Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The only thing better than drunk dialing...

Is drunk blogging!
How did I not post a Tomten pic this year yet? I hope you all have enjoyed your Christmas thus far. I was kind of a jerk...adopted a tree frog for my frog-loving girl from the National Wildlife Foundation...but also got her a new comforter for her pretty blue room, and she loves it. Boy got lots of Magic stuff. He loves that stuff. Drank a lovely pink moscato, and the effects, they linger. Now I must make nighty night cookies, a recipe my grandma used to make. And they are delightful. Merry Christmas readers!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Good Grief.

I am a total crab-ass right now.  And since you all are my sweethearts, and you just love to hear me whine, I'm going to tell you about it. 

Nothing catastrophic happened today.  Just irritating little issue upon irritating little issue.  For instance, my day started with me sitting on the bed with my legs crossed, waiting for my lallygagging husband to get out of the bathroom so I could pee, and get ready for work.  Then I stuck my left thumb with the syringe while I was giving Bug her shot.  Could not get the Girl out of bed.  Almost forgot to take the trash to the curb, so had to go back and do that.  Almost late for work.  Almost, but not, so that's good.  Some late requests at work (And one was misspelled.  At least one word in every. sentence.  How do you do that?)  Got home to fighting kids.  The Girl was whiny, The Boy was irritating.  The Girl decided at 6:45, when I finally sat down to eat dinner, that she wanted me to study math with her.  And "could you just make me up a practice test?  just 20 questions?"  They're studying probability, so I had to make up stories and diagrams and crap.  Litter boxes need to be changed and I'm out of litter.  All of this is making me very shouty, so every few minutes someone is asking, "why are you yelling?!"  Which then makes me feel very stabby. 

Breathing.  In through the nose...out through the mouth.  That's better. 

Oh well.  Need to go up and do the dishes.  Another Charlie Brown picture is in order today. 

How was your day?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Some things of which to be proud

I title this post thusly mainly because of one story I really want to tell, and my friend Sarah (holler Sarah!) told me I should write about it here.  I haven't pulled completely out of my pea soup fog, but I'm feeling a bit clearer.  I had a good week at work, I met some really lovely people (A's cousin is a sweetheart), an excellent therapy session on Monday, and this happened last Saturday...

I would like to preface this story with two points: 1.  I realize this would not be a big hairy deal to most people.  2.  I am non-confrontational - to a fault.  It takes a lot for me to open my mouth and speak up, much less to get in someone's face.

The Girl is playing basketball for a good team.  Admittedly, we are rarely on "the good team" so this is kind of a nice change of pace for us.  It is a feeder team for an AAU team, so all the girls are pretty into basketball, and really like to play.  We were up 18-0, and a guy sitting behind us says "This is bullsh*t."  Guy sitting next to me turns around, shoots a dirty look, and turns back.  Guy 1 says something along the lines of "yeah, you can look at me."  Guy 2 "Yeah, I looked at you.  What's the big deal, they're little girls, having fun."  Guy 1 "I don't know how much fun you would have, losing 18-0 every week."  And they start getting in each other's faces, yelling, and the f-word starts being dropped, a lot.  I look behind me at the little boys staring, wide-eyed.  And I stand up, insert myself between the two guys, and yell "sit down and shut up!  There are little kids here!  What is wrong with you!"  Heehee, they looked all chastened and apologized.  Obviously these were not scary gang members or anything, but this was kind of a big step for meek little me.  I felt kind of...empowered...after that.  And the mom of the little boys thanked me.

I am also rather proud of the fact that, despite my rather grinchy attitude as of late, I have been all festive and social on not one, but two occasions this week.  And I was only paid on one of those occasions (and it was still kind of fun, if exhausting.)

I'm not sure what made this week's therapy session so good, exactly, but I have been feeling better - more in control - since.  She gave me a packet from an anxiety workbook to do before our next session, so I even have a concrete assignment to work through.  I'll tell you all more about it when I read it.

So there we are...a little more upbeat this week.  Snuggles and love to you all...

There is something about Snoopy that always puts me in a good mood.  I can't be Grinchy around Snoopy.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


I've been in a foggy place lately.  Outwardly, I am functioning - doing my job, cooking Thanksgiving dinner, even talking and laughing occasionally.  But inside.  I feel like I am trying to swim through something thick and viscous and gray. 

Part of this is the time of year, which makes me feel even worse.  Why does December do this to me?  Not just me, from what I hear.  I love the concept of holiday and cheer and soup and candles and presents...but the reality takes an energy I just don't have.

There are steps I should be taking to make myself feel better.  Things proven, that work.  Things that don't even involve me seeing specialists and getting new meds, which yes, I realize I am overdue on.  Things like exercise, and meditation, and healthy foods, and sleep. 

And tonight, whilst putting off yet another project I should be doing, I read a post by a favorite person I've never met.  And I wanted to share it with any of you who might feel a similar depressive fog.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What you don't know...will probably kill you.

