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Day #8 of 31 Days of Gratitude

Okay now it’s getting a bit harder…

Day #8

I’m grateful that despite moving back to Canada, without any job lined up and the possibility of getting one is slim, that I have been able to work remotely for my (previous) employer.

Of course, my extension was more for their benefit than mine – so I could train my replacement / continue to do the job – it’s afforded me the chance to continue to earn some bankable money until such a time when I will be unemployed (and will have no idea for how long).

My job is specialized. Not just anyone can step in and do it. That’s not to say that they can’t eventually learn it – I did – but it’s not the kind of work that someone can just walk in and take over. It requires training – even for those experienced in this type of work – because they have to learn how our office does it. How this position is handled.

So I’m also grateful that I have the experience to be that “go to” person that my office needs to rely on. It does make me feel somewhat important, even if not necessarily appreciated. 🙂

Blessings to all,

dani1

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Day #6 of 31 Days of Gratitude

Friends…I’ve had a few…

Day #6

Part of the problem I had when I lived in New York was lack of friends. Sure, I had a few, but they weren’t people that I “hung-out” with very regularly. Truthfully, just about every friend I had, I’d met at work (or Weight Watchers from back when I was married).

I wasn’t one for going out on my own so I never really met anyone or really made new friends (or boyfriends which is an entirely different and much more complex subject) to hang out with. Those I did have, had husbands and/or kids and I had to be cognizant that they had lives, when I really didn’t.

I was lonely a lot.

I realize that it was really on me to not be so lonely. That I should have gone out, met new people, etc. But with the self-consciousness that I had (still have), it really is hard for me to be out in public, especially by myself.

So I was happy when I realized that by moving back to my hometown, I would again be surrounded by many friends, some of whom I’ve been close for over thirty years. And while I am still self-conscious when I’m out, if I’m with my friends, I’m less so.

These are people who have known me for so long, many are basically part of my family. Sisters and brothers that I would do anything for, and I hope they know that.

So I’m so very grateful for my friends – new and old – real or even just my cyber friends (all of whom I hope to meet someday) because they help me feel good about my life. They add a huge something that I can’t explain.

Merci beaucoup, mes amis!

FRIENDS

Blessings to all,

dani1

Day #5 of 31 Days of Gratitude

When you have as much of a negative attitude as me, it is actually quite hard to come up with things you’re grateful for. And to be honest, I hate that feeling. I really wish I could be more positive, but no matter how much I try, I invariably let the negative in. So this 31 Days of Gratitude, while challenging, is to help me better consider everything I have. Everything I should be grateful for.

And I won’t lie, some of these are going to be very hard.

Day #5

I’m grateful for my marriage falling apart.

Don’t get me wrong. I never wanted a failed marriage (who does?), and while I hate talking about it now because I feel like it’s one of my two biggest mistakes, I’ve also come to realize that I need to be grateful for it.

Grateful for even what my ex-husband did to me.

From the cheating, lying, and disrespect of me to the nefarious handling of our home, its destruction as a direct result of his lack of responsibility, and again, his disrespect of me…guess what?

I not only survived – and there were times I wondered if I would – but I became a stronger person because of it. I learned more about myself during those years than I ever did in the previous 40.

So while it was a horrible period in my life, I am grateful (in a small way – let’s not get carried away) for having gone through it so that I could learn just how strong and resilient of a person I am.

Blessings to all,

Dani

Day #4 of 31 Days of Gratitude

Yikes! I can’t believe how far I’ve fallen behind on this. Okay, I guess I can’t really say that. And given this is my 4th attempt to do Day #4 because this website keeps freezing every time I want to add a picture, you may not actually see Day #4 (or #5, or #6, etc…)

Day #4

I’m grateful for my kitty Finnegan (aka Finny or Finn). I got Finny from a friend who had adopted a stray, that ended up having six kittens. He was one of only two black kitties, and he stole my heart.

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That was in 2009. As he got older, I did often wonder if his father was maybe a puma or a panther because he kept getting bigger. He’s not fat, mind you, just a very long and big kitty so we suspect he’s part Maine Coon. His mother was just a normal sized cat.

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And while he’s a “bit” quirky (and aren’t they all?), he’s my best buddy in the world. So I’m grateful I have him with me.

