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New Life Journey: Learning to Love Myself October 22, 2021

Filed under: Adventures in Project Land — Colli @ 8:36 am

About a decade ago I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. The journey in managing this has been like rollercoaster. Somedays it feels like there have been more downs and loop-de-loops than ups. As with many people the fears and stress of Covid 19 has affected my life.

When Covid started I was working as administrative in a dental lab. Due to my health I was considered high risk for infection and placed on medical leave. The lab brought me back from leave with new tasks to work from home. I became manager of the team I worked with before as well as the new accounts receivable representative. Let me just say that I was not comfortable being manager of the case distribution team as I believed it should have been given to another. There was one whom had worked the position for many years and had trained me. I was worried I would ruin the relationship I had built with her prior to this. Regardless of my feelings I worked to the best of my ability to ensure the team was happy and productive while bringing past due accounts current.

In August 2020 I was handed another position, accounts payable. I feel that normally I would have been asked to take on a new role or at least had another role taken away when given a new one however that is not what happened. The lab had me working three positions at once. There was a lot to do for the accounts payable position as it appeared to not have been processed in a couple years as such there was a lot of overtime. During this transition my neighbor lost her husband and I was assisting with handling all the paperwork and arrangements for her during her grief. I would work from her house and balance both work and assisting her.

Balance may not be the correct term or I thought I was balancing however I was not. In October I had a bit of a breakdown. I was so tired from working 11-13 hour days that I stopped assisting my neighbor as much so I could work and sleep. To clear my mind after work each day I started to take a drive with our dog Rosco. He loved it and watching him with his head out the window brought me some semblance of joy. Things did not get better for me emotionally or mentally as I had hoped however. I was able to hand over the case distribution manager position to the person whom should have had it all along in May of 2021, still no relief.

In June I stated to feel myself closing off from the world and crying a lot. I started job hunting but it was challenging to find a job I was qualified for which worked from home. I was not willing to work in an office during this pandemic and most positions I was qualified for either did not interview me or at location. Slipping into depression with anxiety level rising, I cried more and took more drives till my niece came to spend a month with me. We watched movies, played the Wii, spent a day out with a friend but my tears were out of control as the owner of the lab started putting even more positions on my plate. He wanted me to handle HR and payroll on top of all the accounting. At this point I had just caught up so I was able to reduce my hours to almost no overtime. He felt I could handle all positions with no overtime if he did one on one training with me. That was my breaking point or I should say Ash’s.

The beginning of July Ash told me to quit my job and he took over all the finances for us. There were stress, tears and embarrassment on my part as I had build debt doing projects around the house. The lab picked up all the equipment and files from my house the day I quit and that was the end of that. But the transition to stay home wife and handing over my debt caused strain on my relationship with my husband. We are getting better day by day and I agreed to counseling.

Counseling is helping and enlightening me to thoughts and new feelings I had not had before or had not looked at this way before. She wants to dig in at the very base of my and work out to help me so we are starting my how I view myself and treat myself. Boy is this challenging for me. Growing up I have always felt as a protector to my sister and friends. Always put friends and family before myself in all matters. I even spent sleepless nights with a co worker in the hospital because I thought that maybe I could help her by being there to support her.

My counselor asked me how I viewed and felt about myself. I replied that I was an average curvy clutz. She laughed a bit then asked me what I loved about myself. That was a hard question for me to answer because I only could say my eyes and heart. We talked more and build a homework plan” for me. To find one thing about myself that I am thankful for/like about my body each day. Building self awareness and self love. Sounds easy right? Wrong!

Granted this is the first week of this “assignment” however it is challenging for me. So far I have my eyes, curly hair, smile and sense of humor. Today I am trying to find something when nothing comes to mind. I am not comfortable in my body due to shape, past injuries, health restrictions. So what should I or do I do about it?

I have decided that today I will like my ability to find one thing to change and do something about it. I am not in the best of shape or health however I don’t think that focusing on diet/exercise exclusively will be the best plan. How about I focus on accepting how I look now? I feel that I I can accept it I can learn to love my body. Don’t get me wrong, I will be eating healthier and trying to tone my body but maybe accepting who I am now will make it easier to appreciate the accomplishments going forward?

