A Drive to the Coast

Being cooped up in the house for most of this year, we decided to take a little day trip over the coast. Even though we couldn't get out anywhere, or do anything, it was nice just to see something other than the white walls of our house. Of course, it took a lot of pillows and blankets to make the ride over a lot more comfortable. But, it was just nice to get out and breathe some coastal air and relax for a bit.






Five Simple Things (April 24)

 Hello.

Hope things are well. Oregon has been moving forward to help with the spread of Coronavirus here. Not sure what more can be done, other than what is already put into place. There's still people here not abiding by the moral side of the pandemic and the numbers just keep going up. It looks as though furloughs will happen when Jeff works and he is hoping that it won't affect him. Hours have already been cut and overtime is a NO, for all works. They aren't only cut back hours, but less than 40 hours a week. It's stressing Jeff out a lot and in turn causes additional stress on me, because I see how upset he is. My empathy for him is hard to process right now. I'm not only in great amount of pain, but I'm also trying to stay strong so he has at least someone to talk to about his stress. My anxiety, is causing issues, as well. This year is so hard on so many people, so I am just grateful that none of us are sick, and we are able to use a bit of savings that we have. Skylar came into my room last night and started crying and telling me how it all makes him feel. It's just a tough time. I hope, whoever is reading this, you are staying strong. We can and will get through this. Here are five things from this week.

1. This Cooler.

Meant to share this last week, but it still applies. We figured out a good cooler for my bedside while I recover and this wine cooler was the best option. It doesn't get too cold and doesn't have a freeze compartment, which is what I didn't want. The freezer compartment in a mini cooler, probably works for other options, but not for me. The silver dividers come out and can be rearranged to make room for whatever you need. It's prefect for exactly what I wanted. Jeff and Skylar set it up in the front area of the house for the first night, and then moved it the following day beside my bed. It also serves as a good spot to keep my medical needs on top, as well. This cooler shown here can be purchased here

2. This Medication.

Incredible, right? I don't take a few of these anymore, but I was floored at how much I was going to be put on and even more floored at how much pain I was actually in. I stopped taking the Vicodin the day after my surgery, because it made me sick and I was throwing up (more dry-heaving) and screaming every single time. The pain was unbelievable. The worst pain I've ever felt in my life, and I've been mauled by a dog, hit by a car, abused, given birth, and hit by someone repeatedly. Never have I felt this kind of physical pain. But, I see small improvements every day and I have a great team of caretakers that I am grateful for.

3. These Changes.

It's great to see companies making changes for the better. The bamboo handles are such a great alternative to plastic. Always remember, single-use plastic is not for the environment. Small changes can have a big impact, too. Like switching a toothbrush to a more sustainable option, or cutting out plastic wrap, or plastic sandwich bags, or even using plasticware for your lunch. Start small and work your way up to bigger changes. You can purchase these toothbrushes here.

4. This Snowball.

This random snowball left us with so many questions. It was in the parking lot of the local food co-op, yet we haven't had any snow here on the Valley floor. Skylar and I created stories about the mystery snowball all day after seeing it. He drove us over to the store to grab some snacks and more juice and soft foods for me. I sat in the car coming up with my stories. We came up with, it rolled here all the way from the Cascades, fell off a snow truck delivery snow to snowless areas (like ours), or even that the snowball wasn't even there, it was all in our head because we long for snow.☻

5. Malli Jean.

Our sweet duck Malli-Jean has been enjoying the spring growth in the yard. Skylar walked out to give them all a treat of cracked corn and Malli had her beak face down in the patch of clover at the far end of the yard. She's a mallard, but she's pretty cool.

Positive affirmations this week: "What excites you?"
Future planning and knowing all my hard work and struggles will pay off soon. Keeping the focus on the end is exciting. Plus, knowing that things are getting better and improving slowly. It's exciting to look back a year ago and see how far I've come!
(By the way, you can answer these affirmation questions, as well. If you would like to share them, I would love to read them.)

