Wordless Wednesday: Ordinary Things and Unusual Things

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My Adrenals are Worn Out and Dried Up…

I really don’t know whether to be hopeful that the second half of the year will be better than the first or not.  After two months of the severe mood swings and general depression/hopelessness, I’m starting to fee at home being in a funk.  At this point, I’m not sure I’d even know what to do if I did feel normal.  One of the girls I work with last week commented that she couldn’t believe that I was feeling the way I am.  I asked her what she expected me to do?  It’s not like I can cease to function at my job…I’ve got to keep doing a good job at work.  It’s not like the world is going to quit spinning on my account.  I tried to explain to her how I do my best to get through the workday and then I’m basically nonfunctional once I get home.  It mystified her.  I guess that’s a good thing.

Anyway, I’ve been reading Tired of Being Tired, a book about adrenal fatigue and burnout (Amazon Link–not an affiliate link).  According to their test, I’m at the point of “losing it,” which is just a category away from burnout.  After you assess your own level of burnout, the author (an MD) offers ten lifestyle changes that will help your adrenal glands recover and function normally again.  Her theory is that our increasingly fast-paced lifestyles take a toll on our adrenal glands that, historically, would have been limited to immediate physical threat (read:  being chased by a large predator).  While I’m usually leery of “Lose Weight and Feel GREAT” books, this one caught my eye because part of my anxiety diagnosis is PTSD and the fact that I’m constantly functioning in fight-or-flight mode.  My adrenals have been totally shot for quite some time, and while I’m a huge fan of prescription treatment for mental health issues, I also look for every holistic and natural method to help the meds do their job.

Nothing that I’ve read thus far as been earth-shattering; I do think it’s interesting that the author promotes a low-carbohydrate diet.  While she doesn’t promote a paleo- or primal-type diet, she does recommend that those at the highest levels of adrenal fatigue/burnout stick right around 65 grams of carbs per day (three meals and 2-3 snacks).  Surprisingly, she also recommends that those at highest level of burnout not engage in any incredibly strenuous exercise program (so, my plans to start Insanity again are on hold for a little while), but to engage in moderate activity every day.  In light of that, I’m going to develop a routine on the Wii that matches her recommendations and stick with that every day.

The toughest parts?  8 hours of sleep and giving up caffeine:(.  I really suck at getting enough sleep.  It is what it is.  I don’t like going to bed (mostly because, these days, I just really don’t want it to be “tomorrow,” and I seem to have this twisted belief that, if I stay up as late as possible, then it’ll stay “today”), but I have to get up at 5:30 every day, to head into an extremely high-stress environment, for which I really should have had a full night’s sleep.  So, bleh.  And I love my caffeine:(…at least she says that I shouldn’t go cold-turkey and can wean down.

Anyway, I’ll keep updating you about what I’m learning and how it’s going.  I did manage to make a meal plan for the week and we got some groceries today (Joey’ll have to get the rest tomorrow), so this week will be much better in terms of real, balanced meals.  I’ll let you know about the rest.

Also, please send prayers and good thoughts out for my friend Phil.  He was supposed to have surgery to remove the cancer (on the pancreas) this past Thursday, but a pre-op CAT scan revealed some changes and now they’re not exactly sure how they’re going to be able to tackle the treatment/surgery.  He means so much to me…he changed my life seven years ago, and I don’t know where I’d be without him.

Phil’s on my right.  I totally stole this picture from my church’s website, and when I went back today to find it so I could link to the source, they’ve started updating the website and I can’t find it anymore, so if you visit FBCIT.org and find some pictures, it’ll probably be in there somewhere.

ARGH (Long Title: The Wedding Singer)

Here’s a little secret for you:  although I’ve been singing for nearly twenty years, I still get pretty nervous when I have to sing.  And I get waaaaaay more nervous when I sing at weddings than when I sing at church or elsewhere.  See, at church, if you mess up, God doesn’t really care as long as you’re singing for the right reasons.  But if you screw up at a wedding, you’ve messed up someone’s special day.  And it’ll probably be immortalized on video for them, too.

