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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Out of My Comfort Zone

I am the queen of great ideas and little follow through. Usually when it comes to actually going through with the idea I manage to talk myself out of it.  Tonight, I left work a little bit earlier than I had planned and decided I should stop and see my grandpa at the hospital.  He has been in and out for the last three or four months and sadly has been admitted again.  Grandpa is eighty-nine years old and unfortunately his heart and kidneys are not doing the greatest.

On my way to visit him I started to panic and wonder if I should really go on my own.  I started to wonder if no one else is there are we going to have anything to talk about.  I love my grandpa but I started to wonder if it would just be really awkward.  Then I started to remember that I needed to put my insecurities aside.  Did I really want to let those stupid things keep me from spending time with someone I love.  He is alone in a hospital room wondering when he gets to go home. 

I am so happy I stopped to see him.  I actually got to spend time alone with my grandpa that I normally would not get the chance, especially with our crazy family.  He was eating dinner and watching the news.  Watching the news with your grandpa just seems like something every grandkid needs to do at some point.  I also was able to be helpful and cut up his chicken breast.  I'm not sure why the hospital would give something that clearly needs to be cut up to an elderly patient.

Grandpa is hoping to go home tomorrow, it will all depend on his platelets, blood sugar level and mobility.  I will hopefully get to visit him at home in the next few days.  This way he will have the opportunity to interrupt me while I'm talking to Grandma, he doesn't like when she gets the attention.  Their house is one of my favorite places in the world to be.  I was lucky enough that the phrase "over the hill and through the woods" was a true statement. 

There was nothing better in the world than trekking through the woods to my grandparent's house for popsicles.  No one will ever forget the time my brother and I, ages three and five, made the journey alone.  If the idea of toddlers hiking through the woods isn't scary enough for you, add some not so friendly cattle.  Grandpa and Grandma's house was the ultimate playground. 

I need to remember that when I give into my fear I miss out on really special moments.  Today was one of those days, my grandpa told me he loved me, something he has never said to me before. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Shopped Til We Dropped

Today is my only day off this week and I needed to make the most of the day.  It also wasn't technically a full day off considering I had to bring outfits from work to a fashion show being put on by a local Girl Scout troop.  To try and keep it more on the fun side verses a work obligations I decided to bring along my oldest niece Lilly.  So she was my little assistant for the day.

She loved the fashion show and it was a nice event to be involved in as a community outreach.  I loved how excited Lilly got, as she watched each one of the girls come out especially the ones wearing clothes from my store.  I think it is important for girls to be involved in activities like Girl Scouts.  I was involved in 4H and it made a huge impact on my development and social skills.  I know that dealing with my social anxiety would be even harder if I hadn't had those experiences growing up.

After the fashion show we did one of my favorite hobbies, shopping!  As far back as I can remember I have loved shopping.  I even love grocery shopping.  When I was in my early teens I talked my mom into letting me make a menu for the week and do the grocery shopping.  To me shopping is more than just buying things.  I love the planning and searching that goes a long with the process too.  Not that I don't get carried away in the moment and end up at home with items I really didn't need.

Todays shopping trip had two missions, one to get gifts for my other niece's upcoming birthday and camping supplies for the concert in June.  We started at the clothing stores first since they are near my store.  Of course I couldn't just buy gifts for the one niece, I let Lilly pick out an outfit for herself.  I would have done the same thing if Maddie was with, in fact I'm sure I have.  We also decided we better get the boys outfits.  When I buy clothes for the kids it is more for my enjoyment then theirs, it is like having living dolls.  I love playing dress up.

Our next stop was at Menards to get the tent I had seen on sale while researching tents earlier.  I think I did more research on the tent then I did when I purchased my car.  I started second guessing myself again and ended up getting the tent I had planned on but one size larger.  We also picked up several other camping related items.  I am happy to say at least I have a camping trip planned.  I have a bad habit of buying things for a new activity and then not following through.  I really do want to try and embrace camping, I feel like I am evolving and could handle roughing it. 

We ended our shopping trip at good old Walmart.  I needed to get a few things for the work week and a few more small items to add to Maddie's gift.  Lilly had also been waiting all day to pick out her yarn for her blanket I will eventually be making.  The plan was to have all of them done by Maddie's party but that is in only six days and I'm only half way done  with Waylon's and would still need to finish Lilly's. 

