Friday, February 28, 2014

Damned if you do and Damned if you don't

I missed posting yesterday. I have been in the middle of a medication change and what started out as "Amazeballs," quickly turned into a pumpkin at the end of it's six-hour shift. The cut off on this medication was awful, and happened at my normal tough time of day on top of that. I took it the next day and wasn't feeling right. Heightened anxiety and then the cut off again. I got in touch with my doc the third day and he told me to quarter it. I tried that and felt nothing but agitation and frustration. I ended up in bed at 6:30 and woke up this morning at 11:30 a.m. with the headache from hell that is still with me. I took a half pill today and feeling meh. The headache is so stubborn, even Aleeve hasn't  touched it. Hence the rigamarole of figuring out a new med dosage, one of my most dreaded things to do in the whole wide fucking world.

The reason med changes are so difficult for me, and I am sure for almost everyone else that is looking for medication therapy, is that it's a guessing game. I am a test dummy. Take this, cut a little, add a little, tweak here, add something for the side effect of that, tweak and raise and lower again. It is TORTURE! I have been doing this for too many years. Last year I swore I would be off PHARMA meds and onto natural therapies by this coming summer. After the winter from hell I was desperate for help and went to a new Psychiatrist. 

This not only effects me, it effects my family because I am unpredictable. I usually have to lay down and I can't always take part in family fun because I am too anxious or have a pounding head ache or am on sensory overload. 

Depression and anxiety have robbed me, and my family of so many good times. So many so-so times and just plain time. I am so sick and tired of being sick and tired. I know writers should avoid cliches but it fits so well.

I know I need help. If I didn't get help when I first melted down I would NEVER have lived to see today. I accept that I am someone who may always need help off and on. 

It gets exhausting. It gets old. It gets aggravating and frustrating and down right makes me despise my illness, and sometimes me.

In 2012 I was hospitalized and the doctor just didn't think traditional medicine was working for me so he recommended ECT. For those of you who don't know the acronym it stands for Electric Shock Therapy. I was mortified. My husband was more so than I was, and we were both scared. I saw those people in the morning waiting for their breakfast tray, sitting in a wheel chair looking like, well, looking like they just got electrocuted! I did NOT want to be one of them. 

My husband came into the hospital and we watched a video on the treatment and how far it has come today and how it isn't as barbaric. We were almost convinced, but something inside me said no.

I did pretty well on meds, not 100% but well enough. I made it through the deaths of my Mother, Brother and my beloved cat and did not end up back in the hospital. I belong to a bereavement group, yoga and a group at my daughters school as well as therapy. I have definitely had my days where I felt I needed to go back to the hospital, that I couldn't take it any more, but I got through it with some coping mechanisms and support. It wasn't pretty and my heart breaks for what we have all endured, but we got through it.

I have NO idea if this med will work. If when Springtime comes and I decide to try something more natural. I don't know. I just know I want to live and I don't want to have to work so hard to get through the days. I want to function and create and enjoy my family and be able to be a part of their lives on a consistent basis rather than basing my social life on how I am going to feel that day. 

I would not wish this on my worst enemy. Sometimes it's tolerable and I can live with it, but when it comes to trying to figure out meds I feel frightened and somewhat out of control and very conflicted as to whether I should have started the endeavor or not. Is it fair to any of the people in my life, including myself. 

It feels like there are certain times in my life with my illness that no matter what I do I am damned if I do, and damned if I don't.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Northern Exposure

Yep, it's come to that time of year when the weather is the topic of conversation, and the bane of my existence. The Northeast is where my family and I choose to call home. I say choose and I have to shake my head. Why do we choose to stay in a location where I bitch about the weather nine months out of the year?

Why do we stay in a location where my dog doesn't even want to go out to relieve himself?

Why do we choose to stay in a location where we have to dress our children from head to toe in layers of clothes rendering them barely able to walk to the car never mind fit in their car seats?

Why? Why? Why?

I could go on with the scenarios, but I am preaching (mostly) to the choir. I mean it even snowed in Georgia this year! IS NO ONE SAFE?

We live in the Northeast. I grew up here and except for a brief stint in the midwest I have never known another place to call home.

That being said, I have, since as far back as I can remember, always dreamed of living elsewhere.
More specifically someplace with a fairly consistent temperature with the needle leaning more to the right of 70 than the left!

I LOVE Summer. I used to love fall until fall became Finter. We are losing entire seasons in this four season region. Spring isn't even really spring, it's more of a Sprinter.

Sprinter and

It's like our seasons are morphing into reindeer, the animal most closely associated with THE NORTH FUCKING POLE!!!!!!

I find this unacceptable and I will not go gently into this deep freeze.

I know, as I stated earlier, that it is by choice that we live here. I have been talking to my husband, originally from Brazil, for several years about moving to warmer climates. It seems I married the only Brazilian on the planet that quite enjoys freezing his nuts off rather than sweating them off!
He loves snowboarding, chopping and stacking wood and just breathing in the lung paralyzing air of Massachusetts winters. WHY?!?!?!?!!

I should have known when he took me to his family MICHIGAN, WTF????? I married a Brazilian, silly me thought I might get to vacation on the sands of Sao Paulo HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, you will go to NORTHERN Michigan, and you will like it!

Full disclosure: the family compound is stellar. In the summer, on the lake, by the infinity pool, as cousin Moni makes caiperinihas in the cabana until the limes run out, if you close your eyes you might actually feel as though you are in South America. There are people speaking Portuguese, Spanish, French and Bull Shit, or as we like to call it Landoltese. It truly is an escape, kind of like Alcatraz (You'd have to experience it to understand my comparison.)

I am normally a pessimist but I am still holding out hope that one of these years we will be drinking our Caips on a beach in northern BRAZIL!!!!!!!!!!

Until then, sa├║de!

Gotta do what we gotta do

I haven't felt this tired at bedtime in a long time. Real, honest to goodness tired. Not tired from depression, or from racing thoughts and panic attacks. It's from functioning through an entire day with focus and energy.

I started a new med, which I am very nervous about. I have been on a mission to live a more natural life, but this winter was starting to bring me down to the depths! I know what I want to do and will eventually get myself there, naturally, but in the mean time I needed a little help from chemistry. It pained me to accept the prescription. I felt a bit of failure, but I also felt like I was doing something unselfish. My family needs me, they love me and they have seen too many bouts of taking to bed, crying jags and bursts of rage. It's not fair to them. They love me and I love them. And I think I may even love myself, but that is a whole other post further down the pike!

I want to be a functioning human being and a productive member of this family. I have two incredible  kids and a husband who has endured more than his share of trauma at the hands of my illness. It's time we all get a break and time for me to life my life, our life, a life worth living!

I started the medication this morning around 10 a.m. and I knew it was working by 11 a.m. when my sister-in-law asked me the name of the script and I answered "AMAZEBALLS!"

It's definitely stimulating, but not as jarring as the others the docs have tried in the past. The ones where I walk around in circles doing a little of everything and not finishing anything and feeling so many inspirational things but they were just out of my grasp because the stimulation was not helpful, it was over the top, and a feeling I can't imagine anyone wanting to feel for any period of time!

