Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Get mommy a Valium.....

When I wrote the title to this blog, I got a correction for not capitalizing "Valium". HAHA! I guess when mommy's little helper is such a big help, it's gotta be capitalized. (Disclaimer: I have never taken Valium. Lorazepam, yes, but never Valium!)

It's been a long couple of weeks. The two demons we battle in our household, depression and anxiety, both reared their ugly heads and threw everything off balance, as they are inclined to do. These two monsters can really throw everyone and everything for a loop, and, worse, they are difficult to get under control. Sure, there are myriad medications to treat both afflictions, but unlike many other illnesses, these also benefit from the help of a great counselor. One would think getting help would be easy, especially in progressive Seattle, but what I've learned in the past week has not only shocked me, but made me realize how little we, as a society, are doing to help those who suffer from mental illness.

Now, let me say, I HATE that term. Mental illness. Mostly because it conjures up images of a homeless old bag lady feeding pigeons in a park. She must be mentally ill......but the truth is, one in four adults and one in ten children have some form of mental illness (National Alliance on Mental Illness). There's a funny saying "Mental illness affects one in four adults...look at your three best friends. If they seem fine, it's you!" But the truth is, that's a LOT of people. And that includes a lot of disorders, not just depression and anxiety, but bipolar disorder, ADHD, eating disorders, OCD, schizophrenia and more. Scared yet? You should be, because it's a bigger problem than most realize. And you shouldn't be because, with the right care, many mental illnesses are treatable and most people seem "normal". I hate that term, too. Normal. What is normal?

I can tell you, as someone who suffers from anxiety, normal is when you feel "balanced" every day. When, through a combination of diet, medications, exercise, counseling, or whatever works for you, you feel steady and even-keeled every day and can handle what life throws at you without falling apart, that's your normal. Looking back, I realize I've suffered from anxiety from as long as I can remember. I can't count the number of "stomach aches" I've had that prevented me from partaking in an activity, trying something new, or having an otherwise fun experience. I moved a lot growing up and every first day of school was fraught with anxiety, tummy aches and tears. I vividly remember fifth grade, starting another new school, when I became acutely aware that it would not be "cool" to cry in front of my new class. I held it together and from that point on, I managed to get through it, but that first day of school was always the hardest.

In high school one memory that stands out for me was a planned trip to a theme park with my friends. I got ready, was picked up by my friend who was driving, and we swung around the block to pick up another friend. In that amount of time, I had sealed my fate....the stomach ache was starting, my heart was racing, and I asked her to please take me back home because I was "sick". I ended up missing a really fun day and I was kicking myself before they even pulled out of the driveway after dropping me off, but I was also relieved and "safe".

As an adult, I once was invited on a hike with several women friends. I didn't know most of them well, and I had the usual anxieties about being in a group of people I didn't know, but the thing that made me cancel the trip at the last minute was the irrational fear that I would not be able to "keep up" with them on the hike and what might they think?

A lot of things changed after I had my first child. Suddenly I was the mother bear protecting my cub, so many of my usual daily anxieties were replaced by caring for my baby, and the general busy-ness of being a mother.  I felt a lot more secure, and a lot more outgoing, as I formed a group of friends with new babies. Things seemed to be going along swimmingly until.....

I had my second child. And somehow, having two children seemed a lot "harder" for me than for my friends. Everything just seemed to take so much effort and I was exhausted all the time. Some days, I would hand the baby off to her dad for no other reason than that my arms were so tired, I thought I'd drop her. I knew something was wrong and so I went to the doctor. And thus my medical nightmare began.

It took two years to get properly diagnosed with a thyroid disorder. In that time, I had 25 different appointments, numerous procedures, and a lot of worry and stress. Once I was diagnosed and properly treated, I started to feel better but still "off". As that "off" feeling dragged on, I realized it might be something more but I didn't know enough about anxiety to realize that might be my problem. Also, all I ever heard about was "depression and anxiety" as the two often go hand-in-hand. And I didn't feel depressed at all!