I found this article which I think may be helpful and is basically what I am going to start with.


Buckets, Buckets and More Buckets June 20, 2018

Filed under: Adventures in Project Land — Colli @ 11:06 am

I have so much dirt to dig up and move to another location. I have filled 2 planters and plans to fill 2 more planters but there will still be sooo much dirt to deal with.

Solution: Take dirt to my parents house for them to use in their yard.

Okay, so I know it sounds silly to transport it to Santa Rosa but I can’t put it in the yard bin and I don’t want to pay to take it to the dump. I do still have one challenge, how do I get it to their house without a truck? Use trash bags? No, they get to heavy or could get holes in them.

Solution: Buckets!

I filled 12 buckets full of dirt and loaded them in the car. It was starting to rain again and the buckets had gone some water in them. Deciding it was better to empty them now than wait till I drove to Santa Rosa, went to the dumps to dispose of the dirt.

Removing full, heavy buckets from the back of a carpeted SUV is not an easy task. I had to lift them to the edge of the back of the car, breath, then dump them and hope it all fell outside the car.  After repeating that 12 times, I was exhausted and decided it was time to shift the plan a bit.

During my next trip to Santa Rosa I traded vehicles with my parents so that I was using the Dodge truck with hard bed cover to move the dirt. I went to Home Depot and bought 10 buckets to fill the back of my of the truck. Probably could have fit a few more buckets in there but 22 is a good number to fill and move.

When I went to start filling the buckets for the first load in the truck, the ground had hardened and needed to be watered a bit so that I could work. Rosco decided it was time to play in the sprinkler, his first time ever, so I was entertained while I waited.

Rosco did not want to stop either so I moved the sprinkler so he could play while I worked. Once I got moving it did not take me long to fill the buckets and load them in the truck.



I took 3 loads of full buckets to the dumps. It made a dent in the yard.


Monday afternoon I found a co-worker that wanted some dirt so I filled load number 4 into the truck for them to take home. That load ended up being the one to clean up the area I was digging and allow me to see progress.



There is a clean-ish edge to where the fire pit area will end and most of the digging is completed.

Remaining items to do:

  • remove pile of gravel
  • level ground
  • fill and reload all buckets to send with parents
  • budget sand and gravel
  • plan weekend installation
  • buy fire pit.

The list may look small but it is still a lot of work. I will share more with you soon.


Project Fire Pit Starts Now June 13, 2018

Filed under: Adventures in Project Land — Colli @ 8:42 am

Every winter the water will build up on the sidewalk against the house which is not good for the fountain or walls. I have thought about what can be done to reduce the water or detour the water away from the house. Last year over Memorial Day weekend my parents were visiting and my Dad made an amazing suggestion. Okay so all of his suggestions are amazing, but I might be bias.

He suggested that we dig the dirt down and back away from the house. Once the level is below the sidewalk we should add a layer of sand with gravel on top. The sand will drawn the water into the ground. I thought since I was going to be digging anyways I would make a small wall with stairs down to the gravel. This will make it a separate area of sorts and add some depth to the yard. Of course I may decide later to lower the level of the whole yard but that will be for another day and another project.

Starting location was the first thing that I needed to decide, so I started digging by the fence. I quickly found that there is a concrete edging around the yard where it used to separate the planter from lawn. This is a good tool for me to have. I get to use it to measure how deep I need to dig.

There is the small area where the planter would be along the fence and I have decided to level that first. We can use that are as a permanent home for the trash and yard bins. They are currently against the house on the sidewalk but I would like to free up the sidewalk.

I took the first few loads of dirt and filled in new raised planters in the yard. I still have many more loads but at least I have the starting point and the vision. Now to get this done before winter comes around again.