Today I ate breakfast with my son and we went to to the local romp and stomp and hung at a new library and I was able to patiently and lovingly explore the globe with him and the planets. It was an absolute pleasure. I actually enjoyed my son, and I enjoyed how I was with him. I can't tell you what a feeling that is, it's like finding a lost family heirloom, so precious and so appreciated and so dearly missed. Having feared it would never surface, thinking you may have to just let it go and accept that it is gone for good.

I'm taking it one day at a time and I am still of the belief that meds are temporary and my goal is to live a more natural and less chemical life. But for now I will do what it takes, and I will be okay with it.

One day at a time.

AMAZEBALLS! Ask for it by name. ;)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Shrink, Shrank, Shrunk

Today I met my 3,742nd psychiatrist. Let's just say there were no surprises, not on my end anyway.

I had to get out of the last "group practice" I was in because it was just plain sketchy. First of all the reception area speaks to the doctors through Nextel walkie talkies. Drug deals and walkie talkies do not make a good combination, even in an office setting, and it makes for a very bad first impression! (I thought, surely their phone system must be down for the day but next visit there they were copy thatn' same as before.)

"COLLEEN MULLANEY THE DOCTOR WILL SEE YOU NOW" "Okay doctor patient is on her way in." Like the place was palatial; it was the first floor of a three tenement in Worcester. If that wasn't irritating enough they forgot about me the first day. I am all for people watching, but enough already..."breaker one-nine, when is it my fucking turn?" When I finally get into the Docs office I am, well, overwhelmed by his collection. Cases and cases, Entertainment Centers, Armoires, Curio Cabinets FULL of PHARMA Chachkies. Everything from Cymbalta coffee mugs, to Prozac pens and Viagra plaques. Each one set at just the right angle, catching the sunlight streaming in through his bent metal blind overlooking Price Choppers parking lot. I couldn't make this shit up if I tried.
As I tried to hide my complete and utter shock at the vastness of his collection, I noticed he barely looked up from his computer as he asked me how I was, and if it was my first time here and what he could do for me, all the while typing. Apparently his walkie-talkie packin' office staff did not take dictation. I rather admired his kindness to take on some of the office work himself, noble.

He spoke in a thick middle eastern accent. I, loving people of all cultures, decided to ask him where he was from. "Where do you think I am from," as he looked up from his computer with only his eyes. Um, shit, talk about being put on the spot. What if I said the wrong country? I've seen CNN, Oh man, I should have just kept my stupid mouth shut and got the friggin prescription. "Um, Lebanon?" I said with a shaky voice and a very awkward, forced smile. He looked up with a smile and said, rather loudly "SYRIA, so close, so close! Do you know of my country?" Oh fuck, seriously, I was listening to NPR on the way in here, of course know of your country, shit. "Um, yes, yes, um very difficult time for your people." Shit was that racist "your people?"  "Seriously Colleen?????" "Yes, very difficult." I could have let it go at that but he seemed okay, so I continued my nervous banter "Do you still have family there?" "NO, no, no, they are all here. All safe." "Oh, good, I am glad to hear that." Seriously, I came to get antidepressants and now all I wanted was a fucking shot of vodka and cigarette...and I don't smoke!

He asked me very few questions about my history, gave me a prescription and sent me on my way. His knockwurst size fingers still typing as his wife came in to bring him lunch. I saw him once after that and I just couldn't do it again. I felt like one of these times I was going to be part of a sting operation and there I will be on the front page of the newspaper busted in front of a cabinet full of Viagra dinnerware for twelve, no thanks!

So my lovely new therapist referred me to a doc near her office that she said she thought highly of, and I trust her so I went for it.

The process of seeing a psychiatrist for the first time is pretty much the same, except for my Syrian Viagra friend.

They basically ask you to sum up your life story in 45 minutes. It's hell and there is absolutely no way to make anyone's family sound "good" with such a short amount of time and cut to the quick Q&A.

What brought you here? What happened at 18? Would you consider your childhood happy? Parents? Siblings in order. Medical, Mental and Medication history as well as hospitalizations and any traumatic events we may have missed. After 45 minutes they should just admit everyone for observation as a matter of standard procedure because if you didn't walk in there feeling like shit, you certainly left there remembering why you were seeing a psychiatrist in the first place!

This doc wasn't too bad. There were no walkie-talkies, no chachkies and he looked at me occasionally, usually because I wasn't answering fast enough and he was taking notes in a notebook which I thought was a sign he was really paying attention.

I told him I had a terrible memory and then he proceeded to, as every other frickin' doc before him has, ask me to name every medication I have ever been on, if they worked, if they didn't, and why? This is 25 years of psychiatric history. I recognize the names, hell I might even recognize the pill and maybe a few might trigger a memory of the nasty side effect, but honestly you may as well as a stranger on the street, or better yet, LOOK IN THE FUCKING COMPUTER SYSTEM where they are supposed to have all that info stored?!?!?! Do not depend on a hippocampus that probably resembles a Sun Maid prune. THIS IS A TEST...! Oye.

I told him I thought my memory was mush because of all the meds I have been on through out the years, he insisted it wasn't possible, it was more likely the depression itself...debatable, but maybe half and half. I don't believe most of the shit fed to me, but I'll give him half.

Then he asked what hobbies and activities I have partaken in and if I had ever had head injuries. When I told him I played rugby and yes I had a few concussions he said "What would you go and do that for, that games nuts!" Ah, hello, look where we are doc. Nice bedside manner. He asked me how my ears were and I assured him I was cauliflower free, he said his brother played in college and has cauliflower ear, "crazy guy!" I said "Let me guess, you rowed?" He almost fell of his chair "how would you ever have come to that?" "I deduced :)" "Good skills!" There is no better feeling than fucking with a man whose job it is to study people's mental health condition :) I actually started to enjoy my visit and relax a bit. He was a bit smug and was okay when I gave it back. At the end of our appt. he told me I MUST exercise and eat better, and he added a med and said he would see me in four weeks, goal being to eventually cut down dosages.

As we were walking out I said " So, am I hopeless?" He looked at me with a big smile and said "Oh definitely, no hope for you, no hope at all!"

I would so much rather hear, "no hope" from a doc with a smile on his face than "see you next time" from a doc surrounded my promotional freebees advertising medication for erectile dysfunction! I've got enough issues, I'll deal with that when the time comes ;)

Sunday, February 23, 2014


I was completely ambushed yesterday. I couldn't handle all the stimuli. Every "noise" felt multiplied by 100. The radio, the whining three year old, the barking dog, the furnace kicking on, the dishwasher, anything and everything that was out there felt like a physical assault. I couldn't answer the simplest of questions, and I couldn't handle being in the same room with anyone, including my pets, which is highly unusual. I could barely stand being in the room with myself.

My husband knew I needed time so he took the kids out, unfortunately I was not any better when he returned. I decided it wasn't fair to anyone else to have to deal with me, so I went to my bed and I didn't come up for air until almost 24 hours later.

