Wednesday, October 26, 2011

...about when anxiety is up.

Since the age of 39, I have been dealing with on again/off again anxiety.  It is presently on again and has been that way for months.  Panic and high anxiety are not a lot of fun but when compared to some of the complicated challenges people face, it  is something that can be addressed with cognitive behavioral therapy and meds, if needed.  I have done well for the last few years without the latter but now it is time to take an aggressive approach once again.  Too often, people with panic disorders do not want the world to know of their malady, but I figure the more folks that know, the less I have to worry that someone might find out.

Many creative people and perfectionists tend to have anxiety.  It is a "perk" they would probably rather not have, but if one has it, one has to deal with it and put it in its place.  Last night, I started a new med.  These meds have side effects and these vary greatly from person to person.  Some lucky souls have no side effects.  For me, since my body is very acutely sensitive, I tend to get just about every side effect possible while weaning onto certain meds.  Thankfully, most of these side effects do pass once the med finally kicks in which can sometimes take a couple of months.  For the next few months, I will be working hard to bear through these side effects so I can reach the goal of having a calmer mind.  Not easy, but doable.

Anyway, if I appear a little strange and different while getting used to my anxiety med, bear with me.  I am still the same happy, lovable lady who loves life with a passion.  Just facing a bumpy road at present while readjusting my techniques and tools that help to keep anxiety from gaining power over me.  It is a challenge I plan on winning.  Positive thoughts and cheering me on is greatly appreciated.

Take care,

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

...about how much I am enjoying stained glass making.

Have just begun my forth stained glass piece.  Who would have thought I would have found such a fun new hobby that is so rewarding.  My first piece was designed from a photo of our sheltie Kati.  It is a free form piece with no frame.  It was with the kind instruction of my instructor that I learned how to cut glass, grind it so it fits together well, copper foil each piece, solder all the pieces together, burnish the solder, and wax the whole piece.  Several steps but well worth all the careful steps.

My second piece was based on a painting by Gianni Strino entitled La lettera.  I just loved the setting he created so did a similar setting.  It just seems so peaceful and I love the flow of the dress.  It was an inspiring piece to make.

My next piece is for our bathroom window.  I wanted to create another peaceful setting that would make the room a special place to be.  So after a search for just the right children in pretty white dresses, I found a calm but busy ocean scene and put it all together in photoshop.  I like the result.

Presently, I am working on a piece that contains the 5 Chinese elements used in healing: wood, metal, earth, fire, and water.  This piece will be given to my acupuncturist.  I have just started cutting the glass for it but of course, like the others, it will take many weeks to do since I like the intricate approach.  This piece will change several times as it comes together and will probably not resemble the photoshop example here.  Right now, I have just begun cutting some of the leaf sections for the tree.

Hoping this piece turns out just as nice when all is said and done.
Take care,

Monday, October 17, 2011

...with 7 dogs, one is never alone.

Caring for seven dogs properly take a lot of work and money, but the rewards are well worth the effort.  With seven dogs, a human is never alone.  When I fill the dishwasher, Zac the BC is always with me helping to scour any dish that is not dishwasher ready.  If the phone rings, Lexi barks up a storm to let me know it must be answered.  If Ralph goes to a take out place to get us supper, Jazz the rough collie goes along for the ride so he can have his quiet time with "Dad".  Ralph tried to convince me that sometimes Jazz does the driving, but I'm not buying that!  When playing frisbee, Kati the sheltie grabs the frisbee from each dog after it is caught and she is the official "I'll bring it to mom and dad" volunteer.  I guess she likes the extra pats and the other dogs are okay with that.  Little Sam the sheltie is the dancer of the group.  When I take the time, he will dance with me for several minutes, doing his own little foot to foot step, a big smile on his little old face.  Our two new dogs, Lucy and Sadie, are still deciding what their duties will be.  For the present, they are both on bathroom detail... so no one in this house goes to the bathroom alone unless he/she can outrun the dogs and get the bathroom door shut before the dogs get there.  So in this home, every task one does has a dog who "helps".

Vacuuming involves around three dogs who just lie in the way and get that perturbed look when they have to move. Mowing the lawn takes about two dogs, who keep watch from the other side of the fence to be sure the human is doing it right.  The two border collies have to be sure the neighbors behind us are behaving themselves so check things out at the back fence often.  When someone comes to visit, all seven canines give the loudest, happiest greeting imaginable, including tons of kisses.  When mom or dad take a shower, there are two determined dogs who lap dry our feet and ankles when we step out of the tub.  On the bed in the evening, there can be anywhere from two to four dogs lying around mom and dad keeping us safe and warm.  The dogs keep the bedroom at least ten degrees warmer than all the other rooms in the house so help us save on our heating bill.  If Dad is at work, the dogs keep Mom very safe day or night, and would never allow a stranger to get close to me unless I gave the okay.  Every morning and evening, five of the seven dogs take Dad on a nice long walk to keep him in good shape.

