Monday, May 31, 2010
In gratitude to all men and women of any nation who have fought or who continue to fight for freedom.
In memory of those who gave their lives in the fight for freedom, as well as the many who were casualties of war.
In recognition of those who have lost a loved one in a war and those who wait for loved ones to come home from war.
Freedom comes at a great cost. We who live in freedom can never say thank you enough.
(Image is from the blog Something Sublime.)
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Went to a new doctor today. I've had a family doctor for general stuff, but my ob/gyn had told me that I should see an internist. I never really knew that an internist was like a family doctor, only better. Someone who looks at the big picture, not just the pieces. My ob/gyn gave me a recommendation, and I took her advice. Turns out this doctor is really good. She was so nice and took extra time with me. That doesn't happen much these days. I have two pages of notes that she wrote to remind/tell me what I need to do. I already knew most of it--better diet, more exercise, etc., but she gave me some very specific instructions. My recent blood work indicated that my cholesterol was up from last time, which is why I went to this new doc in the first place. Even though I knew I needed to take better care of myself, I wasn't doing it. Now, I have someone to answer to, and that's a good motivator.
Plus, I'm ready to start making changes...
[Image used is entitled "Time is a Runaway." It is by RLDesign, who unfortunately doesn't have anything in her Etsy shop anymore. She had several listings, all of which used parts of dress forms. Her creations were wall-mounted sculptures. It may not be evident at first glance, but this is/may be a working clock. Look on the right breast to find the clock hands. It also says the following (read from upper left to below the clock to lower left): "They say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself." More good advice.]
Monday, May 24, 2010
I can hardly believe that May is almost over. Most of April and May were taken over by everything related to refinancing. It really did take two months to complete the process. The initial contact to get the ball rolling was on March 25th, followed by the cleaning spree and then finally the fiasco of waiting on the bank to fix a 20 year-old error. Phew. Done. Over. Let's move on.
So now I'm back to reading a lot about hormones and menopause and about stress and how it affects aging and hormones. I think I may have said several times how confusing the whole menopausal phase is when no one talks about it. One author notes that it wasn't so very long ago that women were sent to sanatoriums because of the symptoms of nervousness, sleeplessness, irritability, and "a tendency to cause trouble"!! (Yeah, I would definitely be in a sanatorium.) To even speak of it was to risk being placed in a institution because if a woman knew about then it she must be experiencing it, and it was considered a dangerous time of life. (Dangerous to anyone around a menopausal woman, that is.) Thus, very little information was handed down. Hysteria was once considered a medical disorder diagnosed only in women. The word uterus derived from the Greek work for hysteria. Go figure. Plato discussed the problem of the "wandering uterus" creating havoc as it moved through the body. (I might buy that since I experience quite a bit of havoc inside.) However, by the mid-19th century, it was generally thought that hysteria "stemmed from sexual dissatisfaction," and several methods of treatment would result in "hysterical paroxysm," now better known as an orgasm. Huh. (Strangely, my doctor, a woman, has never mentioned this as a possible treatment for me.) Now get this. Treatment was tedious to physicians (who were always male) who tired of manual vaginal massage. Awww. (I think tedium must be the male equivalent of hysteria. Tedious males should have been put in institutions. Makes me wonder why their hands got so tired anyway.) It wasn't too long before massage devices were invented so those poor old doctors wouldn't get tedium. In the mid-19th century, a "hydrotherapy" device was available at bathing resorts. People used to go to these resorts to bathe in the waters, usually considered to having healing properties. Hugely popular. Now we know why. "By 1870, a clockwork-driven vibrator was available for physicians." (I wonder how long they set it for. Ten minutes? Two minutes?) "In 1873, the first electromechanical vibrator was used at an asylum in France for the treatment of hysteria." Catch that? Used at an "asylum"? Well, that is where we all were sent when we got hysterical. Thank goodness I didn't live back then. I probably would have been sent to the asylum when I was 12 and would have been placed in the hands of a doctor who treated his patients with vibrating electrodes attached at the temples. No paroxysms for me.