My husband and I have been together for over 12 years now and he knows me well. He has the amazing ability to pick up the slack when my "symptoms" are taking me over. He knows that most times his words don't work so he does what he knows will help, and that is to take care of the kids and himself while I sort myself out, whatever that means.

My bed and I have a love hate relationship. It is both my refuge and my escape. Yesterday it was my escape. I buried myself deep under the covers so even the dog couldn't cuddle me and I put on the noise canceling headphones and I begged whatever to just take me away from it all, I had fitful sleep, if it you could even call it sleep. It felt more like an exorcism. I sweat buckets. I had vivid, delusional, insane nightmares. I remember some, but not most. I do remember waking up, looking around and then going back under the cave of blankets again. I felt so tired, weak even. I knew I wasn't getting a flu, I knew this feeling all to well. This was depression, mixed with being a woman at a certain time, something that has plagued me since I became of age.

It's at time's like these when I wish they still had the sanatorium in Princeton so I could go there and both give my family the freedom to live normally, and allow me to purge myself of the foul, painful, debilitating emotions that steal "me" for what could be days. For what has been years.

Fortunately it was less than a full 24 hours and while still emotional, the depression seems lifted and the anger has subsided and I can handle the world around me without sensory overload. I wonder, did I become the victim again? Did I give in? I didn't know what else to do. I feel it was the right option for my family, and me. And that it didn't turn into another day I have to go with that and accept that I needed to check out for a spell.

You can't really explain this to people and expect them to understand unless they have gone through it themselves, many women will understand part of it, some will understand all of it and some men will understand some, but as individuals we go through things that we wish people could understand so we could feel validated and supported rather than alone and freakish.

I know I am someone with mental illness. I know I have a very hard time during my monthly cycle. I have decided to not let my illness define me, nor will I be victim any more. I may suffer from it but I refuse to let it be who I am. It is certainly a part of me, I have journals full of me and my depression. I have blue bracelets from the times me and my depression went on vacation together. I have discharge papers that I have promised myself I will frame and put above my desk like some do with their diplomas. They are my diplomas, I earned them. I worked my ass off for them. And I am NOT ashamed of them. I am who I am and depression and anxiety, while they are part of me, are not me. I am more than that!

So tomorrow I will wake up, and I will fight if I have to. I know it won't be the last time I will have to fight to get through a day. My goal is to stay out of bed, to be productive and be gentle with myself. If I can do that then I will not be the victim!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Venturing out of our little town, exhausting!

An outing with the family today made us realise we really like living in an underpopulated rural setting.

We used to spend a lot of time in Boston when we first started dating, went to a lot of music shows and bars. We did the Worcester scene with our rugby pals. Then we moved to the "country." Today reminded both of us how much we prefer less.

We wanted to go to REI to get some much needed boots for little man, REI has the best sales! We decided to make a day of it. We hit the road for Framingham and twenty minutes in already had to stop for a Father son pit stop at the RTE 140 gas station toilet where, as my son puts it "Me and Daddy peed at the same time!!!!!"

Most of the ride Z was car sick and needed complete silence, something her father is incapable of when requested. I tried to explain to him that when you are car sick silence is golden. He just kept on and on with "It's okay Z just breath in and out, there's no reason to be sick." And on and on... As someone who has suffered from car sickness my entire life I empathised with Z and kept telling Steve it wasn't helpful. See Steve is a lecturer by nature, or nurture, I am not quite sure. Regardless, he is a lecturer, even when he is trying to help. When one sentence will suffice, twelve is the given. I don't want to offed him when I ask him to back down, but I know how bad it sucks to have someone rambling on and on when you can't even comprehend what they are saying because you are trying to control your entire being in an effort not to projectile vomit all over the back seat.

Window down, Tristan "I'm cold" window up.
Zoe "I'm going to be sick" window down,
Tristan "It's raining on me," window up.

The ride from Princeton to to Framingham felt longer than last summers drive from Princeton to Michigan, seriously!

We finally made it. I had Steve drop us a little ways away from the restaurant so Zoe could get her land legs, and stomach back. "That was close one" she said! Oh man, I so know exactly what she was talking about. We met T and Steve at John Harvards and had a nice meal. We watched the Olympic Hockey Team lose to Canada. Tristan kept falling under the table because his booster seat was at a slant and he choked on an ice cube, and once again my long pointer finger saved the day, that and some hot chocolate to melt the piece that remained stuck in his throat for a little bit. Zoe decided to work on her rainbow loom skills while lunching. We should always have a list of what we brought because the things that she would have left behind are too numerous to list. As I handed her each article of clothing and item, mostly from under the table, (the cleanest place in any restaurant) she just took them not even thinking if hadn't handed them to her they would be lost forever. This is an ongoing theme for the Z-Meister, she has some organizational difficulties (apparently hereditary!) Seems we need a professional for all of us at this point!

Then it's off to REI, by way of taking our lives in our hands getting out of our parking spot and the lot in general at Shopper's World. The name alone makes me feel ashamed to be there. It screams "I AM CONSUMING TODAY. I AM SPENDING MONEY ON THINGS I PROBABLY DON'T NEED, but that's what you do when you're at Shopper's World. It's like Sea World for those that love to shop, only THEY are the entertainment.

We hit REI with full bellies and bladders so first stop, potty. Then the three of us, Z, Steve and myself simultaneously checked out the sales racks and chased a fully fueled, three year old who can dodge and hide behind and between racks like it's an Olympic sport! It's exactly my idea of how NOT to spend your time. Totally not conducive to shopping if you want to make a conscious purchase. In the end I got nothing, we found boots for Tristan and Steve. The kids were obsessed with all the little chachkie things by the register that NO ONE NEEDS and just made the trip all the more enjoyable as we tried to leave the store.

I really wanted to hit a few more stores but wasn't sure any of us could handle it. We went to Marshall's but by then my mind was mush, my eyes were blurry and I had no idea why I was even there. The kids had caught onto the "Can I get" concept very quickly so we found a few small things and headed for the car, again.

"Do we have avocados at home?" "I don't think so." Well, maybe we could just do a quick stop at Whole Foods?" That is such an oxymoron, "quick stop at Whole Foods" is like getting a healthy meal at Five Guys, FAT CHANCE! We knew what we were getting into but we are rarely in that area so we bit the bullet. Another hell parking lot experience and into the lovely confines of Whole Foods. Where you want to stop and smell and read everything. You want to spend the day there smelling and tasting and just admiring the mere gravity defying formation of produce. It's a magical place. A highly over-priced magical place, but magical nonetheless. It's like Disney World for adults who are trying to be conscious about their food choices.

Kids, well...three year old found the freezer section to be most entertaining because an open freezer door was like a chalkboard, even if there was a guy stocking same said freezer, apparently there was plenty of room for the stock person and le petit arti'st! Ten year old found the bakery counter and couldn't decide between the mini fruit tart or the large holiday size; I did inform her that she could get a treat, but nothing would be in the form of 8" round, even if it was covered in fruit!

