The Joy of No

Every time I take any kind of personality assessment, I always get told I’m a people pleaser.  The type that puts everyone else first.  The girl at a party that spends the whole time making sure everyone else has fun, even if she’s not the host.  The person who says yes to last-minute changes/requests, even when it impacts her plans.

That’s the same type girl who resents feeling used.  Taken advantages of.  Taken for granted.

That’s the same person that doesn’t ever seem to hear “Thank you” or “I’m sorry for yelling at you when I was stressed out at everyone else” or “I really appreciate you”.

I really really am awful with personal boundaries, both creating and enforcing them.

When asked a question, or to do something for someone else if it’s going to make me feel bad that I said yes, I’m trying to say no.

Often I say yes to accommodating others, instantly.  Instead , I’m making myself think about it and really reflect upon if I want to… or if I just want to say yes to make someone else happy.

The reason this is such a problem for me is that I take it personally that people abuse me in this way… EVEN THOUGH I AM THE ONE LETTING IT CONTINUE.

My feelings are hurt when a neighbor asks me to help out and they know I have guests coming.  I say well I have guests coming…  And I get the response “I only need this and this and that”… I end up saying yes, but I’m so angry at them for thinking it’s okay to add to a plate that is already filled.

My feelings are hurt when I am going out of my way to be extra helpful at an event, and when the host cracks under the pressure and I’m there, being Helpful Hannah, I get yelled at… I just want to scream “I didn’t have to help you, I didn’t have to make this day extra special, no one else is doing this for you!!”.

I’m practicing the process of thinking about each action I do for everyone else and thinking about what my real motives are and how I will feel if they are not appreciated.

I’m practicing thinking if saying yes will overwhelm me, and what the downside of saying no could be.

I tend to be an extremist…

If I don’t go the extra mile no one will like me.  If I don’t always say yes, they will say no when I really need their help.

If someone doesn’t like me for not going the extra mile every.single.time, do I really want/need them in my life? NO.

If they aren’t willing to help because I had to honor my own needs once or twice, am I really at a loss if they don’t help me anymore?  NO.

I’m embracing the joy of saying no.  Of owning my time, my space and my life.  One simple No at a time.

Dominate 30

I’m not certain how best to start in, so I’ll dive in and see where it takes me…

Since we got home from our last Vermont vacation, I went from being somewhat depressed to being pretty full on debilitated by it.  I always assumed my lows in life was normal for people who complained of depression.  I am here to say that is not the case, not the case at all.  If you’re depressed like I have been since July… and honestly if you look at it more critically, I have been depressed growing more so steadily for a couple of years now, it’s a whole different ballgame.  It truly wiped me out.  I had nothing to give, day in and day out.  I never recovered day-to-day.  Not emotionally, not mentally and not physically.  I hid in books all day.  I would waste time with TV.  I didn’t have it in me to take care of myself and barely took care of our home.  Hubs was the same loving, kind man he always is, but I know he was frustrated.  After a very.. Let’s call it… tense… phone call with my mother, I decided it was time to ask for help in a new way.  About a month ago I started a low-level of an antidepressant.  It’s the hardest decision because it makes me feel weak, and like something is broken in me that I couldn’t fix it with other means.  I know I am not weak, and I know I really did all I could; but sometimes emotions and logic go to war.

And then my 30th birthday happened.

At the end of September, beginning of October I started writing in my journals again, both a stream of consciousness one, a gratitude/positivity one.  The morning of my birthday (October 20th) I sat down with my journal.  I had gotten up earlier than Hubs with that intent.

I realized this entire past year has been a haze of disappointment and of me being disconnected from the world.  I have been so disconnected from my life that it’s almost like this past year didn’t happen.  I haven’t achieved a lot of the goals I had for myself.  I haven’t stayed focused, or to be honest, cared about them for most of the year.  I think 29 will stay in my mind as the year I can’t believe really happened because I wasn’t really present for it.  It amazes me that while I have been so checked out, I have still built my business and had time to make some great new friendships this past year.  I guess that happened while I wasn’t paying attention!

And as I sat there on the morning of my 30th birthday, I realized, I didn’t want to say that ever again.  I don’t want to wish any more time away.  I can not tell you how happy it made me to realize I actually cared about my future again.

I’ve been making up for lost time too!

We had a party (this was planned before I became determined to take my life back) and had so many many lovely people in our home.  It was wonderful and I can’t thank everyone from our wine group enough!

