Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sundays with Sam: Our interview - part 1

Hi every one! Happy Sunday! As promised last week, today begins the first part of our Special Interviews. You guys were so great last Sunday when you left some questions you wanted to ask us and believe me, RICK and I are having SO much fun thinking about how we are going to answer them.

But for today RICK and I are going to interview each other. So this is how we went about it. We heard about this wicked awesome Cat who is an expert in interviewing people. That's a picture of the Interviewing Cat up there. But that Cat was a little bit intimidating, don't you think? HA HA!! So we thanked the Interviewing Cat for his/her time but decided to just interview each other.

Anyway, since I am the Host for the Post (OMG that rhymed!! HA! HA!), RICK allowed me to make an introduction to the interview by welcoming him to the Post today. And then we just decided to let it flow from there. We recorded the whole thing so we could make sure we got things right for this post and so we wouldn't forget what we said. After we finished the interview we then decided what to leave in and what to edit out. We are planning to maybe occasionally make this a regular feature so you will get to read other things we talked about.

I know the length of this post looks really long, but the sentences are short and once you get started it goes by pretty quick.

So here goes.

Sam: Thank you for stopping by today, Rick. Are you nervous?

Rick: Thank you, Sam. A little bit.

Sam: Why?

Rick: Because of your first question.

Sam: There's nothing to be nervous about. Unless you are trying to hide some thing.

Rick: I won't hide anything, but you were grinning when you asked the question.

Sam: I won't try to trip you up. Promise.

Rick: Ha ha! Now you're grinning again when you said you wouldn't try to trip me up.

Sam: Do you trust me? [totally serious face with no grinning]

Rick: Of course I do.

Sam: So why are you grinning now?

Rick: Because you make me happy. And because I like how you're dragging this out because that's so typical of you. Ha ha!

Sam: Why do you like me dragging things out like this?

Rick: Because when you do that, there's always this big surprise at the end that totally catches me off guard. I can always tell you're heading somewhere that's going to make me want to hug and kiss you.

Sam: We don't have to wait. You can hug and kiss me now.

Rick: Is this going to be in the interview?

Sam: Of course.

[We apologize for this brief pause in the Interview. We will return momentarily.]

Sam: [clearing throat] Are you relaxed now?

Rick: I'm relaxed.

Sam: Okay, so the first serious question I want to ask you is this: When you saw me for the very first time that day when my battery died, what did you think and why did you come over to offer your help?

Rick: Well, you had the hood of your car up and you were leaning over and how could I not enjoy the view? And I just wanted to see if I could help since I had some jumper cables.

Sam: I was so nervous when you came over.

Rick: You were? Why?

Sam: I wasn't use to talking to strangers.

Rick: You warmed up pretty quick. Remember how you showed me those landscaping books from the library? The ones stacked up on the passenger's seat?

Sam: I had forgotten about that.

Rick: I still remember it. I didn't know anything about you. We had just met, it was late at night, your car battery was dead, and you were explaining landscaping designs to me.

Sam: Did you think I was weird?

Rick: I thought you were mysterious. And beautiful. I was afraid you were thinking I was weird because there we were, two strangers, late at night, and I kept asking you all kinds of questions about landscaping but I just wanted to keep you talking. And I wanted to see you smile. That actually startled me that I wanted to see you smile.

Sam: Startled you. Why?

Rick: Because that's never happened to me before. We had just met and I didn't know who you were but I wanted to see what you looked like when you smiled. I was guessing you probably had dimples.

Sam: You've never told me any of this before. I was so self conscious because of my stutter.

Rick: That's part of why you were mysterious to me. I just thought you were maybe nervous or shy or something. But that didn't really matter. I was after those dimples I knew were probably there. I wasn't leaving until I saw them. And you kept talking so that kept me there.

Sam: This is all new to me. You never told me this stuff before.

Rick: I have lots of memories of that night. When I got home I tried to remember what you were wearing, what color your eyes were, the color of your hair, the sound of your voice. And what you looked like leaning over the hood of your car.

SamI remember getting super sad after you got my battery charged and we were going our separate ways. I was afraid I'd never see you again.

RickI felt the same way. After I gave you my number I didn't know if you would call me.

SamYou gave me the perfect reason to call you. You said your dad worked at an auto parts store and you could get me a discount on a new battery.

Rick: I even dreamed about you that night

Sam: Are you serious? I'm learning things I never knew.

Rick: Yeah. Maybe because you were talking about landscaping, but I dreamed about a landscape maze. The kind with hedges. When you were showing me your books, that's the one you seemed really into. I could tell it fascinated you.

Sam: What happened in the dream?

Rick: I was in the maze trying to find you. For some reason I thought you were lost and I was the only other person in the maze so it was up to me to find you.

Sam: This is making me cry.

Rick: Why? What's going on?

Sam: I don't know.

Rick: Have you ever felt like you were lost in a maze?

Sam: I've never told you this but you know how people talk about dreams they keep getting over and over again? Like the same dream?

Rick: Yeah. Is that one of yours?

Sam: Yes. Even when I was a kid. I remember seeing a movie with some one lost in a maze and it freaked me out.

Rick: Wow. You've never told me that. Do you still have that dream now?

Sam: I don't know. Let me think. I don't think I've had it for over a year now.

Rick: When did we met?

Sam: It was October 7th. In 2013.

Rick: That was the night we first met?

Sam: Yes.

Rick: Then that was the night I dreamed about you being lost in the maze.

Sam: Oh my God. Maybe that's when I stopped having those dreams.

