• AWOT: The good and the bad

    AWOT: The good and the bad

    I know what I want to say, but I'm having trouble finding the words. Maybe I should stop staying up so late to write.

    (I've started staying up a few hours later than my normal bedtime to be able to take Koo out once or twice. As of the night I wrote this, I still can't hobble out of bed quick enough to take her out when she whines - once I'm in bed, I kinda have to stay there. But if I stay up a bit later, Matt gets at least a few hours of uninterrupted sleep, though I'm hoping now that Koo is feeling better post-surgery, she'll start sleeping better again.)

    I'm grateful for the things that haven't come easy. How's that? Or maybe it's that I'm grateful for things that happened as a result of something not-so-great happening first.

    I spent quite a bit of this year struggling to find the right anti-anxiety medicine. Part of me feels like I "lost" about six months of the year, due to either being too sleepy to function or dealing with other side effects. It was a real struggle, because all of this not only messes with your body, but your mind as well. Sometimes it felt like things were only going to continue to get worse, and that I was too broken to find something that worked. To be frank, if the medicine I'm on now hadn't worked, I may have asked to either go back to the first medicine I was on, or to try going without. It was awful.
    But, this medicine works for me - works really well, as a matter of fact. I think I experience a little more drowsiness than I would without any medicine in my system, but it's nothing I can't shake off if I need to. (Or, hey, sometimes I just indulge in a nap - especially on weekends.)
    The funny thing about anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medicine, they don't make you actively happier. You don't start twirling around the room singing to bluebirds on the window and seeing rainbows everywhere. (In fact, if you do, maybe you should call your doctor) It works more like a defrost setting in your car. You feel something approaching normal - though this can be a strange feeling, because if you've struggled with anxiety or depression for any length of time, you have to figure out what "normal" is.
    This can also make periods where you actually feel sad or upset extra distressing, because you're not sure if the medicine has stopped working. You have to re-learn how to deal with emotions, to an extent. This is where, again, I think the defrost analogy works pretty well. You still have these emotions, but you can see clearly enough to deal with them in a healthier manner, or sort through your needs, and so on.
    I'm at a really GOOD place emotionally, I feel, and it's been a hard fought battle.

    There's this little calico cat sleeping peacefully next to me on the couch tonight. A year ago, I didn't know she existed, and now I don't know how she hasn't been with us all along. I don't like that she had to wait so long for a family, but sometimes I wonder if she was always meant to be ours. Alternatively, if she had to wait so long for a family, I guess it had to be a good one.
    But getting her to this point where she spends almost all her time with us, plays with us, talks to us constantly, and enjoys being touched, has required a lot of patience and love. At times, I really thought we had taken in a cat who would be more of a visitor that we had to remember to feed.
    It was clear from the day we got home that she was friendly and had the potential to be social. But whatever she's been through made her really guarded about accepting us as hers. She always loved to see us and obviously enjoyed affection and food - but she always seemed a little surprised when we had special food for her, or came to the back room just to see her.
    Then we went away to Michigan, and when we came back, boom! GWEN. I'm not sure what clicked for her. Was it that we left and came back, so she figured that we were the real deal? Or that she really missed us and wanted to show us? I dont know. It's probably less complex than that, along the lines of "hey, your half of the house is better climate controlled." ...But I like to think that she had some big epiphany about love.
    I'm glad we didn't give up on her. I'm glad we didn't pass her by in the first place! She is so much fun, and such a treasure.

    To some extent, I'm even grateful for my sprained ankles, though I can say that I haven't seen the bigger picture yet. It sure has made me slow down and appreciate time with my three furry cuddlebugs. It's helped me to see Matt at his best and realize what a compassionate caretaker he is. It's given us a lot of time together, and we've picked up a hobby (gaming together) that we haven't touched in quite a while. I'm also (VERY) grateful that nothing was it's a relatively minor inconvenience in the scheme of things for a lot of love. I'll take it - and I have a feeling that I'll appreciate exercise all the more when I'm able to get back into it.

    So, all that said, through a lot of reflecting, I have a lot to be grateful for, and many things that I haven't written about here.

    I hope you all have a good Thanksgiving, however you're celebrating it. Happy Thanksgiving a month late to my Canadian friends.

    Take care of yourselves.

