Thursday, December 29, 2016

I Get Hysteria When You're Near

It's been two years since I wrote a blog. Okay, not quite but really close.

It's been an interesting couple of years. A lot has changed and a lot has stayed the same. I guess the important things are that I'm still thirty something, I'm still fairly random and I'm still Rachel.

I'm writing this blog because my friend Veronica (who I have mentioned a couple of times before) called me out and said that I should participate in the current blog challenge that she is doing. Every post is about a different song or music. I did a music challenge before but this one is different. A little more specific. Plus, it's three years later, I could have changed my mind some about music.

I guess the more important thing is that I've been feeling a little blah. I little like I haven't been having a whole lot of fun and I little like I need to add some creativity in some way. So here it goes. Day #1 - a song from your childhood.


I grew up in a very musical household. We listened to everything. I was encouraged to listen to anything I wanted. When I was three or four I had a Fraggle Rock record that came with a book of lyrics. I sat on the sofa in the living room with headphones on listening to who knows what. I heard Raffi and Led Zepplin when I was very small. My dad always needed to have good speakers in the house and when he could update the way music was played in his car he did. So, you can understand that choosing a specific song from my childhood is difficult.

The date of the back of this photo is February 1986 - I was barely four

The best I can do is an album. I can remember being six years old, sitting in the back seat of my mom's 1987 silver Subaru station wagon listening to Def Leppard Hysteria. The album and the song.




There is just something about the whole album. I can still listen to it from beginning to end. The way it starts makes me think of sitting in the dark, in the back seat of the Subaru, singing along with my mom. I can see the lights of the dash and feel Morgan beside me in his car seat. If I was six then he was three. For whatever reason, on those rides, he was always asleep. I can still remember having to flip the tape over to listen to the second half of the album.




My favorite song on that album is not Hysteria, although it is probably second. My favorite song certainly isn't Pour Some Sugar On Me, however it's a great sing along party song, and for a lot of people probably the only Def Leppard song they know. My favorite song is Love Bites. If you've never heard it PLEASE listen to it.

I'm not sure what part of that song resounded in my six year old brain. I certainly didn't know that love bites, and love bleeds. Or maybe I did, in the way that a six-year-old going on thirty does. I can tell you I didn't know why "making love to you might drive me crazy". However, I can tell you that this is by far my favorite Def Leppard song and one that I know I loved even then.


A couple of years ago I got to see Def Leppard in concert.  They were opening for KISS so we bought tickets and went to the amphitheater. I loved that concert. It was a bucket list check off. We had so much fun, and sang along the whole time.




Friday, February 27, 2015

Don't Worry. Add to Your Happy



I've been failing at blogging.  I understand this.  I apologize for it.  I don't know if that is because I spend about two hours in the car a day and that is that time that I would typically spend blogging or if I just don't have anything to blog about. I've been mulling over today's blog all week and I'm still not sure I have to words to get across my point.

I had a biopsy on a lump in my neck on Monday.  The lump has been there for months.  I went and saw my favorite doctor in Olympia.  It freaked him out, which freaked me out and he did a biopsy.  Which essentially means he stuck four needles in the lump and took out chunks and fluid to be tested.


First off, if you have never had a needle biopsy (I had one previously on my thyroid so I knew what to expect) they aren't nearly as bad as they sound.  They aren't comfortable but they aren't horrible either.  I will say that having a needle in your neck is disconcerting, regardless of whether it hurts or not. Second, biopsies are disconcerting in general. There's also the fact that this particular doctor is pretty laid back so when he decides to stick a needle in my neck it freaks me out.

So he calls me on Wednesday and immediately tells me that I don't have cancer. So that's awesome.  No. Really. It's awesome. Now that I think about it maybe I should have lead with that.

Anyway, that means that I had 36 hours to come up with every possible horrible scenario possible.  The second someone does a test to check for cancer your brain goes haywire (unless it's a pap and then you don't even think about it because you've been doing it since you were 13).  I started thinking about the short term disability that I elected this year with my benefits.  I started thinking about how much life insurance I have.  I started wondering what the life expectancy was for someone who has lymphoma.



