Archive for the ‘Stress’ Category

Two weeks ago I was sitting in a hotel room in Salt Lake City debating on a job offer and the counter offer my current company had given me. The job offer was a job back in Montana and the counter offer involved a transfer to Salt Lake City. Health concerns, job security and happiness and quality of life for me, the husband and the pup were all whirling through my head. And then I had a sudden lurch of panic — I found a lump in my left breast. Holy hell was I mad. I had a fibroadenoma when I was 19 in that same breast and now THIS. The damn thing felt like a square of gum, like the ones in those foil packets that became popular 10 or so years ago. Anyways, I had a monster panic at 11 pm and started google searching and calling my mom. I had my panic rant and then we got down to business — we currently live in Phoenix, which has a MONSTER Mayo Clinic campus. The Mayo Clinic is possibly one of the best places I could go for a diagnosis. Turns out that the Phoenix campus has one of three breast center’s in the country. The others are in Minneapolis and Florida. I filled out the online appointment request form and finally fell asleep. Three days later  when I was visiting with people my phone rang and I spent the next 24 hours trying to get through to the appointment people with the Mayo Clinic. It is apparently a 15-30 min wait to get to their schedulers. THANKFULLY I did get through to someone and made an appointment for that Friday. I wasn’t going to waste ANY time twiddling my thumbs.

One thing a friend told me that week was the goal of taking action. Everything is worse before you take action. The act of movement releases some of the tension and anxiety. You will never move forward and onward without taking action. I would not have slept that night at the hotel if I had not taken action. I would not have felt okay about myself and my health without taking action to call the appointment office back.

So, 8 days ago I went to the Mayo Clinic with my in-laws chauffeuring me and my husband with them too. Support system? Yeah, I have one. And it’s a pretty dang great one too. This isn’t to say my parents wouldn’t have been there, but the in-laws had already planned a vacation to come see us that weekend. Talk about timing. That Friday was a total wash for focusing on anything but this medical potential panic. I met with a great nurse practitioner who pretty much immediately said, “you’re going in for a mammogram and ultrasound.” Well, duh, I could have diagnosed that much, but glad to know we were on the same page. I went out to the schedulers and asked when the next available appointment was for a mammogram — in 1 hour. It was about 15 minutes to the other campus where I’d go for that and away we went. We got there 40 minutes before the appointment but I checked in anyways and was seen 10 minutes later.

I have never had a mammogram. It has been a horrendous fear that as I get older I will need to face the breast squishing agony that women have to go through. I am not well endowed and cleavage is something that is fairly minimal on me. To think that I have to put the little I have on a tray to be squished by a plastic plate is NOT a comforting thought. Well, now I’ve experienced it and I’ve got to say, there are several positions that are uncomfortable and the rest are a full out painful experience. Give me an ultrasound any day of the week, because YIKES.  Both technicians (for the mammogram and ultrasound) were amazing women and I am very grateful for their ease of conversation and attitude towards the procedure.

The end result of all of this is that I have a benign cyst. I’m NOT enthused about this, but I am no longer in full blown panic mode. I was able to have a great weekend at the Grand Canyon and relax. I am still worried that it will need to be drained, but that is a fairly minor procedure compared to what this could have been.

I think the left side of my body is just going to cause trouble . . . door slammed on ring finger when I was 5, left foot broken at 18, fibroadenoma at 19 and now a benign cyst. . . oh, and that endometrioma that had to be drained that I blogged about too.So, dear left side, I don’t know why you need cause so much trouble, but I’d appreciate it if you’d stop getting so dangerously creative. Thanks!





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Moving, quite honestly, SUCKS. The packing, sorting, trashing/donating and general stress is less than ideal. Thankfully this time we are not also trying to sell our house.  As I am currently between jobs so this means that I am the main packer and sorter so I am trying to stay motivated and organized. Good thing we kept our non-trashed boxes from the last move. . . read label on box, find items, put back into box.

