Fiera's Diary

Nice to hear that getting off the routine confirmed its usefulness. Best of luck with the jeans!
Today was a good day.

KDog and I had a walk in the woods for the first time in at least 6 weeks. The accumulated ice has finally melted from the paved trail (woods are still soggy). I made it to studio and my class assistant was there and helped me get my pieces sorted. She was very sweet and complimented my conscientiousness. It took only a few minutes. I stopped in the furniture store and picked up pizza and picked up a few items at the grocery store. Back home, sun peeking out, went for another walk with KDog. We saw some filming taking place and the security personnel were happy to see a doggy to break up their boredom, I am delighted to see KDog perking up with the better weather/walks. She scraped the top of her toenail and it bled on everything before I could get it washed out and get her settled. Then she was annoyed with me for a couple of hours because she hates having her feet handled.

Exchanged a few messages with S, who is overseas. Blissfully no phone calls. Had a nice soak in the tub. Heard from the neighbor next door - the wife - and she will meet with me without her husband tomorrow to go over the drainage topics. After lunch is my general contractor. I prepared some notes without being over prepared as that served me really well with my financial advisor. I can't afford to get wigged out about it, just stick to the facts and stay friendly.

Haven't had dinner yet but feeling pretty good and not much appetite. I should be on track to hitting goals for the day.

ETA: Jeans fit but were too long. Swapping them out for another pair.
Hi Trusylver, nice to see you. 🙂

LaMa, you know it! And even when I have personal inertia my dog's enthusiasm gets me up and out the door.

I ended up having a peanut butter snack last night. I really was only guessing at the calories in that marghertia pizza. The toppings are far lighter than your typical pizza, but it is also similar to eating 3 pieces of naan bread. So, whatever. I did fall asleep before completing the PM routine. I get so sleepy so fast, and I didn't make myself get up and just take care of it. Try try again today.

I got better sleep last night and popped awake at 5AM today ready to go. I unloaded the dishwasher while the kettle was heating up for matcha, then cleaned up the remaining blood stains from Kdog's toenail injury yesterday. Household peroxide works like a charm on rugs.

I was awake for almost a minute in anxiety free bliss and then I remembered that I have the meeting with the neighbor today and the anxiety hit me like a wall. Not too severe though, compared to times in the past, and I was able for the most part to push it aside. I have a long to-do list for the day but ample time for a nice long wake-up. In fact, the first signs of daylight are just occurring.

Yesterday there was a flock of geese near one of the picnic groves. I saw some of the little brown birds which like to hang out in the vines on my fence. They were bathing in a puddle too. Some lillies were poking their tops out of the soil. The long winter is ending and never have I been more happy about it. While I have always enjoyed the change of seasons, and am sure that I would miss it, I started looking for a place to rent next winter in Arizona. Just to sort of try the idea on. I know in reality that I may need to spend more time with my dad and his gf next year so it seems like a mistake to make any commitments. If I spend next winter anywhere it will likely be near their place in FL.

Ooh, now the bands of orange are lighting up the sky above the horizon. It is a cloudless morning. And still. Quiet. KDog is sleeping motionlessly and silently next to the couch. Far off, I hear the sound of an airplane, barely. The medication I take gives me (extra) tinitus so I can hear the ringing over the solitude.

I finished the daily word game which takes just a few minutes and which has been a running point of daily chit chat with S.

Time to go put the coffee on. The sun is just about up and the show is over. But it was nice to take the time to really notice it today. I haven't done that in a while. It seems like focusing my attention for that long has been largely elusive,

Oh, in a final gesture, some geese just flew by, honking. Yay Spring, indeed.
Today was humming right along. I ran some errands and busily cleaned the house, and took KDog for a brief cold walk in the forest preserve. I was centered heading in to the conversation with the neighbor about the water issues. We started out with polite chit chat and then got down to it. She asked me to walk her outside and show her what I was concerned about. She voiced the opinion multiple times that the amount of water involved could not be causing problems Finally she asked me to put it into an email and send it to her and she would discuss with her husband, and I indicated that I would look through photos and send them also. She cautioned me to not expect anything. By the end it wasn't conversation, it was just awkward and uncomfortable. I felt disappointed that things didn't go better, particularly interpersonally. But I didn't immediately have a strong reaction.