We got stuck staring at cheese we've never heard of, coffee bags the size of the ones Juan Valdez's burrow used to carry, the dog bone section and the bakery section.

We did make it out having spent just over $100 which is amazing for a Whole Foods Trip, but two bags at that price just doesn't feel right. Especially since we skipped almost all the isles in the middle!

Then the ride home. Steve took the day off and couldn't for the life of himself understand why the traffic was so heavy. We were in five o'clock traffic, on Friday. Hooray!!!!!!!

Three year old ate a chocolate treat and then proceeded to chant and kick the back of my seat most of the ride home. Ten year old worked on her rainbow looms and bickered with chocolate induced brother in her Tweeny attitude voice that grates on ones nerves like not much else can.

Husband and I just couldn't imagine doing that daily. The traffic, the shopping, the kids in and out of the car, the parking lots and rude people, the miserable people, the people in general. The consumerism. We find that living in the country we don't feel the need to buy, buy, buy. And when we do it's usually planned and minimally stressful. We agreed that while we love going into the city, we definitely prefer the quiet, slower paced and less commercial townie life!

So good to be back in the sticks!

Friday, February 21, 2014

I just can't go there...

I've been thinking a lot about my brother lately. Not sure what is triggering the increase in thoughts about him. I mean he is always there in the back of my mind, in a place I don't really want to go. Not yet. Maybe not ever, but probably will have to at some point.

When he first died I was devastated. He was too young to die. It was too sudden. He was going to fight, and we were going to help him, and he was going to win, again. He was tougher than cancer. And he showed the will to live, that's all it took for me to believe he had to survive since he had the desire.

Michael and I had a complicated relationship, I think there are more people that could say the same thing. He had a special few that had a one of a kind relationship with Michael, they got each other. I didn't always get Michael, and I KNOW he didn't always get me.

I grew up seeing him from a distance. He was pretty much out of the house by the time I had the ability to remember. He went into the Army, he went to Berkely School of Music, he worked at a recording studio. To me he was a rock star. There was a distance between us, again I think many people could say that about Michael. I mean if you went to his local haunts you couldn't find one person who had a bad thing to say about Mike Mullaney. "He was a character." "He was a great guy!" Most people knew him better than I did, or did they? I think they knew an aspect of Michael better than I did. I knew Michael in different capacities. I knew him as my older brother. I knew him as my fun drinking buddy. I knew him as a thinker. As an atheist. A guy who loved his vodka lemonades and his Newports. He loved to get out on the pond and fish, always catch and release. I knew a guy who loved his solitude, but didn't necessarily love himself. He was complex, and for that I always felt there was a disconnect between us, yet such a similarity it was undeniable we were cut from the same cloth. He didn't like to go certain places when it came to talk. Other times he loved to push me to talk about things that I did not want to talk about. He could piss me off like no one else could. He could hurt my feelings. He could cut me out. And he could distance himself like no other.

I looked up to him. I loved his love of books and history. His knowledge of business and his philosophical views. He didn' often get talking to me about these things, I mostly thought he assumed I wasn't deep enough, I wouldn't get it. That it wouldn't be a worthwhile conversation because I didn't have much to offer. I often felt he didn't give me enough credit. I don't think I gave him enough either. I resented him for his purposeful distancing of his family.

He was Mike, and he was Michael. Anyone in the family will know exactly what I mean by that. His friends who didn't know him around his biological family woudln't have recognized him as he sat in my Mother's living room. Tight-lipped Michael staring at the TV, answering questions in yes or no format. Very seldom did he take my Mom up on her offer to feed him or give him something to take home. He was stoic. We would practically light ourselves on fire trying to engage him, but to no avail.

Then there was Mike, the life of the party. The guy who could tell a joke or a story and banter with the best of 'em. He was like Norm, he'd walk into one of his favorite places and everyone knew him. He would remember details from the last chat he had with someone and he would ask how their kid was who went to UMASS or how their Mom was who was in the hospital. He was charismatic and communicative. He was fun and funny. He was relaxed and himself.

I'm not sure if the real Mike was somewhere in the middle. I experienced both, and I loved both. Sometimes I even hated both.

To even venture into that place in my mind where I don't want to go would be to believe that he is gone, and I can't do it. It brings me to the days he was so sick and so anxious thinking about what might be in store, it is to see him in that bed in Boston, that chair with a thumbs up after surgery, to be in that room when the doctors, through tears, told us just how bad it really was. It's to go through one of the worst days of our lives and I am NOT going there right now, not yet.

I think I'd rather be sitting in my Mom's living room trying to get a word or a smile out of him, or down at the pub having a drink and listening to him talk to the old gang.

Fact is, I don't ever want to go to that place in my mind. What I want is to wake up and know that it was all a terrible nightmare. I want to pick up the phone and ask "Is Mike Mullaney available please?" and hear "He's out to lunch, can I have him call you when he gets back?"



Thursday, February 20, 2014

Alone time, more space and more alone time

Sometimes, when I'm laying in bed listening to the insanity going on in our 950 sq. ft. house, I fantasize. I fantasize about big, firm pillows on a King-sized bed, in a hotel room...ALONE!

I know when we become a spouse, and a parent we largely give up the right to most forms of alone time, except for the occasional weekend away with the girls to celebrate how old we are getting, or the very rare anniversary weekend, but alone, I mean really alone is almost nonexistent. I'm talkin about talk to yourself alone. I mean put books and your iPad and your notebooks and journals, magazines, highlighters and favorite pens and snacks in the bed with you and grab that clicker like you own the thing! "This bed is my island!" Pile all the pillows behind and around you and look, are alone!

I love my family, I love my pets, I love my little house, although I would love it more if it were a few rooms bigger and a few walls thicker. Someone once said, in an effort to make me feel better about my tiny house, "small house, close family." I really had to think about that one. I mean, I guess, but close in what way? Yes we know what we are all doing at all times. We are close in vicinity. All the three year old has to to is open the bathroom door with his back side out and he's likely to catch one of us at the ready to do a walk-by-wiping. The ten year old can't sing her favorite songs at the top of her lungs without getting shushed if its after three year old has fallen asleep. Laughter is also shushed if it's after 9. ALL FUN MUST STOP ONCE THREE YEAR OLD HAS MADE WAY FOR DREAMLAND. It's very restricting.

I grew up in a slightly bigger house, two stories rather than a ranch, but there was an overall understanding "children were to be seen and not heard," so quiet was a given in our house on the whole. And with the four O'Clock adult beverages it was mostly just my nephew and I up waaaay past 9 watching whatever we wanted.

I don't want my kids to not be able to express themselves. I don't want them going buck wild at 10 p.m., but I would love it if they had a more autonomous life within our home. We share closet space, I with my son and Husband with my daughter, strange, it just worked out that way. So, in the morning husband goes in to get his clothes for work intruding on ten year old sleeping. My son is always up before me, so no worries there! I am NOT a morning person, but that is another blog altogether.

