I Hate Laundry

So, I think that we may have folded laundry once or twice this past year.  I know.  Shameful.  I told Joey to take a picture of me under the giant pile of laundry I was slowly folding my way out of.  He said that he was too embarrassed…so I figured that I’d go ahead and put it out here for the whole interwebs to see.  Of course, if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, or you’ve read my hundred things about me post, this is no surprise to you.

We tackled the monster today and won.  And I’m going to have a big bag of stuff for Goodwill, too.  Maybe it’s also time for another yard sale.  While we’ve never made as much money as we made at the first one we did, it’s still a decent way to make a little dough for not too much effort.  Maybe in September.

I cannot WAIT to go camping.  Today, we went to Wal Mart and were able to outfit the camper with some pretty nice stuff.  I’ll feel a lot better Thursday afternoon when we’re all set up, but the thought of six days of camping bliss has me over the moon.  I hope I’ll be able to focus during work this week.  I’m already excited.

Also, it’s nice to feel excited about something again.  One of the things I missed most about mental stability is the ability to enjoy things *today* rather than always fretting about tomorrow or wishing that I’d taken more time to enjoy yesterday.  The day after we saw The Monkees, I cried of and on all day because I knew I’d never get to have that joy again.  It was like I completely ignored how insanely joyful the day/night was and focused only on what I’d no longer had.  I’m now able to see it for the joy that it was and, even though I doubt they’ll tour again in five years, I got to see them twice in my life.

I actually feel like putting on makeup again.  I actually feel like cooking at home and taking care of myself.  I actually feel like pulling out the Wii fit.  I actually feel like painting my nails again.  I’m starting to see the joy in the small things.  In the today things again.  I don’t feel as guilty that I want to take care of my skin, that I want nice makeup and cute clothes and that it’s okay to worry about those things, too, and not to get increasingly overwhelmed because there are shelter kitties without homes that I can’t help, that I can’t necessarily live the lifestyle that I want, to have the job that I want right now, to eat in a way that matches my ethics.  But I do feel like I’ll be able to get there eventually.  I feel like I can take the one step forward and then wait to be shown the one after that, rather than standing still, too afraid to make any move.

A month or two, I would have been too overwhelmed even to look at the laundry pile in its entirety, much less than to touch it and definitely not to fold it.  I wouldn’t have been able to clean the coffee table or spend ten or fifteen minutes vacuuming the living room.  Tomorrow, I’m going to try to tackle the dresser.

Okay, enough of all of that.  Here are a couple of pictures so I’m not boring you with pictureless inner-monologues of rambling:-)

Me on the horse I rode last summer in Gatlinburg.  Her name was Daisy!! 

All four of us on our horses

Here’s an interior shot of the camper

A shot from the other direction

Okay, folks.  I’m going to hit the bed, I think.  My low-battery light came on, and this post is too long anyway:-). 

I’m Having a Hard Time Sleeping…

and, as such, I’m out on the couch watching episodes of Dirty Jobs, hoping that maybe I’ll drift off again in a few.  I have this horrible habit of cracking my knuckles in bed when I can’t get to sleep…popping any joint that I can get to pop, actually, and rather than driving Joey nuts (or at least cause him to have some horrible dream), I’d come out to the living room and give him some peace and quiet.  He’s had a hard time getting enough sleep too. 

My friend Angela lost her dog yesterday.  She found out at work and had to leave to go  be with her family.  He was 17 and had been with her through so many significant times in her life.  I cried off and on all day because I was so sad for her and because it threw me back into memories of Puss and then brought to mind the fact that Shelli is four already.  In just a couple more years, she’ll be considered a senior cat.  I almost can’t bear the thought of it.  And, because I’m sick like that, I Googled “memorial poems for pets” and read them and cried and cried.  I’m not sure why I did that…it seems a little twisted in retrospect.

