The Power of HappyDayMoments

My friend Jama posts a #HappyDayMoment every day to her Facebook page.  She’s done so for over 2300 days to date.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that she’s one of the most positive, up-beat people I’ve ever had the privilege to know.  This year I knew I wanted to be more positive.  I wanted to find the silver lining more and complain less.  On January 1st, I started posting a HappyDayMoment each day to my Facebook.  Some days I struggled to find something to share that I felt good about.  Some days I forgot until after I was in bed and had to grab my phone to get one posted.  A few days I forgot until the next morning and wound up posting a belated one (I’ve remedied this by putting an alarm on my phone to remind me).  But I’ve kept going – I’m into the 150s now – and I feel like I’m starting to feel a change in myself.

Back on May 7th (only a month ago but it feels so much longer than that) I ran the Indy Mini.  I signed up because it was a bucket-list sort of race, the kind of experience that would be one-of-a-kind.  I was excited and, by the time the start actually came, more than a little nervous.  There were a lot of things that did not go well with the race – I got sick a few days before and didn’t sleep much the night before due to congestion, I got a little freaked out by the size of the crowd (I knew it was the world’s largest half-marathon but I wasn’t prepared for what it would feel like to be in that large of a field), I wasn’t as well trained as I wanted to be, and my time really sucked.  But, in spite of that, I came away feeling mostly good about the race.  I found myself all along the course noting things and thinking “I love that – I want to remember that!”  I was actively looking for the positives, determined not to forget them, and making the effort to not let the negative dominate my memories.  At the end of the day, I posted a list of the awesome, great, and not-so-awesome things from the race to my Facebook and I’m happy to say there were more in the first two categories than in the third.  The race itself may not have gone the way I wanted, but the overall experience was valuable not just for the things in my awesome list but for the way I was able to change my perspective and see more of the positives.

Me and Meb
One of the awesome: I got to meet Meb Keflezighi at the expo and get his autograph! He ran the race, starting last so he could run with everyone!

I am working hard now to use this skill again.  Over Memorial Day weekend my older dog, Maggie, started having trouble with her back legs.  Trips to an emergency vet clinic followed by a longer road-trip to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Purdue University ensued.  Maggie’s been diagnosed with IVDD.  There’s a swelling in one of the discs in her spine and it was delaying nerve signals reaching her back legs.  Her back feet will “knuckle” and sometimes one back leg will collapse.  She looks like she’s stumbling around drunk. If the swelling continues she could wind up with nerve damage and a ruptured disc, which would require surgery.  The treatment at this time is anti-inflammatory and pain meds for two weeks and strict crate rest for the next 6-8 weeks.  Strict rest means she is in the crate 24-7, except for when she’s being carried out to the yard to do her business (which is done while she’s on a 6 foot leash to keep her from walking too much or dashing after something).  Making matters more complicated is the fact that Maggie is high-strung and suffers from anxiety.  We are very concerned about how we can manage to keep her calm in the crate for that long.  Fortunately the neurologist at Purdue was able to consult with the behaviorist who’s seen Maggie before and together work on a medical plan to help us and so far she’s doing well with being confined.

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Maggie, giving me the look while I eat my dinner.

I’d originally scheduled to take the week of Memorial Day off work to do some yard work with my husband (we always take that week off and have what we call Mulchapalooza).  We cancelled our mulch order and, while hubs stayed home with Maggie, I went back to work.  I applied for Personal Leave and did triage on my job duties.  I did some crash training on those duties which would have to be handled while I was on leave, taking  care of Maggie.  Now I have seven weeks of being home with my dogs, trying to make sure Maggie stays calm and heals while trying not to stress out about having no income from my job while still having all of our bills to pay.

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My husband got a furniture mover so Maggie’s crate is on wheels, making it easier to move about the house.

 

I’m going back to what I did in the Mini and trying to see the positive in the next seven weeks.  I get to be a stay-at-home dog momma.  My introvert-half will be happy for the time alone.  If I can only convince myself to stop worrying about it, I don’t have the stress of my job hanging over me.  I should have time to do more writing, and to help more with Midwest Writers Workshop.  We won’t be eating out but I do enjoy cooking – it will be fun to try some new recipes.  I’ve always wanted to keep my house cleaner but never felt I had the time – now I will.  Having little financial wiggle room will force my husband and I to do a better job sticking to a budget.  It only takes 30 days to build a new habit, and we have the next 7 weeks to create some new ones which will serve us well even after I return to work.  Most important of all, I am doing what Maggie needs and if all goes well, she will make a complete recovery without requiring surgery.  These are the things I need to focus on over the next seven weeks.

