Routine

Well, vacation is over, I’m back home and going back to work shortly. Reality is setting in and I’m checking out mentally and emotionally. Why? I’m just at that vacation hangover stage. I spent so much energy while I was away that I honestly have nothing left. I haven’t had time to recharge before going back to work and back to all that is expected of me, but that is fine, that is what being an adult is right? Doing what needs to be done even when all you really want to do is stay in bed, with the possibility of blanket forts?
I’m okay being back to the grind as they might say. I do enjoy my job, I’m just tired. What I’m mostly ready to get back into is my routine, or at least trying to figure out what that routine is. There are many things that I feel need to be done in a day, or a week. I’m still working on figuring out how to get all of these things done as often as I’d like. I feel like this is something that I struggle with often and am the most verbal about. I’m not good at balancing my life, which is why when things start to get to be too much I just give up and break down. I just stop, and that is the point I’ve been at for the past few months. I haven’t made much effort to figure any of this out, even though I have wanted to do it. I just do things whenever the mood strikes me, and while that doesn’t really seem like a bad thing the honest truth is that the mood doesn’t strike me very often. More often than not I procrastinate until I have limited or no time left to do any of the things that I want and that makes me frustrated and want to not do it at all. So yeah, that is a nice cycle I have myself in.
I wasn’t really here to talk about any of that, but if you have read any of my past posts, you realize that I write about whatever happens to be on my mind that day. Which is another thing that I’ve been trying to change. I’d love to be able to schedule blog posts and then just write the ‘off the cuff’ ones as the need arises. That’d have me posting more than once a week and I’d really like that, however, that, like most other things in my life right now, requires me to get this damn routine or schedule figured out. One of these days I’ll know what I’m doing. I even have a tracker in my bullet journal that is supposed to be helping me stay on the right path. Really all it has done is show me how little I’m doing of the things that I want to do (that sentence was painful for me to write).
So what are my plans to figure it out now and why is it going to be different than it has been so far? Well, hell if I know. Right now I’m just in the planning stage of this idea. I’m trying to figure out what I’ve done wrong so I can figure out how to do it right this time. I am going to assume one of the first things that I need to do is get on the right sleep schedule so that I’m able to plan out the rest of my day accordingly. For example, today I got up a half hour earlier than I normally would. This allowed for me to get my coffee made, journal, and even write this, which normally I’d not have time to do this part. So, if I continue to get up 30 minutes early, that will allow me time to work on my blog every day, and that is something that I’d really love to be able to do. And today at lunch I will do my best to get my reading in, which is what I’ve been doing up to this point (minus vacation, of course). And after work, well that will be cooking, writing, working out time. And then once all that is done, I can try to fit in whatever other less important things I want to do with my day, before crashing hopefully by midnight. Then repeat tomorrow. I guess that sounds like I have some sort of idea on what I’m going to do. Which is more or less what I’ve tried to do in the past, but procrastinated my way through it.
I guess that means the key to this isn’t the schedule, but actually sticking to it. I will have to do my best to try and do that. What are you suggestions for keeping a routine? Any tips or tricks that might help me?

Obligatory Vacation Post

I’ve been on vacation since Saturday, which, if you haven’t already guessed is the reason why my normal Sunday post hasn’t happened yet. I might not even make it on time for this upcoming Sunday’s post. You’ll survive, I’m sure.
I had all these visions of what my vacation was going to be: a little visiting with family and friends, a little time out with the husband, and a lot of reading and writing. Well, I’ve done the visiting, I’ve done the time with family and friends, which seems never-ending at this point, and I’ve even been able to read a bit, but this is the first time I’ve written more than a journal entry. Yeah, I guess I have had the time to do it, if you count the times I’ve ended up falling asleep before I intended. I’m a bit bummed that I haven’t had much writing time, but to be honest, I’ve not given myself the opportunity to have much writing time. There has been so many gaps in things that I’ve been doing that I could have easily written, but I didn’t and now here I am complaining about it. Really, it is just my fault for not setting aside any time until it is two days left in my vacation and I’m worn out. Oh well, no use complaining about it now right?
Beyond the lack of writing my vacation has been going a bit better than planned. I’ve had some of the expected family drama, because isn’t that what happens when you go to visit family? You remember why you ended up moving several hours away in the first place? But, I’ve also been able to share some of the beauty here with my husband, who, even when we lived here for a year and a half, wasn’t really able to appreciate it any of the times before when we were here- mostly because many of those times everything was covered in many feet of snow. Spending time with my husband is one of my favorite past times, believe it or not after 11 years together we still actually like each other, most of the time. I’ve been able to do some things with my dog who took the trip with us too that she hadn’t been able to do before. I got to introduce her to my family, take her hiking, and even bring her to the river! She loved it.

