I woke up old.

Last weekend, I woke up old.  I wobbled my way into the bathroom, unsure why I was having trouble walking all of a sudden. Where did this arthritis come from? I rubbed my eyes and turned on the bathroom light. Whoa. Where did those wrinkles come from? I mean…I used to have “fine lines” and all of a sudden, overnight, I have full on wrinkles. I also had dark circles and bags under my eyes that I’ve never had. Even my…uhm…breasts seemed to be hanging a little lower than they did the day before. WTF is happening. And the cellulite on my legs…oh wait, I know where that came from. Oops.

Aging.

Is.

Not.

Fun.

165px-Granny

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Dear Frank, Mommy loves you.

Dear Frank,

Frankie, Frankenstein, Frankendoodle, Doodlebug, Franklin, Frankenfurter, FrankNBeans, Mr. Frank,  Frank White, Gangsta Kitty.

16 years ago, I walked into the Humane Society in Colorado looking for a dog. A litter of kittens had just been brought in, and I stood in the middle of the floor while you and your siblings were pulled from a cardboard box. You climbed up my pants leg, up my shirt, and sat on my shoulder. You chose me and I left that day without a dog. Instead,  I gained my baby, my first born, and later, ‘the oldest of the boys.’

You loved to play fetch with pieces of crumbled paper and steal hair bands, only to lose them under the couch.We sat outside on the back porch every day, enjoying the sunshine. Most nights, you slept next to my pillow. Every morning you drank from the bathroom sink while I got ready for work. You forgave me when I brought home not only your brothers, but a few ex-boyfriends too.  And weekly, you forgave Nate for his sloppy kisses and Emmitt for stealing your spot on the couch.

You taught me unconditional love. frank

Last night, I helped you cross the rainbow bridge.  No amount of  ‘its for the best, you are in a better place, or you are no longer suffering’ will make feel any better. Logically, I know I made the right decision, but my heart is still broken and a piece of me is still missing. I hope you know I never gave up on you.  I just wanted to end your pain and let you chase bugs while enjoying the sunshine again.

I chose a spot under the big oak tree in Gramma’s front yard for you to rest your bones, but I know you will still be next to my pillow every night watching over me.

In the famous words of Whitney Houston‘s songwriter: I will always love you.

See you on the other side.

Love,  Mommy

I’m Baaaaack

Hi Everyone!

I spent the month of April at my family’s cabins on the Frio River. I got back home this past weekend. My sleep specialist recommend I try to get away and see if less stress would help me sleep.

This was one of my views for the month

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Frio River

I brought all 3 of my furbabies with me.

And I made a few new friends.

It was absolutely fantastic to wake up to birds chirping and watch the lightning bugs from my porch at night. For nearly 2 weeks of the trip, I slept!!! I was averaging 7-8hrs a night. I was in heaven. Then….I started all over again. I started back to sleeping 3-4/night about 2 weeks ago. The good news is I’m not as irritable, grumpy, and exhausted as I was 6-8 weeks ago. The bad news is, I go back to work in a few weeks and I am at a loss how to solve my insomnia puzzle. I saw my sleep specialist yesterday. He, too, seems at a loss and is having me try some things again. I’ve struggled with insomnia for 20 years, but starting in November, it was the worst it’s ever been. However, knowing I slept for a couple of weeks, gives me hope it can/will happen again. I’ve analyzed everything I can about those 2 weeks to see if I could find a pattern that I can repeat (and sleep), but I can’t seem to solve the mystery.

The dogs and I walked miles and miles every day, exploring the property and enjoying a nearby park. I also got a nice run in when Nate decided to break free from his leash to chase a herd of deer. And I loved the time I  got to spend with my Mom, Gramma, and Aunt &  Uncle. The regular walks and jogs got me back in the swing of things with exercise, and I’ve continued now that I’m back home.

While in Small Town, USA,  I was able to continue my vegetarian lifestyle rather easily, although my vegan transition definitely stalled while I was there. I visited a nearby produce market and found a local place that made fantastic salads, and another place with delicious breakfast tacos. (yes, I ate more than tacos and salads. I ate Oreos too. haha kidding!) Now that I’m back home, I’m ready to finally quit cheese! I’ve already cut dairy-milk and dairy-yogurt from my diet (and kept that up while out of town). I love coconut yogurt!  I’ve also found the Ben & Jerry’s dairy-free Chunky Monkey! But cheese….damn you.

