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: 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*, 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: *eep!, Dewicate feewings, Disease and infirmity, Doctors!, He'p meh He'p meh Oh Lawzy He'p meh, Hooray!, Sometimes she thinks too much, things that make you go hmmmmm | Tags: bipolar disorder, Coping mechanisms, responsible adult, solving personal problems
For the past several weeks, I have been depressed. I don’t show it much when that happens. Not really. My psychiatrist, The Good Dr. H, once said “Peggy, you’re not a public bleeder”, and that is entirely true.
When a person has bipolar disorder, for every down there is an up. Moods are like a sine wave, up and down, as are any person’s moods, but ours tend to be WAY DOWN past feeling a bit blue into dangerous territory, and WAY UP past feeling cheerful, into equally dangerous territory.
This makes me very suspicious whenever the moods change, or certain physical symptoms occur. Did you know that there is just as much physical mess as there is mental mess? Strange but true. It also makes it easy to discern when a mood change is just a normal old “well, I’m feeling cheerful today” or if it’s “Ok, there’s a storm on the horizon and you’d better give Terry all your credit cards cuz you’re fixin’ to get reckless.”
One of the things that makes it easy to tell Cheerful from Fixin’ to Manic is a pressure of ideas. I can’t talk coherently-words come too fast and I get them mixed up and my inherent perfectionism makes me have stop and start the entire sentence all over again…sometimes several times until I get it right. Writing is ok, though, and even preferable.
Another thing is a dismissal of…let’s see how to phrase this…Comfort Zone stuff. Maybe it’s part of the inherent creativity that is typical of a mild mania (also called hypomania). For instance, I make out biweekly menus. For the past several weeks that I have been depressed (actually an understandable depression, due to family stuff), I have had a hard time making creative and interesting menus. We ate a lot of same-old-same-old, because my mind wasn’t clicking very well. Cobwebs in the clockworks, so to speak. However, yesterday the fog started to lift and I felt BETTER…I took it as the depression lifting and that was all…and the menus reflect that. Tandoori chicken wraps, Jamaican grilled chicken with grilled plantains, black bean and quinoa veggie burgers, all stuff I’ve never made before but somehow this time positively GLOWED with possibilities.
All the information out there about bipolars give warning about money- hide the credit cards, cuz we get spendy. There are anecdotes about people withdrawing their entire retirement accounts and buying a racehorse…even though they don’t have a stable or the resources to keep the horse. I don’t do that. “Spendy” for me means a new pair of shoes or maybe some fabric. My ingrained (and frustrating) and inherent Scottish Thrift is strong enough (Thank you, Agnes McCalvinox*) to prevent such silliness.
Instead of spendy, I get BUSY. If I can keep this going without letting it get out of hand (it’s what I call “riding the wave’), I will have the yard fully landscaped by Sunday afternoon, the house will be spotless inside, and all the books will be nicely arranged by topic and in heightabetical order. You see, hypomania combined with mild CDO (that’s OCD but in alphabetical order) is a very happy combination when it comes to housekeeping.
It’s also a very good thing that 2 of the members of the household are elsewhere for a couple of weeks, as fewer people in the house means fewer people to get irritated. The remaining members of the household work a lot, and have the ability to make themselves scarce for several days, should this hypomania start to get out of hand and try to turn into mania. If that happens, I have medications. However, I will not use them until Terry says I need to, because…you know what? This feels GOOD, especially on the heels of a scary depression.
Physically,when I am depressed, it hurts. It’s an achy arthritic sort of feeling, only everywhere, not just in a particular joint. It’s hard to do things because you feel so HEAVY, like you’ve gained 100 pounds overnight and your muscles aren’t accustomed to carrying that sort of weight around. It’s hard to move, and your head hurts. Stuff that aches anyway (like my hands and shoulder) hurt even more, like they’re trying to get around the allover ache and make sure you know they are still there.
