Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hello everyone! I am feeling up to blogging which means I am doing well right now. I had a rough few weeks but the last few days have been better and I'm "catching my breath" and enjoying it.

 We've been to the beach twice in the last three weeks and it has been such a blessing to live this close.

 One day the water was super clear. There is no shock in stepping into the Gulf right now. It is warm and perfect.

 We found a free beach chair & umbrella and it is great for me. It reclines back and sits very low. My favorite thing to do at the beach is put my legs in the water and just watch the Gulf. Last week I saw a manatee swim so close and surface.

A photo from our honeymoon in 2002.
 We recently celebrated 14 years of marriage. I cannot even put into words how blessed I have been by this man. He makes me laugh every day and continually looks for ways to bless me and encourage me.

 We found a reclining wheelchair on Amazon for less than $275 which was a phenomenal deal. We've been looking for months and even used they were so pricey. The CRPS is in all four limbs and the front of my groin/hip area. Sometimes I cannot sit at all and others it hurts after a few minutes, even on pain meds. This new fancy wheelchair will recline completely flat. I've used it twice and it is SO much better.

I have been eating mostly raw food for awhile now but after watching a documentary on the Paleo diet, my husband decided to give it a try. He wanted to support me and so two weeks ago he gave up almost everything he ate and switched to produce, seeds & nuts and grass fed meat. He is finally starting to feel better after about 10 days of sugar withdrawal and I'm so proud of him.

Have I noticed a difference on the "new" diet? Yes. My joints don't hurt as badly which is wonderful. Things I eat include: bananas, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, pecans, spinach and chicken with raw honey and lemon essential oil. That is about my diet every day. I will hopefully add in harder foods once my mouth gets straightened out (another root canal is scheduled for tomorrow). I found that pineapple still bothers my body and it must be the acid. Foods I miss? Black olives!

Happenings around the house:

We hadn't planned on starting the last room (the second bathroom) for awhile but my husband ran across a pedestal sink for $15. The old vanity was fine honestly but the bathroom is small. After deciding that he could fix the tile, wall, etc etc, he purchased the pedestal sink and has thrown himself into the bathroom.
Before, without the vanity top

We posted the old vanity on OfferUp for free and it had a lot of interest. We were glad to see it being used elsewhere. He then painted the ceiling white and the walls went a shade of blue-green-gray. We thought about navy and dark teal but ultimately we had leftover light blue paint and I couldn't bring myself to spend $30 on paint. Thanks to the Home Depot Oops paint section, we purchased a small can of green paint for 50 cents and dumped that into the gallon to get the paint you now see on the walls. Perfect!
Thanks to my mom & sister for their anniversary gift!
Our free shell light! My husband pulled this out of a home that was being demoed last summer and we saved it. It is from the 1960's.
This is the current state of the bathroom. We are waiting for a faucet deck plate to install the faucet and then the pedestal sink. My husband was able to find a few of the matching tiles at Home Depot and friends had a tile cutter (thanks Mikey & Rob!) so he was able to do all the work himself.

 We took "off" from finding free stuff and yard saling for a few weeks so I don't have as many fun finds. It was a rough few weeks since I had cut back on narcotics. I do this every once in awhile because if I didn't I would just be taking more & more which is something I can control right now and don't want to do. 
You were so close to being perfect for us sofa!

We have again been looking for a sofa. The perfect sofa search never really ends here. The brown sofa is an electric reclining couch and is super comfy but it doesn't lay completely flat. And my hips would do better to lay flat. We bought it used and so I know we can sell it for more than we paid.

This Ikea blue sofa was perfect. It had a section I could lay down on and wasn't hard to get up from since it was low. We paid $157 for it. The previous owner washed a few of the cushions with Downy and the thing reeked of it. (Sorry to all those that like the smell of Downy) I don't care for strong smells and so my husband took off every piece of material and we washed it. It turns out that Downy really sticks around. It was so bad that I didn't consider keeping it and we sold it the next day for $240.