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*View from the top of Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness, NH. Photo credit: my mother*

I like to try to think about living here again, every time I come home the thoughts hit me, but I know- deep down- that this is a place that I can come and visit and be happy for awhile, but this isn’t where I want to be for the rest of my life. No, this is the home I knew, and it is still the place I call home, but only because I’ve yet to find where I really want to be. Which is something my husband and I have talked about during this trip quite a bit. We’ve got a few places in mind to check out and I’m excited about the possibilities there, but that is still far off yet I’m sure, so no need to get my hopes up at the moment.
I just wanted to take a moment to let everyone know that I am in fact alive and things are okay at the moment. I’m just not home or able to stick to a schedule much!

Friendship

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I’ve been listening to Women of the Hour podcast lately. (I should be honest, I’ve listened to the first episode and am currently listening to the bonus episode as I write this, but I still wanted to use this as inspiration for this week’s post.) I have some great friends, especially for a person who is introverted, and has limited social skills. I’ve spent a good portion of my life trying to figure out how to be a good friend and have a good friend. I’m not great at the whole friendship thing to be honest. I never have been. And I’m not even going to try to discuss how to be a good friend or even really tell you about my friends at all. So why would I even think that this has anything to do with Friendship? Good question.
I’ve been thinking about friendship lately. Sometimes you have friends for years and they are always apart of your life and no matter how much the two of you grow into your own person and lead your own lives, but then you have friends that you thought would always be there, but as you grow and move into your own lives you begin to see that you aren’t even able to say on parallel paths. It is sad when this happens, it really is, but I’m not sure if it is sad because I can see a friendship floating away that has been a part of my life for many years, or is it because of all the work that was put into that friendship that when you see it ending you get frustrated that you wasted that much time. Then I think, was it a waste really? I mean even if you don’t keep the friendship forever it was still important while you had it. For whatever time that friendship existed it was important and it was meaningful and it had a purpose, now it doesn’t.
So what do you do when you see this friendship moving on or forward into a place where you know it isn’t going to last? I don’t know, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’ve survived many of these relationships ending, some in better ways than others. Some of them have dragged on years longer than they should. What can I say, friendship is something that still confuses the hell out of me and I often don’t know the right way to handle it. Other times I’m no sure I’m even in the right. I’ve mentioned, several times, I’m not great at friendship. I’m really bad at it often times, unless you want to have an online friendship, which takes minimal effort, then I usually do okay, but you have to be okay with me disappearing for several days or weeks at a time without a word. And as long as you are okay with that, then we can be online friends. I spend a lot of time alone and often don’t think about reaching out to the real world to let them know that I’m okay. Those are the kinds of friends that I need, ones that understand that I’m not a constant update kind of friend. I’m more of a weekly highlights kind of friend. Does that make me a bad friend? Maybe, but that is who I am and if you can’t accept that, or you want to change me into someone else, you will find out that our relationship will not last forever, no matter what either of us thinks.
So tell me about your friendships. Where do you struggle? What kind of friends are you looking for in your life? Do you need a friend that will talk to you once a month like me? Cause if so, maybe we could be friends.

The Day I’ll Never Forget..