Rick:  Whoa. That's a little freaky.

Sam: Yeah. Good freaky. I swear I don't have that dream any more.

Rick: Oh man.

Sam: Can I ask you some thing?

Rick: Sure.

Sam: In the dream you had... did you find me in that maze?

Rick: I did.

Sam: Okay. And what happened when you found me?

Rick: I don't remember all the details but I do remember us hugging. And we were both crying.

Sam: What kind of crying?

Rick: I'm not sure. I think I was relieved I found you, and you were just clinging onto me.

Sam: What happened after that?

Rick: I don't remember anything after that. You know how dreams are.

Sam: You didn't take advantage of me and ravish me in the hedges?

Rick: I might have.

Sam: Why are you smiling?

Rick: I love the way your mind works.

Sam: Do you think this is one of those times when I joke around when some thing hits home?

Rick: What do you think?

Sam: Maybe.

Rick: Tell you what. If I had that maze dream now, I'd be taking advantage of you and ravaging you in the hedges.

Sam: I'm glad you found me in that first dream.

Rick: Me, too.

Sam: Know what else?

Rick: What's that?

Sam: I'm glad I don't have that dream any more. I hadn't even realized until now they had stopped.

Rick: That makes me happy.

Sam: Me, too.

Sam: Know what else?

Rick: What's that?

Sam: I love you.

Rick: I love you, too.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

How do you know for sure?

Matty and I haven't set a definite date to be married yet. We'll be writing more about that, as well as all the things that led up to that decision, as soon as some of the busyness in our lives settles down a bit.

But we have started talking about a family. 

The only thing we've talked about so far is wanting to have at least two children, but that's not written in stone. There are three children in Matty's family and two in mine. For some reason having two children feels manageable to us, but we'll see.

All this has made both of us think on a deeper level about what it really means to be parents. I mean, it feels like a huge responsibility, but to be honest, right now it feels more like an abstract concept to me. I just can't for the life of me wrap my head around this. 

I mean, other people have children. Other people are parents. But me?? Like I said it's more of an abstract idea. And neither of us wants to have children until we can figure this out in a really personal way. 

Not sure if I'm explaining it right, but how do you know for sure you're ready to have children? Is it just a feeling you get inside that you're ready? Don't you need to know something about how to do this? Are you suppose to read all kinds of books to find out how to get ready? Are you suppose to talk to people about how they knew they were ready?

I don't know. I'm just thinking all this out and trying to get a grasp of what it all means. And the more I think about it, the more questions I have, and then I get overwhelmed and get nowhere. 

Can I ask for some feedback here? Am I just over thinking this? If you have children, how did you wrap your head around this? How did you know -- know for sure -- that you were ready? I'm trying not to over think, but, man, it seems like an extremely important thing to figure out. 

Thoughts?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Traveling down that road

The Dark Hedges, Co Antrim, N. Ireland
Photo by Pawel Klarecki
LC Chase posted this pic the other day on G+ and tagged me.  

Her simple message was, "I so want to wander down this road."

I left this comment, "It's so full of mystery and wonder and... magic.Like a gateway to some fantastical world of awe. Pulls me right in."

So, I'm not exactly sure how interesting my post today really is, but it sorta relates to the pic LC posted and I guess I wanted to jot down a few thoughts I'm having right now.

A short whole back I shared that the therapist I'm seeing for my PTSD (Wow... I actually typed that acronym without censoring myself. Guess that's some progress in acceptance right there, huh?) wanted me to do an updated neuropsychological evaluation to see the state of my brain in 2015 so we could compare it to the evaluation I had after the attack when I was in high school. The one that left me with some psychological "scars" as well as what they call "organic" damage to the brain from the hemorrhaging that occurred from my head hitting the pavement and some kicking that was part of the attack.

I was very assertive in telling my therapist I needed the person doing the testing to understand a couple of things in order for me to do this. They need to understand that I can't sit still (even with the ADHD medication) for extended periods of time. I have to have the option of some "walking breaks" periodically... where I can get up and walk around -- where I can get some movement worked in. That's what the "H" in ADHD demands. 

The second thing I needed was for the person doing the evaluation to understand that I am not a robot. I don't want to just walk in, sit down, hear about the battery of tests, get the instructions, and BAM, start answering questions or whatever is involved. I need some casual interaction with the person testing me. I knew I'd need to be totally serious and task-focused during the testing, but I am not a robot and I don't want some robot testing me. He assured me all that sounded reasonable and he would communicate that to the psychologist doing the test. 

Well, earlier today (Tuesday) I went in for the evaluation. I'm please to say she was perfect! In addition to explaining how to get a restroom break, she also asked what I needed in terms of my "walking breaks," and was very understanding of those needs. 

She also checked in with me as we transitioned from one test to the next, and this gave me the chance to interact with her in a casual way. As usual, I found some humor in a few of the tests, and she responded by saying she had never seen the humor I had picked up on, so we shared a good laugh. That was nice. And calming to me.

After three hours of taking a battery of tests, I'm done. And I'm drained... exhausted... wiped out. I made the short drive home okay but in retrospect I probably should have asked Brad to drop me off and pick me up. I really didn't expect it to take so much out of me and I'm feeling like I've got nothing left inside me. 

But. I did it! Because I know it's important. And for something like this, it's better to know where things stand in terms of my mental and emotional state. My therapist and psychiatrist can now compare it with the one I had not too long after the attack and they'll go over all of it with me to see where things stand. So I know I did the right thing. It's just one more tool I can use in my healing.

