Menopause, mean teachers and cats who won’t shut up

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I didn’t really have anything to write about today so I thought I’d just put up some sketchbook drawings. (#noncommittaldailysajdrawings for those of you following along on instagram).

This year has been a really big year for me. So many changes!

The biggest change I’m experiencing is menopause. I now have my own personal cloud of humidity that I carry around with me on a daily basis. Have you ever experienced this? It sucks donkey balls. (Sorry dad. I know I should use another word but this is the most accurate.) I’ll be outside in the nice cool air, I might even have a sweater on, and then KABAMO! I’m sweating like I have a fever. It lasts a few minutes and then it floats off as if it never happened and I’m back to wearing a sweater and appreciating the nice cool air. So confusing! It was bothering me so much I actually went out and bought a small thermometer/barometer to keep at my desk so I could compare my whacky internal thermostat with reality. It’s bonkers.

I want to say I hate hot flashes but part of me is wondering if they are helping me burn calories. I’ve been losing weight lately and I’m not sure if these flashes are it or one of the other twelve things I’ve been doing differently lately.  I’m sure if hot flashes do burn calories it’s only 2 calories a hit but hey! it sure helps to imagine that is what is going on when you in the thick of a sweaty cloud and hating life.  I bet people would actually sign up for these stupid mini-fevers if they knew they were burning calories.

So back to weight loss: I seem to be losing weight after years and years of struggling and not losing any weight at all. Is it my diet that is much more plant-based than it ever used to be? Ask my kids.  I am a nut these days. I’ll rattle on about greens and fiber and water for days. Everyone is sick of me.

It could also be that I work out with weights regularly now (only two days a week so my ripped up muscles can repair themselves) and I walk the dogs all over the planet.  Cody has even lost 7 pounds which is good because he was putting on weight like only a golden retriever with a love language for food can.

Is it the particular blend of medication and vitamins I am on? I can’t really go into detail on this because it’s still private (I know, it seems like I share everything but I actually don’t) but it is a variable that could figure into the equation.

Anyway, it all adds up to a lot of healthy changes and outside of the hot flashes I am really happy about them. I finally feel like all those balls I’m always juggling are staying up in the air for a change and not dropping around me like rotten apples.

What else? Payam got a new job. The kids started school… All good!

We are so happy with Payam’s job. It’s super awesome and he’s happy. A happy employed boyfriend = happy life! Just kidding. Payam always has a positive attitude no matter what challenge he’s facing but I don’t. Having him in a secure job has significantly helped me with my anxiety. He always tells me that everything will work out but I have to admit I’m not always so sure. I tend to worry, doubt and fret. That’s my M.O.

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So yeah! Things are good! Kids are back in school. Bug has a scary teacher. I talked about that already.

We went to the nail salon as a family the other day. It was fun. Joon is into wearing black, what else is new?

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Ah yes, Kady. That blasted meow-ing cat. She meows all day long until I go and pet her and then lay down with her and pet her some more. Let’s just say I’ve finally become a napping person. I have never liked naps before. I hate naps! Until now. Maybe it’s a side effect of an anxiety disorder and menopause and not sleeping all that well on a regular basis. But thankfully I have Kady, my therapy cat. She is taking care of me in the most annoying way. I love her.

My Parents’ New Home in the Desert

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I stole myself away from my busy life and trekked out to the desert to visit my parents and help them unpack their new home in the desert this last week. I really wish I could spend more time out there because it is sooooo awesome! I’m seriously considering retiring out there myself if I don’t pull off the cottage on the beach dream. It’s just desert and rocky hills and cacti and big skies as far as you can see.  And it’s so peaceful! I kept asking my mom if she wanted to turn on a radio or something because the quiet was almost unreal.

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But we didn’t. We kept it quiet except for our chatter as we unpacked. We worked and worked and worked at finding places for a lifetime of treasure-hunting. My mom has so many treasures! It is very, very, very hard to get rid of them for so many reasons. Each thing has a story or a special person they were picked out for. It breaks my heart when she tells me she’s saving this or that for this granddaughter or that, knowing that this or that granddaughter also has a busy life and no room for more “stuff.” It’s just sad because the stuff is so special!

Hoarding (and I say that affectionately. My mom is not as bad as some.) is such a difficult terrain for everyone to maneuver. Both my mom and I have felt deprived of things in our lives so we hold onto “stuff” so closely because we think someday in the future we might need them. It’s a psychological mine field. I inherited the gene too. I love a good treasure hunt through a thrift store but my house is getting more and more cluttered and I don’t want to end up with so many things I have no where to put them. I’ve often pondered getting a storage unit to let my hobby continue but I know it would be a bad idea. If only my mom and I could just open a store!

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This is just a fraction of the many many treasures. A fraction! And that’s not even counting the hundreds of trips they took to the dump and the goodwill. So many treasures. I am proud of my mom though. She has done the work. She has let go of soooo much and it has been hard. I’m really proud of her that she can navigate such a big change so late in her life. It is not easy. I cannot ever accuse my parents of being lazy. They are not.

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Somewhere underneath the layers of unpacked clutter you can see the bones of a really cute house. I love their new house! It has a lot of light and quirky colors on the wall. You don’t feel like it’s a mobile home at all, which I love.  It looks a lot better than this but my mom and I worked deep into the night and I stopped taking pictures because the light was bad.

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I will say this: Home is where the cats are. My mom’s cats have seemed to take in the new home with no problems. All five of them! (I have her sixth at my house: Kady.) They are not allowed outside which is a big change because they are used to roaming a half acre at their old place. But their new place is so close to the hills in prime coyote territory so they are staying inside. My dad plans to built an elaborate cattery outside for them and rest assured, I will definitely try to be part of that project. How fun, right?

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I wished I could have stayed longer and helped him get started on it but there was just too much to do AND too much for me to do back home (which is why I’m so late on this post). I’ll try to get out there again soon and maybe take the girls because I know they’ll want to explore the desert.

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My dad and I took a walk the next morning and checked out the scenery. It’s so pretty. I’ve always been a desert girl so this open space and desert fauna makes my heart sing.

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Look at that mist coming over the mountain. Isn’t it pretty?  It is really hot out there but they get a really strong wind that whips up around 3pm every day that cools the valley. Then the mornings are cool also. I am curious to see how cold it gets in the winter.

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I just love these plants. I know lots of people like lush gardens with neat and tidy rows of flowers. I am not one of those people. Give me some prickly cacti and some sage and I am happy as a lizard on a warm rock.

I look forward to many more happy visits!