I am now exhausted, I am pretty sure I did shop till I dropped.  Yes, the retail therapy was nice but the time with my niece was the best part.  I love all my nieces and nephews so much and feel so blessed that because I don't have kids I can give them the extra love and attention.  They will also make excellent camping buddies. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Worried for Nothing

I needed to take a break from writing to clear my head and trying and figure out what direction I want to go in with my life and my writing.  I struggle with wanting to make sure my writing is for pleasure and not something I feel like I have to do.  I think with the pressures of work and my pending colonoscopy I got writers block.  Even though I had all of these things going on in my life I couldn't find the words to express myself. 

I had my colonoscopy today and all is good.  The bleeding was probably the result of not enough fiber in my diet, another wonderful sign that I'm getting old.  I have to say the actual procedure is not a big deal, it is the prep for the procedures that makes me  happy I will not have to have another one until I am fifty.  I thought not getting to eat for over twenty-four hours would be the hard thing, not so.  I was so nauseous from all the laxatives food was as far from my mind as possible. 

The dogs will be sad tomorrow that I cannot continue to lay with them on the couch, time to go back to work.  I was a little worried how I would feel but other than a headache from the dehydration I don't feel that bad.  I'm wondering if I could bring back the fashion trend with gloves tomorrow, my hands I'm guessing are going to be quiet bruised.  Once again they had trouble getting an IV in me, even with my suggestion of trying my hand verses my arm. 

I was doing good and staying calm through all of this until the needle popped my vein on my hand.  The nurse had a fancy word for what came next but basically I got extremely nauseous and started burning up.  Since this isn't the first time this has happened I knew to immediately ask for a puke bag, to be laid down flat and a cold clothe.  My mum was sweet and tried to calm me as they fought to put the IV into my other hand.  I guess I love giving the nurses something to talk about. 

You would have thought though my mum was the patient, the nurses kept coming in to see her but it was to smell her.  She was wearing her Young Living Essential oil Peace and Calming.  The nurses were even asking me about it as they were wheeling me in my bed down to the procedure.  That is what I love about my mum she can make friends anywhere.  So as she waited for me she chatted with the nurses.  We have to laugh, she even made one go to the bathroom crying.  Not that it is funny that she started crying it was just the circumstances around the entire day.

The nurse and my mum had started to talk about dog rescue while she was prepping me for the procedure.  While I was gone my mum started to tell her about a batch of dogs Peke n Chin Midwest is trying to rescue.  The seventeen pekes have been surrendered to a shelter in North Dakota.  We know that the pekes would be better off if we could put them in  foster homes and then adopt them out.  Pekes don't adopt well and would be better in an organization like Peke n Chin that specializes in the breed.  The current challenge is to raise the funds in order to rescue and support seventeen additional dogs.  We are currently trying to raise the additional funds at You Caring.

So my focus has turned from fear to how I can better my life and that of those around me, including my furry friends. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Another Doctors Visit

I've been laying in bed for the last two hours trying to decide if I'm brave enough to write about my latest issue.  I started this blog as a form of therapy but also to be open about my struggles with depression and anxiety in an attempt to help others.  I now am facing a new issue that is also one of those issues people do not like to talk about.  I decided that if I'm going to face my fears I need to continue to be open and honest.

Yesterday when I was doing all of that crazy yard work I got sick to my stomach, I am assuming from getting overheated.  I got nauseous and sick to my stomach.  This was not too unusual but when I went to the bathroom I noticed a large amount of blood, including clots.  It was bad enough that I showed my mum, even with her being my mum I still felt weird showing it to her.  She suggested going to the doctor I told her I would make an appointment for next week.  I could see her concern so I made one for this morning before work.

You would think by now I wouldn't be so nervous about telling the doctor/nurses what is wrong but its just not fun.  I know that they hear all sorts of stuff and it is their job but it is just weird explaining your bowel movements to a complete stranger.  The morning got even more interesting when I got to have a rectal exam.  I guess after going through that this morning I have an extra bit of courage.  I know I'm not the only one who feels embarrassed by the whole process but I'm guessing it is more common than we think.  In fact when they asked me if we had a family history of these issues I answered incorrectly because I never knew my father had polyps removed because no one likes to talk about issues in that area.