Physically, when I am manic, I get twitchy. I have to move or I’ll blow up like a helium balloon and float to the ceiling…ok not literally, but that’s what it feels like inside. I call it “being carbonated”, there’s bubbles all throughout and that extra 100 pounds from the depression is lifted and another 50 pounds to go with (don’t I wish it really happened!). Trying to sit still…ain’t happening. Something is always moving- a foot tapping, fingers typing on a keyboard while foot is tapping, and the entire time thoughts are flying around. While writing this post I’ve gotten a dress planned and figured out what to do with the area of the yard right behind the brick wall that runs along the backside of the patio. I also get itchy. It feels like this soft cotton nightgown is a wool sweater, and truly,being naked would be so much more comfortable, but again, Agnes McCalvinox and Presbyterian Upbringing will allow that no more than she would allow the purchase of a racehorse.
Oh, you know what’s REALLY weird? My hair and fingernails grow twice as fast when I’m hypomanic. Like trim them twice a week fast. I have to keep the nails short because of the itchy skin, too, or I’ll claw myself to shreds.
So, what I have to do today and this weekend, is keep that cool logical bit of my brain taken care of. That is the part that made me keep a 2 year mood journal before I ever saw The Good Dr. H, the journal that detailed mood swings, sleep patterns (which also go whack with bipolar disorder) and strange reactions to events. It is the part that was able to say “Houston, we have a problem” and get me to the doctor before I did Something Drastic. It was also the part that felt tremendous relief when he said “You have a mental illness that will last the rest of your life, but we have medication that will help.” I was so…SO relieved. Being told my issues were an organic disorder and not a character flaw was…oh boy…I can’t even describe how good that felt.
I woke up at 4am this morning, with my mind going about 80tpm (thoughts per minute). I’d been plodding along at a solid 2otph(thought per hour). At first, the energy and time at 4am was cheerfully spent figuring out a dress I’d like to make, then planning changes to the herb garden, then making lists of a bunch of other stuff…and I got up at 5:30. As I trotted down stairs (I never trot at 5:30 am) it occurred that…hum…this feels like the onset of mania. So now my decision has to be…how long to ride it, when to start the medication to slow it down.
Because…dammit, this feels GOOD. I don’t want it to stop!
*Agnes McCalvinox is the name of my alter ego. She is the Calvinist Scot (thus the name) in my brain that prevents all manner of self indulgence and excessive behavior. Sometimes she gets in the way of a good time “No, you are NOT going to buy that piece of fine worsted wool because you could send that money on something more practical.” and “No, you are not going to get some Massaman curry for lunch because you have perfectly acceptable leftovers in the refrigerator at home.” Sometimes she can be a real bitch, and sometimes she really keeps me out of trouble.
Filed under: Sometimes she thinks too much | Tags: Christian Values, responsible adult
If you have ever read this blog at all, you can tell immediately that I am not a political or social commentator. This is not one of those clever blogs that calls people on their baloney or points out inconsistencies in news media coverage. Truth be told, I don’t think that much. Not all the time, anyway. It’s not because I don’t CARE about the rest of humanity and the nonsense they have to endure, but because I am a small scale thinker. I do not worry much about what injustices are being visited upon a demographic on a small Philipino island, or the pollution being caused by rampant industry in China. I can’t. If I worried about Every Evil Thing everywhere (or even in California)…I’d blow a fuse.
Like I said, I am a small scale thinker. Concerns don’t stretch much beyond my immediate community- the place where I can have the most influence.
Sometimes, tho, something will capture my attention and make me go WOAH.
A little while ago I read a book called Elephant Girl. That was a WOAH event. It caused thinking about stuff in a whole different way. Read the write-up about it. Having been raised in a solidly middle class white relatively well put together family, the story (autobiography) caused a shift in my thinking about people who don’t “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”- an ethic I was raised with, and I was also taught to feel contempt for people like that (the ones who didn’t pull themselves up). The book changed my thinking significantly.