After a couple of especially bad episodes of anxiety, I ended up in the ER one night. I couldn't breathe, my arms and legs were numb and I felt like my chest might explode. After checking my heart and vital signs, the doctors said I was "fine" and brought in a social worker to talk to me. She asked if I had a good support system at home and discussed postpartum depression (which we both agreed was not the issue, even though it likely could have been since my baby was just several weeks old). I laughed at the "support" comment, because, at the time, I was teaching parent/baby classes at the same hospital, and providing support to groups of 50 or more moms every week. I could stand confidently in front of a crowd and facilitate discussions about diapering and sleep problems, but I still could not recognize anxiety in myself.

Ironically, I left with a prescription for Lorazepam, which I loved more than life itself. But I also knew it was an addictive drug, so I took it so sparingly, and would even break the tiny tablets in half, which resulted in a pile of dust in my palm that I would gobble up in the vain hope that a few crumbs of anti-anxiety drug would get me through a particularly rough patch. At one of my annual physical exams, my nurse listened patiently as I explained my relationship with my beloved Lorazepam, and she suggested that I take one whole pill a day for a week. ONE WHOLE PILL? Not a tiny pile of pill dust? Well, ok, then. I'm not embarrassed to say it was the best week of my life, as far as my physical self felt. I actually felt "normal" for the first time in YEARS. I remember this tiny feeling of hope creeping back; optimism, enthusiasm, excitement for life. Addicting drug? Bring it on!

But of course my pragmatic nature prevented me from continuing to take it every day, because it was bad enough I was Anxious Mommy, I didn't also want to be Rehab Mommy. So, I went back to the pill dust once in a blue moon and prayed for my stupid anxiety to just END already.

And so things went along "normally" punctuated by episodes of anxiety, which I was often certain were medical emergencies, yet nothing ever panned out. My labs were normal, I had great blood pressure, I was healthy and "normal". But I wasn't.

Finally, after realizing how much of life I was missing due to all the physical symptoms I was having, I decided to see my doctor (again!). By this time I had learned a lot more about mental illness and knew I was probably suffering from anxiety. And I was DONE with it. Taking medication, which I was resistant to for YEARS seemed like the most sensible option, although, ironically, my anxiety about side effects was what prevented me from embracing this option. Swallowing that first pill was, for me, a huge victory, because I was taking a CHANCE on something without knowing the outcome. And the heavens parted and choirs of angels began to sing....ok, maybe it wasn't THAT dramatic of a change, but, then again, it WAS!

I could finally just "be". I still looked like the normal mommy I had been pretending to be (except, maybe, for the 40 plus pounds I gained on the first medication I took. Which totally sucks. But honestly, the trade off was worth it.) Most of my friends had no idea the extent to which I suffered every day with the heavy cloak of anxiety that dragged me down while I struggled to maintain the appearances of "normal". So, perhaps my transformation wasn't as life-changing to them as it was to me (duh) but I have never second-guessed my decision.

Ok, that's a lie. I decided after a couple of years on meds that I could try to wean off. My doctor agreed so I started the gradual wean. At first I noticed I was more irritable than normal. As in, my child's breathing irritated me. And if they interrupted me to bring me an "I love you" picture they had drawn while I was doing something else, I might explode in a rage. In fact, I often raged at my kids while knowing in my head the offense did not warrant the punishment. And yet, I couldn't make my body stop overreacting, stop feeling irritable, stop.....everything. I would lay in bed at night and actually FEEL my adrenaline, as though a slight vibration was coursing through my veins (I once described this to a doctor as my body "buzzing like there's a motor running"). In short, I felt horrible, so I went back on the meds.

Another time I tried to wean off my meds, it was only a matter of days when I felt that old familiar irritability creeping over me, and one day I just felt completely hopeless. I remember having a good long talk (and a cry) with my husband. He encouraged me to just keep taking the meds - as long as I needed to, and maybe forever. I cried "You mean I have to take a pill to be nice? I have to take drugs so I'm not a bitch?"