I also stared analyzing my day to day life.  I have never been more annoyed at my two hour commute than I was on Tuesday and Wednesday morning.  How much of my life should I be expected to waste in the car?  My job is a necessary evil, even if I did have cancer.  But is my waste of life commute?

I was thinking the same thing about the people I interact with daily, or don't interact with as the case may be.  Who would I wish I had spent more time with?  What regrets would I have?

All of my worrying and questioning was for naught when Dr Shannon called to let me know that everything came back okay.

I guess the whole point to this is that maybe all of those questions that go around and around in our heads when were worried that we might be dying are the things that we should focus on daily when we're caught up in our lives. Don't end up 32 or 50 or 70 with regrets and should haves. Add to your happy.



Friday, February 13, 2015

I'm Not #Dramtic. I'm #Sensitive. Okay, Maybe I'm Both.




I have been spinning a blog centered around this photo in my brain for weeks.  This is me.  I am super intense, I feel everything.

I've always been pretty sensitive.  I get embarassed easily.  I won't work out or do physical activities in front of other people.  I don't like critisism and I don't like to be made fun of, even in jest.  I take every single little observation about myself personally.  I have a hard time making decisions because I like to weigh all the pros and cons, think about how others feel and then decide.

I am sensitive and it's always pissed me off.

I've always wanted to be the person that doesn't care what other people think of me.  That person that doesn't care if I run like Phoebe from friends. I'm going to run anyway (I don't but it doesn't matter if I look perfectly normal running I'm not going to do it because someone might see me). Dancing falls into this same category, I might know what to do with my arms just fine, but just in case I don't... I'm just going to dance when I'm alone in my kitchen thank you.

I wish that I didn't have to have the "go cry in the bathroom" motto because I can cry at the drop of a hat and am embarassed to do it in front of anyone.

I wish I didn't remember every critisism from every fight I've ever had.

I wish it wasn't super hard to even write this blog due to a single argument about it one time with one person.

I wish that other peoples feelings and reactions didn't effect me in such a strong way.

I wish that I didn't feel confrontation in such an intense way that I avoid it at all costs.  Even if it means holding in feelings and compromising just to avoid them.



It turns out that being highly sensitive is a thing.  I haven't quite figured out yet if it is a thing like my OCD, which is not in any way extreme or medically diagnosed. Or if it is a legitimate thing.  It all started when I found this article about being the sensitive one in the relationship.  I was like, wait, what?  That's a thing?  Then I started doing a little more research and came across this Huffington Post article titled 16 Habits of Highly Sensitive People and I was shocked.  It epitomized my personality.  Well, except the part about violent movies,.. I don't have an issue with that.  I have a much larger issue with emotionally charged movies.  Anyway,  I then found an article in Psychology Today that states:

"Being highly sensitive basically means that you have heightened sensory awareness. You notice things, both consciously and unconsciously, that affect the five senses more than most people. Lights are brighter, traffic is louder, that wool sweater your mother knitted is itchy, and I mean, really itchy! You find yourself hiding out in the bathroom at parties without really knowing why, until you realise how much calmer you feel when you're away from all the crowds. Experts are still trying to determine what exactly makes some of us more sensitive than others and how it all works, but it has something to do with your central nervous system. Basically, HSPs tend to absorb more information from their environment than other folks, making the world an often highly overstimulating place. I usually describe it as living life with no skin, my nerve endings exposed and feeling every whisper of information around me."



The thing is that if I wasn't the sensitive person that I am I wouldn't be in tune and sympathetic to other peoples feelings.

If I was insensitive and able to just say that I don't give a fuck I wouldn't be me.  And even though it might be easier on my emotions, and heck, the people around me who try and figure out my emotions, I would be a completely different person that I'm not sure I would like.

I pride myself on the fact that I remember every important date ever.

I love that people call me "Mom" because I look out for everyone and make sure that everyone is taken care of.

I wouldn't be able to sympathize and empathize to the extent that I can.

I wouldn't love as hard and with everything that I have.

I wouldn't have that intuition that tells me when someing is off or wrong with a person or a situation.

So I guess I'm going to try and not hate my sensitivity so much.  Even if being highly sensitive is just something that a group of people made up to justify their feelings, at least I know I'm not the only one,

Excuse me while I go cry over the fact that my 11 year old just gave his crush a Valentine's gift... I'm feeling a little emotional about it.






