both just started cracking up! They were that vintage blue, cat’s eye shape, with rhinestones on the wing of the “cat eye” part. 

      How Fun! Lilly was begging me to look at the “Queen Crowns” she found, and then the “King Crown”, and then…”the princess crown”; she was having just as much fun with all of this old, romantic “stuff”. We wound our way , this way, and that way through the store looking at all of the unique items in the store, ranging from cottage style décor to altered art objects de’ art. In the back corner of the store, Lilly says “nana, a bathroom”, so naturally I said “Do you have to go”; “no”, she says, “I don’t think you can use it”. Now I am really confused. What on earth is she talking about? Well I looked into the bathroom, and it is just as quaint and adorable as the rest of the store (if not more so). So I walked in with her, shut the door and said, “So, do you have to go”. “No”, she replied; so I asked “then why are we in here”. She just wanted to look at all the neat things in there. She was completely captured in the moment. I can tell we are going to have many more of these trips together, because she enjoys this “stuff” just as much as I do.

     At this point, we are all a little weary, as we head back towards home, but there is that walk through the cemetery that we still want to do, and we did!  But I'll save that for another story.

Monday, February 6, 2012

YES! I Love My Pink Home (Clutter and All!)

Warning !  Images Include Clutter and Evidence of a very Busy Home

 Thanks to a twitter friend, who posted on “Do You Love Your Home? I Do! Lets Talk”, I was reminded of how I wanted to share how much I LOVE My Home. Although there's a lot, and I mean a lot, that really needs to be updated on it. As you can well imagine, with the craziness of a household with 5 kids, 2 significant others, 2 grand kids, 3 cats, one dog, a “spoonie” mom and a dad, coming and going, not a whole lot gets done. That fact absolutely drives me crazy, but I know some day, the house will get quiet (we're almost there!) and I will miss this crazy mess.

      We moved to this quaint New England town about 17 years ago, and I remember driving past this house almost every day (it's on a main route). It spoke to me, if you know what I mean. At that time, the shingles were a dark brown. The house kinda looked mysterious, which is probably what drew me to it. Little did I know, 13 years later, we would be moving into this home, which is now painted PINK! (The picture on top of my blog is my home during spring)

      I remember the first day we looked at the house with the realtor. I had butterflies in my stomach as I walked up the stairs to the wide, wrap around Victorian porch; I went slow, took in every detail, savored every moment. I could not believe we were even considering purchasing this home. I was already in love with it; I was in love with it 13 years before.

      The house is 114 years old, and has every bit of character you could imagine, including an invisible guest who is very respectful. Original wood flooring; the old wibbely, wobbly windows; tin ceiling in the kitchen; pipes that bubble and glurp when the washing machine is going, 5 bedrooms (one even has a fireplace in it!) and a bathroom on the 2nd floor; a full stair case up to the 3rd floor, aka, the attic, where there is a large loft area, 1 bedroom, and a bathroom.

Kitchen looking in from back door - Tin Ceiling and Stairs on the left lead to Foyer

Looking in from the LR Entrance

Looooong Livingroom

Dining Room at Thanksgiving

Two-Way Stairs - Into the Foyer and into the Kitchen

Foyer - With built in original bench and front door - DR to the left and LR to the right
When # 1 and 1A moved out in August, my husband and I moved up to the third floor. It is my serenity. As I said before, a lot of work needs to be done, and I'm tempted to post some of the yucky pictures, that way, you can journey with me as we are able to decorate and update. I think I'll post some of the nice pictures first, then some of they yucky ones. Even with the many projects ahead of us, and the clutter from 8 people, I walk around this home and feel like we are meant to be here.
Stairs to attic - mid rennovation

Daughter 1 repainted this room.  This is the front window top left.

She did a great job on that room; it is now my craft room, and i'll post a picture when I get some more cleaning done up here.  I cannot find any of our first pictures which showed the front of the house a little better than the one at the top.  But here's a picture of the back!

Do you Love Your Home? Please share!