Unfortunately, this pic is about thirty pounds ago:(.  But I’m working on it…ten down so far.  So anyway, I’ve got three hours to freak out until I have to be there, so..eh, yay for me?

So, we had breakfast out at Blessing’s Cafe, which was fantastic, and then we did a little shopping; we’re looking at a fairly sizeable purchase by the end of the summer, so we’re doing our homework and making sure that we set appropriate expectations and get the very best for our money’s worth. 

Last year was the year of the frivilous purchase for us…that’s when we got the Vita-Mix and replaced our television, but it was also the last year of tuition for me, so we’ve freed up a sizeable chunk for that.  This year’s purchase, although I’m not ready to talk about it on the blog, is only partly frivilous, but will also be purposeful and a good investment.

One of the things I regret over the course of the last few years that I’ve been blogging is the grip I’ve lost on frugality.  I always thought that I’d be immune to the trend of most people to increase their lifestyle to match their increase in salary.  And that was the case up until last year.  It’s time to bring back $25 grocery weeks and “no-heat November,” I think.

New York and Halloween Spookiness!

Howdy!  I finally got my pictures together and got some time to myself, so I thought I’d share the past couple of weeks with you!  I had to get stuff ready to lead discussion this week at school and had a paper due, and I’m still dealing with this hacking cough thing, so I buckled down and focused on what I needed to do (that, and I’ve been ODing on tv since we got DISH Network and I have channels now!!  Brain Atrophy, let’s begin!!)

So, here we are at the airport, me and Katie:

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Saturday, we saw a show:)….and it was awesome…over-the-top, fun, everything a musical in New York should be!

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Sunday, we went to Ground Zero, which was probably the most important thing I did.  When we entered the gallery, it was just as though it had happened yesterday.  I won’t post a lot of the pictures, but this one gripped me:

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At the end of the gallery, there was a room with a table and these cards where you could share your thoughts.  They were posted all over the room.  Here’s what I wrote:

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Monday morning, we walked Central Park.  We ended up reading the dedications on the park benches for most of the walk.  Here was one of my favorites:

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Here are Katie and I with the promo poster for the concert; let me tell you that the experience of preparing for and singing in Carnegie Hall was surreal.  Saturday, we had eight hours of rehearsal, broken into two sessions with a lunch break.  It was like being in a very detailed, advanced music class.  The director threw technical elements at us, and there was a diction coach who taught us different ways to pronounce the words we were singing so that it would come across correctly to the listeners in Carnegie Hall.  On Monday, we had a four hour dress rehearsal before the actual concert.

The concert hall was incredible.  I don’t have any pictures because of Union Rules…the only one who could take pictures in Carnegie Hall was the union photographer.  We’re supposed to get them emailed to us at some point, so I’ll post those once we have them.  Suffice it to say that it was beautiful.  Melinda Doolittle was so nice and adorable, and Travis Cottrell was great, too.  I really feel blessed to have gotten to do this.

Last weekend was pumpkin carving time with the BFFs…here are the boys, being silly as usual:

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Shannon’s pumpkin:

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My pumpkin:

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Joey and James actually carved two sides of the same HUGE pumpkin.  Here’s James’s side:

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And Joey’s side:image

Joey’s feeling pretty sick right now, so we’re hoping that he’ll start to feel better because we’re planning to hang out with James and Shannon tonight and I’m making a special meal as part of The Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program!!

Here’s a super-spooky Kins-shot for you.  Happy Halloween!!

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Knitted Yarmulke, Baby Gifts, Camping Pictures, and Sob-Inducing Books

I knitted a yarmulke the other day.  It’s kind of awesome.

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I also finally finished my knitted gifts for my favorite blogger, Heather of Heather Eats Almond Butter.  I wanted to wait until I knew she’d gotten them before I posted pics of the finished objects.

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The Sleep Sack is Comfort Wool’s Owlie Sleep Sack.  It was my second attempt at cables, and it was amazingly easy…this is a great beginner pattern for someone looking to try their hand at cables…the cabled portion is short and sweet, just enough to push you out of your comfort zone, followed by ten inches of mindless stockinette, during which time you can silently rejoice over your conquering of the dreaded cable needle;).  The owls blocked out really well.  I used Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Cotton, which was insanely soft.  I’m totally going back to spend some green papers on more of that to make myself a sweater sometime in the near future.