Swing Grand Reveal June 6, 2018

Filed under: Adventures in Project Land — Colli @ 8:21 am

After returning to work from surgery, I fell and hurt my right wrist. Shocking, right?!?! LOL! Not to my family. Hurt or not I really wanted to finally recover the swing and make the canopy top. Over Easter weekend we finally found and purchased the fabric for this project. Then the following weekend the work began.

I am proud to say that my amazing Mother took on the task for me, with me only helping verbally. She created the pieces needed using the cushions, did all the sewing and they look amazing.

The bottom pads did not have support below the cushions so my Dad drilled screw holes and my Mom wove burlap across the bottom to give it support.

Then my mom created the canopy from scratch and recovered the arm pads. It was all finished in time for the rain to start so I had time to scotch guard everything. Now the sun is shinning again so I get to share my Mom’s amazing work!


Isn’t it beautiful! My Mother is one amazing woman!


Removing More Crab Grass March 27, 2018

Filed under: Adventures in Project Land — Colli @ 8:48 am

Our shed is finally settled and the new plants around it are starting to grow in nice and healthy. We did notice that during the rain the water builds up in front of the shed causing a slippery mud pit. It is problematic because that is where all my decorations are and it is hard to get to them without incident. I needed to come up with a plan to correct this while also making the shred yard, “my secret garden” look nice.

I dislike mowing lawns because of my asthma so the thought of removing the crab grass from the area would be a double benefit. One: I would not have to move anymore. Two: It would no longer be traveling under ground into my planters. But how to do this smart and efficient. Should be concrete it? No. Should we use gravel? maybe. Should be use paving stones? maybe some added in.

The plan started forming in my mind….

  • dig up the layer of dirt with the crab grass in it.
    • The yard bin can’t get too heavy so this must be done is smaller portions or use trash bags and take it to the dumps to dispose of.
  • Spray a layer or two of weed killer on the ground, just in case.
  • Spread a layer of sand across the area and level it.
  • Finalize plans of how to fill area with gravel or pathway stones.

Sounds like a simple plan! Even so, I know that it will take me a long time to achieve this goal but it will be worth it.


Yoga March 6, 2018

Filed under: Adventures in Project Land — Colli @ 6:14 pm

To me yoga was all stretches and breathing, then I started attending classes and learned how wrong I was. There are different level of classes and different type of yoga classes. My first class was Yin yoga.

Image result for yin yoga image

Yin was floor work which was a lot of stretching. It was harder than I thought and boy did I feel the muscles for a few days after class. The next class was a bit easier because I knew more of what to expect. So I decided to try more classes and boy…. I am more out of shape and inflexible than I thought.

I am enjoying the classes and the classes are helping me immensely. My anxiety levels are lower and I am learning to block out the tinnitus in my ears. Life is getting brighter, happier and healthier. Can’t wait to see how much different I will feel in a year from now.


Reconnecting with Eachother February 27, 2018

Filed under: Adventures in Project Land — Colli @ 9:23 am

Over the years of treatment it has not been easy for Ash to be married to me. He has always been there for me, supporting me and taking care of me. Treatment has changed a bit now and I feel it is time for me to reconnect with him. To show him how much I love him and cherish him.

Weekend away at the coast sounded like the best plan! I planned 2 weekends away for us to enjoy. The first trip was to Fort Bragg/Mendocino in January. We celebrated our legal anniversary and shared the memories we had of the day he proposed to me there. We have so many shared memories in that area of California but we built some more.

The second trip was to Pacific Grove, CA which is right next to Monterey Bay. We stayed at the Lighthouse Lodge and Cottages again. It is a wonderful place and located right by the water so it is super peaceful. There were a jetted bathtub and fireplace in the room. We took the long way there and stopped for lunch in Palo Alto, CA at a restaurant his boss recommended. It was amazing food and drinks so of course we got growlers to enjoy later. The trip included the Monarch Butterfly Refuge, Monterey Bay Aquarium and loads of beach time. We enjoyed seals on the beach and sea otters in the wild.

On the drive home we took a fun detour to Santa Cruz Lighthouse too.