But that's when I really took to heart what my doctor said: if you had diabetes or cancer or any other life-threatening illness, you wouldn't hesitate to take medication to treat it. And yet, we resist medication for mental illness because it seems "weak". Well, I take medication and I am anything but weak. I'm stronger than anyone or anything. Because I faced my illness head-on and I'm fighting it.

I tell this story to illustrate how common and prevalent this problem is. Everyone in my family experiences some form of depression and/or anxiety and we all fight it in different ways. Sometimes, it requires a total and complete break from the regular routines of daily life to step back and figure out a new way. Other times, it might be a few months of counseling. We talk about it a lot, and nothing is taboo. I truly believe that one of the biggest reasons we still have a stigma about mental illness in our society is because we don't talk about it enough. When I recently attempted to find a group for adolescents experiencing depression, I came up empty. Not ONE group in this whole state that isn't focused on drug and alcohol issues as well. Which isn't surprising since nearly everyone who suffers from depression and/or anxiety will eventually self-medicate - if not with drugs or alcohol, with self-harm or destructive behaviors. When you hurt inside, you will do anything to stop it.

But how wonderful would it be if we talked about mental illness in parenting classes, and in schools where parents could become educated to see the signs early and intervene? My kids and I watched a show on TV last night about bipolar children. It was eye-opening for sure - and heartbreaking. No one wants to deal with mental illness, just like no one wants to get cancer. It just happens and it sucks. When your child suffers, you feel some guilt about "passing on the gene". What if someone told you that if you have a diagnosed mental illness, your child has a higher percentage of having one too? For instance, if a parent has bipolar disorder, the chances that their child might inherit the disorder can be up to 30%. If both parents have it, the chances increase to up to 75%. And if you have one child with bipolar disorder, chances are up to 25% that your subsequent child will have it, too (McGuffin, P. et al, Arch. Gen. Psychiatry).

If someone told you these statistics before you had children, would you choose not to give birth knowing you might pass mental illness on to your children? Likely not, but if someone told you your child had a 75% chance of having cystic fibrosis because you and your husband both carried a recessive gene, would you choose to have children? My point is, mental illness is a serious disease and though there are treatments, there is no cure. If you think mental illness is not as "dangerous" as other diseases, think of this: intentional self-harm (suicide) is in the top ten causes of death in the world (Centers for Disease Control, based on data from 2009). So, which scares you more - heart disease or suicide?

I truly wish there were support groups in EVERY single middle and high school where kids could go to get help for depression and anxiety. But there are two big problems with that: one, most kids don't understand or recognize their pain as mental illness and most parents don't want to accept it as a possible explanation for their child's problems. And sadly, some parents are just too busy to see the signs. Even the most diligent and connected parents can miss the signs. Adolescents are not just mini-adults and depression can manifest very differently in them. Unlike adults, teens can often seemingly go "in" and "out" of depressive episodes. Adults tend to become depressed and stay there, sinking deeper and deeper if they are not seeking help. Teens can waver back and forth. They might complain of lots of physical symptoms ("my stomach hurts," "I have a headache"), sleep a lot, and lose interest in anything. Their grades might slip, but that's not always the hallmark of teen depression. And a child with anxiety might act out, have tantrums, and develop repetitive behaviors that are self-soothing. Because children go through "stages", parents often chalk these changes up to something that will pass in time.

I work in a special education classroom, and it's heartbreaking to see a child who suffers from ADHD who simply cannot control his body. I remember a particular boy I worked with once who was rude and belligerent to me. I did not like working with this boy and would "pass" him off to the other teachers whenever possible. The following year, I worked with him again and he was completely different. Polite, funny, sweet. The difference? He went back on ADHD meds after being off for a year. It was like night and day. His "real" self seemed to emerge and he was a creative, smart and kind person.