  • AWOT: My teachers

    AWOT: My teachers

    My girls are constantly teaching me patience and peace. I managed to raise two of the most stubborn animals ever to walk the earth. (They're also incredibly affectionate.) They want what they want and when they want it and they are not the least bit shy about it. They teach me over and over again that getting upset at them for having needs (and expressing them strongly) is never going to work. It's better to try and understand them, watch their body language and be pre-emptive where I can.
    Mikenna is always going to be prone to distraction outside. Getting upset with her only makes her more distracted, which doesn't help anything. Better to look at the stars or, if nothing else, appreciate that she is here with me, than to get upset over what I can't change.
    Aeris likes to hop on my desk hutch and one by one, smack my bobbleheads from the top. Getting a motion detector aerosol can ended with me getting sprayed more than her, and with her panicking and knocking even more things off. There is no lesson here as far as I can tell, other than my cat is either a jerk or a scientist, and either way ... I still love her.

    Gwen has taught me many things in her time here. She has taught me how one can really blossom when in a home where there is love and security. I had read before getting her that some cats may be more sensitive to yelling because of prior abuse. So I knew that I really had to be more patient with my other two. (That makes me sound like I yell a lot. I really don't. I just didn't want Gwen to be afraid of any abuse from us!) Wanting to model good behavior for Gwen made me think twice before getting annoyed at things. And I think it was a good thing. Gwen has shown a few signs that make me think she was ill treated, and she definitely does not like loud noises. She practically begs Mikenna to stop barking when Koo gets on a shrill streak.
    She has also taught me that love can be simple - a warm home and food made her happier than most. What looks like love to one is not necessarily love to another - Gwen does. not. like. to. be. held. Attempting to love her in this way is NOT love as far as she is concerned. But she lights up when you acknowledge her when she meows at you.
    Love takes time - Only in the past couple months have we seen Gwen really blossom into a confident cat. I have loved her so much from the day we brought her home, but she needed more time to feel okay. We didn't give up on her, and now ... such a difference!

    I've learned many things about food, nutrition, and culture through the books I've read over the last few months. It can be incredibly complicated, but there is one thing that is clear: Food is loaded with emotional and cultural baggage. We make people feel bad for what they eat, when they eat, how they eat, and then act surprised when they turn up with eating disorders or, best case scenario, a lot of mental baggage. Me? I am still paranoid to eat around other people, because I am afraid that they are judging me. Either the fat girl is eating too much, or the fat girl is trying to be skinny and not eating very much. I can't win with those thoughts!
    I've been working very hard to take away my own stigmas around food, and to discover for myself how I like to eat. It's a lot to go into, too much for a portion of a post. But I've found that I like to keep things simple. I want to know in advance what I'm going to eat when I get up in the morning, not leave it to whim. I need foods that are almost brainless in the afternoon, because I want to be thinking about other things. I like more elaborate suppers, but again, I need to know in advance what I'm doing, or it will fall apart. I love the crockpot, and I think cheese is largely a waste of time when used as an ingredient. (Give me a piece of good sharp cheddar on it's own however - yum!) Most importantly, what works for me may not work for you, and there is no right answer. Also, nutritional science is really biased and broken. :drops mic:

    Through Gretchen Rubin's books, I've learned that happiness involves a mixture of actions and intentions, and we have to figure out how to make those things line up. Happiness is both easy and complicated, and habits are not one size fits all. I've learned that happiness can be increased by many small actions, and as a counterpoint, a bunch of little things can really drain us.

    At the gym, I've learned that I actually really like weight machines! I enjoy pushing myself, slowly, and while maybe I'm not regular enough to see great results, I love the time to think about nothing else. Also: I hate ellipticals and if I never have to step on one again, I'd prefer that.

    Our friends' kids show me that everything can be really cool, and really overwhelming, and watching them grow up makes me realize just how fast time moves. Six months ago, our friends' little boy referred to Matt and I by the same name - MattSarah - and now we have separate names.

    I love that there are lessons to be learned everywhere, if you look for them. Life is not static, and learning doesn't stop just because the formal classes do.

  • AWOT: Adulting things

    I think I'm going to dump all of those really mundane "adult things" into one post of gratitude.

    I'm grateful for our health insurance from the company Matt works for. There were several years where we either had crummy insurance through another company or a super wow high deductible when we paid on our own. The end result was that we didn't go to doctors much because of the fear of the deductible. We seem to have lived through it alright, but we've been able to do things like get Matt allergy testing and weekly allergy shots, get physical therapy, and other things that we would NOT have done under our previous insurance. I don't have to be afraid to get things taken care of! What a relief, let me tell you.

