Filed under: *whinge*, Dewicate feewings, family, Holidays! | Tags: Coping mechanisms, Home and hearth, Oh for pete's sake, Oversharing, solving personal problems
In spite of the worlds best efforts, in spite of cheery commercials that tell me if I give/get expensive electronics and sparkly jewelry I will be showing/receiving proper love to my family, in spite of a massive stack of catalogs arriving daily in the mail that exhort me to purchase woodstoves/goats/free trade pistachios that benefit less fortunate people…I ain’t feelin’ it much.
Everyone else in the house is respecting that, bless their hearts. I love them for their sensitivity to my mercurial moods. Terry and the boys climbed into the attic yesterday and got down the boxes of Christmas decorations. I poked at them in a desultory manner and grumbled at the strings of lights that wouldn’t light up. Upon finding a string that DID light, Terry cheerfully went to Walmart and purchased a step stool and those Command stick on hooks, to make it easier to hang them. I have a rather contemporary kitchen, and like to hang a string of colored lights across the top of the cabinets. So that got done. I felt slightly more cheerful.
Then dug through the box of Santa mugs. I started collecting them 25 years ago,when I discovered they are usually very cheap, they’re cheerful and festive and Christmasy. The thinkng was “this is very cheap, festive, and Christmasy. It will give the boys something they can both give me, and can use for their morning hot chocolate,and being a little bit silly, the mugs are…y’know…cheap, festive,and Christmasy.” Every year I get at least one, unless they come across another one that they like. This year I got 3, because Eli spied a very silly one that looks like Santa doing a handstand.
So there’s That. I am drinking the morning coffee out of a Santa mug, in another attempt to jump start the mood.
I guess the problem is that there’s the STUFF going on at Terry’s job. STUFF I can’t really talk about, but there is a huge amount of uncertainty and that is squashing the ability to cut loose and enjoy the holidays at the moment. NO, he’s not at risk of losing his job (Thank God!) but…well. Uncertainty. A resolution would make it a lot easier to relax.
In the mean time I am muddling through on autopilot. Fortunately there’s 26 years of Christmases to call on, so I know what to do, which noises to make, how to comment on other people’s festive decorations.
You know what else would help? Maybe a bit of Winter weather! It got up to 78 yesterday. Open window and ceiling fan temperatures. Ridiculous. How am I supposed to wear an ugly Christmas sweater when it’s t-shirt temps?
Filed under: Dewicate feewings, Dream a little dream, family, I feel so smart!, kids | Tags: Dreams, fashion and sewing, responsible adult, sewing
I have been a housewife for 25 years.
When I was a child, I dreamed of various things. I wanted to be a physician- a neurologist or maybe a psychiatrist, then decided no, the sight of blood made me faint . I wanted to be a fashion designer, then decided no, I didn’t like the culture associated with it. I decided be be a housewife, even when the culture of the time (late 1970′s, early ’80′s) said things like “you’ve come a long way, baby” and “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan”. I still held on to the dream of working in fashion, because I loved it. I loved taking a plain piece of fabric and making it into something that flatters a person, makes them look interesting and fits them well. I still do.
Every now and then I read a website called Secret Regrets. Often on this site, someone’s regret will be about having allowed their dreams to fall to the wayside. I kind of know the feeling, but I also want to shake them, because they will indicate that their age is something I consider very young- 25 or 30. They seem so full of despair because they think they are stuck where they are and will never be able to dream or pursue a passion ever again. Are you ever too old to do what you really want to do?
I am a housewife. I have 4 children and a husband and a big grubby house and too many pets that shed everywhere. My children are mostly grown, save one who’s 13 and he likes to think he’s grown until he doesn’t, and needs a hug. However, none of them require around-the-clock care and they are all capable of feeding themselves. I want to tell young mothers who fear their dreams have all disappeared into diaper pails and minivans that it is temporary. I know how it felt to set everything aside and tend to the needs of others. I know the frustration and angst of forgetting my own desires and aspirations for the sake of other people. I also know it does not have to be forever.
I used to love to sew. I mean really, really love it. I designed and made one-of-a-kind historically accurate clothing for reenactors. I made square dance outfits for husband and wife dance teams. I even made a square dance wedding dress that went to a national dance. I made my own patterns, worked off drawings and photographs and paintings…I KNEW WHAT I WAS DOING and I was very, very good at it.
Then children started happening. And happening, and kept on happening. I loved my kids but there was no time for creating. No one to sew for others because we moved, and moved, and moved. I didn’t resent it, it was the way things were and resentment would just just make me…y’know…resentful. Eventually the babies turned into toddlers and little kids and there was a bit more time for creativity, but no room for sewing. So I cooked, and learned to sculpt small things (which could be done on the dining table, and cleaned up quickly), and garden. Creativity was necessary. The times I was unable to create, I became depressed, sad, and lonely. Terry recognized this and kept me supplied with materials and time (as best he could).
I still wanted to sew, but it was frustrating to go to a fabric store, and wind up spending $50+ on materials to make one blouse I could buy for $15, so that didn’t happen anymore. For many years I didn’t sew at all. It felt like that dream was dead and gone.
Then the kids were (sometimes it seemed suddenly, sometimes it seemed to take forever) grown. Then paying $50 for the stuff to make a blouse was no longer out of the question. I still kind of balk at it, but all it takes is going to the store, even Dillard’s or Belk, where supposedly the Good Stuff is found, and seeing the poor quality of the clothes there, to know that what I make is far, far better and no longer does $50 for a blouse seem ridiculous.
Now. it feels like perhaps a dream is fixing to grow. I have no desire to be a designer. There is no interest inside in having to market a product, hoof it around to stores and hope someone likes it enough to buy it. I don’t want to look for a production facility to make 1000 of them. The logistics of all that do not appeal one single bit.