Saturday, January 10, 2015

Be Happy With What You Have




The other day Josh and I were talking about what would have happened if we had stayed together back when we were young.  I commented that I thought that he would have, in his 15 year old brain, been content to hit it and quit it and we would have never ended up together long term.  He didn't agree with me, which was nice and made me feel bad about my cynicism.  I kept thinking about how that situation would have turned out.  Would I have been happy only having ever been with one person?  Would I have been content committing myself to one person literally FOREVER?  Would I have felt cheated that I didn't get to explore who I was without him?  The answer to all of those questions is that I probably would have.  But then I started to ask myself why. 


My maternal grandparents are in their 80's and have been together since my grandmother was 13. She had her first child at 14 and continued to have five more throughout the years.  I am certain that my grandparents have not always liked each other. They have not always wanted to be together.  I'm sure that there were weeks that my grandmother was SO happy when my grandpa left on Sundays for his out of town work, even if he was leaving her with all those kids, just so he would get out of her space. The thing is that they do have is loyalty.  They have a sense of commitment that you can't find today. They stuck it out no matter what happened. And now, 70 years later, they are still together. 

My Grandparents, quite a few years ago, with their Great Grandchildren

That's something that people don't do anymore.  Society is always reaching for the next goal, the next level.  There is always a constant "What if".  I read a statistic the other day that more kids live in households with step-parents than with both of their real parents.  Obviously, I don't get to speak out against divorce.  I've done it.  Twice. But how sad is it that we have become a society of people who are always looking for something better?



Hindsight is 20/20 and it's happy to think that if we had been a little smarter back in the day we would have been able to stick it out for the long haul.  I know that the experience of 32 years and 2 divorces (not to even speak of the numerous other failed relationships) have prepared me to be happy now.  To know that it's way more important to resolve issues and figure them out then give up and walk away. To think in the happy part of my brain that the reason it didn't work out when we were younger is so that we could grow and learn so that it could work out now.  I know that the grass is greener where you water it.  But it took all of those other stupid experiences to come to that realization.  


What if we were all just happy with what we have when we have it?  What if we weren't always looking for the next best thing, not necessarily just in relationships, but in life? What if we realized that more isn't always better?  I think that we would all be a whole lot happier. And we would probably realize who we're supposed to be with the first time, instead of 18 years later. 


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

I'm Singing the Winter Blues #wintersucks #wheresthesun


We've all learned by now how I feel about the Winter. And the cold. And the rain. And the grey. And the dark. If you don't know all you have to do is look at the many different blogs that I have written in the past year and a half about the topic.  What it comes down to is that I'm just not a fan of any weather that isn't sunshine.  


Just to add some bi-polar to this blog. As much as I don't like the fall, winter or half of spring in the Pacific Northwest.  I kind of feel like I got cheated this year.  Weird I know.  It's January 6th and it was almost 50 degrees outside, there hasn't been any snow this year.  And it doesn't look like there is going to be.  The thing about snow is that at least there is a break in the rain and grey monotony. Plus, you get to have a little bit of fun in the snow, after you get done worrying about how to get to work/get kids to school/ get out of work/ keep kids home. Plus snow means that you got to have winter.  My favorite snow is the snow that you just wake up to in the morning.  Where everything is clean and white and smooth and bright and it's a surprise. Maybe that's why I like snow, it's bright like the sun, when you can't have the sun. 


I also feel like the snow is something that you can look forward to when there isn't a whole lot else to look forward to after Christmas. Someone, ages ago, decided that during the months of endless darkness, when the light is gone, we get to have holidays.  First Halloween, just when it's starting, then Thanksgiving, when you're as annoyed as you can be with the dark and grey.  Then we're distracted by Christmas and New Years when the darkness is absolutely at it's worst.  But what then? 
Then you have the cold dark of January, with nothing to look forward to except Spring.  February isn't much better, Valentines Day, in the cold and dark I suppose. March it's getting better, there's more light, but there is still the incessant rain, which continues right on through May. Spring starts in May, I love May.  


