Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I think.

I was talking to my daughter today about blogging. She is an English major and is a senior in college right now. She is a wonderful writer, and can consider herself a "writer" in the true sense of the word, unlike me. She is smart and witty and can be very opinionated. She always has something to say, certainly always has something going on in her head.

I mentioned to her that she should blog, if for no other reason than to use her skills somewhere other than school, or because it can be an incredible networking tool. She didn't seem too thrilled with the idea of creating her own blog but did say maybe she could do a guest post on mine. What a wonderful idea! But she wants me to give her a topic. That's where I draw a blank.

Dani is very mature and always has been. She is young and playful but she is very thoughtful and thinks things through with a logic which can be intimidating sometimes. She is incredibly sensitive and I would say more empathetic than your average 21 year old. I taught her not to grow up too fast, to enjoy her childhood and not hurry to adulthood like I did. For me everything was about when, when I move out of the house, when I get married, when I have kids. While Dani is planning for her future in the way of a career and forming the values she will live her life by, she enjoys now. She took one of my lessons to heart.

She is simply a good kid. Level headed and sweet and caring. So much ahead of the game than I was at her age, and I feel for the parents who have kids who give them trouble with driving, drinking, boyfriends/girlfriends and what-have-you. My children are not perfect but I can honestly say they have not given me trouble beyond not doing household chores when asked or being lackadaisical about grades from time to time. I'm happy to say the grades are very good now, grammar and sentence structure and all of the things I find so difficult with the English language come easily to both of my kids. Go figure.

I could suggest she write about ridiculous things Mom has said or done, which I am sure she has several examples of. Hmmmm. She's a vegetarian, a feminist and a lover of Harry Potter and Brussels sprouts. Not necessarily together. She likes roller blading and riding her bike, playing four square and camping. She has many, many interests and is always open to new ideas. In some ways she is so very like me, in a much improved kind of way, but in more ways - she is not.

She is Dani. She is my daughter. I know she must have ideas. She should write here at least once, don't you think?


Monday, July 30, 2007

Addicted for sure

Addicted to blogs. I admit it. I love to read blogs. I told myself that I was going to put a limit on myself, that I would check my regular blogs once (okay maybe twice) a day and maybe take a peek at a few I don't have links to but are in my favorites. So I looked through the list this morning. Not a whole lot of new posts, so when I looked again late morning I told myself the earlier check hadn't counted because I hadn't found new posts. (rationalizing)

Early afternoon when I checked again I justified it by saying to myself that I did not want to miss any new posts from my favorite bloggers - a lot could happen in a couple of hours!

Couldn't it?

Early this evening when I clicked through my list again I told myself it would be the last time today, yes it would, the last time. But it bothered me that one or two of the bloggers I admire hadn't posted in a couple of days and I was just waiting for them to post again!

By 8:30 this evening I was looking again, if somewhat furtively, I wouldn't have been surprised to have found my palms sweating as I satisfied this urge that I was helpless against. I. have. to. know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Does anyone know of a program, a self help group, anonymous meetings, a sponsor perhaps? Is this normal in any sense of the word?

I'll just tell myself it is - yeah, everybody does this, everybody likes reading about other people's lives, hanging on every word, relishing every well turned phrase, and delighting in every humorous passage! They do!

They don't? Do I need help?
I'm posting some pics of earrings here, this is a style I like to wear as a casual every day type earring, I have made them with many different stones and in many different colors. Please, have a look!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Love it!

5 Minutes for Mom is Giving One of You a 37″ Flat-Panel LCD HDTV!!!
Click HERE for details.

WOO HOO!! What better than a contest where you don't even have to exhibit any kind of talent what-so-ever, you just have to sign up! They got me - I'm there!

They are giving away an Insignia® 37″ Flat-Panel LCD HDTV!!! This incredible prize is valued at $799.99 and is courtesy of Best Buy.

So - since I have never won anything - and if I have I don't remember it - I have my fingers crossed. Wouldn't it be awesome!??

Wait. Before somebody rats me out - I recently won a post-it dispenser for my desk at work. Lovely green heavy thing with our company logo on it - I felt like I was voted homecoming queen! So - if I win this TV it would be my 2nd big win in a year. Maybe I don't deserve it though, after winning my post-it holder. I mean - it IS a major desk accessory. :(
I hope they don't count it against me.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Getting back to basics

Realized today - okay - maybe I've been thinking about it for a few days - anyway - I have been paying a lot more attention to my blog, reading blogs, and generally goofing off online than I have been to making jewelry or the bane of my existance - cleaning my house.

I always have these designs in my head for fabulous pieces too - so I really need to get back to it. My work space is pretty cramped so there isn't much ambiance in that room, but there is a TV and there are beads. Lots and lots of beads. I am obsessed with beads. I need to start using them more!

These earrings are the first I have made using my handmade earwires, the tutorial for making them came from Tamara at McFarland Designs. How nice of her to share! And they were super simple to make! My ability isn't perfect yet, but I am continuing to improve.

This bracelet is something I love, although I think I am moving away from the chunkier beads right now, it's a style I will always be attached to. This bracelet has some beautiful natural agate beads, faceted, a couple of citrine crystal beads but what I really love is the natural fire opal in the center. Such a deep golden color it almost seems to be liquid inside.

I am feeling the need to try some newer techniques, try my hand at some different styles, although I am pretty sure I will never completely leave the chunky focal beads I like to use in necklaces and bracelets. There is room for different types of jewelry in my shop so as I continue to grow and improve - my shop will certainly reflect that.

I do know I need to pay more attention to my shop, I haven't been promoting much (anywhere) lately and you don't sell if you sit on your butt and expect people to come to you.

But oh how I love reading blogs!

.... long time since I posted a pretty picture - I believe this is Ireland.

Friday, July 27, 2007

What good are they?

I smoked cigarettes for many years, quit about 6 or 7 years ago. One of the side effects left over from smoking, is that my sense of smell isn't as great as it could be. I mean - I can tell if I smell bad - at least I hope - and I can smell rain and flowers and onions - all the normal things. But I cannot locate cat pee with my nose to save my life. It's not a skill that's in great demand from what I understand. But it sure would come in handy around here from time to time!

My cats are generally well behaved little buggers, each with his/her own quirks and habits and personalities but they all generally eat what I feed them and relieve themselves where they are supposed to. They come and pay me my due as the alpha female in the house, lay at my feet and purr appropriately when I pet them. One of them is evil and bites but it's not completely her fault because she was abandoned and not socialized and is probably possessed by the ghost of Lizzie Borden. For the most part they are perfect pets. Except for the fact that I should pass out lint rollers at the door - I love having cats.

So I've been walking around the house asking my daughter "I smell cat pee, do you? Can you kind of go around the house and sniff and see if you can tell if there is cat pee somewhere it shouldn't be?" That would be anywhere outside the litter box for those of you not familiar with the care and feeding of said animals. I could smell it - I could not tell where it was coming from. There's nothing worse than walking into someone's house and smelling animal smells! Dani kept saying "I don't smell it. I don't smell anything." So I trusted her 21 year old non-smoke affected nose and just figured I was out of my mind like usual.

Last night she finally smelled it. It wasn't behind the antique chest the TV sits on in the living room. Not coming from an empty never looked in corner of the bead room. It wasn't coming from any place I had been thinking of or imagined. It was coming from a pile of clothes under the chair which was under the desk in my daughter's bedroom!!!!!!! She was almost immune to it because she had been sleeping in the same room with it! Nothing like washing clothes and picking up pee saturated pieces of paper and the random sheet of pee soaked bounce right before bed!

