Saturday, December 29, 2012

Winter update...I'm here, barely

Well, hey!  It has been a long and difficult month and a half - so much going on, so much to deal with, and I'm not sure how much I should write.  In so many cases, writing helps, but I am not alone in the world, and words are permanent - especially on the internet. 

Let's begin with - my mind has been giving me trouble again.  It started with a low-grade anxiety that just wouldn't fade away.  Tolerable, but uncomfortable.  About a week after that started, I began to cry.  A lot.  Since then I have discovered a trigger, discussed med options with my doctor, and seen my therapist.  Also, there has been a large issue with a family member, we have had various holiday celebrations, and I've been sick for a week.  I have had no voice for 4 days now.  Do you have any idea how much I tend to talk? 

All this is to say, I am having problems.  And I'm trying to deal with them, but I have not meant to ignore my sweet readers.  I am trying to take some control back, and one way of taking control is to write.  So I will be back within the next few days.  If I'm not, come looking...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I really just want to share this picture

Hello and a very happy Sunday, my friends.  Check out the awesomeness my son found at the local flea market.  Apparently, they are my Christmas presents. 

He never even saw "X-Files."  Well, he doesn't remember, anyway.  I loved Agent Mulder.  David Duchovny is kind of skeazy, but Agent Mulder - all clean-cut and intense - yummy.   
Anyway, such is the vein of thought for the evening.  I am not feeling particularly deep and meaningful here.  Some interesting points of the past week:
-My husband and kids went out of town for the day yesterday to see the U of I football game.  I went to the Ryle Craft Show, had lunch with my mom, and hung around, blissfully alone.  It was lovely.
-My orange cat just fell asleep sitting up.  He started snoring and everything.  He is so very old.
-I burned my upper arm on the tea kettle tonight while reaching for a jar of marshmallow fluff.  It was a dumb move, and now I have a nasty burn on a particularly delicate part of my arm.  Ouch.
-I will, once again, call your attention to my supercool Mulder and Scully action figures.  I think I will put them in a bird cage/love nest where they can be together forever, safe from aliens and sinister government operatives.
-My classics book club, of which I have become increasingly fond, has decided to add a classic movie-watching night on our off months.  This week we will be viewing "To Kill a Mockingbird" and I am thrilled.  It is a favorite book, and I'm told Gregory Peck is brilliant. 
Yeah, I really have nothing tonight.  I need some inspiration, or maybe some sleep.  Plus, I'm in the middle of a really good book and I need to get back upstairs to read.  Sleep well, lovelies.  I'll try for more intriguing material next time.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

It all relates somehow.

I didn't take any pictures this week, but I still wanted to post something, maybe just a basic rambling, stream of consciousness type post to get my brain juices (mmm...sweet, sweet brain juices) flowing. 
I started a new book today - I remember my 4th grade teacher reading A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving to our class during testing, but I don't remember the story at all, so maybe he didn't.  Anyway, I'm between library books right now, and I got Owen cheap for Kindle a few months ago, so I started it today. 

Guilty pleasure admission - I love listening to relaxing YouTube videos.  I have my favorites, but one I'm listening to right now is SleepyEnglishGuy.  He is giving me a foot massage.  I want a real foot massage right now.  Which reminds me of "Pulp Fiction."  Do you think a foot massage is an intimate activity?  Quite frankly, I'm willing to let anyone rub my feet if that's what they want to do...I do love a good foot rub.  I had this friend in high school who offered to massage my feet at a lock-in once; it was my first foot massage and it was such gorgeousness!  I know people who can't stand to have their feet touched - poor saps; they are truly missing out on one of the great pleasures.

I've just finished a very busy week - afterschool activities, meetings, book clubs, work, capped off with some scrapbooking last night and my Girl's first volleyball game.  They lost, but she had a great time.  Also, my poor Boy has been sick this week - he's not coughing as much, but I'm not loving how slowly he's recovering. 

I have to focus more on my family's health.  We went through several years where my kids never got sick, but they've been sick quite a bit this year.  Bronchitis and allergies, headaches and stomachaches galore - and I'm not easily tricked (by my kids, they are the world's worst liars, thankfully.)  I know the weather this year has something to do with it - the allergens have been dangerously high.  But I have both of them taking a multivitamin everyday, making sure they are drinking plenty of water and getting plenty of sleep, and putting produce with all the meals where I'm in charge.  Of course, I have to focus on my own health, as well, and I haven't been, not since early in the spring.  Tomorrow I will be starting another "Move every day" program for myself.  This worked well for me in the past - 28 days makes a habit, right?  So I'm putting it out there, to all my masses of lovely readers - I vow to exercise at least 10 minutes every day for the next 28 days.  I will post what I do on my SparkPeople blog each day, if you want to check that out (see the side panel for the link to my SparkPage) and I'll update each week here. 

Dang.  See what a stream of consciousness will do to you?  I just vowed, for goodness sake.  I guess I'd better get to bed if I'm going to be exercising this week.  Night.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

So much fun packed into one week.

 Happy November! 
So much excitement over the past week - Halloween parties, Halloween itself, my Girl turned TEN, birthday parties, crazy crazy crazy.

Isn't this a pretty picture of my niece?  My Girl took this photo.  Perhaps a talent to be developed?
 My friend A had a book club/Halloween party.  We all read the same horror novel and then got together in costume to discuss the book whilst noshing upon gory eats, most of which she found on Pinterest, which was most definitely developed with her in mind.  We read The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, and we most definitely all differed in our opinions.  My theory is you must have more than a little crazy yourself in order to enjoy the book and experience the little thrilling scare.  Having more than a little crazy myself - I enjoyed it.  And the party was fun.
I went as Little Red Riding Hood.  Definitely not
 the most inspired costume, but literary, nonetheless.

The Girl was a zombie clown for Halloween.  I have collected a bunch of costume components over the years - leftovers from other costumes, stuff I've found on clearance, bits and pieces from crafts stores - and the kids are required to build their own costumes from these ingredients.  This is what she came up with, and it was absolutely terrifying.  I did the make-up - pretty proud of the effect, if very disturbed.  The Girl likes to go scary.  I never did, and neither does her brother, but she likes the scary.  The Boy, on the other hand, decided to sit this Halloween out.  He did, however, enjoy carving his jack-o-lantern (which I forgot to photograph) and then raiding his sister's candy stash (which has now been hidden.)  The weather was icky - cold and wet - but the whole neighborhood still came out for trick-or-treat.  Reminded me of home - Chicago was usually cold and wet on Halloween.
It's been interesting reading the opinions from other mama bloggers about Halloween.  I love the holiday.  I love the smell of the evening - dead leaves, bonfires, caramel and pancake makeup and maybe a little beer.  I love seeing all the costumes, trying to guess who is in what, especially seeing something very clever that nobody else is wearing (a few years ago a particularly groovy teenager came trick-or-treating to my house dressed as Dr. Horrible.  He was perfect, and very polite, and sweetly awed at my knowing who he was.  I wanted to give him all the candy.)  I love chatting with the neighbors while the kids run up to the houses, seeing the different decorations at houses that really get into the spirit, and the people who totally turn the experience into a party with firepits and beer and full-sized candybars.  I even love the odd looks I get from the other parents - I always dress up.  No, I don't care that I'm a grown-up.  I play dress-up every chance I get.  Each year is another chance to fondly remember my own childhood, and to make our own traditions.  To enjoy a holiday that is all about fun and ruled by kids. 
Anyway, my Girl turned 10 this past week.  My baby is in double digits.  She had her first sleepover party, which was loud and crazy, and actually a lot of fun.  I will not shy away from them anymore.  I didn't plan anything at all - I had a sub job all week last week and with Halloween and working and all it was a bit chaotic.  I made the fixings for tacos and the girls made their own tacos.  They asked to make a craft, so I took out all these old coffee cans I had been saving for no reason and my scrapbook supplies - they made beautiful cans!  They built their own sundaes and watched Elf and they were all asleep by 12:30AM.  Do you remember your own slumber parties?  When I was a kid, someone always ended up in tears before the end of the night.  No tears here, it was lovely. 
Anyway, today I had to decompress - I haven't even gotten dressed.  I did some laundry and read most of the day.  Tomorrow begins a new week, with new responsibilities - one of our cars goes back in the shop tomorrow.  So, you know, yay for that.  Have a great night. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Things I Miss - A List

Some items we picked up from our local flea market.  My husband has become quite the super-stoked picker.  I was just excited to find the Peanuts glasses.  Kool-aid just tastes better when drunk from a Peanuts glass.