Little Dude is NOT a happy camper about all of this and has decided that the tape dispenser needs to be snapped at whenever it is in use. He will come running into whatever room you are using it and gets very very irate at it. I think it must be the sound because he just sniffs at it and looks at me like, ‘Now what?’ when it isn’t in use.

We are also ditching our futon. Not moving with that giant hunk o’ junk again, nope nope nope. It’s been the home to our winter gear — snowshoes and skis for the past 5 1/2 months and it’s just not going to find a happy place in our new place.

I’m sad neither one of us found jobs in the current locale, but onward and downward (in elevation)!!! Adventures await us and I am ready to see what will come of this move. It’s not Death Valley, but it sure ain’t the Pacific Northwest either. Also, who gets nosebleeds when they drop 4000 feet in elevation? Apparently I do. . . That sucked. A LOT. Actually it mostly dribbled. TMI? Oh well.

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It’s horrible to move. It is also awesome. While walking our pup this morning I looked out at the sunshine hitting the golden leaves of the Quaking Aspen and causing the hills to glow. I promptly burst into tears. The pup bounded off into the trees to eat some wild animal poop. He came when called, turd in mouth, and was SO exuberant I forgot about my sorrow and forced him to spit out of some of the fecal matter.

This reminded me that we are moving on to new adventures and to grab the little excitements of the moment and cherish those. Sad as it is to leave this town and the friends we’ve made here, it’s super exciting to move on. I will miss this place, but in the ways you miss somewhere you lived for along time.  The beauty of this town will always be here and I can’t wait to come back and visit.

Today I learned that I will not see one of my closest friends here before we leave. She is the Bringer of Joy. You cannot help yourself but smile and laugh when you see and hear her. Her hugs are amazing, her laughter contagious. It physically hurts to say farewell to people like her. A coworker is throwing a potluck for us and as a fall celebration next week. I’m going to miss her so much. We’ve had ski adventures, cooking celebrations, hikes, dog stories and the ability to rant/plan/discuss at work.

On the joyous farewells — we are going to see a friend perform in a play the last night we were in town. I can’t wait. I saw him in Les Miserables and couldn’t help but laugh and cry. It was amazing. I’m so glad that he is our friend.

There are rare friends here and truly one of a kind. I am looking forward to heading to our new home with mountains where I will get to reconnect with a friend I haven’t seen in years (Pre Hurricane Katrina!!) but who truly understands the wonder of digital watches and the danger of turning into a penguin.

I’m trying to focus on the good and the great, but the sad and lonely are definitely popping up their ugly heads now and again. Pardon me while I go grab my box of tissues.

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… they’re really saying, “I love you.”

I honestly cannot hear that song without bursting into tears. It takes about 5 notes and the first syllable and I can’t even see.  Anyone that says music doesn’t affect them is missing a dose of whatever I seem to have in spades. It’s ridiculous. I could name that songs that are guaranteed to pick me up and the ones that drop me down where I need a box of tissues within arms reach.

Tonight we finished watching Good Morning Vietnam. I’ve seen it before, Louis Armstrong made me cry then, and he made me cry again. That movie is the reason that song causes such a strong reaction. The song is played while a totally different visual assaults your eyeballs. It hurts but in the way I’m sure the movie directors intended. It hits on a visceral level like a discordant chord. Jarring, but yet you can’t stop getting it out of your head.

Anyways, the one line from it really hits home right now because we’re getting down to the wire of leaving. We have two weeks and two-ish days and then it’s farewell.  I’m not sure how I’m going to handle it as we get closer. I feel like crying if I think about it for too long. Right now I’m so dried up from earlier that I feel I can write something.

Tonight we gave away our bookcases. In return we got an awesome red rubber ball for the pup and an offer of pup-sitting while we’re moving. Our dog has the best doggy and human friends ever. We’re really going to miss those four legged beasts. I am hoping to tell everyone at the Dog Park that we’ve gotten reasonably close to that we’re leaving. It’s going to be hard as some of them have just started to become friends. What will our pup do without his BFF (they have matching collars now) to zoom and wrestle with on a weekly basis?