Seriously, all of this is just interesting to me when I think about how people view symptoms of stress and menopause now. I don't think much has changed except that we no longer are thrown into those sanatoriums. No, we are expected just to keep pushing ourselves harder and keep working a job while also doing all the work at home. We aren't supposed to think of ourselves, we should say yes to anything asked of us and feel deeply guilty should we ever consider saying no. If we are moody or irritable, just stuff it. And never, ever say that we're too tired. (The sanatorium is sounding better all the time.)
I'm also beginning to think there might have been something to Plato's ideas because something has definitely moved in to increase the size of my upper abdomen. It makes me feel like I am full all the time. Sitting makes me much more aware of it. I've always had a bit of a lower belly, but now the upper as well?
Makes me want to get into a hysterical fight with a tedious man.
(Image used is a pastel and pencil drawing entitled "Mood Swing" and is by orbisdeo at Etsy. The information on the histroy of hysteria was found at Wikipedia.)
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
My rant and rave on Monday was apparently based on some serious anxiety because before the day ended I felt the beginning of an allergy attack. I woke up yesterday with rosacea and hives all over my face. Itchy and blotchy red spots that could drive a person mad if she weren't already. I have two creams that I use to combat them, so I slathered up yesterday and again this morning. I have to use the creams about four times a day, and it will take two or three days for things to settle down.
And I actually have settled down from the distress. Part of that might be the combination of the anti-anxiety meds plus the benedryl making me woozy. Woosie? Maybe it's not even a word. Maybe I got all stressed because of going out two days in a row. I have no idea.
It's all I can do some days just to remember to breathe.
(Images used today are wood blocks with "Inhale" and "Exhale" on them and are by homeshanti at Etsy.)
Monday, May 17, 2010
My journal reads like a record that skips and plays the same thing over and over and over (does that tell my age?). I'm beginning to believe that I've always been this way. Add the stress and the emotional turmoil on top of it, and the highs and lows were just, well, higher and lower. But in somewhat of a bubble here at home, I realize that I really am always just slightly depressed. Even with meds, I still cycle through the milder lows on a regular basis.
We closed on the refinancing loan last Friday. At the lawyer's office, there was an assistant that everyone was praising for her abilities and her cheerful attitude. That used to be me. Clients would tell me how much they appreciated me, and some of them wanted to hire me! So, I was a bit down upon leaving the office that afternoon, brooding the rest of the evening about much has changed. On Saturday, I went to have my nails done and to get a pedicure as well. It's been two months since I last went. Aahh, bliss. A spa pedicure with a reflexology foot massage and seaweed wrap. Oh, and, of course, pretty toenails. But while sitting in line with the other 11 women, I noticed that my legs were getting a lot of attention and not in a good way. My legs are blindingly white, having not seen the sun for over 20 years. They were the first place that my hives appeared, and that signaled the end of my days in the sun. Heat just makes them worse. It would seem a blessing in disguise since I have fairly good skin from staying out of the sun. But trust me, blinding white is not pretty, especially since I cannot shave my legs because of my hives. I do not understand Vietnamese, so I could only imagine that the lilting sing-song of their conversation went something like this: "What wrong with her? She have weird skin. Funny color. Eeww, hairy. Look terrible. Don't want to touch. Put on gloves. Hee hee." (Sorry, that is how they talk. No offense meant.) The bliss of the treatment was undermined by my humiliation. Plus, I wondered afterwards why I even bother to keep having my nails done. Who sees them but me? Huh. Afterwards, I finally made it to the mall to return those stupid shoes I've had for a month. I had one other errand I wanted to accomplish, and the two stores were at opposite ends of the mall. Walking through, I find that the mall hasn't changed much since the last time I was there many years ago. There are still no stores for old people, unless the mattress store is considered. Anyone over 40 is sitting on benches and watching the younger crowd. Probably in envy. There was still store after store specifically for teens and twenty-somethings. The clothing was cheap and cheaply made, minimally priced and sized to fit teeny bodies. Now, I had to try on no less than three pairs of pants on Friday before I could find a pair that would fit. This not-going-out-of-the-house situation has made me realize that I have put a few pounds onto an already less-than-svelte body. I was determined on Friday not to let it bother me, but at the mall, it was too painfully obvious that I was out of my league. The "big" league. Not the one I wanted to be called up to.
