Something’s A Little Off

I’ve been feeling a bit “off” again.  Or is that the off is on again?  It’s all rather confusing, but that’s life with a chronic illness such as lupus.  You can be zipping along managing to be “normal” and then Bam!  You hit a wall. A wall of exhaustion.  A wall of no can do at this moment.

I’m not exactly at the hitting the wall point just yet.  It’s more of the warning stage.  The stage that basically says if you don’t heed this warning bad things will come.  Bad things as   in not able t get out of bed bad thing.  And bad things as in no energy at all to do anything and incredible pain that doesn’t seem to end.

I will be the first person to admit that far too often I try to push past this stage.  I try to be a type of super hero and be immune to this.  Alas, I’m not immune to my own messed up immune system.  Rather I’m supposed to manage a gentle and delicate balancing act with my hyperactive  immune system.  Let’s just say I have yet to get and keep balance!

Id like to think that as I get more mature I get a little smarter than before.  Meaning that I can now notice that I feel “off”.  If I am wise, then I will heed the warning  and ward off the worst of an intense flare.  Well friends, I’m old enough to know better and still young enough to do the opposite of what I should.  But I have a secret weapon in my life-my support team who are getting better at not letting me push beyond this stage.  For this I am grateful.

How about you?  Are you feeling a little off?

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What Need For Speed Taught Me

So I met a friend for coffee the other day. A friend I haven’t seen in a while. Life kind of got in the way of us getting together, well that and occasionally an ocean or two and a few thousand (give or take) miles. Now with this friend, let’s just say we clicked right away. I’m not sure how or why, but we just got each other from our first meeting. It was like we were always friends.

While we were having coffee, well technically she was having a tea latte of some type while I savored, or is that devoured, a coffee, we caught up on missing time. You know all the usual stuff, except her what’s new news was that her husband was dying. She didn’t lead up to it, didn’t soften the blow, just told me that he was dying and had a few months at best left.

Usually this is news you come up to in some what of a gentle fashion, or at least a slow lead up. But she felt there was no need for it. How she told me wasn’t going to change the fact he was dying. It wasn’t going to ease her pain or her loss either. She felt it as a raw open wound every moment of her life and she let her way of telling people be just as raw. It wasn’t mean. It wasn’t deliberate. It just simply was the way she said it.

She said that she learned that she had a need for speed these days, every second she spent on the road away from home was a second she’d have less with her husband. And yet, here she was, spending time away from him because life does go on doesn’t it? She found that with her desire for speed in getting back to him she also no longer considered things in the same light. A speed limit shifted from a hard fast rule to just something that was placed on a road. It didn’t’ take into account driver’s skill or the car’s performance. She also no longer worried about driving as fast.

Basically she was far more willing to take risks these days if it meant more time with him. And in having a higher tolerance and acceptance to taking risks, her frustration level with the slower, more cautious people was growing to the point of no return. And still she sat across from me, having a tea latter while she explained all of this to me. Her anger, her frustration, her despair all tumbled out and onto the table, along with a speeding ticket.

The ticket, she told me, didn’t really matter. Not in the big picture. She was certain there would be more of those as time became more valuable. She was positive there would be one for the drive to the airport for their final vacation. The type of vacation where only one person comes back in the same state as they left.

And then she would have a different need for speed. Speed would be important to get past those long and lonely hours. What she would be running to I wouldn’t be able guess. What she would be running away from? Herself and an empty house.

We visited far longer than I had thought we would and when I got home I looked at my four-footed companion in wonder. Marveling at her ability to simply live in the moment. Maybe if we figured this out the need for speeding would be less.

Of Bunnies, Dogs and…Anchors?

My four-footed companion and I walked underneath a dark sky which was slowly giving way to purpling hues when she decided it was time to give chase. A fallen leaf had caught her attention, demanding she chase after it full speed ahead. She wasn’t too fussed about the fact that she had a much slower and heavier anchor (aka me) in tow. The leaf had to be caught.

