Mountain experience #parenting #mentalhealth

So here I am, in a large cabin up in the mountains. With twenty plus teen and pre teen boys. And a handful of adults that I barely know. The things I do for my kids. 

I am one night sleepover for Danny’s boy scout troop. They needed an adult to satisfy the proper ratio, and because of her now schedule Kim could not go. 

The demands are not too high. Drive up here with a car of kids. Help with meals, clean up. I did some socializing. Talking with other parents about our kids mostly. 

I took a walk with some parents, so I got my exercise in. I did some more preparation on my campaign. Now I am reading and doing some writing. Danny is doing his thing, 

So, it is around 7, and the near constant din of the kids arguing about how to properly play hide and seek is officially wearing me out. And there really is no escape. I’m going to have to resort to my headphones soon. 

It is much better than our infamous Cub Scout trip a few years ago. It helps that the weather is great. But more that Danny is comfortable with this group. I am not called upon to push him to participate. 

This is Danny’s ‘I am tired and I’m ready to go home now’ face. We made it home. It was a long night and morning. We were ready by 9, but had to wait until 11. But the cabin is clean. Everyone is intact. And now we can relax. 

Life has been crazy the last few weeks. And while I would rather have been at home working on some yard projects, with the prospect of sleeping in my nice bed instead of a cot. The flip side was I got a day and night away from the rest of the family, all of that chaos. And enjoy the wonderful mountain views and weather. So it was a good moment to pause and gather my thoughts and energy before the last few weeks of school. 

It was a good weekend #Life #Mentalhealth #Hobbies

Did I do everything that I would have liked this last weekend? No. But did do plenty, and I was happy with what I did accomplish. We did get the house more or less in order. I got all my chores done. And I had plenty of fun as well.

Because of the weather and other factors there are some things I did not do this weekend. I did not get any painting done. And I would have liked to leave the kitchen a little cleaner. But I did not miss anything earth shattering.

On the other hand, the laundry was mostly caught up. All of our TV shows were watched. The kids cleaned the basement. I did a little hobby stuff I had been meaning to do. And I got some paperwork filled out or at least started. I also did the menu planning and grocery shopping, which has fallen to me with Kim’s schedule change. I actually enjoy doing that, it gives me the kind of routine and control over one of the things that is most important to me: food.

And, on the gripping hand, I also had some real fun this weekend. James and a couple of his buddies and I played a rousing board game on Saturday night. We played a game of Risk Europe, which is more akin to Axis & Allies than traditional Risk. It was an epic game with several lead changes, but I managed to pull off the victory at the end. It was fun, with lots of table talk and trash talk.

Then I had my Denver game on Sunday. Which was enjoyable as always. I am still trying to figure out how best to utilize my character, but it is always fun. And good for me to have that time away. I even enjoy the drive time as it is time where I can muse and plot on the campaign I am gradually assembling in my mind.

On all sides it was a good weekend. I accomplished a lot. I had some fun. And I felt good the whole time doing it all. And now it is a new week, hopefully with no trauma. Thinking positive vibes.


Phone number color definitions:
Purple = Phone number is not in BETTI
Red = Phone number is in BETTI on an existing SP or Consumer
Green = Phone number is a metered number owned by HomeAdvisor

HA Hunter

Working on some puzzles #work #life #mentalhealth

This week I had to cope with more than a couple issues. I cannot go into some of them, just suffice to say that feedback loops are no fun. But I can talk about a few things that came up at work. 

First, there is an eternal issue in my life. As someone prone to anxiety and thus some self esteem issues I have to admit that I have always craved recognition. Not enough to do some of the normal things to get that, like excel in school or athletics. But there have been more than a few times when I have done things that I felt deserved recognition. However, as a natural introvert I am terrible at promoting what I do. This week there was a quarterly award ceremony. I felt that I had done more than what to be expected to get recognition, however, none was forthcoming. I am not saying that those who received awards were not deserving. But my natural aversion to attention worked against me. I know this sounds like whining and sour grapes. But I cannot deny that this did not weigh on my mind a good portion of the week. 

But all of that did prompt me to think more about one of the things that I do not do well at work. We have a policy where our calls are listened to and graded. One of the things we get graded on is our empathy. Well I have become good at every other piece but that. The issue is that I am apparently a little robotic. I say I am sorry, apologize etc. But the listeners are not convinced. 

Will today I had an amusing inspiration. I realized that one of my faults is that I often speak in run on sentences. “I am sorry but here is what I can do to fix it.” My idea to resolve this is that I need to channel my inner Shatner, speak in shorter, clipped phrases. Separating the apologies from the solutions. We will see how it goes, but my manager seems to like the idea behind it. 

So those are a couple of the things behind my life this week. I managed to survive my other tribulations. And I can be proud of my solutions to those problems I could resolve. 

Thinking about perspective #mentalhealth #life #parenting #work

A week or 2 ago I was doing some research on athletes and antidepressants. I came across the story of Royce White, an NBA player who became famous for his anxiety issues. And one line really struck me. The story described how his OCD sprang from his need to fend off his anxiety. And that really hit home. It all became clear. 

Being a parent and living in this society is not easy. Doing so while facing anxiety and depression is harder. So I do what I can to keep all the worries at bay with the little habits. It’s not exactly easy to have a rigid life in the face of the chaos that is parenting. So I do my best to be like a willow tree and be flexible and rigid at the same time. I like to think that I am doing a pretty good job. 

But what got me thinking about perspective was my recent job change. While routine and good habits can make me a good employee, being flexible and willing to grow will make me a great employee. My job, like most jobs can become repetitive. That appeals to my OCD, which enjoys routine and consistency. That’s where I was at my previous job: I knew what to do, I did it, and stuck to a routine. 