There is another side to meds, of course. Many children are being diagnosed way too quickly and easily and doctors are dispensing ADHD meds like candy. As a parent, I have to decide whether or not to medicate my child. When my kids were babies, I didn't even give them infant Tylenol unless they were running a fever. Give Benadryl on a plane trip so the baby can sleep? You might as well have asked me to give them crack. No way was I going to drug my child. My son was once prescribed infant antacid medication for reflux. When I opened the bottle, it smelled like alcohol and when I read on the label that it did contain a high percentage of alcohol, I freaked out and refused to give it to him. I was very anti-meds and it wasn't until I accepted them for myself that I could even consider giving them to my kids. I once read an article that said if we'd had meds years ago there never would have been the paintings of Picasso, or the prose of Shakespeare, but I don't believe mental illness is a precursor to genius. I also don't think taking meds changes the soul of a being and we are who we are meant to be, regardless of our medications. My kids are creative, smart, funny, thoughtful, beautiful souls, who take medicine for an illness.

And here's a dirty little secret.....if you're still reading this and think "thank goodness I don't have to deal with THOSE problems," know that prescriptions for antidepressants have more than doubled in the past decade. Most of my adult female friends are on an antidepressant. Many people are taking them without a diagnosis of depression or anxiety, and there are risks and side effects that should be carefully weighed, especially before taking these drugs without a diagnosis (and trying other methods for treating symptoms). But if you are truly experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety, the healthy thing to do is to see a qualified doctor, and make a careful decision about taking medications. And count your blessings - we have evolved enough as a society that we can now freely talk to our doctors about mental illness without the taboo that used to prevail, though we still have a long way to go. Before antidepressants, alcohol and drugs were often self-prescribed "medications".

So, when my child wants to find a group of people to talk to who are "just like me", and I know they are all around her, but there's no organized group, it makes ME sad that I can't provide that for her. And maybe by talking about the prevalence of depression and anxiety (and other mental illness) we will open up more to the option of having more support groups and more education and more help for people who are SICK, not crazy. But not talking about it? Not being comfortable, wishing it would just "go away", or thinking it's a problem that affects someone else? THAT'S crazy.

(Footnote: If you are having feelings of prevailing sadness, worthlessness, hopelessness, feeling constantly "on edge", being overwhelmed, having unexplained physical symptoms, acting out in ways you never have before, feel scared or alone, PLEASE talk to your doctor and get help. There IS help and there IS hope.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Out of sorts.......

I've been out of sorts lately. What does that mean anyway? How do you get OUT of your sorts? And what are sorts?

At any rate, I've been in this kind of funk/unmotivated/sad-ish mood for a week or so. I think it started with a heated argument about finances, then turned into a lot of mom stuff. I dunno. But the point is, I'm feeling lazy and unmotivated and I'm just not ok with that.

I have the whole week off work (one of the many benefits to working for the school district!) so I probably shouldn't stress about doing nothing at all. I mean, I don't have vacation plans, no huge household projects are looming, most of the kids are gone, so my usual frantic pace is much calmer and, truth be told, I could do absolutely nothing and things would not explode in flames.

And yet....when I do nothing I find myself becoming increasingly unmotivated and finding the negative in everything. Is that weird? I simply am not comfortable doing nothing. My husband often says to me "do nothing" meaning just "be" with whatever the situation is, and be o.k. with just clearing your mind and sitting quietly. But that's difficult for me to do. I normally run around at a frenetic pace, doing, doing, doing. I've always got a million things on my "to do" list and beyond that, a fantasy list of "someday" things I'd like to accomplish. When I have a free day (or even a few hours) at home, I love having uninterrupted time to "get things done".