Blessings to all,

Dani

Day #3 of 31 Days of Gratitude

Day #3

For Day #3 of 31 Days of of Gratitude, I am grateful for my family. I’ve probably mentioned before that I come from a very large family. I don’t mean immediate – other than a half-sister – I don’t have any other brothers or sisters. But for other family members – I have them aplenty.

I think I’ve mentioned that I always laugh at the scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when Toula tells Ian that she has 27 first cousins (go to the 1:25min mark).

To explain why I laugh so much and to put it into perspective, when my grandmother (meme/mimi) passed away in 1985, she had 56 grandchildren (which would mean I had 55 other first cousins), 79 great grandchildren and 15 great-great grandchildren.

That is not a typo.

When your mother is the youngest of 16, the numbers can be “out there”. And that’s only one side!

The only difference compared to Toula’s family and mine is that – unfortunately or not – our family doesn’t spend a lot of time together, at least, as a large group. In fact, many of the cousins don’t even know each other. Some maybe don’t even get along for whatever reason. But to all of them, I’m Switzerland.

Growing up, I was closest to several because our families spent a lot of time together. Over the years, thanks to social media, I’m gotten to know some family I didn’t know before, became closer to those I hadn’t seen or talked to in years, and in general, am grateful for those that I have in my life.

With that many cousins, many of whom were older than my mom, some have left us already. I’m sorry that I didn’t get to know many of them very well. The great thing about my family being so large is that there is so much to learn – about them and our family history. Stories about their parents – fathers who perhaps fought in a war or served in the military – something to be proud of.

So I love my extended family – all those crazy cousins. And while the number likely never went higher than 56 for first cousins, there are plenty more family that have been added over the years, and are still being added today.

And with a family this large, it’s really hard to feel alone. You’d hope they would be there for you, as much as you’d try to be there for them.

Because, after all, that’s what family should really be about, right?

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Blessings to all.

Dani

 

 

31 Days of Gratitude

It’s been a good week, friends. Actually, it’s been a pretty damn good week. And I’m grateful.

Grateful for everything I have. Grateful for everything I’ve ever had. Even grateful for everything that has happened to me – good or bad – because those things have made me a stronger person. A person, I hope, people feel is a great, reliable and loving friend. Someone with a big heart, who would do whatever she could to help them. Someone who didn’t take them for granted, and appreciated having them in her life.

So starting today – December 1, 2017 – I’m going to post 31 days of gratitude. Certainly that doesn’t mean that I won’t be grateful after December 31st, but for now, let’s just start here.

If anyone wants to do this with me, please do. I’ll be posting these 31 days on both Facebook (my personal page), twitter @dani052566 and my IG account:  @danielle_reaume

Let’s do this…

Day #1 

I’m grateful I’m still alive.

I’m grateful I’m still alive…

  • to see another beautiful sunny day.

December 1, 2017

  • to appreciate the beauty of nature
  • to appreciate the beauty of the Earth
  • to be here for my family, friends and Finnegan

And most importantly, I’m grateful to be here for me.

Blessings to all…

Love,

Dani

 

 

 

 

Stressed – spelled backwards is desserts.

We all have stressful days. Some might even have stressful weeks, months or years. I don’t really know anyone who is stress free. But I believe that, like mourning, everyone deals with stress in different ways.

Some might be passive; hiding their stress until they erupt like Vesuvius. Some might be aggressive; letting out their frustrations with a hair-trigger and quick response. And as with most everything, there are those who are in between.

While I don’t consider myself to be an angry person, when I am angry, it can flash, but I think I’ve learned to not allow it to 1) define me; 2) let it take me over and hold onto it for too long, and 3) mostly important, I do whatever I can to never hurt someone in anger. And with stress, I tend to push it down; pretend it doesn’t exist and try to humor my way out of it.

After all, they say laughter is the best medicine, right?

No matter how stressed I get, I do try to deal with it. Not always in the most productive ways, but at least I try. But note that I said “try”.

I often joke that if I was any sort of a drinker, with all the stress, I’d be falling down drunk all the time. Thank goodness I’m not. So how do I deal with stress? That’s a good question. And sometimes I feel like I really don’t have any idea how to deal with it.