But life goes on, adventures await and we just have to pick up and keep moving. As Dory says, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” Right now, I’m focusing on swimming and keeping my head afloat.  The grief of leaving these friends here is pretty overwhelming but I remind myself that  several good friends have already left and we’re still in touch, so I won’t lose touch with the people who really mean a lot to me. One of my greatest friends is in the same town as me now (we’ve known each other since we were about 15) and it’s going to be really painful to leave her. I know I wasn’t the reason she moved up here, but I was definitely a perk. No one likes to lose a reason the place they live is bearable.

The Ladies Night crew is slowly but surely breaking up. “Cupcake” has already been gone for over a year and a half, another coworker left for Alaska this spring and another just moved to Texas. Before the Ladies Night crew two other friends left — one to graduate school not too far away and another to WA. People leave and it pained me something awful to see them go. Well, now it’s my turn to wrench roots from the grips of this lovely town with its postcard views and scenery.

I remember how sad I was to leave my home town to move out here. I lost touch with some people, but others stayed in touch and we found other ways to ‘hang out’ and stay updated on each other. It helps when you’ve had a good portion of your life shared online. Distance isn’t so painful, you find ways to get together when you’re in the same town and it make those hugs so much more worthwhile. . . except you don’t want them to end.

In some ways I am beyond ready to leave. The job, the house, the expensive flights in/out of town. But the reasons to stay are the people. The reasons I miss home are because of the people. BUT this isn’t high school and college where it’s just friends going to class together and hanging out. We’ve had to grow up and face the real world and schedules and marriages and personal lives that mean you can’t hang out every Friday night watching Stargate SG-1, or going to church lock ins and getting next to no sleep once a month.

Toys R Us had it right with their theme song.  I really don’t want to grow up. Life makes you, but that doesn’t mean I have to want it. Life hurts. Life heals, but you have to stand tall and keep moving forward. Family and friends will support you and help however they can because that’s what you do for each other. I am amazed how we all came together to help our Texas-bound friend move. She got so much help from everyone and we all wanted to be there for her.

Well, I’m attempting to grow up a bit over the next few weeks, pack up my life and move to new experiences. Adventure awaits!!

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Focus Fail

I am getting crazy jittery for no real reason other than it’s apparently a fun way for my brain to say, “Hey!! Don’t you want to stay up all night?!?!?!?”  I honestly hate having Spaz Brain, but at least I am getting things done.

We are prepping to move — whee!! My dad’s advice is to pack up one room at a time rather than tackling several rooms at once. I think starting with our book collection is a good idea. That frees up shelves to be dusted and broken down and then voila, we have more space to sort items and store boxes.

I bought a bunch of book boxes today and have successfully packed up two boxes. I’ve also made our coffee table the home to all the programming books from the two bookshelves. That’s A LOT of books (51 so far) and the hubby is the only one who can sort them out as they’re his. I’m proud of my progress, but it’s pretty middling considering what’s left on the shelves. In all fairness the shelves were never organized so now there are piles of books.  Currently coalescing are”nerd books” (i.e. The Klingon Dictionary, a book about Star Wars, several Hellboy comics and a book about Star Trek), scifi/fantasy authors, language books, textbooks, comedy, and some fiction.

Tomorrow I will bring home my books from work that I want to keep (The ArcGIS 9.2 book I have isn’t going to stick around much longer) and get those shoved in a box. Some day books on British plants and birds will come in handy!!

The books are calling. . .

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Welcome Little Dude

** This has been a very delayed work-in-progress entry

It has been a few weeks, and I think he’s wormed his way into our hearts and lives.  The last weekend in May my husband and I went a county away to acquire a puppy.  A Staffordshire Terrier/Boxer mix — 10 weeks old and with 4 siblings. We wanted a calm submissive dog and we have ended up with a calm, VERY hard headed highly observant puppy.  Except when he goes into a spastic fit and wants to destroy the bottom of the couch. We’re learning this usually means he has to poop.  Our German Shepherd went through a similar OMG IMMA RUN AROUND AND BITE ANYTHING mode when he had to poop.  The difference — the GSD would then fall over into Nap Land, Little Dude just gets a bit less crazy.

