Category Archives: Stress

Anxiety Storm

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They always ask me if I’m depressed.

I’ve got Bipolar Type 1 and I cycle super rapidly, what do you think?

No, really, are you depressed?

Let me tell you the truth, I hope you hear me say it this one time because I’ve had enough.

Go ahead.

My anxiety, my stress – if that’s what you need to call it – is at 7 of 10. 10 is call the morgue. My adrenaline has been full on since I can first remember. Fight or flight…. or both.

Yes, that fight or flight reflex can be triggered.

Listen to me. All the time. It’s all the time. Stop asking me if I’m depressed because the answer will always be yes. What you should be concerned about is my anxiety. I’m more likely to have the top of my head exploded from that than I am from depression.

You know, you’d be surprised at how often that’s the case.

Shit.

Bipolar – I Just Wanna Sleep

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say-no-to-sleeplessness-in-old-age-with-yoga1I wanted to share with you what happens with me on a typical night when I can’t sleep… such as tonight.

This is the second night in a row that I’ve not been able to sleep. I’m so tired yet sleep flees from me. I have things on my mind that I’ve tried to get to go away. I’ve written them down. I’ve talked about them. I’ve walked on my elliptical for the second time today. I’ve taken my sleeping pill and my regular meds. I’m clearly not asleep. They just won’t stop. Maybe I’ll try reading some more when I go back to bed.

I’m struggling with three things. First, one of my kids is struggling and that’s hard. Second, something is wrong with my car and has been since I got snow tires put on. I got snow tires a couple of weeks ago. Ever since they loaded my old tires and wheels in the trunk and back seat the car has ridden low in the back end. Even now that they are out of the car it still rides low. The backend is noticeably lower than the frontend. I guess it’s the shocks or struts. She’s an old car. I hope it wasn’t just “their time” to fail because of its age. The timing would be awfully strange. And third, I have a credit card that has what to me is a high balance. The card has been active since April this year. According to me, when I look over the charges, there is nothing near the balance that has been charged. Let me put that a different way. It says my balance is one thing, but it doesn’t appear to me to total that much in the actual charges.

Now, I know I can’t do anything about these things right now, but I can do this. I can write about it. I know I might not be able to help my kid. I know I may have to pay to fix my car. I know I may have spent more than I think I have. These are all bad options. I can’t do anything about them at 11:38 at night.

Deep breath. Ah. Time to find that YouTube playlist I made for helping me sleep. It has a 30 minutes “talk down” guided meditation video then has about eight hours of soothing nature sounds like of rain in the woods or waves and maybe a little music. That’s what I’ll try next. Read then YouTube.

Wish me luck.

Bipolar: Stress Stupid

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I’m attending classes at the University of Washington at Tacoma and I’m a junior. I started working on getting a bachelor degree some 35 years ago. I have Bipolar Disorder type 1, ADHD, and Anxiety (those are the ones that seem to impact my schooling). When I study I become stressed and can’t think… can’t remember what I’m trying to learn. I understand the subjects. I just can’t recall specific facts.

There are a number of things I can do to remember things better and I can safely say I’m doing them. I feel like my illnesses are making me stupid. Not like “dumb”. I just feel stupid because I can read something and understand it and then I remember nothing.

It’s frustrating.

I have a biology class I’m struggling in. We have a test or a quiz every week. I miss one out of five on all of the quizzes every time. We’ve had one test and I can tell you I did not do well.

I am registered as a person with a disability with the school so I get to have some special accommodations. What that means for me is that I can request to take my tests and quizzes in a quiet room with no distractions and have time and a half to take them. However, I’m not being able to recall what I’m studying so more time is of no use.

I’m at a loss.

I have a quiz in the morning. Again. I’ve been stressing all weekend about it instead of taking advantage of the break from homework I somehow had.

I feel stressed now.

I need to do something to relax before bedtime.

Warm milk and a book. Yes, that’s what I need. Warm milk and a book.

Wish me luck tomorrow. Somehow I have to succeed. I know I can do it. In my mind, I have to do it.

