TToT – Breathing Space

Categories Family, Health, Life, Love, Self

I can breathe.

Seems obvious, right? But no. Ever since we all had the flu back in mid-February, I have been unable to breathe well for one reason or another – upper respiratory congestion, lower respiratory congestion, whatever. Over-the-counter nasal spray has become my close companion, but while it provides blessed and instant relief, that stuff is baaaad for you. Anyway, I stopped using it a few days ago and after a couple of really tough days of withdrawal from the stuff, I am happy to report that I can breathe again without help from a nebulizer, nasal spray, or anything else.

It feels great and I’m thankful to be breathing normally once again.

On the subject of breathing…

Last week went by fast – like really fast. No idea why. Time flew and it felt like none of us here could catch our breath for even a second. But we made it through. Yay. When we got to the weekend, we took the opportunity to – yes, I’m going to do this – take a breather and relax. We watched a couple of movies together over the weekend, made popcorn, did some reading, puttered around and did a few small chores. But basically we stopped to catch our breath.

Snow. Melted. One day last week I had a little car picnic in the park. That was nice. Now we’re getting a few days of rain (which I love) to wash it all away and hopefully that will be the end of winter.

I survived a Twitter chat last week. Man, that stuff goes by fast. Do you have any idea what that feels like for someone wtih ADHD? Not all that fun, that’s what. But I managed to make it through, got some good info, made some contacts, and now I can add that to my list of things I know I can do. Sort of.

Awesome food. Tried a couple of new things this last week and one in particular was quite delicious – aloo gobi (spiced cauliflower and potatoes) in the slow cooker. Served it with warm naan bread and a cucumber raita on the side. Amazing. And wicked easy. That will show up again. Also, I’m thankful for the eight quarts of homemade vegetable broth I made and put in the freezer this weekend, plus another four quarts of chicken broth from last week. That will keep us in good shape for a while.

Zilla had a great and busy week. Her second trimester report card was amazing, proving once again that hard work pays off. She’s proud of her accomplishment and so are we. Her school finished up their COGAT testing last week and she made it through with ease. I’m thankful she didn’t have any real trouble with the testing scenario. Speaking of testing, last week our girl tested for her brown belt in karate. I KNOW! Hard to believe she’s been doing this for two years already and that we’ve hit this major stage of her training. She did so well at her test and at the graduation demo and she is SO happy and proud of herself. This one made her pretty nervous for a number of reasons, but she made it through and she’s on her way to the next big goal. With that new belt comes a new class time and the three of us are beyond happy about this. The 4:30 PM start time we’ve had for the last year or so has been a tough one. The new class time is two hours later which means plenty of time between school and karate for homework, dinner, etc. It will be a tight squeeze to get home and get her into bed on time, but we’re equal to the task. This time change is going to be so good for all of us.

This thing…my jar opener. Pretty sure it was a wedding gift and went unused for a very long time. But for some reason, the orange juice we buy is very difficult for me to open. Maybe it’s my RA. Maybe it’s the bottle design. I don’t know. OK, it’s probably the RA. But I do know that I’m pretty happy to have this little guy to help me out on days when my hands don’t want to work.

I am thankful again for opportunity this week. I wish I could say I’m thankful for definitive circumstances resulting from those opportunities, but at this point I’m glad for opportunity.

I’ve finished writing a couple of things, submitted a couple things for publication, and am continuing to move forward in that realm. I also chose not to finish writing a couple of things last week. I skipped a couple of my regular(ish) postings, but the words just weren’t coming and I chose not to force them. I’m sure much had to do with the focus on Zilla’s testing and graduation. Life is often a question of making choices and prioritizing. I did exactly that and did so without guilt.

I’m thankful for time to read and for a huge pile of “to be read” items. For many years I put reading on the back burner and did not make it a priority in my day. Changing that has been a great thing. I have this pile from the library, plus three others I had in my library bag and forgot about! I also have about six other things I’m working on for reviews, etc. Plenty of options.

And Zilla – what a reader she is! She just finished a hefty book – 400ish pages – and immediately started in on a 585 page one. Yes, she’s definitely reading up a few grade levels. This last book was a bit of a challenge for her, but she kept right on going and has learned a few new words and ways to use language in the process.