There is always someone showering, someone relieving themselves and someone brushing there teeth at the same time, one bathroom, four people. I don't like shushing. I don't want to stifle the kids creativity and imaginative play. For these reasons, and that I would love my own studio space, I would like a bigger home. I would like to write without having to wear my husbands noise-canceling earphones he uses for chainsawing. I have to say though, they are an excellent temporary solution, as long as husband is home to take care of the chaos while I block out the world. I know, I know, you now have the add penguin jammies to the mix, HOT! Hmm, now I am wondering how often my husband fantasizes about alone time!?!

When we moved in we had one four year old and two cats. Now we have a ten year old, a three year old, a dog and a cat, plus the two of us. When we saw the house, the in town we adored, we thought it was perfect for our little family, our starter home. Beautiful yard, pool, side yard perfect for soccer, enormous deck that serves as the main room all summer long. Then winter came, and the honeymoon was over! Then we had a second child, and the honeymoon was really over. So, why not get a dog, what's one more moving being to add to the mix? One that gets under your feet, begs incessantly for any type of food, and wants to best spot on the couch?

I try to make myself feel better by saying we have a lower carbon foot print but that isn't working anymore! I'm willing to add solar panels and/or a mini windmill to offset the new rooms grid use. The fact of the matter is, we need more space.

I am back to work, and slowly we will build the cash flow to make changes to the house, or move. Although I love our street, the neighbors and the plot is the perfect size. No matter, the goal is bigger, but not unnecessarily large. Workable space, smart space, SPACE. I think we all deserve a nook to call our own, not just my family, but everyone! I require it for my mental health! The rest of my family would say they require it for my mental health as well ;).

In the meantime, I have a weekend work conference coming up in April and guess what I got...Corner room, King-sized bed and pillows to prop this mama up even if I'm too tired to watch whatever I want! I might not even bring my penguin jammies!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Talk, Missing Shovels and Tweens on Sleepovers

I had "the talk" with my son today. We were sitting on a bench in the yard, the dog stuffing his face in the snow, T is eating the chunks of frozen snow off his mittens and I say "You know, you should never eat brown snow, do you know why?" he says "Chocolate?" I say "NO! It's poop!" He looks up at me a little surprised, but then with that adorable little three-year-old, rosy-cheeked, wide smile and blueberry eyes and says  "Brown snow is poop." Then I say "And you should also not eat yellow snow, do you know why?" And he says without hesitation "It's pee!" With a big smile on his face, still eating the white chunks of snow off his mitten. We sit for a while longer, talk a little and he says he's cold. We decide to head in and he wants to be the leader, but he stops dead in his tracks and says "Is there any brown snow?" In a very concerned voice! We were in the clear and he lead us safely to the house.

Earlier we were in the driveway, I was shoveling and he was digging for Icebergs near the garage, which he found! He couldn't help shovel because before we had 20" of snow in our yard his sister decided to play with the other shovels and not take them back with her to the house. They are somewhere buried in between the soccer goals, under one of the three layers of snow from three different storms. I tried to get her to look for them one morning when I was so pissed, I needed one to help Steve clear the driveway and when I found out they were buried in the yard at 7:30 in the morning, while another storm was upon us, I sent her from the warmth of the couch out into the cold to dig for shovels (ironic I know ;). Needless to say she didn't find them and we probably won't see them until Spring, or at this rate beginning of summer when the snow finally melts!

Tonight said sister is on a sleepover which I am over the moon about. She has only been on one other sleepover outside family. She packed enough for a week of sleep-away camp. I was elated to see how happy she was, and nervous that she might want to come home in the middle of the night like I used to do. I gave her the run down of what was expected of her, be polite, please and thank you. Clean up after yourself and don't drink water after 8 p.m. Even though she is ten this has been an issue until recently.

I got a call around 8:30 p.m. letting me know she was having fun, was being good and had just brushed her teeth. "But Mom, my mouth and throat are SO DRY because of course you said I couldn't drink anything after 8!" "Well Z, I only said that for..." "...I know, I know, my own good!" This kid knows EVERYTHING. At ten I am pretty sure, no positive, I would never have interrupted my Mother or Father and I would have never said something so sassy.

I have to admit, I was not sad dropping her off, but of course her general presence is missed. At the same time, I'm doing a sort of count down like when my parents went on vacation, only on the flip side, T-minus 14 hours until I am being sassed and considered embarrassingly UNCOOL!

I do love these  kids!


Monday, February 17, 2014

Canadian Black Swan...stay tuned!

Another night where I just dont know what to write. My mood isn't sassy. I love when I get my sass on and write a witty piece without having to be a Debbie Downer. Dont want to write about my depression here tonight.

I have been thinking about what to write. Should I write about the Olympic Ice Dancing tonight and how I know that they Canadian's want to KILL the Americans? Should I write about my moonlit walk with my dog where the moon looked like...No, I think I have to go back to the Canadian Ice Dancer who looks like she is going to tear the black swan outfit off the Russian woman, put it on and start going into a new rendition of the other Russian's "Madness" routine!!!!!! Holy Crap can you picture it. Canadian Black Swan kills U.S. Jasmine and Romeo.

I feel like I am watching a Lifetime Special in the making. You mark my words Dateline is going to be featuring this story. Stay tuned!!!!!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014


I promised myself I would blog every day, a challenge to someone with consistency issues, among others. So this is my blog. Not much to write. Not feeling inspired. Just want to get in bed and sleep until Spring. Have had a few rough days emotionally and tonight it's to the point where thinking of a topic is even too much to ask of me.

This is what it's like living with depression and major anxiety. I hate it. It ambushes me body, mind and soul. It holds my creativity hostage and covers everything a veil of grey. Yesterday I had a full-blown meltdown and threw myself down in the snowfilled driveway. Tears, anger and rage topped with sadness mixed with the all too familiar, hopelessness. I fucking hate mental illness. I promised myself I woud stop being it's victim, but it still doesn't stop it from seeping into my brain reminding me that it's still there, like a stalker showing up here and there to let you know he didn't go away.

I can't wait for this to lift so I can get back at it. "It" meaning life, being a functional Mom and wife and blogger and worker. It's like I go AWOL. The thing that sucks even more than when I was younger is that my kids are starting to notice and I am going to have to start educating my ten year old about depression. Something I NEVER wanted to have to do, but something I would never not do. She needs to know, and she needs to hear it from me. My biggest fear about having children was that they were going to get the depression/anxiety gene. That is still up there, but talking to them about my own depression is something I am not looking forward to. I have started to with my ten year old, but I was very brief, at the time it wasn't necessary to go too deep. The older she gets the more I need to share. I don't EVER want her to think it's her fault. I dont ever want her to think that my behavior when I am in a rage is acceptable. (Please know I have never been physically or mentally abusive to my children. My husband has definitely dealt with the verbal wrath, but 99% of the time it's me, it's that bastard depression and the bitch Miss Allie!)
So for now please forgive me for not being inspired.

