Another “Wild” Friday Night

<a href="https://i0.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/g/6/7/Z/T/E/orange-dog-dancing-hi.png"><img src='https://i0.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/g/6/7/Z/T/E/orange-dog-dancing-hi.png' alt='Orange Dog Dancing clip art'/></a>

Dancing dog. Image courtesy of clker.com

I set a work goal for myself this week that was higher than I’d set in a while because I knew I needed to start pushing myself to my full potential again.  As probably anyone who works from home and sets their own hours knows, it can be tricky sticking to a quota of work and a schedule. But when I really apply myself, I get everything done that I need to. There were a couple of days this week that were a bit challenging, but I persevered and accomplished my goal by quitting time Friday evening.

Working from home has certainly had its share of ups and downs, but it’s definitely in an upswing now and I’ve been happier working from home than I ever was working in an outside office. There’s incredible flexibility in working from home, but also a lot more unpredictability in terms of work flow and pay. I imagine it’s not for everyone, but it works for me and I love transcribing for Rev.com on a daily basis.

With my goal accomplished for the week, I felt it was time to celebrate with my usual “wild” Friday night of beading, writing, and playing World of Warcraft. I’ve never really been a social butterfly or had very many friends because I value quality over quantity. So truly wild Friday nights partying with friends out somewhere has only happened due to bachelorette parties or birthday parties. Now that all of the people I consider close friends live in other states, going out on the town really isn’t even possible. Not that I really think I’d be up for it anyway.

I’m a homebody, I think I always have been. And well, now that I’ve owned my own home and been living in it as a single woman for seven years now, my body loves my home even more. When it’s just me on a Friday night (which it almost always is because it’s not a night I usually have my girls) I prefer to do what makes me happy and truly revel in that happiness and freedom. I still remember what it was like during relationships where I felt trapped and controlled, where someone was telling me what to do and how to do it. Those feelings of being trapped, unhappy, and in emotional pain are something I will never forget. Nonetheless, I won’t let my past control me or ruin my current happiness and so I just keep moving forward.

One of the things I do when I’m really happy, exuberant, and in a very up mood celebrating my accomplishments and freedom, is dance along to upbeat music. I might dance in my chair at my desk while I’m writing or playing World of Warcraft, or I might just jump right up and dance in my living room. My three cats might give me strange looks for a moment, but they’re used to their “crazy” mommy and so they go back about their business. My pup Jazzmin though is another story.

I taught Jazzmin the “trick” of dancing with me when I’m dancing around and she’s always good for a couple spins on the dance floor. I just say, “Want to dance?” and she wags her tail and offers her paw. I then take both of her front paws in my hands, lift her up onto just her hind feet, and we do a little jive around the dance floor, otherwise known as the kitchen or living room. She’s always really happy to be dancing with her mama and I give her a treat afterwards. She’ll then return to whatever she was doing and I can go back to being happy, weird, dancing me.

My favorite place to find my kind of music nowadays is a place called EpidemicSound.com. According to their website, they provide: “Unlimited music for your YouTube channel. Monetise with no risk of copyright strikes.” I pay a monthly subscription fee to listen to and download as many tracks as I want and their selection of original music is amazing! I’ve yet to use any of their music for a YouTube video, but I hope to eventually. In the meantime, I’ve been downloading songs into playlists of new music on a biweekly or monthly basis, depending on when I feel the need for fresh tracks.

Last night I checked their “Latest Tracks” tab and the very first song I clicked on boosted my already happy mood through the roof. It was a song called “We Should Start Right Now” by Loving Caliber featuring Emmi and it had the exact beat, tempo, lyrics, musicality, you name it that I love in a song. Plus, once I’d listened to it a few times, I found the lyrics very inspirational. Here’s a sample:

“Every change has a reason
Baby, let it come to you.
Every soul, every season,
Lives outside a status quo.

If you start believing
We’re meant to be
Expanding our abilities.
If the passion’s gone
We are doing it wrong.