Yesterday I visited a friend for lunch and then spent from 3:30 in the afternoon until bedtime doing nothing but goofing around on the computer and watching TV. I can't remember the last time I frittered away eight hours doing absolutely nothing. And sitting for the majority of it. Wrapped in a blanket and just being lazy. On any other day I'd say I'd kill for a lazy afternoon/evening like that. But instead I felt so unmotivated and unaccomplished when I went to bed, looking at the half-done tasks I had done over the past couple of days and wishing I hadn't wasted the afternoon away. Honestly, I don't know how my kids do it - they spend nearly every weekend this way, watching movies, eating, laying about - and one afternoon of it drove me to the edge.

I remember once, in a job interview, the interviewer saying to me "you have a lot of positive energy". Granted, I was much younger then, but I've always been a go-go-go person. I mean, let's be honest, where in the world can you find a mom (a woman!) who doesn't feel as if she will never accomplish all the things she set out to do? We all have pie-in-the-sky dreams, which are often squashed by our reality of being "too busy" to get everything done.

So, today I got up early. I did some laundry. I'm feeling better already. Ugh. Perhaps if I were on a tropical island with a fruity drink in my hand, I'd be more settled with "doing nothing". But at home, all I see are the walls that need painted, the floor that needs vacuumed, the piles and piles of "stuff" that need sorted and filed and filtered.

I know my yoga teacher will say "you need yoga!" It's true. I haven't been able to go to yoga for months, due to my new work schedule, and I miss it a ton. Really focusing on your body/mind for an hour a couple of times a week does wonders for the soul. It's not like I couldn't do yoga at home. Or any other exercise. But that motivation, too, has gone out the window. I haven't exercised in months, either. I mean, exercise is not my favorite thing to do anyway, but I'm normally disciplined enough to do SOMETHING once in a while.

I think I just like routine. As much as I think I love staying home and having the whole day to myself, I really feel better when I'm working and "on a schedule" of sorts. Even though that schedule changes daily and some days I'm really exhausted when I've been gone from the house for 12 hours and come home to a pile of chores or tasks I still need to do. I've never been a TV watcher, so chilling out on the couch at the end of a long day is a rare thing for me. I usually go at full speed right up until bedtime when I might watch a little TV or play solitaire on my Kindle or read before turning out the lights.

Lately, I've been mad at my cat. She doesn't seem to like me at all. Today it occurred to me that perhaps the reason she never cuddles with me is because I'm never just sitting down on the couch doing nothing so she feels comfortable enough to just hop up and snuggle. Nah, I think she really just hates me!

And it's not like I have nothing planned this week. I've had appointments, lunch dates, a play tomorrow night. There's actually not a totally "free" day in the entire week, but the unexpected hours of "unfilled" time are mocking me. Perhaps I just feel guilty, knowing that when I don't have that scrapbook done, or that book written, or those pictures edited, I'll use the excuse that I'm "too busy" when the truth is, I have all the time in the world, if I make the time. Just like exercise, which I say I don't have "time" for, I can make the time. And I can use the gift of time I receive once in a while to work on things I love. (Actually, I'm doing that right now, because I love blogging and I love writing so I'm grateful for this gift of time).

How about you? Do you like lazy days? Or do you thrive on schedule and routine? What motivates you?

Sunday, February 19, 2012


I am on Pinterest. I'm not sure I fully understand the concept, except that it's a virtual "vision board", but I have mixed feelings about it. For one thing, it's another time-suck. And if we spend all our time pinning various pictures to a virtual vision board, how much time are we spending trying to achieve those "dreams"?

I noticed that I mostly pin to my board entitled "OMG! Yum!" Those are the recipes I find that sound delicious and I hope to make. Unfortunately, I also noticed they are mostly desserts. If our pin boards are any indication, Pinterest can tell a lot about a person. For instance, mine clearly says "I love sugar!" I have virtually no pins on the boards entitled "Favorite Places and Spaces" (although that one was pre-made by the site for me, so perhaps I need to change it to "Places I'd Love to Visit" or something), "Products I Love" (also a pre-made one), and "Things to Read" (which I made but have not pinned any book ideas to it, because my Kindle Fire pretty much takes care of my book addiction).