Unfortunately the scope this morning did not find any reason for the bleeding which means I now get to face a new challenge a colonoscopy.  I got sent hope with all of the fun pre-op instructions which sound way worse than the actual procedure.  I won't even begin to write about it, no one wants to know the details.  Just know that Wednesday and Thursday I probably won't be doing much writing. 

I'm trying to keep myself off of WebMD and just focus on work and getting prepared to be off for a couple of days.  My mum made a good point today when she reminded me stress is only going to make things worse.  Even if they find polyps they can easily be removed before they become cancer.  Maybe I just have something really cool stuck in my intestines, maybe I ate a rare coin that is worth a ton of money. 

I will be working on lots of techniques to calm my anxiety this week, I think it would be a good idea to pull out my anxiety workbook and do a few exercises.  I did an amazing job today keeping calm when they did my blood tests, first time in a long time I didn't pass out.  I will try and be open and honest about the process without grossing anyone out.  I hope that if you or someone you know has this happen they know they aren't alone and it isn't as bad as they think. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Vitamin D Was So Needed

The last two days I got what I needed to turn my attitude around sunshine and fresh air.  I had two days off from work and since the weather was finally amazing I decided to actually be productive on my day off and help with yard work.  Even though it was work it was actually really nice.  Not to say tomorrow I might be thinking differently when I can't move my arms.

It is not that I have a desk job but I'm not extremely physical.  I have some lovely blisters on my hands, nothing like battle scars to prove you did something.  I think it was the first time I have shoveled that much dirt.  My favorite part of the day was my parent's yorkie insisted on riding on the wheel barrow of dirt.  The one thing I enjoy about physical labor is seeing results immediately. 

I also used the time to do some reading.  I thought it would be a good time to finally read "Stand Out" by Marcus Buckingham given the recent events at work.  Marcus Buckingham was one of the author's of "Strength Finders" and has written an additional book with a new strengths assessment.  I love assessments, especially when the results give you a clear understanding of how to improve and understand yourself.

The assessment gives you two of nine strength results.  There is then a chapter on each of the strengths, explaining them as well as how to use the strengths in our lives.  My strengths came up as provider and stimulator.  It was interesting to read about both of these strengths and use that information to better understand how to work through the issues at work.  The assessment also comes with a profile on their website that will provide articles tailored to my strengths. 

I am thankful that I am in a better frame of mind and optimistic. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Day of Tears

Well the conversation I thought I was ready for did not go well at all.  I started the day out with counseling the one good point of the day.  The only problem with that was I worked on tackling through some issues that left me a bit overwhelmed with my feelings.  I am coming to realize that I use a combination of control and justification as ways of protecting myself.  I don't know how to give up either without trust.

I went into the conversation with an open mind and the desire to talk through our issues and come up with a plan of how we could get on the same page.  I wanted to talk through her frustrations as well as mine.  I wanted to try and figure out how we could create better communication to ensure the job gets done correctly.  This did not happen.  Instead of discussing issues she attacked my personality.  I have received constructive feedback in the past but this was not constructive.

Instead of giving me examples of thing that frustrate her and how I could do them better I was told that she does not like me as a person.  I thought we were going to discuss how I could better help her with her role and instead I was told that the only problem she has with the job is me.  She feels that the store would be better off without me.  That my perfectionism is not necessary and I have control issues.  She also told me that I act better than everyone because I have a college degree and came from the second largest store in our company.

This really hurt.  Some of it hurt because I knew certain things were true to an extent, most of it hurt because it wasn't said out of care it was said to hurt me.  At no point did I feel like I was being given this feedback because this person wanted me to do a better job.  It was the first time I have ever cried in front of an employee.  I tried to hold it together but there is no way she did not notice the tears in my eyes.  The conversation ended with me asking for some time to think things through.  I don't know what I'm suppose to do, this person is asking me to be someone I am not.  I know I could make improvements and I fully embrace that but I don't know how much I can or want to change.

Thankfully she asked to leave early and I was able to hide in the bathroom and really cry.  I wanted so bad to just go home and cry in peace.  I wanted to go somewhere and just feel sorry for myself.  I couldn't do that.  One, it would set a horrible example and second, I would be some of those horrible things then.  I had no choice but to put on a happy face.

