Tag Archives: comfort

Outside the Zone

I am a creature of habit. That may be a giant understatement. I really find my groove and stick in it because it is safe. Safe is good. Safe is known. Safe let’s me breathe more easily. Safe is no way to live life.

I grew up in a town that didn’t have a high school because it was just that small when I was a student there. That meant for high school we were sent to the next town. Our small group of 75 kids, the same 75 kids that had been together since kindergarten, were now going to be merged with about 300 other kids. The week before my freshman year, I was so nervous I was sick every night. I didn’t know the teachers. I didn’t have an older sibling to tell me about the three cafeterias. I didn’t know and I didn’t like not knowing. It was a good thing for me because I was forced out of my small pond. I was uncomfortable but I know I had some amazing times with some amazing people. College was more of the same.

Now I find myself a mother. Talk about being out of your comfort zone. Someone is now my responsibility. Scary. I hope I don’t make her neurotic like I have recently become. Though I like to think I am neurotic with some good cause.

This past Friday, I had surgery to remove three pretty big cysts as well as the parts they were growing on. My comfort zone has been completely dissolved. I realize that this bubble I thought I had created as my comfort zone was really more my scared zone. I go there when I am terrified, not when I am happy. When I am there, I am stifled, stymied by the thoughts that fill my head. I retreat into myself and slowly drive myself insane with the negative things.

With this surgery, I am in uncharted water. I don’t quite know what is in store. I don’t know. Even this recovery is just plain weird. I am forced to be aware of my body and pay attention to everything to make sure I heal correctly. I am well away from my comfort zone. My comfort zone would have had me hiding in my room pretending that I didn’t need surgery; the pain I had been feeling in my hip was nothing. My comfort zone would have killed me.

Realizing this, I know that after I recover, I have a new goal. Well, not so much a new goal as an old goal renewed. I need to focus on my health. I need to live a healthy lifestyle. I need to live. In my mind, living is riding the zip line across the river in New Hampshire, biking across Cape Cod, maybe even trying to set up a local amateur tennis tournament for cervical and ovarian cancer research. I need to get out more and make a change. I need to always live outside my comfort zone. Because when I am in my comfort zone, I am not living.

This post was written as part of the May NaBloPoMo. The theme this month is comfort. Today’s prompt was “How much do you push yourself to leave your comfort zone?”

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A Good Argument for A Good Argument

First Lady Michelle Obama recently delivered the commencement speech to the 2013 graduating class at Eastern Kentucky University.  Now, let’s put politics aside for a moment and talk about one of the main themes of her speech.  She recommended that we find people with different beliefs and different life experiences and talk with them.  Go to them with an open mind and an open heart.  We may find common ground.  We may not.  But in the end, we will maybe be able to see things in a different way.  We will have grown a little from that experience.  She also said that we become more set in our ways when we only surround ourselves with like-minded people.

people talking clipart

I agree with the First Lady.  I believe that we all could benefit from more of these conversations.  I know I am strong in my own personal beliefs, whether they are political, religious, or just drawn on my own life experiences.  However, I am always open to talking to someone who has a different view from mine (as long as they are willing to talk and not just hurl insults or say people are worse than Hitler because, frankly, no one is worse than Hitler). Talking is easy.

I suppose it’s genetic that I enjoy a good argument.  I don’t mean the kind of arguments that go back and forth over baseball teams.  I mean the kind of arguments that require intelligent conversations, points and counterpoints, examples that can maybe help someone stand in another’s shoes for a minute.

Calvin and Suzie knew how to argue!

Calvin and Susie knew how to argue!

Yes, these conversations can sometimes be difficult to have.  Both people may come to the conversation with their own stubborn ideas that they are convinced will never be changed.  One may think that the other person can’t possibly know what they are talking about.  But if we approach these situations with an open mind, even if it’s just cracked open, there is a chance for a conversation.  There is a chance for people being able to maybe see the path to a compromise.  There is a chance for people being able to maybe see a way that one person can make a difference.