When in doubt about what to write, make a list.  I'm feeling a bit nostagic today - probably the weather.  I've loved autumn, ever since I was a kid.  Having kids of my own means I get to experience some of that childhood glee again, but nothing is ever the same the second time around.  So here, in no particular order, are some things I miss:

1.  A new outfit for the first day of school
2.  Visiting small coffee shops with my college friends - you know, the ones with castoff furniture you can sit in for hours.  There was a place in Wheaton called Bean Wild...
3.  Getting real, handwritten letters.  My cousin and I wrote back and forth for years, and no e-mail thrilled me as much as those envelopes.
4.  The smell of my grandparents' house.
5.  The energy of my younger body
6.  Some of those friends I never see - Facebook just isn't enough
7.  My children as babies
8.  Telephone conversations that lasted hours.  I don't have the desire to sit on the phone that long anymore.
9.  Camping with my brothers and sisters
10.  My brothers and sisters
11.  Being able to stay up past midnight and not suffer for it.
12.  Portillo's and really good pizza from down the road
13.  Canoing small rivers in Wisconsin with my dad
14.  My old job
15.  Feeling like I'm really good at something
16.  That moment before your first kiss with someone
17.  Knowing I'm younger than all the other parents in the class (ooh, I miss that one.)
18.  Smorgasbord with my family on Christmas Eve
19.  Conversations with my Grandpa
20.  Possibilities, the kind you only can feel when you begin your twenties.

Please don't get me wrong, I am actually quite happy with my life - much more content than I was in my twenties.  Sometimes, though, a little melancholy nostalgia is a lovely indulgence. 

What are some of the lovely little somethings that you miss?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Another "I Love Kentucky" Post

My husband, kids, and I went disc golfing the other day.  It was really just a chance for me to take my camera out for a long, hilly hike.  And irritate my son with my less-than-stellar disc golfing skills.  I can't discount the joy of irritating my son.  So here are some of the pictures I took. 

My silly girl, striking a pose.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thank*Full Thursday

It's been awhile since I've written one of these, and they are good for the soul.  Today I am Thank*Full for:

1.  Basketball!  My Girl's basketball team finally won one tonight, thanks in no small part to her four baskets and excellent ball-handling skills.  She rocked that court tonight!

2.  Hot beverages and warm sweaters.  The mornings and nights are getting brisk.  I love fall.

3.  My firepit.  I love the feel of a fire in the fall, and I don't have a fireplace.  Which is fine - an outdoor fire is lovely, too.

4.  My planner and calendar, and paper on which to make lists.  I may have signed myself up for way too much this year, and things are starting to slip through the cracks.  I've been keeping a notebook nearby, so I can write things down as I remember I need to do them.  Yikes, just the thought of that list makes my head hurt a little more.  Deep breath, one task at a time...

5.  Big baby belly laughs.  Playing with the twinlets this evening made my headache fade into the background.  Those girls and their giggles fill me with joy.  I love being an aunt.

See?  My soul feels better already.  What are you thankful for this week?

Monday, October 8, 2012

When I don't feel like cleaning...

I was just cleaning up in my craft area and I got bored, so I thought I'd blog.  Last week I was having anxiety attacks - a lot of little problems were adding up to major stress.  My car broke down - lots of smoke and leaking bits adding up to a $600 repair bill.  Yikes.  My cats got fleas, and with 6 of them, that is a lot of work.  I'm still vacuuming daily.  I went to Nashville for a convention for Relay leadership, which was interesting, but a little overwhelming.  Some kiddle problems, allergies, bills...basically a lot of little adding up.  Bob Ross always said, "There are no problems in this world, just happy little troubles."  Bob is full of wisdom.  Too bad I don't always pay attention.

Anyway, feeling better now.  Some of what's been going on this past week:

Went to my friend's wedding this past weekend.  First of all, my husband actually went with me, which was lovely.  He does not enjoy weddings, but he seemed to enjoy this one.  We were in Madison, IN, and the ceremony was at a fountain downtown.  We went on a trolley tour of the town, which was amusing, and had dinner at the "historic" Madison Tavern and Hotel.  We finished the evening at a small winery - the day was full of joy.  We are just so happy for our friends.

Just watched "Battleship" with the family tonight.  It didn't completely suck, which was a delightful surprise.

I've been subbing more lately, which I've enjoyed.  I'd really like to get on full time somewhere, but I do enjoy working at the different schools.

My friend A and I are planning to work on the Girl's bedroom for her birthday.  We're going to go through her stuff and organize it nicely, then paint the walls.  She's been wanting her room painted blue for years, but she tends to be such a mess, I've never gotten around to it.  My friend was helping me with the flea issue last week, and mentioned she'd have an easier time keeping it clean if we organized it.  It's nice to have such lovely friends who are willing to work so hard with me, right?

I love fall.  I especially love fall in Kentucky.  I found myself feeling the need to take my camera for a walk today.  I didn't have time today, but this will have to happen soon.  So expect some photos to be posted in the next few days...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I knew they were coming.

I've been doing so well since May.  No anxiety attacks.  My therapist is all, "I think we've figured out your triggers and you're working through them...what a success."  So why, then, when stress is a little higher than usual, am I sitting awake at 5:30AM on a Saturday, trying to deep breathe my way through an anxiety attack?  I went out and tried to exercise away some of the excess adrenaline - it's still there. 

A friend of mine and I are often amazed at how different our responses to our symptoms are.  She wants to curl into a ball and cry alone.  I want to be around friends.  I want to hug the people I love close.  Which is a problem at 5AM - nobody wants to be hugged at 5AM.  So I breathe deeply and desperately hope it will be better tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Little Bit of Crazy

I keep saying I want to get on here and blog more often.  Lately, however, I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed, and when I'm feeling overwhelmed, I have trouble putting two cohesive sentences together.  Yeah, "feeling scattered" is putting it mildly.  I'm not saying I'm busier than the average mom with an inability to say no to anyone, but I seem to be feeling it a bit more than usual.  So here's what's going on, and how it's affecting my usual cool as a cucumber psyche:

1.  School.  Homework.  Kids complaining about teachers.  Girl has her first teacher she doesn't just love, and we've had to have the "you're not always going to like your teacher" conversation.  She seems heartbroken.  Boy does not like his English teacher, and the feeling is mutual.  I have to keep reminding him that she does have some control over his future, so he'd better learn to fake it.  Boy also wants to get into a more challenging school next year, and mama here is stressing about that more than he is.

2.  Still looking for a job.  Yes, I am a sub for my local school district, but I really would like to get on permanently somewhere.  This became more stressful this week when...

3.  My car broke.  She started leaking and smoking the other day...not an attractive look for my sweet ride, let me tell you.  They had to take the entire engine apart to get to the problem.  This was a very expensive repair.  Why, you may ask, did I choose to spend $600 to fix a car that is not worth more than $900?  Because, my friends, I need to keep her running another year, or at least until I get a permanent, full time job.  Then I can get a new car.  With air conditioning!

4.  Relay For Life.  I went to our regional Relay Leadership Summit this past weekend in Nashville, a city I've never visited, and really still have never visited, as we spent the entire time in the hotel.  The Gaylord Opryland Hotel was a lovely hotel, though - huge, many acres of lovely.  This Summit was supposed to be a motivational, "let's make our Relay the best it can be" kind of thing.  Unfortunately, I found myself a little disheartened.  All these communities, many of them much poorer communities, are bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars, and our rather wealthy community only brought in $85,000 this year.  I have to remind myself, though, that this was a $15,000 increase over last year.  With a new committee in a new place.  We almost doubled our team number.  These are all good things.  I'm hoping to help build this committee more, and then increase our numbers again for 2013.  Feeling better.  I knew writing this out would help.