Last weekend we watched the movie “Red Tails”, about the Tuskegee Airmen of World War 2. Now, I’d known the historical data of the TA, read a few books, etc. The movie, however, especially the opening sentence (that I cannot remember exactly, so I am paraphrasing) that said something like “Colored people are mentally inferior thus incapable of serving effectively in the armed forces” that came directly from the 1925 War College manual. At the opening of the movie I saw that and though “what? Oh, it was 1925.” Then the movie very effectively shows the frustrations that the TA had with being consistently underestimated and undervalued, and I felt very frustrated *for* them. I also came to understand WHY this entire demographic has a systemic mistrust of whites and an apparent undervaluing of themselves…I mean, why try when no one will accept them as equals anyway. And, also…who WOULDN’T be angry at a societal and cultural acceptance of this assumption of inferiority, especially when they know in their own hearts that it is patently false? Then, because this is how I roll (small scale), I thought about the Blacks (African-Americans? I never know exactly what to say there) that I know personally- all intelligent, well educated people with a solid work ethic who…due to physical characteristics like hair type and skin pigmentation, have to work harder for the same recognition…that’s nuts, people.
Ok…there is this one line in Red Tails that made me laugh. The TA pilots have just been recognized as excellent escorts for the bombers (flown by whites). Until then, they were refused entrance into the Officer’s Club, but now they are invited in and accepted. They are all standing around having drinks. One of the TA pilots said to a bomber pilot,”Ok. When you get mad, you turn red. When you’re sick or jealous you turn green. When you’re scared you turn yellow. And you have the nerve to call US colored!”
And honestly…humanity has issues, no matter what the ethnicity or upbringing or culture. White folks can look back at the 1940′s and ’50′s with this nostalgic fondness for housewives and pot roasts and The Good Old Days, while black folks look back and see separate lines and no choice in elected officials and extremely limited choices in careers and the constant systemic oppression…not exactly nostalgia inducing, y’know. It’s no small wonder the people who gave them hope are revered.
I also honestly believe that it is something that, unless you have actually lived it, you can only marginally understand it.
And another thing…Jesus Christ (my favorite!!) , (I know, we don’t have photos, but somewhere in there it says he looked like “an ordinary man”) probably looked much more like a black man than a white one. There weren’t that many fine featured blue eyed men with light brown hair in Galilee, back in the day. Time to get over it, White People.
Filed under: Dewicate feewings, Dream a little dream, family, home and hearth, I feel so smart!, In The Southland, oh you self indulgent hussy!, Sometimes she thinks too much, things that make you go hmmmmm, TMI | Tags: Being Southern, Dreams, Home and hearth, In the Southland, Oversharing, perspective, responsible adult, solving personal problems, Spouse, taboos
Here in the South,which is all I can speak for because it’s where I’ve lived since I was 9, talking about money is In Poor Taste, taboo even. You don’t do it. Well, except for some people,who have such good taste in other ways they can get away with it because it balances out. I am speaking of a friend, who’s Southern Living Magazine House totally gives her a pass to complain about the person who’s late paying her fee (for sewing) and how much she paid for getting her porch painted.
Anyway, we don’t do it here, talk about money. Sometimes I wish we did, because it would help, I think. Perspective and all that. I have a friend who was griping about her income tax bill this April. $37K…the bill, not the income. It helped, because I was griping about $3K. Yes, her husband earns significantly more than mine (which I am not jealous of, because her husband is an obstetrician and has liability issues mine does not)…so it makes sense that he’d pay more in taxes. But that’s a hunk of cash in anyone’s book, I think. “Ouch!” was my response.
I get nervous and sweaty-palmed whenever I need to check the bank account. The honest truth is- I don’t want to know. I want my allowance, I want $20 in my wallet so I can go eat lunch with a friend or stop at the market and buy tomatoes for supper or have an afternoon coffee while buying tomatoes. That’s all I want. Beyond that, it makes me nervous and I get the Southern hand-flapping disorder. I used to manage the household money, and hated it. So now, Terry gives me a grocery budget (the main thing I spend money on), an allowance, and I am very content with that. We have an agreement that anything over $100 that either of us wants to buy, we discuss it with the other one. He has never said no to any request, so it’s not like he’s being an iron-fisted control freak, and it keeps me happy, because if I went out and bought a $300 pair of shoes,and discovered they threw off the budget that month, I’d feel terrible and hate the shoes forever.
Sometimes I wonder what would happen inf someone dropped a million dollars in my lap. Tax-free, of course (this is how you know it is a real fantasy,and not a possibility) What would i do with it? 10% to the church, right off the top. I’d ask them to spend it on the charities supported by our church- the local food bank, and the Presbyterian Children’s Home. Then I’d put $50K in 4 accounts,one for each child. There would be conditions attached, involving schooling and perhaps buying a house or something. That would leave $700K. All our debts would be paid off, ALL of them- house cars, everything. This would give Terry the freedom to get that teaching certificate and teach high school chemistry- something he has dreamed of for a while now. After his schooling is paid for, and we’ve lived off a bit of it while he was in school,I figure there would be about $500K left. 5 acres in the country and the perfect house would leave $250K (no,I do not want a mansion. I want 1800 square feet and a shop building for Terry). A motorcycle and a small Winnebago so we can travel during the summers while school is out, and there we go.
Not that I’ve thought much about it or anything. The real fact is, if someone dropped a million bucks in my lap,1/2 of it would go toward taxes. I’d still give 10% to the church, pay off debts, and set some aside for the kids. Just paying off the debts would huge difference in our disposable income. (oo, nearly crossed the taboo money-talk line!)
What would you do if someone gave you a million tax-free dollars? (or $500K,after taxes?)
Filed under: Dewicate feewings, Dream a little dream, Rest and Relaxation, Sometimes she thinks too much | Tags: Coping mechanisms, Dreams, Oversharing, solving personal problems
I am a lucid dreamer. I can’t do it all the time, but many times, especially with a dream I am enjoying, I will wake up, then be able to pick back up where the dream left off, sometimes for several days in a row.
Sometimes, though, it will just be some goofy dream that I will forget as soon as I wake up.
Last night, I dreamt that I had a horse. He was a solid brown quarter horse (we’d driven by the American Quarter Horse Museum in Amarillo…of course it was in Amarillo. Where else would it be?), and it had a saddle but no bridle. Which was fine, quarter horses are smart and this one would go where he was told. I also had an apricot (kind of a strawberry blonde) Labradoodle. (see previous post) that would ride on the horse with me. We were going to a parade, and passed a driveway that had a large group of children and a couple of teachers, all in those little plastic Barbie cars with the batteries (that kids drive around in cul-de-sacs while their mothers gather at one house and sip sangria…which is what all mothers do, right? Because we don’t have anything better to do than sip sangria because this is totally 1957 or something.) Only, one of the cars held 9 kids- 3 rows of 3 stacked up like stadium seats, or one of those massive strollers that day care centers use. I spoke to the teacher about the parade and rode on.
This is not a dream I will try to pick up on tonight. Maybe the horse and dog part, I will, because that was fun.
I remember other dreams…ones where I woke up feeling very empowered. Often they involve some sort of military battle, and I am a leader.
Oh…and my brain talks to me, too. (can you say it like that, since the brain is part of who you are?) Really, it does.
I have a condition called medication induced nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. It means the medication I took for 15 years (that kept me sane) eventually fried my kidneys, and I had (past tense, more medication and a diet change helped) to pee all the time. ALL THE TIME. Even at night. I’d get up 5 or 6 times…yea…hourly…to use the bathroom. My brain, bless it’s (her?) heart, would insert a bathroom into a dream, to let me know it was Time To Go. Even to the point of putting a port-a-potty on the battlefield. That’s right. Once I was leading a regiment across a battlefield at night, it was something like Waterloo or some other pre-Civil War era thing (based on the uniforms and weapons) and there it was,a royal blue Port-A-Potty, and I yelled “OK WAIT …I’LL BE RIGHT BACK” then woke up enough to use the bathroom (which is not very, I got good at that. even though I broke my toe once because I wasn’t awake enough to notice that the door had shifted 3 inches to the left), then returned to the battle. Which we won, and that was very satisfying.
Dreams occasionally warn that I am having mental issues. Being bipolar, issues happen. Being a control freak (Terry will tell you that I am very emotionally buttoned up, and have real trouble expressing feelings), sometimes the brain will kick in, and give a warning that maybe some unbuttoning is in order. Natural disasters are a common thing in the warning dreams. I used to wonder why, but Terry said he thinks it’s because I despise losing control, and no one can control a tsunami, or a tornado (common dream disasters). In these dreams I lose the things that are most precious- usually family- and I wake up very shaken and unhappy. This requires some heavy-duty analysis of what’s going on in real life. And yes, usually these dreams occur when something heavy-duty is going on. You know, Life Stuff That Happens And I Can’t Control. When the brain does this to the dreams, it gives me the warning that it is time to step back and evaluate, maybe do some repositioning of opinion or outlook, or maybe simply find a way to CHILL THE HELL OUT. Easier said than done…
So anyway, the horse and the labradoodle…I hope I can use them again. Neither one talked or did anything one doesn’t expect an animal to do (except perhaps for the horse being perfectly OK with a dog riding it’s back, but even that isn’t totally out of the question), so it would be fun to put that in my stable (haw! *snort*) of dream themes to call on when the brain is bored at 2am and wants something other than flying grocery carts (yes…I had one of those…I was 12) or suspicious cakes that say “eat me”.
Filed under: Dewicate feewings, family, Good grief, Grandparents, He'p meh He'p meh Oh Lawzy He'p meh, Not another Change!, Sometimes she thinks too much | Tags: Coping mechanisms, Dealing with a grandparent, Home and hearth, solving personal problems
all packed, with the exception of that one last bag, you know the one…that one bag that has the bits and pieces of stuff that are still being used. Reading glasses, Kindle, toothbrush.
Yes, I use a Kindle. If it’s a Great Book that I want to savor, I’ll buy a real copy. If it’s one-time fluff that I can download for free, it’s on the Kindle. Plus a Bible and a dictionary. and a couple of cookbooks. I like the Kindle because it lets me use large print, which I need even with the reading glasses. And fluff, which I need in a hotel, particularly on a trip that could be stressful. Like this one.
Terry said “Let’s go get you a new phone.” He and the boys have only been trying for 2 years now to make me replace this 5 year old pink one, and it’s getting fritzy- not ringing reliably, that sort of thing. So. I acquiesced and in a bit we’re going in. I don’t like change very much, unless it’s a small one like switching from pork to beef ramens or eating almonds instead of peanuts. I am sure I will like the new phone. I am also sure if Terry hadn’t pushed, I would still be using the old Nokia phone I had in 1996.
We went to the store today and got provisions for the trip: snacky stuff like trail mix and multigrain Pringles and bottled water. I like stuff that is in neat containers that close back up. Also, sandwich stuff, so we don’t eat hamburgers from McDonalds. We have plans to eat at 3 restaurants: The Main Street Cafe in Clarkesville, Texas, because their smoked brisket is a flamin’ miracle of cookery; Red River Steakhouse in McLean, Texas; and Calico County Restaurant in Amarillo because they have chicken fried corn on the cob.
Mainly I am going to see my grandmother, and talk to the hospice nurse, so I can report back to Dad. I am looking forward to seeing her. Terry is going to post up in the cafe at the home where she’s living, and do work. Isn’t modern technology amazing? I continue to be boggled by it all. He even has satellite thingy on his phone, so we can do GPS whatzit en route. Paper maps, apparently, are Old School and quaint.
#4 is all packed and ready to go, I guess. 3 bags of stuff and the checklist checked…okeedokey there.
The grass is cut, the gardens are being watered, the cat food dispenser device is filled, and the older boys have meals in the freezer. My duty is fulfilled in that regard.
and yet, I am anxious. Of course I am. It’s the trip, that’s one thing. I didn’t have the standard 6 months to ponder it, and plan, and think, and look at the map, and let the idea marinate in my brain until it was ready to slow simmer for several days. So that is a little bit anxiety inducing. But that’s ok, I’ll live. It isn’t as if I had to suddenly drop everything and go on a 6 week hike through the Amazon Basin, right? We are not leaving civilization. We are going to a place where men don’t wear beards or shorts (not even cargo shorts like Terry’s). People still eat, sleep, and…well…they don’t drive VW Beetle convertibles, either. Especially the men.
There is a definite cultural shift once you cross into Texas.
Sigh…ok. Yes. Ready to go.
Filed under: Dewicate feewings, family, Grandparents, Sometimes she thinks too much, spouse | Tags: Coping mechanisms, Dealing with a grandparent, Oversharing, solving personal problems, Spouse
It is amazing how Having Something To DO is so energizing.
One thing I can’t stand is getting all emotional and hand-flappy and running around like my head has fallen off. I do not play the helpless female very well. Women like that irritate me, and I do not want to be irritating to others.
This bothers Terry sometimes. He has said he wishes I could just let it go, let the stuff out and roll with it for a while. Sometimes I wish I could do that,too. But it gives me a hangover. If I have something to DO, something productive that contributes to the solution, I am much happier.
And so it is. We are making this drive (20+ hours) to Amarillo,to see my grandmother. It might be good-bye, it might not. I don’t know. But there is an urgency about it and a tremendous sense of relief that it’s happening NOW, and not July 10. Maybe it’s just reassurance, and that’s ok.
I guess there is a very good reason Terry took the entire week off. We had other plans, but they aren’t the sort that can’t be done some other time, and even if they were, this is more important.
So, I am now happily making lists and plans and getting ready. All the laundry was done yesterday. I have a bit of mending (making shorts out of pants for #4), a bit of cooking(granola bars for snacks), and a bit of yard work (mowing, watering everything). #4 needs to pack for camp today. I will give him his list, clear the dining table so he can put everything on it and I can double check, and turn him loose to do it himself.
We will be dropping #4 off at 6am Sunday morning for him to go to camp for a week, then heading straight out west. Our oldest will be here to see after the dogs and cat.
Last night we were sitting out in Terry’s Cave, making a list and discussing stuff, and #4 came out. He said he wished he could go too, and opined that he would enjoy a trip on back roads. Terry informed him that we would do just that with him, in 3 years when he was old enough to help with the driving. #4 got excited about that, and said he wanted to drive to West Mineral, Kansas and see Big Brutus. I think that would make a fine
inaugeral inaguaral oh heck…first road trip for a 16 year old.
I’ve recovered from my emotional issues…I know I am saying that as if they were some sort of pathological problem, and I know they are not, but they are uncomfortable, and because the family is not used to seeing me dissolving into a soggy mess like that, awkward for them. Last night I apologized to Terry for my weirdness and he rolled his eyes, and said “you don’t have to apologize for that!” then I tried to make excuses for it by blaming hormones, and he rolled his eyes again and said “maybe hormones made your reaction a little stronger than it might have otherwise been, but your emotions are real and you DON’T HAVE TO MAKE EXCUSES FOR THEM!”
Maybe not, but something that uncomfortable, feeling that out of control of something going on inside my brain, that is very difficult. Letting it happen, like letting a horse have it’s head and just RUN…that is…kind of….foreign. 20 years of bipolar disorder has taught me to keep things wrapped up pretty tight, and I have trouble discerning when it’s ok to let it out, even when I know, logically, that it is a reasonable sort of response.