Bipolar – Frustrating Anxiety

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cell I flung open the curtains in the living room this morning and the big curtain came loose in the middle and crashed down on top of me. That was how I started my day, with a curtain on my head. Stress.

I’m very frustrated. I have a teacher that quizzes or tests us every week on stuff he hasn’t taught us about. I’m paying a lot of money to not learn anything. I’m not sure what to do. I have a pretty good GPA right now, but this class load is pretty challenging so I don’t know what it will be after the quarter. I have a tendency to want to get unrealistically grades. I’m being a perfectionist I guess. I’m struggling with anxiety over this five question quiz. Then next week we have a test.

I want to enjoy learning and going to school. I don’t want to use all my energy stressing out. I’m trying to be calm, not anxious. This class isn’t helping. I’m going to have to go and talk to the teacher and just tell him how I’ve been studying. I know other people are doing the same thing I’m doing. He has to know that we don’t know what he’s doing.

It’s like when my anxiety went ballistic a few weeks ago. No one was around with any answers to help me.

I’m watching the Seahawks Cardinals game. It’s in overtime and almost over. Seattle has a chance to win the game. Oops. These guys on the field are playing their hearts out. There we go. Tie game in overtime.

I want the same opportunity in my class but I don’t know how to get it.

I think I’ll take Bailey out to go to the bathroom. I need a break from my break.

I thought poetry was going to be my challenging class but this bloody biology class beats it hands down. I’ve been in a state of amped up anxiety since this class started.

So how to stop it. This sort of anxiety isn’t what I’m supposed to use my chill pills for. Sometimes I do have panic attacks while studying or in class, but this isn’t one of those situations.

I just want to quit trying. I feel like I’ve given it more than its share of effort and I need some down time.

I did actively do something both yesterday and today to lower my anxiety. I went for a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood. I’m still getting to know the area and I’m uncomfortable walking around where there are dogs in practically every other yard barking at us. I’m always worried that one will get out and attack us.

See how it is? I worry about anything.

The insurance company is talking about totaling my car. I can’t afford to replace it with a car in as good as condition as it is in. Stress.

I will focus on this quiz review stuff for a few more minutes and then I’ll do something else before bed. I’ll give myself a little extra time in the morning to review my notes a little bit more. Then I’m going to go to school and do my best. It’s all I can do at this point. I’ve even got a study partner and she can’t find the answers to the review questions either.

Crap.

Stress.

Anxiety.

I can do without it.

Bipolar and Adaptation

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From today through about August 18th I need to be able to be my best self. That means I will have to be super vigilant and sensitive towards my Bipolar Disorder symptoms. Theoretically, that’s how I’m supposed to be all the time, but right now it’s really evident that I have to pay attention. The stress of looking for a house has rolled over to moving and that will roll over into flying out to Florida to meet my daughter and driving across the country with her two cats to bring her home.

I must prepare myself physically, mentally for what’s next. I tend to react to situations and my moods swing without my even being aware of what’s happening, that is, until I’m done reacting.

This is going to be a good experience for me to practice adapting myself quickly to changing situations and emergencies without losing my temper like I’ve done in the past. My usual reactions are an abrupt swinging of mood, or panic and then the mood swing.

This skill, the skill of flexibility and adaptability, is an important skill to have while coping with our mental illness. Each new skill I learn builds upon the base of my positive mental attitude, my chief definite aim, or my passion in life. (I tend to think of the three things as different ways of saying the same thing.)

Having a flexible disposition means I must be able to quickly adapt to my environment. When I say “environment” I mean not only the physical situation, but also dealing with the people involved in the situation. It means that I can harmonize with my environment in a flexible way.

I’m not suggesting that I ignore my principles or altering my goals. I’m simply suggesting that I recognize my mental attitude towards the situation and determine if the situation is a disaster or a windfall. If it is a disaster I have the opportunity to change things and make them better. Because I use positive mental attitude, I have an even better opportunity to change the disaster into a boon.