Everyone on Facebook has been passing around that "what you don't know about me" meme, and if you comment or like, you get a number.  Dude, I have commented and liked all over the place and have not received a number.  My sad little girl self says it's because nobody cares, but my rational self says it's probably because I am not a particularly private person and overshare, anyway.  But it's fun, and it's a list, and you all know I love lists.  So here they are...some things you all may not know about me:

1.  I was not born in this country.  My dad was in the Army, and I was born in Panama.  I actually had dual citizenship until I was 18 and had to choose.

2.  I actually find tattoos very sexy, but I'm terrified of needles, so I stopped at one.  I've promised myself one more when I get 100 lbs off.

3.  I was completely out of contact with all but one high school friend until Facebook.  So that was almost 15 years.  When I started communicating with them again, I found that the people I really liked in high school were still amazing people, and some were even better.  This is why I never complain about Facebook. 

4.  I am still friends, at least on Facebook, with almost all of my ex-boyfriends.  I like to make some self-deprecating excuse for this, but the fact is, if I liked them enough to date them, I liked them enough to be friends with them.  In fact, some of them are still some of my favorite people.  One was a guest at my wedding, and one was in my wedding.

5.  Re: the above - my husband has no problem with this.  He is not a jealous person, anyway, but he honestly likes some of them.

6.  My friends love to tease me about my bibliophilic tendancies, but honestly, most of what I read is rather "low-brow."  I happen to love chick-lit, and I'm not ashamed of it.  One of my favorites.

7.  I enjoy my "alternative" music, but when working out of dancing, I prefer Black Eyed Peas, LMFAO, and Britney Spears.  Shut up.

8.  The older I get, the less I can tolerate crowds.  I went to a festival with my family recently, a festival I've always enjoyed, and I was miserable all night.  This is an odd trait for a social person.  I have discovered that, while I am social, I am an introvert. 

9.  Also, I love to be alone.  I rarely get lonely.  Don't get me wrong, I love my friends, but I'm very happy alone.  I don't even talk to myself when I'm alone (although I do talk to my cats.)

10.  I love to think of myself as a spiritual person, but I have trouble enjoying spiritual books.  I've tried to slog my way through Eckhart Tolle 3 separate times, and I just cannot force myself to finish it.  And I'm the girl who forced herself through Dostoevsky.

11.  I always wanted to be a gymnast, but I never had the nerve to even kick up into a handstand.  I also have never had the body for it.  So I have always been obsessed with anyone who can do a flip or any other acrobatics.  There is this girl who lives in the house behind us and she used to jump on her trampoline all the time.  I became the creepy woman who would stare at these kids on the trampoline - but it was only because I was fascinated by their ability to flip.

12.  When I was in elementary school, I checked out the same books from the library over and over again.  I was a constant re-reader.  We didn't have these new-fangled computer check-outs, we had cards.  The cards in my favorite books only had my name written, over and over again.  The ones I read the most included The Boxcar Children and this book about a Girl Scout troop that solves mysteries.  I also read and re-read Baby Island, Little Women, The Little Princess, and the Trixie Belden series.

13.  I love to sing, and I'm not horrible, I have crippling stage fright, and a terrible envious streak.  Yeah, this means I will watch someone else sing, I will feel jealous and petty, but I won't perform myself, because I will throw up.  This is one of my least favorite things about me.

14.  I despise The Disney Channel.  Oh wait, you all know this. (my daughter is watching one of the ridiculous shows starring one of their clones right now.)

15.  Last one.  I've always wanted to be a beautiful, hippy-like flower child, with a yard full of growing things, homeschooling my children, making soup from scratch, sewing our clothes, off-the-grid, artistic, smelling of patchouli and baking and dreadlocks kind of woman.  Then, as my children started growing and I discovered the ease of television and occasional McDonalds, I realized I was too lazy and too addicted to modern life to live that life.  That, and I have little patience for ironing seams, my children are better behaved for other people, I am a terrible artist, and I look like crap in dreads.  And I kill everything I grow.  So I just read the blogs of the women who do these things, think of how awesome they are, and go watch "The Simpsons."  I think I have finally started to come to terms with the real version of myself. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I'm going to freaking eat that frog.

One of the cool things about blogging and reading blogs, and doing other bloggy things, is you discover some pretty cool people with some pretty interesting things to say.  I try to share the ones I love the most here, although I am not always so great with the links.  I've been reading Simple Mom off and on for a few years, and I've been more off than on as of late.  This morning, through a series of links from other blogs, I ended up on her blog again.  She's written another book, this one called One Bite at a Time.  I read the first chapter and was hooked right off with her use of the following quotation:
"Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day."
Mark Twain
What the heck is she saying with this?  Figure out the important things that need to be done, take the suckiest one you don't want to do the most, and get it done first.  Simple right?  Tsh goes on to say her frog is exercise...and I bought the book.  Because, while I don't hate exercising, I hate the act of getting off my ass and starting.  And I've been saying, over the past few weeks, that I just need to get up and work out and get it out of the way, and my life will be so much better.

So my first little project - finding and eating my frog - is to wake up and exercise.  And I will start tomorrow morning.  This is a good time to start this, having fallen back this morning.  I'll feel like it's not so very early, right? 