I really am loving writing this blog. The one thing I didn't want to make it all about was my depression, it has already taken over so much of the spotlight in my life, I WILL NOT let it take over my blog. I also promised myself I would not hold back, if I was in the depression and I could write about it I would because I feel it's by duty as someone who may be able to help someone else if they are feeling alone and can read a blog that says "you are not alone and you are not a freak," but at this moment that's all I can say.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Canine Intelligence? Eh, not so much

"Now is the winter of our discontent," well isnt that the understatement of the fucking century. I am NOT a winter person. I am not a cold weather person. I like to be warm, dare I say, even a little hot. I don't want to sweat like priest on trial, but I don't want to shiver and shake unless it is in the throws of passion.

To have to endure the whipping snow as I take my dog out for his nightly constitution is, well, an obligation as a pet owner. Once I'm out there I'm fine. My dog likes to walk around in our woods, sniff in the snow, charge for the compost pile and old frozen dungpucks of his own making. He smells almost every tree, the same trees that he smelled a few hours prior. He doesn't just go out, do his biusiness and come back in. He does a sort of circuit. And then he gets on a scent and I am knee deep in powder, not Eric Clapton's powder, but that cold, wet shit that keeps falling from the sky. The dog is even deeper so he hops like a dolphin would swim in and out of the water until he gets to a spot that he can stand.

When I adopted this dog I was told he was a "very smart dog." I thought "WOW, I have a smart dog. What could this possible mean?" I was also told he would be easy to train because he was so "food motivated." I now know smart dog is a debatable title and "food motivated" means he's a fucking beggar and will do the moon walk for a bite of anything, cat shit, carrots, anything in the compost pile, anything he can sneak off a counter, and my fav, his own shit. Smart dog? Maybe a "survivalist dog," but smart, highly debatable. I mean if I met a person and someome told me, "oh she is very smart and highly motivated by praise" I wouldn't think for a second "Oh, she must eat her own shit and beg because that is one of the more accurate definitions of smart." I would more likely think, "oh my God this woman needs help, and a decent meal and a dental cleaning and a worm scan STAT!"

I mean lets face it, we love our animals. They are our unconditional pals. We can always count on them to cuddle and look at us as though we are, well in my dogs case, a piece of his own shit, highly appetizing and appealing to the eye. They love us, they love us because we feed them. They love us because we talk to them in that same stupid voice we terrify babies with, and they love us because we take them out in knee deep snow for 30 minutes while they walk in circles and end up shitting in the same place they do everytime the go out. But mostly they just love us because we feed them.

I mean truth be told if this dog could talk he would ask me to ditch the three-year-old asshole who thinks he is ALL of the superheros, runs 100 miles and hour only to be stopped in an instant by whatever obstacle he is headed for, and is always trying to see how far he can push before the dog gets a good growl on. The same three foot monster who yells out every time he has to take a pee and constantly has to be reminded, "Don't forget to flush, put the seat down and wash your hands." He would probably ask me to ditch the ten year old for yelling at him to stop, whatever it is he does, she yells at him to stop. Basically she wants him to stop being a dog. We actually thought maybe we should have gotten a ceramic dog so she could enjoy seeing a dog on a daily basis, but he woudln't do anything that would cause her anxiety. And lastly he would ask to get rid of the guy that tries to share our "bed" because he takes up too much room and doesnt like being jumped on, in the stomach, at 4 a.m. when said doggie is looking for a cuddle, which said guy DOES NOT DO WITH ANIMALS!

Maybe this dog is smart. But I doubt it. I think dogs were put on this Earth for people like me, who, after alientating the rest of the family by my foul moods, will jump on the bed, slam his body down onto my side and look at me like I am a hot and steamy one! And he melts my heart.

Inspiration and Caves and Guilt, Oh My!

I was kind of beating myself up a little for not doing my blog today. I have been pretty good at blogging daily for what feels like forever, but has actually not even been seven days!

Consistency is key, I know that. That is most likely why I have not succeeded in many things. I dont know what it is, the minute I see that I am falling into a consistent pattern, or I am noticing I am getting good at something and people are starting to take notice, I freak out. I can't handle expectations. If I am good at something and I do it on a whim for fun, great! If I take that and run with it and people take notice and it turns more into a job instead of a thing I am good at and ocassionally do, it suddenly forces me to retreat to my cave.

If my cave had a name it would be "bed." NO, that is not a good name for a cave, but I woud definitely have one in there because if you have ever been camping with me you will know, this girl needs her bed! My cave is where I hide until it's safe to come out, by that I mean people assume I have gone AWOL and give up on me. I think this may be a bit chicken and egg. I don't know if I was at one point consistently good at something and then someone gave up on me, or if I just couldn't ever handle the pressure of people expecting me to do something, to do it well, and to complete it.

Tonight I thought, "eh I don't think I will write, I just don't feel inspired...HELLO, Colleen you just finished watching the Olympics. If you can't get inspired by that then you may perhaps not be an actual living human being!"

I remember when I was young, grammar school, I was the fastest girl in my class, possibly the entire school. We would always play chase and there was only one boy who could catch me, oh how I wanted him to catch me ;) We tested at school and it was "official," I was indeed the fastest girl in my age group. Other girls, the popular ones, didn't like that. One day after a race in gym I went up to the second fastest, but most popular one, to tell her she did great and it was no big deal, she told me I was conceited and ignored me. She got other girls to ignore me and at recess they would follow her around like she was that chick from Game of Thrones that has the baby Dragons, and I would just walk around trying not to look totally crushed. I would have to sit in outdoor art class alone, on the hill in my purple leisure suit drawing a landscape while she and the other girls would laugh at me and make faces at me. I pretended it didn't bother me, but I was burning inside with questions like "What did I do to deserve this? Maybe I should have let her beat me instead of trying my best and winning. Does winning mean losing friends? Being lonely and treated as an outcast? Was I conceited? The mere act of winning and saying to my 'friend' 'Great job, no big deal you didn't beat me' turned into 'I certainly think a lot of myself don't I?' Why was I so stupid to say that to her? I mean she is pretty and smart and athletic and popular and has the boy everyone wants, do I really want to be banished from her presence?" I guess the answer was no because this happened over and over and over again, banished and brought back into the circle after she thought I had learned my lesson, or had enough and I always went groveling back, so grateful to be let back "in."

My grades were average, my looks were average, and the only thing that wasn't average was my athletic ability and I decided if I needed to make that average in order to be accepted than so be it. I became overall average for the rest of my life.

Who knows if my inability to be consistent stems from this but I am pretty sure if my therapist was reading this she would ask if a bear shits in the woods. I mean, there were many things in my life that contributed to who I am and the decisions I make. For instance, I am driven by guilt, therapist for twenty plus years have been trying to help rid me of this useless emotion (if it can even be called one), does growing up in an Irish-American Catholic household have any bearing on my being riddled with guilt, I think yes, but not entirely. When I confided in my high school guidance couselor that I wanted to study film at UCLA she looked at me and laughed, outloud, and then said in a very staggered speech "YOU ---- WANT ---- TO ---- GO ---- TO ----- UCLA???? It'll never happen, not with your grades." That was it, no "let's see what we have to do to get you there. It might not be right away because you will have to build up your GPA," it was a joke to her that I even thought I was capable of such a thing. I thought since I was doing so well and really thriving in my television class that it was perfect for me, it was all I ever wanted to do, all I ever felt good at, other than sports. I let this woman, this "guidance couselor" who sat down with me twice in my entire High Schoool career, dictate what I was NOT going to do. Do you think that had an effect on my self esteem and my ability to go after what I wanted, I believe yes, not entirely, but yes she was a contributing member of the kick her when she's down and keep her down club.