I know that a lot of this is hormones…honestly, guys, my hormones have been so jacked up after the mental apocalypse that was the last six months that I don’t know whether I’m coming or going emotionally.  I’m going back to my PCP in the fall (so I can lose some more weight and he won’t tell me how fat I am) to try to get everything straightened out.  One thing I do appreciate about the first part of the year is that it’s renewed my motivation to take control of my own health and pay attention to myself rather than simply trying to get out of bed in the morning.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve been going back and reading my previous blogs, and I noticed that the past several ones have been pretty superficial…I’m sorry for that.  Honestly, I’ve done a pretty good job of pretending that I was doing okay…half of me didn’t want to be seen as weak and the other half didn’t want to burden others since most of my acquaintances didn’t really care about my situation anyway.  This whole ordeal has given me a new perspective on my friends at work and has made me appreciate so much how they really do care about me.  Even though I’m not thrilled about being in the cubicle world all day, I’m pretty blessed with coworkers who are really my friends and who worry about how I’m doing.

Chris and Daisy, I’ve been clinging to you every day.  It’s been a great help to have your blogs to read first thing in the mornings.

My bridesmaid dress fitting is on Thursday and I’m totally dreading it like it’s a trip to the dentist or a pap smear or something.  I’ve only lost about twenty pounds, and I was aiming for fifty or sixty.  I don’t even know if it’s really going to make a difference in the size of the dress.  I’m going to keep working on it, though, and I’ll probably go back toward the end of September to get fitted again.

I’m back on the thesis horse.  I feel like I can do it now that I’m more mentally stable, so I’m going to get that sucker done and graduate in December.  It’ll be taking an extra semester, but I’m okay with that.

Phil is hanging in there.  He’s got some more chemo and then a scan on the 31st that’ll dictate whether or not he can have the surgery to remove the diseased part of his pancreas.  If so, the surgery will happen on September 14th.  He and his family are so amazing and so strong.

So, that’s the heavy part of my life-update.  Here’s what I’m looking forward to now that I’m not an emotional basket case:

  1. knitting again!!  I’ve got two patterns and pretty yarn for some excellent frocks for Miss Daisy the Curly Cat :).
  2. writing, both academically and personally.  Blogging has always been theraputic for me, and I really appreciate that there are a precious few people out there who, for some ungodly reason, are interested in what I have to say.  I love each and every one of you.
  3. frugality.  Since we bought the camper last month, we’re going to have to be much more prudent with our funds to be able to handle paying for it.  I’m looking forward to having frugal challenges again and seeing just how much we can do with our funds.
  4. Fall!  Summer isn’t really fun for me now that I’m not in school and don’t get any time off.  And now that it’s so freaking hot here now.  I don’t remember it being quite so hot when I was younger.  Fall is the time of year when I really thrive and I’m at my best.  There’s something about the crisp air, pumpkins, spices, the changing leaves, fall camping.  It makes me feel alive.

Well, that’s all of the inner monologue that I have tonight, folks.  I’m going to kick back on the couch, start another episode of Dirty Jobs, and hope that I’ll be able to doze off for a while before my alarm goes off at 6:15.

I am Interested in Beets.

I’ve only had them once or twice, and I don’t think I liked them, but the concept of a vegetable that can be eaten in both sweet an savory dishes, and one that can literally dye your insides, intrigues me.  I’ll probably try to find something to do with beets in the near future.

Tonight, we made “mashed cauliflower,” an old Weight Watchers trick that the paleo folks have resurrected as a substitute for mashed potatoes.  I was nonplussed…they definitely don’t taste enough like mashed potatoes to fool you, but they weren’t horrible once we added some Irish butter, sour cream, and cheddar cheese.  I don’t know if I’ll do it again, but it was a good low-carb side dish to the teriyaki marinated chicken breasts that Joey baked for us.

I’ve made it to the ninth lifestyle change in my book on adrenal fatigue…here are my thoughts thus far:

  • although I know it’s best to do, I’m always amazed at how much better I feel when we’re eating whole, real foods and not processed/packaged/takeout stuff.
  • I SUCK at sleeping 8 hours.  Being in bed by 9:30 seems like a punishment.  I’m not sure how I’m going to make peace with that.
  • I’m upset by the author’s flippancy toward antidepressants.  She lumps them in a chapter together with caffeine, sugar and–no, I’m not kidding–COCAINE.  Seriously.  I find it funny that she qualifies her passage on the benefits of upping one’s salt intake with the typical safety statement:  “please follow doctor’s instructions if you have been advised to limit your sodium intake.”  But when it comes to antidepressants, she recommends weaning off of them across the board, without any kind of medical qualifying statement or “follow your doctor’s instruction” safety net.  It’s irresponsible.  For those of us who have an actual issue with brain chemistry, meditating and sleeping just ain’t gonna cut it.