So once again, I find myself in a slump. I'm questioning everything about myself. I hate this uncertainty and the feeling of not being good enough in any way. I'm afraid to try to work for anyone because I doubt I could maintain any kind of schedule or handle any stress at all. I would love to work at the boutique where I was offered a job, but my consistently low moods won't go over very well in a store where I would have to be "up" all the time. And I haven't made it back to the office where I was employed to get the things I need to work at home. I have not started the Etsy shop I have planned and now am wondering if I'm going to be able to anyway. My ideas involve non-eco-friendly materials, and I've been doing a bit of thinking about that lately. I would have to change quite a lot of my designs if I go to all natural materials. And, I screwed up at the shoe store because they wouldn't let me return the shoes (I paid through Paypal so I could only exchange them), and I traded them in for a pair that I know I will never wear because I have nowhere to go. I have a closet full of awesome clothing that I'm not wearing because I can't fit into them and have no place to go. I'm not taking care of myself, inside or out, because who will notice? Certainly not my other half. Nor would he care. I'm not doing anything meaningful, nothing with a purpose, nothing that benefits anyone. What is the point of being me??
I hate feeling this way. I hate being the way I am. And I hate continuing to write about it. What used to seem like a good place to record my thoughts now just feels like a place for constant pity-parties. Wasn't the point of writing in a journal to feel better? To keep track of my progress? I'm not progressing, I'm stuck in a harmonic wave of oscillating moods that are like a record that skips and plays the same thing over and over and over...
(Image used is a funky necklace entitled "You Sound Like a Broken Record." It's made by WillowandIvy and available at the Etsy shop of the same name.)
Monday, May 10, 2010
I have to confess that I'm not a movie lover. I would much rather read. It's been proven that the movie that runs in my head while I'm reading is ssooooo much better than the one that gets produced! And not to sound all miss high and mighty but even if I did like movies, I doubt I would want to even see 98% of the movies being made these days. Of course, I love the classics. And there are some movies from my childhood that never get old. But my favorite kind of movie is one that, when it's over, makes me sit still for however long it takes and rethink the whole thing. Or maybe even immediately watch it again. Because movies that make me think and have layers within layers of meaning are the best. And since most of the movies out there these days are made specifically for people who don't like to think (or who can't), that sort of counts me out at the theaters. Even if a movie trailer looks interesting, I still need to know someone who has seen it before I will go myself. This leaves me with two options: rent or buy movies, or watch them on TV. That in itself brings up another interesting twist in this tale because I seldom watch TV. I would rather read. Okay, now I think I'm going in circles.
Anyway, my other half left yesterday morning to go on a three-day trip. Having seen that the movie "Atonement" was coming on, I decided to watch it. Period pieces usually are some of my favorites simply because of the costuming and sets. However, this one never grabbed my attention. I did not like any of the three main characters at all during the first thirty minutes of the movie. Big disappointment. Normally, I would just let my other half decide what he wanted to watch, but since he wasn't home, I decided to scan the guide. What did grab my attention was "The Devil Wears Prada." I'm probably the last person in the free world who has any interest in fashion to see this movie. I didn't expect to like it. I didn't want to like it. I thought that Andrea was going to get sucked into the churning fashion machine and become a mini-Miranda. Don't get me wrong, I loved seeing all those clothes. But jeepers, how does anyone work in that business?? I think it's really like that since I saw part of reality show that tracked interns at ELLE magazine (I think). Those girls ran around town talking on their cellphones, picking up coffee and clothing from places they didn't know how to get to and all on a 30 minute deadline. They probably couldn't get out of the building in 10 minutes! Scary.
I thought where I worked was crazy...
(Image used is an untitled photographic print by Capree at Etsy.)