I got started on the email to her and looking through photos then took a fairly complex call from the GC who is helping me figure out what to do. He does get how the water issues affect the drainage plan which affects the concrete work which affects the masonry work which needs to get started. He wants me to start with the roof. He also says that getting all kinds of materials is difficult now and prices are only good for a week. After that call I returned my attention to looking through thousands of photos/videos (this is the price I pay for not curating. Becoming concerned at time passing and not smoking gun evidence to back up what I have been witnessing for a good 5 years. At some point I became aware that I was holding tremendous amounts of tension in my body, accelerated heart rate. I don't know if that was anxiety, panic attack or what. Finding a good video and getting it sent (and validated by my GC) didn't allow me to dial it down. I tried the ice - interrupter and it helped temporarily. It has taken hours and I finally gave in and took a half a xanax to try to release physically from this very tense body state.

I guess I am wondering what really was so bad about all this that triggered a severe bodily reaction like I haven't seen in a while. All the anticipation of this meeting not to have it go the way I hoped? Not being believed/having credibilty doubted? Not leaving on a positive note? Feeling less (smaller) than? Shame? Being unable to move the football forward on the repairs? Skipping (forgetting) lunch and PM m/s? Plan to journal on this a bit more and discuss with Curly Bubbly.

But for now, I need to have a diversion, I spent most of a nice day indoors and it has gotten quite cold out again now. Maybe a nice cup of tea and a movie.
Having something you were kind of dreading go badly (but in a "can't get at it" way rather than an explosion) would make anyone tense. For me it would be the feeling of not being heard or taken seriously. Hope you feel better.
Hi LaMa. I think the compelling things that came out of it after a good nights' sleep is (a) not being seen as credible (b) not being persuasive (c) having someone actively dislike me and (4) being powerless to take matters into my own hands and fix it. Getting an attorney is unthinkable. And it will probably be difficult to prove and certainly slam the door shut for good on any neighborly goodwill that can still be salvaged. Of course some people simply don't care and I have to accept that. And remind myself that what other people think of me is none of my business. They were more neighborly when my husband was around, but then again, he was a generally well liked and amiable person.

Today the cleaning lady was here and it was the first time in a long time we took masks off and had some chit chat. The sun was out and I guess the timing was good. After that a basement waterproofing contractor was here. I want to get some professional opinions and something in writing about the groundwater issues Unfortunately he was more focused on telling me that I should focus on the inside and selling me a drain tile system. He did say that resolving the groundwater would help alleviate the issues but couldn't be guaranteed so they don't make specific recommendations. So I didn't attain what I hoped and instead am now in possession of a 5 figure proposal. Ha. Plus it would mean taking care of some electrical and tile removal first. Well their competitor is coming out next week and there is another firm I might call. But it seems as though I may have to get a written opinion from someone more neutral.

I did have a lower grade anxiety this morning, have an uptick during and after the contractor visit. Nothing on a scale of how I felt physically yesterday but still carrying significant muscular tension and elevated heart rate. I read on a website last night - maybe it was Mayo - that both cortisol and adrenaline are released with anxiety but their affects are different. At first glance my symptoms seem more aligned with adrenaline. I will need to read more to see if that matters in how one can help diffuse it.

No walk with KDog today. It is below freezing and the wind feels like an ice knife. Tomorrow looks more promising.