So next time you doubt your over 40 nose or ears or eyes and subsequently try to rely on one of those younger humans who lord their smooth skin and perfect vision over you - don't!! They may have good memories and maybe they have enough energy for 10 of you.

But they can't smell cat pee worth a damn!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

There is just nothing easy about it. Part IV

It's a bit bewildering and can be very frustrating trying to find the right medication for depression. First you have to stop denying something is wrong and get diagnosed which is a huge step. In my case, talk therapy helped with immediate issues like damaged self-esteem and all the other gifts that go along with divorce. But when the talk stopped helping, it was time for drugs. For me anyway.

My therapist was a psychologist which meant he could not prescribe drugs. He wrote a request for me to bring to my regular doctor who is an internist, asking that he prescribe an appropriate medication for someone with dysthemia. Low level, chronic, depression. My favorite description for that is "a lack of joy."

I remember sitting on the chair in the exam room that day when my doc walked in. He is an excellent doctor (driver, excellent driver, buys his underwear at K-Mart) and he is also a smart ass. A gi-normous smart ass. He asked me the usual, how was I feeling, anything new, why did I come that day, etc. I handed him the note from my therapist feeling every bit the little girl handing a note from Mommy to the teacher. No, maybe the principal. He read the note and said "I won't be anybody's prescription pad. Hop up on the table."

After taking my blood pressure and listening to my heart, thumping on my back and pushing on my belly, he finally said something else. "So. What makes you think you are depressed?" I think he was sorry he asked. I immediately burst into tears. I tried to tell him about my divorce and my husband sleeping with half the western world and how I had anxiety attacks and would get diarrhea and I could barely leave the house and I was afraid I was a bad mom and.. and.. and .. by the time I took a breath I saw my doctors face with the look a lot of men get when women cry. The - 'I will do anything if only you would stop crying!' face. That may have been the only visit to his office, ever, that he did not make a crack about his wife, tell me how brilliant his son was or give me a tip on the ponies.

I left with a prescription for Prozac. It was the drug of the moment, everyone was doing it. It was not necessarily the answer for me but it was a place to start. Unfortunately the only way to find out if a med will work for you - is to try it. And if you don't know what you should feel like, don't know what "normal" feels like - it's an arduous and sometimes very long process to find the right drug for you. I tried many many drugs, some for as long as a year, some for as short as a week or two, and when I was asked if it was helping my answer was generally close to the same thing. "I don't know. Maybe. It's hard to tell." Which I know now, for me, meant NO. Because when I did find the right medication - or actually - combination of meds - I knew it.

It was night and day for me. But first I went through going to the OB/Gyne because I was sure I was experiencing peri-menopause and was put on the pill for a while. I tried drugs that made me physically ill and some that made my mouth so dry I could not spit. I took meds that did seem to help. A little. When I found the right med it just so happened it was at the same time I was on the pill. I thought hmmm, why not find out if it is the birth control pill or the anti-depressant that is helping me. Hormones on one hand, depression on the other. I'm a nutcase on one hand, I'm a normally hormonally crazy woman on the other. Hmmm.

I went off the anti-depressant first. I realized about 2 weeks later that there was this sort of darkness creeping in. Irritability, apathy, the hopelessness was starting to envelop me. It wasn't as bad as it had been - but I recognized it. It was almost like pulling a light blanket over my head, just enough to dull the world around me and put up a barrier. I knew for a fact that the blanket over my head would become heavier and more than I wanted to bear again. I went back on the meds. A few weeks later the light started to show through again. Ah-h-h. Picture a hammock, sunshine, and drinks with umbrellas ahh-h-h-h-h.

When I say it was like day and night for me - I do not mean the change was apparent immediately. It was a gradual thing, I needed to recognize 'happy' - and learn how to not be frightened to apply the word to myself. Surprisingly, coming out of depression can be a scary experience in it's own right. Sadness may be the only thing some people remember feeling. Being happy - or knowing just what that is and how to BE it - can be a daunting task when all you have known is NOT. It doesn't happen overnight but it is so worth it. It's much easier to learn 'happy' when you don't have bad feelings dragging you down. Hope becomes something you can feel - and oh what a gift that is!

I still have days when I get in a mood, feel down or sorry for myself, but the difference is that those days don't last. Everybody has those days and they don't frighten me anymore. I wish I could say now this is what you have to do to feel better. This is the way to achieve happiness. I don't hold the key, or any keys for that matter. I just know what I went through.

As far as trying different meds and wondering how to tell if one is effective or not? My advice - give it at least four or five months if it doesn't have side effects that bother you. Then ask yourself how you feel. If your answer is "I don't know" or "okay I guess" - and not - "good!" - then move on. You should know when you feel good. You need to have faith that you will recognize 'happy' when it hits you.

Some people never need medication, and some people suffer from a much more debilitating depression than I ever have. It's a complex thing, there isn't one answer for everyone and God knows I'm not a doctor - hell - I don't even play one on TV. So that's always the first place to start. Your doctor. And if your doctor doesn't listen to you - get louder, say it again, let them know you're serious. If that doesn't work - find a new doctor.

Being happy is not over rated I'm telling you. If you think you may need to seek help - you probably do. Just like millions (and I do mean millions) of other people out there. We aren't alone. It just feels like it when you are depressed.

Nite. :)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Misery for love

My Mom moved to Michigan last October. We, my three siblings and I, have been struggling a bit with where Mom should be now that she is alone and at loose ends, and not quite as sharp as she used to be. She was with me for a while, but me - two kids - cats - and one bathroom were a bit much for her. She had money from the sale of her house in Colorado and decided to move to Michigan where she is from. She was going to buy a house and my 50-something sister was going to live with her.

The house was purchased, the move was made, but my sister did not stay. That is a story unto itself that is neither here nor there at this moment. My Mom doesn't want to live by herself. I did not realize that she has never done it - ever. While I revel in a quiet house with only me to mess it up - it terrifies her. We needed to figure out what to do after my sister moved out. Mom decided to try in on her own for a while, her brother lives a few miles away, we were hoping she would enjoy the freedom of being on her own after always living in a situation where she was controlled by the man she lived with.

I received an email "I fell down the other day, hit my head on the end table and there was blood on the paper towel so I must have hit my nose too. But I am fine this morning. Love, Mom." Then came others here and there - always beginning with the trauma and ending with the - but I am fine disclaimer. In other words - get me out of here!

Discussing the situation with my brother, the one closest to me in age, he decided it was time for Mom to go and live with him. He lives in New Jersey in a small 3 bedroom house by himself. He has a good job, is recently separated and his daughter lives not too far away. He is a realist and is fully aware of the impact this will have on his life but chooses to do it anyway for Mom's sake. My sister is a non-issue and my older brother lives in a condo with his teen aged son, and isn't really the demonstrative, compassionate type. My Mom chose not to stay with me - so that leaves my brother and he is willing to take Mom on.

She isn't that easy anymore, at 78 she has COPD and a back which is constantly paining her. She says she weighs about 120 but I swear she can't weigh over 100 pounds sopping wet. She's a tiny little thing who is vain enough to think she needs to lose weight because she tends to get a little bit of a tummy - regardless of the fact that she has bird like legs and barely there arms - she worries about her belly. She believes chocolate is a food group all on it's own and will reach for that first - every. single. time. Then she won't eat anything nutritious because the chocolate has taken care of those few hunger pangs she felt. She is wobbly and tends to list to the left some, or is it the right? She will be walking and all of a sudden will stagger in one direction a bit until she cannot regain her balance and she will go down. Hard. It's a frightening thing to see. Yet we could not get her to stop going down very steep basement steps to do her laundry on her own because she did not want to count on her brother to come get her so she could do it at his house which is all one level. Stubborn, thy name is Ma.