Sunday, May 9, 2010
I'm getting this out a bit late, but Happy Mother's Day to any moms out there! I got cards from my darling babies, one from the three older dogs and one from the new baby! My littlest one has bonded to me, much to the dismay of my other half, but he's only 5 months old, so maybe that's kinda natural. He kisses me all the time and wags his entire body when he sees me. Seriously, his tail is wagging so hard that it brings his butt up near his head! I call him my little wiggle worm. I also call him Hooty because he is a hoot! He makes me laugh all day long. My hubby says I'm confusing the little guy when I call him all these different names, but heck, I don't care. He'll learn his name one day.
This is the first time I have experienced Mother's Day since the big changes in my life last year. Even though I thought I had worked through this, I find that I am still a little sensitive about never having kids. The events that led to the changes occurred over a period of two or three months, but I have decided on July 1st as the beginning of this next phase of my life. That is when I left everyone and everything behind to go on a three week sabbatical. I went to the mountains to try to clear my head and recover from the difficulties I was experiencing. Getting away from it all was wonderful, but it wasn't the answer. Between work and home, I had so much stress and emotional upheaval that I had to quit work. I also went into post menopause possibly due to the stress. I'm am seriously still so confused about what is and isn't menopause. My doctor used the term "post-menopausal" to describe my hormone levels (basically non-existent), but I've also heard/read "menopause" used to describe the time when things stop happening (same thing?). No matter, whatever I'm in was not a good place to be. During that very emotional time, I had to deal with the fact that I no longer had the ability to have children. Now, don't get me wrong, I never gave it much thought prior to this. I never had that longing for a child. I really think the fact that my own mother wasn't nurturing was the reason. I love babies, but having one of my own just wasn't something I wanted. My hubby was teaching elementary school at the time and had kids around day long, so he wasn't too disappointed. So, my doctor had told me earlier in the year at my annual physical that since things were slowing down, I probably had three or four more years before I stopped having periods. Then, wham, bam, thank you ma'am, six months later it stopped. No warning. Although it is different for every woman, there does seem to be an average time of three to five years of "slow down" time. I was so stressed and emotionally wrung out and could not--absolutely could not--wrap my head around this newest development. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was mourning over this loss. It didn't matter that it had been my decision, I still had this sense of complete emptiness and failure as a woman. I don't feel as bad as I did back then, but I do feel down today. I'll be fine tomorrow.
As I should have expected, I really had a hard time finding an image that represented the day, so I just gave up and went will how I felt.
(Image is entitled "Feeling Empty Inside" and is by Gilfling at Etsy.)
Friday, May 7, 2010
I believe that I have finally gotten past this low cycle of depression. I woke up early this morning, had chit-chat with hubby, completed a few brain puzzles and am generally feeling really good! I'm charting this low in at two weeks. Seems a bit too long, but at least it isn't going to be longer!
I've been considering doing a few errands today. We were supposed to close on our refinance loan today, but apparently someone erred in a previous closing and forgot to sign off on a paid-out line-of-credit. It was so many years ago, the bank has changed names twice, and we are being told it could take "awhile" to find the transaction. Needless to say, it isn't what we needed to hear. But since I knew I was going to be out today, I may still do some of the things I had thought about doing. I ordered a pair of shoes online recently only to receive them in a surprisingly different color than they appeared. I am desperate (ha!) for a pair of blush/nude color shoes that could be worn most of the year, i.e., no strappy, flimsy sandals, and I'd like to get them in time to wear this summer! These looked blushish onscreen but were definitely a dark taupe in person. This will be the fourth pair I've ordered and sent back. Or at least in this case, taken back. I can take these back to the store at the mall. Which I never go to. So I thought it might be good to get out and walk around the mall for awhile in an effort to beat this hiding at home syndrome. The mall has probably changed since the last time I was there in 2001.
Granted, this blush/nude color is difficult to pin down, but I've included some very lovely examples. And really, if Mother Nature can make this color, why can't the shoe industry? Though, truthfully, I have seen shoes in this color. Okay, so they were over my budget. But what is a decimal point or two?
If the stock market went haywire over a decimal point error, just imagine what my hubby would do.