5.  Do you stress out when your kid is sick?  I mean, do you waffle back and forth about whether you should let them stay home, and then you continue to obsess about whether you should have let them stay, oh, and should you take them to the doctor if it's just a cough?  Maybe it will turn into pneumonia, but it could be just allergies, oh boy, and then the panic attacks set in.  You see what I'm talking about here?  Funny enough, they're not even sick right now.  I just got myself into that crazy space. 

I finished The Haunting of Hill House today, and that was an interesting book.  A real, decent haunting story, the kind that keeps you guessing.  I can't say anymore, for fear of either ruining the story for you all, or for the people I will be discussing the book with at a future book club party.  So now I'm all about the scary books, and my library just got Odd Apocalypse in for me today.  So I'll start that next. 

My head has been hurting all day today, so I think I will go up to bed soon.  Next time will be a bit more cheerful, and a bit sooner, I promise.  Maybe I'll snap a picture or two to post here...

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Whole lotta what's up.

I just had a lovely dinner out with my mom.  We rarely get to spend any time alone, catching up, so it was  really nice.  I mentioned I had blogged about some food issues today, and she was quite irritated when I said it was on my SparkPeople blog, not here.  I don't get on here enough.

Ooh, the Girl is scratching my back.  Lovely.

 Here are some pictures from the zoo - we went the day before school started. 

 Baby Camel!
This is my sweet potato niece, one of the twinlets.  Isn't she precious?  My face looks ridiculously large next to her sweet little face.  This was the first day of school - we took my nephew out for lunch after his (sniff) first day of kindergarten.

Anyway, the last few weeks have been busy busy - taking care of bidness.  My kids are playing soccer (Girl) and golf and baseball (Boy), which takes up plenty of time.  I've been working on Relay for next year (Relay For Life update - we made our goal for 2012!  Woohoo!  Gearing up for 2013!) volunteering for our school PTA, and working on some family stuff.  I've been trying hard to focus a little harder on my health and fitness, and trying to figure out my food issues.  I find I eat out of boredom and when I'm tired, and I nosh mindlessly.  I decided to tackle this subject with my therapist, we're working on mindfulness and replacing my mindless noshing with other, nonfood-related activities.  This is what I blogged about on Sparkpeople - my Sparkpage is listed over on the side in the links section if you're interested.  I'd love some good ideas for replacement activities.  I've been walking with a few friends, sweating plenty, but my eating habits are difficult to deal with. 

Do you notice that all the Disney Channel girls are, like, the same person?  And they all sing.  Do you think they all live in a commune or something?  Maybe they're bred and raised, like prize farm animals?  It's a little scary.

Have I mentioned my recent discovery and love for an author named Jen Lancaster?  She writes memoirs - really freaking funny memoirs.  I just finished My Fair Lazy; she discovers that her steady diet of reality tv (she spends some time discussing her addiction to MTV's The Real World, which amuses me to no end, since I used to love that show) has left her woefully unprepared to attend a dinner party with other authors she admires.  She decides to embark upon a cultural renaissance, or "Jenaissance" as she calls it, seeking out theater, music, classic books, and ethnically diverse foods.  One of the things I love most about this author, aside from her hilarious observations, is that she lives in Chicago.  Don't you love it when the author you're reading lives in a city you know well, so you can picture exactly where they are?  Anyway, read Jen.  Check out her blog -

'K - gotta go.  Have a spectacular night.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The antics of my brain, lists and books, oh my!

Every time I post I say I'll post more often.  And then I don't.  But now I am.

I want to share the end of our summer with you all, but for that to happen I need to upload pictures, and I'm tired right now.  So we'll do a brief book/mental illness post for tonight.  You like how those two go together? 

We'll start with the mental illness...and I'm leery of typing this, but things are going well.  I had a really great session with my therapist in May and I haven't had a panic attack since.  I've even scaled back my meds a little - just by one increment, (and please remember - if you are on antidepressants, do not decide you are cured and go off on your own.  Most of the time you are feeling better because of the meds, and if not...cold turkey is painful.)  A little extra anxiety at the beginning of my adventures with the niecelets and nephews, but I'm pretty sure that was to be expected.  I mean, people were depending on me not to break their kids.  And I didn't.  Anyway, the past few sessions haven't felt very productive, and I realized at my last one that I was talking to her like she was one of my girlfriends.  One of my girlfriends I had to pay.  And that wasn't cool, so we've decided to take it down to once a month for a little while, and see where we go.  I, in my ignorance, didn't realize you could tailor your therapy that way - first time in therapy here.  I was all, "but I don't really think I'm "cured" you know, what if I start having problems again?" and she responds, "then you call me and make an appointment and we start seeing each other more often" and I say, "I can do that?"  Yeah, sometimes my own common sense blows me away.  So once a month.  And in talking to a girlfriend (that I don't pay) I realized maybe I could work through some of my weight and food issues with her.  Yay, more crazies!  But I have a new motto, and I shared this with a friend today, and I think I'll have it put on a t-shirt because it's so brilliant:

It's our crazies that make us interesting.

Ok, onto books, which are more fun.  My cousin got me the coolest book for my birthday this summer, and I've been playing with it.  Because I love lists.  They make me so happy - unreasonably happy, really.  The idea of taking the contents of my chaotic brain and putting it into some logical order - what fun!  So, here's what she got me:

Yay!  Lots of cool prompts, like "List the cities you plan to visit" and "List your dream jobs."  There are prompts about what you would do with a lot of money, sports you'd like to try, and healthy habits to start, which is timely, of course.  I try to write in it everyday, it's so much fun. 

As for books I've finished lately, I read Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs and I loved it.  He has such a great style, and he's such a geek, I know I'd love him.  In this book, he decides to become the healthiest person in the world, so in addition to starting to exercise and eat better, he tries all kinds of trends and fads - paleo, the caveman workout, cayenne pepper in his breakfast, walking on a treadmill while he writes (which he ends up liking enough to continue.)  It's a great book - I love how his entire life is an experiment, and his wife has such a great sense of humor about it.

I also just finished reading The Great Gatsby again.  I read it in high school, but we are discussing it in my next classics book club, and I wanted to reread it.  Definitely glad I did, I didn't remember any of it, other than the character names.

There have been other books, including a great Jen Lancaster book, but I write about all my books in my Goodreads account, so if you want to check that out, go nuts.  I need to get to bed, I'm sleepy, and I have a lovely day planned for tomorrow.  I will get on here in the next few days and upload pics so I can write all about the last days of summer break, including the super-awesome boots my daughter chose, because you should all be aware of her incredible fashion sense. 

Pleasant dreams, friends.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dude, seriously? Where did the summer go?

It's time for a good babbly post 'cuz it's really freaking late and I can't sleep, and it's been, like, 3 weeks since I last posted. 

Check out my cutie girl in her new glasses.  She was complaining last month about her head hurting.  Unfortunately, it's hard to tell with her, since she kind of complains all the time.  But they were both due for eye appointments.  The Girl definitely needed glasses - she's near-sighted.  The Boy is a lopsided goofball, as we all know.  The doctor says, "I have good news and bad news" which is an odd thing to hear from an eye doctor, but it turns out he is near-sighted in one eye, and is compensating with the other.  I tried to convince them that he would look awesome in a monocle.  Apparently they "don't do that anymore."  Pfft.  If anyone could pull off the monocle, my boy could.  A real distinguished sort, is my Boy.  I really had trouble typing that with a straight face.

I spent the last couple of weeks watching my nieces and nephews whilst their parents were in Hawaii.  Honestly, I would rather have gone to Hawaii, but we had some fun.  Check out these apres-bath hairdos.  Fabulous!