I’ve tried several vegan cheeses and none are just “right” for a grilled cheese. If anyone has any fave vegan cheeses they love, please let me know.  I’m currently loving the Kite Hill cream cheese.

Time to get ready for bed….wish me luck.

Find Peace in All You Do.

B

 

 

The Great Escape

It’s been over a month since I checked in. I’ve been struggling with my health. My insomnia continues to get worse and worse and some gastro issues are troubling me (probably related….chicken or the egg?). With the insomnia, my migraines have resurfaced- which I had almost completely eliminated by eliminating meat from my diet. And no…..my insomnia did not correspond to a diet change.

I’ve struggled with insomnia for most of my adult life. I’ve been on some sort of sleeping pill/supplement/rx/tea/etc/blah/blah/blah for most of the past 15 years. The last time I was completely medication-free, I had quit all my Rxs cold turkey. It took several months, but eventually my sleep leveled back out again and I slept “normally” for several years, before I was prescribed a sleeping pill again.

Today is my first day of extended leave from work. I took 2 months off of work to try to “fix” my sleep. My sleep specialist signed off on the leave,  touting my irritability, short term memory loss, brain fog, fatigue…. It’s a huge relief to not have to worry about getting to work on time, fulfilling  my job duties half asleep. I’m lucky enough to be able to have a job that allows me to take time off, with very little notice, and lucky enough to have family supporting my decision, knowing it puts me in a financial bind. Even if I am approved for short term disability (I won’t know until about a month into my leave), it only pays a small percentage of I’m paycheck.

What will I do with my time off? Well…hopefully sleep. My mom’s side of the family has cabins in the woods, by the river, in a small Texas town. I may spend a portion of my time off in a cabin, with no TV: me, the pets, some books, and a bathing suit.

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I’m hoping some sleep may also help the depression I’ve found myself in the last couple of months. Feeling hopeless about my sleep and morphed into feeling hopeless about my life. And perhaps approaching 40 (this weekend!) has left me in a bit of a mid-life crisis about all the things I want to do and haven’t, things I thought I would have or accomplished by now, but haven’t.  I’m watching several people in my life do exactly what I wish I could do, but feel like I can’t (mainly because of finances).  My brother and his wife are about to head off on a cross country journey in their converted school bus. Follow them on  Instagram or check out their guest blog post. Another friend has quit her job and is headed to the Appalachian Trail to go hiking for the next several months. And another friend recently found out she is pregnant-something her and her man have been wanting. I have no man for this last “dream,” but as I get older, I’m starting to realize that is something else on my To-Do list that may never happen (biology!). Car loan, student loans (Yes, I am STILL paying off my student loans), stuck in a rental lease….oh-so-many things I need money for so I can’t just pick up and move to a new state to start my own new journey.  I love Texas, but most of the new career paths I would like to take (farm & animal sanctuaries, animal welfare type jobs) are located in other states…California, Portland,  the East Coast. I currently work in Social Services…which means I live paycheck to paycheck and do not have much of a savings account. I cannot just quit my job and go hiking or pack up my life and take off on a cross country trip. I need to secure a job before I move, because I do not have enough savings to move somewhere and cross my fingers waiting for a job. I actually did that once. When I graduated from college, my roommate and I packed up and headed to Colorado. No place to live, no jobs, no friends. I loved it. But at 22, I had no debt, no pets, nothing to tie me down.  With that being said, I’ve brushed up my resume and am applying for some of these out of state jobs anyway.  I realize the odds are against me (change in career field + living out of state from the jobs I want), but…at this point I have nothing to lose, so I might as well try. Shhhh, don’t tell my parents.

In the meantime, I’m hoping to get some sleep and spend some time alone with my pups & Frank the Cat on the Frio River.    12360013_10153215846766835_6495034348988450034_n

Find peace in all you do.