The pic LC posted represents how I feel inside as I travel down this road to recovery. It's a little scary... a little mysterious... a little comforting... like I'm on some kind of adventure where all I can see right now is the road in front of me. But the road is leading somewhere and I want to find out what's just around the bend in the road you see up there.

I should know in a few weeks what her report will say and I'm actually curious about the results, which I guess means I'm invested in this process.

So now I'm just relaxing the rest of the day. Feeling drained but also proud of myself for doing this evaluation. It's all about taking care of myself. About valuing what's best for me. 

In the long run this is a value I hope to instill in our children. "As hard as some things are, it's important to see those things through that help you discover your strengths. Because your life matters."

Monday, March 23, 2015

My sweet bad boy

I know "sweet boy" and "bad boy" don't usually go together, but I have a Sweet Bad Boy!

Matty has a black eye. He was doing some work on our kitchen cabinets this Saturday to try and make a few of them open a little easier. Plus, one was "out of alignment" (he called it something else but it wasn't closing flush with the rest of the structure), so he had to take one cabinet door off and do something to it that made it close flush.

(You can tell I'll never be a carpenter like him because he started laughing when I read him that last paragraph. I asked him for the correct terminology, but he said he loved the way I described it and wouldn't tell me the correct description! He's a very bad boy! HAHA!)

So he applied some kind of oil or lubricant to the hinge (I think that's what that thing is called -- stop laughing Matty!), and when he opened it, I guess the oiled hinge made it open too fast and it hit him in the face. OUCH!

We called his dad to make sure we knew how to handle this kind of injury and his dad asked me all kinds of questions, so he didn't feel the need for it to be checked out through Urgent Care of an ER visit. He didn't like having to ice it, but I tried to, um, keep his mind off any pain he had! ;)

He's perfectly fine now. Just some bruising under his eye that makes him look like a really Bad Boy. And he's working it like you wouldn't believe:

"I'm bad! Watch out for me! I'm Bad" while he struts around with a Bad Boy Swagger.

THEN on Friday night through Saturday afternoon, we got another 2 inches of snow!!! So my Sweet Bad Boy closed all the curtains so he couldn't see the snow. THIS is so out of character for Matty, but with the all the fatigue we have about this winter, it did sorta make sense. Then the temps went up and it all melted!

So, wish my Sweet Bad Boy who has a Bad Boy Swagger a speedy recovery!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sundays with Sam: The big interview

Hi again every one! It's Sunday and it's time for Sam-I-Am! Hope every one is having a good day!

Well I thought I would do some thing a little different than I usually do. I have been asking RICK (my BOYFRIEND) if he would like to write a post. He wrote one a long time ago and I thought it was really good. In case you missed it, you can click on this link to read it. But it was mostly about how he felt about me. Not that I am complaining one single bit. It was so cool to read what he had to say.

But this time I had a different idea. I mean, so far you guys mainly see him the same way I see him. Like through my eyes. So this time I thought it would be a lot of fun for you to get a different perspective of him. So I came up with the idea of me and him interviewing each other! And guess what? He agreed!

So we are now working on some questions we both want to ask each other. We haven't decided on the exact number of questions yet, but we did decide to just write out a whole bunch and then pick the ones we thought would be interesting to ask. Being sneaky like I am, I might try to slip in a sexy questions, but will keep it R-rated. And I told him he could do the same.

And then I came up with a wicked brilliant idea! Would all of you like to play along? RICK also liked that idea, too, so we want to open it up to every one. This is your chance to ask me a question about RICK, and also to ask RICK a question about me!

I have no idea how we are going to go about this because I just came up with the idea a few days ago. Maybe RICK and I could start out asking three questions of each other (making for a total of 6 questions and answers), and then maybe we could pick some questions you guys want to ask me about RICK, and then some questions you guys want to ask RICK about me.

How does this idea sound? We are both totally open to your suggestions about how to do this, as well as you writing out some questions for us. It's just that I am not exactly sure of how to set all this up. Like I was saying, maybe me and RICK could ask each other 3 questions, and maybe we could pick a certain number of questions from you guys. I'm not good at figuring out things like this, so I am very open to any suggestions.

But in the mean time, if you have a question you want me to ask RICK, and a question you want RICK to ask me, OR maybe a question you want to ask BOTH of us, and both of us can answer them, please feel free to drop them in the comment section today. They can be humorous questions or more serious ones.

Then also if you have a suggestion on how we can organize this, that would be so cool.

And then maybe by either next Sunday or the following one, we can pull it all together and post it. I'll just need a little time to write it up.

I am SO excited about doing some thing like this. And SUPER excited that those of you who want to, can be a part of it!!

So, as my Grandma use to say, "Put on your Thinking Cap" and share your questions and ideas about how we can do this. RICK and I both look forward to this!!!!

Love and hugs,

Sam-I-Am & RICK-He-Is

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Slow progress still counts

Hi everyone! I seems like so long since I wrote anything. It was actually just Monday, but I've been going through a lot over the past coupla weeks and it feels like a very long time.

I mentioned in my Monday post: "I'm working on a very personal post for later this week that has been hard for me to get just right... It's about something I felt like I couldn't get through, but did." 

I've gone through about 5 or 6 drafts trying to get this to cover what I want to say, and trying to word it just right. After  re-reading all the drafts, I finally decided to just write from my heart and not agonize over it anymore. So here goes.

Finally getting myself into therapy has proven to be a major step forward in my life. AND it's proven to be one of the hardest things I've ever done. I feel I'm in good hands with a very caring and competent therapist. Somebody I trust to take good care of me while I'm trying to work through what some pretty awful trauma did to me.

