Last night I woke up remembering a dream fragment where I was with my mom/aunt talking about a purse I needed to buy. For some reason I was holding a long square heavy piece of wood. I have a feeling that we were out west, maybe in California, but I can't really be sure. I was standing in a parking lot between a store with a flat roof, this is where I was thinking the purses would be, and a building that was more modern and higher. In real life I'm reading a book about the zone. I've experienced is a few times, the book says that staying in touch with your dreams is a way to solve problems and illuminate subconscious thoughts and messages. I figure it's worth a try, I'm going to start keeping a notebook next to my bed to capture more of what I remember when I wake.

Before I went to bed last night I watched some Rob Greenfield videos. For those who are unfamiliar with his Teeny Greenie posts they're short clips about sustainable living, reducing food waste, he's famous for dumpster diving and revealing how much perfectly good food could be diverted to the hungry, and demonstrating that you can live off the grid to free up resources for others. He used to follow me on Twitter before he went through and cleaned up his followers. I'm going to be doing the same. Clutter is clutter whether it's electronic, physical, or mental. I'm looking forward to cleaning out the bathroom closet and adopting some of his tips. While I probably won't ever get to where he's at, I can do small things here at home that will save energy, generate less trash, and really free myself for what I want and need to be doing. 

It's my birthday today. Normally I feel like it's just another day, but this one has special meaning for me since I almost killed myself on Christmas Eve and the Friday before that. Today I'm very thankful to be doing mundane tasks such as dishes and laundry. Yesterday we shoveled snow and I didn't hurt my back any more than it normally hurts. I was late to the open house at the curling club, the girls resisted, but once we got there I was able to shake off their attitudes and have fun. Jane was more into it than Jill who hadn't wanted to come in the first place. They had food there so the girls got soda which is something I almost never buy unless someone is sick. I'm sure that helped their mood even if it wasn't doing anything good for their bodies.

We're going out to eat tonight and this year a friend of mine is coming with so I'm looking forward to that. I love Thai food and am especially excited about the steamed tapioca which is probably my favorite dessert now that key lime pie is off limits. I've made some progress in the menu department. I'm searching for more meals and dishes where meat is a side rather than the main event. I wrote oatmeal in the breakfast category and bought fruit so the girls would have that when they woke up. The guy who packed my groceries smashed my pear, I ate it this morning after I cut off the decaying part and enjoyed it as a wintry reminder that this season doesn't last forever. It's bright outside which is also helping my mood.

Another area where I made some progress is in my bedroom. The girls bought me stuffed animals for my birthday. I have a walrus named Mildred and a chicken named Winifred sitting on top of my bookcase. Those are the names I call the girls when we play games. I'm Gertrude, Jill is Mildred, and Jane is Winifred. I never appreciated stuffed animals or dolls when I was younger, it wasn't until I was at the psychiatric facility that I really understood why some people bond with an inanimate object. I badly wanted one when I was there. I have stacks of cozy blankets at home, but the only one I had there was a thin white cotton blanket that wasn't very warm.

I moved my yoga mat and accessories into my room. My goal is to figure out how to better use the back room. I hate it so I don't go back there to do yoga. I'm hoping that moving my mat into my bedroom will give me a more cheerful space and that will help me get back into a habit I had long ago. I've been better at doing some stretching, but I know I need to be more active. I enjoy yoga once I get into it so I'm not sure why I'm having so much trouble with this. Another idea I had was to check out ideas other people have had for displaying and storing scarves. I'm not super handy and I dislike the idea of nails in my walls so I'm trying to find a way that uses what I already have. For a while I used the back of a chair and tied them around the back of that. I may go back to that once the chair in the corner goes back to the living room when the Christmas tree comes down.