Mom doesn't like confrontation at all so she will agree with you to make you happy, then complain about you to someone else. She tells one story to one of us and another story to another, or part of a story to one and then thinks she told the whole story to everybody. Which leads to emails or conversations where she starts out in the middle because she thinks you already know the beginning. It can be very confusing for us - and disheartening to her to discover that we all have trouble understanding what she is talking about sometimes.

For my brother to take this on is pretty amazing and one of the most selfless things anyone in our family has ever done. He is flying to Michigan on Wednesday to pack Mom up and drive her car with trailer attached back to New Jersey and her new home. He has been concerned that she actually has things packed up, or may need help getting it all together before he actually gets there, so he asked if I could go up and check things out - see if I could help getting things straightened away so he could get to her house and worry more about loading up the trailer - than actually packing up items from cabinets and drawers. Living in the Chicago area I live about four an a half hours away from my Mom by car. With my 23 year old son as my navigator, we went to go see Mom this past weekend.

Getting there was no problem, Andy loves to drive, loves to stop at all the rest stops where I surreptitiously tucked my Etsy postcards in with the various pamphlets and maps - throughout Indiana and Michigan. Michigan has some of the loveliest "care stations" I have ever seen by the way. We arrived at my Mom's in late afternoon on Saturday and started work right away.

Turns out there was actually very little to do. Mom was true to her word - she had her furniture at a consignment shop - all that was left was whatever she was planning to bring to my brother's house which was a very good sign. She had boxes scattered throughout a few of the bedrooms and kitchen, but mostly they were full and just needed to be closed and moved to one central spot. Andy and I took care of that - moving some twenty plus boxes out to the garage which seemed to be the most logical spot to make it easy for my brother. I wrapped up a few glasses left in the kitchen cabinets, but almost all of the cabinets and drawers were empty, Mom had done a really good job. The only thing I left for Sunday was finishing up her laundry and vacuuming the house.

We brought an inflatable mattress for Andy to sleep on in the living room with the big flat screen TV, and my Mom already had an inflatable mattress for me in the guest room. Mom and I stayed up till about 11:00 Saturday night, doing jigsaw puzzles on my laptop which she loves to do. I left the program up on the computer so she could play with it if she got up before me in the morning, she wouldn't have to hunt for it, when she opened the laptop it would just be there.

Sunday morning I awoke with a start. Something was wrong but I didn't know what. I had been dreaming about people dancing I think, I remembered full skirts spinning and spinning, Gypsy dancing maybe. Spinning. I crawled off of the mattress and rolled to a position I could stand up from. Felt odd. Went into the kitchen where Mom was on the laptop doing puzzles and sat down at the table. Rubbed my face, shook my head back and forth, what was wrong? Mom was looking at me and I finally managed to say - "I don't think I feel very good." I left to go into the bathroom.

TMI alert!!! - Sitting on the toilet I wasn't sure what I was going to do there. I felt disoriented. I peed I guess, but I just felt wrong - so I sat. Looking at my feet against the linoleum I couldn't get past the idea that they just looked wrong - my feet were purple or something, and a little blurry maybe. What was wrong with my feet? I sat some more and finally decided I needed to get up, flush, etc. As I stood up I felt a coldness start at about my waist and move up my body - particularly the underside of my arms were really cold all of a sudden. I stretched - thinking I needed to move my limbs but then my legs started to tingle. I bent at the waist and put my head on my arms on the sink. Random thoughts like - is this what it feels like to have a stroke but after people have one they can't remember this part or can't verbalize it so no one knows about these symptoms - ran through my head.

I moved out of the bathroom - sluggishly - like walking in water - past my Mom at the table across the room to the basement door where there was a small garbage can. I took the lid off the can and pulled the bag out and grabbed the can. I turned around and made my way back to the bathroom answering my Mom's questioning gaze with a garbled "I am SO sick". Back to the bathroom, sat back down on the toilet and proceeded to vomit into the can. I never throw up into the toilet directly because with me I usually have both ends going at once so I learned a long time ago to prepare for that, and have enough warning that I can get the required bucket, garbage can, whatever is closest and will work best.

Nothing in my stomach, nothing but bright yellow bile. Ugh. Why am I sick? Please no, I'm not at home! I have to leave, to make a four and a half hour drive home, the thought of which was akin to getting back on the boat while still feeling sea sick. No. Being sick away from home is the stuff of nightmares for me. I finished purging what wasn't there, rinsed out the can and flushed the toilet. Rinsed out my mouth, wiped my face with a towel. Went directly back to the guest room and crawled back onto the mattress, covered up, and fell asleep again after a last thought - "the ceiling fan - spinning and spinning...". I was out.

Throughout the day I got up and tried to sit with my Mom for a while, but always got up and went back to bed and to sleep. I was feverish. Mom was feeling bad - what could she do - she didn't even know where her thermometer was, would I like some soup - she could find some she thought. No thermometer, no soup, sleep, just wanted to sleep.

Halfway through the day I was able to get up and start sipping some 7-Up. It was so good. I kept sipping, Mom kept worrying, till finally about 5:00pm-ish - I was able to shower and think about not going back to sleep for a little while. I got a load of laundry into the washing machine feeling very stoic and brave, and directed my son to do the vacuuming. Before we left I was able to get the laundry into the dryer and then upstairs where I helped Mom fold it. Look at me! I am walking an talking and sipping 7-up and I may live after all! Still - I was feverish and not quite right, but so much better than earlier in the day.

Andy and I were able to get on the road to come back home by about 8:00 - maybe a little earlier, and I was okay for the drive. Although I did have to ask Andy to keep it down to 80 - I was feeling a bit nervous about approaching 90 mph. We arrived safe and sound almost exactly at midnight, Andy as if he had just been out to 7-Eleven and back - and me - feeling pretty beat-up and ready for bed.

Mom is ready to go to my brother's house now. Physically and emotionally I think. I left her a note to make sure she calls her doctor to get a referral to a wonderful COPD heart and lung facility near my brother's house, and I think that's all the preparation that needs to be done. She has arranged for her telephone, cable and Internet to be disconnected, her house is up for sale and her brother has a key to check up on things now and then. She's ready. Now the question remains - is my brother?

I spent 24 hours with my Mom this visit. Big deal. She lived with me for about six months about a year ago. My brother is opening up his home, planning to spend at least one day a week dedicated just to Mom - doing whatever she wants to do. She is our Mom, not maybe quite the same Mom, but she is our Mom. Somehow it feels like whatever we do it will never be enough but my brother - my brother is on the right track. I have to give him a lot of credit because not only is this a wonderfully loving thing for him to do - he was recently diagnosed with quite a serious ailment of his own. He has not told my Mom yet because he does not want her to change her mind or be afraid she will be a burden.

He was the wildest of us as a teen, the most 'normal' of us as an adult, and in a time of need of his own - he is proving to be the most compassionate and giving as well. Mom can be proud of the job she did with him.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Oh my.

Today was the last day for one of the girls I work with. Her position has been eliminated. Not a good day, the rest of us did our work quietly - hearing her blow her over-stuffed I've been crying for days nose every once in a while. Not a comfortable feeling. We were supposed to go to lunch - bosses credit card don't ya know - but we were feeling a bit hesitant at that point about going.

In the midst of it - another girl I work with was complaining about someone giving her something to do - someone who is not her supervisor manager or anything of the sort. Her own employee was off today so she called over and gave his work to our gal. So this girl is complaining about it and I suggested to her - as I have in the past - that she go to our manager and make sure she knew what was happening. This gal said "No. She won't stand up for me." Then she repeated it as if I (we) had not heard it the first time. "No. She won't stand up for me."