Baby, you and I
Baby, you and I
Should start living now.”

I lost track of how many times I listened to that song because it just lifted me up so much higher than I already was. I had my house windows open and I was blasting it through my computer speakers for all the neighbors to hear. I wanted to shout to everyone I knew that life is too short to waste being unhappy. That we all need to start living now and not keep waiting for things to get better tomorrow. I’ve learned the hard way that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed and that regret is a horrible thing to live with.

Never give up on your dreams, never resign yourself to a situation you’re miserable in just because you’re trying to keep everyone else happy. I lived like that for many years and I forgot who I really was and it’s taken me years to find who I am again. Embrace your light, your power, and your strength. Seize today and every today given to you and pursue your dreams, even if only in small steps. Small steps are better than no steps and well, dance steps are even better.

 

Birthday Gifts To Myself

calendar page Lidancie Arts

Today’s the day!

Today I turn 41 years old, but honestly, I’ve already felt 41 for a while. This year I was fortunate enough to have my girls the weekend before my birthday and I’ve been essentially celebrating my birthday all weekend long. On Saturday, my mother treated my girls and I to birthday lunch at Olive Garden (one of my favorite restaurants) and then we spent the rest of the day just relaxing at my mom’s house in the lovely weather. As a continued celebration of my birthday yesterday, I took my girls to see the new Star Wars movie, Solo, and treated us all to overpriced movie theater snacks. We all enjoyed the movie and then went to ice cream afterwards.

I’m quite sure I’ve never celebrated my birthday over more than one day, so I’ve been enjoying this unusual treat this year. For me, the best gifts are spending time with my girls and family, having good friends, and being able to do what makes me happy. If I need material items, I can just buy them for myself, so wrapped gifts aren’t really necessary anymore. Thus far, 41 is off to a really good start!

As I continue to celebrate my birthday today on the actual day I was born, I decided to give myself a very important gift. This year’s birthday gift to myself is that I will spend the entire day while the girls are at school writing. Writing future blog posts, writing in my Warcraft fan fiction, writing outlines for future stories, whatever I want!

When I was a teenager, I promised myself I’d be a published author by the time I was 30 years old. That deadline came and went without realizing that goal, but I haven’t given up on that dream. I do have one self-published Kindle book, but it’s non-fiction and while I think it’s a good story, my heart is really in fantasy fiction writing. I love that anything is possible when magic is involved and that type of freedom helps my writing go wherever it wants to take me. My muse is very much alive these days, but I have trouble making the time to let her out. Hence, today’s birthday gift of writing!

I think like any writer, I doubt my own abilities to tell something new and different in my own interesting style. However, as I’ve read in many inspirational writing quotes, although something might have been told many times before, it hasn’t been told by ME and with my voice. Therefore, I feel like I still have much to offer this world as an author. At my core, despite the many paying jobs I’ve had and have in my life, I am and have always been a writer. The universe gave me this crazy imagination for a reason and today I’m going to channel it into my keyboard and onto pages and pages of new adventures!

A Spring That Finally Sprung!

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A local bumblebee enjoying my daffodils.

I was going to write this blog post last week when the weather warmed up, but then they predicted snow over the weekend, so I decided to wait. The snow did indeed fall this past Sunday morning, proving that the unusually wintry weather of April wasn’t done yet. Fortunately, the next day was warm and sunny, which ended April on a good note. These past couple days marking the start of May have felt more like summer than spring, but after the seemingly never-ending winter, I’m okay with that!

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Snow on 4/29/18. Ugh!

I was doing pretty well through this winter, especially when February was surprisingly warm and it seemed like spring was coming early. Then March arrived and dumped several feet of snow on us here in the Finger Lakes of New York. While April didn’t dump as much snow, it still snowed and was colder than it should’ve been and it seemed like spring would never truly arrive. March and April, the months when spring is supposed to have arrived, were my hardest winter months yet and I got more down than I have in many years. So when I say that I welcome the heat, the humidity, and even the bugs, I’m not kidding. I’ll take bugs over snow any day.