We went to the Roanoke Go Outside! Festival Sunday.  If you didn’t manage to make it there this year, please please please go next year!  It’s free to attend, most of the stuff inside is free… And they had dock diving dogs.  I mean, what’s better than that?!?  I think next year, even if we’re not still in Virginia, I’d like to come back and camp out (also fo free…  You may assume anytime that I say the words for free, I am thinking of this clip, thank you)… I kept telling Hubs I felt happier than I had in years.
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Sunday we noticed how very nice and lean all the dogs there were… Which was a striking to Theron. He’s down 6 lbs, but still has 15 to go.  I volunteered to take him walking more.  So Monday we took a morning walk, I had a client, we took a lunch time walk (on the Greenway – Hubs’ suggestion!) and an evening walk on the Greenway (all three of us!) before Hubs went to basketball.

Tuesday I took my first ever solo hike… Well, Handsome Dog was with me, but I think it still counts!  That hike marked a few other firsts…  Like the first time I have been all alone peeing in the woods.  And the first time I’ve been able to hike in the gorgeous Virginia fall.  And fastest time I’ve had ascending and descending Mill Mountain!  Theron’s quite the little pace setter.

Mill Mountain Hike www.findingtimetobreathe.wordpress.com

I even walked on the Greenway with Hubs and the adventure dog last night!  I am so glad Hubs reminded me of the Greenway.  It’s such a nice change of pace from the neighborhood.

I just can’t tell you how amazing it feels to have rejoined the life of the living.  To actually have it in me to live my life, instead of walking around like a shell of a human struggling with a dark time of the soul.  I haven’t posted anything about feeling on the other side of my sadness because I have spent each day the past month or so waiting for this alive feeling to drop out from under me, and to be replaced with that miserable, lonely, detached feeling again.

Instead of being sad to be 30, I am so ready to take on this year with all the vigor I can muster!!  Here’s to being 30!!!  Bring on the best year yet!!!!  I’m ready to dominate it!

8 Years.

The silver lining of this derecho and the power issues is that Hubs’ work had no power yesterday so we had the day off together!!

We puttered around (I did ironing, laundry, etc.  He couponed or rebated or something).  Hit up Walmart for a new bottom for some tankini tops my little sister gave me (Thank god for whomever decided to make the tankini.).  I bought some new running shoes, and a new pair of flipflops and Hubs got a pair of sandals.  We had really great grilled veggies for dinner, and rounded the day out with bringing the RiverDog (Theron) down the Greenway into the river.

Today I am a little bummed… Tower’s shopping center has power back (per facebook, not personally confirmed) which makes it likely, very likely that Hubs’ work will have power today, and he will have to work.  I was hoping SO MUCH that he wouldnt’ have to…

You see, 8 years ago today was the start of what we have now… I’ve spent 8 years with the same man…  Fallen in love more, and to be honest less at times… but we’re still here…  And we’re talking about me!!!  The quintessential wild child.  The girl who no one thought would settle down, not for lack of trying, I always was seeming to pursue someone… but I couldn’t contain that wild streak…  If you ever meet me in real life… The stories I could tell you… I promise they back this claim up and then some. 🙂

But here we are… 8 years later…  And on July 5th, it will be 4 years of wedlock.  (I love that word!) Holy crap where does the time go?!?

Happy Anniversary Love.  🙂
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And the winds howled…

Friday night we discovered the amazingness that is BBC’s Sherlock Holmes.  We watched the first episode on Netflix…  It was about 9:00pm.  Hubs immediately queued up the second episode… while I poured beers from the kegerator (You know what makes Keystone Light not so bad?? Lime juice…  Love it.)…

Our kegerator is located in what we fondly call the Butler’s Pantry…. In reality it’s the “eat in kitchen” aspect of our kitchen.  It has enough space for MAYBE a bistro table, and it has our pantry and fridge in it.  The kegerator sits in an old sealed up doorway.  If you are facing the kegerator, pouring beer like I was Friday evening your back is to the door to the back yard.

The door to the backyard is mostly glass.  I love being able to see out easily.  Our backyard has a 6 foot dog-eared privacy fence around it… and in the back is a small strip of undeveloped land with HUGE oaks, and locusts, and just a lot of big trees.  Most of the yards near us on our side of the street also have an oak or magnolia.  I would guesstimate that our oaks are about 50+ years old.  Very tall, very majestic, very scary.  Since they are older, when it just gets a little windy I get nervous one might fall!!

