The Morning World

So this morning my pillow (four legged, purty eyed) decided to move and leave my head on a flat bed.  My pillow moved!!  My pillow had to pee…

With all that is going on in the world a moving pooch being my largest issue I suppose I shouldn’t complain.  I have the blessing of experiencing someone special by my side, woofing and farting and all.  Tail smacking against me cold nose and kisses while I’m trying to sleep.  My poochesness!  I used to be of the mindset that a dog was a working dog and had a purpose.  My Akita changed that, she was a difference in life that everyone should experience.

I was having a tough time career wise once and my grandfather one night explained this to me.  The dog is always there, she doesn’t care how bad or good your day ways she is just happy to see you.  You can be frustrated and angry to her and yet she will still give her life to be at your feet.  The dog is your rock, the most reliable soul you may ever encounter.  But a horrible pillow….

No real topic this morning, just some thoughts on how good life can be if we let it happen.  Today I’m going to be open to the world and see what happens, worst case I’ll find myself in a field with no snack snacks in my pocket, the weather is cold and I have a heavy coat she has fur and the world is big.  One more cup of coffee and the business section of the paper to go and off we will be to explore.

As a long time friend and mentor once said “Don’t be afraid of life”

~J

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Backpacking Pooches!

I can’t wait, according to the tracking our goodies arrive from Amazon tomorrow!  Pooch will soon have her own saddlebag backpack for our hikes!  Tomorrow’s weather is supposed to be nice (it’s a chilly 31* currently) and I’m chomping at the bit to get pupster out and on the trails with her diva pink backpack and a training clicker.

So now I get to figure out what to pack for pooch, which of course means I’ve got to go through my own pack as well.  I love to be prepared and I love to have everything organized and at the ready.  Yes, I’m the guy with a first aid kit in every room, a can of spam in the trunk, rehydration salts in the glove box.  Every so often while hiking I come across people in need of first aid.  I’ve once wrapped a gal’s knee after she fell down some stone stairs at the will rogers shrine.  For some reason every time I hike I come across someone hah.

So we wait impatiently for our backpack and other goodies and have big weekend plans to hit the trails!  She and I both need the exercise and some good walking meditation is in order.  I’ve been refreshing myself with some SMART recovery tools and just finished re-working a tool called the lifestyle balance pie, meant to identify areas of my life that need improvement.  This took me several days of self examination and a good amount of self acceptance and a little bit of time on the trails would do me good.

It’s been a long while since I’ve hit the trails in a serious fashion and I definitely need the exercise.  It’ll be nice to get the camera out and get some good photo’s, photos of my pooch and the woods and the turning leaves.  Nice thing about Colorado is our fall season, the crisp air and scenery, the colors, the breeze, I love it here.  Pup loves it here too 🙂  I’m glad.  So today we will hike, tomorrow we will backpack, and Sunday… well, maybe we’ll go for a drive!  Pupster does love her car rides.

Hike on!

~J

A Thought on Change

Sometimes change is scary but still a necessity…

It’s early morning and I find myself awake suddenly, sleep has been fairly elusive for me for as long as I can remember so it’s not a new sensation.  I found myself journaling on paper for the first time in a long time and decided to move some thoughts here as I wind down to go back to my bed and my snuggle pooch.

Uncomfortable Territory

Last night I went to an online community which I used to spend a lot of time with for a meeting (yes recovery related).  It has been a while since I’ve been to one of these meetings and I am incredibly well versed in this particular program thus I was hoping to work through one of the tools that I have been somewhat stuck on the last few days.  I found myself in uncomfortable territory as I knew absolutely nobody in a place where I used to be a fixture, part of me was happy to see so many new people seeking help but another part of me was somewhat depressed to see so many new people needing help.

In any case, I brought up what I was hoping to work on to little effect (my tool was much more advanced and most meetings at this particular site are geared towards early tools).  I sat through a good majority of the meeting but removed myself when I felt things were going south for me, the meeting started to tilt towards other methods used by other programs.  I thought it best to leave the meeting and let them do what they need to do as it was non productive for myself and possibly dangerous to others for me to stay.  I entered the public chat instead to see what other strange changes have happened.

I must bring up that years ago this particular community suffered a problem with a technology provider going south and a large number of us “fixtures” moved on to another platform as a stop-gap measure until things got figured out.  The organization that maintained this online community hit us with a lot of push back over the change taking it as a threat and as such a large rift was formed.  I will say that our stop-gap has become fairly permanent and while small our community is incredibly tight knit.  We have genuine concern for each other and it’s not uncommon for one of us to reach out to another when we suspect they need help.