Just to defend my rather disjointed writing here - the Boy is listening to people play Magic  while I'm writing, and I can't freaking concentrate on what I'm trying to say.  I think I'm just going to bed.  I have to be up early, after all.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I have a Bob Ross t-shirt!

I'm totally hyped up on albuterol and excellent conversation right now.  And maybe a little too much buttercream frosting.  Went to the doctor with a nasty case of bronchitis today, he drugged me up, and then I went to my classics book club.  We decided that for October, The Shining qualified as "classic."  I came home and ate cheese and used my inhaler, and now I'm hyper and feel like writing, but I have nothing of any substance to write.  So today will be a rather rambly favorite things post:

Today I am loving (besides colby jack cheese on toast)...

1.  The Blogger:  she is pretty brilliant and geeky and fun to read.  She wrote a book called Let's Pretend This Never Happened, which I read and then turned onto her blog, which is funny, since she's had the blog for a while.  I love her Halloween costumes this year, which has inspired me to research...

2.  All the freaking cool homemade Dalek costumes on Pinterest.  I've been rather absent from Pinterest lately, but The Girl wants to be a Dalek for Halloween, and I looked up the costume ideas.  Most of a version of strapless short dress with bumps - not happening on my (almost) 11 year-old, especially with the weather we're having lately.  But there are some great ideas out there.  Of course, I only have a week...

3.  Speaking of weather - everyone is talking about how cold it is and how they hate it, but I kind of love it.  I love soup, socks, sweaters...all the s words.  And hot drinks.  Love hot drinks.  I tend not to wear socks in summer, so...loving the chilly.

4.  My newest additions to my slowly growing geeky t-shirt collection:

That's right - Dia de los Muertos SuperMario mushroom AND Bob! I will be the coolest chick on the playground! And the best part about buying from the Bob Ross website? His head is an icon. Love!

5.  Crockpot Chile Verde - easy-peasy.  Pork loin roast, cut in half, season with salt and pepper, put in crock pot, cover in jarred verde sauce ('cuz fresh tomatillos are hard to come by in any quantity here in KY,) cook all day.  Pull apart and serve with tortillas.  Very good, and one of my family's favorites right now.  Of course, we like the spicy...

Ok, this will do for now.  Still hyper, but if I'm not careful, I'll go off on crazy tangents...and then what will I write about next time?


Thursday, October 3, 2013

My girl, she's just like me.

My poor girl.  I'd forgotten how hard it was to be a 5th grade girl until today.  She is having a tough time of it, socially, and I'm finding her problems are hitting a bit too close to home, and I don't think I'm giving very good advice.

I was never "popular."  I wasn't unliked, but I always thought I had to work hard for my friends.  This was my own self-image issue, and has continued to affect the way I am around people - getting louder and sillier the more insecure I feel.  As my Girl grows up, I see more and more of me in her.  And this scares me. 

Which is funny, since I have anxiety attacks over my inability to relate to my Boy.  He doesn't really care one way or another what other people think or feel about him, which makes me both worry and envy him. 

But my Girl cares.  And she frets.  And she's sad. Some of her friends are popular, and they have other popular friends, and in her eyes, they don't want to talk to her when their popular friends are around.  This may not be the case, as I've noticed she doesn't seem to integrate well into group situations (unless she is playing on a team,) and I've noticed if she doesn't have all the attention, she thinks the others don't like her.  Does that make sense?  I'm not there, and I'm not seeing how people are acting.  But I am seeing her upset and not want to go to school, and I'm seeing her cry.  My poor girl. 

Funny, my own response to this, besides worrying, has been clumsy.  I try to remind her of what she likes about herself.  I tell her she is sweet and smart and funny, I think she's gorgeous, and she's really good at sports.  And then I cap it off with the basic truth - girls, especially at this age, are crazy.  Completely nuts.  And, quite frankly, this is why I mostly hung out with boys for awhile.  I love my girlfriends, and eventually I did meet some girls in high school I adored, but on the whole, boys don't have quite the same amount of crazy.  At least, not until college.

An interesting coincidence:  my 20 year reunion is this weekend.  I am going, and I'm looking forward to it, but a lot of people are posting pictures from dances, vacations, and other great fun, and I don't have pictures from high school like that.  For that matter, I don't have many pictures from high school at all.  I am finding that as I get older and reconnect with a lot of these people on Facebook, that I really like the people they've become, so I am looking forward to reconnecting.  It's an act of will, though, to not let that jerk of a self-image issue through.  To not listen to the shouts in the back of my mind: "you've gotten so fat!  nobody will like you! nobody liked you then; why would they like you now?"  and the old "what have you done with your life!"  With friends like myself, who needs enemies?
Look at this.  It's so frustrating to look at myself here and remember how little self esteem I had.  Darn it, I was adorable.