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The princess, snoozing.  She’s worth every bit of stress and struggle we may have!
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Sharing Some More

I wasn’t going to do this quite yet, but I kind of like how this bit turned out so I thought I’d share.  🙂

I was slumped in the chair, my head titled back and my eyes closed when I felt a blast of cold air sweep over me. The hairs on my arms and the back of my neck stood up.
“Wow,” breathed a female voice. “Did you need a chill pill or what?” I pushed myself up with difficulty and looked around. No one was in sight, but I felt the cold air moving, like someone brushing past me. I saw the cushion in the chair across from me dip as if someone had sat down.
“Who…” My voice came out as a croak and I stopped, clearing my throat before trying again. “Who are you?”
“I’m Maggie,” replied the voice, and sure enough it sounded like the speaker was in the chair opposite mine.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“I’m sitting here, talking to you,” the voice answered. “You’re not freaking out on me again, are you?”
“No I just… I don’t understand.” The cold intensified and I shivered.
“What’s to understand?” I could picture the girl shrugging, and then I wasn’t just picturing it but seeing it. There was a girl, blonde hair in waves, wearing cut-offs which showed lots of tan leg and a pink tank-top, sitting across from me in the chair. She wasn’t solid – I could see the chair through her – but she was there.
“Why are you here?” I asked. She shrugged again.
“Search me.”
“But… but that doesn’t make any sense,” I protested.
“Whoa, don’t wig out on me again.”
“Again?”
“You fainted.”
“That wasn’t my fault. You… did something to me.”
“I did not.”
“Yes, you did.”
“What? What did I do?”
“I… I don’t know, but it had to be you,” I said, throwing my hands up in frustration. I quickly dropped them, wrapping my arms around myself in the cold.
“Why do you assume it was me?”
“Because it wasn’t anything else!” I snapped. The ghost girl looked down and I thought I saw her lower lip tremble. I sighed. “Look, I don’t want to argue with you.”
“Well, I don’t want to argue with you either,” she said, looking up. “I’m just trying to talk to you. I don’t know why you’re wigging out about it.”
“Because you’re a gho…” I stopped, biting back the word. I knew from listening to my parents that sometimes ghosts didn’t realize they were dead, but I’d never heard them talk about how you handled that. Did you just tell the ghost she was a dead person? Did you play along?
“Because I’m what? A ghost?”
“Well… yeah,” I said.
“If I can cope with it I don’t see why you can’t.”
“It’s not… I mean… I wasn’t sure if you realized…”
“That I’m dead?” The girl laughed, tossing her hair. “C’mon, how could I not know?”
“I don’t know,” I answered. “I’ve never… I mean…”
“You’re still alive. Rub it in, why dontcha?”
“I’m not…”
“Kidding. Geez Louise, you living people are so sensitive.” I must have looked surprised because she burst out laughing again. “Oh c’mon. It’s a joke.”
“I know,” I answered.
“Being dead doesn’t mean I can’t have a sense of humor, does it?”
“Of course not. I just… I wasn’t expecting… you. A ghost. Any of this.” The girl, Maggie she’d said, cocked her head at me quizzically. “In all honesty, I was never sure I believed in ghosts.”
“Really? Why?”
“I don’t know. I mean, my parents have been ghost hunting since I was a kid. I’ve heard about it forever. I just… I was never sure I bought it.”
“Bought it?”
“You know, believed in it. Thought it was real. It was just Mom and Dad’s weird hobby.”
“Well, here I am. I think you have to believe now.”
“I guess I do.”

There we are.  🙂  Hope you enjoyed.

What Am I Writing?

I’m still working on the story I posted about last time (ie the is it a YA-or-NA Paranormal Mystery).  I’m not going as fast as I’d like, but I’m still having plenty of fun with it.  I thought I’d share a snippet here.  Here goes…

I was doodling on the edge of my notebook page when my skin began to crawl. It started on my left arm and I looked down, expecting to find a bug. Nothing was there. I rubbed at my arm but the sensation only increased, moving up my arm to the back of my neck and down my right arm. I caught a whiff of scent, reminiscent of baby powder, and then the heavy, uncomfortable feeling I’d experienced twice already today settled over me. My pen slipped from my fingers as my hand went numb. The person next to me reached over, stopping it from rolling off my desk. I covered it with my hand, my fingertips brushing against his. The heavy feeling lifted for a second, allowing me to turn toward him and give him a quick smile of gratitude. He smiled back, his cheeks dimpling adorably, and I felt my face warm.
“Ooh,” breathed a voice in my left ear, and a chill shot down my spine. “Dreamy.” I turned my head, but the person sitting next to me was staring at the professor, a confused look on his face. There was a girl behind me, but her attention was on the cell phone in her lap.
“You ok?” This voice came from my right and belonged to my pen rescuer. I turned toward him, my face warming once more.
“Yeah,” I whispered back. I felt the professor’s gaze on me and turned my attention back to the front of the room.
The class dragged on. The heavy feeling didn’t go away completely, but it did lessen. I still got chills every few minutes, usually accompanies by whiffs of the baby-powder-like scent. The guy next to me glanced at me frequently and I wanted to return his gaze, but I was too creeped-out by whatever was happening to me to enjoy his attention. I wanted nothing more than to flee from this room and from whatever was causing me to feel weak and chilled. I just hoped that when the class finally did end, I could manage to exit with some dignity.

So there you go.  I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!