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Thursday, February 25

Ten tricks to stay positive

Now in February 2021 the world has been living with, fighting, learning about and worrying over Covid-19. I keep reading all the stories of students in emotional crisis failing at school, the large increase in depression and drug use. Many people  are feeling frustrated and hopeless as the months wear on, with no end or return to normal in sight. 


Because of my abusive first marriage and cancer experiences I’ve learned what helps me to fight off depression. During my cancer treatment I was on antidepressants for several months and saw a counselor for many years. Now I can recognize the signs and symptoms in myself that depression is starting to creep in and I have a bag of tricks I use to stay out of the mood ditch. Here are ten of my favorite go-to tools:
  1. Walk away from whatever it is that’s triggering you. Get your shoes on ( I LOVE my Skechers Go Walk shoes) and take a thirty or more minute brisk walk. Breathe deeply and pump your arms as you take long strides. If you go fast enough the boogie man won’t catch you. Walking outside in nature works best for me but you can go walk through Costco or a mall too! I usually go walk outside with my little ShihTzu puppy, Bitzi, with my disco fever playlist playing through my adorable little EWA Bluetooth speaker. It has great sounds and the quick tempo disco tunes keep me going and raise my spirits. 
  2. Water helps wash away my anxiety. I feel like it cleanses my soul. I like water aerobics or swimming or just floating. I also love a nice hot rejuvenating bath. ( Give yourself a fabulous spa treatment!) Water really works for me and it probably will help you as well.
  3. It helps me a lot to read ( often out loud to myself) Buddha quotes and other positive affirmations. Sometimes I print them out and stick them up to continually remind me of good thoughts that will heighten my spirits.
  4. Plan something special to do. Go visit a friend or a relative. Cook a special recipe. Write long letters. Plan to give yourself a pedicure or new hair style. Shake things up and dust off your sedentary glumness. Make plans for something different!
  5. Talk it out. Call up your oldest, best, truest heart-to- heart friend and just spill your guts. Catch up on what’s going on, vent, cry, laugh and just rebound with an old friend. It’s very restorative after all these months of trying to quarantine. Just DO IT. You’ll be so glad you did. 
  6. When I’m feeling blue being around animals really helps me feel better. Walking a dog, playing with a cat, brushing a horse, holding a chicken - any of those will work.
  7. One of my favorite things to do is take a nice long drive by myself and sing some of my favorite songs. It feels very relaxing and therapeutic. A lot of the old songs bring back so many wonderful memories. 
  8. Make a list of all the good blessings in your life. Carry it with you and take it out and read it often.
  9. Make a list of the things you will accomplish today, tomorrow, next week, next month. Check them off when they’re completed. 
  10. Each  day I look up at the sky and thank the great creator for my  life.I’m still here and alive after all these years and a few near-death experiences. . Usually I do my thanking floating on my back in the pool but you can do it anywhere. This one really helps uplift my spirit! 
  11. Okay I said I’d give you ten but I also thought of something that’s very important to me. If I’m mindful of what I eat and drink I feel better. I honestly am a stress eater and tend to binge on carbs & junk food when I’m feeling sad but that only makes me feel worse ultimately. It raises your blood sugar and can cause you to bloat, feel guilty and maybe even worse. Try to think of food as fuel and not comfort or a sedative. Eat healthy and you’ll feel better. Get some good nutritious food in you.
Despite these coping tools I have I still having be on guard and try to keep my protective bubble. The last several months there has been a lot of drama going on in my family. Adding that in with the election, the insurrection, the quarantine and rising Covid-19 numbers and all the dreadful news it has been hard staying on the rails. You just have to try to get up every day and find whatever good you can. 

Tuesday, February 23

Start each day as a new beginning




I have put my shield up to protect me from all the negativity and drama. I’m holding my blessings up to radiate and infiltrate others who are lacking. I feel strong, happy and alive.

I went for my pool exercise at 6:30 and then took Bitzi for a walk. I’m going to go to the store in a bit.

12:55 The snow mounds are melting and it’s very sunny outside. My kids are still arguing. There’s just a lot of bitterness, jealousy, betrayal, heartache between the four now. If their father had made the will out differently most of this could have been avoided. It’s a mess and I’m not legally involved but I am emotionally wound up in this, trying not to take sides.