Speaking of reading, I have some homework assignments to do! Last week I found out about some online courses available through our public library. Free courses. Yup, free. All that is required is a valid library card. I was delighted to find some very interesting and helpful options there, so I signed up for one immediately, even though it had started a week earlier. (Had to check out two more library books for homework.) I’m nearly caught up already and have until Wednesday until the next lesson opens, so I’m in good shape. I also re-committed to another course I signed up for forever ago and didn’t finish. Thankfully, I have lifetime access to the materials and modules, so I’m back in the swing there, too.

I’m thankful for Zilla and how much she’s learning lately. She is really growing up – which is both joyous and a bit bittersweet – and it is so much fun to see her changing and learning. She’s just so much fun to have in our lives. She has also been super helpful around the house, pitching in with small chores, meal selection and preparation, packing her lunches, and more. Such a big kid.

I’m thankful for my husband, my best friend. Mostly for putting up with me. I’m thankful that even when things are feeling a little tough, we are still a team. I’m also thankful that when he’s being sweet he knows not to bring me things like flowers that aggravate my allergies and end up dead. I’ll take a Diet Coke to go with my popcorn any day!

So. Several weeks ago, I entered my first writing contest. I figured why not? There were LOTS of entries – 100 heats, each with about 30 participants assigned – and didn’t make it out of the first round. However. I DID receive an honorable mention, so I’m actually pretty happy about that. I’ve received feedback from fellow participants and the judges, as well as a few of my friends and readers here, all of which has been helpful. Am I disappointed to get knocked out so early? Sure. But it was my first time in the game and I held no delusions of grandeur, truly. The top five in each heat moved on to round two, plus each heat had three honorable mentions. I was honorably mentioned. That’s cool.

And so I’ll write another day…

And on that note, I’m off because I have much to do and I’m a bit behind this morning.

Deep breath…onward.


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Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

16 thoughts on “TToT – Breathing Space

  1. Wow, busy life, but a good one! 🙂 I thought getting an honorable mention in a heat of 100 writing entries was more than good, it was great!! Just the beginning, you will see. I applaud you for deciding not to do a couple writing projects this week too. It took me years to learn to say “enough” for myself without feeling guilty or worrying that I let somebody down. We do better when we don’t feel overwhelmed with pressure.

    Zilla is indeed growing up so fast, one year they are in grade school and the next time you turn around they are finishing school and heading out on their own and you wonder how that happened. My daughter will turn 42 next week, it blows my mind! I love that she is thriving at both cognitive and physical activities and that she is also an active helper at the house. Too many parents are neglecting that last part nowdays and it’s important to see yourself as having responsibilities to the group.

    I love your stack of reading, spending a down day together on the weekend, and the wonderful meals you share with us on Facebook. The photos always make me hungry! I am also glad you can finally breathe again! As one whose gone through three sinus surgeries in life, I know what a wonderful feeling it is to breathe freely and to be free of addicting nasal sprays, although they are a godsend for brief periods.

    Sending Spring sunshine, and a wishing you a great week, all under the watchful supervision of the Rottens, of course. You know how much you’d miss them if they weren’t always underfoot! 🙂 XOXO

    1. I really hate missing the Six Sentence Link-up and Kristi’s Finish the Sentence Friday. But you know, life has to happen and the words were feeling too forced. So maybe I’ll find a way to incorporate the half-posts I have into this week. And yes, life is better without the feelings of overwhelm.
      I do not want to hear about Zilla moving out. I’m trying to figure out how to keep her 8 right now. 😀 And at the moment, she wants to live here forever, so…let’s just go with that for now. 😀 She really is just such a wonder and yes, thriving is the right word. She so is. We felt she was at this time last year, but even more so now.
      Oh my reading stack…it gets bigger every day and I’m still trying to plod through a very overdue one. I’m actually about to quit the online world for the night, put on my PJs, and read until my eyes are finished for the night. It will feel good. Oh, darn – just remembered I have to put the pot of soup I made into small containers and then into the fridge. Ugh. OK, one more chore…
      My Rottens slept today, as is their habit on a Monday. That works because it gives me a chance to springboard into the week without fighting them off. But yeah, I’d totally miss them.
      Have a great week, too. I’ll have to get around tomorrow to read TToTs. xo

  2. Glad to hear you are feeling better! Since I’m on week 2 of this not being able to breathe nonsense, you have no idea how much hope this post gives me. Many congrats to your daughter on her brown belt and to you on your writing submissions and honorable mention. By the way, I have that exact same style of jar opener and would be quite lost without mine as well.