The crate is the same, but the living conditions are not.  The GSD was raised in a 2nd Floor Apartment so we were on a crazy house training regimen of running him out the door in the dead of winter.  He’d usually pee on the welcome mat (we bought a new one for the building because we are responsible dog owners).  Little Dude has a fenced in back yard and a Crate Room all to himself. We got the GSD when he was 6 weeks old, maybe 6 1/2 and was house broken in a month.  Little Dude is 10 weeks old (well, now 14) and working on the whole house breaking thing.

I am not used to a dog that only wants to chew on Nylabones and Bully Sticks. He’ll go after his rope toy some too and has done more destruction to it in 5 days than the GSD did in 3 1/2 years. Breed difference much?

Leash walking is also a new thing for Little Dude.  We’re working on the human-dog bond and it’s not very easy with a hardheaded dog who glues himself to the sidewalk and just looks at you like, “There is NO WAY you are getting your way. Nope, I’ll just wait right here.” Let’s just say there’s a bit of a tug-of-war going on with sorting out our pack rankings.

As much as I remember all the good things about the GSD — Little Dude trumps him in the best way possible. Car rides with Little Dude are a breeze.  He just goes into his crate and either falls asleep or goes to town on his treat KONG.  A dog who likes the car AND behaves in it?  Color me ecstatic.  GSD would go into a fit of whines and talking and never.ever.shut.up unless he fell asleep. . . which was rare and short lived.  I don’t miss those car rides.


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Silence helps

I’ve been trying to write a blog post for a few days now and every time I get started I just run off and do something else.

The wind is currently pushing its way around our house and making things creak and whoosh. It’s nice because it’s about 40 degrees (it was over 50!) so the weather isn’t so cold that I’m bundled up and shivering at each wind whoosh.

In the indoors of our house we’ve started something that we should have done a long time ago. Actually going through some boxes. In about 20 minutes we were both thinking a lot clearer and able to verbalize some thoughts and concerns regarding the next few months. We’ve both been under a huge amount of pressure and it’s made us both a bit retarded when it comes to coherent thoughts.

I’ve also started my photo back ups again. I’m cleaning out my Lightroom catalog which also means cleaning out my computer. I plan on having a system where I only keep the GOOD photos. I have a lot of crap photos and I don’t need them. Some are good for memory’s sake, but they don’t need to take up space on my HD, so they are now on an external drive.  If something happens to them, that will really suck, but you can’t hold on to everything forever. I’m too much of a packrat to say that without cringing though. I want to keep everything forever and in great condition. My Barbies,  My Little Ponies and Cabbage Patch Kids can attest to that.

Perhaps I will donate a Cabbage Patch Kid to my cousin’s new little girl (who has yet to appear, but she’s getting ready to make her grand entrance into the oxygen filled world). I’m trying to find ways to reduce my clutter and reduce the amount of memories that are stored in my parent’s house. I can’t bring myself to say no to a few of those things, but some stuff can totally got the way of the Dodo: remembered, but no longer around.

Cleaning up our clutter is helping the two of us a lot as well.  If we clean up our physical clutter then our relationship feels less cluttered with things to trip and dwell over and we can actually breathe and be happy.  Cleaning up the clutter also makes house cleaning a lot easier and a bit less stressful. I still get all wound up and pissed every time I clean. Seriously, you want me in a bad mood, make me clean. About 30 minutes after cleaning I’m fine, but during the process I’m probably going to hurt someone if they ruin my flow. It’s an anger of both procrastinating so much that things are way more work than they need to be and the frustration that requires some quiet and alone time. Cleaning is a very solo kind of task. If one person is cleaning a bathroom, another one is cleaning the kitchen. You’re both cleaning but you need to be in charge of your own space.

Not sure I can make everything clear, but I’m just going to blather it out on here. . .


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