Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

February 16, 2011

it’s gonna be a great day

because i say it is so. I woke to a messy house; toys strewn all over, dust bunnies plotting a hostile takeover from every corner of the room, yesterday’s dishes piled in the sink, but I won’t let it get me down. Spring is in the air. the weather is warm and slightly breezy, the sky is clear, the streets in our neighborhood have finally been kissed by sunshine and have thrown off the cover of snow that has held on for the last few weeks. I have the windows and doors of the house wide open, inviting in the springtime breezes to banish the winter gloom out of the deep, dormant recesses of our home. I’m wearing flip-flops in February. yes, it will be a great day.

February 12, 2011

things i’m loving today

oh, it’s been one of those up and down days.  the girl-child is driving me mad these days (both good mad, and bad mad) with her wild energy (both amazing, creative energy and maddening, feisty energy).  she is awesome, but she is three.  the mood swings that accompany three are mind-boggling.  i had a “bad mom” moment this afternoon, which included the slamming of a bedroom door after my girl-child had slammed said door into her brother’s head while she was supposed to be in timeout for hitting me on the head with a block of legos.  i went to the gym to sweat out the grumps and then my sweet girl greeted me with “i love yous” when i got home.   i’m not proud of my little meltdown, and i feel so defeated when i lose my cool and throw a tantrum right along with my girl.  some role model i am, huh?   my boy-child is delicious and lovely, but perhaps i am biased as my mamalove for him is yet untainted as he cannot talk back and sass me with a fierce tongue like his older sister who tests my patience daily.  so in an attempt to focus on gratitude and maintain the tiny fragments of sanity i still possess, i’m focusing on things that make me happy…

  • coffee.  my wonderful husband recently purchased a Keurig coffee machine for us and it has made my addiction that much easier to maintain.  it’s dangerous, really.
  • wine.   because what mom can get through the day without wine?  (don’t answer that.  if you’re one of those moms, we can’t be friends.  only kidding.  i just haven’t met a lot of non-drinking moms.)
  • knitting, and the compulsive yarn-buying that goes along with it.  i confess that i have a mad case of knitting ADD, with about 5 projects on the needles simultaneously; i can’t seem to focus to get through one thing before starting another.
  • Friday Night Lights.  because, duh.  i watched the finale on wednesday and again tonight.  i cried like a baby.  i cried like someone died over here.  i half wish i were kidding about this, because it’s just a tv show, but i cannot lie.  it was rough.
  • my baby boy.  i seriously get a pang of heartache that i can only compare to the longing of homesickness whenever i’m away from him.  he is my delightful little peach.  he turned 9 months old on monday and i cannot believe that he’s been out of me now for as long as he was in, more or less.  he is awesome, i can’t say it any other way.
  • running.  i’m back on the treadmill, friends.  i can’t say that i ever want to run long distances again but i’m probably going to run another half-marathon this fall.  it feels so good to be running again, to be using my legs and pushing my body.  i’m only running 5 miles at a time but that’s enough right now.
  • Pinterest.  an amazing site where i catalog my ideas for home projects, design, style, crafts, and collect pretty pictures of pretty things.
  • watching news from Egypt.  i’m an absolute news junkie, i love politics, i love history, i love thinking about the big picture of the world how the pieces in this great big global puzzle fit together.  watching this revolution unfold and witnessing history is just incredible.  it’s so awesome to think back over my short (33 year) lifetime and reflect on the major historical events that have taken place, and then think about how my children will do the same when they’re older and how they too will reflect on events like this democratic revolution in Egypt and be awestruck that *this* happened in their lifetime.
  • mimosas.  i bought a bottle of bubbly on a whim on monday.  you know, because the Bachelor was on, and what goes better with the shallow depravity of scantily clad, fame-hungry women fighting for a shallow, depraved, fame-hungry Man On A Journey than champagne, right?  so Mimosa Monday was followed by Mimosa Friday (which, i know, is totally not as catchy, alliteration be damned) but the drinks were equally as enjoyable.  i think we’ve started a new trend and have utterly disproved the belief that mimosas are a brunch-only beverage.
  • my bed.  seriously, i have the most comfortable mattress and the cuddliest sheets in the world.  nestling into my cocoon every night is delicious.

and on that note…i’m going to go climb into my nest, crack open a book, and drift off to dreamland (i hope).