I also think it’s important that we remember that we should have friends who have different beliefs (on some levels) because a person’s political or religious beliefs should not dictate who that person truly is.  Yes it may be a big part of who they are and yes it may have a very strong influence on his or her world view, but these should not determine them entirely as a friend and as a person.  I have many friends who do not have even remotely close to the same political beliefs.  Does that mean I cannot be friends with them?  No.  Does that mean I can overlook everything they say without getting a little annoyed.  No.  But do I let it affect my friendship? How could I?  Those people are a wonderful chance for me to try to understand the other side and maybe give them a chance to understand my side.  I’m not saying I’m out to convert them to the dark side of the force, or am I on the Jedi side, I don’t know…

Jefferson quote

Ultimately, you should talk to people, get to know them.  As you get to know them, you’ll know them as a person.  Don’t look at them as a Red Stater or a Blue Stater; A Christian or an Athiest; a Man or a Woman; look at them as a person who is an equal member (at least theortically) of this amazing country we live in.  It may be uncomfortable at times, when those arguments happen, but just remember that the argument does not define the person.  It is their right to their opinion and it is your right to your opinion.  What you do with that opinion and what you do to learn about the opinion of others is the more important step.

Today’s blog is part of the May NaBloPoMo.  The theme this month is Comfort.  Today’s prompt was “Frank Clark said: “We find comfort among those who agree with us – growth among those who don’t.” Agree or disagree?”

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I Want my Mommy

Yesterday was an interesting day.  I spent the day doing my normal Thursday routine and then picked the Daughter up from school.  After that, the Husband and I had an appointment to go to.  That meant the Daughter got to spend some quality time with Nana, something she normally really enjoys.

Last night, it started with Whiney McWhinerton taking over my sweet adorable Daughter, a common thing on the nights where she stays up a little late.  We left with the Daughter whining about not wanting to go out for pizza.  Thinking nothing of it, knowing it would subside once they left the driveway, the Husband and I left for our appointment and came home.

When I asked the Daughter if she needed a Waaambulance, she actually laughed and thought it was funny...

When I asked the Daughter if she needed a Waaambulance, she actually laughed and thought it was funny…

When the Daughter came home, she was off the walls.  Hyper, excited, crying, tired, worked up, you know, the typical 4-year-old up a little past her bedtime behavior.

As we went through our bedtime routine, a few things happened that earned a few reminders to not launch herself from Mommy’s pillow toward the foot of the bed and potentially on the floor.  That in turn led to tears of the inconsolable variety. Which led to us cuddled up in her bed, reading a bed time story.

At the end of Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes, I asked her what was wrong, because she was still whimpering a little.  Her first answer was a very sad sounding, “Nothing.”  I asked again, why was she so worked up tonight?

“Because I missed you today.  I didn’t see you really.  I just needed you.”

Those words hit me right in the feels.

I realized in that instant that I was even more in love with this little girl than I was a second before that.  I realized that I am her Mommy.  I’m the one who makes her feel safe, the same way my Mom makes me feel safe when I’m having a tough time of things.  It’s not the same now that I am adult, but my Mom is there to talk to, to listen, to laugh when I talk like a crazy person about the upcoming surgery.

mother

I think that for a lot of people, their Mom was that person who was a stable rock, even if they were struggling themselves with a million things!

I am grateful that I have my Mother with me still.  And this coming Mother’s Day is just one more day for me to remember how lucky I truly am to have the woman who raised me be an example of so many things.  After all, she just found out she passed her Statistics for Psychology class on her first shot (something not easily done from what I understand)!  I hope that those of you who have your Mom in your life pick up the phone and call (NOT TEXT!), drive over for a visit, or just plan on spending some time with the woman who raised you and provided you with all those years of security and comfort.

This post is written as part of the May NaBloPoMo.  The theme this month is Comfort.  Today’s prompt: Who do you like to see when you’re feeling uncomfortable who instantly makes you feel grounded?