I think that part of being adaptable means that in every situation with every person I try to understand their needs and demands. An example would be my Mother calling me a couple times a day and telling me something else I need to do to prepare to move. Yesterday it was that I should go to the Loews and Home Depot on Meridian to purchase boxes, start packing, have the kids (my son, 21 and youngest daughter, 19) come over and help me go through things, and to get rid of the piano. Being sensitive to her and to protective of myself I suggested that she make a list. We’ll see if she can do it. I eventually did go to those stores and bought boxes, but not the ones on Meridian. I hate driving on that street. It’s too busy and too long and too slow.

My plan includes to getting up at the same time every day, feed the animals and take my meds, eat healthy foods, exercise (I walk down the highway with Bailey), give my brain a break by reading or watching TV or listening to an audio book while walking, planning and making lists, keeping appointments or doing errands, spending time learning about how to be successful, spend time doing reactional activities, and so on. I need to keep things fairly structured. When I just watch TV all day it usually takes me another day or more to get back on track.

I’m going choosing to daily be flexible, adaptable, and let me just add: I’m going to be kind to others. (Ellen DeGeneres)

Bipolar – Indecision and Moving Forward

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My new home.

To be successful in dealing with Bipolar Disorder or acquiring wealth I have to be able to make decisions and then right away put them into action. Despite my lack of inspiration recently, my goals and dreams, my passions are still the same. Now that I’ve realized that I was sitting still and not moving towards or away from my goals I know that I have to decide to do something to move me towards my goals and then do it right away.

Oh look, my Mother and I just went out with our broker looking for my first house to buy.

This is one way I can help get my enthusiasm back. Action.

We found THE house!

Having my definite main purpose is the first step on my road to success. In the past success was a stranger to me. While my illness was running wild even if I could decide on my purpose I couldn’t take action on it. Or at least it felt that way and this disorder is all about feelings isn’t it.

My Mother decided to make an offer on it. She’s buying it for me because I have no credit because I am on disability and don’t work. I’ll be making the payments (essentially buying it from her).

Then life pops in and loudly declares that things are not cut and dried. Things are messy and take time and are full of surprises. Such as…

My Mother added a letter with the offer explaining that the house is for her adult daughter who is disabled and asked them to take that into consideration. There were higher offers, but we won the house!

My anxiety tinged mind is making popcorn now.

On Aug. 7th, just after I move, I’m flying to Tampa, FL to drive cross country to bring my daughter home from the Air Force. I’ll have just been in my new house a few days. My kids will take turns living in my new house for me with my dog and two cats. How ironic. I feel jealous. I’ll have to work fast to unpack everything. The house is so much bigger than anything else we looked at. It’s beautiful. I wanted a yellow house. It’s yellow. It’s on a quiet street and has a fenced in back yard to keep Bailey safe.

What was I going to decide? Right, I need to decide where to buy moving boxes from. I’ll do that Monday. There, I’ve made a decision.

No, that’s wrong, I was going to make a decision to move me towards my main life goals.

Well now my goals include moving and all that entails.

I’ve just taken half a chill pill. My right leg is bouncing like crazy. Bouncing/tapping legs is a symptom of my anxiety.

Focus. Okay, I’ve written this blog. Time to work on another project before things get moving too fast. I have a lot of work to do to meet the goal of my life’s passion. My newest goal is to keep working on my chief aim (main goal), my passion, even as I prepare to move. I start back to school in the fall and I won’t have as much time as I do now. I can’t waste time being paralyzed by excitement and fear of the unknown.

Control. I need to control myself. Yesterday I walked up and down the highway with my heeler Bailey for an hour. After I got the news we went for another walk. I had to put the energy someplace productive. Today my knee is stiff, which is funny because it’s my new knee. I’ve had it replaced twice.

I’m going to put the joy I feel now into my Enthusiasm book. I’m going to make it more an encouragement notebook. I’m using one of those school test books.

If I crash later today, I’m going to look in my book and remember how I feel now.

Oh lord, I’m going to have to deal with my Mother. She’s wonderful but she micro-manages everything. I mean everything, like she’ll call and ask me if I’ve been packing every day. Patience isn’t my strong suit. But, it’s one of the parts of having a pleasing personality, which I want to have, so I need to work on it. I don’t want to scare people away with my moodiness. But a pleasing personality, that’s a post for another day.