January 31, 2011

preexisting conditions

i read a post recently by The Bloggess.  if you’re not reading her blog, shame on you.  she is quite possibly the funniest and most honest woman on the internet.  in the post, titled “Coming Out”, she links to an amazing video on YouTube by a man named Michael Kimber in which he calls on those affected by mental illness to speak up and fight against the stigma that silences their suffering and prevents them from seeking and receiving the treatment they need to recover.

after reading her post and a number of posts that other bloggers have written to speak up about their own mental illness i debated writing my own story.  the whole point of this video is a call to action but it’s still scary to put it all in words with Labels and Diagnoses even though i’ve written about my struggles with insomnia and postpartum depression before.  i just posted a facebook status about my saggy post-pregnancy boobs, for crying out loud, but speaking up about my crazy brain is still tough.  i still wonder if people i know In Real Life (who don’t know the whole story, or who may not understand mental illness) read my blog and would be frightened or confused or judgmental.  yes, most of all it’s the judgment that frightens me.

so here it is.  here are the Labels i currently have or have had during the course of the past ten years since i first sought treatment for the Crazy; had i gotten help during the college years there certainly would have been a diagnosis of major depressive episode as well. but these afflictions are just part of me, they are definitely not the whole of me and right now i’ve got them pretty well managed.  i am so thankful that my OB/GYN was very supportive of me staying on medication during pregnancy and after my son’s birth so i did not have any postpartum depression this time around.  that alone is a huge testament to the power and necessity of medication, and speaks volumes about the need for open and honest communication about the prevalence of mental illness and the need for appropriate treatment.

i will likely be on medication, even if it’s just a small dose, every day for the rest of my life and i am okay with that.  my brain wiring is just a little wonky and needs a few extra chemicals to get the neurotransmitters firing the way they are supposed to.  i know i am not alone; there are millions of people out there who are also battling a sometimes-Crazy brain.  my hope is that someday everyone who needs treatment will get it without fear of judgment, or denied insurance, and without being made to feel as if they are flawed or broken.  i am speaking up and i hope you will too, and i hope that we can all listen to those who are brave enough to share their struggles so that someday soon we can finally de-stigmatize mental illness.

 

January 15, 2011

hold on, hi! how are you?

i just found out that it’s National De-Lurking Day!  don’t be shy.  no more hiding in the shadows, come out and say hi.  introduce yourself.  who are you?  may i take your coat?  what can i get you to drink?

January 11, 2011

we used to have a dog

used to. past tense.

i’ve hesitated to share this story, because i know how stories about dogs and the decision to no longer have dogs can get people riled up.  i worry about judgment, but i have to share this story because it’s part of my story.

i’ve written about rudy before.  last month, about a week before christmas, we had to put rudy to sleep.  rudy had severe issues with dog-aggression and, more recently, food-aggression.  more than one dog-loving friend had repeatedly commented that if dogs could be diagnosed with mental illness, rudy would meet the criteria for schizophrenia for sure.  for more than six years we worked with her, trained her, and made accommodations for her to keep her safe, keep us safe, and keep others safe.  she was anxious and unpredictable no matter what we did.  it was exhausting and stressful to live with her, but we did it anyway because she was part of our family.

but the problem became so bad that for the past few years she wasn’t really part of the family.  we had to separate her from the kiddos whenever food was around.  for those of you with kids you know that this is pretty much all the time, with the snacks and the juice and the crumbs and whatnot.  we also separated her from other dogs, which meant no park visits during peak hours, no doggy daycare, no playtime with dogs in the neighborhood.  dogs are social creatures but her behavior demanded that her social interaction be severely limited.  it sucked for her and it sucked for us.  it was really no way for a dog to live.

months ago, before baby boy was born, we had rudy evaluated by a behaviorist to see if she would be considered adoptable, even though we had already been told by the rescue organizations and no-kill shelters that she didn’t meet their criteria, given her history of aggression.  she failed.  big time.  she lunged, snarling and snapping, at the evaluator who tried to remove the bowl of food during the test.  we were given two choices: take her home with us and deal with her, or have her euthanized.  we brought her home.  and then we had a baby.  adjustment to life with a newborn is stressful enough by itself, but even more stressful when dealing with a psychotic dog.  but, surprisingly enough, rudy was awesome with the baby.  she tolerated his probing fingers in her ears and mouth and on her tail.  she allowed him to climb on her.  she rolled over to expose her belly to be caressed by his drool-covered fingers.  i stated time and time again that rudy’s saving grace was that she was good with kids.

