drive

Dear Internet,

It’s Memorial Day and while most of you are out enjoying (hopefully) the good weather, I’m in TheExHusband’s condo waiting for it rain. Without access to a grill, and impending iffy weather, we’re keeping it indoors for the day. Pot roast will be consumed, laundry done, and at some point I will be start catching up on some telly. If we’re super honest, I will not get out of my jimjams for the rest of day and I’m okay with that.

I’ve spent the morning doing clean up and restructuring of some things around here.It seemed if I’m going to be coming back with gusto, a lot of the old features should be revamped and reinstated. I’m bringing back Collection of Cunning Curiosities, my breakdown of things I’ve liked that week across various mediums. I’ve dropped the medieval spelling and instead of a line item of things, it will be a summary of that particular medium. I’ve been Pocketing loads of things for months without referencing them after they were saved which was the point of CoC.

I’ve massively updated my Book List of 2015 and while it feels like I’ve been reading more as of late, the list still looks fairly puny to where I should be in order to hit the 100 book mark for the year. If you’re a visual person like me, I’ve also updated the board at Pinterest.

TheExHusband sprung for a new iPad Mini as an early Lisamas gift. Of course, I’m feeling overwhelmed with his generosity but my old iPad2 was becoming slower than molasses in January, close to obsolescence, and often freezing up. Surprisingly, as a second generation tech, it’s still much preferred over the next few generations until the iPad Minis and Airs were released.

I used my iPad2 like mad in the four years I’ve owned it but at some point, I noted it was, in addition to slowness, coupled with only 16g of space, almost too cumbersome for reading and game playing. The new iPad Mini that is sitting next to me is several chip generations ahead, bigger drive, thus much snappier and reading on it, especially comics with its retina display, is a delight.

I’m pretty sure TheExHusband and I do not have a normal divorced relationship, considering how much he’s been by my side through all of my foibles. But we were so integral to each other’s lives for so long, just disconnecting altogether would feel wrong.

My mania pitched this morning. It may be partially due to my intake of Lamictal, which is slowly being upped to 400mg and should be stabilized in the next few weeks. It could also be due to the pot of coffee I’ve had today. I swear, I didn’t feel manic when I woke up this morning and I even went to bed at a reasonable hour with zero problems sleeping! I have been so energetic this afternoon that we went on a walk because I’m even annoying myself. Of course the walk had to have a purpose – to get a waffle cone of chocolate sorbet. Huzzah!

I’ve been interested in tracking my sugars, not because I’m diabetic or even close, but I read a recent article in WaPo that it isn’t exercise or cutting fats that will allow you to lose weight, but cutting sugars. I’ve had success in the past when I’ve been diligent with calories, so cutting those along with watching my sugars seems a natural way to go with changing my eating. It is also bikini season.

The author, a doctor, uses reports and studies to back up his findings, and hell, who couldn’t do better with a more normalized diet? As a starter, I started documenting my food intake today  in which the only meals I have had is brunch and a snack, yet I have already consumed 125% of my sugar allowance. Obviously the sorbet didn’t help. So there is that. (And if you’re one of those people, you can find me on MyFitnessPal as biblyotheke. You can also find me on FitBit if you do a search for byvalkyrie@facebook dot com.)

Eurovision was Saturday, which TheExHusband and I watched live. The best way to explain it is American Idol on super speed but with 40ish countries competing instead of 12 hopeful contestants. The pageantry, costumes, and kitschy national pride is what sets it apart from just about anything else. Don’t believe me? Here is a quick recap of all the contestants from 2014.

Rising like a phoenix,
xoxo,
Lisa

Today in Lisa-Universe: 2014, 2o03

State of the Lisa Address

Dear Internet,

TSTBEH and TheBassist have been very concerned about my state of well being now that I’m living alone. Others have also expressed concern so it seemed like a good idea to do an update.

I’ve been busy every day with errands since I’ve been here, so I’m getting out of the house. Today is the first day in over a week I don’t have plans or errands to run so I decided that I’m going to couch all day watching Father Brown, and we all know I have a thing for crime solving priests.

I had a meeting with my business accountant on Saturday and he’s suggesting it would be far easier for me to get a co-working space rather than trying to build out a home office (as you’ll see in a moment, there is no space for me to build out a home office). My talking therapist, Dr. P., is encouraging me to not do home workouts but head to the gym. Originally I was going to sign up for yoga at a local place that Bethums have scouted out for me, but I have to go to the Y so I can get walking AND swimming thrown into the mix.

Those two things are on my agenda this week.

Mentally, I’ve been okay. Thursday night I started crying because the enormity of the situation has finally taken its toll. The tears didn’t last long but knowing I was here alone, without two people who care about me the most. I have friends here, close friends, but it’s not the same.

The interesting thing is that I’ve not been getting myself in knots about any of the messes I’ve gotten myself into. And for that, I am grateful.