(Images used in this post are: top, "Blushing on Grid," an oil painting by abgraham; middle, Blush Pink Frosted Glass earrings by SterlingRosesDesign; bottom, "Spring Blush" by juliawilliams. All of these artists/sellers are found at Etsy.)
Thursday, May 6, 2010
I just read (and prodigiously commented on) the newest post from Buffy Leigh at kOs. Love her blog. I would give the link to it, but not being computer literate in the least, I have no idea how to do that. Nor am I able to do most of the stuff that bloggers do. It's just me and my typing. It's a wonder that I can even put a picture with each post. When I was in school, they were still using punch cards to program the computer. The computer, by the way, filled an entire floor of the building at the university. We did not have a computer at my college that I know of. So I bought a magazine called "Artful Blogging" but it was so not helpful. Lovely, not helpful. I may have to break down and buy "Blogging for Dummies." So anyone who has an inclination to help my uninformed self will be appreciated and welcome! Anyway, reading her questions about how far should one go to be as environmentally friendly as possible got me thinking about my own awareness of the situation. I realize that although I've come a long way in the last year, I was once a consumer extraordinaire without a care. I couldn't begin to count the number of things I found that still had tags on them when I did my recent house cleaning. And I'm bad about losing or ruining trouser socks and hosiery so I'm constantly buying them. Emphasis on constantly. I could open a sock store based on the number of unopened trouser socks and tights that I found while cleaning. I'm sure it's over 100. Of each. In my defense, I will say that a lot of the stuff I've saved (piled up?) I'm planning to recycle when/if I start creating clothing and accessories again.
Thankfully, I've become a better consumer since staying home. I have been buying online almost exclusively and buying less and from indie designers. Um, part of that might be because of this little problem I have developed about not leaving the house. But that's for another post. I mentioned in my comments to Buffy that those of us living here in the USA are so comfort-oriented and consumer-driven that most of us still don't really consider our environment when making decisions. Such a sad commentary on this country. I know that it takes each person to make a change and that it starts with just one, but sometimes it seems the solution is out-of-reach on any level. Even the city in which I live talks a great talk but doesn't always walk the walk. Maybe I should generate more awareness in my own neighborhood. That's one of the reasons that I love Etsy and choose to make a lot of purchases there. A lot of the sellers are very into recycling and are eco-minded. I chose the image for today because it's a multiple etching done on handmade paper, paper the artist made from plant materials and recycled studio paper. It also has labyrinths, a globe, an hourglass and an angel, all of which shout volumes to our need for more environmental awareness. The artist is admittedly into "living green." She gets crazy over excessive packaging material, so she saves all kinds of paper to recycle in her own shipments or in her art.
The image also has the words that Buffy Leigh inspired: know the TRUTH; THINK before action; BELIEVE that it can happen. Thanks for making me more aware, BL!!
(Image is entitled "Destinations and Detours" by Cate Robbins of catesart at Etsy.)
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Our new puppy Munson has come and gone. Well, not literally. He arrived last Wednesday evening. His rescuer said that he threw up in her car on the way home from getting him from the shelter. So while she didn't feed him after Wednesday morning in an effort to keep that from happening to us, he still may have felt nauseous. The blanket we put in the front seat for him was soaked, and so was he. He seemed especially afraid of my hubby at first, but he is coming around quickly. When I first met him, I understood why the lady called him "Wiggles." His entire body wags or wiggles when he is happy! He is so adorable, but the poor darling is skin and bones. We have got to put some weight on him ASAP. And I can't believe that I forgot what puppies do. They explore, they chew, they are hyper, their attention span is about two seconds, they put everything in their mouths, etc. He only has two switches: on and then some, and off. I'm used to the older ones, who are calm and tend to sleep most of the day. He has to be constantly watched because of his puppy actions and because he isn't completely housebroken. The good news is that he really doesn't have any behavioral issues that I can see. He has already behaved quite well when I correct him. The others are acting fine, just as I thought they would. Berra chases him around the yard, but he is so much faster that he can sit and wait for Berra to catch up. Then just before Berra reaches him, he's off again! Guidry is definitely finding him to be a typical annoying little brother! Maris, with her quiet personality, seems to confuse him, and he hasn't interacted very much with her. Which, of course, is fine by Maris! He seemed to be one of family after only a few days, and he makes us laugh quite a lot! He has, however, chewed up the following (and may I add, during my hubby's watch): a remote control, a plastic package of dental floss, my hubby's new $1400 glasses (this was when his name changed to Craig's List), a telephone bill, a shoe and every day's newspaper. I have given him all the toys out of their toy box, but did I say his attention span was two seconds? I meant one.