Have your kids reached the "tween" stage yet?  Are they emotional wrecks?  How do you deal with situations like this, especially when they remind you of your own personal brand of neurosis?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Live Your Passion!, Or Why I Need to Stop Wallowing in My Own Mind

I use this space, when I use it, for many different purposes.  A way to keep up with family, although I'm not sure anyone besides my mom actually reads it.  A journal, of sorts, documenting what's up in my life, likes and dislikes, crafty things (when I make them.)  A way of documenting my issues with depression and anxiety.  And sometimes, it's just a place to go and vent for awhile.  We all need a place to vent - I just like to do mine in a nice, public space ;)

My day started something a little like this:

I actually was picturing this scene this morning, as I was hauling rear to work after physically dragging my daughter from bed, and then wrangling her crazy coif into a ponytail, then having to take an alternate route due to major backup on the interstate, and all of this on NO coffee.  (Oh, did I forget to mention?  I have a job right now.  I went back to the American Cancer Society - it's temporary, but I do love the job, so I'm happy about that.) Then I spent 45 minutes on the phone with IT, who still insists I don't exist.  I'm an office assistant.  My job is not particularly important, but I do need computer access, so as to type and stuff.  For crying out loud. 

Then I had lunch with my brother and sister, and that was really nice.  Went back to the office, had plenty of work to do to keep me busy - had a pleasant afternoon.  Came home, and the kids went out to dinner with my brother, so it's quiet now.  So yes, lovely evening thus far.

But my brain got in the way of my own contentment.  Stupid brain does that sometimes.  I have a bad habit of comparing myself to other people -- and coming up short in my own mind.  This is not the life I envisioned for myself when I was a teenager.  I always thought I would do something creative; I don't remember the last time I had a creative impulse.  This makes me sad.  I have a lovely friend, a brilliant woman, who is so very creative that she has trouble settling on one outlet for those impulses.  She writes, photographs, makes jewelry, amazing, authentic costumes...she's so creative and artistic, it practically radiates from her.  Her family is just as talented.  And I adore this family, and love to be around them...but a tiny piece of me feels so much despair when I (inevitably) compare my own efforts and accomplishments. And the internet and social media, as much fun as it is, makes it worse, because you get to see ALL the things ALL the people are doing that you are not doing.  I love to read blogs, and sometimes I find them inspiring and uplifting...and sometimes I see them as ideals I can't possibly live up to.  I love the simplicity blogs - they are all about giving up all the clutter and extras, giving yourself the time and money to Live Your Passion!  But what if you have no idea what that passion is?  How do you find it?  I believe I've even complained about this before, but I'm serious.  Are you living your passion?  If so, how did you figure out what that "Passion" was?

That's it.  That's all the venting I have for today.  Mentally, things are (knock on wood) going well.  Kids are back in school, which is not nearly as much fun while I'm working as when I wasn't, obviously.  I miss seeing my twinlets as much as I want, and they miss me too, which makes me feel loved.  I'm feeling a little more stretched and challenged lately, which I like.  I have to find that routine that works for me again - cooking has not been done much lately.  How do we do this working/taking care of home thing again? 

For now, have a nice night.  My kids are gone and my husband is upstairs, and I think I'll go join him.  And I kind of want to watch Office Space again. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

What? August already?

I have no idea where the summer has gone.  Total craziness.  The kids go back to school in two weeks!  They are not thrilled about this - the Boy has a bunch of summer assignments to finish up, and the Girl is just not ready.  Which cracks me up - about this time every summer I would be so excited about finding out my teacher and who would be in my class, and shopping for new school shoes with Grandma, and getting new supplies.  Oh my, new supplies.  I rather ranted about this subject yesterday; I am not mad about the expense, or irritated at the vast number of red pens needed (apparently, many mistakes will be made,)  but the specificity of the list is insane.  Where is the fun in having no choices?  1 red folder, plastic, two-pocket, prongs.  1 yellow folder, plastic, two pocket, prongs.  And so forth.  No Trapper Keepers with running horses and a different colored folder for each subject.  No spiral notebooks with pictures of owls.  I pout.  And I've already whined about this in a public forum.  So no more.

Of course, I can buy supplies for myself, in whatever color I please.  Because on Monday...ta da...I will be going back to work!  This is very good news, of course, as I have been looking for some time.  At my last therapy appointment (ooh, reschedule therapy Monday, gotta remember) I did have a little to say about how it's impossible to be looking for a job for any length of time and not start to suffer a severe self-esteem hit.  That afternoon I had three phone calls to schedule interviews.  This position is temporary, but it is also steady for a few months, and I look forward to beginning. 

Also have to get the cat into the vet for a blood sugar test.  Maybe if I make a list tonight, I'll be able to sleep?

We went to visit family in Peoria last weekend.  It was probably the most beautiful weather we've had all summer, and we did spend some of it outside, so it was lovely.  I'm ready for a real vacation again, though - I haven't been anywhere except Peoria and Chicago to see family in five years.  Oh, I did go to Nashville for two days last year, but it was for a conference, and we never left the hotel, so it doesn't count, darn it.  I'd really like to go to see the redwoods.  And San Diego, the Outer Banks, Maine, and the Grand Canyon.  I really haven't been anywhere cool.