My saving grace was my best friend Brooke answering my texts and trying to keep me positive.  I don't know how many times she has come to my emotional rescue.  I could spend the rest of my life trying to repay her for everything she has done.  My peace also comes in the fact that I was her boss before I was her friend, she understands me on a personal and professional level.   

One thing I discussed with my counselor today was trying to figure out ways to deal with my emotions when they are overwhelming that does not involve eating.  I have used food as a coping mechanism; I justify eating bad food because my life often sucks.  When I took my dinner break I really had to remind myself that bad food was not going to make anything better.  Yes the day was not going the best but adding to my increasing weight gain was only going to make things worse.  The food would only be a temporary Band-Aid.  I was good and got fruit and a salad. 

On my way home my mind once again started racing.  I kept replaying the conversation in my head and adding to it another rough convo that had happened early in the week.  I was approached by a friend questioning how I tend to distance myself from others and her concerns.  Now I start to wonder how many of these people are correct?  Do I need to take a closer look at my life?  I know we all need to continue to grow and change but am I doing a good enough job at that.  Maybe it isn't a bad thing that I hate myself.  If these people don't like who I am, maybe there is some truth in that statement. 

I've been crying for the last hour, trying to figure out what I can do different.  I want to be better, I don't want people to be unhappy because of me.  I want to help people even though sometimes I really can't stand people.  Days like today I wonder if I would just be happy in a cabin alone in the woods.  But do I really want to be a crazy lady who lives alone and talks to animals? 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Confrontation - Rain Check Please

My job requires me to correct issues often.  This would not be a problem but I don't do well with confrontation.  I try and manage my business and employees so I have as little confrontation as possible.  Friday I had a situation with an employee that lead to a disagreement.  Instead of getting upset and saying something I might regret I asked if we could speak about it on Monday after I had time to think.

Normally I would have fretted all weekend long about the conversation, especially with the potential of a disagreement.  I was extremely proud of myself that I did not let it weigh on me this weekend.  Yesterday I even did some prep work for the conversation.  I wanted to make sure I had the proper information available to come up with an agreement.  I also wanted to try and look at it from her point of view and take ownership for things I could have done different.

I went into work with a clear head and a grasp on my emotions.  I was soon disappointed when she left work without telling me, not allowing me the opportunity to speak to her.  I instantly was again flooded with emotions, top of the list was anger.  I really wanted to just clear the air like adults and come to a solution.  Instead I now was questioning how much larger the situation had become.  I needed answers.

There is a good chance that she left upset about a personal issue and not solely in regards to our disagreement.  Right now I do not know.  I did get some feedback from another employee pointing out some of the complaints of that employee.  I have gone from cool and collective to questioning everything and beating myself up.  I needed the feedback, it is important to better myself.  The only problem is I don't know how to digest the feedback in a healthy manner. 

I have now spent the entire night going between being angry with her and myself.  I know I need to take ownership to certain things but I also need to figure out how to not let it get to this point.  I worry that because I am such an introvert that I am not approachable.  I also worry that because I am a perfectionist I am too hard on my employees.  I want everything to be perfect and my job is one of those areas I really push for excellence.  I feel like I'm defined by my career and if I'm not successful in my career I am a failure.

When I got home I tried to eat my feelings away.  I really wish we did not have chips in the house but there were some left over from the weekend.  And if the chips weren't bad enough I added a Wisconsin favorite to them, Top the Tater.  If you are not from Wisconsin you have no idea what I'm talking about or can even purchase this tempting dip.  It is so good but so bad for you. 

I wish I would have skipped the chips and gone straight for the best medicine, laughter.  I love to laugh, so much so that I have the Greek word for 'laugh' tattooed on my wrist. (I also have an extremely annoying laugh that I can't go anywhere without people noticing.)  I got my laugh on tonight with my favorite British talk show "Graham Norton".  I am so thankful that we have BBC America and I'm able to watch it on the tv.  A good hour of giggling was just what I needed. 

I can't avoid the conversation tomorrow.  I also need to remember that they are only words and they do not define me.  I need to listen but I do not need to agree.  We can't change unless we know what we need to improve on.  We also need to remember that we all make mistakes, it's how we handle the mistake that counts. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Did You Ever Get Married?

