Fire!

Its been quite awhile since I’ve posted.  Yet again, everything I was doing, got interrupted.  In case you didn’t hear, we had a bit of a major fire here in the North Bay area of California.

On Monday, October 9, my Mom called us at 3:00 a.m. to say there was a fire nearby and she thought that maybe she should leave.  Having no clue what was actually going on, Husband and I woke up the kids, decided to take two trucks so my Mom could take whatever she wanted from her house, and headed over.

We turned on the radio as we drove to her house and began to get a first inkling of the disaster which was unfolding.  When we arrived at her house, the magnitude of the fires became clear.

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That’s a photo I took from her front porch.  The neighborhood approximately 5 blocks from her house would wind up being leveled.  The explosions we kept hearing were propane tanks exploding.

In the face of that, I took my Mom through her house, room by room, to choose what to take.  She would point to an item and one of our kids would take it and put it in a truck.  Everyone was calm and efficient.

We could hear the fire getting closer so it was time to leave.  After a brief discussion of how best to get out of the neighborhood, we jumped in our cars and joined the line of people streaming out.

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It was really smokey!  I have to say though, everyone was polite, patient, helpful and scared.

We did make it out safely.  Our house was never threatened.  My Mom’s house thankfully was unharmed.  We spent the next few days watching the disaster grow.

At this point, things are beginning to return to some sort of normal.  The fires are nearing containment; mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted; roads are re-opening; many schools are back in session.

The statistics from our county are staggering:  1 in 10 people in the county were evacuated at some point in time.  Upwards of 2,800 residences destroyed, as well as businesses, schools, wineries, hotels and a few iconic landmark buildings.  Two of our three hospitals were evacuated (one of those two has reopened.)  I believe the death toll currently stands at 23.

We were one of the lucky ones.  Our direct impact was limited to having my Mom with us for a week and taking in our friends’ two dogs.  My kids were out of school for awhile – my high schooler went back Tuesday; my middle schooler should go back Monday.  My work is still closed.

There are many, many who have suffered devastating impacts.  My heart goes out to all of them.

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September 5, 2017

This is like my third attempt at this blog post.  Ugh.

It was going to be about learning to be better to myself.  But it was sounding lame, cliche, and uninteresting.

Its hard to be good to yourself.  I’m not sure why, but it is.  I’m trying.  Today, I sat down at 11:00 and took twenty minutes to eat a lovely peach and some Marin Cheese Co. brie on my back porch.  I love sitting on my back porch, looking out over the vineyard, sipping my coffee.

Twenty minutes just for myself seems so indulgent.  But I’m beginning to understand that its really not.  Just like texting with my friends and posting in my blog is not indulgent.  Neither is taking the dog on a walk or working my horses.

Collapsing at work and having my doctor tell me that I need to follow up with a cardiologist (finally got an appointment) sort of puts things into perspective.  But I’ve been surprised that I’m finding it so hard to be kinder to myself.  I always have wondered about the people who are told, “If you don’t make lifestyle changes, you’re going to die” but fail to change.  And, here I am . . . one of them!!

Its really easy to blame others:  “My husband doesn’t help enough.”;  “My job is too stressful.”;  “I’m so busy with the kids’ activities.”  But, realistically, it comes down to me, myself and I – my choices, my decisions and how I deal with the things life throws at me.

I can talk to my husband about our division of tasks.  I can have my kids help out more and take on more responsibility because they are 12 and 14 years old now.  I can find healthy ways to deal with my job and other stress.  I can take a look at our household schedules and see if it can be managed differently.

And I can stop feeling guilty about 20 minutes on my back porch, drinking good coffee and reading the paper.

 

How to be Different

Apparently, I need some lifestyle changes.  After collapsing at work out of the blue (caused a huge commotion), I went to see my doctor yesterday.  (I refused to go to the ER with the nice paramedics.)  My doctor called me a “textbook case of the healthy person who drops dead from a heart attack.”

Well, hmmmm . . . She was concerned when I looked puzzled at her order to “spend the rest of the day doing something for myself.”  I have plenty of things that I’d really like to do for myself but they never seem to happen.  For example, 3 days ago I picked some fava beans, found a recipe and have been wanting to make soup.  Fava beans are still sitting on my counter and they don’t seem to be making soup themselves.

How is that possible?  How can I not even find time to cook food that I want to??  What the heck do I do all day?  In my opinion, I don’t do much.  But when I tell my girlfriends, “I did this and this and this today . . . nothing!” they’re like, “wow, you did all that?” My doctor says I tend to minimize.

So, o.k., I need to lessen my “constant state of stress and anxiety” (more doctor quotes) and that’s great but HOW??  How do I just start being different?  How do I make space for myself?

I think I’ve asked this question before here in my blog.  Maybe the better question is: How do I not feel guilty about making space for myself?

I mean, we’re not talking about me going on a shopping spree or something.  We’re talking about soup!!!  Healthy soup that the rest of my family could eat.

I did finally announce to my 12 and 14 year old kids that they get to make their own school lunches and unpack their lunch box when they get home this year.  My husband was thrilled at this declaration.  I’m not exactly sure why – he rarely if ever made their lunch; he just seemed to be upset that I made lunches for the kids.  The kids were less than thrilled.  Me?  I felt guilty.

Mired in “Do-Nothing-ness”

I was making progress on a few of my goals.  I was spending time in the barn, practicing Spanish (occasionally), walking the dog, feeling healthy, and, in general, just getting things done.

Yet once again, it has all come to a screeching halt.  It started with end of the school year activities, my son graduating from 8th grade, etc.  Then I got sick and was down and out for about 10 days.  Since then, I haven’t been able to get back on track.