until she wasn’t.

a bit of history:  she had (possibly?) snapped at our daughter (or maybe at me?) once before when avery was ten months old or so.  avery had a piece of paper in her mouth and when i went to remove it rudy growled and made a slight lunge in our direction.  it was unprecedented, the dog showing aggression toward the baby or toward me, so i didn’t know what to make of it. was it really aggression?  maybe she was protecting the baby?  maybe she thought the paper was food?  who knows.  either way, we definitely stepped up our vigilance at that point.  that was in 2008.

and then last month…rudy’s saving grace?  gone.  the food aggression with the kiddos became an issue, and it wasn’t just food, it was the baby boy’s spit-up.  she decided that his regurgitated milk, his vomit, was her food.  it wasn’t simply an issue of separating her from the kids at mealtime; she became aggressive over his pool of milk that he spit up hours after his bottle.  he spit, she lunged for it, he put his hand on her head, she bared her teeth and growled.  i jumped up and grabbed her to move her away from the baby and she growled and snapped at me.

grace.  gone.  game over.

i took her in that afternoon and had her put to sleep.  it was sad and i cried, but when it came down to my children’s safety or my dog’s life it wasn’t even a question.  i know there are dog lovers out there who probably think i am evil or heartless, but my baby’s beautiful face is precious and i could no longer risk having my unpredictable dog in the same space as my kids.  i struggled for years with rudy’s behavior but she crossed a line and there was no other alternative.

i dream about her almost every night but during my waking hours i feel relieved.  the stress of managing her unpredictable behavior has been lifted.  it was not a decision we made thoughtlessly; we exhausted all other options but in the end the choice was made for us, really.

so that’s the end of rudy’s story, i guess.  she was sweet and loving and wanted to please, but there was just something crazy in her head that she couldn’t help and we couldn’t fix.

November 5, 2010

the most wonderful time of the year is upon us once again

put down the halloween candy, folks, we’re on to the next holiday…or maybe even the one after that.  even though we haven’t yet had our first snowfall here in colorado – my weather widget tells me that saturday is predicted to be in the mid-70’s and sunny, by the way – the red cups at starbucks and christmas displays in every store tell me that the holiday season is upon us.  there are only seven weeks (!!) until christmas, it’s time to get Elf-ing.

i tend to get a little bah humbug around the holidays because there are so many things to do, so many things to buy, so many things to eat, and limited time in which to get everything done.  even with the best intentions to simplify it’s still all a bit overwhelming.  i try to make things as easy as possible which means that you’d have to pour a lot of brandy in my eggnog to convince me to step foot in a mall between mid-november and january and i outsource whenever i can.  in other words, online shopping is my friend.

if there is anything better than easy during the holiday madness it’s free and easy, so when i saw the opportunity to snag 50 free christmas cards from Shutterfly i was giddy.  i love sending photo cards to friends and family every Christmas because, let’s be honest, it gives me the opportunity to show off cute pictures of my kids…what mom doesn’t love that?  i order my cards and address labels (again, easy!) from Shutterfly every year because their site allows me to make the cute and stylish photo cards that i would design myself if i had any sort of graphic design know-how.  best of all, it’s simple and easy.

 

in 2007 our card looked like this:

in 2008, like this.  my, how my baby has grown:

and in 2009 we sent this gem:

our 2010 picture will be fun to design because we have another member of the family to include, our 6 month old son.  you know how much people love to see pictures of adorable babies…i may have to order more than one style card this year just to get all the best pictures of everyone in there.  browsing through the sample designs i already see quite a few that i think will be perfect for our cards.  now i better hurry up and take some pictures so i can get the cards ordered.  only 7 weeks until christmas, remember?

 

disclaimer: this post sponsored by shutterfly and their free cards for bloggers offer, but i would have ordered from shutterfly even without the offer.