But…there is a designer. I met him through a friend who is also a designer. My friend makes heirloom children’s clothing and he (the designer) wants her and me to make stuff for him to hoof around to stores and show and take orders. This is kind of exciting.
Now, my typical pessimistic (I call it realistic) self expects that we will make the 3 dresses he wants and that will be the end of it. However, there is potential for more. If he really likes what we do for him, and wants us to continue working for him…where could that go? I have a dream about that (will I get to go to a fashion show and work backstage?), but it’s just a fantasy right now.
The thing is (and I guess this is the point), I am 47 years old, and getting to work on a dream I had 25 years ago, and had to set aside. I thought it was over, packed up in mothballs and forgotten about. However, with the encouragement and cheers of this family I’ve taken care of, the dream seems to be out of mothballs and is hung up in the sunshine to air out and look at. Maybe that is all that will come of it, I don’t know. But there it is.
If I can do it, anyone can.
Filed under: *eep!, Dewicate feewings, family, God Stuff, Sometimes she thinks too much | Tags: Coping mechanisms, Oversharing, perspective, solving personal problems
One of the things I have trouble with is perspective. I get caught up in the problems and issues of family, and how THIS CRISIS seems overwhelming, and THAT SITUATION is intractable but the reality is…it’s all kind of small, isn’t it.
When I am feeling overwhelmed (like right now…things are a blooming roller coaster), if I can remember certain things…like how BIG the whole of everything really is, and how in the grand scheme of things I am just a tiny thread in the tapestry of God’s great plan…it’s easier. I don’t like being all-important. I want my situations and issues and problems to be a blip on the map of life.
One of the things I am doing, in order to (hopefully) get a better grip on things, and maybe put it all in proper perspective, is give up the alcohol. The truth is, I have been drinking. A lot. 2 or 3 very stiff ones nearly every evening, and I think of them as sandpaper smoothing the edges of a rough day, when the reality is it’s been more like a set of blinders helping me to ignore the real issues that need to be dealt with. That’s no way to handle things.
I am nervous about it, letting go of the security blanket that was keeping me comfortable. I can do it, though. The crutch is purely psychological and one of the things The Good Dr. H has said is that I am very determined and one of the most self controlled people he has ever met. I guess that’s what the drink does, allows me to let go of the self control for a little while.
So for today, I am going to try to remember that I am a blip. I want to be a blip, not a supernova. I want to be able to remember that in the grand scheme of this life on this planet, the issues I am dealing with are small. They are important, yes, to my life and the lives around me, but they are just that thread, not the entire tapestry.
I need a clear head and strong resolve. I need to be able to communicate coherently with the people around me, so they will know that even in the midst of STUFF, they are loved deeply. That will not change.
This is where I am going in my head today. It makes me remember how vast God’s creation is, and just how small I am. I will feel the wind and sun on my face, and listen to the rattle of the cottonwood leaves. I will smell the cedar as the sun beats down on it, and I will probably cry, because it really overwhelms me. I will pray, constantly, for wisdom, strength, and courage. Those are things I cannot have on my own. I can’t do any of this on my own, but with God’s guidance, and the reassurance that He is always there, I can do this.
Filed under: *whinge*, Dewicate feewings, Disease and infirmity, Doctors! | Tags: bipolar disorder, Coping mechanisms, Depression, Oversharing, solving personal problems, taboos
Anxiety has been running rampant lately. I was warned. Dr H (psychiatrist) and Dr R (gynecologist) both warned me about mid-40′s perimenopausal nonsense and THERE IT IS.
Really for the last couple of years, but I thought I had stuff to blame it on, so didn’t take it seriously as a Disorderly Thing. However, since…oh…April or so it has been on the increase and with NOTHING to blame it on! I hate that! I need something to point fingers at and go YOUR FAULT YOU ASSHOLE! (yes, that’s exactly how I’d say it too. I confess to something of a potty mouth.) BUT THERE’S NOTHING WRONG! how’s that for gratitude…whining about nothing being wrong. BAH.
Anyway…I finally did something about it. After waiting for months for it to clear up on it’s own, like some sort of existential rash that hovered just under the surface, making an itch but not making anything…y’know…REALLY VISIBLE…I emailed my doctor, The Good Dr. H.
“Halpme!” I said. “I’m unhappy and anxious like a virgin bride 2 days before her wedding to a well hung hairy Irish guy! And it’s an arranged wedding! What were they thinking?!”
actually no. that isn’t what I said at all. What I did was list my symptoms and possible remedies based on past experience and reading the internets.
What he did was email me back within 10 minutes and ask for my pharmacy phone number.
Then I breathed a sigh of relief because to be frank, I am weary of relying on benzodiazepines and alcohol for relaxation. It was making me feel like a Stepford Wife. Mother’s Little Helpers and a martini after 5. How very…ugh. I was starting to feel like I needed to actually wear makeup and fix #4′s lunches in that fancy bento way good Japanese mothers do.
So anyway, I am getting a lovely prescription (around here it’s actually pronounced per-scrip-shun) for a lovely antidepressant that I’ve been on before and worked beautifully, so just knowing I’ll be feeling better is making me feel better.
Filed under: Awesomeness, Dewicate feewings, family, In The Southland, oh you self indulgent hussy!, Sometimes she thinks too much | Tags: a weekend away, Being Southern, Hotlanta, NASCAR
ok,first, a recap of the weekend. Saturday we drove CJ (our 21 yr old) and #4 (13) up to Terry’s parents house in Madison-about 3 hours north of here and 45 minutes east of Atlanta. Then Terry and I went back into Atlanta and met some people at The Georgia Dome, an indoor stadium, for the Auburn-Clemson football game. We had tickets for Box seats, which I was kind of excited about because I’d never been in an indoor stadium and never been in a suite. On Sunday we had tickets for the NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Since it was a night race, we had time to go back to Madison, pick up the boys, and get to the race in plenty of time to tailgate, take in the sights, and all that. The race lasted until about 11:30, and we got home around 3am.