Battle for Good Health February 20, 2018

Filed under: Adventures in Project Land — Colli @ 9:16 am

As you know I have been battling cancer for a while and now I have tinnitus as well. During some research Ash found that exercise/physical activities such as gardening or yoga can help to reduce the symptoms and improve health.

Gardening is of course my favorite on the list of things to do so I was excited for that. I have some projects that I would like to get started on. Such as a fire pit area and crab grass removal. Both require a lot of digging and time so it will be good for me all around.

Intrigued, I decided to add more exercise for me on top of the yard work. Last summer I got a tricycle and I have not really ridden it. I have decided to start practicing with Rosco on the street out front. I want to train him to ride in the rear basket so we can go for rides together.

Plus I tried Yoga for the first time. It was Yin Yoga so there was a lot of floor work and it was a wonderful class to start with. Now I need to find time to add more into to my routines.

Time for me to do some time management schedules so that I can get back to good health and hopefully stay there. It will always be a struggle but I am hoping to stay positive about it.



Finding My Happy Place February 8, 2018

Filed under: Adventures in Project Land — Colli @ 2:05 pm

Life has been throwing a few curb balls at the family and directly at me. In October a fire whipped through my home town destroying homes, businesses, and everything else in its path. My Great Aunt and Uncles home was one of the ones lost.

During the fires my Grandmother passed away. I could not get there to be with my family and give my father support because of the air quality. It is sad for me to say but the fact that I could not be with them hurt more than losing her did.

The holidays after that were a blur of events including gingerbread trains, a visit from Carla & Kenneth and Lighted Christmas Parade in Geyserville. During that time I started physical therapy for my wrist. It was amazing to me how the right kind of therapy and therapist can make such a huge impact.  Finally able to use it a bit more, I started to weed and cross stitch. Never realized how much I was missing it or how much it helped me to re-center myself.

Recently I got the call that I have to go see an oncologist for further treatment. It was not news I was expecting and was very hard to accept. Took me over a week to stop crying and process it. Well I might still be processing but at least I am not crying any longer. Made me once again take stock and be more grateful for the amazing family I have around me to support me through this.

Everyday is a fresh slate with no mistakes made in it yet… that is what I learned from Anne of Green Gables. It also is a reminder to me to find something that makes me happy each day and do it. Finding the time or pulling myself out of dark place to the happy place it not easy but I will battle to do it every day.


Bathroom Remodel – Phase Two July 11, 2017

Filed under: Adventures in Project Land — Colli @ 8:05 am

It is time for the remodel work to begin. Friday night Ash and Damion went to work on the demolition in the bathroom. They knocked down the tile and sheet rock from the edge of the tub to the ceiling. The process took them till about midnight. There was mold behind the wall, as we suspected so I was not able to be in the house during the work or to sleep.

Thank goodness we are friends with our neighbors! They let me sleep there and they are sharing the shower with us while we do not have one.

The following morning my parents arrived and the men went straight to work. There was a Home Depot run to make for supplies then my Dad had questions for us. Boy was there more involved in this project then we comprehended.

Dad and Ash removed the tub from the bathroom. We found that part of the shower draining issue was because the drain was not actually attached to the plumbing below so the ground was just absorbing the water. Thankfully Dad was able to get the new drain to attach correctly to the plumbing so that will not happen in the future. Ash took a load to the dumps while my Dad slopped the new shower floor to the new drain.

By the end of the day they had the shower sloped twice as needed, bleach applied to calls and the window cleaned then reset. We all went to dinner and then my parents drove home.

Exhausted as Ash was, there was still work to do and decisions to make. He sat with me to talk about all the choices we had and then we went to Home Depot to buy the remaining items. Now Ash had a week of work ahead of him and I was working overtime to stay our of his way and help cover the cost of the project. During that week he redid the plumbing.

Added insulation

Water proofed with Fire and Ice

Cement boarded the walls and added second layer of water proofing

And tiled the shower floor

After a couple weeks of recovery time Ash tiled the shower threshold and started tiling the walls

While this is being finished I am going shopping for a new shower curtain for the bathroom. I love the shower curtain we had but it will not be have the height we need now.

Stay tuned for more progress.