I saw my GP last week and she’s upped my dosage of Lamictal, so instead of 25mg three times a day, I’m now taking 50mg in the morning and 25mg in the afternoon, and another 25mg in the evening along with 10mg of Abilify. The ability to feel rational and not overwhelmed emotionally has been fabulous. So far, this has been the best bipolar cocktail I’ve ever been on. If this is what “normal” feels like, I’ll take it.

I’ve been on this particular cocktail since November and this is the longest I’ve felt stable. I had some of the cracks starting to show about three weeks ago which signified that the drugs were starting not to work, which is why I went off to see my GP. I have an appointment with a medicating therapist in February to for her to manage my scripts and see about possibly getting on ADHD drugs (again).

Creatively and productively, I’ve been feeling good. When I’m home, I’ve been working on my book(s) almost none stop. I think I’ve calculated I’ve spent 50-60 hours in designing the cover, editing, and more. Working on the print version has taught me a lot about book design and formatting; I have made numerous mistakes getting it just right but instead of getting super frustrated, I kept chugging along. Hence I know the drugs are working.

Last week I had an interview for an entry level IT position for a local corporate company here in GR. This was approved by everyone (TheBassist, TSTBEH, Dr. P.) because it would get me out of the house, interact with humans, and plus make some extra scratch. My budget right now is super tight but this would give me some breathing room.

With my name being dragged in mud due to the lawsuit, in addition to changing my last name, I’m looking at changing careers. It’s been over a decade since I held a pure IT job, so this look like a good entry point and the money isn’t bad.

The first interviewer said this is the first time in his career he’s interviewed a person with a double master’s for the position. No one asked me with my education and background, WHY I applied until it was time to ask questions of the interviewers. Eight candidates are interviewing for three positions.

So the apartment. Here is a tour.

Front of the building.
Front of the building.

The building was built in 1870 and was used as a hospital in the area and pre-dates other hospitals in Grand Rapids. There are five apartments, which are cobbled together from patient rooms. Though my apartment is #2, #10 and #9 are on my doors. The buzzer doesn’t work and I will have to make arrangements for shipping items, but all and all, the front of the building is gorgeous.

newlivingroom-before
Living room from the front door.
newlivingroom-before2
Living room from Kitchen door.
newlivingroom-after
Living room after.
newlivingroom-after2
Living room from the kitchen door.

The apartment is only 600sqft but it’s cozy enough for my needs. All the mouldings, floors, and appointments are original to the house. The transom windows are adorable but the landlord leaves the lights on in the hallway so light is always shining through the living and bed rooms.

The apartment faces north and west, so I don’t get early morning sun. Even when it’s sunny out, I have to keep the lights on at all times.

mantelofminis
Mantel of MINIs. (11 in total.)

Most of the furniture and accoutrements are from Throbbing Manor, what TSTBEH didn’t want or was going to sell to consignment, so it worked out. The couch, bed, and TV were bought specifically for the apartment. When I move out, TSTBEH is going to take some of the furniture (mainly the TV, bed, and possible one or two pieces of furniture) for Throbbing Cabin, which works out for both of us.

Interesting, neither of us miss Throbbing Manor. Nearly four years and we don’t miss it one bit.

newkitchen-before
New kitchen – before.
newkitchen-after
New kitchen – after.

The kitchen is tiny, there is no getting around that bit. The oven temperature gauge doesn’t work (yes, I know. Go buy a manual one) and the stove is a bit sketchy. Thankfully, I am a grazer which means my meals are simple and not overly complicated. If I need something more substantial, I have instant meals (soups, frozen, packet Indian, etc) at my disposal. I was planning on crockpotting meals and freezing them but I haven’t bought a crockpot yet but that is on the list of things to do.

newbedroom-before
New bedroom – before.
newbedroom-after
Bedroom after.
newbedroom-after2
Bedroom after.

The bedroom is basic and does its job. Teddy enjoys it very much.

viewfrombedroom
View of downtown Grand Rapids from my bedroom window.

I’ve started getting into rituals, which after the last seven months, have been a godsend. I get up in the morning, use the bathroom. Contacts get put in; slippers found and slipped on. I turn the kettle on for tea and refill the humidifier so I don’t strangle myself in my sleep from the dry air. Breakfast is procured and then I check email, Facebook, and Twitter.

I plan the rest of my day, which typically includes appointments and errands. I get dressed and do what I need to do; come home and depant. Then I do the household things and once those are done, work. Work on my writing, work on my books, work on myself.

It’s a quiet life. No drama. After the last seven months, it’s a welcome relief.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2014, 2011

liège waffle

Dear Internet,

Right. New plan.

It began when I was muttering to myself in the ladies at the TA in Youngstown, OH. This was pre-coffee, post-medication. Mid-late afternoon last week.

I was muttering that if only Throbbing Cabin (which TheSoonToBeExHusband is keeping) was open and available for me to go live at during the winter (TSTBEH is a generous soul) while I did my individual thing. But we closed it for winter back in September; Leelanau County received 241″ of snow last year; heating would run millions since the heating infrastructure is absolute shit and lastly, I would be miles and miles away from the nearest town. I wanted to be alone, not Jack Torrance.