I had Joey go out and buy some of this stuff for me, per the author’s recommendation:

I took two this evening.  We’ll see how they work.

Depression isn’t Sensational Enough…

Over the last two days, I seem to have developed a very sensitive and tempermental stomach.  I couldn’t enjoy going to Metrolina Expo with my mom yesterday because my stomach was cramping and today, it was all I could do to get out of  bed and go to church.  This feeling isn’t all that foreign to me…my anxiety has always manifested itself in stomach cramping and other unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects.  However, since I’ve been treated for the depression/anxiety, it’s mostly gone away (as evidenced by the expired bottle of generic Pepto that we just found during a particularly panicky search for help).

This recent bout with my mental issues has brought to light a shortcoming in society and, particularly, the Church (capital “C” this time) when confronted with someone battling depression or anxiety.  See, depression isn’t “cool.”  It’s not something that y0u can see; it’s not a broken arm, it’s not a disease, it’s not something that makes you turn yellow, or snot run, or puke.  It’s not a black eye or a gash.  It’s not something that requires surgery.  Because it’s not any of these things, there seems to be this belief, especially in the Church, that it’s not “bad enough” to merit the same level of care/concern as physical problem.  I think it stems from the Church’s tradition of ignoring mental problems and of refusing that they even exist.

“Just love Jesus more and it’ll go away!”  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that, or “just pray about it,” or “just turn it over to God!” like there’s some sort of magical, instant remedy in prayer.  I also can’t *tell* you how many times I prayed for help and for peace.  It just doesn’t happen that way.  And that belief pattern has caused so much pain for Christians battling mood disorders.  I used to feel like there was something horribly wrong with me because I couldn’t just “pray” the depression away…but now that I know better, it simply pisses me off to hear that kind of rhetoric.

You know the real kicker?  The rest of the world is much more supportive to those suffering with mental issues. They’ve somehow managed to realize that depression/anxiety are real conditions, real problems.  As a result, they don’t simply sweep under the rug those who suffer.

My church?  Only one person has checked on me, and she understands because her husband has similar problems.  Otherwise, I get the “I’m praying for you:)” thing, and I’m left to flounder, isolated and alone.  My work friends, however, most of whom aren’t Christian, check on me constantly.  And we wonder why we, as Christians, aren’t affecting the world like we should.  It’s because we ignore people around us whose problems aren’t “cool” enough, or sensational enough. 


Lost and Floundering, But Otherwise, a Nice Vacation…

Most of my readers know that I went to Walt Disney World last week.  For those of you who don’t, I went to Disney World last week.  My in-laws very generously took us for four days.  We stayed at one of the Value Resorts in the Disney compound.  There were excellent times:

 like Joey spinning me so hard that I almost puked on the teacups;).

and Joey having a gift pack waiting in the room themed after one of my two favorite Disney movies ever!

to now owning every size of Stitch that Disney makes (don’t judge me).

to learning about one of my favorite topics in the world…

There were other cool things…we ate dinner at a SciFi-themed cafe in Hollywood Studios that played movie trailers from old movies…THREE of which had been MSTied, which was nerdily thrilling for Joey and me.  We got to ride Star Tours after all of the Star Wars folks finally left the park.  We had a swanky dinner at Jiko, the super-nice restaurant in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. 

On the flipside, the AC didn’t really work in the room, which really sucked, but at least Joey was able to get a one-night refund on both of our rooms.  And I had a panic attack the night that we got stuck in Magic Kingdom during the parade/fireworks show/child-stroller-apocalypse.  I have come to the conclusion that I just don’t really like being around that many people.  And, of course, the conspiracy theorist in me wonders how many terrorist attacks on those parks are foiled each year.  It’s just such a huge crowd of people.  So anyway, while I’m glad to have gotten to do it once, I’m undecided as to whether or not we’ll take our kids there.