My writing muscle seems to be in terrible shape, much like my other muscles.  Apparently, much exercise of many muscles must be performed - and then I will, once again, have terribly interesting things to say.  So I will check in again in a few days. Have a lovely Friday.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summertime, and the livin's crazy...

It's been awhile, I know.  You may not even recognize me.  I'm Missy, and I like to blog here. 
So much has happened - not so much that I should have been away from here for this long, though.  I just haven't had much to say.  Or I have, and just haven't felt like saying it.  But I'm back, and I have pictures!

My last post was May 17, I believe so since then...

  • Kids finished school, with all the fanfare involved.
  • Many baseball and softball games have been played.
  • The Girl attended soccer camp and tried out for a local select soccer league.
  • Girl made the soccer league (yay!)
  • All the work and events and craziness leading up to Relay, and then Relay itself was on June 7-8 at Florence Freedom stadium.  I was up for 36 hours straight, and it took me days to get my energy back, but we did really well!
Some of the amazing committee and myself at Relay For Life 2013!
  • Boy got his permit!  Watch out! 
  • We got a new car!  My pimpin' van is no more, and I have to admit to a bit of nostalgia, but this car has air conditioning! 
  • Boy went to a physics and astronomy honors camp at Ohio Northern University, and loved it.
  • Both kids are at 4-H camp.  A whole week to myself.  So what did I do?  I finally redid the Girl's room.  It was lavender with a very little girl wallpaper border.  She wanted blue, ocean theme. 

I have pictures from before, but I took them a long time ago, and I can't remember when.  My mom has a desk I need to move in, and I figure new bedding and window treatments for her birthday this year.  I need ideas, if anyone has any.

So that's this summer, thus far.  Still looking for a job, sigh.  More projects to be done around the house.  The Girl has another camp to attend (her Circus camp, which she loves.)  Have to start working with the Boy on his driving.  Lots to do, summer is short. 

What are you up to this summer?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Movies and mayhem

My peonies are blooming! 

My peonies always remind my of my grandmother.  She grew peonies all through my childhood.  Spring brought peonies and forsythia, which I had growing in my side yard, but killed by mower.  It was an accident, I swear.
Last night I went to see The Great Gatsby.  The movie was visually arresting, as all Baz films are.  It stayed (mostly) true to the book.  Leonardo was brilliant, which pleased me, as I'm not a huge fan.  Toby was not brilliant.  Anyway, there was a lot of music, a lot of modern music, again, as all Baz films include.  But one piece of music played throughout parts of the movie, and something tugged at my nerve endings, reminding me that I knew this music.  I finally realized, just before the end (when they played the song in its entirety, that it was a favorite Gotye song - Heart's A Mess:
To sum up, the movie was better than I expected.  Next up, Star Trek Into Darkness.  Very excited!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Is it spring fever? Or am I just nuts?

 So much craziness.  In more ways than one.  Or 100, really.  Spring is always a rather nutty time around here, both kids have always played baseball, and the Girl started softball this year.  The Boy has been having track practices since February, and baseball practices started last month. 
The Girl's first fast pitch softball team - the Navy Storm.  She's learning to pitch.  She's pretty freaking awesome.
I've been doing therapy weekly...and needing it.  There is so much to process, so many pits of emotion I'm discovering that I wasn't expecting as I do this...and I'm not sure exactly how to write about it yet.  Which is likely why I haven't blogged in so long.  No full-fledged panic attacks in awhile, but the depression has been pretty constant, as well as a general feeling of unease.  My mornings are shaky.  It's hard to do the actual psychological "work" when you're in the moment, though.  I was talking to my therapist the other day and equated it to childbirth - you may do the classes, but when you're in the moment, do you really remember what the stages in the birth canal are?  Maybe you all do, but admittedly, I had forgotten.  Same idea here - when you're having an anxiety attack, it's hard to remember to pay attention to what your thought processes are...other than "this sucks, I hate this."  So, she told me at that moment I am to focus on self-care - relaxation and breathing exercises, so that I can get to the work part.  Ok, so maybe I had more to say on the subject than I thought.  It's been difficult, but I actually feel pretty wrung out at the end of each session, which is rather gratifying.

Kids are acting goofy here. 
The girl loves here Doctor Who (as do we all.) 
This is her new sonic screwdriver.  It actually
makes a pretty horrid sound.  And the Dalek
t-shirt is her favorite.

My Boy turned 16 this week.  How on earth did we get to this point?  How have we not killed each other yet?  I have no idea, but he enjoyed his birthday celebration.  Iron Man 3 and Mexican food - there really is no better celebration.
Girl Scouts, school projects (so many school projects), job hunting...and, admittedly, having coffee with friends and family, taking niecelets to the park, and enjoying beautiful spring weather are taking their fair share of time.  I spent some time with my sister today, and I got home and blinked, looking around at my house, thinking, "I should probably spend some time cleaning this place."
Ah...and Relay.  Relay For Life is June 7-8, so we are down to the last month, and we are working so hard, trying to make it an excellent event.  Extra meetings, e-mails, phone calls...Relay is taking up more than it's fair amount of brain space lately, but we have less than a month to go.  I look forward to seeing how it all pans out.
So, there we are.  That kind of catches you all up.  I hope you all are enjoying your spring.  Come to Relay June 7-8.  We'll keep you up all night!  