It's kind of a funny thing, the girl with the anxiety disorder offering to take on four extra kids.  I had a few anxiety attacks the first few days - it's been a long time since I've had a baby, and here I had two.  One of whom appears to talk and whimper in her sleep, loudly, and the monitor picks up every sound, and I would lie awake at night listening to every peep, wondering she was going to start crying, and then after 5 hours of very interrupted sleep, I would wake up shaking and sick.  But that eased up very quickly, especially after I realized I didn't have to have the monitor at full volume all night.  And we did just fine.  So I talked to my therapist on Tuesday, and she suggests I seem to be doing much better - dealing with stress better.  I told her about the anxiety two weeks ago and she mentioned most people would feel some extra stress with four extra kids.  I felt - still feel - apprehensive, saying I'm doing better.  I mean, I went several years with very little in the way of symptoms - how do I know I'm doing better?  What if we cut down on our sessions (which it makes sense to do - I spend a lot of time lately just chatting about my day with her right now, which I could do with friends for free) and I start having panic attacks again?  And she says - get this - "you call me and make another appointment."  What is this logic?  You mean, there is no regimented course of treatment?  If I need more, I schedule more? 

I guess that's pretty irrational, not understanding that right away - I guess it just seems so...un-medical.  When I have bronchitis, I go on an antibiotic (my bronchitis is almost always bacterial, I am not just pushing for meds) for a regimented amount of time and it goes away.  I guess I kind of wish my brain was like that - I have a very hard time answering the therapist's question, "what am I hoping to get out of this?"  I don't know, I want to feel better.  So give me a pill, some exercises, and a prescribed number of sessions, and bill me. 

Wouldn't it be easier if it worked that way?

On the other hand, I am gratified to learn that my therapist is not just out for my cash.  She is the one who suggested I don't need to pay someone to listen to me tell her I'm feeling pretty good, thanks, and you?

Alright, it's late and I should have been asleep a long time ago.  I'll have to do another book post soon - I've been reading a lot this summer, and I hit my goal of 60 books in 2012 almost a month ago.  Probably should update that one. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Vacation, books, and health

I'm having some trouble sleeping tonight.  I was well on my way, but my husband came into the room and switched on the tv, then proceeded to flip channels, back and forth, back and forth - I just can't sleep through that.  So I came down here to wait him out - he'll fall asleep soon.  Sucks though, I am really trying to get to sleep and a more reasonable time - before midnight, preferably, and he does not make that easy. 

They say that if you are trying to form new habits, you should make your intentions public - I am trying (again, I know, but better I try again than not try at all) to make healthy changes in my life.  Earlier bedtime is one of those habits I am trying to form - I am also working (right now) on more water and moving every day.  Yesterday I did Jillian Michael's Beginner's workout DVD, which was hard, and I am way sore today.  Today I walked on the treadmill for 35 minutes.  So we're 2 for 2.  The Jillian Michael's DVD has two workouts, one for the front of the body, one for the back.  I did the front yesterday, I plan to do the rear tomorrow.  Expect to hear a great deal of swearing.

I've talked before about my mom's health problems and my desire to avoid them, but I also have read the research, and have the experience - a person who is focusing on her health and who has a regular exercise routine has less depression and anxiety symptoms.  The past six months have been tough, I'm not going to lie, and if getting off my butt is going to help, I am going for it.  Of course, that is easier said than done - I've known this little tidbit for a long time, and you notice how many times I have started and stopped a health routine (for those who don't know - lots,) but I've been seeing a therapist, and I am getting older, as are my kids, and we need me healthy.  It's hard work, though.  Please feel free to occasionally kick my rear.

Speaking of kids - here is The Girl, playing with her grandpa's dog, Riley.  She loves dogs, and they are more willing to do what she says than our cats.  Unfortunately I am terribly allergic to dogs (I had to leave shortly after this picture was taken) and we can't have one (yes, I know how odd it is that I can have cats.)  My husband had his vacation last week and we went to central Illinois to visit his family.  They are fab people, but I did inform him that next vacation we are going somewhere where family does not live.  I am all about saving money, but I really want vacation.  Soon.  At any rate, because I am allergic to his dad's dogs, I spent a lot of time at husband's grandma's house.  We always stay with her, and she is a lovely, and truly classy woman.  We chatted, but both of us are readers, and that quiet house was perfect for reading.  I finished four novels in the 6 days we were there.  One was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - one of my new favorites. 

Anyway, I'm going to meditate briefly and go to bed.  Husband should probably be asleep by now and I can turn off the freaking All-Star game and get some sleep. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Busy busy June.

 Hello my lovely friends.  We're already mid summer, and I've not posted much of anything.  It's been hot.  It's been hot everywhere, I understand.  Bummer.  Here is a bit of a rundown of our summer thus far.
The Girl went to sleepaway camp for the first time this year, the end of May.  The Boy has been going to 4-H camp for years, and this was his first year as a junior counselor, which he enjoyed, and her first year as a camper.  She said she did the challenge course, wood burning, canoing, and lots of swimming.  It was actually quite cool - as you can see, she's wearing a sweatshirt on her last day.

The next week was Relay For Life.  I've been babbling enough about it here, you all know it is a 12 hour fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.  It was my first time on the committee, let alone as chairperson, we were a new committee at a new location.  And it was the best Relay yet.  We came to enjoy working together, which apparently showed, according to some of our oldest participants.  We had great music, an amazing speaker, the weather was awesome.  My team made crafts to sell - my A friends and I made purses out of pants to sell.  Unfortunately we only sold 2 at Relay itself, so I still have 12 left - I made some from my old Army uniforms and others from jeans and if you know anyone who is interested in purchasing a purse, please let me know, they are really cute.  We're almost at our goal, financially, so if anyone is interested in donating...ahem...

 Baseball is finally over, hooray!  The Boy's team didn't do well, but he pitched very well this year, so we're proud.  Although this was definitely a test of his ability to get along with other people - he didn't like some of his teammates, and he wasn't always quiet about it.  I'm trying to teach him to effective communications - he is not exactly open to the lesson...

 The Girl's team did do pretty well.  The first game of the tournament they were down 3-0 in the 2nd inning.  She had not been hitting well all season, but she steps up to bat with the bases loaded, and hits a high line drive to center field, over the fielder's heads.  She tied up the game, and then the rest of the players seemed to remember how to play baseball.  They won the game, 14-7.  They finally lost in the 3rd game of the tournament (thankfully.)  She is ready to move on to softball for next year, so hopefully she'll enjoy that more.
The rest of June was spent chauffering my Girl around - she went to soccer camp, basketball camp, and circus camp.  She loves Circus Mojo camp (that's her on the bottom left.  It was the best picture I got of her at their final performance.)

So that was June.  I'll share more of our summer later.  I need to go upstairs and finish making dinner.  Hungarian beef stew.  In 100 degree weather.  Thank goodness for air conditioning so I can make stew in the summer.

Friday, June 15, 2012

What, oh what, do we do with a teenager during the summer?

I have a lot to say about our first few weeks of summer.  We've had 4-H camp and soccer camp, and Relay For Life, which took up a great deal of my time and energy over the past couple of months.  But today I want to talk about other things - specifically, the Summer List.

I love reading other people's blogs.  I love crafty blogs, and thrifty living blogs, and, oddly enough, crunchy-type blogs about people living on homesteads and whatnot.  Most of all, though, I love parenting blogs - blogs by regular moms like me, who have much better ideas.  A few years ago I discovered the "Summer Lists", listing all the fun things the author wanted to do with her family that summer (I don't remember the first blog I found this on,) and I started making them myself, because, yay, what fun!  The problem with all these fun lists and mama blogs is, nobody I've liked seems to have a teenage boy!  Even the fun lists I've found for teens list mostly girl activities.  My boy likes to go outside and run around, but most of his friends like to spend most of their time inside, playing video games (which is what he's doing with his best friend, right now.) 

So I have a teen boy, a rather surly teen boy, by the way, and a drama queen of a tween girl, who both, oddly enough, still like to do things with me.  And I need to find things that both will enjoy, that won't cost too much money, and will make them happy without stressing me out.  The boy loves the zoo, so we'll probably try to get there once, and the girl loves to swim, and we'll do that a lot.  Our local parks department has a dodgeball and disc golf program in which I'll enlist the boy.  I really wish he had some other hobbies - even something nice and geeky like Magic or something.  Some other ideas:

1.  Paintball/laser tag
2.  Disc golf

Yeah, I really need help.  Any ideas?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Happy birthday to me...I had some coffee...