    I'm grateful for our Casper mattress. No, really. That bed is worth so many more pennies than we paid for it. It is so very comfortable and quiet - a latex and foam blend. Plus, it was super affordable compared to other mattresses of that type. I have ZERO complaints about that mattress. My only lament is that I don't have anywhere to sneak a twin sized mattress for nights when ... Well, actually, Matt doesn't really snore much since we've taken care of his allergies. I guess I'd like a spare mattress to send Matt to when I feel like sprawling out.

    I'm grateful that Matt drives less. He was putting an insane amount of miles on our cars with his commute to work in Michigan. When we got our fuel efficient Focus, he was filling up 2-3 times a week, depending on how much extra driving we did. (It was every other day in the Jeep, on a much larger tank!) We had to get oil changes every six weeks, and the wear and tear that puts on a car is not fun. Now, we go about two weeks between fillups, and we change the oil at reasonable intervals. WHEW.

    I'm grateful that the gym and kroger are two to three minutes away, depending on how long it takes me to make a left turn. It's not that we lived super far from grocery stores in Michigan - it was ten to fifteen minutes to Meijer, depending on traffic and lights. But when you discover that you accidentally bought parsley instead of cilantro, or that your vegetable broth was already opened (ew!), it's so nice to have a store so close. It takes the drama out of cooking.

    I'm extremely grateful to have my parents so close. When I fell and sprained my ankles, I had Matt run upstairs to get them. Not only were they emotionally supportive, but they helped get me into the car when I couldn't walk. I love seeing them as often as I do, and I love the little things we do, like exchanging leftovers or baked goods. My life feels complete with them around.

    I'm grateful that Matt is allowed to work remotely. I'm so grateful that he was allowed to keep his job in Michigan and work down here. That has saved us (me) so much stress I can't even begin to tell you. Sometimes it's less than fun when Koo decides that she really needs to bark while he's in a meeting, or you know, sometimes it just feels like our apartment is a little too small, but overall - so grateful. Plus, I don't know what I would have done being confined to the couch if he weren't here. (Okay, in all likelihood, I would have had Matt take Mikenna upstairs for my parents to watch and had him leave me a stash of food next to the couch, but still, he made things so much better!)

    I'm also grateful for that walking trail not too far from our house. I haven't been able to use it lately, but I like knowing that it's there when my ankles are back up to par - or spring, whichever comes first.

  • AWOT: Communities and friendships

    As I've grown up, I've realized that we don't just fall into friendships and groups the way we do when we're kids. We don't have parents getting us together for playdates, we don't have recess and lunchtime at school. We don't have girl scouts, choir, gymnastics, or any other number of activities that put us in contact with like minded peers.

    Even if we do get out and manage to carve out time for a hobby between work and sleep, it's not the same. My kids may not be sick, but yours are - cancelled. Boss called me into work - cancelled. Wife's car broke down - cancelled. Adulting can be so tedious, and not really condusive to seeing people you like, let alone meeting new people.

    If we aren't careful, if we don't work at it, we will find ourselves feeling lonely, isolated. A good analogy for this - an almost perfect analogy, actually - is the Sims. If your sim doesn't make the effort to call their friends, invite them over, or at least write letters, the relationships will degrade over time. Best friends become friends who become acquaintances. Over time, our social bars go from green to red because whether we acknowledge it or not, "social" really IS a need. It doesn't look the same for everybody - some people need constant contact with people and others need it once in a blue moon. Most of us fall somewhere inbetween.

    But I digress.

    My point is, realizing that relationships aren't magic things that maintain themselves has made me appreciate the ones I have even more. That's not to say that I'm the best at following through on my intentions, but I'm working on that.

    I remember when I was a kid, I wasn't a big fan of writing letters. It had a lot to do with the fact that my handwriting was terrible - being left handed meant that I smeared words and my sentences tended to slope downward and off the page if there weren't lines. (I don't know if the sloping is a left handed thing, actually, but it was the bane of my writing existence for many years) I also couldn't think of what to write about. I've got a handful of really good penpals now - some friends outside the penpal relationship, others that I only know as penpals - and I really enjoy hearing from them all! Letter writing feels like this crazy, mundane thing. When you write back and forth to people, you realize that not a lot of exciting things happen on a regular basis to write about. So you end up talking about this one trip to the grocery store, or some random thought you had. And yet, when people write to me about these things, I get great enjoyment out of it.