Now for the details.
The event at the Georgia Dome was…pretty much a typical college football game. Auburn and Clemson’s team colors are similar, and the mascots are the same, so it was kind of hard to tell immediately which fans were which, but the rivalry between the teams is a gentle one, with very little obnoxiousness. The running joke was “So, who do you think will win?”…”probably the Tigers.”…”Yeah, you’re probably right.”
We got to the stadium easily. Terry’s extremely practical plan was to park at the outermost MARTA station, pay the $5 per person for a round trip pass, and ride the train in, which deposited us at the door of The Georgia Dome. Parking was free. For $10, we parked and it took us 20 minutes to get from car to stadium. Genius!
We met our people there. One of the women was from Michigan, and had never been to an SEC game. Thus, she was woefully underdressed and recognized it immediately. She dressed as one (who did not know SEC culture) would think one would dress for a football game- casually in jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers. However, in the SEC (SouthEastern Conference, to those of you not from around here) women DRESS for the football game. Nice clothes, good shoes, jewelry (all in team colors, of course)are the rule of the day. Even many of the men dress up a little- you’ll see the younger men in button up shirts and ties, pants in team colors that are embroidered with little team flags. Older men will have on polo shirts and khaki pants, nice hats, that sort of thing. I wore a navy blue scoop neck t-shirt, a floaty white skirt, an orange multi-strand beaded necklace, and navy blue wedge heeled sandals. Terry had a navy blue shirt and khakis, and an Auburn pin on his pocket. Anyway,we got there and made our way to the box. Very fancy. There was a VERY well stocked bar, a buffet, a cheese bar, desserts, etc. Outside the room on a balcony were 16 leather theater seats (cupholders, etc) that looked out onto the field. We had an excellent view of it all. It was so…Polite. Genteel.
and boring. People clapped when a touchdown was scored. Who the hell does that? You’re supposed to jump up and accidentally dump your beer down the back of the person in front of you! Not CLAP and take a sip of your Merlot! Good grief. Eventually I wandered back into the room and sat with the woman from Michigan, who was watching her team on the big-screen TV in there, as they were busy being made in to cream-of-mushroom soup by Alabama. Once the score was something like 32-3 she gave up and we talked about babies. By mid 4th quarter of the AU game, I was getting seriously nervous, almost agitated even…I hated being there. It wasn’t fun. The other women in the box were sipping their merlot and eating their stilton cheese and trying to arrange their well tanned legs to the best advantage for the men to see and all I wanted was to get out of the noise (indoor stadiums…NO THANK YOU) and away from the air that was so thick with pretention. Terry, bless him, noticed this and suggested that we leave ahead of the crowd. Half a xanax and 3 stations down the line later, I was feeling better and had a conversation with a gentleman about hip surgery. By the time we were at the hotel I was feeling happier and slept well.
Sunday, we got up, drove back to Madison and picked up the boys. Judy (mother in law) fixed a nice lunch then we were on our way to the track. When we got there around 2, parked in the back field near the exit (another VERY wise move on Terry’s part), and there were shuttles to the entrance of the track, PLENTY of port-a-johns , and people setting up for tailgate parties…tents,grills, cornhole games, etc. It smelled good- several people were making barbeque. One guy, a couple of rows over, was opening his smoker and it had a pair of beautifully prepared boston butts. (that’s a pork shoulder roast. Here in the South it is the cut of choice for making pulled pork BBQ). We hung out for a bit, drinking beer (Coke, for #4) and waiting for some friends. The people on either side of us set up tents and got their grills going. A little bit later a guy wandered over and asked if he could buy some charcoal, as his gas bottle was apparently empty, and the people gave him some, refusing his money for it. He was a big strapping man of about 20-something, and was wearing a t-shirt that had an ear of corn on the front and said “F*ck you, I’m from Nebraska.” on the back. That struck me as really funny (maybe it was the beer…)because he was so polite when he asked for the charcoal.
Eventually we met up with our friends, one of them, John, is a 68 year old who was really worried about being the only black man at the race, but we pointed out all the other people of color (blacks and Latinos) all over. We drank some more, started a betting pool on who was going to win and place, made noise, and around 6 ambled over to the track. Shuttle buses, people, Very nice. Old school buses picking you up, dropping you off, making the circuit around the track in a lane marked “Buses Only.” I TOLD CJ there would be a bus lane. He didn’t believe me. On our shuttle was a man with a braided beard, braids colored red, white and blue, and wearing a top hat with an assortment of small flags stuck in the band, leading everyone on the packed bus in various children’s songs (The Wheels On The Bus, etc), in a slurred and gravely voice. Guess what I didn’t bring…my camera. I’ll know better next time.
I noticed that people do not dress up beyond wearing their favorite driver’s number and colors. Comfort is the rule of the day. I saw one women carrying her high heeled shoes and wearing what were probably her boyfriend’s flipflops. Everyone else had on sneakers or sandals…bluejeans, what ever felt good. I was wearing loose linen pants (COMFORTABLE!!), a tshirt, and sneakers.
Once at the gate, there were many many trailers selling things. Driver’s trailers selling paraphernalia, Chevy trailers, Ford trailers….not little ones either, but semi-truck trailers. CJ bought himself a Carl Edwards shirt (he’s the one who does the backflip off his car when he wins) and #4 got a Ryan Newman shirt (he’s a Purdue engineer and Terry’s favorite driver) I couldn’t find the Mark Martin trailer, so didn’t get a t-shirt or hat. We saw it later after entering the track. I’ll know next time.