Some random selfies. The first photo I'm wearing make-up. Oooo. Fancy! I have been dealing with some dentist/mouth issues and have found that looking nice directly relates to being treated better at the endodonist. Do I like it? Absolutely not. But I have one more appointment there and I need to be taken seriously when I say that my tooth has pain. Once they took me seriously, they found a 4th canal in my tooth which was missed with the first root canal. Another will be done tomorrow and I am looking forward to that tooth not being in pain. I then have one more crown and a few fillings and I may be done with my teeth for awhile. Yippee!

Florida weather makes me smile. Almost every summer evening it pours and we have fantastic thunderstorms.

See that little dog butt? We have been thinking about a dog for awhile. We signed up to be a foster family for small dogs but they get adopted very quickly. This dog butt belongs to a neighbor who let us borrow him for awhile. He was adorable...and too fast for a photo! 

Last night we were checking the pet shelters and came across a dog named Callie who would be perfect for us. She is a service dog for those with anxiety and is a Maltese mix. She is 6.5 pounds and so cute.
There has been a lot of interest in Callie but we did fill out an application. If we aren't able to adopt her we will keep looking.
My husband leaves me a note each day. We are both hoping to hear something about Callie soon :)

Outside our house we have a front & side "yard". Thankfully the side yard is completely paved. Our front yard was mostly dirt when we moved in and my husband has been also working on that. Yesterday he put pavers under the fence (so if we get a dog he can run around) and sand over the dirt. Eventually he will put pavers over the sand but I am really liking the sand look. 

Some book recommendations that I have read & loved recently. These have no sex, no cursing, no violence and were great.

My husband sings at retirement communities almost every day and this was a few weeks ago. It makes me happy to look at him with Doris, one of the residents. He printed the photo and will be bringing it to her when he sings there next.

Thanks for reading and for all your encouragement, support and comments! They truly bless my soul.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Happy July

Happy July!

Florida is gorgeous in July and we are 8 miles from one of the prettiest beaches I have ever seen inside the United States. Anna Maria Island is a jewel and I would highly recommend visiting if you love old beach towns with a family feel.

This past week my husband had a "staycation". We had blocked off 9 days last year in hopes of traveling. That didn't pan out but we had a nice time getting to the beach three times.

We go to a beach with a very short walk from the van to the water which is perfect for me. He sets me up and then goes for a walk. I get to enjoy the peacefulness of the water. And two days I saw dolphins lazily swimming. What a blessing! Our favorite beach is creating new piers and I love seeing the heavy equipment. It is like watching my favorite TV episode of "How It's Made" but in real life. On a beach.

You can see the gulf is different from one day to the next. Some days it is flat & clear, othersit is choppy & darker. But on that choppy day the water was SO warm. Bath water.
We love this bath water Gulf.

Physically I'm about the same. The CRPS is still making my nerves feel like their is gasoline running through them. My hips won't allow me to sit at any angle for more than a few minutes but I have a lot of options at the house for keeping them straight.

Percocet is helping and although I know the long term side effects are pretty bad I'm overwhelmed with thankfulness when it "kicks in" and my body starts to feel like my body again. My muscles have been a good kind of sore from water therapy and inversion yoga. Our community has a pool which is heated and the water is perfect for me. So warm! We ordered this "trapeze" on Amazon and it is now hung in the living room. They didn't make it in blue (sigh) so purple it is! I've also been to a very kind chiropractor 6 times so far and he is trying acupressure as well as adjustments. I haven't seen any improvement from that yet but I love him and his support.

Yesterday I went to see a psychologist. The ketamine treatment back in January flipped a switch in my brain and now I'm struggling mentally. I never use to have to remind myself to breathe. To feel like the pressure in my chest was going to explode. But that is a new reality for me and I'm learning to accept that and not fight it. Some days are better than others. For those of you with anxiousness and panic attacks: I am so very sorry. I had no idea. Please forgive me if I have ever judged someone who has a mental illness. I now know my mind is capable of horrible things that no one would ever want. I have gotten good at finding my "triggers" and distracting as many of my senses as I can. Days seem better than nights and my husband has again been amazing.

A few nights my husband has moved my bed into his bedroom. Yes, we sleep separately. Yes, that usually works best for us. Our villa has two bedrooms and we both snore. And he moves around. And I wake up at 1am, 2am, 3am in pain. You get the idea. If I feel what I'm calling "anxious" at night, it helps to have him close.

Now other happier happenings.