    I find that the people I see somewhat regularly, the ones where we both make an effort to see one another, not only do I really look forward to these gatherings, but I value them like a precious metal. Nothing short of spraining both ankles is going to keep me from dinner twice a month with the M's and the P's. 

    But even for the people I don't see as often, because of distance or chaos, taking some time to say hi, or let them know that I'm thinking of them - something! - makes me appreciate them more. When I don't let days just fly by, I remember that I've got some really incredible, thoughtful, funny, smart, creative people in my life.

    I'm so grateful for what each person in my life adds, because I know that they make my life more rich and exciting. I wouldn't be who I am without the people who've been there along the way.  

  • AWOT: The Toothless Ones

    AWOT: The Toothless Ones

    Among the reasons I am thankful for Gwen, is that she showed me that an animal being toothless was nothing to be afraid or ashamed of.

    When the vet told us after her procedure that she might have her tongue hanging out forever, and that she may or may not need a special diet, I thought, oh, what have we gotten ourselves into?

    But I quickly learned that Gwen didn't have it in her to be slowed down by a little thing like teeth. The only time that I'm reminded that she doesn't have teeth is when she chews on my hand. Her little gums tickle, though if she's really insistent, she can pinch your hand pretty good!

    She eats just as well as Aery does, though I think she's a bit messier with her kibble. She gets a packet of wet food as a supplement every day, but only because I love to spoil her, not because it's necessary to her well-being. I think in the eight months since her surgery, I've seen her tongue peek out of her mouth maybe twice. I think I see Aery's tongue more often than Gwen's!

    So when the time came for Mikenna to get the last of her teeth pulled (the vet said that they might be able to leave a few, but I was prepared for it to be a total loss), I had a lot less to fear. I was concerned about how she would do with the procedure itself - that part has always been a huge worry for me - but I wasn't worried at all about how her life would be afterwards. I knew she would be okay.

    And so she is.

    She's just as indecisive about whether she wants kibble or wet food as she was before, and just as demanding about having her food exactly at the moment she requests it.

    She gives kisses just as enthusiastically as ever, though it's a little bit sloppier these days, and for whatever reason, her tongue seems to come at you from more of an angle. I think she's realizing that she no longer has the force to try and drive her tongue up your nose, which is good for everyone involved. (Trust me, there's nothing quite like getting sweet westie kisses and then suddenly having this dog tongue ram up your nose. It's not pleasant.)

    I do think that she's more of a beggar than she was before the surgery - one real drawback. I'm starting to see that she had lost some enthusiasm around food, presumably because it didn't feel good. But I'm only realizing it because this little force of nature is now trying to steal everything I eat!

    I really thought that Mikenna was slowing down, getting old, and I would just have to accept it. Well, now that her teeth aren't slowing her down, she's quite the dog. It's a bit startling, to be honest. She's cuddling more, being more animated and forceful, and dare I admit it? Obnoxious.

    My toothless girls are happy, really happy. I wouldn't have believed it before, but I can see that they're both happier now than they were before. It makes me wish that animals could really tell us when something is bothering them - I'd have gotten Koo's teeth taken care of much faster if I had realized how much it was actually bothering her!

    As an added bonus, it's one thing that I know I won't have to take either of those two back to the vet for. One possible expense off the list.

    Surely it's better, if possible, to help your animals retain their teeth and to have the healthiest lives possible. But if the most humane and hygenic thing to do is to have their teeth removed (whether all at once or a bit at a time), then do it. They may not have the words to thank you for it, but trust me, they will think it in their own way.

    I'm very grateful for these two healthy, happy girls. In a weird way, I'm glad that they have each other in this, and I'm glad that they've shown me just what a full life they can lead.

  • AWOT: Where I live

    AWOT: Where I live

    I love where I live. I could probably stop there, but we all I know I'm a person of many words, so I won't.

    It's beautiful out here. The weather alone is something I rave about. Coming from Michigan, I make it an extra point to be grateful for the lack of snow. Virginia is not perfectly snowless, but the weather is warmer enough that it makes a huge difference. It's also a lot more sunny. I've said for a few years that I believe dreary weather really slows me down, and oddly enough, I notice the effect more now that dreary days are pretty few and far between. I thought it would be the opposite!