We were allowed to bring in small coolers and beer as long as it wasn’t in a glass bottle. Food was fine too. This morning Terry said “Did you notice the one thing that wasn’t there? Metal detectors.” There were no metal detectors going in. Bags were briefly searched, if you had one- coolers were checked for glass, but that was it. Thinking about it, it is very hard to hurt someone by hitting them in the head with an aluminum can, I guess. I reckon if one person brought in a gun, so would half the other people and if someone pulled a gun, everyone around them would have enough liquid courage in them that that person would get taken down before they had a chance to squeeze off a round. Kind of self-policing…there were security people, but they were all pretty relaxed. As it was, I saw NO belligerence or ugliness.
Once in, it got NOISY. You could hear the cars being worked on…revving up,etc. Ho.Lee.Cow. Seriously, you have to be there to appreciate what those engines sound like. I mean, I’ve always known what they sound like…but…well. You have to be there, that’s all I can say, to appreciate the sound of 43 cars of 850+ horsepower each with no mufflers or power
surpression (I can’t spell that, according to spellcheck) suppressing (there, after 3 cups of coffee, I CAN spell it right!) stuff like catalytic converters and the like. I regret that I never got to hear that when the cars all had carburetors instead of the fuel injection they have now. We found our seats, settled in, and started with the serious people-watching. By 7, the stands were full, the requisite Patriotic Songs sung by a really GOOD men’s Gospel Quartet, a bunch of Army guys were sworn in to service and cheered by the people, drivers introduced- they all take a lap in the back of a pickup truck and wave to everyone- and got in their cars to start the race.
Terry said he was going to listen to the first couple of laps without the earplugs, to get an appreciation of exactly how LOUD 37,000 horsepower can be when it flies by. It’s LOUD. earplugs really are necessary. The only one I saw who didn’t have them was Ms Thing sitting in front of me…more on her later. And you can feel it- not just the high pitched scream of the engines,but there’s a lower, sort of subsonic rumble that you can feel in your chest as well. It’s very much an adrenaline inducing sort of occasion.
In front of us were Ms Thing, her boyfriend, her husband, her son, her husband’s son, and a seemingly bottomless cooler of beer. She did not sit down the entire time, and every time her driver roared by she flapped her arm as if to push him by….every. single. time. A beer in one hand, arm flapping every 45 seconds as the driver went by. Every now and then the husband or the boyfriend would reach over and give her left boob or her butt an affectionate squeeze, and she would giggle and take a chug of her bottomless can of Miller Light.
At one point I went to the Ladies Room (another thing done right- there were a MILLION stalls, NO WAITING), and as I was leaving the stall, this…STUNNING young woman came in, looking slightly panicked. AS she turned the corner coming in the door, she already had her black miniskirt pulled up to her waist and was in the process of pulling down her lacy thong underpants. Several thoughts went through my head, all at the same time:
“Well…ok” and “I’ve been in that big of a hurry before” and “my word, she has the most incredibly perfect body I have ever seen” while noticing the desperation on her face. I was laughing as I came out, and Terry and the boys wondered why. I said “never mind…” I was also thinking if I had a body like that, you can bet I’d probably be in a miniskirt and an American Flag bikini top ,too.
Toward the end of the race, Ryan Newman and Jimmy Johnson were involved in a dramatic wreck (FLAMING CAR! SPARKS EVERYWHERE!), and Carl Edward’s engine blew up, and poor CJ was so disappointed he looked like he was going to cry, and since Our Drivers were obviously not going to win, we decided to leave. As we were walking toward the parking lot, we were stopped briefly because the fireworks were set up for the end of the race, and we got to watch them! We were RIGHT THERE underneath them as they went off! SO COOL! Then we hustled to the truck and made it out in less than 15 minutes. This was 11:30 Our friends,who waited until the very end of the race to leave, said it took them until 3am to get to the highway. As much fun as it had to be to see the very end, it was worth missing it to get to stand under the fireworks and be out of their well ahead of the over 100,000 other people there.
You really do have to be there to appreciate how FAST those cars are going, and just how loud it is.
Here is the Self Awareness part…
I have always kind of thought of myself as a fairly sophisticated person. I prefer Phillip Glass to Montgomery Gentry. I’d rather wear linen than denim and prefer expensive vodka to cheap plonk. But honestly, the race was 100 times the fun of the football game, and the people, those ones who had missing teeth and smelled of beer and Marlboros were infinitely more pleasant to spend time with than the ones with the manicures and expensively highlighted hair and Ann Taylor dresses. I still don’t consider myself a redneck. I’m not going suddenly get a tattoo or whatever, but I am likely to quit trying so hard to be something I am not. I don’t care anything about going to a ballgame and having luxury seats. You can bet I am going to another race. We’re talking now about possibly renting an RV, and taking the kids to Bristol in a year or two.
Filed under: *whinge*, Dewicate feewings, Good grief | Tags: pity party, Whiners
You can’t pick your relatives. I wish there were some way I could gracefully bow out of the lives of some people while retaining a relationship with others, but I can’t. They’re a package deal. I have to figure out how to handle this and hoping one will die before the other one isn’t really the way to do it.
I wish my kids would recognize that it is unrealistic to expect a sibling to be like them, and quit with the anger and frustration when they are not. People are different, guys, the sooner you learn this and accept that just because someone is radically DIFFERENT doesn’t mean that they are WRONG. Sometimes they are wrong…like NAMBLA is every kind of wrong and those guys are different…but you know what I mean. Just because someone’s ambitions lie in a different direction is not a reason to get so angry and frustrated with them. You are also not required to be best friends, or even associate with them on a social level. So stop it.