Find something wonderful to think about today even if it’s a frog hopping across the yard or your dog finally sitting down when you tell them to. Anything will work. But do try to find something positive to think about.

It’s the trying that counts.

A Bipolar House Hunting & Being Successful

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I got up yesterday close to on time and took the Bailey out and fed the cats. Bailey doesn’t eat early in the day. It distresses me I have to admit it. Yesterday afternoon we went house hunting. It’s been almost a month since the broker last took us out. The market here is really low on inventory. Houses are being bought the day they go on the market. You can imagine I might be feeling some stress about this. I am.

I spent time playing ball with Bailey before we went out. She helps me calm down. We played soccer. I kick it and she catches it and brings it back. We play in the house. When I down size I probably won’t be able to kick the ball around like this. We’re looking for a place with a fenced yard.

I’m stressed. I took a chill pill before I left to meet my mom because I started to feel really anxious. I started tapping my legs violently, which is one of the physical signs I’m having anxiety. After playing ball and taking the pill I started to calm down.

I chose to be positive about looking for houses yesterday. I don’t mean that I believed that because I was thinking positively that we’d find a house. What I do mean is that I chose to go looking with my broker and my mother and be positive towards them and the situation in general. I accepted that we might find the perfect house. I accepted we might not find anything remotely good. We saw some interesting houses. Let’s just leave it at that. We’re still looking.

As of yesterday I hadn’t seen my son in a couple weeks. Since he’s moved out and into town I don’t see him much. Sometimes I feel like seeing me is more like I’m a chore that needs to be done. I know that’s how he feels when grandma asks him to do something – like she’s a chore he doesn’t want to give his time off from work to. I feel that he feels that way towards me too. It makes me sad. He does mow my lawn every other week and I’m thankful for that because with my back pain and arthritis I can’t do it myself.

Today I met with my brother at Shari’s restaurant. I’d gone over his business website and taken notes about changes I’d make and problems I found. It needs a lot of work. I was kind of hoping he’d pay me a little for doing it, but he didn’t. I got a strawberry lemonade out of it and an hour of time with him. I don’t see him very often.

I would say I’ve had a successful week. Success doesn’t always come in making a lot of money or getting a new job. Sometimes success comes in little packages like being able to get the medicine down the cat’s throat and not all over her.

Although my brother didn’t think to pay me I still look at it as a success. I set out to survey the website and take complete notes and I did it. Then I wanted to meet with him and communicate to him what I’d found and make recommendations. I did that too. I wanted to go to the mattress store and exchange my mattress and I did that. Another success. Now I’m blogging. Another success. I have another project that’s important to me that I’ll work on next.

What kind of successes have you had this week? Today? It’s hard when I’m sad/depressed to feel like I’ve been successful, but when I’m fair and I really think about it I can see them. Being bipolar doesn’t mean I can’t be successful. But sometimes, I have to look for successes a little more closely.

I refuse to give up. I’m going to keep pushing and poking things till I reach my main goal. It’s not easy. I’m tired and my arthritis is flaring up in my shoulders, elbows and hands. It would be easy to just watch TV tonight. But I’m not going to do that just yet. I’m going to move forward towards my main goal.

I’m a little depressed. We’re probably going to have to put down one of my cats soon, so as I say, depressed. But I’m not going to give up. Excuse me now please, I have something I need to work on. I’ll see you soon dear Reader.

Habitually Bitchy

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We went house hunting today. We found some interesting places. I thought about the really nice house we passed on because it was just too small and wondered if I could make it work.

I was getting frustrated. Rhett had brought his young son and he was on my nerves… because my nerves were out and ready to be got on. I’d taken a chill pill an hour before, but it didn’t seem to make any difference. I was stressed as well as anxious.

We found a great place that would work that even had a great four car garage. It was outside of my target area, but it would have worked. You know what my mother had to say about it and why it wouldn’t work? It was too big.

The last place I liked was too small. This one is too big. Talk about annoying. Too big?!

She’s not making it easy for me to stop being habitually bitchy to her when she does stuff like that. I’m trying to change my behavior. It’s not easy, trying to change a lifelong habit. But I’m going to do it.