Wanted to note that I barely ate so far today. Yesterday I had just a small breakfast and entirely forgot to eat lunch, I was so busy/mentally occupied. Today I was so busy I forgot to eat breakfast and then just grabbed a yougurt and chicken thigh/leg. for lunch. Staying busy is really key. I think boredom contributes to my eating. As does having snack food in the house. The increased medication though is certainly keeping cravings at bay. Hopefully this along with more exercise this week will get me a bit of a directional nudge on the scale.
Brain full.

Dinner was cucumber sandwiches. They aren't as healthy as they sound due to generous amounts of chive cream cheese spread. But given low calories the rest of the day I felt fine with it.

Realized that I very likely won't hear anything from the neighbors. They will either see the video and do something without discussing it with me, or they won't. They are never going to admit to doing anything wrong.

I am wondering whether it will ever be possible for me to achieve peace in this house. I thought I was done fighting to save it, I was ready to leave. I used to be afraid that I would die in this house. Today for a brief moment I could envision what it felt like to have the fundamentals corrected and live and thrive in this house as my home, the way it used to be, with guests and conversations, and a life focused on possibility. A house supporting my best life, not consuming a big part of my life. Just rambling here. But I love that for the first time in a long time I was able to briefly visualize - no, to sense the feeling of - what that would be like. It felt really good. And whether it is this house or another house, I would like more of that PLEASE.

I think having a couple of good laughs and stories with Cleaning Lady and also the basement guy were part of it. And sunshine. And KDog being happy. And being assured that there are solutions, albeit terribly expensive ones, for the house. Whatever the magic was, I am grateful for it and need to hold on to the memory of it.
Being able to have a laugh to break up the tension is so valuable! For me adrenaline makes me feel hyper while cortisol makes me feel like I'm nailed to the spot but I guess we're all different.
Good morning. I woke up with the same muted level of anxiety as yesterday's wake-up. My subconscious apparently deals with it OK because there is this slight pause in the morning immediately when I wake up followed by a wham of tension the moment my brain kicks in and becomes aware of real life. The level is only a 3 or 4 at present and still my muscles are tight and feel tired after a few days of clenching.

It takes focus and work but sometimes it is possible to get a bit of respite through breathing, ice cubes, physical activity, distraction. Because it's relatively low level. Once it kicks up higher it is almost impossible to do that. So I will try to work at not escalating it today and practicing those micro relaxes. I will call it de-escalation. I do have therapy this morning however so that could go in either direction. But hoping little short respites of 5 seconds to a minute can add up over time to allow me to remain in a functional state all day. I have many things on the agenda today and one of them is organizing statements and pulling together tax documentation.

It is still cold but with slower, warmer wind and sunshine in the forecast the prospects for a comfortable walk are much better today. I will take KDog around Noon. Proggy may or may not be coming up, as he is waiting on a mattress delivery.

My GC consultant recently advised me "begin with the end in mind". A passage in The Cancer Code book also talked about the need to have a clear goal in mind if you want your efforts to succeed. What does it look like (feel) to spend an extended time in Arizona next winter? What does it look (feel) like to spend time hiking and camping? What does it look (feel) like to get physically fit and be able to show up for my best life? What does it look (feel) like to stand up tall and view myself with pride and respect as a whole human being? What does it look (feel) like to be part of a community again? What does it look (feel) like to have my house be a home, and a support for my life - not actually my life?

Just realizing that I have two conflicting beliefs. The one which tells me that visualizing and having goals is important. And the buddhist one which tells me to live in the present and that it's the "wanting" which causes misery. I know there is something that I haven't quite got right about the intersection of those mindsets. I don't feel like I am going to solve that right this moment.