You know, I read a lot of blogs, and many of them come across as really happy places, especially the cooking and crafting ones. It’s like “My life is so sunny and wonderful because I have lovely dishes and vintage silverware and see how pretty my monkey bread looks!” when my reality is nothing like that. My floors are ruined from several catastrophic water events and an incontinent dog…which also results in a certain veterinary funk. My family tends to put things down right where they’re at instead of putting it away where it belongs, and frequently I get fed up with doing it so I stop, and that results in piles and disorder. My husband has a job that sucks the life-giving marrow out of his soul.
I think currently one of the most frustrating things for me is that I listen and don’t talk. People like that. They like having someone listen to them and make sympathetic noises about their problems and that sort of thing, and that is something I do well. I was brought up that no one wants to know about my problems and it’s best to just be quiet and let the other person do the talking. Consequently, when I am having a problem, the only person I can talk to is the one I actually PAY to listen to me. My local friends don’t even know I am bipolar, because no one has stopped talking about themselves long enough to ask if everything is ok. I wish someone would ask *me* questions once in a while, would listen to *my* problems and make sympathetic noises or even just say “gosh,I didn’t know it was that bad, can I take you to lunch?” like I am always doing for them.
And the hell of it is,as I am reading over that last paragraph, is that is EXACTLY the sort of thing my parents were talking about when they would tell me to be quiet, no one is interested. “I, me, my…that’s all I ever hear out of you, say something interesting instead.” That’s what would be said to me as a child. I can’t express how awkward it felt to type that last paragraph, because “I, me, my” was bouncing around in my head.
But then that’s also the good thing about writing it down and putting it out there. There is no obligation for anyone to respond. I tell my kids to write things down when it’s bothering them, because it makes it into a concrete thing that they have power over. Instead of being this fluid concept sloshing around in their brain, it becomes words written down, and can be manipulated into something manageable. Yes, I wish I had someone to talk to, who would (when I did my usual trick of turning the conversation away from focusing on me) keep asking “how are you, what about this situation, how are you handling it, what about the kids,how do you feel about that…” which is totally what a paid therapist does, but they don’t go to lunch with you and you’re limited to 55 minutes.
Sometimes I just want to talk about what’s bothering me, and my upbringing won’t let me. I hate that. I suppose by recognizing it I ought to be able to get over it and feel more free to talk about what’s really bothering me. When I try to talk to Terry, he wants to fix it. He’s a man, they like to fix things. I understand that. He also carries a tremendous burden with work, and another concept that was drilled into my head is that the home is a refuge, and should not be a place of contention, strife, and stress. Which translates into “Keep it to yourself, Rootie, all things considered, your problems are trivial.” Which I recognize is probably silly, but there it is. Right up there with making sure my hair is combed and teeth brushed before leaving the bedroom in the morning.
so I am going to get dressed and put on a lovely Mom smile, and be that pillar of cheer, strength and wisdom everyone expects.
Filed under: *whinge*, bits and pieces, Dewicate feewings, Disease and infirmity, Dream a little dream, Sometimes she thinks too much | Tags: bipolar disorder, Coping mechanisms, Oversharing, solving personal problems
- A way to lose 50 pounds without a diet or surgery or disease. I’d make a zillion$ if I could come up with that. Or exercise. Ye gods I am lazy.
- For ALL of my children to have a Plan. A real one, that looks like they have A Plan For The Future. You have no idea how anxious it makes me…
- A lemon scented candle that actually smells like lemons, and not like lemon scented something. I have a Yankee Candle Meyer Lemon one, and if you actually sniff the candle, it smells yummy, but burning, it’s not that great.
- To not wake up with a knot of anxiety in my stomach, or to have that knot at 2pm,or 5pm, or 8pm. I do not like having to rely on a chemical (tranquilizers or booze) to get rid of it, so most of the time I just live with the anxiety and gripe about it.
- For grass in my yard that won’t grow. Centipede grass is lovely when it’s kept cut, but yikes-a-roni…with our every-evening rains, it gets thick and tall and if the grass isn’t cut twice a week, it looks like a flippen’ jungle out there. And it’s never cut twice a week. Ever. Our neighbors give us the stink-eye because this is supposed to be a Nice Neighborhood and our yard looks like it might have a car on blocks in all that tall, tall grass.
- You know, I am not even sure I would know what Normal Work for Terry would look like at this point. I keep saying I wish his work would normalize, but every time it looks like it might, some new crisis rears it’s ugly head and there he goes again. I am just glad he’s employed, and I’ll keep it at that.
- Diet fried chicken. Don’t talk to me about oven fried chicken made with cornflakes or instant mashed potatoes. Those have their place, yes, but you know what I am saying.
This anxiety has been going on for several weeks now. It’s a low level, we’ll call it about a 3 in a scale of 1-10, with blips of 5-6, particularly in the evening. I have an appointment with The Good Dr. H in September, so I’ll discuss with him then. It’s not HORRIBLE, like the break-out-in-a-rash type (yes,I do this when stress is high enough), it’s more like one of those low level headaches where you can’t quite decide if you want to bother walking upstairs to get an aspirin. I can’t tell if it’s environmental (unlikely, since all the normal stress-causers are not around), or chemical-in-the-brain (which would be annoying as hell because frankly I am a little tired of the chemical-in-the-brain issues). At this point, my brain is looking for reasons to be anxious (to justify the anxiety) instead of it being obvious (like a kid in the hospital, or Terry’s job changing, or something) which tells me it’s likely chemical. Ugh. How annoying.