Hey hey, it's my birthday!  Ok, well actually it's 5 minutes after my birthday.  Here's a special, birthday edition of Thank*ful Thursday, on early squirrelly Saturday morning:

1.  My kids are home from camp!  It was a lovely break, but I missed them.  My boy really enjoyed being a junior counselor, and my girl said she wasn't really homesick at all after the first day.  As for me, I got chores done, but for the most part I spent the week doing whatever the heck I wanted.  Ha.

2.  My husband did super-well on the birthday present front this year.  My coffeemaker broke two weeks ago, and he bought me a new one - a Bunn!  It's superfast - My coffee is ready before I am!  And I told you all about the camera - I'm still figuring out the functions, but I will post more pictures from it.

3.  One super-fabulous friend has been helping me (read: doing most of the work) make purses out of pants to sell at Relay For Life.  They are really cute, and I'm hoping they'll sell really well.  I'll post pictures of them this week.  Relay is also building up to do well...we got a DJ, which is awesome, and the location is outstanding.  We're very excited.

4.  Facebook - where else do you get 75 happy birthday messages before you even speak to one person?  It makes this dork fell uber-popular.

5.  Much needed rain, and a good lazy day to enjoy it.

6.  The fact that there are so many amazing writers out there practicing their craft.  I just finished another excellent book, called The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.  The story is full of beautiful imagery and captivating characters.  And it takes place in Cornwall!  I read a Nancy Drew book set in Cornwall when I was a kid, and I've wanted to visit ever since.  So good.

7.  Another super-fabulous friend made me salted caramel brownies for my birthday.  I've been dying to try them ever since she described them, and she made me a whole pan.  And came over to enjoy one with me whilst chatting.  AND she's going to make cake pops for my survivor gifts.  Awesome! (read in a sing-songy voice.)

8.  The summer is starting strong!

I have a lot of stuff on my mind, but it's late, so I'll wait to chat about it until later.  Some of my family is coming for dinner and cake tonight, so that should be fun.  My cat just started snoring rather loudly...I come downstairs to get away from the snoring in my own bed, and there is a cat snoring down here.  Noisy animals in this house...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Summer Break - and the adventure begins!

I haven't really felt inspired to post this week, but I do feel like catching up, so here goes:

This was the first week of summer break.  We ran around a lot.  My mom is having injections to control back pain, so I took her to that.  The kids had friends over Thursday.  Had my MOMS Club Annual Banquet Wednesday night, which was a lot of fun.  We played Bunco, drank wine, and generally had a great time.  I love those lady friends of mine.  We've never tried Bunco as a MOMS Club activity - I don't know that anyone got drunk enough to really stand up to the other times I've played.  No shots, nobody calling anyone else a wh***, and nobody peed on the floor.  Pretty tame, I guess.

Relay For Life is less than 2 weeks away!  We had our final committee meeting Tuesday night to settle up some last details, and honestly, I was more stressed after the meeting than before.  At that point we had no DJ, but Friday I lined one up, and feel much better about the whole thing.  This is going to be an incredible event - we are already hitting goals and making money, and I think it will be a blast.  If you live anywhere near Boone County, KY, I hope you come out to Relay For Life on June 8-9, 7PM-7AM, at the Florence Freedom stadium. 

My birthday is in less than a week and my scrumptious man got me a new camera.  I've been complaining that my daughter's camera is better than mine, and apparently he was listening.  That's two good presents in a row, how on earth can I match that?  Here is a picture with my new camera.  I can't store more than 5 on the camera itself yet, so I'm waiting on a memory card.  Of course, my husband has to order everything online instead of going to a store, so I have to wait.  The same with my coffee maker.  Oh yes, didn't mention that did I?  My coffee maker broke down last Saturday.  I haven't had coffee in a week.  And rather than going out and getting one, which would have been easy and cheap enough, he had to order one on ebay.  So I'm still waiting.  I will be visiting my mother in a few minutes - I need coffee and she has some.
My goofy girl
Yesterday was Husband's birthday.  I got him a chair for baseball games (his old one broke, and this one has lumbar support for his bad back!)  And a pizza.  I feel pretty lame.  He's so hard to shop for - if he wants something, he gets it for himself, and he rarely really wants anything.  The stuff he's into - computers, sports, comic books - I know nothing about them, and the only thing he gets excited about is saving money.  The other day I went to get my brakes fixed, and the guy (CarX on U.S. 42 in Florence, they are great!) said my brakes were fine, and he could fix the squeak and charge me money, or I could deal with the squeak and be perfectly safe.  I told my husband about my $200 save as part of his birthday present. 

The kids are leaving for camp on Tuesday morning.  Yes, both of them.  My father-in-law asked me how I will cope without them here.  Ha!  I said I will cope just fine.  I would very much like to redo the Girl's room (I did the Boy's last year when he was at camp.)  She says she wants it to look like "an ocean breeze."  All I've got right now is that I will paint the walls blue.  That's the hardest part, so I'm not too worried.  Of course, it's going to take a good amount of time to prep, so hopefully I can finish it in time - there is a wallpaper border and she is a messy chick.  Wish me luck!

Ooh, I finished a really great book last night!  Or this morning, around 3AM, actually.  Divergent by Veronica Roth is a story about a 16 year old girl, Beatrice, in a dystopic society (based in Chicago).  Society is separated into factions, each of which is devoted to a particular attribute: selflessness, bravery, honesty, intelligence, and peace.  At age 16, each person is tested to determine which faction they belong in, and then they choose where they will spend the rest of their lives.  Occasionally, the results of a test will be inconclusive, and that person is a "divergent" which is considered a danger to the society they've built.  The premise is a little like Hunger Games, but the story and characters are completely different.  There is a romance involved as well, and it is very well-written, to the point I felt very deeply for the characters.  Thank goodness it's a trilogy, I'm on the list for the next one.

That's enough for today - enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend.  My baby brother was recently deployed (3rd deployment) to Afghanistan. He has a wife, two boys, and a baby on the way.  If anyone who reads here is a veteran, or has family currently overseas - thank you so much for your service. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Me, when I'm not feeling so nice.

I really try to make this a positive-ish blog.  I like to think I'm a nice person.  Sometimes to the point of detriment - I'm extremely non-confrontational, which I think may be a small part of the cause of my panic attacks.  Unfortunately, those things that irk me that I refuse to say out loud tend to fester in my brain as I dwell on what I didn't say.  So, here are three things I didn't say out loud this weekend, and they have been living, rent-free, taking up space in the prime and not-so-plentiful real estate of my mind, causing some mild anxiety and a little trouble sleeping:

1.  Why does my daughter have to prove herself more than the boys on her baseball team?
I may be a little sensitive on this one, but my Girl has been playing on this team for three years, has rarely missed a practice or a game.  She has put in her time, and she truly holds her own.  Admittedly, she has not been hitting her best, but neither have the boys on the team.  Anyway, she is a pitcher, and a pretty darn good one at that.  But the coach will not put her in.  He let her pitch one inning of game against an undefeated team a month ago, and right before she went in, he warned her, "you better not walk anyone."  Yeah, coach, no pressure or anything.  He never says anything like that to the boys on the team.  She did walk two players, but the inning was scoreless, in part because of her playing.  This past weekend he told her if she practiced Friday she could pitch Saturday.  She practiced, and we played the best team in the league Saturday.  He relieved our starting pitcher with a boy who has pitched once before (and walked most of the players) and our slowest pitcher.  He told my Girl that she walks too many people.  He also stuck her in the outfield (she's one of the best fielders on the team) and sat her two innings - he sits her more than anyone else on the team.
I will admit, her attitude has been less than stellar lately.  She wants to play softball, and each game the coach refuses to pitch her pisses her off a little more.  But she apologized last week for her attitude, and she puts in her time.  I feel she is being treated unfairly, and I am so so glad there are only 6 games left in the season. 

