EMBRACING THINGS!

 

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As I do not have a selfie of “44 years old.” please instead enjoy this snap Sean sent me while I was away LOL

EMBRACING 44 –Let’s start with the fact that today is my birthday.  I woke up feeling like 44 feels much different than 43. It’s so much closer to 45, which seems like basically 50. But as with most things, I am (mostly) blessed with the ability to embrace change rather quickly. This morning I woke up and forced myself back to sleep thinking a crippling depression in my now old age may be fun. An hour later I woke up again and for about 5 minutes continued to wallow in the sorrow of being elderly before getting bored and up and at ’em, sneakers laced up, and back to working out after 2 weeks of slackery!

 

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EMBRACING RUINED PLANS — Last week we had to cancel our yearly trip to Mexico for numerous reasons (drug cartels, ferry bombings, the US govt warning against travel to playa due to a ‘credible threat’), but the nail in the coffin was a blizzard canceling our flight 2 days in a row.  So in typical Colleen style, the day we ended up canceling due to the flight issues, I took an extra long mopey-sulky nap, woke up, and embraced it by taking control of the situation, canceling the trip and planning a new one!

 

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While appreciating this photo, consider the time taken to ensure full bubble coverage.

EMBRACING THE TRASH WE ARE —  If going to Whole Foods and stocking up on wine, craft beer, cheese, crackers, & macarons and then spending a couple days mostly locked up in a steamy motel room eating, reading, and watching Law & Order and Modern Family reruns, while in a hot-tub full of bubbles and lush bombs appeals to you, have I got the place for you!! Our new trip was to a motel we have been to several times on Old Orchard Beach. It’s a clean, family-run place we love because it’s right on the beach, there is a jetted tub for two RIGHT IN THE ROOM by the bed, and in the winter they offer a buy-2-nights-and-get-one-free deal. It’s kinda trashy while trying to be classy and WE LOVE IT BECAUSE SO ARE WE!!! It’s called the Seacliff Motel and we highly recommend— unless you are Mr. or Mrs. Fancy-schmancy Pants.

 

On the drive down…….

Me: “OMG HONEY!!  On the way there, I want to stop at TJs and get some margarita glasses and we can make margaritas and I can take a super cute Instagram pic and be all, ‘Heyyyyy….. Margs on the beach, y’all'”

Him: “Ok. You want me to swim with one too?”

2 hours later…..  IMG_20180315_182339_160.jpg

A perfect illustration of my life…. Super cute big plans. Mediocre follow through, AND I EMBRACE THAT!

 

L-I-V-I-N-G with Seasonal Affective Disorder. In Maine.

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LOOK HOW FUN!!!! Winter is JUST THE BEES KNEES, RIGHT!!!!??? Uh, no. Actually, I have a long history of winter blues that subjects those around me to endless complaining about feeling cold, and not wanting to do anything except snuggle under a blanket on the couch. This year my ‘winter blues’ seemed worse than usual (…..perhaps there is a connection to my father dying the weekend before Christmas… just a theory 😉 )
So I took a quiz. And it said I had Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). But then I noticed the quiz was on a ‘phototherapy light’ website, so I figured they probably diagnose everyone with SAD to sell more lights! So I searched for more appropriate diagnostic tools and found another, more lengthy, test from a more legitimate source. And it said I had Seasonal Affective Disorder. To which I thought, “Meh, it probably says everyone has everything.” So I took a test for depression, and then one for anxiety. It said, “No ma’am. No depression or anxiety in that little brain of yours. Ya just got the ole SAD.”
So what are the “textbook” treatments?
Drugs: No thank you. And thankfully, my home remedies have been working so I don’t even need to consider that route!
Exposure to sunlight: CHECK!! Even though they are INSULATING and keep the rooms warmer, we decided natural sunlight was worth the little extra we may pay for heat this year.
Light therapy: Open to it if needed, but I think I’m good!
Psychotherapy: All set thanx.
My treatment regime prescribed by myself, and Google…
After lots of reading and, previously learned knowledge having been in the mental health field for over 20 years now, I know the importance of exercise to mental health. I also know how few people actually follow through with this, so it’s important to me that I practice what I preach. So I exercise almost every day.
Several articles discuss the importance of engaging in activities, particularly winter activities, to find enjoyment during winter months. So, I stopped saying (aka whining) “No… it’s too cold and yucky” when Lonnie says, “Hey, wanna go _______?” We started Friday night board games, a new tradition I am LOVING!!!! I have PLANS to see Black Panther Friday night with friends and I WILL GO EVEN IF IT’S COLD OUT!! (I said it here so now I have to!)
  • I’ve hiked!
  • I’ve snow-shoed!
  • I’ve cross country skied (for about 6 feet)!
  • I’ve walked the dogs!
  • I’ve shoveled!
  • I’ve started a gratefulness/21 Days of Happiness journal
  • I’ve stopped listening to news all day
  • I’ve STARTED listening to Oprah’s Soulful Conversations instead of news! (Amazingly inspiring and thought provoking!)
  • I’m watching what I eat and drink and even doing a Whole30 (or 20) (maybe 8) (I’m on day 8 😉 )

We (speaking of “we,” having a super-supportive partner who isn’t afraid to tell you when you need to get your shit together and your ass off the couch doesn’t hurt!) are in full-on SAD battle mode and it’s WORKING!!! I feel great, and when I don’t, I recognize it, and FREAKING DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT— SEE ABOVE!!