Have a nice weekend.

Five Simple Things (April 17)

 Hello.

Got up today and walked, very slowly, around my backyard. The sun was out for a bit and Skylar helped me get up and move a little. I am still extremely tired and hurting quite bad, but I wanted to get out of the bed and out of the room I'm in. It was a nice, short, walk around and it felt nice having the sun on my face. I was ready to get back in the bed and positioned where I wouldn't hurt, though. Coronavirus cases are just going up and up in Oregon and across the world, it seems. Jeff said, when he went to get our weekly supplies, a lot of people weren't wearing masks at the local grocery store here and that kind of frustrated him. He gets things for us, puts them in the garage, and Skylar sprays down what he can with disinfectant, and they stay in the garage for 24 hours. Skylar then brings them inside and wipes down things once more. Skylar has been doing a great job at keeping things pretty sanitary inside the house and I am grateful for them both. Jeff goes to work and comes through the gate in the side yard, goes through the garage to do everything. I don't even see, or hear, half the time when stuff is happening toward the back of the house. Probably, for the best that I am not close to that area. Skylar opened my curtains and windows a bit this week, too, to help bring in some fresh air. He has been taking care of me so well, they both have, and I am extremely grateful for everything they have done. I have yet to be out of the house to see the "outside" world the way it is. I feel like, I got put under for my surgery, and woke up to another world, or died, and this is all in my head. It's definitely a strange feeling, and a hard thing to mentally process, that's for sure. Here are five things from this week.

1. This View.


I had to get out of the house this week. I was getting a bit of cabin fever and I was tired of the smell of medicine, creams, and disinfectant, in my room. We drove to Foster Lake and just enjoyed the view. I couldn't get out of the car, so I just sat and enjoyed it anyway, with the windows down. It was a nice drive and while we were gone, we washed all my bedding and blankets, so I can come back to clean sheets and blankets to lay on.


2. It's Earth Month...

Don't forget, Earth Day is April 22. Do you part, even though in quarantine, to help Mother Earth. Some ideas on what you can do this Earth Day:
1. Plant a tree, or new plant-preferably one that is pollinator-friendly.
2. Turn all of your lights out for the evening.
3. Go for a nature walk.
4. Conserve water when brushing teeth, doing dishes, or doing laundry.
5. Opt out of junk mail. You can remove your name from mailing lists here, and here.

3. This Plastic Bag.

If you're still using single-use plastic bags, or even the thicker plastic bags, consider changing your habits. Using your own canvas bags are great, but right now, with the Coronavirus pandemic, ask for paper bags. Oregon has banned the use of single-use plastic bags, but for some reason, companies like Walmart, KFC, and other businesses are using the excuse of a "back stock" to still be able to use single-use plastic. Tell these companies NO. And, that you refuse to do business with them until they change. In the meantime, YOU can change and make the difference for yourself and the environment. Start this month, as Earth Month is here and you can make a difference one step at a time.



4. This Moment.


  
I had to pick up my prescription medication and had to have Skylar drive me to get it, because of my surgery recovery, still. Him being able to drive is still something that I haven't fully accepted yet. This is the first time I rode with him, when he was driving, but he did great, and Jeff tells me, when he takes him driving, he does a great job. 

5. This Quote.

I posted this on Instagram this week, and I feel proud to be a parent that is open to my child's own expression and thinking. At times I catch myself trying to correct him, or "change" him and I pause and think, no, let him be him, and enjoy it. I grew up with parents that didn't allow us to just be ourselves and learn from our own ways of doing things. We were shown a certain way, or told a certain way, of doing things and that was the only way. I decided that I would not be that kind of parent and allow Skylar to be who he was always meant to be, and let me tell you, he is a pretty cool dude because of it.

Positive affirmations this week: "What’s your “why”?"
The "why" for me, is to be able to say that I made an impact, or a positive change in someone's life, before my time on this earth ends. I hope that my positivity, helpfulness, and empathy, has helped at least one person.

Have a nice weekend.