In the public chat system of the old community I saw very few familiar faces, one of which I was very happy to see as I had not spoken with this person in a very very long time.  We had some very good conversation and we also managed to help guide two newcomers to help within that community.  I didn’t dare bring up our little side group for fear of the push back (banning, etc.) from the old community, I played it fairly straight forward.  While I never did accomplish getting past my “stuck” point in the tool that I am working I felt more emotionally calm and sound having possibly helped others.

I suppose the point of all this is that I was a part of a relatively strong and large community that simply changed, I felt incredibly uncomfortable last night as the old familiar feel of the community was gone.  Perhaps had I gone back sooner when they rebuilt the chat and meeting systems and let myself stay there I might have felt more comfortable with the change as it would have been more gradual.  Fact is, during the flux time of that community I myself was in a horrible flux time.  Fact is, I’m still experiencing a flux time though nowhere near as horrible.

Change, and seeing the results of change can often be incredibly scary.  I take comfort in the thought that both communities are still around at present and that both communities have no quam reaching out to those needing help.  I take pride in my knowledge of the tools and while my lack of using the tools in the past is depressing the thought that I am using the tools actively on a consistent basis currently gives me hope.  Will I once again haunt the pages and meetings of this older community that I was once a fixture in?  I cannot say for sure, at worst I will return now and then I suppose even if it’s just to refresh myself with a more dynamic group as our members are fairly fixed.

 I can take responsibility and utilize my own agency~~

I cannot say I like the changes I see, and in the case of the meetings being geared to early tools I am not a fan of the fact that some changes I feel are necessary have not happened.  The fact is communities like these exist for just that purpose to serve a community not to serve just me.  I can take responsibility and utilize my own agency to reach out to someone directly to help me with my more advanced tools.  I have to remember my goals and my responsibilities, it’s no longer a time to hide regardless of how uncomfortable with change I am.

The world is not going to stop for me, nor should it.  And I should not stop for any discomfort whether incredible or otherwise.  I have been blessed with a very large support system, many times many people have genuine concern for my well being and to ignore this fact any longer is a disservice to those that are there for me, as well as myself.  With that thought I will close and wander back to my bed and my pooch.

Tomorrow we should face whatever changes we need to with strength and understanding.

~J

Run Elsa Run!!

IMG_1691These last few days have been strange for me, I’m not exactly sure why but I’ve felt a touch emotionally “off”.  I’ve been super emotional the last few weeks and for the last week and a half I’ve had an incredibly hard time sleeping.  Today I slept in, way in!  I slept snuggling my pooch most the day waking up a few times to go for our runs.

My history tells me that about this time the cravings and urges to shut my brain down with a splash (or a pool rather) of vodka would be the norm.  It’s different today, I have no urges or cravings, no intentions, no want or need to jump off that cliff.  This is a positive change for me and while I’ve been here before the trick now is to maintain this positive change.  Despite how strange my emotions are right now I need to absolutely maintain myself in proper fashion.

So, what’s different this time?

What’s different?  A lot is different!  I’ve been taking a drug called Naltrexone and taking it religiously, Naltrexone works as an inhibitor blocking the receptors of the brain that are activated by opioids and such, basically a dopamine inhibitor that is used to reduce cravings of alcohol and other such things.  My quitting smoking is another change (which the Naltrexone seems to be helping as well).  I’ve been on this before but last time I could not seem to keep on it daily, this time another big change that of routine has helped me maintain my dosage without fail.

The most impacting (and important) change though has been Elsa!  She’s been my light and my reason lately.  Knowing that regardless of how I’m feeling or what is going on she needs to be fed has strengthened my routine, and knowing she needs to run has reinforced my health.  She picks up on my emotions and responds without me ever saying a word, often from the other room no less.  Watching her run and roll and play, her looking at me with the Border Collie gaze and those blue eyes it’s impossible not to melt.  She’s my snuggle bear, my roommate, my pooches and while we have some things to work on behavior wise she’s picking up quick.

 

I only wish I had made these changes 10 years ago.  Such is life, the world continues regardless of what is in my head.  I can only pick up and keep moving, accept my faults and problems and try to repair what I have broken when I am capable.  There are plenty of things I need to fix that I am not ready to tackle yet but so long as I stay as positive as possible, and take Elsa’s example to run forward I think I will be okay.

Let’s go another few miles tomorrow Elsa

~J

Changes

So now I have purpose…

Elsa, I call her Elise as she responds well to the name, a border collie mix and god can she run!!! This poor pooches spent her entire life in shelters she’s a sweetheart but shy.