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Music for the Mood

Music is one of those forces that can bring me off the ledge. I call it a force because it truly moves me. I know that whatever emotion I am feeling, there is a song that will help me calm down, cry it out, or come to some kind of empowered feeling over whatever may be troubling me.

I don't think I've ever listened to music like this...

I don’t think I’ve ever listened to music like this…

To pick just one song is difficult because, for me, it really depends on the mood.

If I am feeling upset or maybe angry, Tori Amos can usually do the trick with most anything off of the Little Earthquakes cd.  I think it’s because that particular album is so raw and open. She pours her soul into every song and to this day, it does something to me.  I can get in my good cry, shake my fists at the ghosts in my head, and move on.

On those perfect summer days, the days where the sky is a perfect blue and the sunroof and all the windows are rolled down, I find I need something happy and moving, even if it means I might risk a speeding ticket.  Dave Matthews Band (Two Step, Dancing Nancies, Warehouse), O.A.R. (Crazy Game of Poker, Dareh Meyod, Hey Girl, Love and Memories), U2 (Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby) are all songs and albums that can make me just want to drive until I run out of gas just because I can.

driving music

The blur I see when I drive listening to music that makes me happy.

Music is powerful.  Don’t ever underestimate it!

This post is part of the May NaBloPoMo.  The theme for the month is Comfort.  Today’s prompt is “What song do you play to bring yourself comfort?”  Tired…that’s why this post is so short…tired…

What songs comfort you?

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Oooh, That Smell…

I sometimes think I have an overly sensitive nose.  Certain smells are fantastic.  Clean linen, lilacs, roses, fresh cut grass, and early spring and summer mornings are all smells that make my heart happy.  Do they make me comfortable?  Maybe. To be honest, I never really thought about it until today’s NaBloPoMo prompt.  I suppose that is also why I procrastinated writing this post all day.  I was thinking about smells and do they make me comfortable.

Sunny

I know certain smells make me want to vomit.  Smells that come wafting out of Abercrombie and Fitch, vanilla scented candles (yes, I know I’m weird), bacon (please don’t stop following my blog because I don’t like the smell, or taste that matter, of bacon), and the litter box (a common one) all nauseate me.

The smells I mentioned in the beginning though, remind me of happy things.  Campfires remind me of family camping trips in New Hampshire and southern Maine, of laughter, and of going down (baby) rapids backwards in a canoe because Brother #2 pushed too hard off the rock he was supposed to push off of.

Lilacs and roses make me think of my Nana and her love of her garden and her flower arrangements.  I wish I had inherited her green thumb, alas, I sadly cannot keep anything alive for very long.

Books.  Yes, books are another amazing and happy smell.  A library smells like memories of books read, friends met on the pages, worlds traveled, triumphs, losses, and lives lived.

I suppose when it comes down to it, there is some comfort in smells.  Maybe I should look more for that comfort over the carbohydrate filled comfort.  Either way, I’m  contemplating whether or not keep a journal of the smells and what memories they conjure up.  It might just a writing exercise to keep the wheels greased so to speak, but it would be no different from the weather journal I kept back in college for a semester of my creative writing seminar.  It could be an interesting thing…smells, a retrospective.

Then again, the journal idea could stink.

This post was written as part of the May NaBloPoMo.  The theme this month was comfort and the prompt for today was “Do certain smells make you feel instantly comfortable?”  And I’m sorry if you are still groaning over that last line.  I just really couldn’t help myself.  It was right there, ripe for the picking…

What smells make you feel comfortable?

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Eating the Emotions

It is not a secret, dear reader, that I go to Weight Watchers.  I do not hide that and have talked about it frequently in my blog.  I have not had the most successful year with this whole grand endeavor but, with surgeries and other glorious set backs, I have not gained everything back yet.  I consider that to be a success!

As I work through Weight Watchers and re-learning my relationship with food, I have had to do a lot of thinking and reflecting.  A great deal of that reflection always brings me back to the “why” of my eating.  The reasons that bring me my weekly Thursday night always come back to the fact that I am an emotional eater.

