Fiera's Diary

Great to hear you finally managed to start a talk! Sounds like you two really can communicate well - that's so valuable.
That must feel like such a relief to be able to really start communicating about your relationship without any acrimony. You both should be able to be more open about your feelings from now on.
It certainly is an improvement. I feel like an adult 😄

Seriously, the timing of me coming here and having that reminder is very fortuitous, It has been a very long day, and I am quite tired. But I needed to take time and air out some not-so-grown-up reactions and thoughts and feelings I had today. First off, making a number of new and follow up calls with contractors, and putting together some figures and timing on repairs. Having the same questions occur and having to once again ask the neighbor for a meeting time. Not being able to think my way through to a plan. Getting pushed on by S to consider renting it (already considered, and annoyed at her glossing over important considerations I have already taken into account)...she was more talking it out I think because she is making the same decision about a house she already rents out. I talked to a gal in the neighborhood who is dormering out a house similar to mine. Getting slammed by my Dad who suggested that pumping money into this house is risky because prices are inflated - he didn't have much to say after I asked whether he would have me upgrade and rial that newer, more expensive house plummeting when the bubble bursts. Prices in my primary target city for wintering are skyrocketing out of reach. It's depressing. I was getting hit again by the panic and paralysis and I did my best to stop at the right time, take a break, remind myself that this is not easy stuff for anyone and I am getting a little better at it.

Then I went to the dentist and it was a downer. They are always checking if I am flossing, am I wearing my night guard....and I was honest as I always am...but in more detail. No. I fall asleep on the couch every night. I have no routine, it is different every day. And yes, I should do all those things but I don't. And we have this conversation every time. I don't really want a routine. But these things are good for me, as would be sleeping in my bed. So why can't I embrace it? Why can't I take my meds at the same time every day, or my shower, or have some form of routine sleep schedule? Why can't I eat better and not crave and why can't I exercise? It is like I deliberately avoid having a self care routine...or any routine.

Anyway, I felt bad about myself at the dentist and after. You know, the negative thoughts that creep in about not being able to manage my own life, and being worried that it is only going to get harder as I get older. And feeling like yeah, it really is hard to juggle the things I have going on and no, I didn't sign up for, nor could I have expected, the massive number of expenses and projects that this house has. And how my life has gotten so small, so stupid, so irrelevant...I am not even living it, just trying to survive.

I did manage to put myself into better headspace. I have a meeting tomorrow with the financial advisor and this evening I prepared a few documents and
questions. I brushed and applied the new sensitivity paste and my night guard and tried not to eat after 8 and applied the progesterone cream. But it makes me nuts having all these little things you are supposed to do every day. Come ON what fun parts? Isn't that important too?

Anyway, I am back out of the pit, mostly. And capping off my day with thoughts of gratitude because I ultimately did benefit from a lot of good people today.
I brushed and applied the new sensitivity paste and my night guard and tried not to eat after 8 and applied the progesterone cream. But it makes me nuts having all these little things you are supposed to do every day. Come ON what fun parts? Isn't that important too?
When I was struggling with depression I reached a point where everything felt like a chore. Including brushing my teeth, changing my sheets, or even just showering. But I also felt terrible if I didn't manage to do those things. I was so ashamed I didn't want to talk to anyone about any of it and that just made it worse. What helped for me, specifically (in general of course therapy helped) was brute-forcing one thing at a time until it became a habit again, then adding another thing. That's why we have routines: they reduce the initial energy needed to do things we need to do regularly. So once that routine is solid it no longer feels like work.
I am a bit ashamed of that post last night without even going back and rereading it. I was tired, very tired. I do feel like I got a good nights' sleep, even if on the couch. It is such a cold night and KDog's back is hurting and she doesn't like the bed in the bedroom very much. And she sleeps wherever I sleep, regardless of comfort. So I just went with it. In a few days the temps will hopefully trend up and she will be feeling better and then I will try it.

I do want to understand my resistance to establishing a routine. I suppose it is part left-brain, and part reaction to years of living in a suppressed environment. Maybe it's depression. But this morning, feeling a bit of satisfaction in having done the self care things and also getting good sleep, I feel a bit more present in my body and my life. I also am reminded that a healthy gut and shutting off the eating by 8PM will help me get to a better mental state....meds alone won't do it, they are just here to provide support.

Busy day, was happy to wake up before the alarm and have time to respond to a nice email from Irish Friend and also come to my journal. Carpe Diem!
LaMa, you are so right about the energy expenditure going down once things become a routine. I have to keep this in mind. It does feel like a lot of work when there are so many "musts" layered into the day.