She thus far is most comfortable under my bed, I can now say I’ve napped under the bed I think she’s just used to the cages.  I’m hopeful it will change soon it’s only been half a day and she’s already showing improvement.  I can off leash her at the end of a run and she knows what door to go to.

It makes me think though, the last few months have been uncomfortable for me as I’ve been experiencing a lot of change.  And this pup is as well, even if it’s for the best I’m finding change itself a tough deal.

We live in routine and modification scares us often.  Today and next week I will accept the changes given and stand up to my challenges. After all I need to be a good example for my sweet Elsa.

~J

Anxiety Attack!

I think if I had a guard dog I would name him “Anxiety” and I would teach him the simple command “attack”.  Just seems fitting for me this evening.  Work is busy with my schedule taking me through the weekend and all next week which is nice and honestly right now I don’t really have any reason for anxiety but yet it’s still there below the surface.  Not incredibly heavy and lighter than some of the moments I’ve had in the past few months.

It seems when I try to sleep like a normal person I just toss and turn, eventually only falling asleep by way of extreme exhaustion.  I’ve tried exercise, walking, even push up’s, I do find spending some time in my inversion table allows me a cat nap here and there.  At least I can say I’m eating well, and I’m doing good with my no smoking goal.  I have my relaxing morning paper to read and the kitchen is spotless seeing as how I find myself cleaning when I cant sleep.

I basically feel so unproductive at times like this and it’s getting old.  Eventually somethings got to give, writing on this blog as well as reading others does help and I find myself  more calm overall so I think things are getting better.  I just never was good at that whole patience thing.

~J

Wow I actually did it! Well some of it.

I told myself I was going to take it easy this weekend I needed to for my health and sanity.  This move and everything else going on has me wound tight I’m tired and everything hurts and yet I’m wound.

I suppose I would not be fair to myself to call it a fail, I’ll just say “redirected goal setting”.

Yesterday I didn’t fare well on the take it easy goal but I’m happy with what I accomplished.  I suppose I would not be fair to myself to call it a fail, I’ll just say “redirected goal setting”.  After all I accomplished a lot just not my original intended goal!

Today I still started out on Much the same way, moving this and that and running back and forth from storage.  Then, and don’t laugh I spent 3 hours sanding a small plank of wood by hand!  This was my me time I was absolutely in heaven!

I sanded it tediously with a block to hold my sandpaper all the way up to 1000 grit!  14 different cycles and I was happy! In my own little world giving “life” to this project.  I probably would have gone even farther except the rain came.

Okay, I’ve got boxes to go through anyway.  What I found funny is I rushed around to find the softest towel I could find so I could lean the piece against the wall.  Not for fear of damaging the wall but for fear of damaging the piece!  Then back to move mode.

I was in auto pilot, not void of thought but void of introspection.

As I sit here over dinner I keep thinking about the day and how my overall mood changed at each step.  Going through boxes of my past there’s a lot of steps hence a lot of mood swings.  For the greater part of the day I was in auto pilot, not void of thought but void of introspection.

When I started sanding the wood I figured I would just start and let the project take a few weeks.  Honestly I have no idea what I’m going to make it into a bench?? A nightstand?? The fact is I was so focused I felt the rest of the world didn’t exist.  It didn’t need to.

I had my place, I was comfortable truly comfortable.  I talked to the wood, gently feeling for any imperfections as I worked.  Wow reading that last bit to myself it sounds a bit uhm sick.  I was focused and yes, there were some imperfections that I could not fix. Strangely I accepted incapability rather than considering it failure.

For anyone interested lol the plank is a slab of “beetle kill” pine, the dark stripe up the outer edges are caused by a fungus that the beetles carry but yes the featured pic is my buddy!

When life gets rough like sandpaper let it make you smooth!

~Joe 

Of not sleeping and avoiding going absolutely nuts!

So, it’s been a while since my last entry as I’ve been running at 100 miles per hour for a while now. Moving is hard enough but being a pack rat definitely exasperates the str- er frustation.

I hesitate to say struggle even though it seems that way. I have received unparalelled support from family as well as the upstairs neighbors.  I always knew I was a packrat but I was not expecting to have packed so many emotions away as well.

In particular the last two days have been filled with emotions good, bad, sublime, regretful, fearful, strong, even guilty. I have found myself so high strung and stressed that sleep has evaded me now 3 nights in a row.  It comes in little 15-45 minute spurts and I wake up with night terrors or a severe panic attack.

So I change my sweaty pajamas and try again as I know it will get better soon.  I find myself stress cooking which I don’t think of as bad.  In fact not only is it a more positive way of dealing with stress than many other methods I’ve engaged in but, I’m eating healthy food which I suppose is keeping me going.  Maybe I’ll write a cookbook on that someday “Cooking yourself sane”??