We failed at that. Mostly because her anchor wouldn’t let her go where the leaf went. And she voiced her disapproval at her anchor. She also tried to cut free from the anchor with those sharp little teeth of hers. Sadly the line held and the anchor remained firmly attached to the leash which was attached to her.

I seem to recall moments like this in my life too, when I would be all set to go out and after something only to be held back by my own anchor. The anchor changed from time to time, but the effect of an anchor was always present. Sometimes it was my mother preventing me from getting to the edge of a structure. Her fear of heights kept her firmly grounded and acted as an anchor many times in my life. Sometimes the anchor was my father taking away the car keys which prevented me from heading off to wherever it was I felt I needed to go in a hurry. Sometimes it was other people in my life who acted as an anchor, often keeping me safe when I would have gladly taken a risk without understanding how things could go so wrong.

And more than I’d like to admit, sometimes that anchor is my own fears or doubts. Fear is probably the heaviest anchor I have in my life and it does a fantastic job at preventing me from drifting far from my comfort zone. Unfortunately far from my comfort zone may be exactly where I need to drift to, in order to make changes. Doubt is a funny anchor, it sometimes ways me down beyond belief and other times seems more buoyant than it should be.

After the four-footed wonder and I could no longer follow a leaf, she settled down to her normal half walk, half run phase in life until she saw the bunny. The bunny demanded to be chased. And as her anchor I could have acted like fear and kept her weighed down, or I could act like doubt and give her a little buoyancy so she could run a bit after the bunny.

I chose to be doubt, because I doubted she could catch the bunny. And because frankly no one wants to be held back all the time due to how another person thinks, feels or believes.

We didn’t catch the bunny. I’m not so certain that if she weren’t on a leash she couldn’t catch the bunny. But I did begin to wonder if chasing the bunny was the right thing to do? Sure in nature the bunny has predators. I just dont’ see my four-footed companion fitting into that role. Besides all that running, well too much of it and in a state of fear, cannot be good for Mr. Bunny’s heart can it? So we stopped. Not out of fear. Not on my part. We stopped because I decided it was time to stop and because frankly I was getting tired of all this great leaping and bounding after the bunny. For the record, my leaps and bounds were anything but great. Come to think of it, the bunny probably stopped a few times not to catch his breath or settle his racing heart so much as to laugh at me.

Who Says History Is Boring?

A small voice, accompanied by a gentle tug on my shawl, asked me why we bother to learn boring things, like history. If the small voice had belonged to an adult it would have been an easy answer, but it didn’t. It belonged to a colleague’s young son who was part of “take your child to work” initiatives.

Probably not the most fun place to take a child, where we work. Even less fun to sit through your father’s lectures about history and the formation of nations when all you want to do is take advantage of the sun shining in the blue sky. It also probably didn’t help that our school lacks a playground for children to have fun and burn off excess energy.

So why do we bother to learn boring things? Is it because “they” say it’s important to have knowledge in these “boring” areas? Is it because we are too young, to uninformed to know what is boring or exciting? Is it all a matter of context.

When this little boy explained to me that all of history was boring, he wasn’t aware of all the amazing adventures that took place in history. He hadn’t had his mind opened to the incredible sea faring journeys of the Vikings. He liked the idea of the Vikings, the softer and friendlier version I told him about. No need to teach a young child that everything is violence and strength just yet.

The idea of boats with fantastic animals to guide them and keep them safe seemed to really capture his attention. So did the idea of exploring and making discoveries in newly discovered land for your people. He expressed concern about having to row the boat though, so he needed to be in “the front and in charge” to “make sure everyone row’s properly”.

See fun is what you make of it, as is boring. And why do we have to learn about history? Because it tells us a little about the people who came before us. If we are lucky we can hear their thoughts in their own written words, see how they learned about new challenges and realize that we aren’t that far off from them after all.

Oh, Surprise Me!

Life is always full of surprises. Some of them pleasant, some of them not so pleasant and some of them just surprises.  Depending upon the type of surprise as well as the type of person you are, it can be a simple process that is just life or it can be jolting.  Each and every time.