You also remind me of my marathon training mindset. When you have the big goal firmly defined, and the daily tasks defined that you know will result in that outcome, you don't spend time and energy negotiating with yourself, you just DO what needs to be done that day. I have so many other things to spend my focus on, struggling with daily self care really isn't serving me.
Am excited that I get to take the train downtown today to meet my financial advisor. I really need more human contact and reasons to get out of the house.
But this morning, feeling a bit of satisfaction in having done the self care things and also getting good sleep, I feel a bit more present in my body and my life.
Yay! Small victories add up to big ones.

Enjoy your trip downtown; I hope you'll have time to stop and smell the roses.
Today has been a really good day.

I met with the landscaper and talked about drainage issues and a tree. I have two options to suggest to the neighbors when we meet (along with repairing the leaking gutter system. I can better see how we can improve the drainage along the front stairs, hopefully the concrete guy will just be able to mud jack and repair the existing concrete which will save lots of $. And being cost effective helps my anxiety around money.

I had my financial tune up this morning and that was good. I put exactly the amount of prep work into it last night to pull my spending and account balances out of the financial software. We confirmed that my spending is in good shape and was below plan, but my cash position is dwindling due to Roth conversions. So it's just something we monitor, and once my housing situation is sorted we will better know my longer term cash situation. It feels good knowing that there is a little leeway in my spending plans to put a little money into repairs. I also am thinking I can save more on groceries and dining if I eat less and pay more attention. Like the other day I picked up yogurt on sale at 10 for $6. Without Proggy here I will save as well. And frankly, eating less serves me both financially and physically. It's a win-win I can get behind!

Anyway, I was delighted to take the train today....both to my financial advisor and then later, home from the car dealer, where the auto body shop will finally fix the damage incurred on New Year's Day. It is such an efficient and climate friendly way to get around. It's also a little microcosm, its own little Universe of workers and stations and passengers and technology. On the later ride I used the signs to link my transit card to an app and now it is good for cashless regional transit as well.

On the ride back from the dealer, which was quite short, we went by a few stations I remember passing as a teen, on the way downtown with friends or my mom. The names then were foreign. It occurred to me that now those names represent my home and feel familiar. Who ever knows what the future will hold? It was pleasant seeing the stations and neighborhoods from the train, a different viewpoint, feeling a stirring of affection.

And the office building I visited a was marvel of the most recent technology, comfort, and security. It was just really cool. I used to want to work downtown, but my longtime job was about 30 miles away. It has a buzz, though less so since the pandemic. It's probably going to be a long time before it comes back, if ever, to what it once was, now that so many people are working from home.

I also love taking the train because it forces me to walk and get exercise....probably about 2 very brisk miles today.

So...what I am experiencing here is a nice effect of getting out and having new experiences, as well as finding some footing on what to do next for the house. I like having things to do and feel empowered to do them.
Sounds like a lovely day all around! I like your descriptions: you sound very alive.
Indeed, I cherish days like that, feeling alive and aware. Whenever I can "see" and sense the world in a broader color palette I feel like there is meaning and broader connection in this life. I fondly recall a phase when I felt like that regularly. Nowadays I seem to rarely access that capability; typically things are locked down in survival mode with an almost intitutional rigidity to my thoughts and emotions.

Today however is another good day. I don't have a car and there are zero commitments on my calendar and my to-do list has been intentionally lost amidst other papers on the coffee table. It has become a sort of vacation day, one in which I am letting things arise organically. KDog and I took a gentle little trot around the neighborhood and my body was feeling pretty good with the activity. I weighed myself, saying a little prayer that I hadn't topped 180, and I was actually just under 176, which is a relief. I did some gentle stretching and made a nutritious breakfast. I picked up a book for the first time in ages (starting The Cancer Code, which I borrowed from the library months ago). I connected w a few people by phone or text, S, EF, SB, Dad, and L's cousin who I have not spoken with in about a year. If I can find the phone number I am thinking of calling my old work buddy Kyle, I anticipate he will suggest meeting up in person to catch up.

I have realized that much of this winter has been consumed by concerns about my Dad. Concerns about his health and mobility, and concerns about Peaches' attitude and influence. Extra planning and safety worries around boating trips, Planning/taking 2 trips to FL with a 3rd ahead. Calling each other daily. I wouldn't trade it and I am grateful that he still has a level of health and mobility and things are not uglier. I am grateful for the support and care and companionship which Peaches provides. Yet I must acknowledge that all this activity is incremental to the past. I must recognize that this elder care beginning to occur and that it is a significant responsibilty I have to factor in when I think about "where has the time gone" and feeling retirement time is "slipping away from me" and I am just stuck and spinning my wheels.