My husband finished the laundry room which was an easier project than most of our rooms have been. Just some paint and hanging a peg board for our cleaning tools.

Yes, he painted blue. We love blue and we had like 4 gallons left. I couldn't see spending money on paint when we had so much leftover blue. We had mixed a bunch of colors to get this blue and so it is a "custom" color. We made about 10 gallons since we didn't want to run out and that is why we have so much left.

Only "my" bathroom (the 2nd bathroom) remains to be painted & updated. I'm in no hurry though since it is primed white and the bath & surround are in excellent shape.

And some free items! I haven't been up to going around the neighborhood looking for free stuff but we do try to stop if I'm out anyway.

A free Crate & Barrel sisal rug which looks new.
This thing would have been $400 new. Our blue striped rug moved
to the lanai under my husband's weight bench. This was a Craigslist free item.

Free shells! Yes, I'm counting these as free. I don't even go looking for them. These were all found by being in the same spot in one day. They go into care packages for children.
Free plate! This is a terrible photo but the sign above the plate was a charity donation purchase on Instagram. It says: "Let me walk upon the waters, wherever you may call." The plate matches so well and reminds me to get out of the boat. This is a Bible reference where Jesus tells Peter to get out of the boat and walk on the water.
Free cleaners! Not all of these were free but a lot were. We have some renters in our area that try to clean up before they leave. You can usually spot their garbage by the several mops & buckets by the side of the road. We don't take those but almost full cleaners are a score! I purchased stuff to make my own natural cleaners weeks ago and that hasn't happened yet. There is no need when we keep getting these free.
This is a stair riser that was pulled out of the gulf after a storm. It is about 3 feet long and super interesting (to me). It would make an unique piece of wall art. It will probably be given away but is currently on OfferUp.  I'd love to see a 3 letter word painted on it. Maybe SEA?

My free glass & brass re-purposed wall hangings are up! We found these last year and they are ceiling light covers from the 1960s. I loved the shape and wanted to hang them. The hubby make it a reality. Don't mind the clutter on the floor. We also found a free oar and free oval mirror. The oar will hopefully be turned into a curtain rod and the mirror will be mounted in the closet.

I love crafting and art. I haven't been able to do these lately but here are a few from a month or two ago. We have a walk way up to our front door in our "secret garden" (i.e. the small front yard that our realtor called a secret garden). This is probably one of the hardest things I do since it takes sitting/laying on the ground and a lot of wrist action. Haha. I really hope to get back out there soon.

Now some of my favorite things from the last few months.

This soap. I have SUPER oily skin and this soap has been drying it out nicely. My husband has very dry skin to the point it flakes off. He has also been using it and he loves it too. We are trying to go more natural (despite the free cleaning products) and this soap is a keeper for us.
This "magic" button on our fridge. We set it up so when it is pressed, Amazon orders toilet paper for us. If you accidentally press it you do have so long to cancel the order. I wish every thing had a button like this. Like a banana button would be helpful.
Black olives are my favorite food right now.

We have a pantry in our kitchen which I love. My space is on the bottom and this photo were taken before we went to the store. Our Publix (our local grocery store) haul included cherries, peaches, strawberries, raw spinach, grapes and bananas. And 4 cans of olives. Hehe. Add some rice, a bit of grilled chicken and cashews and that is my diet right now. I hope to eat more when my mouth feels better but that is a many month process.

My husband always makes the top of the list of my favorites. I had no idea a human could support and love another human in the way he loves.

This was Fred, our dog for a week in 2014. We've been talking about trying another small dog. There is a foster program in place here and we could request a small dog. We are really considering it. I know animals can help with emotional and mental stress. Thinking, thinking, thinking.

To those who have read this blog: thanks. I feel like I've been given an amazing gift with CRPS. I would have never chosen it for myself. I would never want to "gift" this to another person. My perspective on life has changed. I still have a ways to go. But I can see God using these things and I am trying to be appreciative. And I can absolutely say this: Physical pain is preferred over mental pain. So please do what you need to do to survive. Some days it takes getting through the next minute. Take medication if your doctor is prescribing it. Distract yourself through the hard time if you need to. Some days you will want to die but hopefully you also get to appreciate the little things in life and encourage others. Because getting to be kind and support others in this life is the real blessing.