I had to get myself in the right frame of mind before I wrote tonight.  I am still getting over the harsh reality of turning thirty-six yesterday.  Tonight my mental therapy came in the form of a Jane Austen movie.  There is nothing better than Jane Austen to put me in a better mood.  I of course love her books but the movies are always a quick fix.
Tea at Jane Austen Centre

The ironic thing is that my comfort comes from a time period were I would be even more of an outcast than I am now.  Yes it isn't the greatest being single at thirty-six but if it was the 1800's I would be an official spinster.  I would be an inconvenience to my family and have no hope for potential marriage.  Granted there are days that I feel that this concept has not changed.

Twice this week the question came up of marriage.  First was a work colleague of my father.  Apparently they were having a discussion about who was at Easter and it came up that I was not married.  The guy's response was, "she's not married, I remembered her as attractive".  My father had no response for him.  What do you say?  My mum suggested, "that I didn't want to end up with someone like him".  I would have gone for, "she has let herself go". 

Bath, England & Jane Austen memorial (Winchester Cathedral)
Today it happened again, I ran into a girl I hadn't seen in about seven years.  Her question, "did you ever marry that guy?"  Why can't people just ask how someone is not ask them their relationship status.  If you haven't seen someone in a while don't you think they would mention something like a marriage.  I could have been horrible and asked, "have you gotten a divorce recently?"

Instead of continuing to let this issue bother me I'm going to just embrace my independence.  I am going to be like the heroine in a Jane Austen book and marry for love not just to be married.  So tonight I will dream of walking the streets of Bath, like the scene from my favorite Jane Austen book Persuasion.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Go to Sleep Pyscho

It would be very interesting if my dog Cappy could talk and I don't mean just the concept of dogs speaking.  I think more about what he would say as a first hand witness of my craziness.  A great example would be the last few nights.  The first thing he would probably say to me is "why the hell are you up at two a.m. watching an Australian t.v. show and knitting?"  Second, "its now four a.m. and you are playing candy crush". 

I know I should be sleeping but the moment I get in my room I'm wide awake.  It is does not matter how tired I am the moment night comes I'm wide awake.  I know I should take my sleeping pill the minute I get in there but I start doing anything but that.  Other than writing none of the things I tend to do at night are of any importance.  I do want to get the kids blankets done but I don't have to stay up all night.  The point of knitting is relaxation not a distraction from sleeping. 

There are lots of reason I need to be sleeping but it seems impossible without pills.  I am starting to wonder if it is because recently my dreams have been bad.  I have no control over my dreams and this scares me.  I don't now why my subconscious is punishing me.  Why ten years later do I still dream about him breaking up with me?  There is nothing worse than someone you once loved telling you all the things they hate about you every night in your dreams. 

Things need to change and it has to start with tackling this issue.  I cannot improve the other areas of my life if I am not sleeping.  I need to remember they are only dreams and they are not real.  I need to stop filling the nights with mindless activities.  If I cannot manage to get this under control, I am going to have to go back to no electronics in my room.  I know I become obsessive about things and starting a project or t.v. show at night is not something I can do without causing issues. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Surviving the Holiday

I could have easily have just stayed in my room all day, I actually had an excuse I have a cold.  I've been sick for three days but a busy retail weekend didn't leave time to be sick.  I did sleep late and missed church, I wish I hadn't.   I thought about just staying in my room but it just didn't seem right.  So once the family got home I came out and started preparing the food. I love cooking, it brings me comfort in social situations.

I made sure my hands were super clean, didn't want to be responsible for passing any germs on.  I did not feel the greatest but it was nice to be out in the kitchen with my sister in-law and my mum getting everything ready.  Some of it could have been my control freak ways, I have to have the cheese potatoes just right.  My parent's got an emergency cake just in case I wasn't up to making mine but we ended up not needing it.  I even got some extra energy to make a cute twinkie peep treat I saw on Pintrest. 

Once people started arriving I started to feel a bit of a panic, nothing that I can't handle.  I did take advantage of the fact I still had some stuff in the oven and stayed in the house for a while.  Don't worry I wasn't alone, I stole my nephew to hangout with me.  We sat on the couch watching Teletubbies eating cheesey potatoes and buns.  After the stuff in the oven was done, I decided we needed to try and be social and headed out to the family.