And he's working very closely with the psychiatrist who follows me on my ADHD meds and who finally convinced me to go to at least three sessions. Well, it seems to be sticking because I'm still going beyond those three sessions. That's because I'm beginning to see how it works and I'm very slowly beginning to feel very hopeful that it's going to pay off in the end.

BUT. It's not been easy. I knew it would probably be difficult, but I figured, "Hey. I'm tough. I can handle it. Maybe after three or four months I'll have everything all wrapped up and can say, 'Mission accomplished' and move on with my life."

I think it's going to take a little longer than three or four months. It's starting to sink in how this all works and I've got a lot of work to do. It's probably going to be ongoing work... something I'll have to stay on top of for the rest of my life.

I don't want to go into any details because I don't want to get triggered, so just let me say that during one of my sessions a coupla weeks ago -- completely out of the blue -- I found myself in a full-blown flashback in the therapist's office. Complete with a very high spike in my anxiety. Reliving the ambush and attack as if it was happening in real time. 

My therapist did all the right things -- helped me get grounded -- brought me back. It was a lot more involved than that, but I was well taken care of.

Even before this episode I had been pretty preoccupied with a lot of things that have distracted me from important things in my life. This winter has been hell for me. 

Back to back blizzards, major snow storms in between the blizzards, treacherous driving conditions, concerns about extremely high snow accumulation on the roof that had me worried about roof collapse which was happening to lots of people here. 

Then dealing with some actual roof damage that caused water to leak from the roof, through the attic, and through the living room ceiling. Helping Brad deal with the transmission dying in his relatively new car. Slipping on the ice at least three times and nursing my sprained ankle. Trying my best to get to work but having to deal with concerns my boss had about my physical safety, which resulted in him taking me off projects in the field (which I LOVE) and letting me work inside at the office (which I HATE).

And all the while trying to get to class and stay on top of all my school work.

Well, I got way behind in my school work. I mean, way behind. So far behind that I finally realized there was no way I could catch up and stay caught up. This threw me in a panic. Big time panic. 

I finally had to come to terms with the reality that I couldn't do it all. And that realization just about killed me.

But instead of trying to do it all and further risk my mental, emotional, and physical health, I finally decided I had to put the brakes on. I did something that was extremely hard for me. I reached out to a bunch of people I trust and told them I needed help. I talked to Brad, of course, my older brother, my mom and dad, my best friend, Tyler, and a few other trusted friends.

I then took their advice and scheduled an appointment with my academic advisor to see if I could apply for "Incomplete grade status" for my three courses. I told him everything going on with me and he agreed to support my request. I got him all the required documentation and the department Chair signed off on it.

What this basically means is that I retain the right to complete my three courses without having to drop out of school. An Incomplete grade just means that I was unable to complete the requirements of my courses -- due to legitimate life issues --  within the time expectations. In other words, I can now take a break from school and work at a more manageable pace to complete the requirements.

I initially had a LOT of shame attached to having to take an Incomplete on my courses. I felt like my whole world was crashing in. I was so embarrassed and angry at myself for not being able to do it all.

But I finally was able to work it all through and now feel this is the best thing for me. I haven't failed at anything. My shame and embarrassment has disappeared.

Main lesson learned: I didn't give up. I lost my pride and asked for help. I risked people thinking less of me. I learned that by making myself vulnerable like this, I was able to discover how strong I really am.

Like the quote up there says, I didn't quit. I didn't allow all these obstacles to defeat me. I have to slow myself down because none of this is sustainable over the long (or short) run.

And yes... Slow progress is still progress, right? I'm still on track. I'm still moving forward. Just at a slower pace. And I'm proud of myself for learning some important lessons.

Brad and I look forward to having children. That's a HUGE responsibility. And I want to be the kind of parent who can help guide them in being a success in life. And I want their daddies to be shining examples of how to succeed... how to discover their strengths by knowing how to work with their vulnerabilities.

Slow progress is still progress. I never want to forget that lesson.

Monday, March 16, 2015

This week

Designed and sent to us by
Lili Li
This week is going to be a little hectic so we'll be in and out (minds out of the gutter, please!). I'm working on a very personal post for later this week that has been hard for me to get just right, but I should have it ready by Wednesday or Thursday at the latest. 

It's about something I felt like I couldn't get through, but did. 

Something that for a while made me feel like my whole world was crashing in, but I stayed with it and came out stronger than ever.

In the meantime, we wanted to share the wonderful gift sent to us by Lili Li. And the drawing representing us in the bottom right corner was perfect. I keep a little beard scruff going, so the figure on the right reminded me of myself. And the figure of the left reminded me of Brad, mainly because he's been wearing his hair a little longer than he use to and I think it's so sexy on him.

I LOVE his hair -- especially when it's wet. Let me explain. I've been under a lot of stress lately and I was so very happy he went swimming with me at the gym on Saturday afternoon. Swimming is what I do for physical exercise when I need to burn off some stress. When I'm swimming I feel like I'm in some kind of magical world and it relaxes me so much.

So it was a special treat when Brad joined me. I've tried to get him to wear a Speedo, but he's much more comfortable in his boardshorts. And, man, you should see him after he dives in the water. When his longish hair is wet? Oh man. It's really hard for me to keep my eyes off him. 

And when he's walking around the pool, finding just the right spot to dive in? He has me mesmerized with his graceful, gazelle-like movements. I sometimes wonder if he even realizes how beautiful he really is.