I tend to be so hard on myself. There are some legit aspects to this. But focusing on the positive, there have been some steps forward since retiring. I researched and bought a kayak and equipment and took a class. I hired a new financial advisor. I hired a new therapist and meds doctor. I researched and made steps towards better computer security. I started exploring pottery. I took loving care of my dog. I supported my partner through a major life change. I survived months of incapacitating anxiety and appear to be solidly on the other side of that crisis now.

And lets not forget the pandemic, which disrupted every aspect of daily life and normalcy; which also coincided with my separation from work structure, safety, computer, software, resources, and coworker environment in which to share experiences and ideas. Which threatened scarcity - which required new thinking, planning and action. I dearly hope to not live in those dark times again, when fearful humans (including myself) raided grocery stores empty of meat, toilet paper, clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, dog food, and batteries. But that was a phase, just like my dad is a phase, and it is just life.

One must have flexible aspirations. It's sort of a shame that it takes all this time to sort of figure out how life works. Like, you don't really get the loss and grief of death until you lose someone you are close to. Only then can you really understand what it is like for someone else. Or getting married, or divorced, having a child, or losing a pet. Relocating to a new country. Fleeing violence. Having a crazy ex. Building or remodeling a home. Jumping out of an airplane. Running a marathon. Going to law school. Losing a parent, child, sibling. Retiring, living through a pandemic, elder care. Wouldn't it be better if we got a "practice life" in which we learn to experience many of these these things and then got take that wisdom into our real life? Wouldn't that make us all more compassionate human beings? Wouldn't that make life easier, if there was some kind of roadmap of what it is like to,

It doesn't work that way, although I truly believe that some folks are intuitively much better at navigating life than I am. To handle life with more grace, humor, presence, and gratitude and far fewer expectations and measuring sticks is really the way to go. There are also many folks who progress through life without ever having much need for this kind of awareness. So I guess I am somewhere in the middle, and days like today when I have awareness, reflection, and calm feel much richer and satisfying.

Time to knock off now and get back to my book. :)
Yay for the scales being nicer than expected!
It's sort of a shame that it takes all this time to sort of figure out how life works.
Oof. Ain't that the truth.
Wouldn't it be better if we got a "practice life" in which we learn to experience many of these these things and then got take that wisdom into our real life?
Some people would say this life IS the practice round and the next one will be heaven as a result of what we learn here. I don't know that that's true but I hope that with every generation we manage to pass on a little more kindness to improve our species. If you compare our current morals with those of 500 years ago we're at least doing better on things like equality, justice, and animal cruelty.
Ooof. My basement floor is so cold and it never used to be. The back door is letting in some cold air but the basement radiator doesn't seem to be doing its job so well. it occurred to me yesterday while loading the washing machine that I should compare the new circulation pump (12/2019) to the former one, which for whatever reason I had held on to. Maybe intuitively I knew, the old one looked like it meant serious industrial business and the new one was just "meh". After a few hours of taking photos, talking to a manufacturer, and researching specs online, I think I have found something. The new one is just under 23 gpm and the old one was 22. But the head is only 10 feet on the new and 15 on the old. Those are the two really important specs. (It is also 125 PSI instead of 150, and 230 degrees instead of 240). So, tomorrow I call the installer. I don't think I am taking no for an answer. It coincides with the timeline of previous two winters of feeling that something was significantly changed in the dynamics of heating this bad that that I couldn't go thru another winter in this house. It has been more than just the leaky windows and caulk after all.

I vaguely remember at the time the service guy mumbling something about he didn't think he "had one of those" and then after a few minutes in his truck he came in with that pump and installed it without saying anything else. It was an emergency call on a frigid night and I am sure he just put in the most suitable thing that he had. But oh darn, why didn't I make this connection sooner? Holy cr**. Holy cr**. The implications are enormous...the timing too.
LaMa that is an interesting perspective, about this being the practice life and the next one being heaven. I have never myself believed in an afterlife but I never heard anyone frame it like that, that is quite an appealing belief to have.

Meanwhile, my dog is presently passing gas after eating a pup cup. This life 😆
Oh. Small but pleasant development...since my financial checkup went OK, I splurged on hiring a service to take care of the weeds in my lawn (of which I have many), and to fertilize and seed. I may not even be here very long, but I can't keep up with the weeds on my own I learned this year, and I can still save money by doing my own mowing, raking, trimming. If I end up listing it, getting rid of the weeds will help it look more appealing.
Back on topic...3rd night in a row I did the night time routine. Last night I was awake until nearly midnight because of weird sleep the previous night. I got the late night snackies but was able to stick it out because I had already brush-floss-mouthwash-sensitivity paste-ed and had my mouth guard in. I also didn't eat excessively during the day because of my meds and my focused research on boiler pump specifications. I made healthy food choices because I was able to wait while I prepared something instead of just binge-shoving crap into my mouth. As a result, the scale read 173.4 this morning and I feel pretty comfortable in my body, so there is probably a slight down tick in inflammation.