I’ve had Bitzi outside for several walks 

Monday, February 22

Monday 4:56 am

It’s very early morning. I woke up due to Mike snoring and couldn’t get back to sleep. There are so many things to think and worry about. I just read that we’ve reached 500,000 Covid-19 deaths in the US ( Reuters)and Dr. Fauci said the pandemic may continue into 2022(People). Pretty depressing news. No wonder there are so many people with anxiety and depression. This is day two of me trying to snap out of it and get back on track with my eating and exercise. Due to what’s going on with the kids and the funeral Friday I’ll need to keep myself on a short leash emotionally and focus on positives. It may sound weird but that’s my plan. I’m going to the pool this morning early, have shopping to do and will take several walks. Mike is swamped with work and busier than a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest so I can’t depend on him for comfort or to vent to. He’s not very warm and fuzzy like that anyway. He always insists I quit being a wuss. He’s right, of course. 

I’m drinking my coffee, trying to wake up. I’m only eating between noon and 6pm and then limited carbs. My gut feels better on this system. I have more energy and focus. I started getting off track in January a little here and there but then it snowballed and I was eating bullshit again so now am getting back on my better habits. Food is medicine to fuel and heal your body. I am lucky to still be alive. I have to take care of my body the best I can. I cannot let my emotions sabotage my health. I have a crazy amount of sub jobs available to me. Most of the area schools are back to in-person or hybrid learning. There were twenty-four available jobs for today. I’m not accepting any in person sub jobs until two weeks after I’ve had the second vaccine. March 9 would be the earliest date I could have it but I haven’t gotten an email yet to schedule it. Mike got his five days after me and they already set his second vaccine appointment. He got his here at Sun City and got the Pfizer. It got the Moderna through my school district, so still waiting to schedule my second dose. 

Besides the stage four colon cancer, my ex husband also had a couple serious blood clots the doctors were concerned about. One by his heart and one in his leg. Supposedly he’d been doing better with his chemo treatments, gained a bit of weight back, more energy and doing better. The night before he died he fell on the ice when he got home from the sale barn and told his mother and our son he was just tired and wanted to go to bed. The next morning he got up and got dressed to go to the sale barn and just fell over on his bed and died. My son found him a couple hours after he died. I bet one of those clots got him. My kids are all now dealing with all this stuff. He had cattle in Missouri and Nebraska and locally. What a huge mess. You just never know. Life is short and you should never assume you have another day. I need to be as loving, giving, joyful and grateful as I can be every single day for the rest of my life.





















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7:37




Thursday, February 18

It’s over

Thursday morning

My daughter Sarah just called me sobbing. Her dad died in his bed during the night. My son Alex found him this morning. They all have been fighting like cats and dogs the last few weeks. Supposedly Gary, my ex, had been improving and doing well with his chemo for colon cancer. I’m stunned and don’t know how to feel or what to say. I feel bad for my kids. That’s all. There are a lot of memories and emotions swirling around inside me. I’m sad for my kids and grandkids.

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I had to do a Zoom training meeting for subs at one of the districts I’m with. It was mildly informative.
I want to be with my kids and hug them. I’m crying but I don’t really know why. 

Wednesday, February 17

Mittwoch

It’s a blah day today but at least it’s not as cold and the snow is melting. I’ve taken the dog for two walks. She was thrilled that it wasn’t horribly cold out.

I went to the grocery store and got a couple bags of food. I made a Bundt cake. We have two kinds of soup, salad and rice and sausage in the fridge so I’m not cooking dinner. I’m tired and my nose has been running. I took. Benadryl a while ago and turned up the heat. I watched both Grumpy Old Men movies today. I played with Bitzi on the floor and wrestled with her and played throw stuff for her to fetch. She’s so cute and feisty and funny. I laughed big belly laughs until my eyes water from her every day. 
Tomorrow I have a 6:30 am pool appointment and some Zoom sub training for D300 from 12-4. I’m not considering subbing until the end of March.






















Tuesday, February 16

Snow and more snow

We got another 4-6” of snow last night on top of the piles that were already out there. In our small yard some of the drifts are more than 18” high. I went out with Mike and helped clear the driveway and walks. Thankfully I have my super warm long quilted coat and tall fur-lined boots for times like this. It’s actually not as wickedly cold out today as it has been recently so at least that’s good. I don’t think I’m going out anywhere today. After Mike gets done with work tonight we’ll drive the one mile to Beef Shack for their $1.00 hot dogs Tuesday special. They’re pretty good fully-loaded Chicago style dogs. 