If you’ve been reading the postings in this blog lately, you’ll recognize a pattern. When I named one recent blog “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing”…I shit you not, I wasn’t kidding. So like with what seems like everything in my life, I don’t have a good answer for what I do to deal with stress. Most times, it seems, I just get to the point of frustration and end up crying it out. Which I hate. I absolutely hate crying about anything – good or bad. It tends to make me feel physically worse. So I’m not one for “crying it out” – at least as a remedy for myself.

So, I did some research to find out what “others” recommend for relieving stress. Some made me giggle. Some made me roll my eyes. A couple even had me picturing myself looking like a rolly-polly Buddha, as I attempt to find my “calm”.

I wish I could say I was inspired. I can’t say I wasn’t; but I’m still not sure. I have been wishing I could do yoga over the past couple of years. Hell, I even have a mat. Mind you, it’s still rolled up and hasn’t been removed from the cardboard that it holding it rolled up. But good intentions…

I’m not really made for yoga. Again, I wish I was. I have friends who swear by it. And I admit I had to look up what “hot yoga” was, but the end result is that I’m really just not very yoga-like in body right now, even if my mind is.

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As with most everything else in my life, I’m not very disciplined. I often wonder how I even made it this far in life with such a hap-hazard way of living, but here I am…all the hamsters spinning on their wheels in my mind, trying to get to the finish. Here’s hoping my finish isn’t for a long time.

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But I digress…

Discipline. Err…no…Self-discipline: the correction or regulation of oneself for the sake of improvement.

It’s really mind-boggling how much self-discipline can be, and should be, applied to so many facets of my life. From weight-loss, to house-cleaning, to exercise, to dealing with anxiety, stress and frustration. I wish I could say that I’ve mastered it in at least one thing in my life, but I’d be lying. So, no big pearls of wisdom from me (again. sorry!) on how to be more self-disciplined, but I will offer some things that can be done to deal with stress and anxiety that others have suggested, and some of which I will try to do for myself.

First…here’s a chart to help:

50 Ways To Cope With Stress

But for me…these:

  1. When you feel the stress/anxiety or frustration building, step out of the situation and take deep breaths…and count to 10. Repeat several times until you can recognize you are calmer.
  2. Realize you’re not perfect so stop expecting yourself to be (and others). Do what you can and be happy with the results. Try.
  3. Exercise is a great way to deal with stress. Even if you do 10 minutes more movement a day, it will have a great effect on your well-being. But certainly, try to get at least 30 minutes a day.
  4. Eat healthy and get enough sleep. Filling yourself with junk is only going to make you feel like junk. And if you’re tired from lack of sleep, you’ll only feel that much more worse. If you’re able, try taking a short nap during the day when you’re feeling a bit more tired than usual.

And the two biggest ones that I have to deal with (besides all of the above) are being positive and putting the things that stress me out into perspective.

I’ll start with the perspective one first. As I can be sometimes – big shocker I know – a bit over-dramatic or in many cases, over-think a situation. I easily jump to conclusions, thinking about the “what-ifs” and just add even more stress and anxiety to myself. I am a huge “feeler”. I live on emotions – good or bad – and I can quite easily send my own into a tizzy faster than you can say, “But-” I’ve talked before about the emotional roller-coaster and I’m one of its regular riders. I wish I could say that I’ll change but I’m not sure how or even if, so I deal with it as it comes. And often not very well.

So it comes down to asking myself, “does this really matter?”  Is what I’m stressing about that big of a deal? Did I make it out to be a bigger deal than it really is? In the grand scheme of things, will this matter in an hour, tomorrow or next year? Most times, the answer is, of course, “no”. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that something stressed me. It’s just a matter of understanding that if it’s not as important as I made it out to be, I need to let it go (and quickly)…because life is too short to dwell in shit that doesn’t matter. Right?

And then there’s being “positive”. I’ve been trying to do this for so long. Invariably, it doesn’t last. I get sucked into the “pity party for one” vortex (by myself) and the next thing I know, I’m Chicken Little and the sky is falling. I hate that I can’t just be positive all the time. I know people that really seem to be. And I do hope that they really, truly are and that they aren’t “faking” it. And I really hate that I forget just how blessed I am. Too often I forget and need to be reminded. Nothing is wrong with that, per se, but I think people who are genuinely more positive more often, are the happiest.