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Angel and Daisy loving the open window.

When the warmth and rebirth of spring finally arrive, it starts to feel once again like anything is possible. No longer trapped inside by the weather, I’ve been enjoying longer walks with Jazzmin on our country roads. The local birds have been feasting on my feeders and I love hearing their songs and watching them from my desk chair as I work. I especially appreciate the longer hours of daylight as I have more time when I finish work to get outside and breathe the spring air and feel warm instead of freezing. With nice weather brings the need for yard work (which I hate) but I know it’s all part of the warmer months and I take it in stride. I’d rather mow my lawn than snow blow my driveway!

The summer temperatures of late are set to give way to more spring like weather the next few days with predicted rain and possible thunderstorms. Rain may put a damper on things, but I don’t have to shovel rain, so it can fall as it likes. The long, extended winter has increased my appreciation for the wonders and beauty of spring and shown me once again that I can endure tough times. I plan to revel in every warm moment of spring and summer and slowly erase the uncomfortable memories of a cold and snowy winter.

The mean little appendix

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My daughter watching TV from her hospital chair

My youngest daughter Jaycie was scheduled to have her appendix removed on October 4th, but the mean little appendix wouldn’t wait that long. On the night of Tuesday, September 13th, Jaycie woke up sick and had stomach pain. If she hadn’t already gone through the whole perforated appendicitis with abscesses episode back in August, I wouldn’t have worried about a stomach ache but after all that, I knew better.

She stayed home Wednesday with me and wasn’t feeling any better by mid morning so I called the surgeon’s office and they said to bring her in so the doctor could take a look. One thing led to another and we found ourselves in the emergency room getting Jaycie ready for a CT scan again. She really wasn’t happy about having to get another IV put in and I don’t blame her! Since we were close to home this time, I asked my mom to come hang out with us and she did. There was no TV in the emergency room but Jaycie had brought her tablet and there was wifi so she watched Netflix while we waited.

Jaycie had a CT scan around 5:30 p.m. and about a half hour later the doctor came and said that her appendix was inflamed again but they didn’t see any abscesses this time. So they said surgery to remove the appendix was the best course of action and I wholeheartedly agreed! Jaycie was very anxious and scared about having surgery that night but we all knew she’d do much better once the mean little appendix was out.

It was around 8 p.m. when they took Jaycie back for surgery and she was understandably scared. I kissed her and told her I loved her and my brave little girl was off to surgery. Although the surgery happened ahead of schedule, I was relieved that it was being performed by the surgeon that was supposed to do it in October. He was very nice and explained everything and I had complete faith in his abilities.

My mom, myself and Jaycie’s dad had been in the surgery waiting room for an hour watching TV when the surgeon came back to say it went well and she was all done. He told us that there had in fact been an abscess but it wasn’t visible on the CT scan because it was behind a wall of skin as Jaycie’s body tried to protect itself from it. He showed us pictures he’d of her insides during the surgery (they did it all endoscopically) and it was both interesting and somewhat disconcerting. The surgeon explained that they’d removed the appendix and done their best to clean out all the bacteria but that she’d have to be in the hospital on antibiotics for a day or two to make sure she healed properly. I thanked the surgeon for his work and was again so very relieved he’d been the one to perform the surgery.

We waited another hour before a nurse came and said we could go see Jaycie in recovery. We all followed her down a few hallways and then into the recovery room where Jaycie was the only patient. She was lying in the hospital bed covered with blankets and mostly out of it as the anesthesia slowly wore off. They had her legs in compression cuffs that would squeeze on leg and then the other to promote circulation and prevent blood clots. I was familiar with such cuffs because my father had to wear them a few times during his hospital stays. It was a somewhat scary thing seeing them on my 10 year old daughter.