So me being me - typing faster than I could probably say it out loud when I am annoyed - sent an email off to the girl who sits across from me who mostly feels like I do saying "So I don't want to f#$king hear her complain about having to do HIS work anymore!!!!!!!"

Except I sent it to the girl behind me, the one who I was talking about, not talking to.

There was that moment of breath being held and synopses not firing - before the finality and STUPIDITY of my act became real to me. OMG. I knew it wouldn't do any good to try but I quickly fired that cursor up to 'actions' and to 'recall message' and clicked on it. Then the cursor was frantically clicking on 'send and receive' as if I wasn't even the one doing it - and as if that would make the lightening speed of our company email slow to a crawl and not let that email reach the girl in the cubicle behind me.

I heard the email hit her inbox - "RING-G-G!!!!" Like a telephone. The old fashioned kind. As I waited for her reaction I opened a new message and started typing my apology. Then from behind me I heard - "Thanks BJ." Cringe! Arg-g-h-h-h!!! "I know.." was the only reply I could get out.

My apology was along the lines of - "obviously that was not meant to be seen by you and I am incredibly sorry. I get annoyed when people won't stand up for themselves because it hurts all of us. But that is no excuse. I'm sorry, I never meant to hurt your feelings."

Or something.

Reading a post not too long ago by Amanda over at The Wink about a similar incident that happened to her - I had relived the one time it had happened to me before. And vowed to myself that it would never happen to me again. The time before was years ago - but it was almost the exact same thing. I was annoyed and fired off an email about someone - and sent it to the person I was writing about. That time it was vague enough that the woman I sent it to did not realize it was about her and I dodged a big bullet.

Not so lucky this time.

So. Does anyone think this will stop me from being catty? Will I learn my lesson and not say nasty things about other people when I am annoyed/aggravated and what? Feeling a little superior maybe? I cannot tell you how ashamed I was. She was very nice about it, accepted my apology, and by the time we went to lunch we were talking and laughing as if nothing happened. Which made me feel even worse.

Will I learn? I actually kind of doubt it - if I am being honest. I mean - I will try - but when I am in a snit - gee - doesn't sound good to try to defend it, does it? By the end of the day the girl whose position had been eliminated got a stay - and an extension of a week. The girl whose feelings I hurt went home wishing me a good weekend and smiling on her way out the door.

How am I going to learn anything if we all basically sang kumbaya and skipped down the yellow brick road side by side with arms linked? I always learn things the hard way, I guess this is no different. ARG-G-G-H-H-H.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tonia's meme

I have been tagged by Tonia from The Family Jewels, and since I feel bad I still have not gotten to the meme I was tagged for by day dreamer at Candid Yammering - I figured I would do this one right away.

Five things to do before I die:
1. Buy a house
2. Furnish and decorate my house
3. Completely banish anxiety from my life
4. Plant flowers at my house
5. Get the number down to 2 cats again (I’m afraid that will have to be natural attrition)

Five things I can do:
1. Fit my fist inside my mouth (little known talent)
2. Come home from work, put down my purse and keys, empty my lunch tote, pet each of the 4 cats, look at the mail, change my clothes, and pee – all in under 7 minutes.
3. Watch forensics on TV for 20 hours straight – (oh were it available!!)
4. Bead
5. Ride a motorcycle

Five things I cannot do yet:
1. Still can’t cook worth a darn (but that may be because it doesn’t interest me)
2. Find an exercise or exercise program I like or will stick to
3. Fit into a tutu
4. Dance (not to save my life)
5. Control my cravings for carbs and sugar *drooling*

Five things that attract me to the opposite sex:
1. Eyes, smiling eyes
2. Intelligence
3. Sense of humor
4. Kindness
5. A nice butt helps

Five celebrity crushes:
I have to preface this by saying I really don’t ‘crush’ on celebrities so I’m thinking this will have to be a list of guys I think are attractive. Hmmmm. Very tough.
1. Paul Newman can still do anything with those eyes -
2. Ami James from Miami Ink is cute
3. George Clooney is a good looking guy – better as he has gotten older
4. Stephen Schnetzer – back from when Another World was still on *weeping quietly*
5. I guess Patrick Dempsey cleans up well

I know I am supposed to tag 5 people, but I was never good at playing tag - OR following the rules!! :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

There is just nothing easy about it. Part III

That title is looking a bit pretentious to me, sorry. Part III. Oh well. For anybody using Firefox I'm sure you can see I got my way and the blog looks busier for you. Hope you can take my widgets! At the end of this post I will tell you how I fixed it. Now on to fixing me. :)

Unfortunately there never really is any fixing me. And that's okay. It's a matter of coping with a disorder and I'll be damned if anyone makes me feel ashamed about it. That's one reason I talk about depression. I have run into several people over the years who think someone who struggles with depression is literally just being a baby, they need to stop whining and move on. Honestly. I am never completely ready for that kind of response because to me it is so bizarre. People just don't like disorders of the 'mind', *creepy music plays*.

There was the day when I asked my husband "if you get rid of the girlfriend, can we go to counseling and at least see if there is anything left to save?" He replied - "What? You think she's the first?" At that point my world turned upside down. Not because I was crazy in love with him because by then I wasn't. It was because I had this plan in my head, the white picket fence, home, husband and kids plan, and this simply did not fit. Beyond that - I thought I knew him. All of a sudden this man I thought I knew better than anyone else in the world - was a stranger looking back at me. It sounds so trite but it was as if suddenly I was seeing him as a different person entirely separate from me and my life. Totally disconcerting and mind bending. For quite a while after that day you could have told me the sky was green and I might have questioned what I was seeing when I saw it to be blue. More than anything - more than crushing my 'plan', more than hurting me, my faith in myself was crushed. If I did not know this man, what did I know? Was anything what I thought it was? I could not trust my judgement anymore.

The day after that wonderful discourse with my husband, I made an appointment with a lawyer. Shortly after that - I made an appointment with a therapist. There was a little secret place inside me that was acknowledging that I probably needed to see a therapist anyway and this was as good a reason as any to start. I went for about 8 months and this Doc was wonderful. He reaffirmed the idea that I wasn't 'crazy' - that feeling disoriented in the midst of my own life was quite normal given the situation.

We started with my marriage, but slowly things turned more toward me and my IBS symptoms, my panic attacks, and finally - to my lack of happiness. For me - I couldn't even call it sadness most of the time. It was more - I lived my life at this flat line kind of place that was steady with no blips rising above the line, only dips where I would go below at times. Blips above the line would have been excitement and joy, all the things I did not feel. Dips below the line were anger, hopelessness and feelings of worthlessness. So either I was just at the line, or below it. I only recognized the bad feelings as self esteem issues which they were. But they were also symptoms of a low-level, chronic depression.

We did a lot of talk therapy, working on issues having to do with my Dad, the old - I married a man just like him while not staying with the original guy who simply treated me way better than I deserved. I thought. Eventually we came to a place where I was feeling healthier, not so disoriented and starting to understand why I did some of the things I did. I know I am being overly simplistic but I tend to dwell on the little details too much. The Doc and I also realized that I wasn't moving beyond a certain point and it was time to address the depression head on, as something chemical.

I don't know if I welcomed the idea of medication, I think it frightened me a bit. I asked how I would know if it was working - and if it wasn't the right one - what would it do to me? He told me that if it was the right one I would simply begin to feel better. If it wasn't the right med - it would just do nothing. The difficulty was that all anti-depressant medications have side effects, and it can take up to 6 months to judge the effectiveness of any one drug. Everyones chemical make up is different and what would work for me was an unknown at that point. And so began a medication merry-go-round that lasted for a very long time. There were times I didn't think I would ever find the right medication and doubted there was one for me. Thank God one thing I am - is stubborn.