I have the most pins on my food and craft pages, which is ironic, because I spend very little time cooking/baking or crafting. Maybe this is a sign - cook more, bake more, do more crafts? If we "listen" to our pin boards, we might actually learn something about ourselves. Perhaps we'll find out where our true passions lie and maybe just get brave enough to do something in the real world that relates to our pins. Like actually make a recipe, do a craft, travel to a "favorite place".

My husband has a real vision board. He actually cuts pictures out of magazines and pastes them to this big posterboard he keeps on the wall beside his bed. Some of the things on it are pictures of: an expensive guitar, a Harley, the kids, a roll of toilet paper that looks like money (?), hunting, fishing, his truck, a picture of a "kangaroo crossing" sign (he wants to go to Australia?), and a fancy wooden boat. Many of the pictures are of things he's already acquired or done - so maybe this whole "vision board" thing DOES work? If you dream it, you can have it?

At any rate, it's inspired me to think about things in a new way (using a days-of-the-week pill container to hold small amounts of spices for a camping trip), and it's made me want to get my house more organized, take more pictures, write more, and dream more. It's a nice little break in the day to check out what others are dreaming about, too.

I've already pinned dozens of recipes so today I'm going to try a few of them. Who knows? Sometimes all you need is something new and different.

Friday, February 17, 2012


We all have quirks. I was reminded of this as I scarfed down grapes on my way home from work today. I had neglected to eat when my body said I was hungry, so I was beyond starving by the time I left, 45 minutes later than I had planned (hello, teacher's hours), so I was happily tossing back grapes when the unthinkable happened. I popped a grape into my mouth, only to be greeted by the woody stem that had not been properly removed from the lovely grape before it was deposited into a plastic container by my husband when he packed my lunch. I absolutely HATE the stems on grapes and prefer to have them removed (completely, mind you, not leaving behind that tiny stump) and have all my grapes, perfectly round (no brownish spots), firm (not mushy), washed and placed into a container so that I may enjoy them without the hassle of removing them from their stems. I know what you're thinking, "Bitch, your husband made your lunch, stop complaining!" but I relay this story to illustrate how this blog came to mind. My grape "thing" is a quirk, we all have them, and I am going to share some of mine, in the hopes that you will share some of yours and we'll all go through this life knowing we are not quite insane, but rather, "unique".

So. I hate walking down stairs. Walking UP stairs is fine, but walking DOWN stairs, for me, brings on a sort of inexplicable paranoia of falling or slipping to my untimely death. Ok, that might be a bit dramatic, but seriously, I have no idea why in the past few years I have developed this aversion to walking down stairs. Oh, and it's not carpeted stairs. Those are fine. It's any other type of stair - wood, cement, metal (gulp!), and God forbid it's those kind of stairs where the back is open. Yikes! Bleachers are even worse. I look like a total spaz when I walk down a set of bleachers. Maybe it's a defense mechanism I've developed in my "after 40" age group to prepare me for the "don't fall and break a hip" stage? I don't know. I just don't like walking down stairs.

I love pizza. But I eat it with a fork. I simply do not like touching my food with my hands, especially if it's "wet" food. Sure, I can eat chips and fruit and french fries with my hands. But anything that is drippy, greasy, wet or saucy I like to use a fork. Pizza qualifies on many levels. I mean, I'm not so crazy about it that I carry around a plastic fork (which, by the way, is totally inadequate for pizza). But my kids think it's weird.

I only like yogurt with something mixed in, but not granola because that's gross. More like walnuts and maybe bananas or strawberries. Eating yogurt plain is disgusting. And forget about Greek yogurt. That, to me, is the equivalent of drinking a carton of chunky, soured milk. ICK!

I constantly fidget with whatever is in my hand. I rub my thumbs along the edge of my cell phone which makes a horrific sound to the person on the other end of the call. I used to constantly twirl one of those "helicopter" toys with a stick and a propeller while I was on the phone or computer. The stick part had ridges in it and I liked how it felt in my hand. You know those textured stickers, books and bookmarks that have moving pictures on them depending on which way you angle them? That ridgy texture is awesome, too. I like to scratch it with my fingernails and listen to the noise it makes. If I don't have anything in my hands, I'll pick at my nails or rub my fingers together. Weird, huh?