Rhett (our broker and family friend) now knows exactly what to look for regarding housing and me. He’s considering finding a house with good bones, gutting it, designing what I need, building it and flipping it to us. That would be so cool and the most likely way to get what I want. The housing market here is so tight. If a house that’s nice lasts 5 days on the market that’s a long time.

Let’s hope whatever happens, happens fast because my nerves are nervy.

I took this quarter off school partly to look for a house. If I don’t find one and I end up having wasted this quarter I shall feel annoyed about the whole thing.  I know I can’t control the market, but I can hope and dream. And, I can try to be a better me while I’m conquering the habitually bitchy me.

Uniquely Bipolar Me

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[I’m putting this in “I” language, but I mean you too.]

For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.
TS Eliot,  Bipolar Disorder

Simply put we don’t really know what causes bipolar, but current science guesses that Bipolar Disorder is caused by a chemical, a biological imbalance in my brain. Every person has a unique brain, but my bipolar brain came with some even more unusual stuff going on. I don’t have a “normal” brain. My brain has been kissed by the divine. (Wouldn’t that be cool!)

There has never been anyone like me and there never will be again. I are uniquely unique. I am special and have extra possibilities to achieve great things. (Delusions of grandeur? I don’t think so. If you google “famous people with bipolar disorder” you will be surprised by the number of people who had/have it.)  All the struggles I have gone through to get to this point have been different than the ones most people go through because of my bipolar. I am a different person than I would be than if I didn’t have bipolar. There is nothing I can do to change this. I will always have a special brain.

All the struggles I have gone through to get to this point have been extraordinary. I can’t help consider it now I wonder what I would be like and how my life would be different if I had not had this disability. But, that’s not how things worked out for me. There is really no point in wishing for a “better” life than I have. That might actually trigger an episode. I’d rather not do that. I have enough stresses in my life right now, I don’t need to add to the list.

My struggles have made me who I am today and now that I’m here I choose to go forward and live my best life. What does that mean and how do I do it? I’m going to spend some time over the next little while exploring these things and share with you my journey as I go through it.

Moving forward is pretty easy to spell out. I must not pretend that I’m normal while I’m in a pretty semi-stable state. I must try to grow and become a better person… to mature, while I have control over my emotional faculties. I am spending time preparing ways to deal with myself when I have an episode. I don’t want to get caught without a plan to fall back on. I know that may sound ridiculous, how can I prepare how to deal with an episode when every single one is different and while in one I generally can’t control my emotions? That’s a good question. I’ll tell you about it next time.  ;0)

I read books on self-improvement and try to learn new things that will help me in my personal and professional life. I try to connect with people who I would avoid when I’m depressed. And I try really hard to relax and have fun!

References:
Causes of bipolar
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/basics/causes/con-20027544
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml
http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/public/bipolardisorder/causes.cfm

 

Bipolar – Handling an Insane Schedule and Still Having Fun

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I tend to forget a very important fact when I’m busy and especially when I’m going to be driving… I have chronic pain in my back and I tend to forget to take my Oxycodone. Or, if I’m going to be driving, I don’t take it. Late this afternoon I remembered I was in pain (I also take Lyrica for FM and have OA so go figure with all the pain right?), I remembered and I took my pain killer. Quickly I was able to do house work and things I had stopped doing again, like moving around like I’m not a super old and very cranky woman.

I’m not high. Just experiencing less pain. It’s makes such a difference with the Lyrica and Oxy and the anti-inflammatory they have me on for my OA.

Back to the really important stuff: The Magical How to Be Too Busy and Still Have Fun.

Since my last post things have gotten more complicated and because I neglected to take some of my meds as prescribed I started being angry for no good reason and wanting to lash out. Took my meds…. I’m ok now. I can’t stress enough that we have to take our meds. You don’t think you need them? Especially during this next 30 days or so then you are nuts and a dope. Take your meds.

Starting last
Saturday  – Afternoon at my parents just to visit (my dad has stage four cancer and they “say” he has 6 – 12 months left) My brother and I are trying to spend time with them as much as possible.