2.  Why do the teenagers in this neighborhood have to travel from house to house by golf cart?
We do not live on a golf course.  We do not even connect to a subdivision on a golf course.  Our neighborhood is only a couple of blocks.  And not one of these teens are licensed to drive.  Why, oh why do their parents give them a golf cart to drive around - on roads, on sidewalks?  I thank the lovely teens who kept coming back to buy my cake pops at our Lemonade Stand Against Cancer the other day, but seriously, they were only traveling a block at a time.  Is riding a bike really that taxing? 

3.  Yes, your ass is smaller than mine.  Congratulations.  Now tuck it back in your miniscule shorts.  I'm so sick of seeing asscheeks.  And summer has only just begun. 

Ok.  I'm not going any further on that one, I think I ranted enough on number 1.  School is out and I will take tons of pictures to post so as to keep my blog a little sunnier. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Today I'm Loving...

Ok, well my camera is still missing, which is infuriating, but everyone needs a little positivity, so here are two things I'm loving today:

1.  Gotye.  Yes, I know, I was the last internet-having person to hear "Somebody I Used To Know," but I've become enamored with this amazingly talented Belgian-Aussie musician.  Last night I listened to his "Fresh Air" interview from April 7, and he's so adorable and self-deprecating.  I'm kind of obsessed with this song right now (it's an older one) - the video is surreal.

2.  Jen Lancaster.  I read her novel "Wish You Were Here" a few weeks ago, and found it rather adorable.  Especially since it's based in Chicago, and she has a slight obsession with John Hughes, and thus is totally relatable.  This led me to check out her memoirs, which so far are hilarious, and her website.  I'm pretty sure we're going to be besties, friends, so check out her website:

3.  Relay For Life of Boone County hit 40 teams!  I've shared that I am one of the chairs for this event, right?  Woohoo!  My own team is doing our own fundraiser this Friday afternoon (last day of school) - we're holding lemonade stands in our various neighborhoods.  So if you're in the Union area, please visit a lemonade stand in one of the subdivisions here. 

Not a long list, I admit, but I'm really loving them.  Now I'm going back to perusing various blogs while listening to songs suggested by Tish from Fit Bottomed Girls on YouTube.  I need some new tunage for my workout playlist.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Movies and mayhem

So I've misplaced my camera.  Which is driving me insane.  I feel like I should tear the house apart looking for it.  What's funny is I was complaining about the fact that I tend to not take as many pictures as I'd like to, and now that my camera is missing, I see something every few minutes I'd like to take a picture of.  And my son's 15th birthday was last week, and I didn't get a 15th birthday picture.  Boo.

I've been feeling better and better each day.  Wednesday morning I woke up around 5AM shaky and needing to MOOOOOVE.  I tried to get back to sleep for a little while, but then I just got up, got dressed, laced up my running shoes and went outside to walk a few miles, fast.  I even ran a little.  I didn't feel great after, but a little later I felt a LOT better.  So each morning I've woken up with the crazy adrenaline rush, I've exercised.  The trick is keeping up the moving as I feel better.  Especially since I know all the movement will help me feel even better in the long run.

My Girl hates playing baseball now.  She's been playing a few years, but she decided this year she is sick of playing with the boys and she wants to switch to softball.  Of course, I told her she had to wait out the season, since we already paid and the team was counting on her.  So every practice and game is like torture for everyone, watching her sulk on 3rd base.  The whole tragic affair came to a head yesterday when her bad attitude irritated husband to the breaking point, and they both came home yelling at each other.  I had to put on my mediating hat and talk them both down.  And then inform Girl that we all know she doesn't want to be there, she has nothing else to prove, and she's only making it bad for herself, so she may as well try to enjoy it, learn from it, and it will be over in a month.  I think...maybe...I have gotten through.  Why are my children so dramatic?  Aren't siblings supposed to be different in temperament?  Because both of mine are extreme drama queens.  I'm pretty sure that's not fair.

I just finished watching "Crazy Stupid Love."  Sigh.  It was fine, but I have to admit I was expecting a little better character development.  Ah well. 

Oh, and since I wrote in my last post about needing to work, I've applied for 3 transfers withing the school district, and two other jobs.  Fingers crossed...

Ok, so I'm going to meditate and then go to sleep so as to wake up and tear apart my house looking for my camera.  Wish me luck!

Friday, May 11, 2012

More psychobabble.

Last Sunday morning I woke up feeling crappy again.  More anxiety, more ick. 
So I've been dealing with that this week.  I saw my therapist on Monday and this was the first time I've been feeling bad since I started seeing her, so, you know, she could see I wasn't faking it, right?  We started talking about whatever - what are you feeling, what are you thinking when you start feeling panicky, what are you dreaming about - and somehow we got onto the subject of work.  And how much I loved my last job.  And I started bawling.  Hard, ugly sobs.  I was good at my job.  I loved my job.  I need something in my life that I feel successful at, and I don't feel I have that right now.  She responds with something along the lines of, you feel worthless, that you are not contributing the the household, that you are not good at what you are doing.  And I say, absolutely, and cry harder. 
Stay-at-home moms are some of the hardest working people I know, and this is not a post on the merit of one way to parent over the other.  But both of my kids are in school all day.  I do stuff, don't get me wrong, and I love working in the schools, but I need something steady.  Something I feel good about. 
I felt really cleansed and refreshed after that session.  I was hoping it would end the anxiety attacks.  It didn't.  But I got some interesting insights, and I've spent the past few days subbing and applying for other jobs.  I want to spend this summer with my kids, and when it's over, I need a job again. 
Talk about lucky, right?  I need to focus on how lucky I am that I am able to say, I need a job for my mental health, not because we are suffering. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My brain and her silly antics.

My brain hurts.  But in a good way, I think.
A couple of weeks ago I went to a Mom's Night Out at our local bead shop (which is about to close, sniff.)  Made a cute ring.  They had Coldplay's "Parachutes" album playing over the speakers.  I had forgotten how much I loved this album.  And I have this album.  Excellent.  I'm listening to it right now, so I can finish the post I've been brewing over the past two days.  That's not to say it will flow, but I have a lot in my head, and I want to write about it.  Maybe one of you out there will be able to make sense out of all of this - my mind does not really work linearly.  Yes that's a word, because I say so.
I mentioned yesterday that I attended a women's spiritual retreat at the beautiful Grailville in Loveland, OH.  It was a really lovely place - nature paths, a labyrinth, and an environmentally friendly waste system of which they were very proud.  The first evening we spent around a camp fire, getting to know each other.  The next day we had a few large group activities, plus two break out activities.  I chose to do a writing exercise and meditation. 
The writing exercise began with a short guided meditation and then an essay called "She Let Go."  Then the facilitator placed several sheets of paper around the room with prompting questions, which we were to answer with one sentence.  "What is one thing you have never shared with your partner?" was one, I can't remember the others, because the prompt that opened a whole barrel of brainsludge was "What do you need to let go of?"
About a month ago I was dwelling on one thing or another and my husband, who is often more astute than I give him credit for, asked me, "why can't you just let go of anything?"  And, of course, I couldn't answer him.  I have no idea.  This is why I'm in therapy, for crap's sake.
My one sentence response to the prompt was "all the crap in my head that is holding me back." 
After this exercise, we had 10 minutes to just free write whatever came into our heads.  I filled up 2 pages.  With "all the crap in my head." 
Two full pages of vitriol.  Horrible, hateful things I would never say to another person, but I say to myself, over and over, every day. 
I wrote and wrote, faster and faster, my handwriting getting less and less legible.  I was not writing this to get advice, or to punish myself, or so someone would say, "Oh, no Missy, you're not ________."  I just wanted to get the crap out and on the page in front of me. 
And then I read it out loud, to everyone at the session.
After the writing session there was more large group activity and discussion, and then meditation.  Not guided meditation, which I love because it relaxes me, but a true Buddhist seated meditation.  For 20 minutes.  It was...hard.  Really hard.  But it gave me time to process what I had written about myself earlier - not really to dwell on it, either, but just to let it settle and brew.  I'm still not sure what happened in my head this weekend, but I know I'm feeling a little different, a little less...hateful. 
With all the stuff I obsess over, everything I feel guilty about, or stress about, my spirituality is not one of those things.  My beliefs are less than traditional, certainly, but I've taken the time and space I've needed to work through them, and I've come out feeling comfortable with my spirituality, and the way I'm helping my children to cultivate their own spiritual selves.  In working through all this with my therapist the other day (found a new one, by the way, so far so good,) she asked me why I thought I felt comfortable with this aspect of my life, and no other.  I said I am confident that my beliefs are right for me, and for my family.  She suggested that I try to view other aspects of my life with that spiritual self, that part that is confident and strong.  Which is great in theory; I just need to learn to access that part of myself.
One of the things I noticed about what I wrote was that so much of it started with "I should."  "I should be a better mother" "I should make healthier choices" "I should be a better listener."  The psychologist I was seeing before told me I said that a lot, and why "should" I do anything?  Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling connected or trusting of anything he said, and I totally blew him off, but this past weekend, as I was ruminating over the experience I had in that writing workshop, I realized - I won't be successful at anything until I turn all the "I should's" into "I choose's."  That's good, right?  Mine, people, nobody steal that. (wink)
Ooh, this is my favorite one - "Sparks."
Okey doke. That's enough deep stuff for tonight.  I've fed my furry hoard of boarders, so it's time for another silly kitty pic.
Kitty in a bread bowl - and yes, there was still bread in there.  We did not eat it.
  "Yellow."  My friend Jen's daughter used to tell me the color yellow made her angry.  I thought it was kind of cool that a color could affect a person's mood so obviously, but I also kind of enjoyed singing this song to her.  Which, in hindsight was kind of mean, but it didn't seem to bother her too much.
Time to meditate and then sleep.  Sweet dreams, friends.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Something to think about...