When I said I live on emotions, I also meant that I take things personally. I don’t like when people don’t like me. I want people to love me. I want people to want to be my friend. So I take it personally when they don’t. Yet at the same time, while I know I shouldn’t live to please anyone but myself, I’m not wired that way. I tend to care more for others than myself.

And I’ve been told before that this is wrong. Yet, that’s what I am. That’s what I do. I spend a lot of time trying to help people I care about in different ways. I don’t always do it as often as I wish and sometimes that makes me feel guilty, and often, selfish. Which I know is absurd, but alas…we’re talking about me here.

So, for example, my birthday was recently. Without sounding egotistical, I did expect to see some Happy Birthday wishes on my Facebook. And I did. And I want to say before anything else, I was grateful for each and every one of them because it meant that those people took the time out of their busy/hectic/stressful/happy lives to send me their best wishes. While it might have only taken them 10 seconds to do so – I appreciated it more than they could know. Then there were those who wrote me longer messages, and those were so appreciated as well.

But the “feelings” part of me…as ridiculous as this might sound, was disappointed somewhat that some people – some “friends” – didn’t say anything. No acknowledgement at all. Yet, I know they were on Facebook because I saw their posts, their comments to others’ posts etc. And I felt a little hurt. Then I felt foolish for feeling that way.

I don’t have friends because I expect something from them. And I do try to do my best to give some attention to everyone, but in all honestly, more so to those I feel closer to. And yet, just as when I lost my beautiful Ginny last month, or announced I was moving back home to Canada…my birthday passing with none of those three somewhat life-changing events being recognized by some, it felt…hurtful.

On top of that, many who did send me best wishes…some were from people that I’ve only just met (and most not yet in person), and they were more than kind. In some cases, those people acknowledged all three of those life events, yet as I said, there were some that I expected to hear from (or hoped) and got nothing. After the loss of Ginny and that happened, I told my therapist that I guess I have to realize that some people might be more selfish than others.

Now I’m sure there are many reasons they didn’t “say” anything. Maybe they didn’t see the many posts from others about my birthday, or Ginny passing, because they have many Facebook friends. Or maybe, just maybe, they don’t consider me to be a friend at the same level of friend that I do of them. I considered this and realized that if that’s the case, there’s nothing I can do about it and I have to accept it and move on.

So, one of the many things I need to learn, which adds in my stress levels, is that not everyone is going to see my worth. I have difficulty with this for myself, but I stress as much as I can to others that I care about, how much they are worth. To me. And to others. And maybe my expectations of others is too high. Or maybe because of my self-esteem issues that I feel this need to have as many people like me as I possibly can because it’s the only way I can feel worthy.

But how can I expect others to see my worth, if I don’t see it in myself?

And that there is the rub.

I posted this today on Facebook with the caption “Man, I wish I could just let it go. Not sure why it’s so important that I even care. But I do.”

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And I do care. Probably far too much. About everything. About wanting to be liked, loved, admired, and seen as a great person. And some people will never see that in me; never feel that about me. And I have to learn to accept that. And to not care.

The absolute funniest (ie: ridiculous) part about that is that I am well loved by a very close knit group of people that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world, and I’m eternally grateful for each and everyone one of them…but my own feelings about myself won’t allowed me to say “that’s all you need” so I get emotional when someone might not like or love me back.

I’m suddenly hearing Barbra Streisand’s “Feelings” in my head. Grief. I’m losing it! I don’t even LIKE that song!

Till next time…

Blessings and love to all.

Dani

 

 

 

 

 

What are you grateful for?

Pardon me for ending the title with a preposition. “For what are you grateful?” always sounds so proper, and I’ve never claimed to be so proper. At least, most of the time.

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As I write this, I’m thinking of a person who entered my life when I first moved to the U.S., way back in 1998. He went out of his way to welcome me, to listen to me and most especially, he always encouraged me to go after my dreams. For many years, he was, in a way, a mentor to me. I was grateful for his encouragement, but also for his belief in me. In my abilities.