Also, the frequency with which I became overwhelmed on trip, and my current state of malais-ey dread about the backup of work I’ll surely see tomorrow has left me kind of floundering right now.  I want to blog, but I get overwhelmed.  I take a day to relax and do nothing, and instead I end up spending all day thinking about how behind I’ll be at work and how I should be working on my thesis.  I used to like to make lists to motivate myself, and now I’m just overwhelmed whenever I even think about making them.  I have an appointment with a new psychiatrist on the 24th, so hopefully this will all get straightened out soon.

For now, I’ve got plenty of new stuffed animals to comfort me:)

And my Kins, who I missed a LOT:

I’ve had to spend a lot of today making up for our abandoning her.  And, even though we did have three pukes, we didn’t have any pees!!

Insane in the Membrane!!

Man, I am losing my freaking mind.  To make a long story short, I’m switching from one antianxiety medication to another, from Cymbalta to Wellbutrin, and it’s proving to be one of the most difficult things I’ve been through in my life.  If I had ANY idea that Cymbalta would be this difficult to stop, I would never have gone on it.  My insurance doesn’t cover as much of the cost this year, and it’s going up $200 (and was already costing me $400 a year).  Per their website, it may cause dizziness, nausea, and headaches.  They fail to mention brain “jolts,” extreme depression and rage, and paranoia.  And the DTs can last up to two months. I’m just a little over two weeks off (and that was after weaning myself back), and the thought of six more weeks of feeling like I’m absolutely going insane terrifies me.  And the even worse part is that I can’t just take off work and get over it. I’m having to go to a job in which I deal with people in a high-stress environment, and I’m having to resist the urge to rip someone’s face off when they annoy me.  Add to that feeling like crying at the drop of a hat, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.  However, I am surviving and I have an incredibly patient husband and friends and family who understand and are helping cheer me up.  So, all in all, despite this mess, I’m still pretty freaking blessed too:)

So, this past week on Good Eats, Alton Brown did a show on Asian noodles which included a recipe using something that’s intrigued me for years now:  rice paper.  His Thai Shrimp Spring Rolls looked amazing on the show, and the rice paper looked pretty easy to work with as well, so I figured it was worth a shot.  I sent Joey to Grand Asia Market in Stallings, and he came back with lots of cool stuff:

like this adorable coffee mug with a kitten peering over the side.  He’s done his best to cheer me up during this time, and bringing me something that combines two of my favorite things (kitties and coffee) was a WIN.  He also came back with rice paper, though.  I substituted tofu for the shrimp…mostly because I don’t like the texture of shrimp unless it’s tiny and fried (make my fish fillet diamond-shaped, please!).  I drained and pressed my tofu, and then julienned about a quarter of the block.  Here’s what I ended up with:


Check out the source link (the image isn’t mine, obviously, or it would be blurry with poor lighting) too, because it goes to another recipe for spring rolls.  Mine weren’t that pretty, but hopefully they will be the next time.  What a fantastic meal…it was light, but dense enough that it was filling.  Alton’s recipe says it makes enough for twelve rolls, but mine only made 8.  I also didn’t have any bibb lettuce to wrap them in, and I’ll definitely add that the next time because they were really gummy.  My favorite part was the dipping sauce, though. I’m making that sauce for anything asian that I make at home.  People, make these rolls.  Like, right now. 

Hopefully I’ll be able to make it through tomorrow without ripping anyone’s face off.  We always go to the antique show at Metrolina Expo on the first Saturday of the month, but we didn’t get to go today because of an incredibly irritating, hipster-em0-DB “rock fest” for the next generation of people who think they’re unique for having an all-day concert.  There’s nothing new under the sun, kids.  You’re not that special.  Anyway, we’re going to try to go back tomorrow…hopefully we can buy some stuff and offer the dealers some support since they were undoubtedly pissed at their customer base being turned away on their biggest business day.  /rant is over.

Off to watch more Good Eats.  I wish Alton Brown was my zany uncle.