When we finished our swim, I, um, couldn't even get out of the pool to accompany him to the locker room to change. When I told him to go ahead without me, he said, "Aren't you coming?" 
(When I hesitated, I think he then realized what had happened!Emoji)
I winked and told him, "You go ahead. I'll come in a minute."

He chuckled, walked away, and then (OMG) wiggled his butt at me! I LOVE how bold he's becoming! That's sexy, too! 

Well, that's all for today. See you guys shortly!

Thanks again, Lili, for the very thoughtful gift. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sundays with Sam: Happy-I-Am

Hey every body! You already know how I open my posts each week, so here goes:

Happy Sunday! It's me, Sam-I-Am again! Hope every one is having a nice day.

See that sign up there? Mary posted that for me on that site G+ and I almost wet my own "plants" when I saw it because I started laughing so hard! I even printed it out to show my boss because he has a wicked good sense of humor and I knew he would like it. Well, he LOVED it!

And after he finished laughing, he said, "You seem a lot happier lately, Sam." Well that kind of stunned me a little bit because he's not use to giving out personal comments like that to any of us. He's a really nice man and I enjoy working for him because he's very fair and reasonable with all of us and never pushes us beyond our limit. He's not one of those, "Hey, I'm the Boss and you're just a kid so do what I tell you" kind of person.

I really like working for him because he treats all of us fairly and with respect. But he never opens up with any thing personal like that comment he made to me. It kind of caught me off guard because I wasn't sure how to respond because it was so different from how he usually chats with me.

I really appreciated him being so kind in saying what he did, but you already know what that did to me if you have been reading my posts for any time. Yep, it went straight to my heart and my eyes started watering up and then I got embarrassed because the last thing I want to do is make some body uncomfortable. RICK (my BOYFRIEND) is already use to me tearing up and some times when I do, it makes him tear up, too, But in a good way. He says he likes it when he knows I'm feeling some thing from my heart.

But with my boss, I wasn't exactly sure how to respond to him. Thank Heavens I didn't start crying and blubbering and make a mess of my face! Jeez. I probably would have fainted on the spot with total embarrassment.

I have been trying to remember exactly how I responded when he told me that I have seemed a lot happier lately, but because I was a little caught off guard I think I just said some thing dorky like, "Yeah, I think you're right." Thank goodness he didn't linger in that chat or say any thing more or ask me any questions because then I have no idea how I would have handled that. His comment seemed very personal and very kind and I totally appreciated him saying that, but like I said, it caught me off guard and made me teary that he could compare how I have been lately with how I use to be.

And then another cool thing happened this past week that is along the same lines! You remember last Sunday I said Brad and Matty invited me and RICK to go out with them for dinner on their Date Night? It was like going out on a double date and me and RICK had been looking forward to it ever since they invited us. I know their Date Night on Wednesday is a special thing they have been doing for a long time, so it meant a lot that they asked us to join them.

So some thing really cool happened. You know how Matty likes to joke around? He is so much fun to be around you can't help but end up in a good mood. I have already talked to Matty about me writing about this today, so he already knows what I am going to say and said he was cool with it.

Well, so anyway, when we met them at the restaurant it seemed like Matty was really tired or some thing. Usually when I go visit them or spend time with them, the very first thing Matty does is break out in a big smile and then he gives me a big hug and I always know that within like 2 seconds after the hug he is going to say some thing that will crack me up.

One time he joked about how he's going to dump Brad and run off with me and then Brad took out his wallet and fished out some money and handed it to me and said, "How much can I pay you to take him up on that offer?" HA! HA! HA!

But this time on Wednesday night he didn't do any of his joking around at the beginning. He smiled and gave me and RICK a hug and then we sat down to look at the menu. Since I've gotten to know Matty pretty well, I'm really relaxed around him, so after we looked at the menu I said, "You must be really tired because I didn't get a joke from you yet." He smiled and said, "Yeah, Brad has been keeping me pretty busy lately" and I remembered some of their posts lately about BADley and then I turned red and kind of snickered and picked up my menu again to cover my face until my blush went away.

Well, that must have snapped Matty out of being tired because then he started joking around like he usually does. He and Brad started asking me and RICK about our week and before you knew it, we were all having a great time.

Then after we left the restaurant, Brad and RICK were walking together to the car, and me and Matty were walking together. Before we got to the car, Matty looked at me and said some thing like, "I don't know if you realize this, but I'm lucky to have a friend like you. I always feel better when you're around. I was really tired tonight but just seeing how alive you are makes me happy inside."

Okay. So I guess I don't need to spell out what happened next. Yes, I got those tears in my eyes again because that meant the world to me. And then just before we got to the car, Matty put his arms around me and gave me a super tight hug. And, yes, my eyes got watery again but I really didn't care. I am learning that my tears are a sign that (like Matty said) I am alive. Alive with joy.

So, yeah, three Happy things happened to me this week. Mary sending me that funny sign up there. My boss saying, "You seem a lot happier lately, Sam" and then Matty saying, "I always feel better when you're around. I was really tired tonight but just seeing how alive you are makes me happy inside."

Can you guess what I am doing right this moment as I am typing this all out? Having me a little Happy Cry. Man, it feels so good to cry and it to be a Happy Cry instead of a Sad Cry. It makes me feel good to know that my Happy is Real. And it makes me Super Happy to know that other people can see it and it makes them feel Happy inside. Maybe THIS is what my life is about now. Being Happy inside, and then helping other people find their Happy. That's pretty cool, huh?

