I think I have officially hit my stride. (Knock on wood.) Finally.
It's been five years in the making.
All it took was:
1. learning how to say "No"to people.
2. Clearly defining and sticking to my priorities.
3. Creating and getting into a great routine.
4. And a ton of self-discipline, something I have none of.
Hitting your stride, being in FLOW, being in the "zone". I AM!
Whatever you may call it, feeling like you've got yourself in gear is both fantastic and priceless. I have to think that flow doesn't come naturally to most people. Even for somebody like myself, who's thought about the concept daily, and has had a running inner dialog on being in the zone for YEARS. It has still taken me nearly a decade to decode things and position myself.
So hang in there, if life is feeling a bit "out of step".
You most certainly can change things, but it takes a lot of planning, intentions that are clear and meaningful to yourself, and most importantly it takes action!
That's the thing, I've found that I can't just wish or hope or complain or discuss my way to change. I really had to get out there and do the things that I've been talking about doing for so long. Like clearing my calendar, not taking on volunteer work, and saying "yes" less often to mid-day get togethers.
None of that is easy! Women especially, we hate to let other people down, we dislike saying no, we feel guilty when we aren't able to pitch-in.
But, it has to be done.
I've never understood why the housewife of today's "work hours" are never seen as work!
Can somebody let me know if the 1950's housewife had as many constant distractions, social invitations, outside obligations? Or was there more of a understanding and respect to the fact that if she wanted to get all of her work around home done, she needed most of those hours to work? I am one of those sad people, who,when they hear the phone ring or the text go off, just completely lose their place, lose their focus. I'm one of those people who feel really badly when I turn down a coffee invitation or a chance to help out at school. It has always been a struggle between these things and what I aim to accomplish that day.
I should tell you though, a big part of forcing myself to be such a anti-social and stern dweeb, is because I have ADD. As a teen, I went through test after test, even brain mapping, until they diagnosed me as "moderate to severe ADHD".
It has taken a ton of determination and effort to not let this interfere with my life. I made it a priority to know myself, know what works, know my needs. I also attended a completely amazing invaluable study skills/life skills/ time management class for people with ADD in college ,
and it was a LIFE CHANGER!!!!
Because of that class...... I'm almost never ever late, (I'm early!) my house is orderly and organized, I don't lose things, I come prepared, I finish most of the things that I start.
I KNOW that being on time and organized are not the most important things in life, but they matter to me. It makes me happy to be on the ball. I don't stress over perfection, I just do the best that I can, and part of that knowledge is what makes up FLOW!
This is all becoming a bit long-winded, but the point of telling you about finding your stride, is that I want to encourage you to know that anybody can.
Don't ya give up!
Double catbow, what does it all mean!?
This is Hector and Willow laying on the stairs last night. They've never done this before. I don't know what they were doing!
There is something that I haven't written about on the blog before. It's that Willow had tested positive for the feline leukemia virus in July. (But, amazing, good news to come!)
We had her into the vet for what we thought was a urinary tract infection, which later turned out to probably just be "Feline Idiopathic Cystitis". Basically, when she gets stressed, her bladder gets nervous too! While we were at the vet, I asked for a second feline leukemia (FelV) test, as you're supposed to get two in a lifetime. I wasn't worried, Willow had tested negative at her check-up when we adopted her.
I was shocked and devastated, just absolutely devastated, when the second test came back positive. Not only was I terrified of losing my special girl to a fatal disease, it is very easily transmitted to other cats and I was out of my mind with worry that my other two, Hector and Priya, contracted the virus also.
It was horrible. Luckily, Priya had also been in the same day for a check-up, and they were able to call that night to say that she was negative. We then brought Hector in the next day, negative. Thank God.
Willow then had another type of FelV test to make sure that the result were correct. This test, called the IFA, was sent out to a laboratory. It looks for the virus in blood serum. It took two weeks for results. Those were a horrible two weeks. When the vet called and said that Willow's IFA was NEGATIVE! I could not stop crying from relief. We were told that perhaps willow had caught the virus when she was stray and was able to fight it off, that sometimes happens.
The next step was to wait two months, and then have one more FelV test to confirm that she is truly negative. In those two long months, I did all that I could to not worry. It was hard. Priya suddenly went into kidney failure and died. It was the worst summer I have ever had.
When people asked "How was your summer?" I would usually give the standard "Oh good. How was yours?" But a couple times, to close friends, I was honest and said that it was "Not great", which even then was an understatement.
Last night was Willow two month follow-up. I am overwhelmingly thankful to report that her test was NEGATIVE!!!! She got the all clear! We can finally breath a sigh or relief. Or, in my case, bawling your eyes out at the vet after hearing the good news. It was just that much of a relief.
This is what else has been going on.........
For my gray hair readers, here is a quick snap that I took of a half-up/half-down hair style. Sometimes it makes me crazy that part of my hair is brown and the other part white! I wonder if it will ever be all white? Who knows. At first I thought this hairdo might look too strange with such a big contrast between the colors, but then I was like...naaaaaaaah......just live your life. Whateves!!!!!
