Wednesday, April 01, 2015

A New Direction

That's a real cutie, right? 
March, if you couldn't tell from my posts this month already, has been a difficult month for me for a variety of reasons. None of which were bad, it's just been a tough month.

A lot has been going on: the weather was awful, it's been busy in general, there were some medical issues to deal with, and my chronic fatigue has hit me hard. And oh, did I mention the weather was awful? Because it was.

baby chicks! 
There has been a lot of things that have just emotionally drained me.

So, with that, I've decided to take a new direction here on the blog.

I'm going to start posting pictures of cute cats. And our cute guinea pig. And our cute chickens. If I'm out and about and see a cute animal, I'll take pictures and share that too.

I'd like to see this blog become cute animals. All. The. Time!

Journey of 1000 Stitches will be transformed into Journey of 1000 Cute Animals.

I hope you will enjoy looking at all these sweet pictures as much as I do, and that you'll hang around with me as the blog goes through it's transformation!

And if you have any cute pictures to share, let me know!

Xoxo,
Brandie






P.S. Happy April Fool's Day ... while I'm not opposed to sharing cute animals with you, the blog really isn't changing =)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What we're watching

 *As a reminder, I am part of the Netflix Stream Team. I am being compensated for sharing about Netflix with you. However, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own!

So March has been a kind of crazy month around here.

I thought for fun, I'd let you know what everyone around these parts is watching on Netflix!

My husband: He's been going through all the X-Files episodes. He's never watched it and always wanted to. He often uses time during his lunch hour to watch a bit of netflix (here's where I insert my thank goodness he can stream it on his phone at work, while we stream something different here!). Because, unlike me, he doesn't sit down and marathon watch the episodes, it's taking him some time. But hopefully he can finish before the rumored new short season hits the tv this summer!

My 15 year old: She is quite into anime these days. Well, anime and scary movies. So her list consists of as many Saw movies she can get her hands on, Night of the Living Dead, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Certainly, these are not movies and shows that are up my alley, but she enjoys them. And so do her friends. Sometimes my husband will sit and watch some of the older scary movies with her, but generally I opt out of this.

My 12 year old: She is currently watching the new season of Mako Mermaids on Netflix. She also watched the original movie Annie! This is partially inspired by going to the 15 year old's musical at school, which was Annie. She kind of likes the musical better because it was live - and can you beat live? The movie is pretty good as well. She likes that it has more detail. But lookout, because coming soon will her her very own review of Mako Mermaids! So I won't say anything else about that for now!

The 9 year old: He's been watching Pokemon. Again. I think he's watched this series several times over now. But he loves Pokemon, so we roll with it! Plus, when his friends come over they play their own live-action Pokemon and it is very entertaining for this mom to watch! Plus, I figure if a few episodes of Pokemon leads to several boys running around my yard, having a good time, then that's worth it. Of course, it only recently became warm enough to actually run around outside, but I'm trying to stay positive and focus on the nice weather days and not the still cold and snowy and rainy and icy days.

As for me, well, as promised I watched all of House of Cards. In one weekend. I know, it's crazy, but I did it! And it was so worth it. No spoilers - because that would be mean, but when I tell you the ending left my jaw on the floor, I'm not exaggerating. I have no idea where they will take the show next, but believe it will be as good as ever. Of course, I'll be waiting a long time to see. I had some guesses at the start of the season, but during the course of the season, all my guesses were proven wrong. So I'm not going to try to guess anymore!

I also watched all of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Hi. Lar. Ious. That's all I can say. We had had a long stressful week around here, I had not spent much time at home, then had bad news. My sister was over and so we stayed up much, much too late and watched the show. It was exactly the comic relief that I needed! So, so incredibly funny. And referencing The Baby-Sitter's Club? How can you go wrong! It's a great show if you need a laugh. I can't wait to see how they continue this show as well. It's fabulous.

After getting through all of that (why yes, yes I did watch a lot of Netflix this month. This month was different in that I had time in hospital waiting rooms, and sleepless nights of worry, and many days where I was unable to leave the house for a variety of reasons, which turns out to be very good times to knit and watch Netflix!).

