It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you’re not watching TV after 8pm. I have to say, as my sick leave draws to an end (i’ll be going back to work in 10 days), I’ve learned a lot about winding down.

See, I’m a very intense person. I attack everything very intensely. I go in for the kill, I obliterate, and I just don’t do things that I think I might fail at. I’ve been working on each of these things pretty intensely for about 4 weeks (my first week of sick leave I was just… not there. Now I’m working on getting better).

So, when the psych and I had a chat about my sleep patterns, which have been well documented on this site, and he suggested no TV or Internet after 8PM, I almost choked. How would I wind down? When would I watch my favourite shows (almost all of which are on from 9-10pm)? What would I do if I was no longer same-day pop culturally relevant?

After a few weeks of this schedule, I have to say this: I’ll give it up for sleep. Yes, yes I will. As you can tell from the time stamp, I’m totally cheating today and writing this after 9PM. But, I just spent 90 minutes listening to classical music and working on my uber-giant puzzle.

Normally, when I see a 1000 piece puzzle, my heart sinks just a little. I know it’s “good for me” to stretch my brain cells, but it’s so many damn pieces. It’s hard to get started. It’s hard to keep it going. It’s really easy to get stuck. But, my best friends gave me a puzzle last year for Christmas that was not 1000, but TWO thousand pieces. I took it out of the box once and almost died. Really. I put it back in the box when I realized it probably didn’t fit on my coffee table (which is twice the size of my old coffee table, by the way, so it would fit 1000 piece puzzles!).

Anyway, I started it about two weeks ago and I am proud to report that I am done.

giant puzzle!

C’mon! Look at that! It’s a thing of beauty! It’s about 20 or so vintage travel stickers. It has a number of brutal things to it, including the fact that it has three orange sections that are virtually identical in colour and thus rather difficult to separate. Oh, and the black. The BLACK!! Killer.ย  Anyway, to give you a perspective of the size, that table sits three people on each side. Yeah… that’s huge.

Anyway, tonight I was finishing it and lo and behold:

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Yup… there’s one piece missing. I’m pretty sure it’s probably somewhere under my sofa, from the time I took it out of the box and put it back in, but call me crazy – I’m not checking for it tonight. So I have 1999 pieces of goodness. And since 1999 was a good year for me, I’ll take that!

On Tuesday night, while watching The Biggest Loser (I’m upset that they didn’t send Daniel home, by the way), I started working on some new Christmas ornaments. Now, I love Christmas. I hate November and love Christmas. Luckily, November is a non-entity for me since I’m going to India on the 6th and not coming back til the 24th, and then it’s definitely time to bust out my Christmas self. So yeah, I’m getting a head start on ornaments.

I’m making perhaps the most time intensive ornaments ever. The good news is, it’s impossible to eat while you’re making them. The bad news is, it’s impossible to watch TV while you’re making them. What kind of ornaments are they? They’re styrofoam balls, sequins, seed beads and pins. You thread a tiny bead over the pin, and stick it through the hole in the sequin and into the ball. Repeat I swear a thousand times or so, and you have an ornament the size of a golf ball that’s highly light reflective.

You might think that’s torture, but to me it’s kind of like meditation. It’s like hiking – you can only focus on the next step, you know? I have such a hard time winding down that I need something like this. Something that focuses the hands, makes your breathing slow down, and triggers the mind to relax and do. I have a kit to make 18 of these, but will probably stop at 10 – one a night for the next 10 nights, or thereabouts. By the way, the kit was originally $16.99 at Michaels, but I got it for 40% off with one of their coupons. So, I’ll be able to make about 18 ornaments for a little over $10, which in my mind’s eye is a good bargain every day of the week and twice on Tuesday.

In other news, I came home from an outing today (I love this pace – I do one major thing a day and the rest of the day slides by. It’s… awesome.) to a voice mail from work. It said that my colleagues were dropping off a gift to let me know they were thinking of me and wanting me to get better. It would be outside my front door. Hot damn, I said (I went in the garage door, so didn’t see it), and ran downstairs. I shoulda brought the camera. Holy. Moly.

Here’s what I got:

gift basket

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I think they really miss me. That gift basket was incredible. There were three books, crusty post-it notes, bath and body products, teas and soups to help settle your stomach, sunblock for india, lottery tickets (I won $2!), a magazine that I totally wanted to buy… I’m telling you, I had a tear in my eye. And I giggled and teared up some more.

I have a great team. They’re good peoples, you know?

I’m going into work on Wednesday to discuss some stuff with my boss, including her expectations for my job and my ability to deliver while still preserving the essential part of me that I’m finding again and learning to love.

Stay tuned. There will be some reflections from therapy coming in the next week or so! Thanks for hanging in there with me.