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Soft, sparkly brain love, or why I like to watch boring videos

It all started with Bob Ross.  You know, the host of The Joy of Painting with the Afro and the beatific smile.  As far back as I can remember, my dad would watch him on PBS and I would sit, transfixed, zoning out to his mellow voice and the scraping of the palette knife against canvas, and feel the tingles up and down my scalp and the back of my neck.  Later, in college, I had a lovely boyfriend who, whenever I had a migraine, would run his fingers very gently over my eyes and around my face.  This not only helped ease the headache, but helped me relax to a point close to sleep.  I had a philosophy professor who was about 150 years old, and liked to hook his knees around my desk and rock back and forth while he lectured.  He generally had something in his rather cavernous nostrils, and I had a front seat...but I didn't care, because his lecturing voice gave me that same tingly feeling.  I would occasionally mention these sensations, but nobody seemed to share them, so I just decided to enjoy them on my own.  Then last year I was searching Bob Ross videos on Google and came up with a whole slew of videos under the label "ASMR."

Because, apparently I'm not the only one who appreciates the loveliness that is Bob - or soft, gentle voices, for that matter.   ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, and it is a rather new name for the pleasurable tingling sensations in the scalp and head some experience in response to certain stimuli, for example, whispering, soft speaking, scratching, gum chewing, etc.  There is a whole "community" of people who experience ASMR, talk about it, and post or watch the videos.  Some call the sensations brain orgasms or "braingasms," but I feel the name is misleading as the feelings are not at all sexual in nature.  Rather, they are relaxing, sometimes to the point of trance. 

I felt inspired to write about this here a few weeks ago when I heard a woman talking about it on NPR, which obviously makes it a real and important thing.  She talked about how certain voices (including Bob Ross!) would turn her head into a snowglobe.  I was rather excited to hear someone rational, a novelist, no less, talking about how much she enjoys some of my favorite "whisperers" on YouTube, including TheWaterWhispers and GentleWhispering.  It made it more real, I suppose, not something I'm imagining.  I'm also partial to SleepyEnglishGuy and TheOneLilium.  Some people enjoy the sounds of inanimate objects like marbles or paper ripping, some like whispering or gum chewing.  I like the soft-speaking, role-playing videos of people doing simple activities like brushing hair, scalp massage, or taking care of a friend.  I admit, I still also check out Joy of Painting DVD's from the library.  You never forget your first tingle, I suppose. 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hey baby, what's happening, let's groove.

I've stopped by here and stared at the screen several times over the past month, trying to prod my brain into making words.  It just wasn't happening.  Stuff is happening and all, I just haven't felt like writing.  But today I do.  Feel like writing, I mean.  Just a little of what's going on lately...

1.  My guy got a new job.  Which is great - he wasn't happy at his last company, and this is feeling good so far.  He started two weeks ago, and the week before he was off, looking forward, I'm sure, to a week alone with his wife.  And I was sick, the whole week.  Nasty, stomach sick.  Did not make for a fun week, for either of us.  Although I did discover the trainwreck that is "Hard Core Pawn."  Hours of mindless, drool out the corner of your mouth viewing.  I've stayed away since, but dread that day I'm feeling sick and sitting on the couch staring at people screaming expletives about being ripped off.

2.  I had an interview recently.  Crossing fingers, toes, hair follicles...wish me luck, please.

3.  My son and I are hooked on The Mentalist.  Really great show.  We're on the second season right now; don't tell me what happens!  My daugther tries to watch with us, but she spends half the show asking questions like, "Did they find the killer yet?" (it is 15 minutes in and you've been watching the whole time) or "Who's RedJohn?" (seriously?)  We watch a lot without her.

4.  Still working on Relay.  We're only halfway to our team goal, and only 2 months to go.  I really need to get my rear into gear - help!

5.  My girl is doing a play this month - Aristocats.  She is in the chorus.  We'll see after if she has been bitten by the theater bug.

6.  I've taken a bunch of pictures lately that I will post this week.  I spent some time with the twinlets on Thursday and took tons - they are getting so big and precious and I love playing with them.  The only kids that make me think, very very briefly, that I'd like to have more.  I won't, but they make me think.  And then I realize I'd have to raise twin teenage girls, and I laugh at their mom.  Heehee.

I'd like to chat more, but I think that's enough for today.  I'm going to write down the other stuff, though; now that I'm thinking words again (yeah, you read that right, and that's what I meant,) I need to spend some time here.  Stay shiny!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Right Now...

~ I'm going through a decluttering-obsessive phase.  I can't seem to stop myself.  Each day I look around myself and I get tense, wanting to get rid of more.  I'm filling a bag or a box of garbage or stuff I want to sell constantly.  I'm just feeling so scattered and I think the clutter is adding to that.  I'm hitting the craft supplies too, friends, if you want anything, let me know.  One of our Relay For Life teams does an annual yard sale to raise money - I think I'll save my stuff for that.