As promised - how I fixed my blog. I contacted a brilliant man named Stavanger at Blogcrowds, he is the one who originally helped me add my 3rd column. I posted my problem in the forum on his site and received an email that an answer had been posted. This is the answer I got:

change the 150px in .sidebar to 149px.

.sidebar {
padding:6px 0;
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */

So I went into edit HTML, found the spot he mentioned and changed ONE number. I changed 150 - to 149. Saved it, checked the blog using Firefox and it looked the way I wanted it to. I'm telling you - I know I don't much about code or what makes the Internet work. But when someone can look at my blog and figure out I need to change ONE number - I think they are a genius!! Stavanger is a genius and I am a happy girl. :)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Just a question ~ input?

Tonight I downloaded Firefox - I had heard, oh - it doesn't matter why. The point is - I was making sure I had all my favorites and such, including this blog. I opened it and - wait - it looked weird! Using Internet Explorer - I have 3 columns. A sidebar on the right, one on the left, and the body of the blog is in the center. All my colorful widgets and blidgets and lists and pictures are on the sidebars. Except on Firefox. On Firefox I have the sidebar on the left, the middle body of the blog, and on the right where there should be a sidebar - well - there IS one I guess, but it's blank! All the 'stuff' I should be seeing there - is tacked onto the bottom of the LEFT sidebar! So - please please tell me, if you have stopped by, what do you see? I mean - I find it somewhat disturbing that for the last couple of months some people may have been seeing an empty spot that looks really stupid! So ... A on the left or B on the right?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

There is just nothing easy about it. Part II

I didn't know I was depressed. Didn't think in those terms. I had moments when I felt good - like going back to school and getting my diploma - for a little while I felt smart and accomplished. I went to night school where they were used to disruptive 16 year olds who couldn't be handled in day school. I was 19, living on my own, and I wanted to be there. So yes, I suppose I appeared smarter - I was definitely more motivated.

However whenever there was a special moment, like my graduation, I always wondered why it wasn't as exciting to me as to other people. For me things were - okay. Not fun! Or great! Okay.

On my wedding day I was nervous for sure. But it was stage fright - not excitement about marrying the love of my life. There were no feelings of finally getting to a huge milestone I had been waiting for - rather it was - is this all there is? It's not such a big deal.

Watching TV you see women having babies - I marvel at their emotion, their tears and their joy. When my first child was born, while I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment for getting that baby out with only a little bit of pain medication, I did not feel the surge of love and amazement at the new little life I had just brought into the world. The one clear thought I remember having was "I wonder what this would have been like if it had been with someone I was crazy about..." It was a moment of clarity about my marriage, but a huge disappointment in the kind of crazy joyful emotions I thought I would feel. I was blaming my lack of emotion - on the lack of feeling for my husband. Yes, had to be the reason, didn't it?

Something had to be wrong with me. When my baby came home with us I totally fell in love with him. I would get tears in my eyes just looking at him and my heart felt it would burst with all the emotion I felt. Maybe I wasn't a bad mother, but - still - something wasn't right with me. As soon as those thoughts entered my head, I pushed them out. I was not ready to entertain the idea that there may be something ABnormal about me. Young Frankenstein. A B - normal. That was me.

People around me were always more enthusiastic, more outwardly happy about things, many things. It was rare when something got me happy or excited enough to exclaim out loud. After a trip, or receiving a gift or doing something I enjoyed - no one ever heard me tell them how much fun I had or what a wonderful gift or show or car or cake it was. It didn't matter, there were no exclamation marks in my emotional makeup.

But depression? Still didn't think of that. I had been having panic attacks since my late teens, and if someone has never had one they are very hard to explain. The only way I can express it is to say that whatever situation I was in when a panic attack hit - I simply had to get out of it. Immediately. Definitely exclamation marks there. Some nameless fear would propel me - whether I was in a car or a store - to find a way out - right then. It wasn't just fear it was flat out panic as if I were looking down the barrel of a gun. Something would happen if I did not remove myself. Have no idea what - didn't try to figure it out either - and it didn't matter. The panic attacks led to anticipation of panic attacks which made me want to stay in my comfort zone, the only place they never occurred, at home.

I was in my mid-20's with one baby and another on the way and I was borderline agoraphobic. I have tried to explain to my kids that my divorce was not only my husbands fault - which my daughter tends to believe because he handled it so badly. But to live with someone who is almost agoraphobic - had to be horrible. I knew it too - I knew he shouldn't have to deal with it but felt completely helpless to stop my fear and anxiety. I was grateful he would do the shopping or wait for my several trips to the bathroom because of my nervous stomach while waiting to leave to go somewhere with me. I was no fun, that's for sure. I didn't know why he stayed.

At some point, and I don't know exactly when, but I had a realization. It didn't just strike me one day but it was a hazy buzz behind my eyes that would peek in and out of the fog and let me see it a little one day and maybe a little more the next. Until one day I actually allowed it to become a complete thought. I did not know what things I enjoyed doing. I was so afraid to leave my house, so afraid of panic attacks, and things were not that exciting to me anyway - I did not want to go anywhere or do anything. I realized that if someone asked me what I liked to do - I would have had to tell them I didn't know. I simply and truly did not know. I knew I wasn't living anymore. I was existing. And what was worse - I couldn't see any reason that I did exist. There just had to be more.

Friday, July 13, 2007

There is just nothing easy about it. Part I

* *
Depression. When someone suffers from depression they are so alone. Maybe not in actuality - but they may as well be. The overriding feeling is hopelessness. There can be a mind numbing nameless feeling of not being able to see the point in your being alive, what part you could possibly play in this life. That does not mean you are suicidal, although many are. There are levels. It is complicated.

I think my depression began in my teens. When I was 18 my Mom and I had to move out of our house because according to her divorce agreement - when I turned 18 she either had to buy out my Dad's half of the house - or it had to be sold. She could not buy it and my Dad had no qualms about sending his new wife over to paint the bedrooms in preparation for uprooting us, me, from the home I had lived in since I was 5 years old. My Dad was such a lovely man.

We moved into an apartment in a nearby suburb. I had just broken up with my boyfriend, dropped out of high school, and I locked myself in my new bedroom for over a month. I imagine I came out for the necessities, but for the most part I have very little memory of that time. I know I slept a lot. My Mom approached me one day and asked "are you okay? Do you want to talk to someone?" What??? My Mom didn't make things happen. She waited for things to happen and then reacted to them. Her coming to me like that was - uncomfortable. "like a psychiatrist or something? No. No I don't". And that was the extent of it.

I do remember the butterflies and feeling of sudden panic when she mentioned that to me - she had implied something was wrong with me. Nothing was wrong with me. I was very quick to assert that to myself. I was just at loose ends. We had moved and my friends weren't calling and my boyfriend was dating someone else and I had attended what was supposed to be my graduation - in the bleachers. But I was fine. Really. I repeated that to myself over and over again, for years to come. There is nothing wrong with me. There is nothing wrong with me. Really.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Corporate toady?

Huh? Sorry, I just heard that on TV in a context that was really weird. Kind of like saying Sponge Bob and Fidel Castro in the same sentence. Just weird. Anyway!

The gals did not take a single picture in Vegas (uh huh sure) - not even somebody sleeping with their mouth open or coming out of the bathroom wearing a towel and brushing their teeth. Hmmm. They were all very tired and apparently the magic date of 7/7/07 didn't bring any of them that intangible special something that would have allowed them to win big and race home to retire. Sigh-h-h. Maybe next time.