-B

 

The Day I Decided to Die

Paulo Coelho wrote a novel, Veronika Decides to Die, which was later adapted into film.  As the title suggests, it is about a girl who decides to commit suicide. My story is not like hers. I only bring it up, because as I sat down to write my blog, the book came to mind.  Today’s blog is not about food or meat or animals, as my others. Today’s blog is about death.

I’ve struggled with depression off and on throughout my almost-40 years here on Earth.  I’ve had countless psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, medications, therapy sessions, and self-help books. I’ve also struggled with chronic insomnia, as well. Most of my doctors have believed the 2 go hand in hand: that my insomnia is due to my depression….continuing to pop me full of antidepressants that numb my mood, yet still not helping me sleep.  The older I’ve gotten the more anxiety I’ve found myself having, as well. I’ve always had anxiety, but I have found myself with a bit of social anxiety in certain situation that never used to bother me.  I’ve tried Western Medicine, Eastern Medicine, WebMD, and Google  😉 with supplements, lifestyle changes, diet changes, exercise, medications, meditation, blah blah blah.

Recently, I’ve actually been feeling pretty good. Life hasn’t been fantastic, but  nothing major has been wrong. I’ve got financial struggles and job stress (but who doesn’t?), but, overall, I’ve been fairly happy.

Until I wasn’t.   I haven’t been sleeping (more than normal).  I’m averaging about 4hr per night (from about 10hrs in bed)- not 4hrs at once…..4hrs broken up, spread out, over those 10 hours.  My old “normal” was 4hrs all at once, then toss and turn the rest of the night. That was pretty good. I could function with that. I cannot function with the 4hrs broken up. (yes, I’ve done sleep studies and been to sleep specialists too-Please don’t reply with helpful comments about how to sleep. Trust me, I’ve tried them- this has been going on for 20yrs. I appreciate your willingness to assist, but….I guarantee….been there, done that).

I’m miserable. I’m tired. I’m irritable. I’m exhausted. I’m fed up.  And this morning, I decided I was ready to die.  I’ve never decided that before. Through all the years of ups and downs, I’ve never actually sat down and planned my own death. This morning, however, I lied in bed, contemplating the best way to die. The best way to not only take myself out, but take my pets with me. Selfish? Yes. I have family that loves me.  At that moment, however, I felt as I could no longer go on.  They would not need to take care of me. And by taking my pets with me, they would not be a burden to anyone, either.  My cat is old, with cancer. He’s cranky. I knew none of my relatives could take him (for various reasons) and I did not want to see him end up in a shelter- 15yrs old with Cancer- and alone, scared, confused without me. I’ve had him since he was 4 weeks old. Then there’s the dogs. They are litter mates and are 6yrs old now. I cannot fathom the idea of them being separated, but who would adopt them together? “No,” I decided, “I’ll take them with me.” I didn’t want any of them alone or scared or confused. How?  Well, I’d rather not put that in writing, as I don’t want any influential teen to stumble upon my blog and get any ideas. But as I lied in bed, planning our death, crying, and hugging my pets…..I decided to check my email (???). And there was an email from my mom. She said nothing profound, nothing interesting. She was simply replying to an email I had sent the night before about a blanket.

But then I crawled out of bed, got in the shower, and carried on with my day. Did my day get better? Nope. In fact, someone stole my debit card number and emptied my bank account this afternoon (yippieeee!). I was unable to purchase my groceries, because I couldn’t use my debit card and, guess what? It’s a holiday weekend and the banks are closed until Tuesday! The card has been turned off and a fraud alert issued, however.  And I’m now on the couch with Law & Order SVU, listening to my cat purr, and my dogs snore.

Today, I decided to die.  But I didn’t.

Find peace in all you do.

-B

 

 

Adopt A Turkey!

Farm Sanctuary offers an “Adopt a Turkey” event, where for the cost of your average supermarket turkey, you can, instead (or in addition to) sponsor a turkey and help save it’s life!  There may be more programs similar to this one, but this is the one I saw online today!

See this link for more details:   http://www.farmsanctuary.org/giving/adopt-a-turkey/

 

Find Peace in All You Do.

-B

 

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