I’m not sure if I’m ready to write this post or not, but I keep feeling like I need to do it, so here I am, I’m going to try and I guess we will see how it goes.
On December 30th, 2016, my 34th birthday, it went like most any other day. I woke up to the Facebook post from my brother Matt of a Youtube Video of NOFX’s “New Happy Birthday Song” which was our birthday tradition. I had sent him a different version of the same video the day before for his 34th birthday. We have been doing this for about 10 years now, at least. And before you ask, no we are not twins, though we might as well be. In fact we are about 14 hours apart (give or take) and have grown up like most twins would, with probably the same relationship as most twins have, however, I was adopted and we are not blood siblings, but you would never have known that. We loved each other and there has never been a me without him, or a him with out me. Well, until that day anyway.
Around 8 pm, or so, my parents called. I figured, as was normal every year they were calling to say Happy Birthday, but sparing you the horrid details, that is not what they were calling me about. No, it was that call that threw my whole world into chaos, more so then my mind has been doing to me for the majority of my life (thanks anxiety and depression for that by the way!). I freaked out and tried to figure out how I was getting home as soon as possible. My poor husband tried to console me while I was on and off the phone with my best friends who are in Boston. Between the group of us we got me on the first flight out so I could get home the next day (I live in SC and home is NH, for those that don’t already know).
So now that you know the background, at least as much as I’m willing to share anyway since somethings between families remain private, at least for me. You should know that my brother- all of my brother’s (I have 5) mean everything to me. We have varied relationships some closer than others, but it doesn’t matter, I love every single one of them with every fiber of my being. They are what makes me who I am, I grew up with a strong sense of how important they were in relation to who I was. I have always felt a major sense of responsibility when it came to my brothers, even if I couldn’t see them as often as I wanted, or if we didn’t have as close of a relationship as I hoped. They always were, and always will be the most important men in my life.
Matt was my constant. He was my first best friend (that I can remember) and we were damn near inseparable. We shared clothes, friends, good times, bad times- everything. When he died, suddenly, I broke, or shattered is more like it and I’m still struggling to find all the pieces and put myself back together. Like anything that shatters, no matter how much glue you use, you will never go back together the same. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can never be the person I was before I lost him. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can’t talk about him without crying, or that I feel a huge void in myself at least once a day, or that I’m unsure if I’ll ever not have the urge to call or text him when I see/hear/think of something he might like. What I haven’t come to terms with is that my brother is gone and that at the end of this year our birthdays will roll around and I won’t be able to share it with him, or that I won’t be able to hear his voice telling me “Happy Birthday Turd Burger” when he gets on the phone after my parents. While I’m so lucky to have had him as a brother for this many years and that I know I’m the only person in the world that was as lucky as I am to have him as my brother and I’m so lucky to have all my brothers I’m still broken. I don’t know if I’ll ever find all the pieces of myself and I hate it. I hate it because I know and I can see him shaking his head at me for still being so sad, for still missing him, because he wouldn’t want this for me, but feeling any other way feels like a betrayal to him.
This whole horrible experience has changed me, and not always for the worst. I’ve gained new family with his best friends, who I adored before, but I adore even more now- and their 3 boys. I’ve started to work on staying in touch more with those I care about, which has never been my strong suite before, but I’m trying. I’m trying to get through the day every day, and I have a huge support system, my parents, my brothers, my friends, they are all here for me. I’m trying, I really am, but the one person I want to talk to the most when I’m feeling so down, isn’t here any more and that makes it hard.
I can’t write any more about this. It is just too much, maybe in the future, but for now, this is it.



I took 2 weeks off and here is what I learned….

I didn’t write anything for the last two weeks, aside from my daily journal entry. After my brother’s death I’ve had a hard time adjusting to my life and figuring out where I’m supposed to go from here. Everyone has said that it will take time to find the new “normal” for my life. I’m not there yet, probably not even close, but my mind has started to settle down most days, and nights long enough for me to get through.