So as I was saying, I was pouring cheap beer with lime for us, and I heard noises in the backyard like nothing I’ve ever heard before.  I opened the door and stepped out and it was insane.  I wish I took a video…  I couldn’t tell if we were in the middle of a tornado, or if it was about to hail…  I yelled to Hubs and he came to see what the commotion was all about.

We stood out there for about 2 minutes in awe of mother nature.  There was lightning every once in a while… but the wind was HORRIFIC.  It felt like that scene in the Wizard of Oz when the tornadoes were coming.  After those 2 minutes of watching the wind move the tops of those oaks around just as easy as if you ran your hands on the petals of a flower… We realized how insanely scary it was and how STUPID we were to be outside in it.  We found the cat and dog and hunkered down in the basement.  Smores, the crazy adventure  cat, kept trying to escape….

We hunkered down in the basement for about 50 minutes of horrific windstormage.  At first power would go on and then off, on and then off, then finally off for good.  Thank god for cell phones, because i was able to call my mom up in VT and get the scoop on the storm.

When it all was over, it was cooler and calmer…  We ventured out, leaving the animals safe in the basement.  We checked on our neighbors; made sure everyone was okay.  Had an impromptu block party. 🙂  We all agreed, no one had seen anything like it before.

I had assumed, incorrectly, that power would be back on in a few hours… Since it was in the 100’s Friday and again yesterday, I was miserable.  I am not built for the heat!!!   I figured we  would open the windows, go to bed, wake up and turn the central air back on and all would be good…  Besides at almost mid-night when we finally got ready to go to bed it had cooled down to the high-70’s…  And I could almost stand the heat.

About 4 am I woke up freaking out about the quarter of a cow in our upright freezer.   I was hatching plans to figure out how to save it.  I was freaking out about the food in the refrigerator.  I just was freaking out in general.

I tried to shut my brian off, but at 4:45 I threw in the towel and got up.

I was up with the sunrise… I walked the dog early in the “cool” of the morning… We surveyed the damage in the ‘hood.  Amazingly enough, we didn’t see any trees through houses or cars, or fires, or anything.  We saw a TON of trees down, but they hit porches, or fell in the road.

In fact, our neighbor was the closest call.
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She had 6 trees down!  All of which came up by the roots.  They destroyed her corn circles, and her inflatable above ground pool… some of the branches landed on her deck… But there was no damage to the deck.  The tips of the tree closest to the house are actually touching the house, but no damage!  Her deck umbrella even somehow avoided decimation.

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While walking I realized we needed to get ice, fast.  I wasn’t going to lose  $400 of good beef, and a couple hundred dollars in other freezer items…  I also realized that the main road we live off of had power.  Weird right?  So it ended up the 7-11 had ice, and THANK THE LORD THEY HAD COFFEE!!  Mindy operating on 4 hours of sleep, in the heat…. Coffee wasn’t optional. 🙂  We snagged 6 bags of ice to keep the freezer filled downstairs  and put bowls of ice in our fridge to keep it cold.  Hubs, of course, had to put extra ice in the kegerator.  Priorities Folks, priorities.

I kept checking AEP’s website, hoping for updates.  Everything looked bad, really bad… This wasn’t just a “little wind”…. It was a wind storm that was traveling across states…  There ended up with half a million people without power.  Crazy.  Needless to say, we had little hope in our hearts of having electricity back for a few days.

I’m a Vermonter… I can totally be prepared for ice storms, snow storms, those sorts of things that can put you down and out without electricity… No electricity in the summer with record temperatures…  It’s a whole new ball game!!  Having camped a lot growing up, we both were very happy to grill breakfast before heading out for the day.  It’s amazing what you will come up with when pressed!

We had purchased tickets to head to Franklin County to the Strings & Spirits (on Saturday)… We already spent the $40  for two tickets…  And we weren’t going to get power back by hoping and dreaming… so we set out a ton of water in the basement for the dog & cat and away we went.
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If you are local and didn’t check this out yesterday… You really missed out!!  I’ll do a separate review of the event later this week.  I will say this, I had an outstanding time and it completely distracted us from the thought of losing all that beef (YES, I was obsessed with losing all that meat!!!).

And lo and behold… when we walked in to our house after sitting in a field for hours in the baking hot sun, there was airflow inside the house.