Although mostly out of it, Jaycie was happy to see us and she said a loud “Yay!” that her appendix were finally gone. She was a bit silly from the drugs but still my tough little cookie and I was so happy the whole ordeal with her appendix was coming to an end. They moved her up to a private room within a half hour and by then it was after 11 p.m. and we were all exhausted. Jaycie’s emotions were out of sorts due to the surgery and the medications and tears started to run down her face when I kissed her goodbye. This about broke my heart even though I knew she was going to fall asleep soon and not even know if I was there. I kissed her goodbye a few more times before leaving and promised her I’d return early the next morning.

Driving home in the dark that night was not fun as I saw several deer and a few of them had the audacity to run out in front of exhausted me. I made it home safely and collapsed into bed, setting my alarm for 5:30 a.m. the next morning. For the next three days I woke up before the sun and arrived at the hospital just before the sunrise or just after. I was there when Jaycie woke up every day and my mom arrived around the same time I did or shortly after. My mom and I would spend the day at the hospital with Jaycie until her father and Jordan arrived to take the dinner time to bed time shift.

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Arriving at the hospital before sunrise

The first time I helped her get up to use the bathroom on Thursday morning she screamed in pain and that’s the most awful sound any mother can hear. She’s not fond of pain medications but they gave her some morphine that first morning and by the end of the day, tylenol was enough. She spent her days watching Disney Channel on the hospital TV and my mom and I would talk, read books or wander the hospital to keep our sanity.

Having endured the whole situation in MA when her appendicitis flared up, the days in her hospital as she recovered from her appendectomy were all too familiar. She was grumpy, not very talkative and didn’t want to eat the first day and then improve the second day and was eager to go home the third day on Saturday. The doctor who performed the surgery was one of the most attentive doctors I’ve ever encountered in all my times in hospitals (most of that when my father was ill) and he came in at least twice a day to check on Jaycie and talk to us about what they were doing and how things looked. With everything my father went through in hospitals, they’re not my favorite place, but this surgeon’s obvious care for his patients was very reassuring and comforting. He even came in earlier than he said Saturday morning so Jaycie would be discharged earlier and that meant the world to Jaycie, my mom and myself!

Jaycie was so happy to get out of the Saturday and to come home with me for the weekend. It was supposed to be her father’s weekend, but my house is much quieter than his since it’s just me and my animals so she came with me. Jaycie relaxed on my couch enjoying her favorite shows and tablet games and eventually transformed back into her usual talkative self. She had to stay home from school for all of last week and that was fine with her! I liked having so much time with her and seeing her heal and recover was extremely reassuring for me. She kept saying how happy she was that her appendix was out and she was out of the hospital and I understand completely!

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My youngest daughter returned to school this morning for the first time since having the emergency appendectomy and she’s back to her normal self. She had her follow-up appointment with the surgeon yesterday and he cleared her to resume everything she usually does including participating in gym and PT and playing in band. We’re all very relieved that the mean little appendix is finally gone and that life can return to the usual routine. This has all shown me what a blessing the usual routine is and I’m so grateful that my baby is healthy once again!

 

Thousands of words

As I didn’t have my girls today and I’m leaving tomorrow evening after I’m done watching them for my ex, I knew I had to use today to get as much writing done as possible. I had several freelance articles to write of varying word counts and I also had college writing assignments that are due tomorrow night and that I know I’ll be too tired to deal with once I arrive at my hotel for the night.

I wanted to get the bulk of the writing done today so I can spend tomorrow enjoying time with my girls amid packing (I’ve barely started), baking goodies for this weekend’s Pow-wow and finishing up pre-trip odds and ends. I knew if I left any writing until I had the girls at my house, I’d feel conflicted and stressed and I don’t need that added onto trying to get everything else done before my road trip.

I’m not kidding when I say I wrote thousands of words today. Most of them were for freelance work and the rest were college work and well, this blog post. I haven’t written quite this much in a rather long time, but I’m proud of myself for getting almost everything written that I wanted to. I even managed to squeeze in washing Jazzmin during one of my necessary mental breaks.