Makes sense to me...

Makes sense to me…

It really doesn’t matter what emotion it is that overwhelms me, I turn to comfort food.  My definition of comfort food would be ice cream, cookies, chocolate, cakes…anything filled with carbohydrates and sugary sweetness.  It’s not something I’m proud of but, it is something that I deal with on a daily basis.  I have to constantly remind myself that it’s ok to feel my emotions, not feed them.  I am not always successful.

Many people do this.  Most people though know when to stop and don’t feed every single emotion they feel.  Sadly, I am not most people.  It’s a tough habit to break and at the same time can be terrifying because I have to face the emotions that I sometimes don’t want to face.  I guess that’s part of being a grown up though.  Facing those feelings and knowing how to handle them is just one thing that needs a little extra work.

This post is part of the May NaBloPoMo.  This month’s theme is Comfort, though today’s post was a little uncomfortable, but that’s ok.  I did not reach for cookies to write this…  Today’s prompt was “What makes you reach for a comfort food?”

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I Scream, You Scream

Comfort food is amazing.  Well, I should amend that statement.  It tastes amazing.  It isn’t amazing for one’s health.  And for someone who sought comfort in food for a good part of her life, I can tell you that it’s not amazing for my health.  That doesn’t change the fact that sometimes, you simply need it.  Mom’s American Chop Suey, Nana’s Pepperoni Bread, meatloaf, mashed potatoes…comfort food.

For me, it’s a simple choice – ice cream has always the best comfort food out there.

Outset

Pretty much any flavor, with the exception of anything orange creamsicle or coconut flavored or weird culinary flavors like Lobster Ice Cream (which I have tried),   is fair game when it comes to comfort.

Ben and Jerry are personal heroes of mine.  They have managed to create some of the best flavors of ice cream on this beautiful planet.  The creaminess of the cream; the swirls of chocolate, caramel, marshmallow, peanut butter, or whatever else is in there; the flavor of the cream; the chunks of chocolate, brownies, cookies, chocolate dipped waffle cones…all of it is a masterpiece that, as I type this, is making my mouth water.   Most recently, the limited batch of Cannoli ice cream (hands off those who live near me – it’s mine – all mine!)  was called upon during the last week when I was waiting for some results from the doctor.  It is now probably my most favorite ice cream on the planet.  It’s savory and sweet.  It’s creamy and crunchy.  It’s heaven in a pint.

cannoli-wtgi

I know it’s not a healthy way to respond to stress or a bad day, but sometimes, there is nothing better than eating some ice cream right out of the little pint. I suppose that is also why I have to attend Weight Watchers weekly but enough of that talk.  Right now, we’re talking about comfort food.

Why does ice cream have this effect on me?  Why do I always feel better after I have a little bit (or a lot) of this delicious frozen treat?  For the answer, we can thank some pretty awesome scientists.

How my inner child feels when I eat ice cream.

How my inner child feels when I eat ice cream.

A few years ago, a group of scientists and doctors actually proved that ice cream does something to the brain.  It actually can make you happy!  I know that it’s a temporary happiness but seriously – did you ever think that ice cream could impact your brain like that?

Apparently, comfort food, as a whole category of food, has been the subject of many studies.  Psychologist, neurologists, all kinds of people, seeking the truth behind the reasons people turn to the foods they turn to.   I find it fascinating to know that ice cream, of all of the comfort foods out there, has been proven to actually activate the sections of your brain that make you happy.

This post was written as part of the May NaBloPoMo.  This month’s theme is “comfort” and today’s prompt was “What is your biggest comfort food?  Share the recipe if you have one.”  And being an expert of comfort foods and eating for comfort, today’s post was easy peasy…What’s your favorite comfort food?

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Can I Sleep on a Cloud?

My bedding is no joke.  I need specific things to ensure a quality night sleep.