I just discovered that I in fact do still own a copy of Big Magic so I have pulled it off the shelf and will read pp. 24-26 as suggested by Curly Bubbly.
I don't always know, of course, but my allergy trouble comes with a crap ton of cortisol so that's a familiar feeling. While adrenalin tends to be tied to specific, usually shorter term events. And it happens with positive stress as well. I could be wrong, but that's how it's always felt for me.
But hoping little short respites of 5 seconds to a minute can add up over time to allow me to remain in a functional state all day.
That's proper self-care, kudos to you for taking action while you still can.
I know there is something that I haven't quite got right about the intersection of those mindsets.
I'm no Buddhist but for me there's a big difference between planning/working toward a goal and coveting a thing. The first is necessary if you're not planning to live in an old barrel and beg for scraps while the other puts unnecessary pressure on you.
my allergy trouble comes with a crap ton of cortisol
I never knew of this connection. How interesting! This mades me think that indulging in inflammatory foods could cause more cortisol to be released. I already knew about the release of histamines caused by food allergies.

I picked up the phone to a local "real property" attorney. I wanted to find out what kind of consultant I should hire to provide a written report of what is going on and what needs to be done to remedy it. She told me she is getting ready to retire and doesn't take those kind of cases any more, but first she suggested a home inspector and then when I asked about soil engineers or the like, a light bulb went off and she recalled a civil engineer which specializes in this sort of thing and she felt is reasonable. So I called the engineer's office and should hear back on Monday. Meanwhile she told me to document everything, get out there and get more videos and photos in the rain and without rain. This is hard to do of course in a downpour because you are holding both an umbrella and a phone. She also said that I need to prepare documentation prior to engineer, coming out, Which makes sense. Which is going to force me to begin the massive process of organizing and curating years worth of hard drives and photos.

Lawd have mercy.

My entire goal here is to find someone to come and out produce a professionally credentialed written report which can then be relied upon as an objective 3rd party describing what needs to be done. I am not looking to get any damages....I just want them to step up and stop the bleeding. But it looks like a TON of work.

My concrete/drainage contractor has offered to come out at no charge and meet with them also next week. But he will not produce a written report. Even though I offered to pay for his time.

I am worn out for the day and it is only 2PM. And I need to document all the details from these phone calls before I forget. It has been over a week since I met with the financial advisor and there is stuff he wants me to look into and get back to him on.

I need to go be more productive. I think I am journaling as an excuse take a breather.
Ha. My body had other plans. I shortly thereafter passed out and had a 30 minute nap. I almost never nap. Utterly crashed. Well, my body is telling me something. After a full nights' sleep too (woke up once but didn't stay awake). Stress really is a predator.

Anyway I shared with Curly Bubbly the 4 things I wrote down about what I think triggered the severe anxiety:
(a) not being seen as credible
(b) not being persuasive
(c) having someone actively dislike me and
(d) being powerless to take matters into my own hands and fix it

It surfaced some things like influence, interpersonal skills, and persuasion. My voice cracked as I described how I see that I am not good at charm and politics and winning people over based on personality and relationship without regard to facts. I see that and I reject it and I LIKE that about myself that I am not that way, that I speak facts and let my integrity and work product speak for itself. I did try at work for a time, but it feels fake and it exhausts me. Plus, the boys club network there were masters of it and there were other corpses by the side of the road beyond mine. Maybe that is the environment which taught me to stop trying. So I really don't have that skill set. When I used to drink, it helped me be more sociable; when I was married, my husband provided most if the social network while I had the big job and took care of the household. So in spite of my best efforts and intentions, I failed to handle this in a way which left the neighbor wanting to collaborate with me - quite the opposite,

But I also realize that there are things I could have done or could be doing better to be credible and persuasive (a&b). One is making sure my photo/video documentation captures everything that my eyes have seen. The other (c) is responding more affirmatively to her comment about getting a written report. As Curly Bubbly said "we are on the same team". It also surfaced that I view myself as solely responsible for whether the relationship is affable and supportive. As she said, some people just don't care. It isn't impacting them, so why should they care about it? And in the wake of the pandemic, people REALLY don't care, there is such a rash of "me" and "mine" and self-servingness. These are all valid points. So the best think I think I can do now is pay for a civil engineer to do a site assessment and written report. That gives them the facts, and the necessary actions, without a need to address personalities or relationships or hard feelings. Just the facts. "I heard you". (I am hoping though that the facts are not cost prohibitive.)