One thing came out of it though - and I'm not saying it was a positive thing. Joan discovered gambling. Joan has lived in a few different countries, has had several different jobs and been all over this country - but had never touched a slot machine. It is my understanding that when she did - she immediately became hyp-mo-tized. Ysabel and Linda could barely pull her away. Somehow her germ phobia slipped away as she pushed those dirty buttons touched by scads of people before her - some whom I'm sure didn't wash their hands after going to the bathroom - and she remained seated - fixated on the blinking lights and spinning symbols in front of her.

Me thinks it's good she doesn't live close to any major gambling territory - or she would quickly become a regular at the local pawn shop! :) Almost scary. Joan - step away from the machine. Don't. drink. the. kool-aid!

So. Nutrisystem. I am having a lot of trouble facing all those salads. I am not doing bad on the fruit, and thank God I am allowed to have V-8 instead of a vegetable serving, but that salad twice a day is killing me. The idea is to keep eating all day, small portions of healthy foods. I get that. But a salad at lunch and a salad at dinner for someone who doesn't really like salad that much is pretty hard.

There have been days lately where I have been getting my lunch ready for the next day and just cannot bear making another salad. So I skip it. But it is a filling part of my lunch and without it I am not satisfied. I didn't realize how much you need to contribute yourself in terms of fresh fruit and salads and the like. Call me lazy but I thought it was - pre-packaged foods - take it out of my hands for a while - eat what we tell you and you will lose weight.

Well. I am going to do it for a second month - only because now that I have sampled a lot of the different meals - I have a much greater idea of what meals I will choose which will make things a heck of a lot easier. I cannot keep looking into that box and seeing split pea soup which I hate and did not want - thinking that I am going to have to eat it. Because I won't. It's that simple.

I do want to tell anyone who is thinking of doing this diet plan, DO NOT TRY THE CHOCOLATE CAKE!!!! That was the dessert I chose the most of and it is simply awful. Awful. Tonight I thought I would try to make it a bit palatable by sinking a nice Hershey's kiss in the middle of the batter before sticking it in the microwave. Not even that helped. I was expecting a nice melted bit of real chocolate gooey goodness in the center to be the redeeming quality but somehow the cake ruined the kiss. Amazing. Don't bother.

I will say though that even if the food is not great for the most part, I am getting into the habit of eating meals on a more regular basis as well as trying to get the rest of the food groups in there. I have always been bad about the fruit and veggies - carbs are my lifeblood. But I am learning better habits so if I get some lasting changes out of this it will have been worth it. I was in a bad habit spiral, and it was getting worse. I needed something extreme to snap me out of it. Along with starting to walk again - I think I will continue the process on my own when this is done. This has been a slo-o-o-w-w process for me, I haven't lost tons of weight but I just need to keep at it. Especially the walking.

And I need to go here. Bermuda. I just need to go where the sun shines and the clear water laps at my toes and where I don't have to think beyond SPF 30 for a while. Ah-h-h-h - the sand is as fine as sugar and almost as white .....

Sometimes it's worth it.

So I stuck my neck out. I knew I was taking a risk but I decided to. It was all such a minor thing to me - seemed like a nice thing to do, thought if I did it - maybe some others would take my lead, ahem.

The Etsy forum police were out and they shut me down. I did the smart thing. I ducked. Then I left. :) Before it had a chance to actually get bad. Amazing. I'm talking about 'Kitty' below. Reading through the forums today I came upon a post from this Etsyian whose son is competing in a photography contest, a pin up photo contest. Well, I like pin up art so it caught my eye. I went to the contest site and I really did (do) think her sons photos were the best. I voted for his pictures but it was obvious to me that being a small contest - it very well could come down to who had the most friends. I wanted to have more people look at it and make up their minds - knowing full well they would pick Kitty once they saw the pictures.

I bumped the thread up a couple of times but it kept dying, people weren't paying much attention. I offered to add the link to my blog - hoping a couple other people would do the same thing. I think it was the lack of interest or response that got me going. As far as I know, no one put the link on their blog. That was in Etc.

I moved to Promotions - started a thread - said - who would like .. to help support another Etsyian? Please check my blog and vote! ONE person responded. ONE. Then the thread died a very quick death. Promotions is a tough place to keep a thread alive because people are climbing all over themselves to plug their shops. It's the nature of the beast and I was afraid of that when I posted there. So I decided to be daring.

Dum de dum dum DUM!!!! Hear it? It's ominous isn't it? Pppbbbttthhh - my version of a raspberry. I went into .... Buying and selling. My thought was - this isn't really a promotion because I'm not trying to sell anything, and it's not even for me. Maybe in the Buying and selling forum - people might stop long enough to at least look at the link before deciding not to respond to it and letting it die.



There were a few people who said they looked and thought Kitty really was the best and they voted. One of the gals convoed me and said she was upset about how people treated me and actually started a brand new thread about how people treat others in the forums sometimes. I've done that - sent a convo to someone about something that was said in the forums because if I had said it in the middle of the thread I would have gotten jumped on. (just made a sale while I was typing this) :)

Why do people feel the need to just shut somebody down just because they don't like where they posted? Isn't that Admin's job? Admin DID move it to Etc in the middle of that, but I bet it wouldn't have gotten moved if no one had objected. What was the harm? I wasn't saying - hey everybody - look at this it's really cool - only to have it be something I am trying to sell! I do not even know this seller or her son. Never even saw her name in the forums before. I honest to God was just trying to be nice. That's all. So shoot me.

There wasn't a whole lot to the thread because I wasn't going to stay and play. If it starts out that way - then the best thing to do is back out and be quiet. Do they win that way? No, I don't think so. It leaves their snotty remarks echoing out there and that's what people remember. I hope that's how they want to be seen because the Internet is a permanent record.

So I guess this blog is MY permanent record and I stand by it.

One good thing that came out of that forum stuff tonight was that it sent me outside for a walk. I so enjoy walking at night, up and down the sidewalk past all the homes smelling the smells and hearing the crickets. I always bring my cell phone with me since the night I was walking and broke my ankle in the freezing rain, in the dark, alone, in front of a house where obviously no one was home. But that's another story for another day.

Tonight the air was heavy but not as bad as the last couple of evenings after the strong rain we had this afternoon. The ground was wet but not so much that there were puddles to navigate, although I am still very careful now about where I put my feet. Walking past someone's house I could smell their laundry in the dryer - the sweet smell of fabric softener wafting out of a dryer vent. There was the smell of garlic as I was passing one house, yum, and cologne when I passed another as if a man had just exited his car and walked up to his front door.

Someone's 2nd floor window showed the flickering light of a TV playing on the wall of a child's bedroom, blue with orange fish and a mermaid. It was very quiet but there was activity here and there, it was nighttime activity. People getting ready to end their day, closing up their homes and putting kids to bed. Very peaceful.

It was good to walk, good to breathe in the warm air and breathe out the stress and frustration. Ah-h-h. I feel better now.

By the way - can you take a look at the link below? :) I still think it's a nice thing to do. :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Vote for Kitty!

One of Etsy's best - Patereeves Nature's Treasures posted a link to a contest today, a pin up photo contest. She is the proud Mama of one of the photographers - he is the one who shot the pics of Kitty. I looked at the others - and even if his Mom didn't belong to the Etsy family - his pictures are the ones I would have voted for. So - for your consideration - here is Kitty - and a link to where you can vote for her pics if you'd like!

Here is the link to Kitten Koffin Zombies! Have a look and maybe a vote!