And so it continued. I had stirdes where I'd attempt to follow my passions but my "Misguided Allie" was very loud by then, as a matter of fact I think she was, is, that so-called 'counselor.' Allie constantly smacked me down at every turn. She had such power over me. She wanted me dead. She didn't get what she wanted but she tried so fucking hard and came so close to winning on more than one occassion. I have been in an all out cat fight with this bitch my entire life. Sometimes I would give in and hit my cave, retreating for months, sometimes years at a time. I would come out squinting from the bright sunlight only to be pushed back into my cave and told not to come out. "It's not safe. No one will like you. No one will listen to you. No one wants to hear what you have to say, read what you have to write, see what you have to show."

Allie and I are still at it. I think I am less inclined to let her push me back in my cave, or at least I push back, but sometimes, like any abused animal, I go there because it is safe, and familiar and all that I know.

So I guess the name of my cave would be "Purgatory." My keepers "Allie" and

This may explain why I was not feeling inspired by the Olympic Men's Figure Skating Finals tonight, that and the fact that I really honestly know I will never be a Men's Olympiic Figure Skater, although dammit, they have all the best outfits!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

There are Math people and there are people who are NOT Math people!

I am not a Math person. This may be the reason for my belief in Math and Non-Math people. If I were good at Math I might think "Oh come on, just apply yourself, its easy." But as a Non-Math person I am totally and completely committed to the belief that I do NOT possess the Math gene.

My brother(s) were/are good at Math, in fact one of them spent some time tutoring in my fourth grade class, and my Mom thought it would be a great idea if he helped me at home as well. Not such a great idea. The thing was, he was a Math person, and I am not! He would explain it and I would hear Mandarin Chinese come out of his mouth. He would walk away and come back and I would still be staring at the "problem" with pencil in hand cringing because I knew he was expecting me to be done with the page. I was usually covered in eraser residue, and my paper thinned almost to a tear where my work was supposed to be. My brother did not have a lot of patience, back then I would cry and feel like he was mean, but I get it, it's hard to teach someone something they simply DON'T GET. He tried, he really did. But in the end it was best that I attempt to do the homework on my own, for my brothers health and my wellbeing.

When you are not good at something it makes you feel less than, especially when you see how easy it comes to others. When you see their papers with the shiny stars on them, or the 100% with a smiley face, and yours is covered in red felt-tipped marker Xs with questions that you think, if I could answer that, don't you think I would have gotten the "problems" correct instead of wrong? Then there's the dreaded question from the popular, blonde Math brainiac "What did you get?" "None of your fucking business!" is what you want to say, but if you do she'll have the whole class trying to get the paper out of your hand, either way you are humiliated, outed as a Math failure!

I knew by having children there was a 50/50 chance they would inherit the non-Math gene. My daughter is currently going through the torture of trying to learn a subject she hears in Mandarin, actually she and I would most likely learn Mandarin much easier than Math!

This was something I dreaded and prayed to the Gods and Goddesses to spare her, and me. How am I supposed to help her as the Math gets more complex, not only that, but it's embarrassing to say to your daughter, "I am not good at Math honey, you'll have to save that for Daddy." As someone who believes girls can do anything boys can do, this totally goes against every fiber of my being to say Daddy can do it, Mommy can't. Also, knowing that he IS the Math person and won't understand her lack of fluency in the subject; knowing the patience for someone who is a Math person, to teach a non-Math person can deplete quickly causes me great anxiety an guilt.

When they are going over "problems" and I am in the other room I am cringing and cursing in my voice. My heart breaks for her and I get angry with my husband. It makes me want to sit him down and tell him to write a three-page essay on giving birth naturally!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My blog will not always be funny

The thing that concerned me about taking on the task of blogging is that I knew there would be days I would not want to do it, or that my topics weren't always going to be witty and a fun read.
Tonight is one of those nights.

It started last night by getting irritated with something my husband didn't do. I felt he could have done this task since I was in the middle of doing Valentine's (see Valentine Credit post). If I am in a good space I will ask him if he can do it and that will be that. When I am in the beginning of "something" I don't speak up, I give dirty looks and expect him to read my mind. I get huffy and puffy and the martyr gene takes over. I finish the Valentine's and then do the other task totally resenting it, but doing it, because if he didn't do on his own, then he obviously doesn't want to do it...  and that makes him a total asshole.

Today I woke up with that dread. Dread for the day ahead, for the tasks that needed to be done. The dropping off and picking up and the just being awake, and being with myself. After laying in bed for a bit I decide to give in. I asked my daughter to take the dog out for his walk. I told my husband he would have to take the kids to school because I wasn't feeling well, and I buried myself deep under the covers.

I woke a few times covered in sweat from incredibly vivid dreams. I would lay there and try to get back into them because there were people in there I wanted to see again. My eyes were so heavy, I felt that I just could not stay awake, that it was something I had to do, stay in bed and sleep and see people no longer here.

I don't do this easily, I suffer from the guilt of my decision to shirk my duties, to lay the burden on my husband, to hide from myself and sleep half the day away.

I try to talk to myself by saying "you know this happens to you at least once a month for a few days. You have depression, PMS PMDD (any of a million acronyms for what boil down to a bad day) give yourself a break. You don't have to be like everyone else, maybe this is what your body and mind need, just a day off." But there is another part of my brain, that my therapist calls the "Misguided Allie," I call it my "Inner Critic" (I got this from Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, a book I highly recommend). She is cruel and merciless. She does not believe I am in need of "me time" to recoup and treat myself with a little TLC. She thinks I am lazy. She thinks I am a quitter, and that I am never going to amount to anything. She tells me that if I haven't done anything by this age, it's clear I never will. That the therapist I had all those years ago that gave me that study on Irish Americans and how we are all dreamers, without the ability to follow our dreams, was dead on. She tells me that I am NOT a writer, I will NEVER be a filmmaker, that I should never have become a parent since I can barely take care of myself, never mind kids, a husband, pets, a house and all that goes with it. She also tells me that it is my punishment to live a life without fulfilling my creative endeavors by constantly struggling through every day, during every task, no matter how menial. She is a BITCH!