~ Listening to one cat snore while another is literally calling me from upstairs.  Our three furry boarders left two weeks ago.  I am thrilled with the lack of waste product, but kind of missing always having someone warm and furry on my lap.  Three seems like such a small number right now.

~ Loving this recent bluegrass/folk influx in popular music.  I'm listening to Mumford & Sons right now (yes, I'm sure you were listening to them before they were popular) - British and bluegrass, how cool is that?  Funny - I really can't stand "country" music, but the complicated arrangements of banjo, guitar, violin, etc really make me smile.    

~ Have finished the sequel to Chocolat.  Loved Chocolat, didn't love The Girl With No Shadow.  Anyway, I'm between books right now, so if you have any suggestions, I'm all ears.

~ Am exercising a lot more.  And feeling a lot better.  The anxiety has settled a lot, and I really think the extra activity is what's helping the most.  Of course, this is not new information, but I still have a bad habit of falling off the wagon.  Posting my workouts on Facebook helps - I need people to guilt me into working out, apparently.

~ Finished all the books from the January list, did none of the tasks.  The Girl's room remains unpainted, but I did finish a scarf whilst watching Doctor Who and gave it to her, so she was briefly appeased.  I promised I would do it by the time she returns from camp.  In June.  Hey, it's before her next birthday, isn't it? (yes it is, for those who don't know.) 

I have been taking my camera out occasionally, but only occasionally, and I haven't uploaded pictures in awhile.  I'm feeling a bit squirrelly from my lack of creative outlet - maybe I should attempt to take a photo a day, just to get back in the habit.

~ Ooh, on the mental front, I started seeing a new therapist a few weeks ago, and I'm really liking this one.  I was able to go in with a definite idea of what I hoped to accomplish, which was a helpful side effect of seeing therapists that didn't work for me.  Things are starting to "click," if you will, and I am...cautiously optimistic.

We lost a little girl in our community on Friday, Ella-Reid, and everyone, even those of us who didn't know her well, are mourning.  She had P-NET cancer, a rare cancer that mainly afflicts young children and teenagers, and she fought so hard.   I had the pleasure of spending a little time with her in December while I worked in her classroom.  She was a sweetheart who loved pink and purple and rainbows and all kinds of girly things...and she showed a strength of character you don't see in many adults.  I don't mean to end on a low note, but she was an important part of our community and we will all miss her.  I just wanted to take a moment to honor Ella-Reid. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

Q: What happens when a paranoid has low self esteem?
A: She thinks nobody important is out to get her.

Oh my.  It's fun to make fun of paranoia, right?  So much material, so little time.  Unfortunately, it's not much fun being a paranoid.  Especially when my own form of paranoia is not the glamorous, they're all out to get me, it's all a conspiracy kind of paranoia.  No, I am the sad little paranoid with low self-esteem.  The one who constantly feels left out.  All of my friends and family are doing wonderful things, and they didn't invite me because they're embarrassed to be seen with me, or I'm stupid, or I'm too fat. 

My grandma, the one I often write about, was a paranoid.  I adored her, trust me, I honor her memory every day, but she was always talking about what "they" were thinking about her.  "'They' think I should walk more" was a comment she often made.  She kept the drapes closed in the front room so "they" couldn't look in.  She was referring to her neighbors, of course, who really could care less if she walked more. 

When I was little, I had a friend who lived across the street.  Every time I spent the night at my grandparents' house, I would go over there and spend hours playing with my friend.  You know how little kids are, I'd want to go over there as soon as I was dressed and fed.  But my grandmother would tell me, "they don't want you around all the time."  When she saw a picture of one of my boyfriends in high school, she informed me that he was "too good looking for me."  She wasn't trying to be cruel, I truly believe she was trying to spare my feelings from the inevitable rejection I would receive when I went across the street one too many times or when my boyfriend dumped me.  I always thought that would be the name of my memoirs, should they ever be interesting enough to write.  "They" Don't Really Want You Around.  Coming soon to a psychologist's office near you.

It really is all about an inflated fear of rejection.  The constant fear that every time something happens without you, it's because nobody really likes you.  Because, deep down, maybe you feel like you would reject you if you were them.  Does that make sense?  You don't feel like you are worthy of friendship, or love, or whatever "they" may represent, so you get that pit in your gut every time you are not invited along somewhere.  Social media has made it worse, because you see the smiling pictures and status updates of all the friends having all the fun while you sit at home watching Doctor Who.  Who, incidentally, never invites me anywhere, either. 

Intellectually, I know my friends probably don't spare a thought to how the fat girl will bring the group down when we go out.  People are allowed to have other friends besides me.  A lot of my family members are terrible communicators, and have busy lives.  They are not ignoring me or trying to exclude me.  But paranoia doesn't sit in the intellectual center of the brain.  At least on me, it sits in my diaphragm, and my stomach.  I feel an emptiness, which then travels upwards and makes a hole in my heart.  It is a completely emotional reaction to other people's normal behavior.  And it hurts, a lot.