The sheets must be a certain thread count in addition to being cotton.  I need a nice cotton blanket.  I need my feather down comforter.  But, above all else, I need to have my perfectly filled feather down pillows.

I never realized how much I was spoiling myself.  When we went on our last vacation, I was able to overlook the lesser thread count sheets used by most hotels.  I was able to deal with the cheaper blanket that was more polyester than anything.  I was able to overlook the heavy and rather flat comforter that slid off the polyester blanket and inevitably ended up on the floor.

I was not, however, able to overlook the flat, foam-filled, rectangles they were trying to pass off as pillows.

That's how I feel when I sleep on strange pillows.

That’s how I feel when I sleep on strange pillows.

I tried using extra pillows.  I tried rolling the pillow up, because sadly, I was able to roll it.  I tried forgoing the pillow altogether. I tried sleeping on my back, my side, my stomach.  Nothing.  Nothing was comfortable.  The first night on vacation, I woke up with a headache, one that was caused by the sub-par pillows (at least that is what I convinced myself).  I eventually adjusted to these flattened pieces of fabric that they were passing off as pillows.

But that first night home, that first sleep, was heaven. It was like sleeping on a cloud.  My head sank to the appropriate depth.  No rolling required.  No tossing and turning to figure out the best position to attempt to sleep.

It totally is a first world problem.  Half way through writing this, I found myself thinking about people who don’t even have beds or flat pillows to sleep on – People in America who have to sleep in their cars or outside; People in other countries that worry their pillows might be blown up in an air raid or an insurgent attack; People who just cannot understand the joy of a feather down pillow.

feather pillows

I feel silly now blubbering on about a feather pillow, no matter how nice it may be.  Maybe it’s time to talk about how I can help someone else get a good night’s sleep, improve upon their current conditions, make them a little more comfortable.

Everyone should be able to know the comfort of sleeping on a fantastic pillow or have a cozy blanket (if that’s what they want).  Shelters in your area (yes, even if you don’t see them on the streets there are pretty good chances there are homeless people and people in need in your own area) are almost always looking for donations of blankets, pillows, and bed linens.  Why not go out and, if you can spare a little extra this week, get  a blanket and donate it.  Get a pillow and donate it.  Make someone else as comfortable as you are.

This post was written as part of the May NaBloPoMo.  The theme this month is comfort and the post for today was “Which would you rather have: a super-soft pillow or a warm, fuzzy blanket?”  

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My BFF Sarah Jane

1983 was the year of the Cabbage Patch.

I remember (vaguely since I was only 3 and 1/2 years old) waiting in the car while one of my parents went into Toys R Us in Cranston, RI to get one for my older cousin and one for me.  I don’t remember much other than getting home and being told that her wonderful name was Sarah Jane and that she was all mine.

Mine kind of looked like this but had a different yellow dress.

Mine kind of looked like this but had a different yellow dress.

I got her home and she was wonderful.  She smelled good.  She had beautiful brown yarn hair that I loved to play with.  She had a beautiful yellow dress and little white shoes.  I loved her.

My mother was pregnant at the time with Brother #2 and I remember that Sarah Jane was going to be my baby.  When Brother #2 came, I brought Sarah Jane with me to the hospital to meet the newest Brother and I remember the nurses in the maternity ward giving me some diapers for my baby.  I was so happy.  I remember just changing her diapers and feeling like I was taking care of my baby like my mom was taking care of hers.

I loved that doll.   She was my partner in crime and was with me almost all the time.  I still have her, a Cabbage Patch preemie “Patrick,” and a Cabbage Patch Koosa cat in the closet.  Maybe it’s time to bring them out for the daughter so she can introduce them to her dolls?

Patrick and my Koosa

Patrick and my Koosa

This post was written as part of the May NaBloPoMo.  This month’s theme is Comfort and the post for 5/1 was “Did you have a favourite stuffed animal or lovey as a child?  Tell us about it.” 

What was your favorite stuffed animal as a child? 

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