I will be back later this evening, but I wanted to get this up right away. :)

Friday, July 6, 2007

Enough complaining!

So - I am done complaining. Had a rather relaxing day at work today. One of the gals, Linda, is having a birthday - 7/7/07. She - and a couple others - Ysabel and Joan, decided there would be no better time to go to Vegas. Working only a half day today so they would be able to leave and get to the airport early for their afternoon flight, the mood was very light and enjoyable.

I received a phone call later in the day - Ysabel - whispering into the phone - giggling - "we're on the plane!!" Oka-a-a-a-y. Have you guys been drinking already? Maybe a little. :) They are SO ready to have a good time!

Ysabel travels a lot, mostly with her husband, sometimes with her daughters, she is very comfortable in most situations. She will be the leader and the one to take charge if anything goes wrong. I know Ysabel better than the others, known her longer and worked with her longer. I affectionately call her "miss bossy pants" when the situation calls for it.

Linda worries a bit, is happily divorced and plans to stay single, she likes to party, loves to dance and have fun. She's usually pretty agreeable when it comes to compromising with a group and I think she will take it pretty well if she is thrown a curve ball and has to change direction or plans.

Joan - well - Joan is a trip. She is actually very sweet and in some ways a bit naive. I'm not sure how long she has been married but she has a daughter in Jr High which gives me some idea. Apparently in all the time she has been married she not only has never gone on a girls only trip - but never on a girls night out - period! She's also a bit of a germaphobe which Ysabel just may have to deal with. I suggested that Linda and Ysabel carry sanitizing wipes and lotions with them so they can whip them out whenever Joan has a "moment". She was already planning on what she would do when they get up to the hotel room - call the front desk and have someone come up and change the sheets, blankets, and bedspreads on the beds.

This should be interesting. We all work together, but we have never socialized outside of work. Not sure why we haven't exactly, because I really do adore the gals. So - the first time ever going out together being a trip to Vegas - could have some fun results. At least I hope so! I am SO looking forward to some stories when they get back and that old thing "whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" isn't gonna fly. I want all the details. :)

I was invited but I couldn't afford it right now. When I did get my hands on some extra money I decided to spend it on my diet instead of going on a trip. I'm not a great traveler anyway and I'm not big on Vegas. My Mom used to live there and when I first got divorced my kids went there for part of the summer for the first 3 years I think. I would have to fly out to get them and I would take a mini-vacation while I was there. We would spend one day on the strip going to casinos and what-not - but the rest of the time we mostly stayed at my Mom's and visited. I preferred that.

I hope the girls have a wonderful time and come back with some stories. I am thinking the interesting parts will mostly be about how they interact with each other more than anything else. And OH! I hope they get pictures!

*****************Go for it Ladies!!*****************

Thursday, July 5, 2007

So? I've had a bad day.

How come when you're feeling bad, maybe even feeling a little sorry for yourself and just when you decide to go with it, feel crappy, get through it and move on - there's always someone who is there to remind you. "Well it could always be worse." Yup, I could be dying, I could have no feet, I could a lot of things. But this is MY bad day and MY feelings and don't make me feel guilty - I already feel bad enough!

I DID lose a little bit of weight. But it's only a little and not nearly as much as I would think considering the fact that all the food I have been eating has been healthy! E-e-e-e-w!! Sorry but I'm a big fan of preservatives. The longer shelf life it has - the more of a guilty pleasure it is likely to be. I don't really mean that - but it sounded good. :)

When I got home from work after being in a funk there, I had to fight the urge to go to McDonald's. Now mind you, I don't even LIKE McDonald's that much! But I got the idea of a Quarter Pounder meal with a Coke in my head and it just wouldn't go away. I had to stop and ask myself, why am I doing this to myself? I have been force-feeding myself all this fruit and yogurt and low fat reconstituted healthy -ahem- food - working hard - and the day I weigh myself and discover I have actually lost a little bit of weight - I want to sabotage myself. Hmmm. What the hell is wrong with me?

I had to sit and think about it for a while. Do I want to fail? Am I hiding behind weight? I'm fat so I can't .... what??? I don't know. If you're thinking I'm going to end this with some profound insight you will be sorely disappointed. I just don't know. Obviously I am not eating just because I'm hungry. So why when it should be good news, do I try to make it bad?

Work was a drag although I must admit seeing Joan's face light up like a little kid when she saw me was a treat - she came over saying - "I miss you so much when you're not here!" It's nice to be greeted that way. Nothing horrible or momentous happened, I think I was reminded about how much I used to love my job. For about 16 years I truly loved my job. I was busy - sometimes crazy busy but at the end of the day I felt good. It was a "good kind of tired" to quote David Letterman. When everything else in my life had gone down the crapper for a while there - I could always go to work and feel good about myself because I loved the people I worked with and I was good at my job. I cannot tell you how many times a day I would answer that phone and hear relief in the voice on the other end and "Oh I am SO glad I got you!!" Because there were clients out there who thought I was the only person who could help them with their problem. I called it 'instant attaboys'. How many people get bunches of those in a day?

But about 4 years ago things started to change. As the company has gotten bigger, it has become less personal and very much about the bottom line. It's sad. The calls I used to take got sent to a regional help desk and we were asked to help those 'co-workers' and give them as much assistance as possible. Basically train the people who were taking our jobs. And we did it too - we never blamed the help desk people themselves, they were just doing their (our) jobs. It's the company. Slowly things are being taken away from us and we are feeling quite under-valued - as well as downright DE-valued.

I've never understood the American corporation - isn't a happy employee a better worker? Isn't an employee who feels empowered and trusted and valued going to give everything they possibly can to their job? Instead as things have changed we were actually told (by a supervisor who is no longer our supervisor) that we should just be grateful we have jobs. We ARE grateful. But we would also like to maintain our self respect and know that - in my case - my 20 years of experience means something.

Losing a huge contract at the end of last year prompted layoffs all over the country, my business unit as well. We all walk on eggshells because we are just waiting for the axe to fall, our time is coming. Thank God if it does happen I will be eligible for about 6 months of severance. It may not happen soon, but we just don't know so we are all uncomfortable all of the time. Working in a climate of fear every day is not a good feeling. Add to that a new bosses boss who is a micro-manager and you have some very unhappy people.

The other funkified place in my brain is that spot that thinks about where I live. I rent a house. I cannot afford to buy one and most likely never will. I had a house once, my ex bought it for me basically as a good bye gift when he knew he had fallen in love with his girlfriend. I know. Not a nice thought but at the time - I didn't know there was a girlfriend. We got a huge mortgage and I trusted him implicitly - he always handled the money. When we headed for divorce and he promised my child support and maintenance would cover the mortgage, I believed him.

When I was a little girl we never talked about careers in my house. Matter of fact I don't think we talked about the future -about what any of us wanted to do when we grew up. I never planned for anything other than being a wife and mother with a husband, a home, and children to raise. I think I always assumed I would have to work outside the home some, but never thought about getting an education or having any direction other than having the whole white picket fence ideal.

When I finally got my house - oh it was beautiful. To me anyway. I loved it. Nice neighborhood, great school just down the street, the kids could run right outside and play. I could hang things on the walls and they were MY walls - nobody could tell me I couldn't paint or hang pictures or change the tile in the bathroom. It was mine. I was in serious denial about my marriage at that point because I was terrified of being alone with 2 kids to support. It was easier to just not let my mind comprehend what was really happening.