We had power!

THANK YOU AEP!  That totally exceeded our hopes and dreams…  Also… The beef was saved. 🙂

Poop Patrol

Theron’s been having some serious breathing problems.  His tongue’s been turning purplish.  Even my cousin Dustin noticed it when we were home…. I say that like it’s shocking… but Dustin’s a dog person, so that’s not shocking… The fact that someone who’s seen Theron 3x in Theron’s life would notice that made me realize I wasn’t just “imagining” it worse than it is.

Last week when we got back to Virginia, I set up his annual visit for August, and figured I could always bring him in before that if I got more worried.

He’s been coughing for a few months… almost like dry heaving.  And for a really long time he’s had spells of extremely heavy breathing that we attributed to his hips bothering him.

I just couldn’t shake the feeling something was wrong.  Not only was all that going on, but he was having doggie diarrhea (Gross I know!) daily for about a week and a half… which is not normal for him.  I had been trying to be frugal like the Husband and not bring the dog in more than we had to… but I couldn’t do it.  I told Hubs I was bringing Theron in because he was worth more to me than the vet bill.  I stood my ground…  Hubs said he was surprised it took me so long to bring him in!!

We had an appointment on Tuesday at 11:30.  The doggie doc was alarmed at the breathing problems and the blue/purple tongue thing.  She said that he was not getting enough oxygen.

He went off to X-Ray… and when they came back there was what looked like a piece of metal in his esophagus, a lot of debris in his stomach (looked like cat litter), and a lot of infection in his chest cavity.  The vet decided to send the X-Rays off for a second opinion before treatment.

The radiologist surmised the piece of metal was actually in the top of Theron’s GI tract and should pass.  The infection in his lung cavity area was probably causing the breathing problems and needed to be treated.  The cat litter hopefully would pass.  He got an antibiotic and something to help with his stomach issues.  The vet also asked us to check his poop for evidence of stuff passing.

Wednesday evening, when I walked him, I found some shale-like rocks in his ummm remnants… So I am hoping that’s what the metal object was… and I’ve been finding kitty litter in his ummm remnants….

I also think they neighborhood probably has voted me sketchiest dog owner… because I mean honestly… who sits there and feels up their dog’s poop (It’s in the bag, I’m not doing it with my bare hands thank you very much)…. and then looks joyful at discovering stuff in it?!?  WEIRDO!!!

We’re hoping that his breathing will get better and he’ll pass all this junk in his stomach….  Keep your fingers crossed!!

Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone. ~G.B. Stern

Today I am trying to focus on the good, and letting Hubs process all my (I-want-to-move-home) issues and how he feels about them.  In light of that, this will be an edition of Thankfulness Thursday!!  Hooray!

  • I am thankful for these fur-faces…  Smores only LOOKS mean, I think she’s mad because I’m not letting her eat more houseplants today.  This morning she got sick off of them and Hubs had to clean it up… Oh yah, I’m thankful Hubs found the cat puke not me!!
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Smores – The Mean Faced Defender of the House

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Lazy Dog Bones

  • I’m thankful for having indoor (working) plumbing… This summarizes it quite nicely.

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  • I am psyched that I remembered to charge my mp3 players yesterday… One is fully loaded with audio-books, the other is currently kickin out some Bob Marley… Either way… Theron’s walk in a few is going to be much less boring!!
  • I am thankful for the gym equipment in our basement.  I would really like to ignore it and not work-out… but that’s not doing anything for my health. 😦  So thank you gym equipment for removing my excuses, I sure do hate love you!
  • I am SO AMAZINGLY thankful for Hubs’ body accepting his new medication.  Generic 30 day supply = $11.45… making a three-month total $34.35 (Yes, I did store away my math brain when I left the bank… I used a calculator to calculate that…. pathetic!)…. The same meds in their non-generic form… $579 for a three-month supply.  Ouch!!
  • I’m thankful for people who can understand my plight, and are willing to offer support.  Life’s easier when you don’t feel alone!!
  • I’m thankful for Tommie Copper.  His little gloves make my hands stronger and more resilient… I have them in size small, and they seem the right tightness, but the fingers are not quite long enough… Phone call to them today for sure, but even if it’s my only option, it makes a WORLD of difference!!!
  • And finally, I am thankful for my dishwasher.  Said hands can’t handle doing all those dishes.  Hooray for modern conveniences.

What are you thankful for???