Although I wrote a lot, I certainly didn’t talk a lot because it’s just me and my animals when I don’t have the girls. The two younger cats and Jazz have been sticking close to me though, listening to me type away and eagerly awaiting a return to silence. The remaining words I have to write can wait until I wake up tomorrow morning before my ex drops off my girls because tonight, I am officially worded out.

The clarity of low visibility

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Low visibility looking down the big hill

The very wintry weather lately has made it difficult to walk Jazzmin but with all the roads plowed today, I decided it was time to set boots and booties to snowy road and take a walk. Once my girls had been picked up, I changed into my walking clothes, got Jazz sweatered, backpacked and bootied up and headed out.

It was lightly snowing as we walked carefully down the driveway to avoid slipping on the ice below the most recent dusting of snow. Once safely on the salted and slightly snowy road, we easily found our pace and the fresh, chilly winter air felt wonderful to breathe in. By the time we reached the end of my road, the light snow had turned into big, heavy flakes and shortly after turning left onto the next road, the snow changed again to a mix of fluffy flakes and tiny snowballs.

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Light snow shortly after we turned onto the second road

I wasn’t sure how long of a walk we were going to take, but I enjoyed the tranquility of the snow and crispness of the air so much, we kept going right up the big hill. The snow got progressively heavier as we walked and the visibility became quite low, but as I was walking, I didn’t mind at all. It would’ve been a different story if I was driving, but when I’m walking I can see exactly where I’m going and don’t have to worry about my car tires slipping or sliding. My boots and Jazz’s booties had no problem keeping traction as the road and our bodies became coated with snow.

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A very snowy Jazzmin

When there weren’t any cars driving by, it was very calming listening to the falling snow. The air was still and the limited visibility from the heavy snowfall helped bring clarity to my mind, heart and spirit. Walking always helps recharge me and quiet my hectic mind as the fresh air fills my lungs and the exercise works my muscles. By the time we reached the top of the big hill my thighs were mostly frozen, my hair was coated with snow, my glasses were wet and foggy and Jazz wasn’t exactly thrilled to be covered in snow, but I was still smiling and she was still trotting along.

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Jazz trotting along

I’ve said this before but it still holds true, taking a walk when you’re down, confused, anxious or worried can do amazing things! It does amazing things when you’re feeling up too, but when your mood really needs a boost, get off your butt and walk! I know I’m glad I did and it helped remind me how resilient, strong, determined and amazing I am. With my pup beside me and a path before me, there’s nothing I can’t handle!

Another New England Adventure Awaits!

 

Wampanoag post at Plymoth Museum

Informational sign at Plymouth Museum

As I don’t have my daughters for the upcoming school break, I’ll be heading to New England Wednesday morning on another adventure! It will most likely by my last trip out that way until next year so I plan on make the most of it.

My plans include attending The National Day of Mourning in Plymouth, MA, heading into Boston for a day and attending the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Annual Inter-Tribal Potluck Social. While I’ve visited Boston several times, this will be my first time attending the two Native American events. I’m eager to partake in these new experiences and further expand my knowledge and understanding. I urge anyone in the area to attend one or both events as everyone is welcome.

It was only a few months ago that I uncovered my own Native American ancestry and I’m constantly working on learning more about the culture that was kept secret in my family for generations. To that end and to acknowledge what this time of year means to Native Americans, I started reading The Mourning Road to Thanksgiving by Larry Spotted Crow Mann last week. I saw Larry Spotted Crow Mann at the very first pow wow I attended at UMAss Amherst in Spring of 2014 and I found him to be a very engaging storyteller. Although I’m only a few chapters into the book, I’m finding it very educational and interesting and I feel it’s something that everyone should read to help learn the truth about this time of year.

I am a solo traveler and to some, the idea of being alone in a hotel room during this time of year might not appeal, but as my days will be quite full of new and exciting experiences, I’m sure I’ll happily collapse into bed every night I’m there. I’ve been making these road trips out to New England since November of 2011 and while I didn’t know during the first trip that it would become a regular thing for me, I’m very happy that it has and I look forward to every single one with the same excitement of my very first trip!