    Since living in Colorado, I've been a devotee of mountains, and it brings me insane amounts of joy to look out onto the horizon and see mountains again. I hope that I never get sick of it. I'll be honest and say that these mountains aren't nearly as amazing as the Rockies, but I don't see myself living out west again any time soon. So.

    People are more friendly out here. Sometimes, a little too friendly. I just want to grab my bag and go, and Matt and the cashier are chatting about something. But on the whole, it's nice. Maybe it's because in Michigan, so many people are jaded by the ups and downs of the auto industry. Maybe in Michigan, their hearts are just frozen by all those -25 wind chills. Maybe it's just a cultural thing. Whatever the reason, not everyone is super friendly, but a lot of people are.

    While we live in a city, it isn't much of a drive to get out into some rural, gorgeous areas. I didn't realize how fast the transition really is until I went wine tasting with my sister in law this past weekend. I don't think we were ten minutes past downtown Lynchburg when suddenly, we were surrounded by trees. There's a lot of farm country just to the (insert appropriate direction here, I'm not even going to try because I am so bad at directions) of us. A lot of vineyards, surprisingly. I want to make it a point, this upcoming year, to get out of Lynchburg more often and see what's around. It seems like there is a lot to be explored!

    I also appreciate that living in Lynchburg doesn't freak me out. Now, part of it - not to beat a dead horse - is that I'm finally on anxiety medicine that really seems to work for me. But this area and my circumstances really are a lot better for me. Matt used to drive around 80 miles a day for work, on highways, with lots of really heinous drivers. I considered it something of a miracle when he walked in the door every day - tenfold when the weather was questionable. Crime rates in Lynchburg are lower. Not exactly non-existant, but Lynchburg is no where near the top ten murder cities in America. It also helps that we are living in a house now. I remember in our apartment in Grand Blanc, sometimes I thought that a drunken neighbor or friend of a neighbor was going to try and kick down our door. Look, I'm not saying it was an entirely rational thought, but when enough things go bump in the night, your mind starts to make up scenarios. These days, it's usually Aeris knocking my Pop figurings off the top of my desk. Brat.

    Last, and certainly not least - I live near my parents. That big gaping hole in my heart finally mended. Not only do I have everyone together, we have more than I expected in the form of Gwen. My cup runneth over.

  • AWOT: My partner in crime

    AWOT: My partner in crime

    AWOT stands for "A week of thanks". These are the clever things one comes up with at 1 in the morning.

    This post is about my Matt.

    For the past couple weeks, he's been my caretaker, and a very wonderful one at that. Not once has he complained about having to do something for me, and he proactively asks me if there's anything that I need or want. He has been far more kind and understanding than I would be in his shoes.

    In fact, I think, when he broke his pinky toe about five years ago, my actual words may have been, "Oh it's not broken, suck it up."

    I may be a fairly decent day to day wife, but I am not a good infirm wife. I can be really good at being a caretaker for a little while, and then I'm like oh my gosh, people, take care of yourselves I am DONE. If Matt has had a similar thought, he hasn't betrayed it. In fact, he smiles, smiles when he goes and grabs me something from the fridge. He's made special trips to the grocery store for me! Sometimes I think this man is a walking saint.

    He's been especially good because all this time, Mikenna has been on medicine for infections and/or getting teeth pulled. So she's been a bit of a pain in the butt, and he's had to deal with her. He's dealing with her a little less now that I'm more mobile, but I still can't spring out of bed if she needs me. (Well, okay, maybe I could spring out of bed, but it would not end well.)

    I sometimes joke that I could ask for a better husband, but there isn't one.

    I love that he loves our girls so very much. He's not only allowed two cats (that he is allergic to) to live with him, but he loves them. Our girls are as important to him as they are to me, and I can't express how much that means to me. I didn't know that it was an important attribute, but I can't imagine being married to someone who didn't love our girls as much as he does. He not only cares about their wellbeing, but he wants them to be happy, and he goes out of his way to make them comfortable and to love them up.

    Matt and I share quite a few interests, and we've exposed each other to things over the years, such that a lot of our hobbies are shared. For years, he could have used DnD as an excuse for a guys night, but no, he wanted to his wife to play too. I wouldn't have minded, but I had a great time because of that! There are things we love - like video games - that we enjoy both individually and as a couple. I love that he and I share so much of the same language. We never run out of things to talk about.