(It was a very long pee.)

Then the near perfection dawned on me: Get a studio in Grand Rapids! It’s cheaper than the east coast. TheBassist would be doing his thing on the east coast, TSTBEH would start his new life in Louisville. I get my payout from the selling of the house, pay off the cards, pay off Jeeves, pay rent for a year, pay car insurance for a year and I’d only have to worry about food, phone, and interwebs and write that blasted book I’ve been banging on about forever, plus a few other writing projects.

Fucking genius.

It’s all coming together.

As soon as I got into GR that early evening, after spending a cumulative 16 hours driving, I immediately launched into my plan with TSTBEH. He had told me, and I had forgotten apparently in the Asian land war of my brain, that I was only to show up on his door if I was serious about getting back together and yet here I was standing on his front door step telling him we were most definitely not getting back together.

He accepted my decision gracefully and I think, along with TheBassist, that something about my demeanor (or the drugs were stabilizing me) was different than before as both of them seemed more receptive to this plan over any other cockamamie schemes I had come up with in recent weeks. TheBassist requested, and I provided, a PLAN as a guide of what I’ll be doing in money/job, mental health, physical health, living, and relationships. I also gave a copy of the plan to the cabal that is CMMRB and they too, whom other than the two men in my life have been holding me up every step of the way, approved of the plan.

ThePlan, is more or less a check list of things to do in the upcoming year with a review at six months. I also added in a three year and five year addendum for shits and giggles. Each topic has a list of things that must continue (for example, under Mental I have a listing of continuing to see my talking therapist, Dr. P) and need to be done (get a referral for a local medicating therapist to monitor my drugs and seem them on a regular basis). Some of it is reminders (stop eating dairy) while others are nudges (walk more).

After that I said on Facebook,

It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve been on the Lamictal/Abilify drug mix and I will say this:
Pros

  • When I get a million “to do” items in my head, I immediately create a ToDo list and work on it. Follow through on said items has been great.
  • I am prioritizing the ToDo list better.
  • Appetite is down and I’m not over eating at meals.
  • Daily tasks, like meditation, I have been diligent on.
  • I feel pretty good when I commit to a thing, I’m sticking with it.
  • The need to smoke is decreasing. Yay!

Cons:

  • Sleep is broken. I went to bed at 10:30 last night and woke up at 2, 4:30, 5:45, and finally at 7:48.
  • I cannot take SSRIs because I am one of the rare cases I’ll get suicidal thoughts though when on SSRIs, I obviously did not follow through. Now, I am getting destructive behaviour thoughts like when driving across the bridges in Pennsylvania, I wondered what would happen when I swerved into the medians. Using mediation techniques, I accept them as thoughts and let them come and then go and do not fight them. But it’s still slightly scary.
  • I am getting some relief and I don’t feel as yo-yoing as before. I have a long way to go, but I do feel like this is small steps in the right direction.

The big thing to note here is the ability to prioritize and accomplish tasks which, as someone with adhd along with the other delightful gifts, is damned near difficult to follow through. But so far, not really a problem.

That Friday I made phone calls/emails to six property management companies and referrals I found on Craig’s List. As of a week later, none of the property management companies returned my calls, but the referrals via Craig’s List did. I set up appointments, starting on Saturday, and took the first place I visited because it was absolutely perfect. Not a studio, but a 600 sqft one bedroom located in a 145 year old house that used to be a hospital after the Civil War. There are five apartments in the building, mine is a second floor walk up, and the amenities are out of the world.

  • Heat (gas) and water included. This is gold in Michigan since my last apartment I rented in an old house ran me $400-500 for heat a month during the winter, which combined with my reasonable rent, made it crazy expensive
  • Trash/recycle / snow plowing / lawn maintenance
  • Off street parking
  • Locked front door entrance
  • Pets allowed
  • All original wood floors, paneling, and molding throughout the apartments and building
  • 10′ ceilings
  • Same area as Throbbing Manor, so damned near perfect location
  • Big windows
  • Bedroom oversees the city landscape since I’m on mid-hill
  • Owner is allowing me to pay a year in advance, with 5% discount, and option that if I end up leaving before the year, monies will be returned once the apartment is re-rented (which shouldn’t be an issue)
  • Coin operated laundry in the basement

I signed the lease and gave my deposit three days later. So now I have a place, a budget, and a plan.

Right, to make sure we’re all on the same page:

  • TSTBEH and I are divorcing, finalizing probably in February
  • The house closes on 12/16
  • He’s moving to Louisville
  • I’m staying in GR to live the bachelorette life in my own pad and get my writing done
  • I have a talking therapist here (Dr. P.) and soon, a medicating therapist. My GP will be regulating my drugs until then

Three or six months or a year later, who knows. But at least now I have ThePlan to follow.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day In Lisa-Universe: 2013