I don't like the sound of swishy pants. You know, those athletic type pants with a water-resistant fabric that swish together when you walk? HATE THAT.

The other night my husband began to "wash" potatoes by putting a plug in the sink and filling it with water. The DIRTY sink! The sink that had not been properly scoured with Comet before filling it with water. The sink that contains the most germs in the entire house! I freaked. In fact, I got so upset that I grabbed all the potatoes out of the water, shoved him out of the way, and proceeded to scrub them each by hand, individually, then cut off all the "bad" parts before putting them in the oven. Yep, I really dislike food touching my dirty sink.

I LOVE the smell of freshly bleached towels and sheets. I don't care if bleach is a chemical and is maybe bad for you. To me, nothing is as sanitized and clean as when it's been washed in hot water and bleach. Mmmm...

You know how you have a "way" you drive out of your neighborhood? My husband and I take completely different routes. His explanation is that my way causes unexpected backups because I need to turn right and get stuck behind people going left. I think his way takes longer and is all baskasswards. We argue about this endlessly. I just have my "way" and driving to a familiar destination another way drives me nuts.

I confess - if I don't like a food, I never buy it for my family. On this list - asparagus (which I'm allergic to), radishes, beets, anything curry, certain cereals, certain types of bread, the list goes on. On the other hand, my own preferences have introduced my children to forbidden foods like Toaster Strudel and Lucky Charms. I admit my husband has changed our ways by introducing foods we've never tried before and at least I'm buying him his yucky Greek yogurt and brown mustard.

My bed is my sanctuary and I DO NOT LIKE my kids to sit on it, ever! If they lay down on my bed with school clothes on, I explode. Butts on my pillow are the ultimate sin. When I get in bed at night, I like to have near me: my phone, my Kindle, my computer (sometimes), and my fan. I've spent entire days in my bed and on weekends, I prefer to have my coffee and a pastry delivered to me there. Thanks goodness I have a nice husband who started that tradition. It's not an every weekend occurrence but it's sure nice when it happens!

I hate it when my husband attempts to "clean up" and moves my piles around. Yes, they look messy and cluttered, but I know where EVERYTHING is. I just don't want anyone to touch them until I get around to organizing them. Who cares if it takes three years? The other day, my husband said "where do you want me to relocate this pile for the next year?" I mean, it's not like I'm a hoarder. Though some days it looks like it.

When my kids were little, I'd let them help me "decorate" by putting window stickers on for the various seasons and holidays. They would stick them all in a clump and I'd rearrange them after they went to bed. Later, I realized it was better for me to just decorate when they were at school so it was all done when they came home and there was nothing left to "help" with. I'm big on matching so my kids grew up wearing matching socks (which might explain why they NEVER do now), matching outfits and, hopefully, a matching hair accessory or hat. If my bra and underwear match I feel "put together" all day, even though no one can see them. (For those of you who would like to make fun of me for this, I assure you, they rarely match!). I like things matched and, if possible, symmetrical. I've always marveled at another person's beautifully displayed objects d' art on their mantle or a shelf. Things I'd never think to put together or arrange just so because if there's a candlestick on one end, there must be one on the other. This is why I suck at decorating!

And, finally, one last quirk I'll share with you. I'm hopelessly in love with Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls, which my body does not appreciate one bit. And when I do indulge in them, I have to eat them a certain way - peel off the outer chocolate coating and "unroll" the cake roll, licking the white frosting as I go. It always falls apart when I do this, and at some point I have to just shove the whole thing in my mouth, but I never fail to attempt to eat it this "perfect" way. When I see my husband or kids take a bit of the whole roll at once, I die a little inside.