I remember, a long time ago, being anxious about nothing. Day to day, the work would get done, dinner would be on the table at 6, even a kid would break a bone and I’d deal with it calmly and rationally without any hand-flapping or grinding of teeth. It’s how it was done. Now, the cat catches the flu and I am having sleepless nights and snappishness and stomach knots. THIS SUCKS. Then, I could sit down with a huge piece of expensive Irish handkerchief linen and a piece of chalk, and have the confidence to draw out a pattern and sew together a one-of-a-kind dress for a client. Now, I can’t even make a pair of shorts for a 3 year old without being nervous that they won’t turn out right…they always do, but not without a butt-load of second guessing and worrying. What on earth is happening to me? Where has my confidence gone?
I am trying to get it back. Sewing is helping. It is something that I can do very, very well. I hope that accomplishing something, having people say “wow…you made that?” will help.
Filed under: *whinge*, Dewicate feewings, family, God Stuff, Sometimes she thinks too much | Tags: Coping mechanisms, Oversharing, solving personal problems
There are things about myself which I hate (this is my attempt at not ending a sentence with a preposition.)
There are things I hate about myself…(I don’t like that either)
I hate some things. (how can I write that without sounding self centered. Which I totally am, read the title of this blog to see that)
I need a refill on the coffee cup (looks around, sees no one to do it ok FINE I’LL DO IT MYSELF)
ok there, refilled. I love a good cup of coffee (or 3) in the morning. It’s even cheerful with this cup Will gave me for my birthday (insert picture here) (ok then don’t…it’s tall and rosy pink with white spots and holds about 16 oz)
I have decided that my biggest problem is that I am not happy unless I am worried about something. If I am not worried, my mind will search around like the Eye of Sauron until it finds something nasty to focus on, latch on and worry it to pieces (or a satisfactory resolution, or until something Bigger To Worry About comes along).
This morning, I woke up feeling…worried. About what? At the time I did not know. Everything is going well:
- Have you noticed the increase use of bullet points? I actually just discovered them and I like them.
- Terry’s work is going pretty well. His hours are not as brutal, and he has a weekend now and then, and is able to do some woodworking.
- All 4 of the boys seem to be in a good place. They’re healthy, getting various sorts of educations, and keeping up with their laundry.
- I have plenty of fun stuff to do to balance the housework, which also isn’t that bad but I’m not exactly…well, most of my friends (by most, I mean ALL) are better at keeping clean than I am. I just don’t really care that much and would rather be sewing than dusting. Or mopping the floors. The kitchen is clean tho. And the dining room. And it’s not like a Hoarder lives here, the house is tidy, just not CLEAN. There’s a difference, you know.
- Money is ok, we have the bills covered and a little left over for an occasional weekend away or eating out once in a while. I am not interested in a $10,000 trip of 2 weeks in Hawaii, and we don’t have time for a trip to The Grand Canyon or whatever…the boys’ school tuitions are covered, no worries there.
So I don’t honestly HAVE ANYTHING to worry about! except…
the cat is acting funny, like she doesn’t feel good. OH NO SHE’S GOT FELINE PANLEUKOPENIA! WORMS! FELINE DISTEMPER! SHE’S DYING!
Well no…Terry said “she was probably out rambling all night and is tired.” Or maybe she’s got a cold. Cats get colds, you know. Maybe she got in a fight (there’s no tufts of fur missing, and I poked around on her and she doesn’t seem to be bruised and in pain), she’s just more lethargic than usual. Except for her tail. Her tail is like my left foot, always moving.
But that’s what I have to worry about right now. So I am. This stupid mind has glommed onto that stupid cat (not so stupid a reason to worry, really, I’ve spent $1700 on her what with the broken pelvis and surgery and such… she’d damn well BETTER not get sick and die!) Plus, she’s a really SWEET cat who loves laps and is (usually) very playful and smacks the dog upside the head and such but right now she’s just sitting there with her eyes closed and if that damn cat DIES on me I will KILL her. Or something. No not really, I just hope she feels better. If she is still puny tomorrow I will call the vet.
But that is something I hate, the way my brain has to have something to worry about. Since we moved here 7 years ago I have scaled back tremendously on the stuff I could possibly worry about. Social interactions are limited, and I am cautious about getting out there. I don’t make the sort of obligations that are difficult or painful to fulfill (like hosting a tea or a shower, tho I will agree to make a tray of appetizers for someone else who is hosting), I limit the number and type of people I associate with, having learned that it is far easier to manage one or two friends than to try and have 20. I also am choosier about the people I try to be friends with. I have little patience with whiners or the types of folks who think it’s important that your house is clean. consequently, I don’t worry about interaction with others very much. It used to be an enormous part of the energy I spent- worrying about what this person thought or how my house looked to that person, and now…nope. I don’t worry about it much at all.
Now I worry about the damn cat. Which I suppose in the grand scheme of things, compared to the worries of 22 years ago,when David was constantly sick as an infant, or 10 years ago, when Will was being bullied in school, or 6 years ago, when Terry was working 14 hour days/7 days a week…it’s not much to worry about, and here I am worrying about THAT as well.
This is when my Reformed Calvinist Preacher’s Wife fusses at me, for not trusting that God has it all worked out since the beginning of time and in the grand scheme of things all of this is something meant to happen and when am I going to realize that God has His hand on the master control knob of the universe and my life is just a thin thread in the tapestry of Eternity and I can’t possibly see The Whole Picture to Let Go and Let God…or something.
Filed under: bits and pieces, Dewicate feewings, home and hearth, I feel so smart! | Tags: a weekend away, Home and hearth, responsible adult
There are so many reasons to love getting away for a weekend:
- The household chores aren’t yelling at you
- You get to eat stuff you don’t normally have (DIM SUM! YUM!)
- The day-to-day stuff at home doesn’t seem so boring.