And here are some camping pics…I intended to post these earlier but somehow didn’t feel like posting during my recent bout with the plague (come on, freaking left ear….pop already).  Here’s the campsite

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It was fabulous…secluded, wooded, spacious.  There was an elevated pad for the tent, which was nice…it rained on us Sunday, and if it had poured, the tent pad would have kept us from getting flooded.  Check out this fire ring…

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It was HUGE.  We could have put a whole tree trunk in there…Joey actually had a little trouble managing to fit the cooking grate in it.  You’re looking at our breakfast Saturday (9/25)…potatoes, leftover chili, and hot coffee.  Food is better cooked over a fire.  I don’t know why.  It’s just that way.

I’m leaving for NYC on Friday, to sing with the choir at this concert at Carnegie Hall.  My voice is starting to go (for some reason, that’s always the last thing to happen when I contract the plague.  Once, I lost my voice for three weeks).  I’m hopeful that I won’t end up lip-syncing during what’ll probably be my most outrageous singing experience ever (of course, I’ve said that before and here I am heading to NYC). 

I’ve re-discovered how much I hate shopping.  Before leaving, I needed:  a bag to carry around the city, a duffel bag for packing, a black top for the concert, new black shoes for the concert, and jeans (I only have one pair that I can get in right now).  I have been to EVERY (affordable) store in Charlotte.  And I hate it.  I’m a mercenary shopper…I run in, attack the racks, try things on in an insane frenzy of elbows and hair, sweating and ripping things back off and half-putting them on the hanger right.  But I’m finally done…four pairs of jeans from Goodwill, a bag from Burlington, black top from Belk (in the south, it’s “Belk’s”), and Aigner shoes from The Shoe Dept (on clearance for fifteen bucks!).  I don’t want to shop again for the rest of the year.

So, I’ve watched Criminal Minds, Joey’s watching a show on PBS about the Moral Majority and abortion…they totally just showed a clip from the 80s where Jerry Falwell was giving a speech about abortion and got a pie thrown at him.  Wow.  And I wish that I had remembered to get a decaf latte at Caribou when I met my parents after work.

Oh, and this week’s book for class, Our House in the Last World, by Oscar Hijuelos, reduced me to a snot-dripping, crying, basket case for half an hour this evening.  It’s a great book, but for once, I’d like to read one that doesn’t make me cry and wonder what’s happened to my life.  It also makes me want to write things that are that important.  But I don’t know if I really have anything that important to say.

Here’s the baby…sleeping soundly on Vellux.

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Love to all…

M.A. Program, Semester 2: DONE!!!!!

Oh, thank goodness!!  I just turned in my last assignment moments ago.  All I have left now is to keep checking back and commenting on the discussion posts over the weekend and then, come Monday, grades are posted and the whole shebang is over.  This semester has been both good and bad for me:

  • I finally got “in the groove of the program.”
  • I discovered that I actually love to read critical articles about the literature I’m studying.
  • I’ve improved my academic writing and my attention to MLA style.
  • 😦  I’ve noticed that I’m still TERRIBLE at procrastinating
  • 😦  I got ambivalent here and there because I wanted to be writing and blogging instead.

So, I think that my working on the procrastination thing will probably improve the ambivalence problem next semester.  I love school.  Really.  :).

Last night was Wingate University’s faculty banquet…it was a heavy appetizer thing rather than a meal.  It would have been great except that the only options were meat, meat, meat, seafood, a roll, sweets, and fruit.  Not great for the vegetarian, eh?  I had a tiny sweet potato tart, a whole grain roll, and two tiny fried plantain pieces.  But it was awesome to be at a faculty function…I love Wingate so much and it’s so neat to me that my husband is working there now:).

This weekend is our Christmas musical…our first performance was Thursday night…I missed the one last night and then we have two today and two tomorrow.  I love singing, but I’ll be glad to get them done and have a little relaxation before the holiday.

And, your Cheezburger for the day!!