::::Drug commercial tagline alert::::I may have SAD, but it doesn’t have ME! LOL Had to.

Fall Bucket List

 

 

We totally blew summer.  And not in a good way. Between the wet, chilly weather that seemed to intentionally time itself to occur on my weekends off, and general laziness, we just did not get in an approved amount of adventures. You know what? It wasn’t laziness, it was chaos. Our house was in disarray for months with Jessi and all her stuff preparing for her big move to Portland, Lonnie’s daily exhaustion doing the work of 10 men every day, grad school stuff, general life stuff. I just let it all clutter my mind and I think I felt like I couldn’t do fun stuff while so much needed to be done… yet I didn’t do the other stuff either, so ended up doing nothing. Super productive. Way to go, Colleen.

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This is not to say we did NOTHING… I mean we camped one night, got some kayaking in, took at trip to Boston… ok now I sound stupid whining that we blew summer, but we really did.

MOVING RIGHT ALONG……………

Jessi is happily living in an apartment complex (that looks like it should be hosting Medieval Times dinner shows, lol) in South Portland. Sean is back to school. I am taking a break from grad school and attempting to transfer to UMaine. They hired another guy to take some of the load of Lonnie’s shoulders. My house is CLEAN. Gonna say that one more time. MY. HOUSE. IS. CLEAN!

IT’S ON LIKE DONKEY KONG!! We are going to make up for any HINT of a wasted summer with an EPIC AUTUMN OF AWESOMENESS!!!!!

We even got a head start this past weekend by checking “climb a mountain” off the fall bucket list. Sean really wants to climb Mt Katahdin, but after doing Mt Megunticook this weekend, we had to break it to him that we are NOT EVEN IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD of being in physical condition for Katahdin. Hopefully next year we can make it happen for him! I shouldn’t say “hopefully.” NEXT YEAR WE WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN FOR HIM!

 

Not-so-Great Pond Mountain Wildlands Hike

spotYesterday, Lonnie and I, and the pooches of course, attempted a hike to one of our favorite secluded spots in the Great Pond Mountain Wildlands/Trust whateveritscalled, or as I now call it, the Tick Sanctuary. It’s a PERFECT spot where we can make a little fire, hang our hammocks for a nap, take a dip in the lake, and not see one single other human. There is even a picnic table! To get there you have to walk around a mile on a dirt road, then you take a left down a slightly groomed grassy trail.  We have been going to this spot for at least 4 years, maybe 5. Yesterday, when we turned onto the grassy trail portion of the trek, we were immediately inundated with ticks. We both ran back to the dirt road and had to strip off our socks, shoes, and pants to make sure we got them all off us. We quickly checked over the dogs and they seemed fine, we assumed their collars the vet recommended were doing their job. We turned back and decided on a Plan B adventure. Next time, we will kayak there like we did last year!

When we got home, we realized the dogs were not fine. They were very ticked up. We have spent last night and today thinking we got them all, and then finding another. We are all skeeved out and itchy and never wanting to go outdoors again. Fortunately, the collars actually DO do their job, and none of the ticks have been attached enough to feed.

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Throwback to Luna’s first visit to “the spot” in 2014. No ticks.

But WHY!? Why all of a sudden does it seem like ticks are taking over the world?? As I mentioned, we have been going there for years and have NEVER seen even ONE tick.

While driving to the grocery store, I theorized to Lonnie that I think it’s related to climate change. Maine’s shrimp industry is failing because of warmer water temps, wouldn’t it make sense that warmer temperatures would make ticks happy, happy, happy? Not completely sold on that theory, Lonnie theorized that ticks are becoming genetically heartier and more resistant to all climates. (Don’t you wish you could come grocery shopping with us zany kids!!?? LOL)

Well of course I had to do some research when we got home, mostly to prove my theory was right and his was wrong. #keepinitreal

Apparently the 2 largest factors in the tick increase are the mild winter, and acorns. Yup, acorns. Little did we all know…. in 2010 there was a bumper crop of acorns, resulting in an increase in the mice who eat them. And ticks love them some mice, so they increased too. Fast forward to 2107, shitty acorn crop, less mice, ticks still gotta eat.

So basically, I was right. Ok… not entirely right, but since my rightness occurs so rarely with him. I’m taking it.

Oh yeah… here are a couple of my sources because I am a grad student and that’s what we do 😉

http://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/pest-articles/the-year-of-the-tick/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/04/06/2017-may-very-bad-year-lyme-disease/100120496/