Every once in awhile we read something that had an enormous impact on us.  This past weekend I attended a spiritual retreat.  The retreat was incredible and prompted some major thought overhaul, and it deserves a well-crafted post of its own, but during one of my workshops the facilitator read an essay that I will likely read again and again.  It helped guide me in a good direction, and I want to share the essay here. 

She Let Go
by Ernest Holmes

She let go. Without a thought or word, she let go.
She let go of the fear. She let go of the judgments. She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head. She let go of the committee of indecision within her. She let go of all the “right” reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go. She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go. She let go of all the memories that held her back. She let go of all the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. She let go of the planning and all the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line, She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.
No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forever more.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thank*full Thursday

It's been awhile since I've done one of these, but they're good for me.  They're good for us all, right?

1.  My pink and brown camp chair, which is getting a lot of use these days, considering the number of practices and games I've been attending.

2.  Meditation.  Apparently the equanimity I've gained from my daily practice is helping me weather the storm of my daughter's moods.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  She has become the mercurial little thing.

3.  Private Selection's Salted Caramel Truffle ice cream from Kroger.  Heaven in a half-gallon.  Actually, it's more of a love-hate thing - so very good, I can't stop eating it.  I literally hissed at my son last night when he asked for some.  He found something else.

4.  An adventurous spirit


5.  My spiritual openness.  Tomorrow evening I will be attending a women's spirtual retreat for the Unitarian Universalist church I've been attending, and I am so looking forward to it.  I will write more on that when I come back. 

What are you thankful for these days?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day!

This is pretty cool:

You may or may not believe that evolution occurred, but we are reminded that all life is connected - from the tiniest cells to the most brilliant humans, from amoeba to elephant.  We must take care of the only home we have.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Deliciousness with black beans

My life has gotten rather hectic lately; my Girl is playing baseball and soccer and my Boy is doing track and baseball.  A lot of driving, a lot of waiting around, a lot of "where are your cleats" "is your gear in my car or your father's" "crap, I forgot to wash your purple socks" yelling going on between 4PM and 9PM, Monday through Friday.  Games on weekends.  I generally don't allow more than one sport at a time - I relaxed my rule for this season.  It won't happen again.

Anyway, so last night's Mom's Night Out was a welcome diversion.  We went to the Bead Boutique to make beaded jewelry and socialize, and it was lovely.  I made a ring version of my nest necklace from a previous post, and it's adorbs.  We're kind of bummed, though, the Bead Boutique is closing the end of this month.  They will be missed.

I have to admit, I generally pick up some chips or cheese and crackers on my way to these things, but yesterday I was feeling inspired by a recipe I found on one of my favorite health and fitness websites, Fit Bottomed Girls: Black Bean Hummus.  I had all the ingredients on hand and I love black beans, so I gave it a try.  I even made the chips, from high fiber tortillas I had on hand.  They were not so good - I think I needed to bake them just a little longer, they were kind of chewy.  But the creamy and lovely.   

Black Bean Hummus from Fit Bottomed Girls
I highly recommend, if you like hummus.  Which you do, of course.  It tastes particularly good on pretzel chips, but everything tastes good on pretzel chips, as far as I'm concerned. 

This recipe was super healthy, which segues well to my next topic:  I had a little meeting with my kiddles today to discuss our healthy family challenge (I think I mentioned that in a previous post?  If not, it's exactly what it sounds like, and I found it on SparkPeople.)  Our challenges for the first week include reducing screen time, having a meeting to explain the program and ask for input, and prepare by making meal plans and lists, checking activities, etc.  My kids actually are not too crazy with the screen time - neither kid has a tv or computer in their rooms.  But I did suggest that we could all benefit from slowly reducing the tv time, and when summer comes I don't want them zoning in front of one screen or another, so this will be good preparation.  Wish me luck with that. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Book post

I'm having a little trouble getting my brain to settle down tonight. I'm not thinking anything deep, heavens no, nothing like that. Just lots of little tidbits - I feel like making something but I can't settle on a crafty pursuit; Girl has pictures at soccer tomorrow - don't forget the jersey and form; I need to get to the library; I went to read at baseball practice tonight but my Kindle's battery was low (I love my Kindle, but books don't have batteries) which reminds me, my favorite watch's battery died; the kind of stuff that makes your brain say, "blah, blah, blah."
So, books. I've mentioned before I'm in three separate book clubs. People always freak out when I mention that, "that's crazy, three book clubs? How do you find the time?" Dude, I'm always reading or talking. My two favorite things in the world to do. This way I get to talk books with three different groups of people, and read books I probably wouldn't pick up on my own. All three met within one week:
1. Classics book club: We have decided to allow the term "classics" to be a little subjective - the books is chosen by the next host, and they are allowed to choose books they always felt they should have read. This is a relatively new group; we're still making up the rules. Anyway, we meet every other month, giving ourselves a little extra time to finish. This past selection was "Madame Bovary" by Gustave Flaubert, the story of a dissatisfied housewife. Seriously, that was pretty much it. She was whiny and annoying, and while I realize women were not given many choices at the time, I wanted to slap her. Repeatedly.
2. Mom's Club book club: the book selection is completely the choice of the next month's host, although we try to only choose books for which the library has book kits. Our local library is awesome in that they will try to put together book kits if they have enough books, even if they don't currently have a kit for it. Anyway, this past selection was "Welcome to the World, Baby Girl" by Fannie Flagg, and it is probably one of my favorite book club reads so far. The story of a young woman trying to find fame while keeping her integrity, the peripheral characters are colorful and hilarious.
3. Happy Housewives Drinking Wine: so named because many of the participants don't necessarily read the books, but do enjoy the wine. Our most recent read was "The Bad Seed" by William March. Most people are familiar with the story - little girl has secret identity as psychotic murderer - but what I found fascinating was the author's obvious disdain, and possibly fear, of women. All of his female characters were very flawed, title character aside. He also very obviously read a lot of Freud - the whole story was exploring the concept of murder as an inherited trait. It was an interesting story, although Rhoda Penmark, the main character, was disturbingly close to my Girl's age. I'm keeping an eye out...
Since finishing these tomes, the most notable book I've read was "Tuesdays With Morrie" by Mitch Albom. Have I ever talked about Albom here? He is a sportswriter, a very well known sportswriter, actually. The kind of guy who spent a lot of time kissing up to spoiled rotten athletes for a living. In "Tuesdays With Morrie", Albom documents the time he spends with his old professor, Morrie Schwartz, who is dying a very long and painful death from ALS. He shares his insights on life, love, and death. I may have cried at the end, but as a whole, it was an inspirational story. Albom is still a sportswriter, but I like to think he has a lot more perspective since his time with Morrie. He also sort of looks like a hobbit, which amuses me to no end when I watch him on "The Sports Reporters" on ESPN on Sunday mornings.
So those are the more thoughtful books I've read over the past few weeks. If you're on GoodReads, friend me, and we'll share all things books. Have you read anything good lately?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I'm a nut but you know you love me...