Sunday (today) – Early family dinner at my parents with Tony and Mat too (my brother and his partner)

Monday – Take Kyle to the bus at 7:50 (the transit bus line stops exactly 8 minutes before our house)
– Take Syd to friend’s house so friend can get Syd to work on time (Kyle and I will be heading to Seattle)
– Pick up kyle at UWT at 11:00
– Arrive at UW medical center to get my new dentures (only Kyle and Syd know I’m getting them now)
– Drive through Seattle/Tacoma traffic through rush hour home. Usually takes 2 to 2.5 hours. Crazy drive. Seatac is almost that far.
– Pick up Sydney at end of bus route at 6:00 or find her a ride home

Tuesday – Sydney Braces for teeth…. orthodontist appt. at 7:50 a.m.
– 3:00 Sydney works till 5
– Kyle school then works till 5
– My brother’s birthday – at Bob’s Burgers (Where everyone will see my new teeth and that I cannot work them very well yet. So funny!)

Wednesday – Pick up “Carol”, my friend for lunch at Seatac during her layover. Actually, I’m picking up Jessica (my other daughter) from the airport and sneaking her home to surprise her sibs. 1:15 p.m.
– 3:00 Sydney works till 5

Thursday – Thanksgiving where I will again try to eat and talk with my new face. I anticipate talking funny for a bit and eating… carefully. lol
– Dinner at my brother and Mat’s at 4:30. It will be a banquet for kings and queens. They always throw amazing parties. The food is amazing. But then, they have lots of money.

Sat – Sun Syd is supposed to work on a project with a girl from school…. only she doesn’t know her sister will be leaving Monday. OMG!

I think those are the highlights. All the while I will be thinking of my dad and how he’s doing. And that the stress of all these secrets is making my brain burn like a torch lighting the way to a wondrous gift: family… and taking my meds as prescribed every day. Even the stupid ones that want to be taken 3 times a day. Uh. Don’t you hate those? Makes me bonkers.

My friend Carol and Jessica are the only ones that know what’s going on. No, Jessica doesn’t know I’m coming to the airport with my face in (dentures, it really changes your face).

Now more how to survive Thanksgiving tips that I use myself:
Play games – I don’t care if they’re card games with others or computer games by yourself. Play something!
Breath – from deep down in the belly when you feel the stress monster coming for you.
Ask for a hug – you don’t even need to say why. Just ask for one… or give one, maybe more than one!
Eat properly, and drink lots of water. No booze. NO BOOZE. Seriously. Don’t drink it.
Get enough sleep.
Smile. Smile for others if you can’t for yourself. Don’t bring your world down to your mood if you’re cranky.
Meditate, pray, be still… recharge yourself. Go to your happy place.
Oh, and do not over eat.

And then the next day will come and what you did the day before will still be with you so make wise choices.

Lastly, if you have a service dog avail them of their services. It’s what you have them for! Mine is sleeping soundly in her place at the foot and her side of my bed. Even with her cone on she knows when I need her. (She had her girl bits removed and wants to lick it too much) So that damn cone  is another stressor for us all. It makes it very difficult to train her with it on.

I’ve taken on a lot this week. I’ve decided I can make it work if I take my time and keep things separated. I believe I can do this. I even have a separate schedule in my desk in my room for Jessica coming. If I mess that up the game will be blown. Normally, I wouldn’t do this much, but Jess and I decided she should come home for a quick visit now and a longer one in December in case something happens with my dad; her grandpa.

She just became a Senior Airman in the USAF. I’m so proud of her! Her new stripes and all that are so cool. I can’t wait to see the picture of her in her blues besides her selfie. lol

And now the test. Can I follow my own plans to succeed? Have I set myself up for a huge fall? I don’t think so. I’m having to focus on others;  always a good thing. Focus. That’s important. I’ve got to stay focused and balanced and ask for help when I need it. Sometimes that’s hard to do.

Let me know how you fair this week my friend. I’ll tell you how I do when I’m through next Monday.

May you escape the nibble of a turkey on the end of your nose. May you eat said turkey instead. May you stuff your bird with stuffing . And may you spend time with loved ones, even if it’s only by phone or Hangout or… thinking of them. A little bit of love goes a long way. May you succeed in all your goals

Ciao,

Robin