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Poppy wants to live in a world where everyone's story matters, regardless of their income or way of life.

As a photographer, she's won ribbons at the county fair. As a spiritual seeker and writer, she's been featured in Jen Louden's The Life Organizer and once published an article at allthingsgirl.net.

When she's not writing or photographing her story, she can be found at her day job as a technology consultant, or at home snuggling her cats, or in the park, taking a walk with her husband.

"Aren't you a rope?" "Nope, I'm a frayed knot."

I know I'm at the end of my rope when I catch myself over-reacting. Crying over something small, angry over a minor slight. I'm usually aware enough to catch myself fairly quickly, and I try not to let my over-reation affect anyone else.

I hit that point this morning. My DH-to-be commented that he might have gotten over the virus he has a wee bit faster if it hadn't been for the meal I made on Tuesday making him ill, thus prolonging the cold he's been home with most of the week.

Tuesday was the most difficult day I had all week. As time goes on, my reasons for needing a major change become clearer and clearer. Just to function on a daily basis in the job I've been working at for almost 5 years now requires more dishonesty than I can take. Tuesday wasn't a particularly unusual day; I did all of the things I usually do on Tuesdays. And this week, I just didn't have the energy when I walked out the door at 5 to make anything more complex than a pizza for dinner. DH wasn't due home from work for another couple of hours, after working a 12-hour day himself, so I convinced myself that I couldn't even let him worry about dinner - after all, what's so different between a tiring 8 hour day and a tiring 12 hour one? Where was I really hurting enough to ask him to pick up my slack?

Long story short, I picked up an enchilada dinner "kit" at the store and some soy sausage (I don't eat ground meats, so beef was out of the question). I was exhausted and I did my best to provide some kind of food. And it made him sick.

My first reaction when he told me was horror. No! Not my cooking! My second was panic. Oh my gods, I thought, I'll never be able to have an off day again during the half of the week that I cook.

I crawled into the shower where I could sob without anyone hearing me. And I realized, mid-choke, that I had run head-long into one of the classic conundrums in my life: if it comes down to taking care of my partner or taking care of myself, which should I do?

Obviously, the answer is simple - him or me is a false dichotomy. The real answer is to do better at keeping simple meals in the freezer for days when there's no energy. Or just call out for pizza again. Or I could have spent the time that it took me to wander mindlessly though the store picking up enchilada sauce going to KFC for some skinless chicken (there are days when I miss having Boston Chicken in town). Jumping to the conclusions that I did - after having a challenging week already - just confirms that I'm at the end of my tether yet again. I've lost balance. Time to re-find my center.

I had already planned to start the year's hiking this weekend, knowing I needed to get outside for a while to refresh myself. I almost left this morning right after my shower, just to get away, take my over-reacting little butt away so that DH didn't have to try to carry my burden, too. It didn't happen. For one, the weather should be nicer tomorrow, when I had planned on going anyways.

While I'm Sick....

Ideal Day