    1. I saw on your blog that you’re not feeling well – I am so sorry to hear that. Seems like everyone who’s been sick the last couple of months has the never-ending illness. I do hope you feel better soon. And yes, there’s hope! 😀
      I’ll pass on your congratulations to our new little brown belt. She had her first class tonight and absolutely loved it.
      Jar openers rock!

  3. I love all your thankfuls and there were things that got me thinking…I live in a small town, so the library doesn’t have a ton of classes onsite, but they do have quite the comprehensive website with links to other national libraries. I’ll bet there’s a course or two that I might be interested in. 🙂 Jar openers are the best, aren’t they? Haha.
    And…here’s to breathing clearly, a burgeoning spring season, twitter chats (I need to try one of those), and brown belts in karate. 🙂
    I hope you have a wonderful week!

    1. I couldn’t even believe our library had the class thing – for a place with taxes as high as ours are, the library is pretty sad. And the last election was the second time the referendum to build a new one was rejected. Ridiculous. Anyway, it’s pretty small and understocked. But they are doing good stuff with programs onsite and now this online learning thing. It’s through Cengage Learning, which I’m familiar with. All free with our library card. So I’m learning. Definitely check it out.
      My jar opener is my new friend.
      And I SEE YOU at the #writestuff chat right now. (Yes, I may be multi-tasking.)
      Have a wonderful week, too.

  4. I have never had much breathing issues, thankfully, but I can imagine they are the most unnerving, the idea of struggling to get air frightens me.

    I have seen that people take part in Twitter chats, but they seem so fast paced. I don’t know if I could keep up.

    I love to hear about all the writing you are doing. Yay for chances, knowing priorities, and all the opportunities that come your way.

    1. Breathing trouble is no fun. I guess you get used to how it feels, but it’s still scary, especially when it’s new. Like when I had my first asthma attack years ago? I had NO idea what was happening and it was terrifying.
      The Twitter chat thing is crazy. 😀

  5. Glad to hear you are off the nebulizer and are feeling well again! You have been so busy with a lot of great accomplishments. Good for you! I have difficulty with opening jars also, but thanks to my husband’s help when even with using a couple of Grip Wrenches I am unable to budge the lid, the job gets done.
    That meal looks delicious! I’m going to take a look at the recipe.

    1. Yes, breathing is good. I went to choir practice last night and while my voice still isn’t 100 percent, I still hung in there with no trouble. It was good to be back.
      The aloo gobi was delicious. If you do try it, I would definitely suggest what several people did in the comments – cut way back on cayenne and jalapeno unless you love your food super hot. We skipped both because my family does not do hot and spicy. I would’ve liked a bit more, but it was still really amazing.

  6. I’m all for breathing normally! Glad you’re feeling better. And well done on surviving Twitter chat – I’ve tried a few and can hardly keep up!

  7. Hey Lisa. I need a good breather every now and then, too. I’m staying home from the gym today because my sciatic is killing me and I need to catch up. My reading pile is high and I like that you make it a priority in your day. I usually read for ten minutes before I crash at night, but I need to incorporate it into my day. I like that you do that. Yay for Zilla. Love of reading is perhaps one of the greatest joys in life.

    1. Sciatic pain is the worst! When I was studying and working in martial arts years ago I often had sciatic pain from the constant motion, rotation of the hip, etc. Pretty sure that’s where mine all started. My chiropractor used to ask what the heck I did to myself all the time. 😀 Usually I have it pretty much under control now. Of course, I don’t use and abuse my body quite the way I did 25 years ago, either. 😀
      You know, I realize that reading is an important part of my work as a writer – and an important part of life, really, no matter what you do. And yet, I still can’t completely push down the feeling of guilt when I am “just” reading a book. Gotta work on that.
      Hope your sciatic pain eases up!

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