Have a great day and week every one. See you next Sunday!

Love and Hugs,
Sam-I-Am-HappyEmoji

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Catching our breath

Hey everybody. I'm very happy to report we are in a heat wave! Finally! 

The temps here are in the mid 40s(F) and we might even hit 55 or 58 degrees this week! The snow banks in our neighborhood have been as high as 6 to 8 FEET  and now they are down to maybe 3 feet! 

Matty is getting his Speedos arranged and I'm SO ready to open the windows to the house and begin Spring cleaning! Matty runs to the other room when he hears that phrase! LOL!

I'm realizing that no matter what happens in life -- positive as well as negative, simple as well as complex -- there's always a level of  some stress involved. Sometimes it's good stress, sometimes it's hard stress. We're both learning how important it is to take care of ourselves so we can be up to the challenge. Yeah, I now that sounds like some kind of motivational talk, but, well, I need those sometimes! :)

Lots going on here with school and work and we just need a day or two to catch our breath. 

I love the sign I posted today. In the midst of so much going on lately, we're trying to remember to practice each one of those items. What about you? Do you have any specific things you practice regularly to balance your stress? Do share. How do you get your inner peace back when you feel it slipping away? What works for you?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Move your cocks

I don't know about where you live, but all week here the news media have been reminding us to move our clocks forward as we begin Daylight Saving Time.

This biannual ritual has become less of a hassle now that modern technology automatically makes the change electronically.

But we has a few clocks that need to by adjusted manually. After Mary sent us that picture you see up there, we had some chuckles and giggles every time the news anchor or weather person reminded us to adjust our clocks. And you can just imagine how delighted BADley was with this, especially after all the fun he had with his posts from last week!

He rarely asks me to accompany him when he goes grocery shopping. But I couldn't resist his ever so seductive invitation to go with him yesterday. He batted his eyelashes and gave me that sly smile while explaining he can never remember the sequence you have to follow to change the clock in his car. "Could you help me adjust my cock -- er, clock -- in my car? Please?"

Even though I hate shopping of any kind, I somehow found the necessary motivation to accompany him this time. Soooooo. When it comes to learning new tasks, I get extremely confused reading instructions. I learn better when I can work with my hands, see what happens, and make the necessary adjustments.

While he was driving, I could concentrate on getting a "feel" for how things should be adjusted. Since it's trial and error, I needed to take a few different approaches before I found just the right technique to get his clock adjusted. When I completed the task, I turned to look at him to let him know I succeeded. I didn't even need to say a word. He already knew I succeeded. He was very happy I was going shopping with him.

When we got home he asked about whether the clock in my truck needed adjusting. It did. He asked he I wanted to go for a drive.

"A drive?"

"Yeah. Maybe just a short drive. I can adjust your clock while we get out and enjoy the scenery."

We also have two wall clocks that need to be adjusted manually. One in the kitchen and another one in the living room. We decided to work together to adjust our clocks there. It was very enjoyable helping each other adjust our clocks in those two rooms. And I generally hate doing any kind of house work. This was fun.

So last night I asked Brad what he was planning for dinner. Chef had apparently loaned him this really cool cookbook with recipes that turn ordinary chicken menus into gourmet dishes. He smiled.

"I was thinking of cock for dinner. How's that sound?"

"Please hurry. I'm hungry."

I use to complain about this biannual ritual of changing the clocks. I have a new perspective now. 
Adjusting clocks can really be a lot of fun.Emoji

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sundays with Sam: A short break

Hi every one! It's me. Sam-I-Am. Hope every one is doing well today!

I'm just going to write a very short post today, but I at least wanted to write some thing to let you know I'm still here! :)

I think a lot of things are starting to catch up with me and I was talking about this in my counseling this week. I got some good suggestions about how I need to make sure I am not wearing my self out because then it's not good for your body or your mind.

Work has been extremely busy which has been good as far as making a lot of over-time, but I have been putting in so many hours it is starting to make me feel more stressed than I need to be. My counselor made a suggestion that I talk to my boss and see if I can cut some of my hours at least until I get over being so tired all the time.

I always have a hard time making decisions like this because I like the fact that I am a hard worker and dependable. Back when I was in school I always had a hard time keeping up with homework and my grades were not always the best and some times I would hear that I was lazy.

What people then didn't know was that I wanted to make good grades and be on top of things, but it was hard for me to push my self. I guess I had a lot on my mind about different things happening in my life and it was hard to turn all that off and concentrate on school work. It just didn't seem all that important compared to every thing else. Maybe I was lazy at the time. I just didn't want to do much of any thing except be left alone.

I can look back and realize that being "lazy" was another word for "sad" or "depressed." And now that I know that and am getting help and have lots of support, I get a lot of pride out of working hard and doing a good job and I especially like knowing that people can count on me.

I really get a lot out of my job. Landscaping is some thing I am interested in and it makes me feel so good that I show up every day and give it my best. I am never late and I don't take off much time except when I might be sick or some thing. It is such a good feeling to know that people can see I am dependable and a hard worker. I am so proud of the fact that no body can use the word "lazy" any more to describe me. Man, that's a wicked awesome feeling!

So I talked to my boss and he was totally cool with me cutting back on some of my hours. The snow plowing is over now and he even said I deserve a break! That was so cool to hear. I was nervous he might be disappointed I wanted to cut back a little bit, but he did not have a single problem with it.

