Category Archives: Life

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Shed Building 101

My fiance and I have been putting together a shed kit for the last several months. She has wanted a shed for a long time, but there was no way to get one of the pre-fabs through the gate in our fence. Earlier this year she saw an advertisement for a do-it-yourself shed kit. It contains everything needed to build your own shed. All of the boards and plywood are cut to size. It even has all of the different sizes of nails and screws. The only thing required to complete the build are the tools, paint, and shingles. We figured it was a no-brainer.

The delivery truck dropped off a Kia-sized pile of shrink-wrapped material in the drive-way and waved goodbye. It took my fiance and me two days to haul the material from the driveway to the far corner of the backyard where we would begin the construction. A few days later she headed off for a weekend trip with her family. I took the opportunity to dig out the foundation, lay the gravel, and level the blocks that would form the base. It took nearly a day to get everything leveled and put the twelve foot long 4×4’s in place. I was, and am, crazy proud of my hard work. The following weekend my fiance put together the floor while I was away on a four-day music festival/camping trip. Since then we have worked together to build out the walls, lift them into place, put up the rafters, and nail the roof decking into place.

It has taken far longer than either of us expected to get this far, but it has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I’m almost certain that my fiancee would say the same. Every time we go out onto the patio we look over at the shed and just grin. “We did that!” Hopefully, I’ll be able to post a picture of the shed, complete with shingles and trim, before winter comes.

I’m Busy

Yesterday I read a thought-provoking post about our culture and being busy. It has become an almost-constant state of being for many Americans. To some, it is a huge source of pride. “How are you?” “I’m busy.” We sit back, ready for everyone to be impressed with how important we are because we’re so busy.

The truth of the matter is that being interminably busy can cause a number of health problems. The most obvious is stress which leads to a number of other health problems. The human body is designed to effectively handle stress as long as it is followed by periods of relaxation or down-time. On the other hand, constant stress can lead to high blood pressure, headaches, stomach pain, and trouble staying or falling asleep. Any of these can lead to even more health problems sending people into a downward spiral. Don’t even get me started on how hard it is for this Type A personality to juggle everything without beating myself up for letting a single thing slide.

Periods of “busy” can strike anyone at any time. No matter how hard I fight it, my To Do list has a habit of growing in direct opposition to my free time. It is important for me to remember that being busy is not a way of life. Our bodies function so much better when they are not in a constant state of “on”. No matter the form it takes, relaxation and down-time are crucial to being able to effectively manage life and all that it throws at you.

Some of my favorite types of down-time? Yoga, exercise, reading, movie nights, writing, knitting, and playing with the puppies! In fact, it’s time to play with the puppies now.


Why I write

For me, writing has always been about getting thoughts and ideas out of my head. During tough times writing helps me process my thoughts and better understand what I am feeling. More than anything it is a way to make more room in my head for new ideas. My brain has always moved a hundred times faster than my mouth, so I have a habit of tripping over my words and skipping past entire thoughts. The process of putting my words onto paper lets me rearrange ideas in a way that makes way more sense to me and others. Writing is the best way I have to express myself to others.

With this blog I plan to share my adventures in running, knitting, work, exercise, and anything else I find myself doing. Everything can be an adventure. I hope to show my love for life with the rest of the world.

September is Pain Awareness Month

I was supposed to begin my eight week Stronger journey a few days ago, but my body had other ideas. I suffer from Fibromyalgia, a very misunderstood disease. I used to believe, as many still do, that Fibromyalgia is a catch all diagnosis for people who just can’t handle life. “Fibromyalgia” gives people an excuse to be lazy and complain about how bad their life is while popping narcotics for imagined pain.

I spent over a year having every test imaginable done to find the cause of my symptoms: fatigue, muscle twitches, joint and muscle pain, and feeling things that weren’t there. On any given day I would feel heat on my upper thigh, burning on my arms, electric shocks in my ankles, and water running down my leg. On a beautiful cloudless day I could even feel rain hitting my legs. I was sleeping ten or twelve hours each night, but couldn’t stand up straight during the day because of my fatigue. My head was always foggy and common words escaped me. I used to feel so stupid all the time, and depression really weighed me down.

When I received my diagnosis I was so angry. I wanted the doctor to take it all back and find the real reason I was having these problems. The diagnosis felt as though the doctor had given up and didn’t want to keep looking for the real cause. However, the reality is that in the absence of all other diagnosis, Fibromyalgia is the most likely cause. I knew I didn’t have Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, Epstein Barr, Multiple Sclerosis, vitamin deficiency, hyper- or hypo-thyroidism, pinched nerves, a brain tumor…the list goes on. In fact, I was one of my doctor’s healthiest patients. There was no other explanation for my symptoms. Over the next few weeks I did an extensive amount of research on this fake, catch-all diagnosis and learned that while the symptoms are widely varied, there are some commonalities between all sufferers, namely fatigue, muscle and joint pain, fogginess, memory loss, inability to concentrate, and 18 very specific tender points on the body. Of those 16 tender points I already had six. The more I read, the more I realized that this diagnosis fit. I could finally put a name to the thing that had been plaguing me for over a year. A huge weight was immediately lifted from my shoulders.

Next, it was time to figure out how to live with this thing. I was told to take it easy, rest frequently, don’t push too hard, etc. – all things that have absolutely no meaning to an independent, southern woman. It took a long time to figure out that this really was my new life. I was no longer able to keep pushing past the brink of exhaustion since it would literally put me out of commission for the next couple of days. I couldn’t make plans weeks ahead of time since there was no way to know what kind of day I would be having. Some days it was impossible to even get out of bed.

That was three years ago. Some times I still struggle. This week is one of those times. It is hard enough right now to make it to work. Walking to meetings, or to and from my car, is just manageable right now. Throwing in a 35 minute High Intensity Interval Training right now wouldn’t be taking it easy, and it might be considered pushing too hard. Hopefully next week will be a different story, and I can post my first week of Stronger from a gorgeous beach in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This vacation can’t get here soon enough.

Pain Awareness Month