Easter 2020

We spent a quiet Easter at home, as the same as everyone this year. We wanted to make it a bit less boring and decided to sit and write out a scavenger hunt for Skylar to do, in order for him to "hunt" for this Easter basket. It took him about an hour to go through all of the clues and a few of them were in unusual places like, Hardy's dog collar, while he wore it. A few other places were around the duck's necks with bandanas, and hanging from strings in random places. Each clue before it gave the location of the next. He had a lot of fun searching and wondering where his next clue was. He had a total of 35 clues. We also dyed eggs in a new way. With my surgery being only a month before, and the pandemic, we used some food coloring instead of a more natural way of dying the eggs. This year, we tried the shaving cream and food coloring trick. It made for some pretty pastel-colored eggs.
 

 



 


The ideas for our scavenger hunt came from random accounts on Instagram. It seems we aren't the only ones to have the scavenger hunt idea this year.

 

 

 

 

Five Simple Things (April 10)

 Hello.

Tax week here. Not fun, but I'm finally able to sit up in the bed and get a bit of work done. Every day Jeff and Skylar come in at the end of the day and let me know what's going on around us. I haven't been able to get out of bed much, except to go to the bathroom. I'm actually glad I can sit up and and eat, and brush my teeth. It's weird brushing my teeth in bed, but it's better than not. I've heard so many weird things from them this past week, masks being worn now, people distancing at six feet, first person in the state of Oregon dying (a 70 year old man), and how people's attitude is during this time. Our county of Linn, is the worst in the state right now, they tell me, and that's heartbreaking. On a positive, I guess I picked a good time to recover from a surgery. I've spent part of this gray day preparing for our tax filing coming up in five more days. Our taxes are pretty easy to file, but I'm glad we only do them once a year. Skylar bought me a new candle, so he's been lighting that in the evenings when everyone is in my room, and we're talking about things. It smells less like a hospital room in here, and everything is better by candlelight. 

1. This Frosty Window.

Even in early April we had some frozen days. With living in a house that's pretty old and needs updated windows, the benefit is that you get some cool ice formations on the glass.

2. This Hawk.


We aren't quite sure why it was only running and not flying, but we ended up leaving and turning around to coming back and it was gone. So, maybe we interrupted it during a "stalking" moment. Seeing a hawk run down the road, though, was amusing. We love birds of prey, so any moment we can get to be up close and personal, we enjoy it.

3. This Dinner.

Before the Coronavirus pandemic hit, we went to eat at P.F. Chang's. Little did we know, that would be the last time we ate at a sit-down restaurant for awhile.

4. This Rainbow.

Life at a Swells pace.

5. Kitty Tricks.

Eleven is such a cool cat. I taught her how to roll over and also how to sit up on her back legs. She's been laying with me a lot and following me around to make sure I'm okay. Some mornings she will come up to my face and meow at me, just to make sure I'm doing okay. She's such a loving cat and she's been looking after me well. 

Positive affirmations this week: "Which three words describe you best?"
•Empathic 
•Patient
•Logical

Have a nice weekend.

Five Simple Things (April 3)

 Hello.

Well, here we are in the thick of things with the Coronavirus pandemic and hearing and reading stories from across the nation and across the world, is very sad. So many people dying, yet there's people that still claim it isn't really, or true. I am actually glad I am confined to this bed and this room, for now. My surgery checkup is coming up next week, to see how my stitches are healing and see if anything needs attention. I am still taking pain medication, but have now only been taking one at night, so I can sleep soundly without waking up too much from pain. Keeping a body pillow on either side of my body with my arms on top of the body pillows as helped a great deal with taking pressure off my sides. Again, I will elaborate more on the surgery at a later time. Jeff has been telling me about the "outside" world, a bit. He went to get groceries after work, this week, and he said he watched a woman at the grocery store making a huge scene about wearing a mask. It hasn't been mandatory yet, just advised, but he said she was yelling about everyone being sheep and living in fear. Ridiculous. I did read that Governor Kate Brown, here in Oregon, issued a statewide mandate, banning public gatherings of 25 or more, and restricting restaurants to take-out or delivery. Essential businesses like, grocery stores, pharmacies, and workplaces, weren't part of that. I jokingly asked Jeff and Skylar if it was like the apoloypse in public and they told me how bare the streets were and the stores hardly had anyone in them. Which, to me, that's a good thing. Less people, less spread. Here are five things for this week.