Well, we had decided on a name for him, but my other half didn't think the name we picked out suited him once he was here and wanted to change it. Munson was a great name, and I had decided to call him Muney. Well, I am happy to reintroduce the new little guy as....Jeter! It's not a name that is in the same era of the others, of course, and I can't quite get used to it yet. I've probably called him by name only a few times, since usually it's Sweetie, Cutie, or Precious. And those are almost always preceded by a firm "no"! He looks like he is always smiling, so it's hard to keep a straight face to discipline him. And he does seem to always be happy. Even when Guidry gives him her most ferocious toothy stay-away-from-me-or-it-will-be-the-last-thing-you-do look.
I'm guessing that if he chews up one more costly item, it won't be only his name that will change. I better hurry up and order his tags!
(Image is entitled "Resting in the Shade" by ANJacobsen at Etsy. This looks just like Jeter while he is waiting for Berra to catch up with him, including the way his eyes appear like he's judging how much time he has before he takes off again!)
Monday, May 3, 2010
The recent appraisal and my marathon cleaning project have propelled me deeper into depression. My biggest triggers that caused the decline are stress and lack of sleep. Fatigue can be a trigger, but it is often a result of not sleeping enough. The last weekend prior to Monday's appraisal was the most hectic of the three weeks I spent cleaning. I got very little sleep Saturday night and practically none on Sunday night. The appraisal itself became a stressor as the deadline got closer, and my other half constantly voicing his worries only added to my stress. I thought if I heard him say one more time that we weren't going to make it (to the deadline), I was going to shoot him. Thankfully, I don't keep a gun in the house. His lucky week, I guess. Anyway, between pushing my limits in these areas (fatigue, lack of sleep, stress) and getting a new puppy, I went downhill quickly. The puppy isn't stressing me at all, but my allergies have gone haywire since getting him! Whatever he was bathed in on the day we picked him up is doing a number on my sinus and skin allergies as well as keeping the door slightly opened so that I can teach him that the yard is where he goes when he has to go. Add to that the dust stirred up while cleaning. By late Wednesday, I had a minor case of hives along with a mind that wasn't functioning well. I was in tears by Friday with a major case of hives and no mind to speak of. I had to take extra Benedryl to combat the hives, which really puts me in a fog. I tried to do several puzzles to keep my brain focused, but I wasn't even seeing all of the numbers. Saturday and Sunday were both the same.
Today it has been one week since the appraisal and most of the things that occurred to send me into this decline. I have tried to keep up with the events in terms of my depression cycle as well as how long it takes me to recover. Having been able to avoid my stressors for awhile, I can track the cycle better than I have ever been able to. I know that I have hit the bottom of this cycle and am on my way back up. Last week after the appraisal I was supposed to get my nails done, return some shoes at the mall, go to a chiropractic appointment and get the quarterly information from my employer by Friday. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to leave the house to accomplish any of those things. And they all were very necessary. I am apparently going to keep experiencing this fear of leaving the house when I am in a low cycle. Good to know these things and even better to be able to track them. I should be back to the point at which my meds are controlling my depression by the end of the week. Hopefully, sooner.
Meanwhile, I'll rest and recover and let the craziness of the last four weeks drip off/out. I think whoever said "don't sweat the small stuff" must have never had much stuff and could afford to forget the small ones. I'll sweat it all away, thank you.
(Image used is entitled "Tranquility," an oil painting by shiloratnerart at Etsy.)