For the past many years, this man has struggled with his own health issues – fighting the pain and issues associated with Parkinson’s Disease. It forced him into early retirement. At the same time, he and his wife’s youngest child has dealt with his own health issues – since his birth – and tonight I heard that this young man is in the ICU and the prognosis isn’t good.

No one should ever have to suffer in pain due to illness and disease, but unfortunately, the world doesn’t work that way. That this happens to even the best of us is very disheartening and heartbreaking. I pray that God looks over this family tonight and can only hope for a miracle.

I often feel that despite my attempts to try to help my family and friends as much as I am able, I can and often am a selfish person. I easily forget other’s problems, forget to ask them how they are – take the time to consider others. I’m guilty of that, for sure. I’m also guilty of forgetting how fortunate I am.

So this posting – while this is my weight loss blog – will not be about my journey and how I’m doing. This is going to be a post about the things for which I am grateful (see…no ending in a preposition there). So, here is my list of the things for which I’m most grateful:

  1. My mother. Having lost my father when I was 11, my mom became my savior and she’s been my rock every since. I don’t know how I could have gotten through some of the things in my life without her.
  2. My father. My dad Gerry meant so much to both my mother and me. I’m very grateful that I had him in my life, even if it was for such a short time. He adopted me as his own after he married my mom, and he was the best father – and man – that I could ever have in my life.
  3. My cats. I don’t have any children and likely never will. In my years alone since my divorce, my cats have been there for me unconditionally. They have made me feel like I am important, and they’ve helped me out of the darkness on more than one occasion.
  4. My family. Like Tula in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, I have a lot of cousins. More so than Tula, in fact. I come from a large extended family, and I actually am fortunate to have three families that I’m a part of – my mother’s side, my father’s side, and my biological father’s side. I have a great love for my family – no matter how crazy some of them are. But you know what, they’re mine. And I would protect any one of them from anyone that would do them harm. 5ab214406d8e3024452a05466bd3f97f
  5. My friends. I have been fortunate to have some of the same friends in my life for over 30 years. People who have been right beside me in some of my darkest times – and never left. I know that they would have my back, just as I would have theirs. I also have many newer friends – people who entered my life for one reason or another over the past many years – who has proven to have kind, gracious hearts and who have welcomed me into their lives.
  6. My freedom. I’m proud to be a Canadian. I’m proud that I am from a country where my ancestor chose to move to and raise their families. I’m especially grateful for those who fought, were injured or who died fighting for our freedom.
  7. My intelligence. I often joke that I can be a dolt. And there are many times when I do question not only my sanity but also how I managed to get this far in life. I like to think that for what I might lack in sheer intelligence, I at least have a modicum of common sense. Be that as it may, I do feel like I have a lick of smarts. And I’m grateful for that.
  8. My talents. It’s not always clear to me what I should have done with my life as I grew up. The earliest memories regarding a career go back to when I wanted to be an archaeologist. Those that know me would find this a humorous paradox – because while I love anything relating to ancient history, what I don’t like is digging in the dirt. Especially if said dirt had bugs in it. I kid you not. In any case, I do believe that I have some writing talents, and considering that I’ve often questioned what else I might be good at doing, I”m grateful, at least, for those.
  9. My health. It’s almost funny that I state this – given the struggles I have every day with my health. But my grateful for two things:
    • that I’m still healthy enough to do something about getting healthy, into shape and doing what I need to in order to extend my life, and
    • that I’m still alive. I’ve come to be truly grateful every morning when I wake up – that I woke up.  So now I’m working trying to appreciate every day to the fullest. Given the things that other people in my life are going through – it’s a cold wake up reminder  that life is too short and we need to enjoy it and life it to the fullest. Every. Damn. Day.

Might I suggest that whoever is reading this also take a moment of your day – right now – and think about what you’re grateful for. You don’t have to write them down, but if you want to – please do.

Lastly, I’m grateful for you. You – the person reading this. Why? Because even if you don’t know me, you took time out of your life to read this post (or any of my others). I appreciate you spending your precious time – with me. And, of course, I’m grateful to all of my family and friends who continue to support me – through all my ups and down.

So thank you, my beautiful peeples. Bless you all.

Love,

Dani