Friday, February 3, 2012

One of the Most Important Things I Do For My Fibromyalgia

     Of course, I have my Primary Care Dr., whom I Love; he has been very helpful, calm and understanding. He was the first to diagnose me, put me on the right type of medication which, for the most part, has the pain controlled, but not the complete exhaustion and fatigue. The Rhematologist was useless, as was the “quack” neurologist who seemed to dismiss some of what I said, and basically ignored the rest of what I said. (Yes, I'm going to be looking for a new one real soon.) But, one suggestion from my PC has led me to one of the most important things I do to deal with my Fibromyalgia and all that comes with it.

My Counselor!

     Mr. M. is awesome. He is an LICSW, and has been counseling our family on and off for the past 13 years. I was first sent to him to see if I was “depressed”. I really didn't think I was depressed, I had been before; this was different, but who am I to say, let's check it all out. Mr. M. didn't really think I was depressed either, stressed, yes, but not depressed. So we worked on ways to manage the stress. Daily meditation, which I know worked for me in the past, but having someone to hold me accountable (in my mind, not his) was very helpful. It took a few weeks before I could stop most of the mind wandering, but as he explained it's part of the cycle – acknowledge it and let it go. He has taught me to do the same when I get frustrated with my foggy brain, pain, not being able to do what I used to do. Acknowledge the thought and let it go.

     Like most people with Fibromyalgia, I don't want people to feel sorry for me, just understand and accept me as I am. I try to keep a smile on my face, a positive attitude and a kind heart towards helping others. As you all know, it is not that easy, we have to work at it. Mr. M. has helped me with that too. Being “Mindful”; Living “Mindfully”. What is being “Mindful” and Living “Mindfully”? To me, it is slowing down, thinking about what I am doing, and being “present” in that specific moment. One example he gave me that really brings it down to basics was when a woman told him that when her phone rings at work, she stops what she is doing, takes a breath, and answers the phone. In that moment that's what she was focusing on—the person on the other end of the line.

     How else can you “Live Mindfully”?
  • Don't multi-task – be mindful in the one thing you are doing
  • When you take a walk, don't talk on your cell phone; notice what's around you. A squirrel, a flock of finches on the bare branches of a bush, feel the air on your face. You know that age old saying “Stop and Smell the Roses”? Take it literally; maybe not every day, but once a week?
  • Stop what you're doing and listen to the person talking to you. Be fully present with them.

     It's hard today, to do this. We are always being asked to do more, but eventually, it wears you out. This is especially true for people with chronic illnesses. I used to think I had to do it all, be super woman, and my husband asked “why?”; I said “Because I have to”. Let me tell you – NO YOU DON'T. It's really okay if the laundry doesn’t get folded, or if your kids do their own laundry and they don't separate it. Life is for Living (“Mindfully”).

     The most recent thing I learned from Mr. M. this week was when you can't keep your normal schedule of balancing and pacing your days (let's face it, life is unpredictable, whether you have a chronic illness or not!), to do what you can, when you can. If you have to “shut down” and meditate in the car, then that's where you do it. In between appointments or carting the kids, take ten minutes to just be. I've even “shut down” in a doctors waiting room. It's a little embarrassing when they call your name and you're a little out of it, but even that few minutes can help you maintain some sort of balance. It's like the best way to eat healthy and keep your metabolism going is to eat a lot of small meals through out the day. It's the same thing with meditating or being mindful; if you have to, do it in small chunks of time throughout the day.

     These three things have helped me avoid the push and crash cycle that we know all to well. Sometimes it's inevitable; you have to push, and then you crash. For me that's around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I keep working hard at maintaining balance. When I find it difficult to maintain the balance, keep my spirits up, help me put words on what I'm having trouble with, or to be reminded that it's not all in my head, there is Mr. M. to help me through it. I strongly encourage anyone, but especially those with chronic illnesses to find a counselor. It has been one of the biggest things that has helped me with this crazy thing they call Fibromyalgia.