October 25, 2010

life lesson: chocolate and wine make you happy

i watched the woman as she walked through the grocery store.  her body language and movements were tight, in a way that suggested self-consciousness and a lack of comfort in her body.  her face was drawn and tense, she looked weary.  neither her mouth nor her eyes were smiling.  she looked to me like she needed to close her eyes and just exhale.  i peeked in her shopping cart; i admit that i always peek in others’ shopping carts because i’m insatiably curious and it provides a wealth of information about a person.  hers was mostly bare, save for a few packs of caramel flavored rice cakes, flavored seltzer water, and other Diet Foods loaded with impossible-to-pronounce chemicals unfit for human consumption.  i felt sad.

in my mind i created a story about her; always worrying about her weight even though she never really had to worry about it, preoccupation with body-image and an undying belief that her body didn’t match up to the ideal, constantly counting calories instead of enjoying life’s immeasurable moments.  it exhausts me just thinking about it.  that is certainly no way to live.  it’s certainly not the message i hope to pass on to my children, and believe me, the example i am setting for them definitely not one that endorses restriction.

i want to enjoy good wine, savor rich chocolate, delight in discovering new cuisines, dive into the bread basket, eat ice cream cones with my children, smile and laugh over a great meal with friends.  life is too short to eat crappy food.  life is too short to deny myself the pleasure of great food.  i want my kids to learn to eat right, of course, but my definition of “right” doesn’t include rice cakes and nutrasweet. but more than just eating well, i want my kids to feel well, be happy, and feel comfortable in their bodies no matter what shape they may be.

maybe i’m totally off-base in my estimation of this woman at the store.  maybe she’s joyful and carefree and is actually buying the rice cakes for a skeet-shooting adventure this weekend.  who knows…maybe the person peeking in my cart pegged me as a devil-may-care glutton for the two pints of haagen dazs i was buying.

October 23, 2010

sleepless

oh, insomnia
why do you ensnare my brain?
every night i fight.

thoughts randomly swill,
brain races on hyperdrive
why can’t it turn off?

no caffeine past noon,
sleeping pills and more on board,
still i lie awake.

i feel like crying
or, alternatively might
pursue brain transplant

October 14, 2010

32 and still no gray hair

one of the best things about getting older is that i just don’t care what people think about me.  “who the hell am i trying to impress?” is sort of my motto these days, mostly when getting dressed in the morning (or the afternoon, depending on when i roll out of my pajamas).  but it’s not only reserved for my wardrobe.  it’s just part of the beauty of aging, i think.  i’ve long let go of the self-consciousness that rendered me paralyzed in social situations through my teens and well into my twenties.  i just don’t give a damn about what people think of me because i finally *AHA* realized that no one else is living my life so no one’s opinion but my own determines how i live my life.  this is not to say that i’m a rude ‘ol bitch, it’s not that at all.  i just love the freedom that comes with realizing that other people’s judgments just don’t bother me.

DEEEEEEEEEP  BREEEAAAAAATTTHHHH

i took my daughter to school yesterday wearing a red t-shirt with weird designs on it, a blue striped hoodie, a green knit hat complete with pom-pom and tassels, and magenta/eggplant colored shoes peeking out the bottom of my less-than-tailored jeans.  my husband said i looked cute.  i think i probably looked more like a rebellious smurf on acid.  either way, i didn’t give a rat’s ass.  i felt confident in my wacky getup and that’s all that mattered.  10 years ago i probably would have taken time to match.  now, when something i’m wearing is too matchy-matchy i cringe, thinking, “oh, no, they’re going to think that i matched that on purpose.  bummer.”

the best part of getting older is making the rules and beating your own drum.  the best part is finding out who you are, in the deepest center of your authentic self, and living it fearlessly.

October 10, 2010

silence

there’s a voice in my head and a yearning in my heart. I should write, it says. I should create ….silence…. but what? I ask. what should i write ? what should i create? it doesn’t matter, the first voice says. write just for the sake of writing, create for the sake of creating. just do it. it doesn’t matter, the second voice says. no one is going to read your words or see your creation anyway. I pause, trying to ferret out the implied meaning in the second voice’s reason.

so.

we have silence.

I have thoughts, but not sure they themselves are ferreted out enough to warrant public sharing and airing. just milling about in my head like murky wordthought stew.

so.

we have stew. and silence.