I recently started a new job that is WAY out of my comfort zone. When I am not in a funk I am on fire at my job. When I am in a funk that bitch is on fire and totally tears me to pieces, telling me "I told you so, this job is so NOT you. Why did you think just because you were passionate about the company and the products and the ability to educate people to institute change, that you could succeed?" There are days like this when I listen to her and wonder if I am going to be that person again, or still. That person who got accepted to Film School and never went. That person that worked for influential people in NYC, but quit and came home? Am I going to be that person that had four really excellent home gatherings in people's homes who wanted me to be there, educated people on something I am passionate about, sold products I believe will help those people, their family and the environment while sending a message to a corrupt industry, had fun, made money, made the top ten in sales for the month, and felt like she had accomplished something, only to give in to self doubt, hide under my covers and quit?

Misguided Allie, that suggests she is actually on my side, right? That I have to find a way to turn her around and work with me and not against me. She has been with me for the better part of my 42 years on this earth, it's about time I stopped listening to her and get her to see just how wrong she is. To get her to be my biggest fan and not my worst critic! A daunting task I do not know if I am up for, she is still misguided!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine Credit

I remember when Valentine's Day meant wondering if I was going to get chocolates, or flowers. If we were going to have Italian, or Middle Eastern. If I was going to have a headache, or if my husband was gonna get lucky.

Now, I'm freaking out because my three-year-old can't spell his name on his (my) handmade Valentine's. And should he give his classmates a sweet treat...or an eraser? Obviously NO kid wants an eraser, or stickers, or a pencil, even if it's an Avenger's one, but with allergies and parents concerned about too much sugar all at once, I get it. But let's be honest, erasers for Valentine's? LAME!

Should we just skip the Valentines? I mean how long do we keep them before we throw them out? In this ecologically fragile time is it wise for us to continue to make shit we're just going to throw out in a week behind our kids backs? (some of us actually save these things because we inherited the hoarder gene).

Maybe we should just give all our kids "pre-email" accounts so they can send E-Tines. Let Dora and Boots entertain them through an e-card! "Come on Vamanos, everybody let's go, It's Valentine's Day Today, Your Daddy's might get laid, HOORAY!"

At least no one will know they can't type, and you can either delete it or save it in a folder named PreKValentine's2014MassachusettsMrsJThreeyearsoldDORAANDBOOTS.

Or how about a social networking site for kids during HALLMARK HOLIDAYS (actually all holidays)! We can call it

They could have profiles with their school pics:

Bobby Stonehill
Wallace Pre School
Princeville, Mass
Teachers: Mrs. J. Mrs. L. Mrs. K and Ms. F

Age: Three

What Should Be Posted:
Breastfed until twelve months
Occasionally wets the bed (Actually wears pull ups on a full-time basis, but we call them underwear)
Likes super heroes, Super Why? and Strawberry Shortcake!
Still sleeps with a nightlight and sucks his thumb while rubbing left ear
Doesn't know ABCs or 1, 2, 3s

What We Will Actually Post:
Peed and pooped on the potty without even being asked
Sleeps with room darkening shades; doesn't even know what a night light is
Never sucked thumb, or used a paci, self soothed
Read at twelve months, knows numbers up to 1 million and time tables up to 10

I mean doesn't this all lump in with the whole "parents end up doing what our kids were assigned to do until they are old enough to do it on their own" thing?

My son is not going to cut out Valentines in that perfect heart shape, because he will most likely be cutting off the cats whiskers with the scissors. The same scissors he had in his hand as he was chasing after said cat, down the stairs and under the bed. He will only want to give the Valentine's to the boys,  and he will want them to be in the shape of a gun.

I will cut them out of the scribble paper I save for just such occasions, check. I will have him attempt to draw his name, or at least first initial on each one until he gets tired of that, and then I will take over from the second one on, check. And I will stick a "safe, and parent approved treat" on them, get them in bags, and pray I remember to bring them to school tomorrow, along with his sheet, blanket, bunny, alpaca, lunch box, water bottle, ski pants, second set of season appropriate clothes, as well as the special treat he brought home Monday, a bag with a stuffed animal, three books and a writing assignment (that I will write), (not done, still looking for bag).

I think we as parents need to start taking some credit for all this work we do! After all, WE DO IT!

I say we confiscate and eat all the Valentine's treats. We should get that star from the assignment and put it on our vanity mirror, and if we sell something for a fundraiser we should get a note saying "YOU RAISED $X.XX for your child's trip to Llama Land in the Spring, yay!"

I really think it will help ease the stress the next time the kiddos come home with an assignment for us to do! I know most parents could use the boost in self esteem, and really, who is it hurting?

My first step in TAKING BACK THE CREDIT: I just ironed my Girl Scout Cookie Badge onto my Favorite Scarf (Now I need to deliver these friggin things before they expire!)

Monday, February 10, 2014

I LOVE my Magic Bullet and I'm Not Ashamed to Say So

When my friends who like gadgets kept telling me about their Magic Bullet's I couldn't help but be... well, disturbed.
TMI! Do I really need to know how much you like your..."blender?!?!?!"
OH, ugh, why the hell would they name a blender what clearly sounds like the name of a sex toy? I mean honestly.
I read on one Facebook post "I woke up one of my patients because I was using my Magic Bullet in the closet next to her room." OMG, hello! I was mortified that she would just put that out there on FB. She's a nurse. Should she really be doing that on the clock? Did she not have paperwork to do? Meds to hand out? I mean really! The only thing I feel the need to do so urgently these days is pee.
But who am I to judge?
Then I experienced the Magic Bullet first hand, and I have to tell you, it is BETTER than a sex toy.
My avocado/banana/honey smoothies are to die for. It doesn't smoke because it can't handle the pressure, or the time it takes, because some concoctions do take longer than others to smooth out. It doesn't require 12 size D batteries and if I don't want to clean it right away I can give it a quick rinse, leave it in the sink and not worry about it until later!
Since I have purchased my favorite appliance they have come out with the MiniBullet, the NutraBullet, and my personal favorite the Black Edition. I can't wait to see the attachments that come with that baby!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Mourning the lack of focus on a creative life due to my inability to balance it all

My head is spinning with thoughts, a normal occurrence for me. 
I'm loving the Olympics, hating the cold weather, wishing I were more organized and mourning the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. 
Late last night I watched PBS American Masters: Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth, it really got my brain spinning about injustice and writing and people standing up for equal rights and living a life well lived and one I would call satisfying and fulfilling. I, whether good nor bad, am an all or nothing kind of person, and I'm afraid I have gone the way of nothing rather than all. I related so much with Alice Walker's total immersion into her creativity. She states, in her blog "Although I have tried many times to take a “sabbatical” from writing, I have never succeeded." I envy her ability to honor her creative gifts and write consistently throughout her life. 
I have constantly run from my call to creativity. When I have succumb to it I felt a sense of Zen that I knew was something I could easily become addicted to. When I put my head and heart into something I am passionate about I lose myself completely. My fear, now that I have a family, is that I won't know how to balance focus on family and focus on my passion, so I let my passion flounder...and it shows. It shows in the snippiness and the mood swings. It shows in my impatience and my inexplicable sadness. It shows in my panic attacks and my burst of down right rage. So why do I continue to torture myself? I am so afraid I will never be able to balance the two and be successful at both. One will surely suffer, so in the end it is I who suffers.