And later that day I was sitting in the coffee shop with my half-up/half-down hairdo and guess who walks in? Mr. Darcy! It was kind of surprising. It was also not even 3:00 in the afternoon! I must have looked like a total dork with my mini-backpack. Nothing against mini-backpacks at all, I absolutely ADORE them. They are the best way to carry your things. It's just that mine is.....kind of...like, country wholesome with little birds on it. And, Mr. Darcy came striding in, in fancy dress clothes and Wayfarers and some flashy phone that he proceeded to get an important, high-powered call on, hence running outside, one finger in his ear. He's just so sophisticated and I'm siting there in jeans and a mini-backpack. And. why. do. I . think. this. even.matters.....? It doesn't.
(By the way, also, James May double-take walked by the house tonight. It would be awesome if there was a Jeremy Clarkson and a Richard Hammond double -take. Oh! And The Stig!!!!
Since fall is my favorite season, followed by winter, I'd hate to waste anytime stressing over last minute holiday prep and gift buying. These two seasons are constant busy! We have so many fall birthdays, including Noah and Jon's in November. There's Halloween, and we often host Thanksgiving, and have our friend Robb in from California the night before. Then Chanukah comes and Christmas too. In addition to all of the birthdays to shop for , I have a looooong list for the holidays. My parents are divorced and both remarried. So I have 57 thousand brothers and sisters. Well, it feels like that . And, since I'm married, we have two families to buy for. All in all, I made a list and came up with over FORTY, gifts to buy. It's too much. That will cost a fortune. It stresses me to no end. This year though, this will finally be the year I will make at least SOME of our gifts.
I've been curating a Homemade Gifts board on Pinterest for a long time. Have a look, it's pretty extensive!
Anyway, one easy thing to check off my fall/winter list was a Halloween costume. I wanted to make one, but Noah wanted to be a wizard, and when searching for ideas, we came across this costume. Noah loved it, and since it was reasonably priced, I thought why not. So glad , isn't it adorable?
Noah has been wearing his new costume for two days. I'm happy he's having fun!
Here is Willow checking out one of my in-progress crochet projects. This is supposed to end up as a cardigan, but something is going awry! Too many increases too quickly. That's one of the things about my crochet. As much as I love it, I have never ever ever ever had a project come out without having a mistake in it. Almost always a big mistake, like being lopsided. That's why I don't really crochet for other people. I don't feel quite there yet. I've made a few things for Jon and Noah, a crown for my little pal Sadie and a glasses case for my Grandma, but that's about it. I think if I went from slowly working on projects for the fun of it, to the pressure of making something nice for somebody and getting done in time, it would take a lot of the relaxation and joy out of it. Am I selfish? Does that make sense?
This was the nicest thing.... Noah asked Jon last week if Jon could pick up a crochet book for me on his lunch hour. He said it was a gift to say that he was sorry for not listening well lately. Honestly, I don't really feel like Noah has been behaving worse than usual, but he must have been feeling badly about something he did. Jon picked this really neat one-skein project book up and wrapped it. Isn't that sweet!? Then Noah gave it to me after dinner the other night. I teared up because it was so thoughtful . :)
Here is just a silly picture that I wanted to share. Our friend Scott, who is a film maker, came to shoot video for Jon's company. He spent four days here. (Scott lives in Pittsburgh.) On the last night, Scott and Jon had to work on some voice-over work, but I got to play with the sound equipment first!
I have to tell you that this was a DREAM COME TRUE! Ever since I was a little girl, I've dreamed of having my own radio talk show. I would spend hours and hours talking into my pink radio tape recorder, taping "shows". I even had a radio alter-ego by about eleven, "Laser Lips Mama"! That's who I was.
I don't know why I never tried to follow my dream. I guess it just didn't seem practical.
Maybe someday I will explore voice-over work. I've been approached on two separate occasions in public by people who asked if I would audition for some voice work for cartoons. One was for the part of the Little Match Girl. I guess my annoyingly high-pitched voice might come in handy some day.
For my birthday this year, Jon actually surprised me with a similar audio set-up. It was for home podcasting! How cool it that!!!!?? It was very nice of him. I've been talking about podcasting for a while, but just didn't have the time yet, to get one going. I talked with Jon and said I was so grateful for his gifts, but in total honesty, I was worried that they would just sit around for a long time until I was ready to start . So, we decided to return the equipment for now, until I was ready . It was sad to see them go, but I think someday.....maybe.....I'll start a podcast. Who wants to be my first guest!?
I was worried about Twix before we brought him home, just because of the cats. Noah's teacher assured me its was ok, and that the Twix's cage was secure. Growing up we always had cats and gerbils or hamsters, so I'm extra cautious with the two together. Even though Twix's cage seemed fine, I doubled up with safety pinning it closed at night. It actually worked perfectly!
Willow is pretty much ignoring Twix, and sweet blind Hector.....I think he is IN LOVE!!! Awwwwww. Hector has no idea what to think about this. He delicately sniffed the cage and Twix came right up and sniffed Hector! And the most adorable thing EVER..... I found Hector curled up and sleeping next to the cage while TWIX was also curled up and sleeping on his platform, not even in his little house, near Hector. It was so so cute!
I will absolutely NOT take ANY chances, but it was nice to see that my cats are seemingly being nice.
Having Twix here has been really great!
It's fall!!!!! We get to wear things like pants! And sweaters! I've been dragging my family outside a lot too. I've been taking walks most nights. It's soooooo wonderful. The air is the BEST! Here is a quote that I love......
One last thing. We had lunch at Panera's and I want to recommend! I had a you- pick- two with their new seasonal soup and salad - Yum!
And that's the scoop!