One of the ways I tried to help myself get through this time was take breaks from the things that seemed to be pushing me too hard. Writing and blogging was top of that list. Every time I sat down to write one of two things happened: First my mind would go completely blank, even more blank then when I’m fighting a case of writer’s block. I would basically lose the knowledge that I had of the written word. Poof, gone. The second thing that could happen would I would be able to think of nothing but my brother. I wanted to do nothing but write about him, base characters off of him, and just pour my heart out. Which would have been fine, probably, but the minute I would start to try I would lose either all motivation, or like the first scenario all knowledge I had of how to put words together to form sentences.

It has been a horrible three months since his death, taking two weeks off from writing won’t “fix” me in any way. I’m not really broken, I’m just no longer whole. The reason I took the time off in the first place was because trying to push myself to get everything done every day was killing me. I started medication for the first time in 15 years and it made me so fatigued I could hardly keep myself awake for a couple hours at a time. So after an exhausting 9 hours or more at work I couldn’t make myself write, workout, eat, study, read and everything else adults have to do. Something had to give, something had to be put to the side to see if it was still what I needed in my life now that my life is no longer the same.

So, at the title to this post states, I want to talk about what I learned from this break. I learned that I miss blogging, even though I don’t have much of a following, but I realized that maybe I would really like to grow this thing in the future. Not just as my “I’m a writer look at me” kind of thing, but just in general. I can’t be the only person in the world who goes through what I go through. Being a part of #TheBloggessTribe has shown me that beyond a doubt. Maybe something I write here might help someone else out some day? I also learned that writing in general is still my life and my therapy. Without it I am not a person that I want to be. I may never be a famous writer, I may never even be known as a writer, but that is okay because it makes me happy and in the end, that is all that matters to me. I need, now more than ever, to be happy. Or as close to happy as I can get anyway.

That might not be as much as you expected. I won’t apologize for it, but the reason behind that is the possible subject of another post for another day maybe. I would really be interested in hearing your thoughts, either in comments, on twitter, tumblr, google+– whatever format you prefer. And you can find me on all of those platforms if you want to stay in touch with me. I’m sure the links are on my site somewhere.

I hope to everyone out there that is struggling with one thing or another that you all know you are not alone. Please, if you ever need someone to talk to reach out to me. I am here. #NeverAlone

The Saturday that Worked

I have had a fairly off week this past week. I won’t lie, I’ve been having fairly off weeks since the end of December when my brother passed away, but I’ve been trying to get through them, some more successfully than others. I’ve even started thinking about my attempts at putting my life back together as all the attempts I made at quitting smoking. My life is going to be littered with failures until one day I wake up and refuse to fail again.

I don’t know if this is going to be that time or not. Probably not, but we will see. The struggle I’m having with trying to put everything together is that if I get my life into some form of normal, does that mean that I’m no longer supposed to be destroyed over losing my best friend? Am I now supposed to be “okay” or “all better”? Because that is exactly what it feels like is supposed to be happening if my life gets into some form of stable.

If there is one thing that I can guarantee to somebody, it is that I am not okay, nor am I all better. I am a mess, completely and utterly destroyed, so doesn’t that mean that I can’t allow my life to reflect otherwise? It’d be really nice if there were a guide to this kind of thing, but there isn’t, so I’m trying to work it all out on my own. On one hand I know that Matt would want me to do my best to be okay and to live my life, but on the other I am so sad and not okay that trying to put any kind of normal into my life feels like a betrayal.

This post has gotten far more personal than I intended, and really fast. It is hard not to when I start talking about my brother, any of my brothers really, they are all very important to me and when you have (had?) five of them, they tend to take up a lot of your time. But let me try to get back to my point….

After several weeks of some okay days, and some not okay days I actually had a good day. My husband Jason is out of town for work this weekend. Normally when he is out of town I struggle more with my depression because I don’t have my other half here to tell me things are okay and give me a cuddle when I need it. This weekend I decided to try to have one day where I was productive and did new things, even if it meant trying to deal with my anxiety and go into crowds of people.