Monday, February 15

Fighting off gloom and depression

This is a typical shitty cold overcast bucket of suck February day. I was up in the night coughing because my sinuses were draining despite my foam wedge pillow. I got up and took a Benadryl, used Flonase and read on my iPad for a while. I canceled my 6:30am pool appointment and turned off my 5:15 rooster crow alarm. I slept until 7:30 and now feeling okay. I took Bitzi for a short walk but it’s too bitterly cold outside for her. I rescheduled my pool time for 12:15. Mike is in election hell now and preparing to do all his Zoom candidate interviews. He has to record them all they’ll be published on the newspaper website. He is not happy. 

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4:56

I had my pool time, drove to Discount Tires in Carpentersville and got air in my tires, drove to Algonquin Kohl’s to return two Amazon items and came home. Damn it’s cold! I made some chicken noodle soup and that’s about it. 

Friday, February 12

Things are getting better


I have to make myself flip on the hopeful-grateful-faithful switch a lot these days because my default settings keep going to worry, anxiety, dread and expecting the worst to happen. I have to mentally kick my own ass and tell myself to snap out of it. Yes I’ve had many awful things happen in my life. No that doesn’t mean they’re going to keep happening nor should I dwell on them and let them ruin the rest of my life. I am steering this boat. I decide how I will feel every single day. I decide how I will respond to people, events, situations.

It’s very early morning and I’m going to the pool in a little bit. It helps restore me. I signed up for a  Zoom class on the life of Eleanor Roosevelt from 10-11:30 today. I’ve read that she was a very strong, kind and inspiring woman. Hopefully that will be good and interesting.

Michael has so much going on with his job now with his regular overload plus all the endorsement interview crap that’s been dumped on him I feel really sorry for him. He just zones out at night. While we’re sitting on the couch watching TV at night he’s getting texts from reporters and front pages to approve. There’s no escape. Only he can decide when it’s time to retire. I think he’s waiting for the next buy-out offers to come around but I could be mistaken. 

I took Bitzi to the lodge to walk with hopes of her doing her business but they have covered all the sidewalks with salt and that hurts her little feet. And it’s snowing again! I brought her home and tried to get her to go in the front yard but no luck so finally brought her in, washed the salt off her feet and put her in her pen in the kitchen. I have a fitness appointment after lunch to use the weight machines at Meadowview Lodge.

I’m aggravated at something. I can’t let it get to me. I have my health. I have my family and a small circle of friends. I have enough in my circle. Nothing can rattle me. I am grateful. I am blessed. 

Thursday, February 11

Getting back on the horse

5:46 am This is the first morning in a while that I haven’t canceled my 6:30 pool time. I’m drinking my coffee and read my news and trying to come awake......In a little while I’ll go change into my swimsuit and put my easy stretchy pants over it and go to the pool to exercise. I haven’t been in about a week because of the bitter cold, going for the vaccine and yesterday my arm was sore but now I’m getting back to it. I’ve been eating more carbs lately because of the cold Weather I guess so I’m going to shift back to lower carbs. My gut feels better with fewer carbs. Or just not overly- processed junk carbs. 

I watched a bunch of the impeachment trial. Even at this point it’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that most of the Republicans will not vote to convict Trump of inciting the insurrection. It’s plain as day. What a gutless bunch of assholes. He is such a big boogieman that they’re afraid to cross him and his cult. Total horseshit. 

Mike is still sleeping. Bitzi is sleeping. Mike is getting his first Covid vaccine ( the Pfizer one) on Friday morning here at our main lodge in Sun City. The last two weeks they’ve been doing the 75+ people but now they’re scheduling others 55+ with underlying health issues. Mike has type 2 diabetes and asthma. They also already made his second vaccine appointment. The update on the availability of these to us came AFTER I already got the Moderna vaccine in Elgin through my old school district. I’m still waiting for the email link to schedule my second dose. The Pfizer vaccine has a 21-day wait. Moderna 28 days so I should get my second one around March 9 and they say about two weeks after that for the full immune effect.


8:04 I had a great refreshing workout in the pool! I feel good now. I hate dragging out of bed so early when it’s dark but I always feel better after I go. At the end of my workout I always stand in the middle of my lane, look up at the skylight and silently thank God for all my blessings. It rejuvenates me.

This morning Sun City has a free Valentine Goody drive-thru giveaway. Usually they have one once a month themed to different holidays. I tried to go to one last year but the line of cars was shockingly long so I didn’t do it. I’m going to try it this morning. I’m taking Bitzi with me so I can take her for a walk at the lodge afterward. 