1. Skylar's Permit.


Before the Coronavirus pandemic hit us here in the United States, Skylar took the driving permit test, before it came to the point he wouldn't be able to. He passed and is now an official "permitted" driver. He is wanting a motorcycle, so that will be something that comes much later. Baby steps for now. It's weird to even mentally process that he can drive a car that isn't made of plastic and has pedals.

2. Brake Pads.

Because of my surgery, Jeff has put off replacing the brake pads on his car. But, this past week, since I'm feeling a bit better, he decided to take the time and do it. He normally does car repairs himself, so he had to find the time to do it. With the stress of everything this year, so far, it's one of those things that kind of gets pushed aside. He was shocked to find they were a lot worse than he had expected. But, he replaced them and it's good to go now. Take away here: Be sure to get your brake pads replaced the moment you hear them grinding. The grinding you hear is metal on metal and it can actually get so bad, it will affect the rotors. Once that happens, it's an expensive fix.

3. These Clouds.

Skylar and Jeff know how much I love clouds and weather, especially when the clouds are unusual. While there were out picking up a few supplies I needed, they stopped and shot this picture for me. This is one of the best displays of cirrus cloud streaks, I've seen in a long time. It really was thoughtful of them to take that for me, and it made me better seeing a bit of sunshine, too. 

4. Anxiety Support.

Anxiety is a very real and manageable mental health issue, but when it's paired with PTSD and other trauma, it can sometimes become extremely debilitating. I've suffered with this all of my life, but up until about three years ago, I had no idea what it was. Even when I was young, I used to refer to it as, the "trouble feeling." I would ask other people if they ever got the feeling in their chest, like they are about to get into trouble. Most people knew what I was talking about, but no really knew what it was. The best way to describe it is, the feeling you get before you go over the top of a rollercoaster. That scared, excited, heart racing feeling, that can last moments, hours, and sometimes even days. It's kind of a relief, in a way, to have a definition for what I've felt all my life. Supporting someone with these symptoms, is not only important, but could save someone's life. Most, if not all, people that suffer from some form of mental health issue, don't do it for attention. Anxiety is a physical pain. It could be compared to feeling like you're having a heart attack. Don't assume someone is wanting attention by coming to you for help. Help them and be supportive of their issues. (Photo source)

5. This Flyer.

I have been seeing a lot of posts online about "how to properly wash your hands." It's kind of comical a lot of the ones I've seen and it's even more comical reading people's comments about handwashing. As if handwashing is something that's new and mysterious. This flyer is the most accurate I've seen, as well as the one from the CDC. I read a Tweet where they woman took a plane from JFK and there were two women in front of her discussing hand washing. She said the women were all in a huff about the hand washing stating things like, "I am not going to wash my hands every single time I eat." All I could think, while reading that was, gross. 
The flyer above, you can print your own, here.

Positive affirmations this week: "How do you know what you're doing and how do you navigate through the pressure to have it all figured out?"
Well, I don't. No one has it all figured out, and I don't let other people's opinions dictate my choices, and/or decisions, that are right for me. People are always going to push their views and opinions on you, but ignore them. Take away the positives and the encouragements and ignore the others. You will waste a lot of your life, time, and shine, waiting for validation from others. I've been there. You are worth so much more than people that can't seem to figure out how to build people up, over tearing them down. Feel sorry for these people because these are their issues, not yours. 
I would love to just travel and feel alive. Id love to create community and thrive. Slowly, but surely, I will have that chance in my life. I look forward to it. 

Have a nice weekend.