Anyway, after all of that I started to watch The West Wing. I've never watched it before, and I figured it would be a good opposite to House of Cards - or so friends told me. So I've been slowly working my way through that show and I swear I'm in love with President Bartlet. Not because of the politics, which are interesting, but just because of the character overall. Sam, Josh, C.J., Donna, Charlie, all the cast - so well cast and so well played. The show has made me cry several times, but it makes me laugh more.

Also, I've decided that I want to work in the West Wing. But maybe not the real one, just the one on set. Or maybe the real one, just for a week. Wouldn't that be something? I bet it looks nothing like the show and yet, a lot like the show all at once.

As an aside, given the craziness that March has been, can I just say, how much I love Netflix? For real. I do. This month I slept in a hospital, in a respite care center, and then had sleepless nights at home. And at all three locations I could just take a break from it all and turn on Netflix. It's a good distraction that is available on my phone, my computer, my television, and my tablet. There are times where for whatever reason it means you have a lot of time to sit and need to be distracted. And Netflix is great for that. I leaned heavily on it during chemo, during some of my sickest moments after all that, and now as I help take care of people who need the help. I don't mean to sound all gushy, but there are just times where focusing on a book isn't going to happen, where silence isn't welcomed, and being able to fire up Netflix and watch some new and old favorite shows is exactly what this woman needs!

Monday, March 23, 2015

CureDiva

For the past few weeks, I've been sharing a post or two over at the CureDiva blog.

It's been an honor to have posts over there, and so far, I had been sharing old posts from this blog over there ... rerunning them if you will, for an audience primarily focused on breast cancer.

Today, however, I have two posts that I wrote specifically for CureDiva.

One is a letter to my body. I hope I can listen to my own advice. The last week around here has been a struggle with migraines, stomach issues, and chronic fatigue. I'm tired. And I need some rest.

The second, is a follow-up to what I shared here last summer about getting some more DNA testing to see if there was a genetic component to my cancer. I got the results on time, but wasn't ready to share them. Now I am.

Hope you'll hop on over to read my posts, as well as what the other fabulous writers are sharing!

xoxo,
Brandie

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I don't work

Me, working on a special birthday cake*
It seems lately, I've been told by others more often than usual (or maybe I'm just noticing it more) about how I don't work.

Even my children will throw this out when they want me to drop everything at a moment's notice to do things for them "But you don't work, so you can drive us wherever we want to go right. this. second."

Well, in one respect, they are right. I don't get up each day, get ready, and then leave for a job. I don't get pay checks at the end of the week. I don't get bonuses for doing extra well at my job. I don't have sick pay, or time off. I don't have a boss breathing down my neck, giving me more tasks than the job description listed. I don't do ornament exchanges for winter holidays with my coworkers. I don't have to fight rush hour to get to a job. I don't have to worry about having a work appropriate attire. I don't have to rush to get my kids to school or day care or summer camp so that I can rush to make it to work on time. And I don't have to worry about how many days off I have left when my child gets a stomach virus. Again. I don't get to be employee of the month. Or talk about my newest promotion.

It's true. that I don't leave the house each day to go to a job.

But to say I don't work?

Um. Pardon me?

I don't work?

No, I think what you mean to say is I don't work for pay.

Because I work every single day.

Does my work look the same as my husband's (who works a traditional 9-5 job in an office)? Nope. We both face unique sets of challenges in our work.

Is my work harder? On some days it is. On some days it is definitely not. And I think on most days, neither of us have it harder - we just have it different. 

And my staying home is a gift to my husband. It means he doesn't have to miss work when they are sick. Or take time off to have a school conference mid-day. It means that for the most part, his vacation days are used for vacation. Sometimes, sometimes, he has to miss to come home to care for someone - usually me. Or to drive the kids if I am just beyond the ability to do that. Sometimes he takes times off for not fun things - like when we moved last year. And sometimes he takes a half-day so he can get himself in for his yearly physical (that is more like every 5 years). But mostly, he doesn't have to worry about missing because of the kids.

On the flip side, my husband working is a gift to me. It means a paycheck is coming into the house. That we have health insurance through his job. It means I can stay home and not have a paying job, and we will be able to put food on the table, pay the rent, splurge on cable, and buy the ever-growing children new clothes as necessary.

He is not more important than I am. And I am not more important than he is. We both contribute a lot to this family, but in different ways.