The challenge is that for life reasons I have to find a way to avoid taking into that trap. So over the past couple of weeks I have been working on finding different ways to keep things not so routine. I have found the best way to do this is quite simple. Change up my perspective. So every day I tinker with little things on my desktop. Different backgrounds, different window configurations, different colors. Which helps me approach each day a little bit differently. That in turn challenges me mentally to keep adapting and growing. Which will eventually bear fruit professionally. 

While it is good for my mental well being to have plenty of routine, changing up my perspective and having a little change is good too. I just have to remain aware so I do not go overboard with either change or routine, be like the willow. 

I’m still here, living the dream #mentalhealth

For all my followers, I am still here. The time off had nothing to do with any major problems for me. I am healthy (for the most part) and happy (for the most part.) Life has just been full of adjustment and some drama for the family.

But everyone is healthy (for the most part.) No one is hurt or damaged. School is still going on, along with Scouting. My work is becoming routine, but never boring. Look forward to a more detailed post this weekend.

Phone number color definitions:
Purple = Phone number is not in BETTI
Red = Phone number is in BETTI on an existing SP or Consumer
Green = Phone number is a metered number owned by HomeAdvisor

HA Hunter

Love my (eccentric, odd, extended) family #Life

This week saw an unplanned visit. Which was a truly enjoyable time. At the same time, I continued to embrace change at work. While the final stages of one project led to exhaustion.

This week my stepdad paid us a brief visit. This was my mother’s second husband who was there during my formative years of elementary school. And then was an intermittent part of our lives over the many intervening years after. It had been quite some time since we had seen him and his wife. He had never even met my kids.

It was a brief visit. But enough to remind me how much I enjoyed his presence. And in particular one shared story really demonstrated how much I enjoy what is surely an unusual family.

The year was 1977. This was after the divorce and his remarriage. Mom had taken us to see Star Wars A New Hope.  As we stood in line, The 2 of them came up to visit, as they were going to see the same movie. Then her sister also came over. A man behind us began to make noises, which caused this little woman to turn and round on this much larger man and just tell him off. It was extremely funny. And that fact that we all share this story as a family event makes it all the more fun.

Anyway, I just enjoyed the moment of seeing these folks again. And embrace my extended family. The visit even prompted me to reach out to their daughter, my ersatz step-sister (to go with my other 3 step-sisters, Step brother, and foster brother.) It is just another source of joy for my life.

I changed teams at work this week and moved desks. Still doing the same job. It is all due to growth at the company. Which is a good thing for me. I have also been enjoying a change in our parking situation. I now have to walk a little over a half a mile from my parking spot every day. Which guarantees me a good amount of physical exercise every day.

Today is the final, last day of cookie sales. I went and helped the girls at their booth yesterday (as an excuse for some exercise.) They have a booth today and that is it. It has been an especially exhausting last week or so with the final push for Emily to reach her goal.

The most unfortunate part has been that Kim’s schedule at work changed. Which means she has in effect had almost no sleep this week. It has made this final push that much harder. However, that will mean that the end of it all next week will be even sweeter.

So this week saw a reminder that it is best to keep an eye on the bigger picture. Embracing all the good parts of our life. Know that times will change; if we just focus on the people and not on the little things that we know have an end. Do what we can to overcome all the other little obstacles.

Community, duty, acceptance #mentalhealth #life

This was an interesting week. In the past 2 weeks, I have seen some great examples of real community. Which did not deter me from realizing that my made up personal duty was just creating personal grief. Which led me to just take the initiative and I am now feeling better.


Tuesday night we attended a free concert at our son’s high school. (We did not know about this choir concert until that morning, he said was not told about it, in a stunning example of teenage ‘forgetfulness’.) It was a group concert made up of choir groups from all of our Westside schools. From a select choir from 3 elementary schools, choirs from both middle schools, and the different choirs from the high school itself. It truly was a community event. Which not nearly enough people attended or publicized it. I think it is great to live in a place that is willing to channel and encourage that kind of community.

Just the week before a different community gathered to celebrate some youngsters. It was the Cub Scout pack crossing over ceremony for the Pack that Danny was a member of. And I helped gather some extra ‘alumni’ from the Pack to attend. Because it was a chance to honor the Committee Chair who has been a guiding force behind the Pack for many years.

When I reflect on these two events I am encouraged that I live in a place and time where, despite the current tenor of cultural and political divide, people can celebrate community. A community that thrives because of its diversity. A community of different genders, ethnic backgrounds, cultural backgrounds and economic status.

I am not a community organizer, or gatherer, or leader. That is just not me. I wish I was, but I know myself better. However, I do know that there are folks out there that do that sort of thing. And it heartens me to realize that events like this are taking place.

Speaking of organizing and community. When I put together the most recent iteration of the boys D&D game it was partially out of a sense of duty. I wanted to do my part to spread the joy of this game. And also to provide an option for the child of a departed friend. The game had become a source of tension in my life recently. I was beginning to sense that at least my boys were not enjoying it as much. And I was not enjoying it as much either. Well, this week I was planning the game and that sense of unease was coming on again. So I accepted that as a sign. And realized that it was not smart of me to keep plunging forward with something that was creating personal problems out of a sense of duty. So I just decided to place the game on hold. And my mental unease greatly diminished as a result. A line from one of my favorite book series was apropos in this case for me:

Duty is heavier than a mountain, death lighter than a feather

Just the idea that doing something purely out of a sense of duty can truly weigh you down. It can be a greater burden than you realize.

Anyway, life goes on. Heartened by the realization that I am part of a greater community. And accepting that duty is important, but a misplaced sense of duty can have a worse effect on your well-being than is immediately obvious.