Even though I'm excited about the dental assisting program I'm still anxious about it. I'm also anxious about cleaning out the bathroom closet and the closet across the hall. I might wait to do that until the girls are gone. Having them around and trying to get projects like that done adds a layer of stress I don't need right now. I've been better about taking my anxiety and sleeping meds. I'm still tired this morning, but it wasn't as bad as it was yesterday. My sister invited us to go swimming or sledding, I considered it, but told her I felt that was too much to pack into one day. My oldest wants to go shopping and I figure today makes sense since I'll be heading into Milwaukee anyways.

Last night my ex came over to try and see what was wrong with the snow blower. I just hate his tone and how he snaps at people like it's our fault the choke lever is broken. It was so hard to see the pictures laying on the garage floor and to have to talk to him about his upcoming trip to Chicago. He wants me to take the girls early which is fine, but I can't help notice how he seems to find ways to avoid spending time with the girls. I'm frustrated that he hasn't paid bills he's responsible for, I remember being so frustrated I wanted to kill him (literally) when he would spend money we didn't have. I felt like I had to compensate for him and ended up not taking very good care of myself as a result.

I bought a coloring book and a three hole punch at the grocery store. While it was hard to plunk down seven dollars for a couple sheets of paper I feel like it's a treat for myself and the girls. We've been playing games together after lunch or supper. My goal is twenty minutes of game time with them, but the past two days we've managed almost an hour which made me feel like I was being a good parent. Most of the time we have two games going. Yesterday it was the generic form of Jenga along with Pass The Pigs which is rapidly becoming a family favorite. Along with math skills it also teaches risk management. I went on a roll and accumulated 74 points in one turn. The girls tend to be much more conservative. Especially my youngest who hasn't ever been the Hog Caller. It's just a game so I tend to be very aggressive. Sometimes I win, sometimes I pig out and sometimes I'm the oinker who loses everything, but win or lose I still have more fun with them than I would if we were all spending time fixated on screens.

After game time we had a free period for people to do whatever they wanted. We listened to Jill's spotify which I can only take for so long, but blasting music that she likes is part of her being a member of this family. I feel like there's been a lot of relationship repair lately which is significant progress even if there's a lot of healing that lies down this path. I took the wooden tower pieces out of the tin they came in and put them into the red bowl I have on the dining room table. The last time I was at Walgreens I picked up some very cheap juggling balls. I've always wanted to learn, but even if all we do is take them out periodically and toss them around, I'm okay with that. 

My binder system didn't work well for me yesterday. This morning I went back to my previous system which does work. I'm already further ahead at 10:00 AM than I was at 10:00 PM last night. It's a system that needs to be managed, I can't expect it to work perfectly immediately. I'm still excited about having it even if it's just a place to start for now. I'm thrilled with the concept which may well be half the battle. Today I would like to get things to the thrift store that have been clogging up the hall. I also need to make more decisions about the books that I want, but don't have quite enough room for currently. I decided against keeping 52 books since there were books that I wanted and already own. Another idea I had was to get a reading system together. Either making a list of books in the order that I want to read them, having a couple books going at once, or whatever, something that will help me read the books I have so I can decide if they still deserve a spot on my shelf.

While I'd love to lay down again I'm going to make myself do something else. I need a walk, yoga would be amazing even if it's for five minutes. Maybe I'll move my computer and CD player into my room and see how that goes. Then I have no excuse not to do my relaxation CD that I find helpful when I take the time for it. This drugged/fatigued/exhausted/mind racing/wired feeling is a real drain on my system. Another idea I had was to find a new primary care physician. The one I have isn't working so it's time for someone new. I'm also going to call Jane's doctor and see if I can get her in for an appointment. She has a terrible sore throat, but I also want to talk to him and see what he says about her. Lots of celebrating and things to do today, signing off for now, hoping that you enjoy whatever time of day or night it is when you get around to reading this.

Much love,

jess 

"As best as I can tell, I'm responsible for introducing the couple to each other, so you have me to thank. Now, before I elaborate on the story of how they met, I need to digress for a few minutes and explain to you all -- bear with me now -- about a website you've probably never heard of called everything2.com..."

(Not how I led a round of toasts at a 10th-wedding-anniversary last night, but the important thing is that I could have!)

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