Tuesday, February 9

Trump’s second impeachment trial and the constitution

I think Trump’s hateful ranting speech on January 6 did motivate the rioters to storm the Capitol and commit heinous acts of violence. He was encouraging his cult to overthrow the election. I think this speech should not be protected under first amendment rights as his lawyers are claiming in his defense. Also he did it while he was still president. I say prosecute him to the fullest extent. His whole cult needs to be over. Cut the monster’s head off. 

I watch CNN Anderson Cooper 360 almost every day and Real Time with Bill Maher every Friday and ShowTimes The Circus on Sunday nights. I guess the political stuff is like sports to me. Mike watches them too  and usually knows more details than me. There has been so much awful, unbelievably crazy stuff going on the last several years. 

Last week on Wednesday Northwestern Medicine started giving vaccines to Sun City residents 75 and up here at our main lodge. We have over 10,000 residents in our community so the last several days the lodge parking lot has been full and there’s a steady stream of seniors coming and going from the lodge. It’s going quickly and smoothly. I take Bitzi over there to walk her on the nicely cleared sidewalks so I see all the people going in for their vaccines. It makes me happy and hopeful to see it and I know I’m witnessing history. I’m happy to go get my first vaccine dose this morning. Hopefully phase 1C will start soon and Mike will get his. 

I woke up at 3am and couldn’t go back to sleep. It’s 4:59 now. I’m drinking coffee and had part of an almond poppy seed muffin. I woke up at three thinking I shouldn’t work subbing until at least the end of March when both vaccines will be in and taking full effect. I’ve been considering going back in a couple weeks after the first vaccine but my subconscious decided for me this morning. I don’t need the money. I have a pension and a lot of money in the bank. I need to be healthy and happy. I’ll stay busy with other things. 





















Sunday, February 7

The world getting vaccinated

It’s daybreak and I’m facing the East window in the front room watching the soft blurred pink and blue muted colors of dawn breaking. I love this special silent fresh time. I made a pot of too-strong coffee. I grabbed a new kind at Aldi the other day. It’s even a bit strong for me. Mike won’t drink it. It’s too strong and bitter for him. The past couple bags have been milder Dunkin Donuts blend for him. 
My braided trunk money tree is dying. Most of the leaves turned yellow brown and fell off. It was doing fine on the porch all summer. Things got bad when I brought it inside at the end of summer and put it in the bedroom by the window. I don’t know if it got drafts from the window, too much heat from the vent, too much water. I pulled the roots out of the soil yesterday to see if they were rotting but I couldn’t tell. It’s just too cold in the garage right now to do a messy repotting. I put some baking soda in the pot soil and mixed it around and cut off all the dead parts. I moved it out to the front entry area where it was when I first bought it. That’s all I can do so now it’s swim or sink bitch. I hate when my plants die. 



I kept waking up in the night thinking about this possible sub job I’m considering taking at an elementary school in Elgin. It’s a cross categorical resource teacher for 58 days from March 1 until June 3. I like getting used to a place and having time to get comfortable. I don’t like not being home for the puppy or being able to do my swim appointments. I do like making money, feeling productive, having something to do. On the other hand I don’t like having something to do. If I took it I’d have one vaccine in me and get the second one the week I’d start so I’d feel more protected. Mike said I could just sub here for Huntley district but I’m not familiar with any of their schools. I have worked in most all of the U-46 schools over the years. I’m still not sure and still mulling it over. Plus Huntley wasn’t giving vaccines to the subs and district 300 that I’ve also subbed for put the subs behind everyone else and will only vaccinate subs if there are any leftovers. My old school district contacted me right away about getting my vaccine along with everyone else. I feel more loyal to them. I know that’s probably silly but that’s how I feel.



I have a bunch of Amazon returns to drop off at Kohl’s this morning. I need to quit shopping and doing “ retail therapy” - another reason to take the long sub job! Keep me off the Amazon app....
So I drove the five miles to Algonquin Kohl’s and returned my eight Amazon items for refund. Good to get that done. Bitzi has been outside several times this morning and WILL NOT PEE. It IS super freezing cold. I’m going to go try again.
Okay we walked about a block and she peed but was shivering so I started to walk back but she wouldn’t move and just stood there shivering like she was freezing to death so I scooped her up and wrapped my arms around her and carried her back inside. Poor little thing.




Ten tricks to stay positive

Now in February 2021 the world has been living with, fighting, learning about and worrying over Covid-19. I keep reading all the stories of ...