Yes, with seven dogs, we are never alone.  How cool is that!  Works for us!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

...about how the seasons change my daily pace.

Back Yard
As the fall progresses, I find (just like most animals) I begin preparing myself how life gets a little more compacted and quieter.  The tourists depart, many waterfront homes are closed up for the season, and Maine's population gets a bit smaller as some Maniacs head south to warmer climates.  The days here get shorter and the nights get longer.    Still, the fall also gives us a spectacular show bursting with bright fiery warm tones of colorful foliage.  The colors are getting stronger in southern Maine at present, and we are appreciating the cooler temps that have finally arrived.

Fall is my favorite time of year but does remind me that a long winter will be following.  As the nights get longer and longer, I feel appreciative that I can zero in on indoor hobbies like reading, playing piano, doing my crafts or snuggling under the covers and watching old movies.  The dogs seem to embrace the darkness by sleeping more and of course, cuddling with Ralph and me much more.  Ralph, in order to beat the dark, has to hurry home to do agility with the dogs.  Together, Ralph and I tend to do all the tasks we can after school so that we can have the the evenings to settle in.

Sometimes it is refreshing for our lives to become less complicated and "smaller" for a while.  Unlike living in a big city, things don't go on the same year round.  "See you in the Spring" is often seen on business signs the closer we drive toward the coast.  The miles of beaches become ours once again and no one cares if we take our pack of dogs to run up and down the shore in the middle of the day.  There is no bumper to bumper traffic on Route One to avoid.  Maine is just for hearty Mainers once again.

Peace, serenity, and simplicity become the norm in the winter months.  We are forced to take the time to come to know ourselves once again, to listen to our own thoughts, and rediscover who we are.  It is an introspective time for the most part.  We learn if we are capable of living with less and still able to feel comfortable within ourselves.  I am not a snow person but can still see the lesson being taught when snow shuts everything down and we have to be patient and wait for it to set us free once again.  

 Just thinking....

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

....about this and that.

Lucy sleeping on the bed.
Our two new dogs are beginning to settle in at our home and becoming part of our huge dog group.  Lucy, the little border collie from NEBCR is turning into a real cuddle dog.  Every evening she snuggles right up next to Ralph and sticks to him like glue until it is bedtime.  We figure it won't be long before she will not need a crate any longer.  I bet she will just sleep right against Ralph all night on the bed. Lucy has tons of focus and is really zeroing in on her agility lessons.  She also works extremely hard to keep this whole giant clan, including the people, all herded together neatly into one large crowd. Sadie, the sheltie, is putting on weight and turning into a real character.  She voices her opinion about everything going on in the household and is learning that is not always the accepted  She is taking to agility like a duck to water and is an outstanding jumper.  She is now learning how to weave through the weave poles and understanding it quickly.  For a seven year old dog, she has the same spunk as her daughter (Kati) who is only three.

Sadie (back) and Kati
I am still trying to rein in my anxiety and doing my best to turn all worrisome thoughts into positive ones.  It doesn't seem to lessen the anxiety yet but does help to train me how to question what I am thinking.  I saw a nice quote the other day that explained that by making one's inner peace, you generate outer peace around you.  Surprisingly, our home is pretty peaceful even with 7 dogs running around.  They all have the ability to settle down nicely and our home is a pleasant place to be.  In the midst of all this serenity, in inner thoughts can be running wildly amuck although I look just as calm on the outside as the setting I am in.  So...., I am working on my thoughts, stopping them, and replacing them with better ones.  This takes a great deal of effort but I am hoping the results will pay off in the long run.  Those of us who grew up in insecure childhoods had to remain vigilant to stay safe but now that we are grounded in security as adults, that intense vigilance is not needed.  What was once a positive habit to keep us safe has now become a negative habit that needs to be addressed.  So I will continue to challenge my thoughts.

Rain and leaves of early fall through the window.

We have had several days of heavy rain.  On the plus side, wells will not be low this year like they were last year and everything is still beautifully green.  On the negative side, we Mainers are hoping the sun comes back soon so we can get out and enjoy the autumn temperatures, go to the local fairs, and just enjoy one of the best seasons of the year.  Leaves in the southern part of Maine are just beginning to change their colors a tiny bit and some are falling to the ground, but for the most part, all that is still ahead of us to enjoy.     The photo I have put up is taken from my bedroom window and shows how the leaves are yellowing and beginning to fall on the side yard in the rain.  So the circle of life and the circle of the seasons go on here in the north east.