This morning, even though it was kind of hard to get out of the bed (we actually stayed there until 6:20 instead of getting up at 5:30) was…nice. The dogs were happy to see us, as was the cat. At least I think she was. She yelled a lot and chased Rusty around, bapping him on the head,which is what she does when she’s happy. The coffee tasted good. We are spoiled with the coffee. Luzianne chicory coffee is what we prefer, and outside of New Orleans and Cafe’ du Monde, you just don’t find it in a restaurant. Except here. It is the coffee of choice in the Toot household.
The day has actually been faced with good cheer. It has been difficult lately, life and all that. The trip was much needed and to be honest I wasn’t positive we’d be able to take it until The Owner told Terry to turn off his phone and “take your lovely wife shopping in Atlanta.” I was pretty sure we’d go, but there was a nugget of doubt that kept saying some crisis would occur and we’d have to cancel.
BUT…no crisis, low(ish) gas prices, and a son who was willing to make sure the dogs were fed, and it all happened. I love it when things work out.
and there’s even some smoked gouda, prominently marked with warning of bodily harm to anyone who would dare to touch it. I love my kids, but not enough to share the smoked gouda or dark chocolate. They can have some of the “nee-shwa” olives, tho. I think that is mighty generous.
And now? It’s time to get ready for school to start on the 13th.Yep. Tuition needs to be paid by tomorrow, supplies need to be bought. Office Max has these big brown bags and they’ll give you 20% off anything that fits in the bag. Since #4 never actually USED the notebooks he had last year, he can “use” (or not…most likely) them again this year. The really good news is that I made him sit down and do his Summer reading and book report (To Kill A Mockingbird) in early June, before he left for camp, so all he needs to do is a quick review. It’s due the first day of school.of t
And I had a lovely, lovely list (how I do love a list) of things to get done today:
- Take the trash to the dump (I have CJ’s truck today)
- pick up prescriptions
- do a bit of laundry
- make 2 weeks of menus and a grocery list
- double check on the measurements for a garment for someone
- give the dogs their heartworm meds
- change the sheets on the beds
- clean out the fridge
- and I had every bit of it done by noon
- Go me!
Filed under: church, Church type stuff, Dewicate feewings, God Stuff | Tags: Coping mechanisms, going to church, In the Southland, perspective, responsible adult
I’m not writing so much about God and Religion here, as I am about church- the organization- and my experiences with them. God will probably come into it, because He is,well, the reason for church, after all.
I was born into a family of Presbyterians. My father’s family could be considered Presbyterian Royalty, if there were such a thing. Ministers are in every generation all the way back to John Knox and John Calvin, and my great great grandfather was Hugh Cunningham (if you’re a Presbyterian from Texas, you’d know who he was. If you’re not, that’s ok, neither does anyone else who isn’t a TexPres, except the 27 people and companies in Texas named Hugh Cunningham, but that doesn’t have anything much to do with the Presbyterian church…try googling it and you’ll see what I mean), who brought Presbyterianism (thus True Religion, much to the irritation of the Baptists, who were already there when he showed up with his Calvinist Ways) to Texas even before it was a state, back when it was called The Republic of Texas.
Did you follow all that? Now that my dubious pedigree is established, on to more current and relevant stuff.
BTW, Terry amused by all this pedigree stuff, and the importance placed on it by my family. He is, and always will be even though we attend a Presbyterian church, a Free Will Baptist. Which is about as far from a Predestination Presbyterian as you can get and still call yourself a Christian. Fortunately for the sake of our marriage, I am not hard-core Calvinist, but more of a Methodist, but I prefer the Presbyterian liturgy and most of the Westminster Catechism (here’s the short version, if you’re interested.), which is a statement of belief. An even shorter version would be The Apostle’s Creed, which I see as a lovely concise statement of belief, nice and compact, and gets it all in there in a manageable way.
I grew up going to Presbyterian churches. The earliest one I remember was in Champaign, Illinois. About all I remember of that one was that it’s very contemporary architecture, and how I’d run up to the front after the service to blow out the fat candles and dip my fingers in the melted wax. I also remember that we’d ride our bikes to the services, if the weather permitted. And how I’d balk at wearing a dress. That had nothing to do with church, though. I always balked at wearing dresses.
Then we moved to Athens, Georgia. We started out going to a church (Friendship Presbyterian) that was near our house, then (as I learned was to become the normal thing) there was some sort of disagreement between my parents and the church leadership (or something), we left and went to First Presbyterian. First Pres was the church I attended during my high school years. During that time, a new associate pastor was hired, fresh out of seminary. He was, shall we say, (in the late 70′s teenage vernacular) Quite A Fox. One fine Sunday, it was the first time he was actually leading the service and giving the sermon. I and a couple of friends had come to know him fairly well,and promised him we’d sit on the front row as his cheering section. Midway during his sermon, we began making kind of horrified faces, and pointing toward his zipper (he was walking all over the stage-or whatever you call it in a church), making up and down motions, indicating his fly was open. He kept preaching, but turned bright red and stood behind the podium so he could check it. Where he realized that he was wearing his vestments (long black robe, etc). Calling the look he gave us “murderous” would be an understatement. We, of course, thought it was hysterical.
Between my junior and senior years of high school, we moved to Auburn, Alabama. We briefly attended the Presbyterian church there, but soon realized it was Too Liberal (or something). I am not sure why we quit going there, only that there was a fundamental difference of opinion between my parents and the other congregants. I was totally ok with that, because the youth group was comprised of 5 people who took great delight in putting me down for not being able to play a musical instrument with any proficiency. Never mind that I could sing rings around any of them (many years of voice training and a 4 octave range, but that meant nothing because apparently any goob could sing). We went across the street to the Methodist Church, and I quit participating in any youth organization. I like the Methodist sensibility, and it’s emphasis on order (method) and quiet evangelism.