All in all I’ve made great strides, I am still throwing/giving away a lot and have listed a lot to sell.  I’m also remembering a lot of past experiences and people in my life and realizing that I’ve been amazingly blessed and lucky.  

It’s almost as if I’m reading my past as someone else’s story sometimes and thinking “this guys a few fries short of a happy meal”.  It’s not that I’ve come to realize most of my struggles and problems are self inflicted, it’s more that I’m beginning to accept it. I have always known I self destruct but change is tough.

I’m still working on changing and I suppose it’s going to be a long task.  For tonight though I’m feeling pretty okay about tomorrow, I even managed an entire 2 hour nap without waking up badly!! 

I have to confess though being on my inversion table and absolutely exhausted from putting it back together might have contributed.  In any case I figured while I wait for my “ham and bean with stress reducing veggie” soup to cool enough to freeze / refrigerate I would stop digging in boxes long enough to post.

A good friend once told me “Don’t be afraid of life”

~Joe 

(Note the image is yesterday’s stress cook not my soup lol)

We Didn’t Really Sluff Off, Oh Noes!

A Saturday Sluffing Off Part Two

Well, we didn’t really manage to meet our goal of “sluffing off” today. Today we planted an entire planter box all the while with me zapping paper wasps out of the sky with my trusty can of flying insect spray (cover fire). We managed to get the job1-IMG_6393 done and done fairly well in my opinion, even though it was quite a bit of work churning the soil around and moving this and that around.

Then of course we got to the flower pots…. Originally, we were looking at doing about 3 which turned into 8!! And another trip for more flowers as well as some wasp traps which I set and hung. Aaaaand some general cleanup of the houseplants…. Aaaaaand a few other cleanups here and there, hose hookups…. Yaaaadaaa yaaaadaaa yaaaadaaa.

Hah, and it’s not even 4:30! I’m going to start my rice for stir fry soon but I figured I would share some photo’s I took just a few moments ago 1-IMG_6371for no other reason than I could and I was losing my light.

Go big or well, don’t!

~Joe

 

When life gives you lemons, take em free stuff is always cool!

Staying positive on a semi bad day

This morning was a mix of lemons and sugar I must say, I currently have two big things in life I am trying to accomplish:

The first is that of a career change, finding a job is tough nowadays especially when changing careers. I’ve spent the last 21 years in the tech industry which on my resume reads to other industry HR as “He won’t stick around long as he’s overqualified”. Holy hell I’m sick of being considered overqualified for different industries just because I’m highly qualified in a separate area. On a separate note, just dealing with small business owners schedules puts me in a waiting game and I hate uncertainty.

Today I was supposed to have an interview with a local wood shop which I have been incredibly excited for. Woodworking has always been one of my favorite hobbies, my grandfather and great grandfather were both master carpenters I collect hand tools I absolutely love it. This morning I got a call to reschedule the interview as the owner had to do an emergency delivery today.

I really want this job!

On a positive note the call went very well and I was able to express my ability to “roll with the punches” to the owner of a small family run business that requires everyone involved to be flexible. So, the lemon is that I need to wait, the sugar is that I had the chance to exhibit my flexibility. I really want this job!

The second is that I am looking for a place to live, I don’t require much just a little space of my own that is affordable. I’ve found a little apartment in a 4 plex on the lower west side of town which is run down but quiet and very nice with trails and convenient access to the rest of the city. Nice and central which for me is a big plus. I’ve been waiting on the property management company who seems to be lagging.

The downside is waiting once again last night I put in my application so that they can run my background check. I’m not concerned about the check so much as aside from an auto accident recently I haven’t had any trouble with the law. In fact, I used to hold a clearance, it’s just the waiting game that is driving me insane. The good news is that just a few hours ago they contacted me for a copy of my driver’s license which tells me something is going on.

So today has been a mixed bag, I’m still hopeful and continuing to look for other open positions to apply for as well as other places to live. Life doesn’t stand still because someone else is dragging feet. I’m not going to let it bother me today and I am not going to let it cause me to drink today. In fact, I am working on firing off my resume to other places and peeking at rentals all around town. I’m going to spend the next few hours doing this and then I plan to spend some time with another passion of mine. I am going to spend some time in the kitchen cooking something, no idea what yet but it’ll come to me!

Life is tough sometimes but we can always learn from our mistakes and there is often always an alternative option or activity to cope. Someone once told me “When life gives you lemons, take them free stuff is always cool” hence the title of this article. Today I’ve got a lot of free stuff, I’m going to take it and see what I can do with it.

Pucker up folks,

Joe