Friends of Beloved’s recently decided to throw him a surprise party as a means of celebrating with him.  The thing is, Beloved is at a point now where surprise parties are no longer his idea of fun.   Once he got over the whole surprise thing, he was able to celebrate and enjoy himself, but that wasn’t his initial response.

The four-footed bundle of energetic joy in our lives is constantly full of surprises.  She has brought in all sorts of surprises when she’s been outside, from shrivelled leaves to mushrooms she has unearthed.  She has surprised us by her ability to climb chairs as well as squeezing into impossibly tiny holes.  Of course she also surprises us every day with a new adventure, something funny and another way to show affection to us.

Id prefer for my life to be pleasant surprise only.  I don’t need to have the crystal ball forecasting ability for the surprises,  but I’d like to just know when the surprises happen they will be pleasant.  Granted life will become well perhaps less in some ways.  We need the balance of the unpleasant to savour the pleasant surprises.

So next time, when my four-footed companion comes home from a ramble with Beloved and she has a bit of bird, I will give that to someone else.  To share the surprise of course!

A Little Baty

There must be something that the bats know that we don’t know.  Apparently hanging upside down is good for our spines.  Or so say some experts.  Of course the problem with hanging upside down is that, well, we aren’t really designed for this.  Something to do about blood rushing or such.

it appears that my four-footed companion also believes that the bats know something we don’t know.  She likes to stand upright or her hind legs and then counters that by standing on her front legs, like a handstand.  To be honest it’s rather cute when she hangs upside down.  She has sort of bat like ears when she does it!

She also isn’t opposed to eating bugs.  Now she doesn’t  have radar to find said insects the way the bats do.  She stalks them and when they land, or take to flying very low, she pounces.  Most often she appears to be successful with her bug hunting.

Sure the bats won’t eat the flies she chases.  And I’m fairly certain that bats understand that to eat a wasp is to flirt with danger.  My four-footed companion hasn’t figured this aspect out just yet.  She ether is a slow learner or she likes to tempt danger.  I’m not sure!

And while she may not have wings, she can fly when she decides to run.

On second thought I’m not sure that bats and I really have a lot in common.

Autumn’s Bounty Is Prolificly Pumpkin Spice

Autumn is now the official season. Which means leaves changing colors, if they haven’t already. It means cooler temperatures, less day light in some places. It means piles of leaves to rake up and woolly sweaters toss on. It means being able to see your breath some times.

Autumn is the season of apple pies and maple flavors. And now, it is not just the season pumpkin pies, but pumpkin spice lattes. And here is my problem. You see dear readers, I think, that maybe, perhaps, we have overdone the whole pumpkin spice latte thing.

The first time a pumpkin spice latte crossed my lips it was in the form of a tiny cup, a small taste of a drink that was being considered for the seasonal feature menu. A very tiny cup, with a lot of delicious whipped cream. It seemed, that maybe, just maybe it might be okay. Until I ordered the full on real thing. In a small size. It was still too much.

Since that time it seems that the pumpkin spice movement has taken on a life of it’s own. Probably some type of mind-altering life, but still. Pumpkin spice candles are in my house. Pumpkin spice coffee creamer has been in the fridge for days now because some visitors expect this delight. Pumpkin spice air fresheners assault my sense of smell. And the list goes on.

I’d like to see pumpkin spice just go back to a more controlled, less in your face type of presence. I don’t suppose that will happen though. There must be a huge market for the stuff, given the ways we have managed to incorporate pumpkin spice into everything. Which is fine if you like pumpkin spice.

But what about those of us who no longer, or never have, liked pumpkin spice. What flavors and scents do we get to replace that particular theme? Because I know I am not alone in my need for the pumpkin craze to settle back down into it’s own little patch of things, just over there. And please let me be clear, I adore pumpkins. I love the actual pumpkins…but there is a time and a place for everything. All of autumn should not be dedicated to pumpkins and most certainly not pumpkin spice.