    But even the things we don't both do, or if we're not both interested in them at the same time, I couldn't ask for a more supportive partner. Sometimes I feel like there is nothing that he wouldn't do for me, so I had better be careful what I ask for. I'm not sure if this is true, but the fact that he makes me feel so special is a gift itself.

    He is smart, compassionate, and more courageous than he gives himself credit for. I'm sure that there are many people in the world that I could have married and been happy with, but I can't imagine that anyone would make me as happy as Matt. I can tell when he looks at me that he adores me, and that still amazes me. He always makes me want to be not a better person, but the best possible version of myself.

    I'd say that I love him to the moon and back, but we both find that saying kinda creepy after the tv show Wentworth, so instead, I'll just say that I love him.

  • It's beginning to look a lot like

    Thanksgiving here in the United States is a little over a week away. This is the first year ever that I will celebrate with both Matt and my parents in the same location. I could begin and end my list of things to be thankful for right there!

    One thing I've noticed on Teh Facebook lately is a lot of angst about the holidays. Whether it's fussing over the design of a starbucks cup or fussing about people fussing about the design of a starbucks cup, it seems the holiday grumbling has come early. Hooray.

    I know, I know. Every year retailers put out their holiday stuff earlier and earlier. It's too early. We're skipping over Thanksgiving. I get it.

    But let's think about this a little bit, okay? The Christmas decorations come out early, yes, but I think the autumn decorations were in stores sometime in August. If you don't exclusively decorate for Halloween, you can easily justify decorating for fall from early September until the end of November, as far as I can tell. From a retail standpoint though, fall (Halloween/Fall in general) aren't as big of a decorative moneymaker. So it makes sense to rotate in the Christmas stuff as soon as possible.

    PLUS, there are a lot more "big ticket" decorations for Christmas. From your Christmas trees to those giganic inflatable things to put in your yard, Chistmas decorations tend to be bigger and pricier. So it makes sense that retailers would want to give people more time in which to plan and spend their money. Everyone has a list of people they need to shop for, plus (probably) cards to buy - retailers don't want you to not decorate your yard with an inflatable C3PO and R2-D2 because Aunt Betty needs a gift. Let's be honest at least: we've monetized the living daylights out of the holiday season. If consumers didn't buy, retailers wouldn't do it. But as someone who doesn't have the disposable income to buy everything I want at a given moment, I think having decorations available relatively early isn't a bad thing. I'd rather stretch out my spending a little bit than have a large clump all at once. Also, in theory, if I'm going to spend money on decorations, I want to enjoy them for as long as possible. (Though this is kind of a moot point, since my idea of decorating is some gel clings for the windows.)

    And, well, if you're going to complain about skipping over Thanksgiving, I've got a set of 2016 planners being shipped out my way this week. It's hard not to glaze over the next month and a half entirely! Wowza.

    But, all this has been a really long prelude to what I really want to say. Apologies to my inner editor.

    Who am I to judge how you decorate, or when?

    Maybe someone's mom died right before Thanksgiving one year, and it's just so much easier on their mental health to kind of glaze over that holiday.

    Maybe someone has young children who have been begging for weeks to put up the Christmas decorations, and giving them that afternoon of joy is worth digging out the decorations early.

    Or someone is just super stressed out right now, and seeing all those bright colored lights and tinsel just makes them a little bit happier.

    What if getting the decorating over with early allows people to focus more on spending the season with their loved ones, fully present and not worrying about what neeeds to be done?

    Perhaps they just like decorating.

    Maybe it doesn't matter.

    It's not up to me to tell you when or how to decorate, or even if you should - for any holiday. It's not worth the mental energy to judge each other because someone put their tree up before Thanksgiving. Who cares?

    We are all unique, with our own stories and our own baggage, and that applies to holidays too. So the best gift we can give one another is understanding. You decorate your way, and I'll decorate mine. May your house be merry and festive and bright...and I'll probably have a cinnamon scented candle burning.

  • Fallout into Oblivion

    We've been spending a lot of time on the couch lately. I can put my feet up (as long as Koo lets me have a sliver of the little ottoman), and it's easy enough to have whatever I want at my fingertips. While we have lots of things we could watch, we've been really enjoying playing games.

    It's been fun, having everybody crammed together, all more-or-less doing the same thing. I don't know how long it'll last, before we decide to go back into our separate offices and play games or work on things by ourselves, but for now ... I like it.