However, that did not stop me from quitting church altogether at 18. As an adult (well, sort of…the law saw me that way) I was free to make my own decision, and I decided church was a waste of time and all this God Stuff was cramping my style. So all that got put away for a few years.
Then I met Terry, and we decided to marry. Which meant we needed a church. I was still a member of the Methodist church,and he saw no reason to change that. We attended, he did some work for them, and we were married there. Well, not THERE there, but by the minister of that church. Which lead to a brief and intense moment of excitement the day of our wedding. My grandparents (remember, Presbyterian Royalty) showed up the day of the wedding, and my grandmother asked the minister if he was PCA (Presbyterian Church of America- the Conservative Ones) or PCUSA (The Liberal Ones). Rev. Miller said he was neither, that he was Methodist. Grandmother Disapproved, and briefly considered leaving. I am not sure what convinced her to stay, but they did and I am glad of that.
A year later we moved to Tenille, Georgia, where Terry had his first job after graduating college.We sporadically attended the Methodist church there, but I didn’t enjoy it and really didn’t particularly feel like belonging to a congregation. I did it out of that ingrained sense of obligation. I’d always been a member of a church, therefore I was always meant to. Like it or not. Terry didn’t push it, bless him.
18 months and a baby later, we moved to Cordele, Ga. Methodist church, sporadic attendance, and a failed attempt to join the Women of the Church (I was new, and Cordelians were suspicious of anyone they hadn’t gone to Kindergarten with). 2 years and another baby later, we moved to Monroeville, Alabama. For some reason I got it into my head that I was going to be A Good Wife, and attend the church my husband was raised in. We visited a single Baptist church, and was visited by the preacher a couple of days later. He asked about my background and upon discovering that I was raised Presbyterian, said I would have to be baptized. I told him I’d already been baptized, and he disagreed. While I was in the process of puffing up like an offended toad, Terry said a couple of diplomatic things and saw him to the door. I stomped and snorted for a bit, and asked if, since I wasn’t married in the Baptist church and marriage is a sacrament just like Baptism, did that mean our 2 children were illegitimate and every time I’d taken communion I was faking it? Terry calmed me down and said we’d stick with Methodism.
This time it was better. The pastors were a husband-and-wife team that the congregation was united in their dislike of (yes, Ruth, I know I am ending sentences in prepositions). Fortunately, Methodist ministers are moved around every 4 years or so, so we knew what was really important was the congregation, and not the pastors. The next pastor was the one I hold closest to my heart, for he saw me through the most difficult period of my entire life, with compassion and wisdom, and through example showed the entire church what it means to show God’s love to His entire creation, not just other people who go to church. He also wore electric purple silk shirts, and took my awkward and lonely 2nd grade son fishing. His ability to show God’s love in a real and wise way rekindled my interest in God, and I am thankful that God used such a man in my life.
After 6 years, we moved again to Auburn, Alabama, where we rejoined the church we’d been married in. It had changed dramatically in those years, growing from a church of about 500 to one with over 5000 members. Some of the Old Guard (the pre-5000 ones) were still there, and knowing a few folks made the difference in staying or finding something of a more manageable size. We both disliked the massive worship services (3 per Sunday, each with 1000+ attending),because they were so impersonal, and no one every knew if you were there or not. We quit attending worship, but would come for Sunday school- classes of maybe 15-20, and people noticed if you were there- and I participated in mid-week Disciple studies and played in the handbell choir. I understand the appeal (I think) of these massive churches. Comfort in numbers, I suppose. The pastor there was…I don’t know…Squishy feel-good or something. His wife taught art at the local middle school, and Highly Disapproved of my free-thinking children who wouldn’t make art the way she wanted them to. Art which hangs on my walls because not only is it theirs, it’s Quite Good. I was not enamored of his feel-good sermons, and wanted some meat, some Biblical teaching, something more than “God loves you,so y’all be nice, now”
9 years later, we moved here, to Deepest South Georgia. For 4 years, we did not attend a church. We would go sporadically to this one or that, but none of them had the warmth and sense of community I so desperately wanted. I have a dear friend here, who knew we weren’t in a church, and knew we needed one. She harassed me every time I saw her, telling me to get to a church, find one, when was I going to get my child in a church, all those things Good Church Women say of to people like me. I needed harassing, too. Finally, one day she’d had her fill my lack of church-going-ness and (she’s Ethiopian, not White American) and said the one thing she knew would get me off my sorry ass and into a church. “Peggy, you are a White European Heathen Why aren’t you in church?” and I said OK FINE…I’LL GO. So, because Terry is nice that way, we visited the local Presbyterian church- the PCA (conservative, like just about hard-core Calvinist) one, not the SquishyLiberal PCUSA one. And…it was like walking into a family reunion held at Grandmother’s house. A small church with about 250 member, we were immediately recognized as visitors and greeted and asked who we were and welcomed and made to feel like people were genuinely happy to see us there. Even with the various doctrinal differences, we were welcomed.
It isn’t the kind of church that says “show up and you’re a member”. You take a class, where you can argue and ask questions and the various doctrines and beliefs of the church are explained. Then you’re interviewed by the Session to see where you stand in your faith, and they decide if you are accepted as a communing (that is, allowed to take communion) member. Now, if you are not accepted as a communing member (because you don’t believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior- refer to The Apostle’s Creed) that does not mean you cannot come to church. Anyone can come, I mean, that’s what we want, for people to come, to hear the message, all that. So don’t think it’s some Exclusive Club. You should see the people there, you would know right away there’s no exclusivity going on. It is…for me…Home. A return to the comfort of a familiar liturgy (the way the service is performed) with familiar hymns and prayers, and a simple unadorned sanctuary. I am back in Church again, and I don’t ever want to leave.