I was successful. Yesterday I woke up early and went to a local coffee shop for my coffee with several shots of espresso and promptly headed out to the local Farmer’s Market. I got there early thinking that I might have less people to deal with, but I was wrong, very wrong. It wasn’t as bad as I thought though. I walked around to a few tables and picked up a lovely soy candle, some soap for my husband, Patchouli essential oils that remind me of my brother’s smell, and a whole box of fresh fruits and veggies (all you can fit in the box for $10!!). I could have stayed longer, and I probably should have, or gone to my favorite Vegan restaurant in Columbia, but I didn’t. That is okay though, I did so many other things as well.

Up to this point would have been considered successful for me, but still I did more. I went home for a brief moment to put my fruit and veggies away and then headed out to see if I could find anything at Goodwill. Before getting to Goodwill I decided to swing through and get my car washed, as she really needed it, then headed off to the store. I didn’t find anything there, or Ross either, but that is okay because I left at first feeling like the reason I didn’t find anything was because of me, but quickly was able to turn those thoughts around realize that I was trying to shop in areas of the city that might not follow my specific style needs, and maybe next time I should go somewhere that I know they might sell things in my style. Once done at those stores I hit up Whole Foods to finish off my food shopping.

After getting home from there I gave my dog Idris a bath, because like my car, she really needed it. And started washing my bedding. Once that was started I packed up my now dry dog and took her to the Riverwalk for a nice walk. She had lots of fun, as did I. I hope to make this a more regular trip for us in the future.

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That was more or less where my day ended, other than finishing laundry, cooking a yummy dinner and doing some work on my computer while watching Anime. All in all it was the best Saturday I’ve had since December 30th, 2016. It showed me that I can enjoy my day, but still be grieving for my brother and still not feel okay.

So here is to more days that work for me in the future. Fingers crossed.

Podcasts

I swear, I make plans of what I’m going to write about for blogs every week, and then when Sunday comes I totally change what I write about. I’m not upset with this, because in reality this is just how my mind works. It always reminds me to a spoof of a semi-famous quote that was altered slightly from a cartoon I used to watch called The Grimm Adventures of Billy & Mandy. In the episode Mandy says “The road to stupid is paved with good intentions.” This is of course a rewording of “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Either one can be fitting for this situation I find myself in on a weekly basis.

 

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Anyway, this weeks post is going to be about podcasts. The idea came to mind because I was reading the latest Bloggess post and she mentioned a podcast Lore, which seemed quite up my alley and I have added it to my iTunes podcasts and look forward to listening to it in the future. So then I started to wonder what other awesome podcasts are out there that I’m not listening to?! I also thought that maybe some of the ones that I listen to might be interesting to others. So, I’m going to give you a list of my current podcast subscriptions! How exciting, I know. I will at least try to organize them by category.

Tech:
Diva Tech Talk
Women in Tech
Tech Leaders in Action
JavaScript Jabber
Basic HTML
Start Here: Web Development
Programming Throwdown
The CyberWire
Talk Python To Me
Hackers

Vegan:
Vegan Warrior Princess Attack!
No Meat Athlete Radio

Writing/Reading:
Writing Excuses
Odyssey SF/F Writing Workshops
I should be writing
The Writer’s Panel
The New Yorker: Fiction

Education:
Adam Ruins Everything
Stuff you missed in History Class
Stuff they don’t want you to know
Stuff you should know
TED Radio Hour
Lore
StarTalk Radio

Entertainment:
Nerdist
Radio Free Burrito dot COM
TV Crimes
Light Speed Magazine
Women of the Hour

 

So there is my list. I used to have more, mostly fitness related, but found that those didn’t hold my attention as much as these ones. Maybe I just didn’t find the right ones. Who knows.

So do you have any suggestions for podcasts that you really enjoy? I honestly am open to most anything, but some of my major interests, if you can’t tell are Technology (especially Women in Tech), Programming, Cyber Security, Yoga, Interesting Facts, Writing, Reading and Veganism, but I’m open to anything new and interesting!