When I got divorced and the ex was out of work a few times and couldn't pay me, I used my credit cards to keep the cash for the mortgage. I got in real trouble that way and I was so naive about money I did everything wrong. The first thing I should have done was to sell that house and buy something smaller with a more manageable mortgage, but I was romantic about it all. It was my house. My first house. My notion of a home was always - where you raise your kids and live forever - so your kids can bring their kids to visit and tell them - "this used to be my room." You didn't just sell your home or move your kids because of a divorce! Well, I really needed to.

After a few years of juggling I had to sell the house or the bank was going to take it. Horrible. I have heard it said that if you show a willingness to pay - and you call your mortgage company they will work with you. Not mine! I was on the phone with them in tears more than once - and they would not budge. Make your entire payment on this date, nothing else is acceptable.

Moving out of that house was the end of that picket fence dream for me. Not only was I broke but I was in the hole - BIG - and with what I earned and rent and everything it was always check to check, no savings. I think I mourned the death of that dream more than I mourned my actual divorce because by then I wasn't in love with the man I married anymore. And once the dream was dead - then what? It was all I ever planned for.

So after renting and moving and renting some more - I can usually deal with the idea that I will always live somewhere where someone else can tell me how many pets I can have. I am very aware of the fact that I am where I am because of a series of bad decisions on my part. As much as I would like to blame someone else, I can't. A few days ago my daughter (who works for a realtor when she is home from school) said "you know Mom, with the market so bad right now - I know an agent would work with you to help you get a house." She meant well, and I did not snap at her or anything but I did tell her that with about $1600.00 dollars in the bank - no - $300.00 after the landlord cashes her check - I wasn't in the market for a house, no matter what the market was doing - it wasn't my market.

So there I was a couple of days ago going for a walk for exercise doncha know. And when I am walking down the residential streets of my neighborhood with the mixture of older brick homes, bungalows, and big new Victorians - I can only walk and look and think and ask - how do all these people do it? I know the answer. It's the 2 income thing which I haven't had for a good long while. So I suck it up and most times deal with it. My path is my path for a reason, even if I don't know what that reason is. I remind myself of the good things - and there are many - and I'm okay.

It's just sometimes when a series of things happen all at once and I start to feel bad - I just plain feel bad. I will get better, probably even by tomorrow. Things will be seen in a different light. But today, tonight, things just kinda suck. I will get my Nutrisystem breakfast and lunch ready for tomorrow, get my tea ready for the morning. I need to remember to give Riley (the old boy kitty) his medicine. Then I will go outside and walk when it is dark and nobody can see me mooning at their houses and wishing they were mine and that the dream never died.

On the other hand, if the dream really never died, would that mean I would still have to be married to my ex-husband? Cause I'm sorry. That would be a deal breaker!

Geez. Even I have my limits.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

I KNOW my blog is busy!

Really really short post here. Trying to catch up on my blog reading tonight (I added another one to my list!!!!) I realized that my blog, by far, is the busiest out of all that I read. I knew it was. But - I came back to it and looked and looked and tried to decide what I could do to make it less busy. I had purposely searched out a way to add a third column so I could have more stuff. I added the beauty flower on the right because I love flowers. I made a concession in moving my slide shows to the bottom, but I just love color and moving pictures and oh - I'm just hopeless.

I came to the conclusion that if I change my blog to try to make it like everybody else's blog then it won't be my blog anymore. This is how my brain thinks - in color and moving pictures! This is me! So - WELCOME to my brain! Scary thought I know.

But aren't the colors pretty? :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

It IS July!

I guess I missed it! I have been off work for a few days - and I can't keep track of the dates when I'm at home. But I know it's the 3rd because tomorrow is the 4th and by all accounts - it's a holiday! Stuff blows up in the sky and everybody oooooh's and ahhhhhhh's over it. Okay, I do too. Who isn't a little kid when watching fireworks?!??

I should mention that "day dreamer" over there at Candid Yammering nominated me for Rockin' Girl Blogger! Thanks so much! I STILL have to find out what that is - but it sounds good - I can't imagine it's secretly the geekiest bloggers ever award - so I am happy for the nomination!

One thing that has come out of blogging - is being able to take that peek into other people's lives, make new friends and have some laughs together. I think most people think they are a bit weird, their family is the wackiest or most dysfunctional. But everybody has something. So we write and let other people in and they respond - "oh I know what you mean" or "been there done that" - and it makes you feel a bit more normal. On the other hand - it might make you feel like everybody is just freakin' crazy!!!!! :) But whatever it does for you - it doesn't do anything bad. It's a good thing.

I was going to introduce one of the cats tonight, but I really think I need to throw a load of laundry in and then head to the bead room. Spent yesterday afternoon and then today too - out at the picnic table in the backyard taking pictures of jewelry. Did you know there are things that fly and crawl around out there? And things that bite sometimes? Ee-e-e-w-w!

When I came in today I went through all my pictures and updated some of my older listings with better pictures, but the job of sorting, sizing, cropping etc - all of those pics got a bit overwhelming so I have pushed it aside for the moment. I tell you what though - the digital camera and memory card are things of beauty! Add to that a laptop, a wireless connection and an awesome printer too - and you have all I need to list all the jewelry in the world in my shop! Now I just have to make it!

The pictures here are all from older listings - pics I took today in the backyard, and then updated in my shop. There is just something about that natural light to bring out the beautiful colors in stone! None of these have had the color altered at all - and if you click on them you will see how beautiful the colors really are. And if you notice - they are all necklaces and they are all being modeled by Roberta. She is here, lower left. What a wonderful investment she has been! She doesn't usually wear glasses but I was just showing that if you're beautiful - you're beautiful with glasses or without! Okay, I was really just trying to show that Roberta is one of us - not glamorous at all when she's not working!

OH! How could I forget an update on the diet! Dani and I have been following the Nutrisystem diet, eating out of the massive boxes of food sitting right in the living room, and I can't speak for her but - what the hell? You've seen the commercials - "I'm a size TWO!" she says in that most annoying really thin person voice. "All I did was eat the food!" I can almost feel her finger poking deeply into her cheek. Well I've been eating the food! I've been eating the salads and the fruit and the freeze dried concoctions I am paying about 10 dollars a day for - and I don't think I've lost a pound! Of course I was prementrual last week so that was hard to judge, and still menstrual this week, but still!!
This has not been incredibly fun.

It might be different if before you started the diet you already knew what foods you would like and which foods you wouldn't. Everything you order would be something you know you will like. Not knowing ahead of time makes it a real crap shoot. Really, just because it says tuna cassarole - who says it will really taste like tuna cassarole? Plus - you get a week of food for free - but THEY pick the food for that week. I figured though, they would know that if I didn't order any split pea soup - it would be because I don't like split pea soup! Or black beans and rice! Yuk! Okay, so I'm a picky eater. But - still!!!
There is one food that is exceptionally good - and that is the lowfat granola. I mixed it into my lowfat yogurt this morning and didn't even feel like I was dieting! Num! The chocolate chip pudding is okay, the chips save it. The reconstituted all beef patty I had for dinner this evening was quite interesting - a science experiment in rehydration you might say! The texture was a little weird but it tasted okay. Most of the food is just that, okay, and a lot is Chef Boy-Ar-De-like too. All in all it has been difficult to eat this food day after day - I feel I have been on it a lot longer than I actually have. My daughter and I both agree that lunch is our least favorite meal of the day. The whole thing would be easier to tolerate if I felt I was getting some return for my effort. Hmm. Well - maybe tomorrow I will weigh myself and get a good surprise.
But then again - maybe not.
Maybe I should have just introduced one of the cats. God knows that will be a show stopper! :) One thing I haven't done for a while is close with a pretty picture. I am going to do that tonight. It's raining outside, there is a cool breeze and I can hear distant thunder. It's gonna be good sleeping tonight!!!