So, I guess what I have discovered is that although I hate the grey and the cold and the rain, what I really hate is the fact that there isn't anything really exciting to look forward to until May when you can start spending time outside again. Which is probably why this is the time of year I'm always looking for a project, or a change of some kind.  In the past two years I have started at a new property in January, this year I did it a little early in October.  This is also the time of year that I want to plan a trip, or fifty.  I love leaving town in February, because by February I feel like I'm going insane in the dark rain. 



I found the word vorfreude while I was searching for pictures for this blog. Which is the joy that come from imaging future pleasures.  Ah, future pleasures.  I'm a planner, we all know that. I want to plan to be someplace warm, and sunny.  I want to plan for things to happen that will end the monotony of the day in day out darkness. A trip. A new venture. A new hobby.  Another trip.  That's what gets me through winter. 



I know that I'll make it through the Winter.  I have made it successfully through 32 Pacific Northwest Winters.  And I'm sure I'll make it through a few more.  In the mean time I'll fill myself with vorfreude by planning for the Winter, years in the future, that I won't have to spend the October through May wishing for sun, because I'll already be in it. 








Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Goal vs. Resolution #2015 #newyear


What is the difference between a resolution and a goal?



A resolution is the act of finding a solution to a conflict or problem.

A goal is something that you are trying to do or achieve.

When you look at the definition of a resolution it comes across as a negative thing.  You need to set a resolution in order to solve a problem.  My weight is a problem so I need to resolve to lose it.

Whereas a goal is something more positive.  Something that you can be proud of. Something that you achieve. My goal is to exercise in order to lose weight.





I use weight as an example because people make such a big deal about starting weight loss routines at the beginning of the year, it's the most identifiable, and most often heard, new years resolution.





For 2015 I don't want to make resolutions, I want to set goals.  2014 was an awesome, crazy, ridiculous year where there was a lot of change and a lot of personal growth.  Now that things have settled down a bit I think that it's time to set some goals that I would like to have achieved by the end of 2015.  And since it's only a dream until it's written down, here I go.  My 2015 bucket list.


Pay off all of my debt, excluding my car and student loans.
Maintain a savings account.
Fix my credit so we can buy a house.
Meet Josh's kids.
Travel somewhere in the US that I've never been before.
Go out of town, on a (quasi)vacation, at least once a quarter.
Exercise for a half an hour, three times a week.
Blog once a week.
Become a senior property manager.
Get my Oregon brokers license.
Take PJ on a date once a month.
Go on a date with Veronica once a month.
Eat someplace we've never eaten before with Josh once a month.




I like to think that my list is a nice mix of growth plus some goals to break up the monotony.  When you spend at least two hours a day in the car and another eight and a half hours a day at a desk goals to spice things up a bit are necessary.








Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Reminder: Don't Forget to Feel the Love


It's Christmas Eve.  I'm not sure why, but it doesn't feel like Christmas Eve.  When trying to figure out what to blog about while I'm waiting impatiently for my workday to be over it was suggested that I write about the Christmas spirit.  I couldn't quite figure out how, since it doesn't feel like Christmas.
I'm hoping that as we start our Christmas Eve traditions tonight I'll be more in the spirit.  I started out the season in the spirit and as we have gotten closer I've slowly, but surly, lost it.  As I sit here contemplating why I lost it and where it went I realized that it doesn't matter a whole lot.  What matters is that I get it back by the time I pick PJ up from his dad's after work tonight.


You never know the last time you are going to get to spend time with someone. People say it all of the time but the older you get the more truth rings in this statement.   I want to remember that this year, and really always, and I want everyone in my life to remember that statement.  It's really easy to get caught up in the big (and little) things that weigh on us everyday and forget the things that make those same days special.

I'm lucky enough to get to spend this Christmas with my Grandparents,

I'm lucky enough that the man that I am ridiculously in love with is here for Christmas this year, rather than 1,000 miles away.


I'm lucky enough that my child is still just innocent enough to believe me when I tell him there is a Santa Claus, rather than believe his friends when they say there isn't.


I am lucky enough to spend this Christmas with both of my parents, five Christmases after my dad was diagnosed with stage four cancer.

I'm lucky enough to get to have an amazing second family to spend an entire extra day of Christmas with.

I'm lucky.  And it doesn't matter if I'm in the Christmas spirit or not.  As long as I can remember how lucky I am the spirit of the season will take care of itself.

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