So this past week I have been catching up on some sleep and doing some enjoyable reading about topiaries, which Ann Marie told me about! Man, it's so fascinating to learn about this. And Kari mentioned "bonsai" in her comment on my post from last Sunday. Thank you so much, Kari! I had never heard of this before. Here is a link if any of you want to read up on it: Bonsai Link. So now in addition to learning about topiaries, I am now reading up on bonsai. Man, it is so fascinating to learn about these kind of things! When I am reading about these things, I can feel my self relaxing!

Brad and Matty also called me during the week and they invited me and RICK (my BOYFRIEND) to join them for dinner on their Wednesday Date Night! So I guess it's like we're having a Double Date Night with the guys! We are both really looking forward to this!

Any way. I didn't have time to write a long post for today, but I did want to share all this with you. This is the important lesson I am trying to learn this week: It is important to do a good job at your work, but it is also important not to get over-stressed, and it is perfectly okay to slow down so you can take care of your self. This is not being "lazy" either. It just means that in order to have a good life, you have to make healthy choices. In order to keep being a good worker, I have to slow down and take care of my self.

So that's what I am doing, and I especially like that I don't feel guilty about it! Pretty cool, huh?

Hope every one has a great day and a good week ahead. See you next Sunday!

Love and Hugs from Sam-I-Am!

Friday, March 6, 2015

A little behind

I had planned to post on a serious topic today. Something with a little depth. 

But after BADley's post yesterday, we both, um, got a little distracted last evening. And then again this morning. 

So today we're a "little behind." Or rather, "I" got a little behind. Last night. Several times. And again this morning.

We always try to stay ahead in posting things that happen. But, well, I guess sometimes getting some behind -- oops, I mean "getting" a little behind -- oops, I mean getting delayed -- is not such a bad thing. 

Well, getting "delayed" is not all that bad, right? There's really no need to always be perfectly on time. Sometimes getting a little behind can be a good thing. We all need to get a little behind every now and then, right? Keeps us humble.

Okay. I need to wake up. I think you get my meaning. We'll be posting again soon. We need a little rest today. Getting behind can make you tired. Good tired, ya know?

See ya soon.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

BADley is alive and well

Hi all! I am FINALLY over a nasty head cold. "Head," as in what's attached to my neck and shoulder! Not the other "head" you may have been thinking about if your "head" (the one attached to your neck and shoulder) is in the gutter! LOL!

The "head" that might have popped in your mind when I mentioned my head cold, has definitely not been cold by any stretch of the imagination! That head has definitely been somewhat hot most of the time.

Oh man. Those two paragraphs might sound a little confusing because I'm not as good (yet) as Matty in the use of double entendres. I admit what I just wrote was somewhat clumsy, and if you're still a little confused then you might be just like that gorilla (I think that's a gorilla) in the pic up there. "I know you're looking [for what I mean, so] don't be shy." Loosen your imagination a tiny bit and look for some kind of sexual meaning. LOL!

Okay. Now I'm shifting out of my clumsy double entrendre language and I'll just put it on the line because BADley is now alive and well after being formally brought to the surface on February 8, 2015 and nurtured Mary G. and Kari in a post on G+, and then was further nurtured by many of you on this post I wrote on February 12. 

On that February 12th post, I can now credit: 

Kelli: "Naughty Brad is funny...you should let him out more.

Deedles: "I absolutely adore this side of you! ... A little frisk is always a good thing." 

Susan: "You definitely should let this 'other' side out more often.

Kimberly: "Brad you naughty naughty boy... I know you say it was Matty, but we all know Mary is the one who corrupted poor innocent sweet Bradley.""

Wade: "My response [to your naughtiness] was OH MY! Not use to seeing this from you because you tend to be conservative."

Well, Bad, Bad BADley is alive and well, thank you very much!

Wade is right. I've spent so much of my live in a more reserved state. And now that it's been being nurtured and encouraged by all of you (my partners in crime! LOL!), there's no stopping me! And I'm really enjoying this "bad" side of me!

Remember Matty's post recently about how he's been overthinking what it means to be engaged to be married? How he had this image that when you get married you have to somehow become a totally serious and somber person because of how it's moving into a more mature and serious stage of life?

Well, "Bad, Bad, BRADLEY " has been trying to help "Serious and Somber Matty" loosen up a bit! Sex is an important part of our relationship and I've been a heck of a lot friskier lately with Matty in my mission to help him see that you can be both serious and playful. And I'm happy to report it's working!

I've initiated a new game each morning of "sword fighting" with our Morning Woods! Ha Ha! I can't believe I just wrote that!! LOL! But we do have so much fun! [totally blushing now]

And when I'm cooking, I'll be nekkid under the apron I'm wearing. Well, you know what I mean. I show a little bare butt in the back where the apron doesn't completely cover my derriere! LOL! And man, oh man, that has led to some late dinners and even late breakfasts. Heehee! [more blushing]

So now that a lot of you have unleashed "Bad, Bad, BADley," I'm looking for some more suggestions on how to help in Matty's rehabilitation in integrating his "serious" side and his "playful" side -- using various frisky techniques. They don't all have to involve overt sex, per se. But I need some more ideas on how to nurture the "naughtiness" in our relationship! So I'm calling on all my Partners in Crime to help me. And help us! What ideas do you guys have? LOL!

Yes, we're engaged to be married. Yes, that's a major life milestone. Yes, it involves a lot of responsibility. But I never, ever want to lose the the naughty and playful side of what we have. In my opinion it creates a really nice, um, "package." Don't you think so? :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What's in a name?