I’m frustrated and upset about it.  But mostly, I’m just tired.  And not quite sure what to do.

Last week I took my son to the doctor for his summer camp physical.  I hopped on the scale . . . and was dismayed to find that I’m the heaviest I’ve been in a long time.  136.5 at 5′ 4″.  Ugh.

I haven’t been walking my dog so he has a ton of energy and is up all night roaming the house, which is keeping me awake at night.  So . . . not sleeping well.  Plus, we’ve gotten in this pattern of not going to bed until midnight or so and then sleeping in.  Also, not good.

I came up with the idea that I would be back on my horse by September 3.  That’s the 20 year anniversary of my first horse’s death (thoughts of Tori still brings me to tears, nearly 20 years later).  I lunged Slewy exactly twice and that was going on three weeks ago not.  So much for good intentions.

One of my new excuses is that its harder with the kids being out of school.  I don’t have a few hours to myself every afternoon.  And I’m a person who desperately needs a few hours alone most days.  But with the kids not in school, 1) they’re always around so there’s no down time for thinking, writing here in my blog or my journal, or much else of my own and 2) I do things with them (which I love and am not complaining about) – we go to the pool, go shopping, or who knows what.  So, again, very little time to myself.  Right now, this afternoon, I think is the first time since June 1 that I’ve had any time home alone.  And I’m spending it writing and playing Hay Day rather than really accomplishing anything.  But I’m so, so tired.  I feel like I just need to sit for awhile.

O.k., so no answers really.  Just complaints.  Often writing helps me to sort things out in my head so maybe this is a way to start again.  I don’t know.  I’m tired of “starting again.”

Do Something . . . Anything

I have reached complete overwhelm.  I made a new to do list, hoping that would re-focus and organize me.  It just made it worse.  Looking at my schedule the next few days and the list, I’ve got absolutely no idea how its going to get done.  And these are things that really have to be done.  I can’t just not return work phone calls!  And we have our annual end of the school year swim party on Saturday.  I can’t just ignore that!!!  I’m kind of freaking out.  I really would like to just sit here at my desk and color.

My dog is sitting next to me, whining.  He wants to go outside and play or go on a walk or something.  I wish he would be quiet.  The property isn’t 100% fenced so he’s not allowed to go out without me.  And apparently, for some reason, sitting on the back deck isn’t good enough for him at the moment.

I must have put on three different outfits this morning while trying to get dressed for work.  One skirt that I haven’t worn for awhile didn’t fit.  I mean, like didn’t fit to the point where I wondered when it had ever fit me.  That was upsetting.  Just before I tried to get dressed I was sort of complimenting myself for having things pretty together.  So much for that.

The other day there was a lizard in the house, right outside my closet.  I am TERRIFIED of lizards.  Its been that kind of week.

Of course, today the kids get out of school early so I have even less time.

I’m drowning in end of the school year activities.

Ugh.

So, for the next 20 minutes, until I have to go pick kids up from school, I’m going to fall back on my strategy for when life gets like this, which is “Do Something . . . Anything.”  I’ve found that if I just start going down the to do list, its easier to continue.  Starting is the hard part.  It doesn’t really matter exactly what I do; anything is better than sitting here and staring out my window.

Here I go . . . something . . . anything.  Just start somewhere.

When Do You Say, “Yes, Dear”?

I have trouble keeping my mouth shut.  I believe that situations will improve if things are discussed, if people can communicate honestly, and if folks say what’s on their mind.  I’m really, really good about saying what’s on my mind.

This occasionally  causes conflict in my marriage.  So, I’m wondering . . . when do you just say “Yes, Dear.”?

I know all about “pick your battles” and I’m pretty good at that.  I mean, I do my absolute best to not argue over petty things, let little slights go, etc.  But when do the petty things add up to “too much!”?  When do the little slights turn into one big “F___ you.”?

I think the timing of discussions versus a simple “Yes, Dear.” is important.  I try to not start discussions late in the evening, when I know husband is tired from his long days at work.  I try to not interrupt when he’s in the middle of something.  But I also don’t believe there’s a “perfect time” for anything.  And, like I said, I find “Yes, Dear” very difficult in general.

Does it matter who’s right or who’s wrong?  Does it matter the degree of right-ness or wrong-ness??  Is it subject matter that’s important?  If I manage a “Yes, Dear”, is it fair to bring up the subject again later?  Is a “Yes, but . . .” reasonable?

O.k., I get that all those things are important . . . so maybe its just a matter of balance.  I know there’s not one right answer here.  Maybe I just need to practice “Yes, Dear” more and I’ll figure out the nuances.

Any suggestions?  When do you use “Yes, Dear.”?

Late Afternoon Lull

Made it home from work, went to the grocery store, stopped by the vet, managed to eat lunch (with just a little bit of ice cream involved), picked the kids up from school, and now I’d really like to just sit for a while.  I’d like to sit, stare out the window and watch the rain.

But no . . . I really need to unpack from work this morning and gather tomorrow’s client files (wonder if there are reports I have to read?), the groceries should be put away (don’t worry – the milk went straight into the fridge), school lunches have to be unpacked and remade, laundry is waiting to be folded, and the rest of the house needs to be cleaned up.

Then there’s dinner, horses to feed . . . blah, blah, blah. . . .

Can’t I just sit and watch the rain??

My accomplishment for the day was leaving the package of frosted sugar cookies at the store.  Good job, Me!!!

Husband just called to remind me that he’s done at work earlier than normal and will be home for dinner.  Yay?   That just means that all of the above has to be done that much sooner.

Its only Monday . . .