    We started with The Wolf Among Us. Now, I'm a bit of a chronic repeater. Once I decide that I like a game, I tend to go back to that game over and over again. So getting me into something that I'm unfamiliar with can be a bit of a chore. But that game was amazing! At around 8 hours of gameplay (give or take), it was nice and short. As a heavily story driven game, it was right up my alley, and had I realized (or remembered; there's always the chance that Matt told me) that it was based around fairy tale creatures, I would have been on board sooner. Very well done story, and now Matt and I are both hooked on Telltale games.

    I've also been playing Need for Speed Rivals. While I love story driven games, I also have a soft spot for racing games. I picked up Need for Speed Underground (2?) for the PS2 years ago, and played the living daylights out of that game. But when subsequent games added the dynamic of running from the cops and my anxiety was a big problem, I couldn't really play them anymore. But we picked up Rivals a while back, because I wanted to see if, with my anxiety under control, I'd have better luck. The answer is yes. I still think that I liked Underground 2 better, but I'm having a lot of fun going back and forth between playing as a cop and playing as a racer. I am utterly terrible at busting racers, though. It's not for lack of trying.

    Now Matt and I are alternating between Fallout 3 and Oblivion, depending on who is at the controller. We both like to watch the other play, and the other person can work on stuff if they're so inclined. They're both games that we've played to some degree before, but if you've played a Bethesda game, you know that there's almost infinite possibilities.

    We have no shortage of PS3 games to keep us going, and it's really nice to see our console get some use outside of being a netflix machine. I like to pretend that maybe we'll clear out some of our backlog of games, but who am I kidding?

    Matt and I had been throwing around the idea of picking up a PS4, but now...I think we're going to wait a while. We're having a lot of fun with what we have, and I know that if we pick up a PS4, we'll immediately drop all the PS3 games that we're enjoying so much. I know, because that's exactly what we did with the PS2 games when we got our PS3.

    At any rate, this year on a whole, Matt and I have both played a lot more games than in the couple years previously, while not really at the expense of other things we love. It's a nice balance, and man ... I have enjoyed it.

    So I have to admit, as much as this whole ankle saga has been incredibly unfun - this part of it has been great. I love spending time with Matt and our girls, and playing games too.

  • Melancholy

    Okay, I admit. Despite my relatively upbeat blog posts lately, I've been kinda melancholy since spraining my ankles.

    I'm now allowed to get out of the couch and do pretty much whatever I want - as long as the pain is tolerable. I appreciate that improvement, and I've gotten out of the house a few times, started helping Matt clean up the apartment in the aftermath of being off my feet.

    There's a noticible limit to how much I can do, however. I can walk longer on level, steady surfaces, and it helps if there's nothing underfoot. I have to move slowly regardless of the terrain, and even though I'm careful, going up and down steps can still trigger a jolt of pain that makes me gasp.
    It's all to be expected. The doctor said that sprains can hurt for a long time, and I don't expect to luck out on that. I'm going to start therapy in a couple of weeks for my ankles, and hopefully that will help the healing process to go well.

    So it's not that I'm sitting on the couch doing nothing. I'm just ... in a funk. I don't like it. I know that I'm frustrated by my current limitations - I don't feel quite steady enough to walk on the treadmill, even if I take it slow. It's a little bit of a crazy week because my sister in law is coming to town, so I'm out of my routine. (It's a welcome break in routine, because I'm so happy to see her!) So we haven't even tried to figure out if we can get to the gym. Our gym is up a couple flights of stairs - it takes me a long time to use the four stairs in front of our house; two flights of stairs would be really difficult!

    I can get out of the house, but it's a mixed bag because of the pain.

    All that to say, I'm probably out of it because I can't do as much, and that's understandable. I would just rather not feel this way at all! There's no point in being bummed about it, because I can't change my predicament. I have to give my body time to heal. But I'm not -actively- complaining about my situation, I just ... feel kinda off.

    So, I don't know. I'm writing this, not because it makes sense, not because I need sympathy, but because I'm hoping that saying I DON'T FEEL GOOD will somehow prompt my brain to fix it. I mean, it works when I can't find something. I can wander around the house for several minutes looking for something, but as soon as I mention to Matt that I can't find it, there it is. (About half the time he's the one to immediately find it. He is the finder of lost things.)

    It'll get better.