As far as (d), I am not powerless. I am taking steps I just need to get laser focused and keep things moving.

It was such a good session, and brought me significant release, I asked for an interim one next week.

Again, I haven't eaten so much today. The overall lack of snack food in the house is so great. Lunch was a burger patty shared with KDog and some mango chunks and 1/2 cuke sandwich. Granola bar. Dinner time is nearly here and my appetite isn't yet. I have some chicken and romaine and roasted corn and black beans so a southwest chicken salad will work.

I hope there is a good movie on tonight. While I begin to address this morass of hard drives.
Oooh. 173.1 before dinner. Maybe I am a bit dehydrated, I know that one trip on the scale doesn't really count. But it is absolutely moving. I will be so excited to break into the 160's again. 😀
Oh. One other good thing, in the mail today was the promotional rebate store credit for one of my favorite stores. It was a LOT. So I can treat myself to some new clothes for summer. I need shorts and casual shirts. I would love to find one or two outfits in that material which doesn't hold wrinkles when you pack it. Preferable in styles which will look OK if I drop more weight.
No wonder you're exhausted after that therapy session: it's so worth it but it used knock me right out. Yay for a lower scale reading and good discounts!
Morning weight is 172.8. Just sanity checking yesterdays reading.

My tummy is not happy that chose to fill my calorie deficit with two bowls of flake serial with milk and raw sugar last night. I guess cereal became a snack food in lieu of other things. It would not have been a bad choice if I had been able to enjoy it without adding sugar, I rarely use raw sugar but adding to flake cereal just is an old familiar combination. Was it really worth it? No. I have a banana I could have added. instead. Ah well.

The anxiety is lessening although still not entirely absent. I did not get whammed first thing this morning when I woke up. I do feel it rising a little more when I think about the situation. Now that I have given this more focus and listed out all the problems that the neighbor has caused over time, I feel more like this has been a festering sore which I will be relieved to finally have healed. All I want is the damage to stop. Not restitution. Relief from further damage and the dread of heavy rain and resentment. There is no neighborly relationship to be salvaged. Last night I realized that it only existed because of a certain common connection that L had with the husband, and by extension there was a halo of goodwill which extended to me. It has been over 10 years since L moved out and there is simply nothing I have in common with either of them. They have raised 2 daughters. Their social circle is family, and maybe a couple of the husband's friends from work stop by occasionally. They have no need or desire for neighborly contact and have never had friends or connections on the block. They don't participate in the civic association and aren't aware of neighborhood events unless I let them know. Curly Bubbly helped me see that their indifference isn't about me...never has been...they just simply aren't interested in outsiders.

This morning I was thinking again about Larry, the negative critical boor who lives inside my head and tells me the worst things about myself. I keep letting Larry come to the party. I can't ever get rid of Larry entirely, but I can tell him to sit next to me quietly and keep his mouth shut. CB said she found it interesting that my negative self talk voice is male. Last night it came together males have been the predominant source of external criticism and emotional trauma in my life. Starting with the absense of my dad's affection which experienced as a teen. I was so confident and so mature as a kid. I tried so hard to figure out why my dad didn't love me and how I could fix it. 🙁 I guess I will save the rest of that for my next discussion with CB.

In any event, the ultimate goal here is to be at peace with myself.

I wonder if there are people who have a Larry-opposite? You know, an inner voice which strokes your ego and reinforces your strong points? Is that only for narcissists? Do some people have both? I guess that is like the feeling I get when I solve a puzzle or accomplish something well or I do something nice for someone. Except she doesn't sit on my shoulder saying supportive things all the time. Interesting concept.

So happy it is Saturday. I have some time to catch up on notes and things before Proggy comes up later. We are hopefully going to catch a movie event.
Your Larry sounds like the nasty (rather than careful) version of Bruno from the movie Luca: