Sunday, July 31, 2011

Did You Ever Laugh So Hard, You Peed?

Courtesy Google Images

My God, there really is a picture for everything.

Have you ever laughed so hard, you actually peed a little and had to go change your underwear? OK, ask me why I'm asking you this question. Two words: shy bladder.

When I was growing up, my mother used to be in agony for me because when we would go on long car trips, I could never make myself pee in the public restrooms. She would patiently take me in and I would sit and sit and sit with my painfully full bladder, wondering what the hell was wrong with me that I couldn't just let it out already. Well, turns out, there is actually a name for this:  Paruresis.  Nope. I'd never heard of it either.

Wikipedia (which we all know is an incredibly reliable source because anyone can edit it) defines paruresis as:

a type of phobia in which the sufferer is unable to urinate in the (real or imaginary) presence of others, such as in a public restroom. It most commonly affects males, though there are female sufferers too...
I had no idea!

Ummm.....what on earth brought me to this topic? Well, the fact that this condition never really goes away. This afternoon, I went in to use the half bath on the main level of our house. My oldest son was in the kitchen a few feet away, getting some lunch and paying absolutely no attention to me. I sat down on the "throne" and waited. And thought to myself, "Please don't fart."

Okay, sorry, but wouldn't you have been thinking the same thing? And, when I thought that to myself, I also had the thought that if I could just pee already, I wouldn't have to worry about anything less "socially acceptable" escaping while I was in the more public area of the house.

Seriously, where does this disorder come from? Have you ever wondered about the mechanics of urinating? Me either. I have no idea how that works. I only know that since having my hysterectomy, I have been less, shall we say, reticent about when and where the pee comes out. 

I have this awful habit of choking on my food when I eat it, leading me to wonder if I need swallowing lessons (Justin, shut UP!!!) And lately, when I cough, I pee. When I sneeze, I pee. When I laugh, I pee. I am constantly changing my underwear.

The only time I can't pee is when someone is standing outside the bathroom door and might hear me. What. The. Hell?

You would think that after I had my legs strapped to stirrups three times and baring my nether regions for all to see while giving birth, I would have no pride left anymore. But a girl needs to have a little pride. And, to me, peeing is private. Meaning, I probably should go upstairs if I want to pee, but those damned kids never come out of their rooms anyway, so for me to be in close proximity to one of my children and to need the bathroom just really never happens.

The last time I was at the emergency room, they gave me a buttload full of morphine. Well, it was through an IV, but it sure felt like a buttload. And then, with the IV and full of morphine, I realized. Oh my God. I need to pee. I told the nurse, who went to hand me a bed pan. There was absolutely no way I could pee into a bed pan, even if the emergency room was suddenly completely empty. Even less chance with Justin and the nurse in the room.

I begged her to let me go to the actual bathroom with the IV. She finally relented to my pleading and allowed me to go, but insisted that Justin be in the bathroom with me while I went. Something about my being on morphine and hospital liability...they obviously had no idea of my drug tolerance. We got to the bathroom, I sat down on the throne, Justin politely turned his back, and I waited. For whatever it is that is supposed to relax that allows you to pee. And we waited...and waited...and waited. Finally, in desperation (because I really needed to go), I begged Justin to step outside. I told him that it wasn't that I didn't want to go. It was because I couldn't with him in the room. He just looked at me like I was crazy, peeked out for the nurse, and stepped outside to allow me some privacy.

I don't know how this urinary letdown mechanism works, but I sure wish there was an on/off switch. If I ever need a surgery where I can't get out of bed, I will explode before they are able to even say the word catheter because I simply will not be able to use a bedpan.

These are the things I think about.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Special of the Day: Fibro Flare

Courtesy Google Images
Today fibromyalgia returned with a vengeance.

It started on Thursday with a general feeling of exhaustion. I started sleeping later and later last week and didn't know why. I felt fine and the increased dosage of lyrica seemed to be working wonders.

Yesterday, I noticed my pain levels were higher and attributed it to the intense heat wave that has been hanging around for the last month. I had seen on the news that the "heat dome" that has been sitting over Texas was about to move our way again this weekend and didn't really think much about it.

I can never remember if my pain is worse when it's winter or summer, but it seems to me that I feel the best when it is about 60 degrees and raining outside. I could use a good summer rainshower right about now.

I woke up early this morning when the dog barked at the paper delivery person and the cat wouldn't shut up because he wanted fresh food in his bowl. I woke again at 8:30 thinking it was time to get up. I woke up finally at 10:20 after a horrific dream and in a lot of pain. I think the pain in my dream followed me into my day. I had taken my first daily meds at 8:30 and they should have been helping, but I was really slow getting myself up. It was hell just to brush my hair.

I know I've been spending way too much time on the computer because I have shooting pains in the sides of my hands from resting them on the laptop while I type. The pain goes up into my arms as they ache and complain. Pain meds are not touching it and I am still exhausted, even though I didn't get up last night like I normally do when Justin goes to sleep. I slept for almost 11 hours and I am still exhausted.

Welcome back fibromyalgia. When you google "pain" in google images, there are a lot of images that come up, but the broken heart with the bandaid just seemed to sum up what I am feeling today. I thought my med change was going to cure me. I always do that to myself. I know there is no cure for this disease, but when something works temporarily, I get my hopes up that we have found the magic bean that will make me well for the rest of my life. And people say I'm a pessimist.

Today, my heart is broken and I am putting bandaids on it. But a bandaid is not a cure. I need a cure. All the people in the world who have this insidious, chronic disease need a cure. Please, somebody find a cure.

Yes, this flare is like the wind - it will blow through and I will feel better tomorrow or the day after. Or the day after that. But for today, I am going to go finish Treasure Island and start on the new e-book from Stephen King. Today I am taking it easy and tomorrow, hopefully, I will be back in a more positive form.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Validation from Within

Courtesy Google Images

I had a post about validation all written in my head while I showered. I came down to write it and got as far as the title.

Then, Joey came back from the pool and wanted lunch...

Which led to my realizing that the washing machine wasn't doing anything, even though I had turned it on, so I gave it a little nudge...

Leading to Justin coming in from the pool and saying that he just found out that our new neighbor went to church and actually sat beside his dad on the same church pew when he was growing up...Life can be freaky that way. It is such a small world.

And sometimes you get off track.

But back to my original thought. As I have written about ad nauseum on here and in various rants I have saved on my computer journals, I got fired last October. It took me months and months of anger at them and disappointment in myself for not being able to handle the job before I got over it. This morning, this thought hit me. Validation does not come from other people. Validation comes from within.

One of my favorite friends on Facebook suggested this morning that people write a love letter to themselves. It's so easy to be hard on ourselves, to cut ourselves down internally, to say mean things to ourselves that we would never say out loud to another person, even to our worst enemy. Why are we so hard on ourselves? As my mom puts it, I am my own worst enemy. I can make myself feel worse than anyone else on the planet. But I can also make myself feel better. How I interpret things is really up to me.

It's so easy to get caught up in the fact that you haven't heard from someone in a long time that you are (or thought you were) very close to, or that your spouse said something that "made you feel bad" (by the way, only you can make yourself feel bad - it's all in how you take something!), or that your relatives haven't called to check on you in awhile. And you make yourself feel bad about it instead of picking up the phone and calling the person you are projecting things onto to see what's going on with them or gently asking your spouse what he or she meant by a certain thing they said. Maybe their life is blowing up and they haven't wanted to bring you down. Maybe something awful happened that they are trying to deal with. Maybe they have been distracted with something else. Maybe it was your turn to call and you forgot. Maybe your spouse didn't mean what he/she said the way you took it. Maybe, maybe, loses its meaning when you keep saying it, doesn't it?

I have looked for validation externally almost my entire life. I still catch myself doing it, along with putting two spaces between sentences, which I now hear is completely wrong if you want to get published. (Damn, that's going to be a hard habit to break!) I have always looked to someone else to tell me that I am worth something, that I am a worthy person, that I am worth someone's time, that I have something to offer. What I realized after feeling absolutely crappy every day I was at that job for an entire year and from which I then got fired is that validation does not come from external sources. Validation comes from inside yourself. Only you can make yourself believe that you have worth, that you have something to offer, that you are not a drag on society as a whole. Yes, other people can tell you these good thing or bad things, but in the end, it is only you and your thoughts that really matter. And how you talk to yourself makes a great deal of difference in how you feel about yourself. If you are telling yourself that you are worthless, you are going to feel that way.

I puzzled and wondered about that job for a long time. I could not understand what I had done wrong, why they didn't like me, what I could have done differently, what would be waiting for me that I had done wrong the last time.. I tried to do everything that was asked of me and it still wasn't enough. I got told later (in an anonymous cheap shot from the person who got me fired) that I was too negative. I might have been. I tried not to be. The thing is, I thought that I did everything that was asked of me. I did my very best and it wasn't enough. I tried to fit in and I just didn't. And for a long time that was very painful, because it was the first time I had ever been fired from a job.

But recently I have come to the realization that what they really wanted from me was for me to change who I am. And that's not a fair thing to ask of anyone. So, really, they did me the biggest favor of my life when they asked for my resignation, because it freed me up to be myself again. And once I had that right to be myself, I felt better about who I was. I didn't constantly question whether I was "acting" the way I should be. I didn't beat myself up over stupid little mistakes because I realized that I am human. And I never have to "act" for anyone ever again.

My therapist told me yesterday that when someone is telling me that I am "doing it wrong," no matter how hard I try, it is their flaw, not mine. I think there's a lot of truth to that. Because I was not doing my job the way they wanted me to do it, because they did not like me for whatever reason, that was their flaw. I did my best and it wasn't enough for them and that's okay. I hope they found someone they like better to do the job. And the bonus to not working there is that I don't have to read really depressing things that happened all the time. I am not mired in the negativity of that environment. And I am not caught in the teenage type cliquishness and drama that really should have remained in middle school. Maybe I am dwelling, but I don't think so. Yes, I am still angry inside about this and yes I still have negative feelings about the people that I allowed to make me feel so badly about myself. But I am not obsessed with it.

And when God slammed that door in my face, he opened a huge window - a much better way for me to validate myself. With my writing.

No, I have never written professionally before. I never even wrote for fun. It was never something I considered as a career. But out of the ashes of the tragedy that happened to our friends last year when their daughter died of leukemia at the age of three came an inspiration for a little book. And that book morphed into five manuscripts. Then suddenly there was this blog. Now I am writing a book for adults that I have always wanted to write. I have gained a tiny bit of recognition online and see that recognition growing. That makes me feel good about myself and it does validate me a little bit externally. But I know that what is coming back to me from my writing in a positive way is coming back to me because I am being myself and doing something I love to do.

And that, my friends, is amazing. Validate yourself because you are worth it. And maybe, if you believe in yourself, it will come back to you from the people around you.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Let's Decrapify!

I've really been horrible about keeping you guys informed about my decrapifying efforts lately.  Which is totally unfair to the people who come over from 365 Less Things, since you guys just want to know how to get rid of your shit without all the moaning and groaning that comes from my blog.

Unfortunately, I keep getting distracted by life and the weird chicken and bird type sounds that are coming from my 12 year old's Wii system across the hall.  I really need to go see what that boy is doing!

Okay, it was his laptop and he's playing Kids vs. Ice Cream.  A cute little game where you are the ice cream truck and you have to keep the kids away by shooting ice cream at them.  Why can't I be the ice cream truck in real life?  How awesome would that be?  You drive along, pelting other people's annoying little boogers, stealing your own stock....mmmm...Baskin Robbins Chocolate Chip....where was I?

Oh yeah, decluttering.  Ahem.  Decrapifying.

For some reason, I've determined that at the moment the dining room is the room to remove things from.  I have no idea why, because it's really the least cluttered room in the house.  But I keep getting drawn back in there to remove more things from the cabinets.  I think it's safe to say I'm done in there:

Okay, I'm still working out whether to get rid of the Statue of Liberty and the 9/11 commemorative plates.  But I think overall it's pretty well decluttered.  And when you get to this:

...can't you really say that you have accomplished your goal?  Now I have empty shelves and no idea what to do with them!

Justin and I have gone back and forth a couple of times about the fact that I don't really believe we need formal dining room furniture.  He argues that it's the only room in the house that has matching pieces, which really is a good point.  I've argued that the room gets used twice a year and what a complete and total waste of space.  But, he has a valid argument because, well, look:

It is very pretty and everything matches, which is not something you can say about any other room in the entire house.  Even though we've been married 23 years, my sense of interior design is still appalling and we have mismatched furniture throughout. 

Some things that came out of the dining room:

When I declutter, I usually do a huge sweep.  What's the fun in doing one item at once? I mean, I like Colleen's idea of getting rid of one thing each day, but I'm more of an all or nothing kind of girl.  When I declutter, it's like when the Allies went through Germany back in World War II.  I take no prisoners.

My next declutter mission:  To blast my 19 year old out of his bedroom and into a college dormitory.  I want that room, damn it!



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I'll have a Kitten and a Puppy Please!

Me and Max, Waiting for the AaB Meeting To Start
So last night,  I was sitting on the couch, going back and forth between the television and my laptop screen, waiting for my online meeting to start.  Max decided my lap looked comfortable and just climbed right on up there.  He's my furry lump of comfort.

A small item in yesterday's paper caught my eye.  It was a little article done by The Washington Post and picked up by our local newspaper.  The title reads:  Dogs, cats may be our best friends.  This is so not news to me!

Here's what the article said:

Lots of research has indicated that having a dog or a cat can help people live happier, healthier lives.  But it's been unclear whether there really is a cause-and-effect relationship between pet ownership and better physical and mental health.  Now, new research adds further evidence that the benefits of having a canine or feline companion are real and broad.

A team of psychologists from Miami University and Saint Louis University conducted studies aimed at trying to tease out the benefits of pet ownership.

In the first part of the research, 217 people answered detailed questionnaires online designed to determine whether pet owners tend to be different from people who do not own pets.  The survey assessed variables such as depression, loneliness, self-esteem, illness, activity level and how people related to others.  The researchers found that pet owners tended to be less lonely, have higher self-esteem, get more exercise, and be more extroverted and less fearful about getting close to people.

In the second study, the researchers gathered detailed information about how 56 dog owners related to their dogs and to other people.

(Rob Stein for The Washington Post, July 26, 2011)

Well, this just totally justifies my owning two cats and a dog, doesn't it?  I already know that if I am having a lonely moment, I simply need to call Max and he is more than willing to waddle his fat self over and jump up on my lap and start purring.  In fact, if I touch that cat, he purrs.  If he is eating, he purrs.  I've never heard anything like it.  Wouldn't it be great if the simple act of eating made humans that happy?  I know, I know, I love to eat too, but there are only a few foods that I would think are purr-worthy.

Last night, Justin was talking on the phone with his mom and she said a German Shepherd with a collar and tags had wandered into her driveway yesterday.  An animal control person in a truck was following the dog and asked her if the dog belonged to her.  As she said no, the dog walked up to her and sat down at her feet, leaning against her.  Okay, dog.  You don't really belong to her!  But weird things like that happen to my mother in law and I have to wonder if it was Justin's dad stopping by to tell her he's still around.

My mother in law asked the animal person if they had to take the dog and what was going to happen to it.  She said, "You're not going to put it down, are you?  Because if you're going to put it down, I'll take it!"  The animal warden reassured her that they would definitely not put the dog down.  They have a no kill policy.  She was relieved and allowed the dog to go with the guy to see if they could find the owner.

My in laws have a long animal history.  Justin had collies all of his life - Lolly and Dolly the collies.  After Justin moved out, there was Tasha, the Alaskan malamute, and two shih-tzus whose names I should remember because they lived with his parents for around 15 or 20 years.  But they were something foreign and all that comes to mind is "Miko" for one of them.  No idea on the other one.

Tasha, the Malamute

There were also numerous indoor and outdoor cats.  In fact, my mother in law became a sort of makeshift drop off point for people who were abandoning their cats and there were dozens of cats on the property by the time they sold the it to a developer and moved.  My in laws love animals so much that they had a whole building put up at their new house devoted solely to the feral cats that could not be indoor animals.  They have regular vet visits and all have been fixed so that they can't make more feral cats.  My father in law was a huge help in taking care of these cats and now one of the decisions my mother in law must make is what to do with all of those cats, because really it's too much for her to do on her own.

One of the things that was put into my father in law's obituary earlier this month is how much he loved his pets.  There are numerous indoor cats that remain at my mother in law's house.  Dotsy is the one that immediately springs to mind.  She is a black tortoiseshell kitty that he was especially fond of.  She has a special blanket that is kept in the middle of the couch that is her bed and she will fuss if anyone sits there in her spot.  She is at least 20 years old, a grand age for a cat.  She's friendly and sweet and he loved her so much.  You can tell that this cat knows something is wrong.  Animals know their owners.  I don't care what anyone says.  My animals know who I am and they would know if I wasn't here.  Dotsy knows that Otis hasn't come back and she is sad and confused.  As are the other cats that he loved so much.

(Aside - I did not start this post with the intention of writing about my father in law, but that's where it went and after I wrote that, I had to take a ten minute break to sob into Justin's shoulder.)

My family was a little different.  My parents are not really pet people, although they both had animals growing up.  They just feel that pets are an encumbrance and they love the feeling of being able to pick up and go anywhere they want without having to worry about who is going to take care of the animals.  I did have several cats growing up.  My favorite, Charlotte, was a tuxedo beauty who I got as a kitten when we lived in Vienna.  She lived until I was pregnant with my oldest son.  We had to have her put to sleep at age 13 due to what was most likely stomach cancer.  I was so broken up that I wussed out and ended up having Justin and my dad take her to be put to sleep.  Justin stayed with her and said she was obviously ready to go because they only had to use about half the medicine they usually use.  She was nothing but skin and bones at the end.

Charlotte, My Tuxedo Baby
I have had so many cats over the years that I can't begin to remember them all.  Some of them became members of the family and some of them simply did not fit in.  One cat bit one of the kids and had to be given up to someone who didn't have children.  One kitten came to me with worms and was very sick.  We only had her for a couple of days, but she was a beauty. 

I have only recently arrived at the conclusion that a dog is a necessity and I am only just now, after almost a year of dog ownership, really understanding why people love their dogs.  I always saw them as smelly, messy, wet, sloppy, pains in the butt that you had to rush home to feed and let outside to do their business. They are a pain when you need to go away if you don't have a neighbor who is a dog lover.  Jack has been quite an adjustment, but as so many bad things have happened in our lives since he has come into it, I have discovered just how comforting having a dog can be.  They sense when you are sad and they are always there for you.  You can hang onto a dog unlike anything you could do to a cat.  Jack is big enough for major hugs and he is very patient.  And he's just damned funny.  I have got to figure out how the video feature works on my camera because if I could get some of his antics on video, it would be priceless.  For now though, I will leave you with these images:

They are quite a pair, aren't they?  Don't those picture just scream, "Come and take me!!!!"  Yes, my pets are total sluts.  Well, these two, at any rate.



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How Are You?

Quite possibly the most stupid question in the English language.  Think about it.  When you ask a person this, what do you expect to hear?  "I'm fine," right?

So, that would be what most people respond with.  But in truth, how many of us are really fine?  How many days of your life are you joyful, happy, without stress and worry, enjoying the people you are close to, without a care in the world?  Is that what being fine means?  Or does it just mean, "Thank you for being polite and asking me?"  Living with two chronic illnesses, one mental and one physical, the answer varies from day to day, but I can usually say I'm doing okay.  Lately, however, I've realized how inadequate that question really is.

I have recently begun to suspect that "how are you?" is a really stupid question..  You are either "fine" or you're not and right now, we definitely are not fine.  I am not sure when we will be fine.  Maybe we will never be fine again.  Because here is the truth.

In the last year, Justin has been to 5 or 6 funerals.  See, I've lost count.  He sure is getting our money's worth out of that black suit that he bought last year.  The last funeral was for his father.  And no, he is not "fine."  He will eventually be okay, but he is not fine, good, great, or anything resembling any of those.  And, by proxy, I am also not fine because I cannot stand to see him in so much pain and still trying to shoulder the burden of supporting this family.

My mother, an incredibly smart, brave, courageous, beautiful soul has cancer.  They amputated the lower portion of her left leg in February and said they had gotten all of it.  But apparently, some pissy little cancer cell was circling around in her blood stream and, the day of my father in law's funeral, she found out that it almost positively has planted itself in her lungs.  This is very, very bad.  She had her biopsy today and we are waiting on results.

Because my dishwasher is broken, I am hand washing our dishes right now.  I do not say this because the dishwasher being broken is in any way important.  But what just happened was that I got so angry that I almost threw the plate I was taking out of the drainer across the room.  With my luck, the plate wouldn't have smashed, but I would have broken a window.  I do not throw things across the room or have temper tantrums or yell and scream.  Ever.  I avoid that kind of thing because I grew up with my brother, who was fantastic at throwing a screaming, angry fit.  But today, because I just couldn't handle everything anymore, I almost (almost) threw that plate across the room.

My best friend has metastatic breast cancer.  Another close friend is also undergoing treatment for breast cancer.  Another friend's son has brain cancer.  Another friend's three year old daughter died of leukemia.  No, I am not fine.

We need to come up with a better way to greet people than, "Hi.  How are you?"  Because the automatic response to that question is "I'm fine."  And we are not fine.  Not in any way, shape, or form.

I have been struggling ever since my mother found out about her lung about whether or not I will be (or should be) accompanying Justin to Gettysburg for his car club meet.  We have been planning this for a year and he wants me with him.  I do not know if my mom will be able or up to taking the kids.  They expect to have her biopsy results from today within "five to ten days."  Does this mean business or calendar days?  Do they hurry the results?  How soon would they begin treatment once they know?

I do not know whether I can go with Justin on this trip.  A very kind friend offered to take Joey for me, but it turns out that they may be gone that weekend.  Now I am trying very hard to make a decision without any information on which to rely.  I've made the dog a reservation, so the he is thankfully covered.  The guy at the kennel was very nice and said he wouldn't charge us if we cancel at the last minute, but I would want to pay him something for the fact that he is holding a four day slot for Jackson.

I don't know what I'm doing and I'm angry.  I don't know who to be mad at, so I lash out at the kid that wants me to interrupt what I'm doing for the 19th time today or at Justin, who just asked me a simple question and is angry at the world himself.  It's not fair.  Life's not fair.  And life is not "fine."

And yet, it's still what I ask Justin constantly and I cannot seem to help myself.  We are programmed to ask people how they are from birth, it seems.  It's the first thing you say when you answer the telephone.  Or meet up with a friend.  Or hug your mother after learning her cancer is almost positively back.  Or hugging your mother in law after her husband has just died.

No.  We are not fine.  And we need to stop asking that question and either come up with a better one or understand that it's not an appropriate question in porportion to the circumstances.

I know we don't know anything for sure about my mom yet.  But the waiting is killing me.  She takes a very no nonsense approach and just goes on with her life.  I am not that strong and I am not able to do that.  I want the answer to the question and I want it now.  And I want them to fix it, dammit.  Because I feel like somebody cheated her.

Life is not fine, but life will go on.  I just wish people would stop asking me how I am.



Things to Come!

So, maybe I haven't been blogging as much as I would like to these last few days.  It's funny how sometimes real life takes me away from the computer and drags me back into doing actual things instead of writing about them.  Between my birthday on Sunday and now trying to figure out what the heck I am going to do with the animals and the children when I need to be gone with Justin in Gettysburg, I am finding that I simply have not had time to do either a serious or a snarky blog entry.  This is such a crying shame, because I know y'all are sitting on the edge of your seats, watching your Facebook feeds to jump on each new entry and devour my words.  (No, I am not conceited, thank you very much!)

Here is what I promise to write about later today and tomorrow:

Why the question "How are you?" is absolutely the worst question on earth and should be banned from the English language.

How the decluttering is going.  I know I haven't posted much about my efforts lately, but I have been working on it quietly and consistently.  And to give you a preview, here is something I did this morning:

Yes, that cabinet in the dining room is now completely empty.  I know, right?????  Please ignore the boxes and stack of photos sitting on the floor next to the cabinet because I'm getting to it.  It's 15 years worth of photos that I need to go through and it's a little overwhelming.

Check back later today to see just what I took out of this cabinet and some other pics of things that have left the building.  It's unreal how much crap I have accumulated over the years and how much I do not want that crap now!

Off to lunch.  I promise two good entries are coming.  Really.



Monday, July 25, 2011

Please Like Me (Also Known As I Don't Have Anything Today)

Okay, folks.  This is going to be short and sweet because today has been a disaster.  The guys came to pour the concrete beside the deck and got all of the ground leveled off and framed in.  Then it started to pour, so they will be coming back tomorrow to finish.  The guy came to "fix" the dishwasher, which actually means (I did not know this!) he has to order parts.  They will hopefully be here in three to four days.  Please God, let them be here in three to four days, because the kids simply cannot wash dishes and get them clean.  I don't know if it's deliberate or not, but the dishes are still dirty and I am having to rewash.

Every time I tried to sit down and write today, it was a disaster.  The kids being home for the summer really gets my schedule out of whack and I never got back to the 20 pages I wrote last night for the awesome new book I am going to write.  Stay tuned for more details and no, that does not mean I won't be doing the chronic pain book.  Since I don't have enough submissions for that yet, I am biding my time until I do and then I will do my own writing, get Toni to write the prologue, and get it out to a publisher.  In the meantime, I needed a project and this hit me like a bolt of lightning last night after my ambien dosage.  It's so weird, but I write better on ambien.  I don't know what that is.  Maybe because it takes the inhibitions down and you write the truth?

But, on a more personal note, I have set up a Facebook "community" page.  I decided that the closed group just wasn't working and I wanted something more open, so please click on the link on the right hand side of the blog and "like" me.  Keep track of what number you are, because I will be giving away a hand made (by me) canvas butterfly or cancer awareness ribbon refrigerator magnet customized to your requested colors.  So let's get to "liking" me people!  You have to actually go to the page on Facebook and click "like" to count.

That's about it for today.  It took me two hours after I got out of the shower to get my hair dried between the kids and the phone and the dog and the husband - all of which I appreciate greatly, but summer is really stressing me out.

I have a huge surprise for the younger boys coming on August 8th.  I will be posting pictures.  In the meantime, here are the canvas magnets that I am making:

Don't you really want one?  I think they are so pretty!  I was hoping to offer them for sale to contribute to cancer research, but my fibro hands will only let me sew for a very short time period these days, so I am limited to my giveaway and the Ankylosis Spondylitis (sorry if I misspelled that, Kelly!) auction.



Saturday, July 23, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

Me and Max, the Turtleneck

I recently needed a profile picture for the Ask a Bipolar website, so I recruited Jamie, who does a pretty darned good job of taking pictures when I can force the camera into his hands.  I love this picture of me with Max, because it looks like he's actually my turtleneck.  We didn't use this one for the website.  That honor went to the dog.  That will teach the cat to think he's part of my wardrobe.


This weekend I turn 47.  I am three years away from needing a "routine" colonoscopy as of tomorrow.  I have heard that while the procedure isn't so bad because they knock you out now (which they should because how else would you cope with 20 feet of tube up your ass?), but the preparation the day before is a total bitch.  I don't like people messing around with my digestive tract.  I've heard they are actually going to replace this procedure in the future with "virtual" colonoscopies.  I can only hope that's in the works right now because cancer seems to run in my family and I do not want to avoid a procedure that can save my life.  But I don't want to spend two or three days throwing up and sitting on the toilet while cleaning myself out.  (Sorry for the visual there, guys!)

The unfair thing about being 47, to me, is the fact that not only is my hair turning white, but I still have zits that crop up from time to time.  Don't you get the benefits of aging by this time?  I thought suffering through horrific acne as a teenager would mean that by this time in my life, I would at least have beautifully smooth, young looking skin.  But no....

Speaking of hair, there are hairs growing in places hair has no business growing.  After my surgery last year, my body's metabolism totally quit on me and I now need to lose at least 15 pounds (20 would be better), even though I never get dessert anymore.  Being almost 50 apparently means eating a lot of fiber and saying things to your kids like, "You'll thank me for this when you are a parent."  When I did I become my mother???

It horrifies me, in a way, that I can see that half century mark on the horizon.  I still feel as if I'm about 16 and I know my emotional development arrested when I was a teenager.  It's just that my body didn't get the memo.

I am still that inner child, even though I am plucking things and sagging.  Oh, yeah, gravity is a bitch.  By the time I'm 70, I suspect that my breasts and my stomach will be on more than speaking terms.  And speaking of my stomach, when did it decide that it should be larger than my boobs?  I thought the top half was supposed to be bigger.  What the hell?

Tomorrow, on the anniversary of my birth, I am forcing dragging taking my family to see the last Harry Potter movie.  This is a sad thing in some ways.  It's the end of an era.  I have read the books (and am currently re-reading them) and I have all of the movies that have come out on DVD.  We will be having a marathon of two movies this afternoon and evening so that I can remember where we are in the story.  I suspect Justin and I will be the only ones to watch these movies today, but tomorrow, everyone is going.  I'm bribing them with dinner afterwards.  When the first Harry Potter book came out, it was 1997, before my third child was born.  The movie followed in 2002, a time when I was raising toddlers and trying to figure out how to handle my bipolar disorder.  I was still an immature, manic bitch trying to figure out how I had almost blown up my entire life and what to do with an autistic child.

Now, in 2011, I am much older.  And much wiser.  More emotionally stable and much more mature.  I can forgive, with time, when I am hurt.  I understand myself so much better.  And I am proud to say that I am raising three incredible sons.  I am at a point in my life that I am completely happy with what I am doing.  I am excited about my middle son being in the high school marching band this year, because marching band for the kids brings back my own high school days and how much fun I had.  I can't wait for football season to start this year (Justin will drop the computer when he reads this) because I am so looking forward to going to the high school stadium, getting Joey popcorn and hot chocolate, and sitting on the hard bleachers (which gets harder and harder as my ass gets older and older) to watch my son march across that field at half time.

I think 47 is actually a really good time in my life.  I am happy, almost always.  I have figured out how to keep the drama in my life to a minimum, which helps so much with my bipolar disorder.  I have rediscovered just how much I love my husband, my children, my life.  Yes, there are very upsetting, horrible things happening, but I can deal with them.  And hopefully, I am at a stage in my emotional development that I can be a support to the people in my life who are going through hell at the moment and give back some of the support that they have always given to me.

I am lucky and I know it.  I am grateful for my life.  I am grateful for my family.  And I am grateful that I lost my job last year, because it opened up a whole new world of doing something that I love.  Hopefully with the idea of earning a living at it soon.  It amazes me that you can actually have multiple careers in your lifetime and the new one that I have discovered is something I absolutely love doing. 

And most of all, I am grateful for my husband who makes my life possible.  He makes my life worth living.  He makes me happy.  After 23 years, I am still so in love with my husband.  What a wonderful gift I have received.

Okay, I'm going to end this here before I start making people nauseous.  Happy birthday to me!



Friday, July 22, 2011

If You Don't Like Blood, Read No Further!

I did this to myself in the shower this morning.  Again.


I came downstairs wrapped in a towel after my shower and said to Justin, "If you will get me my camera and a bandaid, I will flash you."  Camera and bandaid were immediately received and he didn't bat an eye until I opened the towel.

But anyway....

I've been thinking for awhile about the difference between intelligence and stupidity.  Here is how Webster's dictionary (for students because I am too lazy - not to be confused with stupid - to go upstairs into the oven that has become the top level of my home during this heat wave to get my own adult dictionary) defines these words:

Intelligence:  1. The ability to learn and understand; 2. NEWS; 3. INFORMATION; an agency that obtains information about an enemy or a possible enemy.

Stupidity:  1. The quality or state of being stupid (Okay, really?  You don't define a word with another version of the same word!); a stupid thought, action, or remark.  (Again, seriously??? This is what we're teaching our students now?  No wonder test scores are going down.  But I digresss...)

Okay, so let's look up stupid, since Webster's thinks it is being clever here:

Stupid:  1. Slow or dull of mind; 2. Showing or resulting from a dull mind or a lack of proper attention; 3 Not interesting or worthwhile.

Whew.  For a minute there I was afraid I was stupid and just was too "dull of mind" to know it.  I mean, really, would you actually know if you were stupid?  Well, I know when I'm acting stupid.  As in my mind is not paying attention, I don't pick up on a fact, I don't remember something I should, I don't (ahem, here's the important part) learn from my mistakes.

I was thinking that it might be a good idea for Webster's to redefine intelligence and stupidity.

Stupidity:  The act of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Intelligence:  Learning from your mistakes and doing something differently.

Okay, that's not too different from the definition of intelligence that Webster's came up with, i.e. the ability to learn and understand.  For instance, I know that if I run the razor over my ankle in a certain way, I am going to cut myself.  And then I proceed to run the razor over that same spot on my ankle over and over and over own definition of stupidity.  How can I not remember that it hurts when I do that?  Am I being stupid?  No, I am probably just coming up with a list of blog topics, or thinking about what I'm about to sit down and write, or I'm singing the theme song to Sesame Street in my mind and not paying attention.  Wait.  That was part of the definition of stupid, right?  Not paying attention.



Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Declutter Bear

Mom, I apologize ahead of time for my life.  I am probably so not the daughter you envisioned!

For those times when you are feeling slightly unmotivated to decrapify your house:

Declutter, But Not Me!

Does anyone else think this is one creepy-ass bear?  Okay, here's the story:

For Christmas last year, my mother took my grandmother's old bathrobe to a friend who makes teddy bears.   My grandmother passed away several years ago and my mother had worn the robe quite a bit before deciding that she would like to have it made into teddy bears for herself, her daughter (me!), and my cousins.  She may have had one made for her sister too.  My short term memory sucks.

Anyway, the bear came with a card, which I kept but couldn't find for the picture, with the salutation that the bear was made from my grandmother's bathrobe, her name, and birth and death years.  And so I came to be in possession of the Declutter Incentive Bear you see in the picture above.

At the time, I was kind of going with the whole Christmas spirit thing and was frankly feeling a little sentimental about this bear.  I thanked my mother and told her, "No, of course I don't think it's creepy!"  And took the little guy up to our bedroom, where he sat with the other stuffed animals cluttering up our joint bedroom.  I'm sure Justin loves the bunny rabbit my dad gave me when I had the hysterectomy, the teddy bear with roses that he had sent to my office for Valentine's Day just to prove to a co-worker for me that she wasn't the only one with a nice husband (yes, I asked him to do it - so sue me), and a couple other teddy bears which I have actually donated to Goodwill in the past few months.

When I put my desk back up in the bedroom, I could feel that bear's eyes on me.  I had him on my desk.  Then I had him on the bookcase.  But no matter where he was in my room, his eyes were boring into me.  I couldn't shake that creepy-ass bear stare.

After stumbling across my favorite website for decluttering, written by Colleen from Australia, I realized that this bear kind of represents "obligation clutter."  The truth is, the longer I had the bear, the more creeped out I was getting.  Until today, when I realized hey.  This bear can be the motivation for me to keep up the decluttering.  I have donated literally hundreds of items over the past few months, but I still have a ways to go.  All of a sudden, my bear is no longer clutter!  And I wish I had a way to market him, but I'm not a computer savvy, techno-marketing person, so for now, feel free to copy the image to your computer and use it to help keep you motivated. And now I am in love with this bear!

It's a shame there aren't more bathrobes lying around, although my mom told me today that when she dies, she's going to have her friend make one of her t-shirts into a bear for me, just to poke at me from heaven.  She offered to take the Declutter Bear off my hands and I said, "No way.  Now this bear has motivation power."  My plan is to keep the bear until every single item of unwanted and unused clutter is out of my house, I have gotten my entire family in on the decluttering, and once my house is clean and clutter free, I will keep it as a reminder not to bring in a lot of new crap that will thwart my efforts to keep it that way.

I think I'm going to put it with the metal chickens.  These things aren't clutter, people.  They are art!

Stay tuned for pics of things I have gotten rid of recently.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Agoraphobia Meets Hell's Weather

Weed Eating Groundhog
This little guy showed up a couple of days ago and started munching on the weeds in our backyard.  Obviously, we needed a weed eater, so I didn't try to shoo him away.  And I missed the shot where he got up on his hind legs, which kind of pissed me off.  Why can't we get rodents to pose for pictures?

Anyway, now Justin has run the mower all over the backyard and the poor little guy will have to look elsewhere for his meals.  Which makes me sad, because shouldn't everyone have their very own weed eating groundhog?  Shit.  Now I want to watch Groundhog Day and eat popcorn.

Anyway, just wanted to show you that it's been so hot here that we are resorting to visiting mammals to take care of our landscaping for us.  Well, until yesterday, when Justin finally had time to go out and cut the grass in spite of the heat.  Or maybe he enjoys the heat.  I don't know - he's out there in it a lot.

But I'm pretty sure that the sign I saw on my Facebook page saying that Satan called and he wants his weather back is true.  It's freaking hot out there.

Of course, I have been putting off my errands all week because I couldn't get myself out of the house.  Thank you, agoraphobia.  I just love it that I'm a prisoner in my own mind!  I finally forced myself out today because if I didn't the good meds were going to run out and we just can't have me unmedicated.  It wouldn't be fair to my family.

I've taken to driving extremely carefully lately, because I know my fear of the crazy ass drivers in our town is totally justified.  There have been a high number of accidents and several deaths at intersections where I frequently sit, so I think that proves that agoraphobia is really just your mind's way of telling you it's too dangerous out there and do. not. go. out.  But today, I had to, so I did.  And my God, it's hot out there!  I could have cooked those waffles I burned on the sidewalk.  I was sweating before I ever got out of the car and the heat slammed into me when I opened the door to get out at the pet store.

I had spent the whole drive over arguing with myself about the pet store.  Because I knew we were going to run out of both dog and cat food and the pet store is right next door to the store where I get my prescriptions filled.  The conversation went something like this:

Me:  We need dog and cat food.

Me:  I don't want to go to the pet store.  It can wait until this weekend.

Me:  Just go to the pet store.  It's right by the other store.

Me:  But it's hot.  We won't run out before this weekend and I can go then.

Me:  Be reasonable.  You and I both know you won't go out this weekend and Justin will end up having to do it.  Doesn't Justin have enough to do?  Are you really that selfish?

Me:  Yes.  I'm really that selfish.  But Justin's a nice guy and I'll go to the damned pet store, so shut the fuck up.


So I went to the damned pet store and the guy was actually nice enough to carry the dog food bag, which weighs more than the dog, out to the car for me.  People are really nice.  What am I so freaking afraid of???  Oh yeah.  That girl that got abducted and raped last week and was released by her captors right down the road from the community college my son attends.  Right.  Don't get gas.  (She was gassing up her car when she was taken.)

I'm pretty sure that the guy in front of me at the stop light didn't actually see me yelling "asshole!" when he stopped for the yellow light.  Because how often have you actually looked in your rear view mirror and seen someone yelling at you for obeying the law?  I'm also sure he didn't hear me ask him (sarcastically), "Can we go now?" when the light turned green.  Probably better.  You don't know who you're yelling at when you go out.  Who in their right mind starts a fight when you're a girl out on your own in a "small town" where drunk drivers kill families of four at stoplights and a girl get abducted and raped when she just wanted to gas up her car?  What the hell?

So, I think, all in all, my agoraphobia is a protective device which has kept me safe.  I mean, sure, the house can seem a little small and cramped when I haven't gone anywhere for a week, but at least I'm not getting plowed into from behind by some idiot who drank all night and decided to get behind the wheel and wipe out a whole family.

Time to move further to a beach somewhere.  I'm taking suggestions.  Make sure it has big windows I can look out of from the safe inside.

Shit.  I've got to go out again tomorrow and I need gas.

Me:  Justin can get me gas.

Me:  Damned right!


Fibro Fog Eats My Brain

Hey, I need just a little help here.

Recently I asked people to write to me and let me know if they were out there scribbling away at their chapter entry for my chronic illness book.  Unfortunately, due to a cosmic and chronic state of brain fart, I did not actually write anything down when I got responses.  Which now means I have four saved stories, my own half written, and no idea if there are people out there writing and anticipating sending in an entry before the end of September or if y'all have moved on to something way more interesting than what it's like to live with a chronic, sucky illness.

If it's the former, good for you.  I love it when people can focus on something besides their chronic pain and if you have figured out how that works, could you please share it with me because I know my husband and kids are tired of listening to me whine.

If it's the latter, could you please either email me at (again) or put a comment up on Toni's facebook page.  If you are on my facebook page and want to leave me a wall post, feel free to do that as well.

Right now, I have four chapters saved for revision for Michael, Amberlin, Kathy, and Sarah-Louise.  Carol, I know you are working on yours.  And there's mine, which is half written.  That does not a book make, so please let me know if you are writing for me so this project doesn't stagnate and end before it begins!  It's my baby and I'd really like to pursue it.

Thanks and I hope you are having a pretty wonderful, pain-free day today.



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Do NOT Write While on Ambien

I know, I know.  I am not supposed to blog after I've taken my ambien.  But really, it's not working and if I say something you know would cause milk to shoot out of my nose tomorrow after I wake up, send me a text and let me know that I need to get on here as soon as I wake up and fix it.

I just wanted to share that I am now a contributing author over at, a website set up and run by Marybeth Smith, my newest favorite person in the whole world.  Marybeth created the site to help answer the public's questions about bipolar disorder by giving them straight from the horse's mouth answers from people who know what it is like to have this disease, to live with it every single day, and how it affects everyone around them.  So, if you'd like to go check it out, my preliminary biography is up (with a more refined version to follow) and you can even submit a question to be answered by one of the authors on the site.  I am anxiously awaiting my first question and hope to do it justice.

It's taken me a lot of months to get to a place where I finally feel like I am making progress with this writing thing and I am so grateful to Marybeth for giving me this opportunity to get my name out there, both as a writer and as an advocate for people with mental illnesses.  I, for one, am tired of being in (as she put it in her book) "the bipolar closet."  This is a brain disease and the fact that there is still a stigma attached to it, even among people in the psychology profession, really pisses me off.  So help me do something about it.

If you know of someone who is bipolar and is struggling or if you are bipolar and just need some information or a question answered, please come on over to the website.  I'd love to have you as my very first question, so ask for me if you like!



Back to Planet Earth

So I've been on some kind of totally awesome, inspired writing-blogging thing and the sarcasm and wittiness have somewhat abounded over the last few days...I think.  Well, I thought I was funny.

But, having reached a new low in insomnia last night and getting only five hours of sleep, I thought today might be a good day to share just how bad things seem to be going at the moment.  I'm feeling just a bit morose and overwhelmed and I think you would be too.

So, in no particular order:

My dear, wonderful, sweet father in law passed away and a week ago today was the visitation.  It also happened to be my mother in law's birthday.  Her kids asked her if she really wanted to have the visitation on her birthday and she said she did because they had always done things together on their birthdays and this would be the last chance they would have to do that.  Just reading that sentence makes me cry.  I'm going to miss him something awful and I can't stand the pain I am watching my husband go through right now.

When we got back to my in-laws' house after the funeral, I called my mom on her cell phone just to check and make sure everything had gone okay with her routine follow-up CT scan of her lungs that morning.  Well, it didn't.  The cancer they thought that they had cut out of her when they amputated her leg appears to have spread to her lungs and there are two spots there that weren't there in April.  You can imagine exactly how our Wednesday was going last week.  Well, really, you can't.  Because that's got to be the worst day of our lives, at least in recent history.  God, if you're up there, you can really stop with all this cancer shit now.  I don't know what the point is and sometimes I think that the point is that it's absolutely pointless.  And you have a really sick sense of humor.  Amputating her leg wasn't. fucking. enough?

My best friend's breast cancer came back awhile ago and they put her through the hell of radiation.  Then it turned out that the plastic surgeon had screwed up and she ended up having to have half of her reconstruction removed.  Another friend's breast cancer is also back and she has an absolute nightmare of a procedure to look forward to next week.  Again, what the fuck is up with the cancer, God?  Whatever it is that you're trying to tell me, I get the message, but you're going to need to send a translator because I can't understand what it is you're trying to say.

I've been working really hard over the last few days to stay strong and positive and be the rock my husband needs me to be right now.  I'm not letting myself cry around my mom because really, we won't know anything for sure until after her biopsy, but since she's already put off her move to the south next month and is planning on chemo, I'm pretty sure she's pretty sure what that biopsy is going to say.   I'm here blithely writing about chickens and doggie anal glands in the hope that if I'm just snarky and sarcastic enough, God will appreciate my wit and give us a break already.  It's been a really. bad. year.

I was going along okay until I logged onto Facebook late last night and discovered that another woman, a journalist no less, apparently has the same idea for a website as the one for my book.  And she's already got it set up and is asking for people to submit their stories.  My husband very sweetly reminded me that there were lots of books written about Gettysburg too, so it's not like this changes anything.  It's just that for once in my life, I'd like to have one original idea.  Just once.

Today I will see my counselor and tell her that even though the Zoloft seems to be working for the depression and I feel just a little numb and better equipped to handle all this bullshit in my life, I don't understand why I should have to handle all this bullshit in my life.  My dad always told me life wasn't fair.  Well damn, he sure got that one right.  That might have been the wisest thing he ever told me.  I don't know if that's the one thing he wanted to teach me, but it sure stuck in my head all these years and has never seemed more true than today.

Sorry for the crash back to reality - payback is a bitch and I think Karma is telling me that making fun of the universe right now might be in bad taste.  But really, what the hell else am I going to do?

Life sucks right now and I am capturing that through the lens of the camera Justin got me for my birthday.  Which is awesome and I totally have to share the picture I got of our little groundhog in the backyard.  Maybe in my next post.


Monday, July 18, 2011

NOBODY Gets Metal Chickens

I went to CVS yesterday to pick up a gift bag and a chicken card for my mom, because I wanted to give her back her feathered chicken.  (There's a reason I was giving her something she gave me in a gift bag.  Don't judge me.)

As I wandered up and down the four aisles of cards, I did not find one freaking card with a chicken on the front.  Oh yeah - puppies, kittens, even a really stupid looking cartoon owl on the front of a "You Graduated Preschool! (so now we're going to kick your unprepared little ass the hell into elementary school) card, but No. Chicken. Card.  What the fuck?

As I wandered back and forth, losing nineteen hours about 20 minutes of time trying to find a damned chicken card - "When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best," we promise not to have the card you are looking for - I noticed a woman who had been standing in front of the same stack of cards for quite awhile and I plucked up my agoraphobic nerves to say, "You haven't seen any cards with chickens on them, have you?"

Woman (looking at me like I'd lost my fucking mind):  Um, no.  I think there's one with some birds on it.

Me:  It has to be a chicken.


Me (sighing loudly):  Nobody gets the chicken thing.

I ended up settling on one of those cards where they prepay the postage for you with butterflies, since I'm all about butterflies and apparently big metal chickens are so June 2011 (thank you very much, Jenny Lawson) and writing my own little note inside the card explaining exactly why I was regifting my mother with her own chicken.  Then I went home and hyperventilated into a paper bag from being out in the real world for 45 minutes.

After I was breathing normally again inside my safe house with the doors locked and the shades pulled so the big metal chickens couldn't find me, I went online and went back to Jenny's website for the link, because my mom simply must have a metal chicken.  Don't ask.  It's her story and I'm not telling it yet, but believe me, my mom needs a metal chicken right now.

Thanks to Jenny's miraculous ability to turn the absurd into something marketable, a skill I will never possess in my lifetime, I found these:

Metal Chicken Photosculptures

I would totally have stolen a picture of the product, but zazzle wouldn't let me.  And I know that Jenny won't mind the free publicity and the fact that I am attempting to add to her fame, so I am telling you that everyone in your life should have one of these metal chicken photosculptures.  Unfortunately, you can't add text, but you can put a post it note that says "Knock-knock, Motherfucker" on the bottom if you so desire.  It's the all purpose gift.  She's also selling notecards and t-shirts that will probably get you fired if you buy the one with that particular caption, but life is no fun if we don't make it fun and who wants to work for someone with no sense of humor?

I was going to order one for Jamie for Christmas, since he simply (and quite deliberately, in my opinion) refuses to understand the unique and important nature of the metal chicken.  I may still force one on him buy one for him at some point when Christmas shopping begins in earnest just because he's being such a booger by insisting the metal chicken isn't funny.  It so is funny!  How can you not laugh at this, even without the backstory:

Knock-knock, Motherfucker
(Jenny Lawson,

Come on!   You don't even need context here.

I bought $59 worth of metal chicken sculptures and a keychain.  It was totally worth it.



Sunday, July 17, 2011

Harry Potter vs. Agoraphobia

So yesterday I thought I might take Joey out to see the last Harry Potter movie at the "new" local Alamo Drafthouse, which has been here, like, I don't know, four(?) years.  But the agoraphobia totally stopped me, so we watched Chamber of Secrets in the family room and then I bribed him with popcorn and guilt to watch another movie with me...which he bailed on as soon as his popcorn ran out.  Apparently, I'm not very entertaining. I think as a mother, I've pretty much failed completely when the Wii games are more fun.

Then again, those video games really rock and I'm just Mom on the couch, right?

So then I watched Diary of a Wimpy Kid by myself.  Seriously.  And ate fudge stripe cookies and finished the popcorn.  Which explains why I didn't want the pizza we ordered when Justin got home.

I think dieting ranks up there with exercising.  They both suck.  It's much more fun to overeat junk food and let my mind turn into some kind of pea soup by watching bad cable movies and posting status updates on Facebook.  But I still think I'm kind of fun to watch movies with and I'm willing to order anything off of pay per view as a bribe for a kid to sit and watch with me.  Well, actually, I probably wouldn't watch Spartacus with any of my kids because I'd be embarrassed by the sex scenes and they would probably be looking aside at me like oh my God, my mom had to have had sex at least three times...ewww!

But the point is that I still haven't been to the freaking Alamo because I can't convince myself I won't run into someone I don't want to see there and I spaz out every time I think about actually going anywhere.  And the more bad stuff that happens, the harder it gets for me to go out.  Hmmm...there might be more than a coincidence there.

Don't they have a pill for this kind of thing?  Oh wait.  I'm already taking them.  Hey, shrink guy.  The pills are. not. working.  Might be time to try something else.



Saturday, July 16, 2011

How to Buy Your Nieces' Affection and Be the Aunt They Love

Image from Google Images

Okay, I'm pretty sure I need an intervention.  Do they have interventions for women who give their nieces really expensive jewelry so that said nieces will then think their aunt is better than ice cream and Santa Claus?

A little back story.

Justin is one of three kids.  He has four boys, including the three I forced on him gave him, and one son from his first marriage.  His brother has one boy and three girls.  His sister is single with no children.

So, I got the boys.  My brother in law got the girls.  It's okay, cause I totally get boys and have no freaking idea how to talk to little girls.  I love them and I wanted them and I would have so spoiled them if I had them, but I got boys and I'm really happy with that.  But there are these three little nieces.  Adorable little nieces.  Who I only see a couple of times a year, so they don't really remember me or know who I am.  I plan on rectifying this with jewelry.  Oops, I mean by visiting a lot more.  But also, apparently, by impulsively giving them jewelry.

When we went down to Fredericksburg to attend my father in law's funeral earlier this week, I took a small box with an opal necklace that Justin had given to me and a matching ring.  I didn't wear the ring, but I did wear the necklace to the service.  When we got there, I walked over to my sister in law to give her a hug and my oldest niece said to me, "I like your necklace, Aunt Chelle."  I told her thank you, that Justin had given it to me and my sister in law mentioned that opal was M's birthstone.

Oh my God!  I know how I can buy their love get to know my nieces!  With shiny, expensive jewelry.  On total impulse, I told M that I had some things I wanted to give her.  I do not regret this for a minute.  This is jewelry I had actually thought of selling.  I can't wear the opal earrings Justin bought from an estate jeweler because my ear holes closed up years ago and I was allergic to every single pair I ever owned.  I never wore the opal ring because it just bugged me for some reason.  The ring looked a lot like the one in the picture.  And I have two opal necklaces because Justin bought me one years ago and then forgot, so he bought me another one the Christmas before last.  I like the one I was wearing more than the other one, although the other one is probably more valuable.  So M is getting the earrings, extra necklace and ring.  Extra jewelry problem solved with bonus of niece thinking I'm the greatest person on the planet right now.

I had put all of this opal jewelry into a box and considered where on earth I could take it to sell.  And it sat there.  Until we went to the funeral, when I discovered that M's birthstone was opal.  Lightning strikes!!!

I casually asked my sister in law what the other girls' birthstones were, thinking I could also bequeath some things to them so that they didn't feel left out.  Diamond and peridot.  Um...

After we got back to my mother in law's house, I went into our luggage and got out the ring that I had brought with me and found M.  I handed her the ring, saying, "Remember when I told you I have something for you?"  Her eyes got as big around as the watermelons in my garden.  I then told her that I would be back down with the necklace and earrings sometime soon.  She ran to her mom with the ring and tried it on every finger, but this is adult jewelry and it is just too big for her.  And way too adult and expensive and totally inappropriate.  And I'm really tickled that I can be the aunt that brings pretty, shiny things that these adorable little girls can show off to their little friends and proudly say, "My Aunt Chelle gave me that!"  And maybe wear them for prom or something.

Of course, this little "gift" created a gift giving problem.  What to do for the other two, because I  in no way want them to feel as if Aunt Chelle doesn't want to buy their love love them too. (Okay, seriously, I am not looking to buy their love, but it was so much freaking fun to see M's eyes light up when she saw that ring!) Luckily, I also have a pair of diamond stud earrings that I can't wear (see reasons above) which I can give to K.  But as far as E is concerned, I am stymied.  Peridot is green and frankly, I've never heard of it.  And who wants green jewelry?  Plus, who wants jewelry they can't wear?  Maybe I should have thought this through a little better?  (Do you know me, people?  When have I ever thought anything through?  That's the fun part of being bipolar.  Life can be fun when people can't predict what you are going to come up with next.)

I'm thinking it might be a good idea to steal from ask my mom if she would be willing to part with a couple of items of jewelry, since she mentioned that she has a lot of jewelry sitting around not doing anything yesterday when I told her about the opal ring gifting.

But...I have a feeling the fun will run out when the girls realize they cannot wear these items for at least ten years without their mother and a bodyguard present.  So, I mentioned to Justin that it might be a good idea to order pendants for each of them online with their birthstones.  Except maybe pink for E instead of green because really, she likes pink better.  And wouldn't it be fun to have something they could actually wear now and show off enjoy?

I think Justin should be glad that all of our kids were boys, because there would be way too much girly, frilly, shiny stuff in my house if we had had girls.  And our bank account would probably be a lot slimmer because jewelry is way more expensive than video games.  Also, he was threatening to shoot all guys that dared to date any prospective daughter of his, so I think, in the long run, everyone wins because we had boys.

Of course, I am holding back a few pieces of choice jewelry for potential daughters in law and granddaughters.  Because you know God is up there picking out a little girly girl for my future, right?  He seriously needs to step up here and provide something I can put pink on.  Even if it is a metal chicken.



Friday, July 15, 2011

Help! My House Smells Like Ass!

Jackson the Stinky Retriever

Doesn't he look regal in this picture?  I posted this pic and some other ones up on Facebook yesterday and people loved them.  I got told by somebody that he looked very gentle.  As if.  Don't let that face fool you.

For the last couple of weeks, this dog has been chewing at his, um, hind end.  When we took him in for his summer grooming at Petco, they were supposed to clean out those glands that nobody wants to talk about but that dogs notoriously love to drag across the carpet.  I don't think they did it because my house smells like fish and the dog's nose is suspiciously wet...ewwww....

This afternoon, I called the vet.  The message went something like this:

Hi, it's Chelle.  Um, I was wondering if you could possibly come by and clean out Jack's anal glands.  This is something Justin and I would be more than happy to pay you to do.  Please call me back.

I went into the office and said to Justin:  This dog stinks.  I called the vet.

Justin:  Yeah, his ass is bothering him.

Me:  Why does he smell like fish?  Shouldn't he smell like ass?

Justin:  Maybe that's what ass smells like.

Okay, that's not something I ever considered before, but I will concede the possibility because my house smells an awful lot like fish oil right now and I am hoping the vet can get over here before the weekend.  Unfortunately, there is no carpet on the main level of the house, because I can just see the roaringly funny pictures I could take with my new camera of him dragging his butt across my floors.

Some days it pays more to be a pet owner than others.  I love that dog, but holy God does he smell.

He is also of the firm belief that he is a lap dog, something we cannot seem to get through his head that he most definitely is not.  I think 85 pounds more than qualifies as "not a lap dog."

Please, please send thoughts to my vet to get herself over here and do something about our dog's ass.  I don't think we can take a whole weekend of full anal glands.  And there's a sentence I never thought I would write.



Thursday, July 14, 2011

I've Got Nothing So Watch the Zombie Apocalypse

I'm not sure, but this could possibly be the shittiest week of my life.  Sorry for the profanity, but I really, honestly, have nothing.  So I am sending you over to Jenny Lawson's website to watch her speech at the EVO convention last weekend.  Apparently, Mormons really rock but they don't make very good bartenders.  But since they don't seem to mind the profanity, I'd have to say the no alcohol rule would work okay for me.

Also, apparently people who sell lawn ornaments are getting requests for metal chickens, so that post is well worth checking out, as is her screen shot of her googling "shipping containers for typhoid infected cobras."  You can always count on google, not only to know what you really mean but to also give you options.

Thanks to the Bloggess.  Jenny, you. are. awesome.  My goal in life is to be ridiculously happy and I am so shouting "Wolverines!" the next time I am out in public.



Monday, July 11, 2011

There Are No Words

Justin said to me today, "You haven't updated your blog."  I apologize for the absence.

On Friday, July 8, 2011, Justin's father passed away from congenital heart failure after a heart attack on Father's Day and a quadruple bypass surgery.  He had previously lost a kidney to cancer, so his one kidney was trying to function for two and his body just couldn't sustain itself after all of that damage.

The loss was unexpected and a total shock.  And devastating to my husband, who loved his father more than words can ever express.

My mother in law called yesterday and asked if we would come up with some memories of Justin's dad to give to the minister who will be conducting the funeral service.  This morning, I was thinking of the 25 years that have passed since I met Justin's dad and wondering what on earth I could possibly say that would encompass how much I came to love him.  And how grateful I am that he gave his son to me.

I guess it's easy to take the people in your life for granted and I think I just assume that my parents and his will always be there.  We don't like to think about the people in our lives getting older and getting sick and dying.  How do you comfort someone who just lost her husband of 48 years after an heroic two and a half week fight to live?  How do you comfort the children he left behind or the grandchildren?  And how do I come to terms with the fact that I was unable to see him after his heart attack because I had to stay here to handle things with the kids and the house and the pets.  It hurts my heart that I didn't get a chance to see him, but I am somewhat comforted by the fact that I was able to talk to him on the phone and tell him that I love him.  And I know that he heard me because he told me he loved me too.

Justin's dad was a big man and he could be an intimidating man.  I admit that when I first met him, he scared me.  I was young and he seemed bigger than life.  But as time went on and he mellowed and became softer and, after the grandchildren came along, I realized that this was a man who was incredibly proud of his oldest son and loved me and the grandchildren that we gave him beyond measure.

One of the best memories I have is of my father in law taking my children for rides on the tractor around the yard of the house that was their family home for over 40 years.  I know I have pictures somewhere.  I remember taking them and I remember exactly what they look like, but I have gone through the 2,000 or 3,000 loose photographs I have and cannot find them.  I was crushed that I was unable to put my hands on these pictures.

The other thing that I keep thinking about is how concerned he was when my mother got sick, calling all the time to ask how she was doing and asking Justin how I was holding up.  He was so concerned for me and for my mother and I will be forever grateful to him for how much he cared.

My father in law loved his wife more than life itself and I don't think he wanted her to have to take care of him.  I think that in the end, he made the choice to go because he wanted her to remember him as he was.  Not as an invalid.  I know he wasn't ready to leave her, but his body just wouldn't let him stay.  I know that my mother in law is simply beyond grief right now and I wish there was something, anything I could do to help her with this pain or to bring him back.

Grieving is hard.  Yesterday, Jamie got upset with me about throwing out some of his t-shirts when they got holes in them.  I told him that this wasn't a good time for us to be getting angry with each other and he said, "I know.  I'm just mad."  We're all mad, but who are we supposed to be mad at?  I told him it was a normal part of the process.  We're going to feel all of the stages of grief and not necessarily in order.  You can be devastatingly sad and furious at the same time.  You can be in denial that it happened while simultaneously bursting into tears at something small that brings back a memory.

Justin is seeing his children now as a way that his father lives on.  A part of their grandfather will always be here because their grandfather had Justin.  There are eight grandchildren and he loved them all without reservation.  And they loved him right back.

I don't know how we will get through the next two days.  But somehow, we will and afterwards we will be left with the good memories.  Forty seven is so young to lose your father and it's scary to think of all the years we have left to live without him.  But in some way, he will always be with us.  Through our memories and through our children.

Otis L. Newton
September 12, 1941 - July 8, 2011
Husband, Father, and Grandfather
You are forever loved and missed.