Go ahead and laugh! I'm not afraid to share my quirks. Who's brave enough to share theirs?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What if the whole world took a nap?

It's a rainy, gray, drizzly kind of day. The kind of day where, if you didn't live in the Pacific Northwest, you'd put your plans on hold and stay home and put on fuzzy socks and curl up in your adorable window seat with color-coordinated pillows and read a novel whilst sipping a cup of tea. Whoa, got a little carried away there.

The point is, as much as I would like to just say "screw it" and curl up in my bed, which is just a few tantalizing feet away, and so warm and snuggly and inviting, I must forge on to a previously scheduled obligation. It's for work. I'm getting paid. So, I kinda have to go. Also, it's a training, so if I don't attend tonight, the last night in the series, I won't get credit for the WHOLE DARN THING. Which would totally suck considering the twelve hours of my life I'll never get back that I've already spent on this required training.

And that's just really lame. Because it's such a perfect day for a nap. Or a book. Or anything that involves comfortable sweats and fuzzy socks. Ok, so I compromised and changed out of my cute work clothes and into yoga pants. But I still have to go.

What if we just didn't "go"? What if we just all stayed home and did whatever our hearts desired and threw caution to the wind and said "be damned!" and other such phrases? What would happen?

Sigh. I'll never know. Because now I must leave my warm and comfortable home and venture out where the cold rain stabs at me and people drone on and on and I get no service on my cell phone so I can't even play Words With Friends to pass the time. (First World Problems...haha!).

But I really wish I could take a nap. And I don't even have a window seat with color-coordinated pillows. Here I go............

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hand Therapy

I've been going to hand therapy. Yes, there is such a thing. My wrists have been hurting since the summer and I finally decided to do something about it. Turns out I have some type of tendon problem, likely caused by using a laptop. HUH? But when they explained it to me, it makes sense. If you're typing on a laptop, look at your hands right now. See how they're angled in and there's a little bend in your wrists? That's the problem. Over time, it can create some strain or sprain or something. Now, I know my family (and possibly some of my friends) would like to say I have "Facebook-itis" but the truth is........I have a TOUCH of Facebook-itis with a little blog-itis thrown in, followed by some email-itis and some research-itis. Either way, the "cure" at this point is hand therapy (and a new keyboard. Oh, plus the monitor is supposed to be at eye-level. So, yeah, pretty much a desktop computer. Lame.)

It's a bit sad to admit this, but it's not such a bad thing going to hand therapy. For one thing, it's twice a week. You get to sit the whole time (ahh, mommy break), and they start you out by putting your arms in these nice arm rests and applying this wonderfully warm heat through the use of giant heating pads. You just sit and rest and feel all warm and cozy and chat with the funny therapist. Then, they slather your wrists with goop and do some ultrasound treatment that is virtually painless. The bummer is when the therapist comes in and actually starts to work on the painful parts, which hurts a great deal. But she sometimes applies minty-smelling goop that is nice and cold. And then you do some stretches. Finally, she applies some stretchy tape that "massages" your tendons and reduces swelling, but looks completely ridiculous. And they want you to leave it on for 2-3 days. But after the first time you wash your hands and get the tape wet, it drives you nuts. And then it starts to itch a bit. And who really leaves it on 2-3 days (I'm just trying to leave it on overnight!).

Of course, I'd much rather just have wrists that don't hurt every time I turn a doorknob or drive my car. But it's getting a little better. And since I have a new job, I don't spend as much time on the computer. Which might also benefit my ass size. So, it's a good thing. Still, I'm hoping it doesn't take too many more weeks to get my wrists back in good working order. Because I'd really like to do yoga again and I have a private archery lesson coming up. But mostly just so I don't have a jolt of pain every time I pull the covers up or grate cheese. Still, it's been an interesting experience. And I've learned a lot about hands. For instance, did you know it takes three pounds of pressure just to pull your pants up? Who knew? So, here's my PSA - take good care of your hands/wrists. Practice safe computering!