Boy nelly. Talk about foggy brain last night. Right after I finished writing that post my daughter, who was spending the night with Grandma, called to tell me her tummy hurt and she wanted to come home. This was a little surprising as she is 9, although not a particularly self-sufficient 9. I tried to talk her into staying, but alas, her crying won me over, and I brought her home. She spent the night sleeping in her own bed, and woke up feeling better. Now she's at my son's first baseball game of the season. Speaking of which she had her own first baseball game of the season yesterday, which her team won. So, you go Girl. Of course, she spends hours a week complaining about the fact that she is the only girl on her baseball team, but I told her if she wants to switch to softball next year, she has to finish out the season. So we'll both have to suck it up.
I seem to be developing my second case of bronchitis of the year, which kind of sucks. All of us in the household have been sick in some way quite a bit this year, which is an impetus for a renewal of commitment to healthy living. Last year at the time I was exercising a lot, eating better, sleeping well - and I didn't get sick all year. Over the past 4 months we've dealt with 2 cases of pneumonia, 2 cases of bronchitis, several colds, pink eye, back aches, foot'd think we were all unhealthy 90 year-olds. Add 3 separate instances of break-through anxiety attacks, and this year has kind of sucked, health-wise. We have to step up our healthy habits, and as I tend to be the primary example here, I will start with myself. This week I will drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, I will be in bed by 10 each night, I will move at least 10 minutes a day, and I will makes sure to get 5 servings of produce in, for all of us. Even with bronchitis I can handle moving for 10 minutes. I intend to make this the last case of bronchitis for the year. I will also find a new therapist this week.
Anyway, I'm in the midst of a massive laundry session and I need to change over the loads. Plus, today is our spiritual discussion group and my friend is picking me up in 20 minutes. Enjoy your day - I intend to.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Be afraid...

Today has lacked focus and direction. I'm not complaining, we need days like this. Days where we're only productive by accident, and we spend the rest of the day looking up random bits and vittles on the internet, watching reruns of Deep Space 9, and reading. Maybe taking the occasional break to stare into space. My unfocused mind has taken me on quite a tour of the interwebs over the past hour, and I thought I'd share...
We started over at one of my favorite blogs,, because I couldn't remember the name of the song for which she named her blog, and she links to a youtube video of Ani Difranco playing the song "Evolve," which I like a lot. Which leads me to thinking about other songs I want to download, which leads me to our public library site, where I can (legally) download 3 songs a week. I opened up as well, to see some of their posts on great workout songs. I'm always looking for new music for my workout playlist, and they post playlists all the time. I find "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince, which I've forgotten about, and go to download it, but the library site doesn't have it, which is annoying, of course. I hop between FBG and Amazon for awhile, looking for other songs, when I arrive at the brilliant idea of making a list, so I have songs to look up when I want to download - list is in progress. Probably should have figured that one out a long time ago. Figure out while looking for songs to download for workout list that I need new running shoes, hop over to Zappos site to look up sales. See ad for "Color Me Radd" 5K race, which sounds interesting, so I look up that. See under my most recent Amazon search Grand Funk Railroad's Greatest Hits, which reminds me of Parliament, so I start looking up their old stuff, which reminds me of that movie "PCU" with Jeremy Piven where George Clinton and Parliament come and play at a party on their college campus...of course I haven't seen that movie in ages, has anyone else seen that movie?

what do you have on your workout playlist?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Spring Breakin'

This has been the kid's spring break, and since I work for the school district, it was mine, as well. And Marc took the week off, so we all had a lovely spring break.

I finally made something I pinned - a nest necklace. So easy, so cute!
Played some disc golf this week - it was gorgeous, but the kids' allergies were terrible. In fact they were so bad, that I had them in the doctor's office by Friday. Yay for nasal steroids!

Took the twinlets to the park on Wednesday - they love the swings. They left that afternoon for Tennessee, and now I miss them terribly. Bring them back to me! I need snuggles!

Other fun-ness this week: classic book club, happy, fun visits with my little sister, and birthday celebration for one of my nephews.

Today was Easter, and family came over for treats, ham, and my attempt at a Peep cake! Hoorah for my attempt at a Peep cake. It wasn't perfect, but it featured a homemade marshmallow frosting, which was scrumptious. I had trouble not licking the cake.

Back to normal tomorrow. I'm working in the library most of the week, which is my favorite place to work, so that's excellent. I also have book club twice. I read some excellent books this month, but that is a topic for another post.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Anyone could understand me freaking out about this...

Last week was the week from hell. Did you ever see that Star Trek: Voyager episode, The Year Of Hell? Maybe none of you are Star Trek fans, too bad for you, you're missing some pretty wicked stories, but anyway, a guy loses his wife and kids and starts messing with the space-time continuum, in the process causing some pretty massive destruction to the galaxy and Voyager...have I lost you yet?
I digress. Saturday my washing machine broke down. Bummer, it's the middle of a pretty major sports season (baseball, baseball, track, soccer) but oh well. Sunday I make an appt for the Sears guy to come look at the washer and the Boy starts complaining about headaches. I give him Tylenol and send him to bed. Monday I do laundry at the laundromat (do you know it costs $4 a load now? Yikes!), the Boy is home from school, and I take the Girl to the doctor for these crazy bumps all over her face (doc says is impetigo, prescribes ointment, and says Girl must stay home next day.) Tuesday Boy goes to school, Girl stays home with friend because I had to work, pick Boy up and he says he has both headaches and dizziness now. Wednesday I take Boy to doctor, doctor says he needs a CT scan. I spend next 5 hours on the computer and phone, trying to find out what it will cost us to get a CT Scan, and where it will be most affordable. Washer guy comes, looks at washer, tells me it will be $260 to fix washer (for labor!) and leaves. Toilet gets clogged. Diabetic cat goes into insulin crash...seriously, this all happened in one day. I got the maple syrup, got cat out of crash, started shaking like a come the panic attacks. Thursday, Boy is home again, take cat to the vet, $268 later find out she may not be diabetic anymore (WTF?) Still having anxiety attacks, and still looking for a new therapist. Friday morning we decide to take Boy for CT Scan. Sit for 3 hours waiting to get scan, then 5 more hours waiting to find out results. No masses, thankfully, possible anomalous reading of front part of brain, but probably nothing. He is still getting headaches, but not quite as bad, and the dizziness has subsided. I closed up the house to limit the allergens, and I'm keeping an eye on him. He's a young teen with bad allergies, it is more than likely related to one of those facts. But the scared mama still worries...
It seems obvious that I am going to have to learn to work through stress better. Anxiety attacks every time I have a little more stress than usual is not going to work. I have been so spoiled by my medication keeping me symptom free for years at a time...Ugh.
Here is a little something to amuse you:

Yes, you count FIVE cats. That is not even counting my possibly not diabetic cat, Bug, who is restricted to our room to monitor her diet. Here's another fun pic:

That is Gus on the left and Finnegan on the right, boxing. They do this constantly. Or they stalk each other and pounce, but they are not particularly good at it, as neither of them are particularly stealthy. So the cats are having a good time.

Anyway, gotta feed the Girl and go pick up my laundry from my friend's house, where I was washing it earlier. Yeah, the washer won't be fixed until Friday.