But my staying home is also a gift to other people. It allows me to help take care of granny. It allows me to pick friends' children up at school should they get sick mid-day and mom and/or dad can't get there right away. It allows me to have kids over on a snow day that their parents couldn't get off. I get to babysit for people if they need it midweek.

I have the freedom to do these things on some days.

On other days, I can't have another child over. Or leave to pick you up at the airport. I'm juggling my own three kids - still homeschooling two of them. I've got my doctor's appointments, their appointments, granny's appointments. I've got to pick this one up from school because she's staying late for a club, then I've got to get this one to floor hockey. And we're all out of milk so I need to do that. There is laundry to do, floors to sweep and vacuum, fridges to be cleaned out and stocked. I have papers to grade. Treats to bake for a bake sale. I have medicines to keep track of and to pass out on time.

Some days I am home for just a few moments in between running to and fro. Drop daughter off at school, go to doctor's appointment, stop at grocery store, run home for lunch, get kid to their appointment, take kids to library, swing by the house to grab sports gear. Get kid to practice. Run to pharmacy. Pick kid up. Come home cook dinner.

On other days I can't leave the house. A sick kid, unsteady granny. I'm tied to this house. Someone here can't be left alone. Or I can't drive. As I get slammed with a migraine. Or lymphedema pain requires prescription pain killers. These days have me taking care of others, or hiding in the dark, or e-mail grocery lists to the husband or texting to see if he can stop at the pharmacy.

Some days are slow. I can clean in the morning. And have the afternoon to knit. Or read. Or decide to reorganize the pantry. Not every day is a flurry of activity, of running to and fro.

Through it all, I am ruled by meal times. Breakfast at 7:45. Lunch at 12. Snack at 3/3:30. Dinner at 6.. Except on Sunday. Then we eat at 5/5:30 because 60 Minutes comes on at 6.

These are my days. This is what I do. Just like my husband's job: some days are busy and hectic. And some days are slower and more relaxing.

This is what I do. This is what I choose to do. I mostly don't mind it.

Sometimes it wears on me. Sometimes it's overwhelming. Sometimes I think I just need 10 minutes to sit and do nothing and please no one need me for the next 10 minutes or my head might explode.

Sometimes I wish I'd hear thank you more often. Sometimes I want to say screw the thank you, bring me dinner. Sometimes I wish I felt more valued, not taken for granted so much.

Sometimes I'm overwhelmed when I get a really big thank you, or a gift out of nowhere just because someone wanted to treat me or say thanks or just be nice. Sometimes my heart goes pitter-patter on the rare chance my husband will surprise me with flowers.

It's hard work taking care of other people. Because it is work. It's work that I pretty much love. It's work I want to do. But that doesn't make it less work.

My husband also enjoys his job. He mostly likes getting up each day to go to work. He likes doing a good job and gives it his all each day. But that doesn't make it less work.

We both work hard. He gets a paycheck. I don't. But my work is no less important or valid because of it.

I do work. I work very hard.

I just don't get paid. At least not in money. Because I bet my husband doesn't get hugs and kisses from the people he works with.


*I tried to find a picture of me "working" except I'm almost always taking the photos, so this is the best I could do LOL!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Happy Friday the 13th?

Well, it's Friday the 13th.

Nothing scary has happened yet ::knock on wood:: however a few things have already gone wrong today. Nothing major mind you, but it feels about right on track for a Friday the 13th.

This week has been a long week. I swear this week was not just 5 days, but 15.

The last two weeks have been long.

I've been juggling a lot of balls these days. Which is interesting since I don't know how to juggle.

The good news is we've managed to make it this far.

The bad news is I'm exhausted and not sure when I last had a good night's sleep.

Someday I will write about being a primary caregiver to an aging relative while trying to juggle the needs of three non-driving children.

Today is not that day.

Today I'm just glad it's Friday.

Today I'm glad that the sun is shining.

Today I'm glad that we should see the highest temperatures of the year so far.

Today I'm going to open windows and doors and let some fresh air into this house.

Today I'm going to spend a few minutes to just try to find some beauty in this world.

Today I'm going to try to knock a bunch of things off the to-do list.

Today I will forgive myself if I don't get as much done as I think I should.

Today I will try to remember to just be in the moment.

Happy Friday all.