I don't want anyone to think there is anything wrong with my family, they are amazing.  I am the one with the issue, I get overwhelmed.  I don't know why I find it so hard to converse with my own family but I do.  The kids are a nice distraction.  I stayed out side for a bit and really tried to converse with everyone.  I was thankful that everyone enjoyed the food. 

It was nice for once to know that I didn't retreat to my room from panic.  I did go to my room after a bit but mainly because I was starting to feel super drained.  So I spent the remainder of the day in my room knitting and watching Netflix.  I did get some company via my nephew Waylon again.  He even tried to help with my knitting. 

I love my family and don't want my anxiety to keep me from enjoying these precious moments that someday I will long for. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

The One Thing That I Will Speak Up About

I don't tend to really make a statement or stand up to people about things, I don't like to push my ideas on people.  The one thing I will speak up about regardless of my anxiety is rescuing animals.  I am an animal lover and I can't let my insecurities get in the way.  I have written before about our involvement with Peke n Chin Midwest.

My mum this week did an amazing thing when she discovered an abandoned dog on her way home.  That evening she was not able to catch her but a gentleman informed her that the owners had moved away a week ago and abandoned her.  He said she had been sleeping under his propane tank and he had not been able to catch her.  The following day my mum placed a crate and food out in attempt to catch her. 

To our surprise she jumped into a ladies car who was visiting that gentleman.  They kept the dog until my mum was able to pick her up.  My mum kept her in a kennel for the evening just in case she had anything contagious.  My mum said she is quite the snuggler and very sweet.  She went to the vet this morning and they figure she is only two years old.  We are still waiting to hear if she has anything contagious so she still has to stay away from our dogs.

Peke n Chin has thankfully added her to their system.  We cannot use our local humane society, they are a kill shelter.  This is one thing I don't believe in and will speak up about.  I believe animals deserve the chance and there are plenty of people out there that will help especially with proper education.  This shelter for example gets county funding, yet refuses new members who could possibly help with new funding. 

I urge people to do the research before supporting shelters.  I also encourage people that have the time and money to foster animals.  It is great when animals can be kept in homes and socialized, especially those that have been in situations with little human contact.  We have a new foster at home who has taken a liking to me.  I have to stay strong and remember some amazing family will adopt him soon.  He was found and when they contacted the owners they did not want him back. 

I will continue to say how important it is to take owning a pet seriously, they are not a temporary thing.  On the flip size they are an amazing addition to your life. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Mood Changer

I need to do something to help turn my funky attitude around.  I decided it was time for some new music.  Thankfully one of my favorite artists had recently released a new album.  I have been a fan of Glen Hansard ever since I saw him preforming his song Falling Slowly from the movie "Once" at the 2007 Oscars.   The song won an Oscar for best original song that year.  As soon as I heard the song I had to find the movie. 

I was not disappointed!  The movie not only contained that amazing song but many others as well.  "Once" is now even a musical on Broadway.  I have it on my list of musicals to see in the near future.  Of course, I am a bit afraid I will be disappointed with the lack of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.  I had a similar experience when I saw the Broadway show of "Grease", it just wasn't the same without John Travolta and Olivia Newton John. 

I wasn't able to see Glen Hansard live until three years ago at First Ave; it was well worth the wait.  I saw him again last August and again wasn't disappointed.  I think my mum and I have become groupies.  I tried to talk her into going to Milwaukee last February again to see him again but we couldn't coordinate our schedules.  So we will be waiting  for his next American tour.

When we saw him in August he spoke of a friend that had died of alcoholism and sang one of his songs.  The album he released a couple weeks ago is a tribute to his late friend Jason Molina; "It Was Triumph We Once Proposed...". The profits from the LP will be donated to a charity in Molina's honor. 

I do love the LP but even more I love the fact that this album is a tribute to a friend.  So often it is easy to go on with our own lives.  Friendship is something I often take fore granted.  I have amazing friends but I often keep to myself.  It is not that I don't cherish each and everyone of them it is just I tend to need a lot of alone time.  I was reminded this week of how amazing my friends are when I received several text messages this week reminding me they are always there for me. 

Friendship and music are two things in my life that I find invaluable.