This is not a "pity me" post.  But it is an explanation of why sometimes, when I'm talking to a group of friends, especially people I'm not necessarily comfortable with, I often try way too hard to sound witty and clever.  Which just comes across as loud and uncomfortable.  Trust me, I'm working on this. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Year I Make It Happen

How long have I been blogging here?  Five, six years?  And every year I say, "this year I'm going to lose weight, I'm going to save money, I'm going to be a better mom."  And then I gain weight, or freak out on my kids, or go further into debt.  I'm impressed that you all keep coming back. 

So, Erin over at BlueBirdBaby posted a challenge for the year. 

That is the button which will hopefully make it's way onto my sidebar, but Blogger seems to find new ways to irritate me each day.  Today it refuses to save the entire string of code, and just now apparently messed up while trying to save the entire post...sigh.  Anyway...

In the past two months, I have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  I have been having anxiety attacks, and my depression has snuck in at very inopportune times.  I'm feeling fully unhealthy.  I've been sick the past week, and then two weeks before that. 

I'm tired of feeling sick, exhausted, sad, and unworthy. 

So, this year I will Make It Happen, for my physical and mental health.  There are a thousand things I would like to improve about myself, but what is the point of working on other aspects of myself when my body and my mind are not healthy enough to accept the changes? 

Erin's challenge does not dictate that we make plans or even blog about the whole thing, but big sweeping changes just don't happen over night, and I need to plot and plan for them.  Small steps, right?

Over the next month, I will make the following things happen:

1.  Move, every day.  At least 10 minutes.  I started this on January 1, and did well, but then I got sick and couldn't breathe.  And then I got depressed.  So, we start again today.

2.  Sleep, every night.  No more Facebook and Freecell until midnight.  Neither is very interesting.  If I'm not out with friends, I'm in bed by 11.

3.  Meet with new therapist.  I love the woman I've been seeing, but I feel like I need a little more input.  I don't think she takes me very seriously. 

4.  Meditate and/or journal, at least once a week.  I have to start small with this one.  But I do feel better when it's done.

These are definitely steps I can take.  And, honestly, I need all the help I can get, so join me, kick my butt, whatever.  Together, we can make it happen.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A post of lists

I haven't written any good lists lately, and I'm feeling the list tonight, so here are some current lists:

Books I need to read in the next month (in the order in which they must be read:)
1.  Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav (spiritual discussion group)
2.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Book Club 1)
3.  One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey (Classics book club)
4.  Chocolat by Joann Harris (Book Club 2)
5.  The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
6.  Promises Kept by E. Napier (written by a talented friend)

I plan to read more, but these are the books that have to be read.  I do love a good book.

Stuff I really should accomplish before the end of January:
1.  Deep clean all bathrooms
2.  Sell uniforms at Southgate shop
3.  Clean up craft area
4.  Paint Girl's room!  Seriously!  You've been promising!

Me - right now:
1.  Avid reader
2.  Orange-lover (the fruit, not the color)
3.  craft-dabbler
4.  New crochet-er
5.  procrastinator
6.  spiritual searcher
7.  bit of a nut-job
8.  hot tea drinker
9.  Music enthusiast
10. Doctor Who fan (I don't think I can be considered a "Whovian" because I've only wanted to watch the modern series.)
Tardis heehee.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

That which is keeping me sane.

I have not quite felt myself since the beginning of December.  I'm not sure what's going on - I'm obsessing over things, real and imagined, that I can't really control.  I've been to the doctor and my therapist, and discussed med changes, and talked through my problems.  I'm not having panic attacks, thank goodness, but I am crying more easily than usual, and I wake up each morning a little shaky and nauseous.  This is all rather sucky, so I've implemented some changes over things I can control, and these changes are helping:

1.  Exercise.  There are three reasons I've stepped up the workouts - I lost a lot of weight over the month of December and as my appetite returns, I don't want to gain it all back at once;  the last time I exercised regularly, I never had a panic attack or bout of depression (and there is actual scientific proof that regular exercise helps with depression;) and finally, last time I was at the doctor's office, he said my blood pressure was dangerously high and he put me on blood pressure medication.  I tried to argue that I had been suffering a month-long anxiety attack, and that had to raise my blood pressure, but the "dangerously" part concerned me.  He said if I lose 20 more pounds, he'll look at taking me off the medication.  Here's hoping.

2.  Writing and meditation.  I know these things work, but I don't always do them.  I'm trying to do at least one a day.

3.  My friends.  What amazing friends I have.  So many people willing to listen, to hug, to tell me I'm wonderful.  I'm a very lucky girl.

4.  My mom and my sister.  Same thing here - I can always go to them for support.  And both understand me better than I do.

5.  These girls.  Even when I am feeling my worst, a hug from a twinlet makes me smile. 
Things are looking up a bit - I'm feeling a little clearer, a little sunnier.  Winter is a tough time for those of us dealing with depression - even if your diagnosis isn't seasonal, the dark and cold has an affect.  Find those actions you can take to make yourself feel better - I feel more in control of my own illness when I know what I need to do.  Good luck to us all.