Brad asked me to thank all of you for wishing him well as he appears to be on the tail end of a really bad head cold. He's just about finished with a post he's been working on and plans to have it up tomorrow.

I thought today I'd just give you guys a little update on how my counseling is going. I'm sticking with it and at this particular point it seems to be really helping me in a number of ways.

There's been one sticking point and I'm not even sure it's something major. Sometimes it feels major for some reason, but I think in the whole scheme of things it's probably just indicative of where I am in my process.

I wrote a while back that it's been really hard to used the label PTSD

From the very beginning my counselor has asked me to be as honest with him as possible, and so far I've really taken him at his word. I know I withhold some things from him, but I'm not worried about that right now. I'm aware I'm withholding certain things, and I'm aware of why I'm withholding those things. 

See, I really need to pace myself through this whole process. There's a part of me that wants to just talk non-stop about everything that happened -- kind of get it all out -- and another part of me that is more cautious. Or maybe a better word is scared. Opening up this can of worms really scares me sometimes.

I've covered a lot of ground with the psychologist. Some of it has been giving him some of the details about the ambush and attack, and some of it is learning some really good information about trauma -- what it is -- what it does -- how to deal with all the anxiety -- what to do when I get triggered -- how to ground myself.

It's a little weird (to me) that I can use the term "trauma" and "attack," but to use the term PTSD -- to actually say those words, "I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," is something (at least for right now in this process) is something I avoid using.

I was telling my psychologist this and he got me to talk about what actually saying those words means to me. I found myself saying there's this conflict going on inside me. Like, part of me feels relieved there's an actual name for this, because if there's a name, then we've identified something that is real. There's some relief in knowing what I'm dealing with because now there's a path I can follow to heal.

On the other hand, saying the actual name makes me highly anxious. It makes what I'm dealing with real -- something I can't ignore as easily if I'm calling it "that attack" or "that thing that happened to me in high school." 

I'm now finding myself going back and forth in what I call this thing. Sometimes the term doesn't bother me at all and I use the acronym, PTSD, without any hesitation. It just comes out as I'm talking. It's kind of shorthand that encompasses what happened to me.

But other times -- especially when I use the full name (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) -- I get a sharp hit of anxiety in my chest and in the pit of my stomach. And there's a part of my brain that rejects the name. Kind of a form of denial, I guess. It feels like I'm moving way too fast in this process. Like I'm not ready to confront it head on.

I know I still feel a lot of shame inside for not being able to prevent the attack. And I also know that's an irrational belief. I know I don't have any rational  reason to blame myself. When I'm in my "rational mind," I don't accept any of the blame. I put it where it belongs.

But when I'm in another state of mind, it's all my fault. Not being attacked, but guilty of not stopping it. I know rationally that's not accurate, but sometime it's how I feel inside. My counselor said a big part of the treatment is working through this so I'm see what happened rationally

I still have nightmares occasionally. I'm still hypersensitive to unexpected loud sounds and seem to go into some kind of offensive state of mind, expecting something bad to happen. I sometimes start reliving in my mind what happened and get lost in it until I can snap myself back to the here-and-now. I occasionally get irritable and moody over nothing that's happened in the moment. But I've also made a lot of progress, too. And I'm proud of myself for sticking with this.

In the meantime, I need to keep focused on how to ground myself when I get triggered, how to keep my anxiety at bay, and to remind myself that this thing is a process that will take time. I'm in it for the long haul, and I really want this to work.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Friendship love

Brad was planning to post something today but didn't have the chance to finish it since he's just about to get over his head cold. 

So I'm your host (again) today. Our own Mary G. sent me this pic on Saturday and I really got a kick out of the humor. This is exactly the kind of humor I love and I wanted to share with you how I used it with my best friend, Tyler, on Sunday.

I mention Tyler periodically but some of you may not know who he is. Tyler, who is straight, and I have been life-long friends. We were born just a week apart and we've been celebrating our birthdays together since we were little kids.

It was actually at my (and Tyler's) 18th birthday party that I met Brad for the first time. Tyler and Brad use to work together when they were in high school and Tyler invited Brad to our birthday party. And the rest is history.

Tyler was one of the first people I ever came out to and he was so loving and supportive. He truly is a dear friend and I cherish how we say "Love you" to each other at the end of a phone conversation or when we're saying goodbye after spending time with each other.

So we went to the gym together on Sunday to work out and swim. We're actually in a friendly contest with each other to see who can get the tightest and best-defined six-pack. He even had to admit that at this particular point, mine is the best defined but he doesn't have much to do to catch up. We're probably going to get one of the personal trainers at the gym be the final judge after another month. We figured his girlfriend and my fiancĂ© might be a little biased!

So when we got back to our place after the workout, I showed Tyler that pic up there and blocked off the caption:

Me: "Hey Ty, do you think this guy is cute?"

Tyler: "He has a nice smile."

Me: "But do you think he's cute?"

Tyler: "He's nice looking and has a nice smile."

Me: "But do you think he's cute?"

Tyler: [laughing] "That's a leading question. I've already answered it."

Me: "Okay. What do you think of the chair he's sitting in?"

Tyler: "It looks comfortable."

Me: "Do you think it's ugly?"

Tyler: "It looks well-used and comfortable."

Me: "But would you say it's ugly?"

Tyler: [laughing] "Another leading question. I wouldn't want it in my living room, but it does look comfortable. Where is this leading?"

Me: "It means you're not gay."

Tyler: [laughing hysterically] "It does, huh? I think Sue [his girlfriend] will be relieved."

Hahahaha. I love Tyler so much.