My renewed effort to pay attention to dental care (prompted by a sensitive tooth and another one which has new cracks due to night clenching) gives me a tiny sense of accomplishment and self respect. This in turn is motivating me to awaken to other needs like nails and hair. The lack of care is evident in the state of just about everything. Rather than feel bad about it, I rejoice in the fact that I actually care about it again.

I upped meds from 2-3 again almost a week ago and while still trying to get the dose timing right, I think I am on the right track.

Lots of things on the to-do list today including shoveling the snow which fell overnight. It's good exercise, I just need to get out there and get going, A little more coffee first...
Had a good session with Curly Bubbly. Focused more on me and my way of thinking about things rather than outside issues themselves, We talked about possible reasons I reject having a daily routine; caring about self care; and the inner critic. More family of origin issues....and Larry - my inner critic. Larry doesn't get to come to the party. Or rather, he can come to the party but he has to sit quietly next to me and keep his mouth shut. She also assigned me pages to re-read in Big Magic and an affirmation around self worth.

Around the daily routine, I think part of it is the idea of having to do anything thrust upon me that I don't intrinsically want to do. Also, there is my personal need/pattern to keep options open, and being drawn to new experiences. I think the key is for me to embrace routine as a necessary investment and foundation/enabler for the other things I would like in my life. I think I reject the discipline of a daily routine because I confuse it with freedom and creativity. But when I pick it apart, I see that it can make things easier. Like keeping the house clean and putting everything in its place can save the biweekly "dash" for the cleaning lady and enable me to invite guests in. It is not rocket science. It is also depression that causes me not care - and meds increase is helping me elevate to a better level of functioning.

Shoveling done. Just waiting now on a callback from the auto shop regarding my SUV.
Good morning. It has been a few days. Got my SUV back and after a little discussion on the bill I was set and on my way. Enjoyed taking train again.

Discussed routines - or my rejection of them - with Curly Bubbly, A couple of days later I made a connection to identity and uniqueness; individuality; bucking the norm. It feels right. Also am experiencing anxiety, avoidance, and paralysis over the house fixes.

Proggy came for the weekend Friday eve thru Sunday eve. It was OK having his company, he stepped up to help with a few things like up loading dishwasher and hanging up some dog laundry when I was too tired at night to run downstairs one last time. We went shopping and other errands together, got KDog out and diverted our planned walk to join a Ukraine rally, bought a coffee table for him, and stopped by the Irish place for a pint and live music. I am glad his new job is located by his house and he is not here all the time during the week. It gives me space to do my own thing and not always be doing meal planning, laundry, etc.

Yest I went to studio to glaze 4 pieces of pottery from last class. It takes me a long time as there are many glaze combinations to look at and I feel pressured to stay out of the way of the experienced folks, as well as adhere to the time slot assigned. I think I made a mistake with a glaze which tends to run and will probably run back over today and speak with one of the teachers before it is fired.

Yesterday was bright and sunny with hints of Spring - the lillies in the yard are poking tops up and the remants of ice are finally disappearing from shady spots. I had a nice walk with KDog, who is noticably perkier after getting out of the house a few days in a row. She was suffering, as we all have been this winter - too much ice and snow, and frigid days. The trails in the forest preserve should be passable any day now, and KDog and I can start to resume our nature walks.

So, I was wrong about the boiler pump and am taking an informed "no" for answer. The tech has asked a lot of questions and seems keen on helping understand whether there is a problem with my thermostat or whether it is just my house - doors & windows, insulation. After adjusting the blankets along the basement access door it seems a bit less cold down there. So maybe it is the house. Understanding why it was such a sudden developent is the question.

I fell off the nighttime routine / dental care wagon as soon as Proggy entered the picture this weekend. I can tell that doing the full set of activities a
was helping my sensitive tooth. I am back in track today. The biggest challenge is waiting until too late at night when I am simply exhausted, and I simply fall asleep in the den. So, back to 8PM target for teeth routine.

Accountability Tracker:

AM: Meds/Supps
AM: Shower/T
PM: Meds/Supps
PM: Dental/P

B: Tiny yogurt, mango, museli (60) egg (70) = 130
L: Napoli style pizza = 1000
IN: 1230
OUT: 2.5W (150)
NET: 1080

Wish me luck as I will be trying on a new pair of jeans I ordered. They should be quite snug until broken in.
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