Sunday, December 31, 2006

Oh Happy Day!

Finally! If you remember I posted about this in October. I will be looking forward to paying 1/3 of what I pay now for visits to the psychiatrist and psychologist.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Avah Margret

Here's my new granddaughter: Avah Margret, 7 lbs, 19 in. born Dec 28 at 4:04 am

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Dear Dad

You are back in the hospital with an infection, but not as sick as before. Cindy's glad you are being cared for and we're not happy with the quality of care you had at the nursing home. It would be great to find a better place or some alternative. It's been almost 4 months since your stroke and I miss you while getting to know you at the same time. I love to spend time with you holding your hand. This is so hard for everyone - I can't imagine what it is like for you. It makes me wonder about life vs. quality of life. You are so determined and strong to keep doing your therapy. The gains are slow and small - we are so excited and proud with every improvement. I see that quality of patience and perseverance in myself, but in the same circumstances I'm not sure I could hang in there. This is a life changing event - everyone in the family is affected. My family would be very strong and take very good care of me, but I don't know if that's what is best overall.

You've been in and out of ICU again. We don't know what happens next since you have a trach and there's only a couple places that take trach patients and they are not the nicest of places. This must be tiring for you beyond belief. At this point you don't get much of a choice about your treatment or future. I hate to see you agitated and upset. Today I didn't wake you when I visited. You deserve peace and rest. I love you so much.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Personal Diction.ary

Merry Christmas to me! Yesterday, we went to visit good friends and previous neighbors, Lady H and her family. Her gift basket to me included homemade soup and sauce mix, fireside coffee mix (yum as I am sipping it now), raspberry hot cocoa mix (double yum from last night), recipes to make aforementioned mixes plus more and (drum roll please) . . . . A Christian Personal Dictionary! I am the proud owner of an exclusive, unique, numbered copy of the original Personal Dictionary published a few years ago and have now been blessed by a Christian version. What is a Personal Dictionary? you ask. Well, according to the intro page:
How to use this dictionary: Some of what follows are clearly questions. Others are not. It is more interesting and comprehensive to throw out a writing prompt in the the author - you, can fill in the words surrounding the thought and then respond. I believe how you perceive the prompt is as telling as the answer. Thus, when you are finished, the dictionary should be even more definitive.
Good luck and enjoy!

Also useful as a conversation starter, a type of memoir, or any number of other journal type of thing - the personal dictionary will make you think! Here's an example of some prompts:

  • glad sacrifices
  • righteous anger
  • Bible character you most identify with

How can you get yours? Ahhh - you can't. Unless you deluge me with email that I forward to my friend and maybe she will consider publishing.

Thank you again, my friend and I will put your Christmas surprise in my car so I get it to you soon (hopefully before Christmas)

Friday, December 08, 2006

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

According to this NYT article (free registration is required to view the entire article),
The effect of this simple gesture of social support is that the brain and body don't have to work as hard, they're less stressed in response to a threat," said Dr. James A. Coan, a psychologist at the University of Virginia and the study's lead author. His co-authors were Dr. Hillary Schaefer and Dr. Richard J. Davidson of the University of Wisconsin.
Relaxing in the face of a perceived threat is not always a good idea. The brain's alarm system, which prompts the release of stress hormones that increase heart rate and move blood to the muscles, prepares people to fight or run for their lives, researchers say.
But this system often becomes overactive in situations that are nagging but not life threatening like worries over relationships, deadlines, money or homework. Easy access to an affectionate touch in these moments — or to a hug, a back rub or more — "is a very good thing, is deeply soothing," Dr. Coan said.

Dad often reaches his hand out and we hold it. It is comforting to know that he is being soothed.

Friday, December 01, 2006

If it's not one parent, it's two

Mom fell this week, breaking her ankle in 3 places. Surgery on the ankle consisted of opening it up on both sides and putting it back together with pins, plates and screws. The cast stays on for 3 months and she'll be going into a nursing home near her apartment building. Now my days consist of visiting both mom in the hospital and dad at The Pond, picking up my son from school, trying to feed my family dinner and maybe throwing a load of laundry in. Today I changed the sheets on our bed - whoo hoo!! I've got 20 Christmas cards in envelopes without addresses or stamps. Christmas shopping is almost done and the wrapping paper is ready to roll. I don't bake and the tree is still in the attic.

Every detail of mom's injury and hospital stay is compared with dad's. She can hit her call button, eat food, sit on a bedpan, swallow pills, talk coherently, move both sides of her body, use the phone. I have to keep my mouth shut so that she can have her own experience, her own pain and not be put down by me pointing out that dad is worse off than her in every single aspect of her experience. BTW, my parents are divorced but harbor no bad feelings now. Mom lived alone and my brother and I are double teaming her. Dad is remarried, so my step-mom and I keep up with him.

Ummm--hey that leaves me spread thin. Self-care today included a really good nap...with hubby.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Noting Thanks

People ask how dad is and when I enthusiastically answer 'good!' they mention something like a walker or going home. enthusiasm extends to dad not having an infection, not being in the hospital and being able to talk. Then I go on to explain how his TIA's (mini-strokes) prior to his major stroke affected one side of his brain, his major stroke left his left side paralyzed, damage to his basal ganglia makes his right arm and leg move involuntarily. He can't do much of anything - they use a big sling/hoist thing to get him out of bed and into a wheelchair. He is still being tube fed and is incontinent. He can't push the call button if he needs something. BUT he IS working in rehabilitation on swallowing, sitting, standing, reaching, looking to the left -- numerous things you wouldn't even think about he does even if he needs someone (or two someones) to hold him up sitting or push him up and hold him standing. I am noting thanks for him being able to gag when the speech therapist checks to see if he has sensation in his throat. I am noting thanks for every 10 or 15 seconds he can stand holding onto bars with therapists in front and back supporting him. I was thankful when he knew my step mom was gone for 6 hours even though he didn't know what year it was. The most thankful moment was the first time he opened his eyes and saw me weeks after the stroke. Another was when he mouthed my name and tried to whisper 'I love you.' Looking back and realizing how long he was unconscious (weeks) and how long he couldn't talk because of his trach (months) and noting that every day that passes means that we are that much farther away from when he had his stroke, I am thankful. To someone who is looking in from the outside, things seem pretty bad; but for me, things are 'good.' Happy Thanksgiving to All!!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Children and Domestic Violence

This article only mentions that children who witness violence can have emotional and behavioral problems. From my observations, children - no matter the age - are affected in a post-traumatic stress syndrome kind of way. Young children are traumatized by the sight of someone who should be unconditionally trusted endangering the other parent. One of the worst, deepest and lasting types of damage a kid can have is the fear of abandonment. Older kids are embarrassed and angry. Young adult children wonder about their children being affected.

Myself, I have learned to have a Zero Tolerance for domestic violence.
Also, always call 911 - whether you or your neighbor need help - don't leave cries for help unanswered.
And please file charges, get a restraining order - protect your family!

Noble's Pond

Dad arrived at what we now call 'the pond' a week ago Thursday. He worked with the therapists there, getting assessments, showing what he could do and how much assistance he needed to do them. When people ask me how he's doing and I talk about how good he's doing and how hard he's working, they will say something like 'oh, is he using a walker?' Then I have to explain that well, he really can't do anything by himself -- I have seen him go from unconscious to shaking his finger at me, giving me a hard time (all in good fun) Each inch farther he can reach, each second longer he can sit, each day he can remember what year it is -- that is progress and I am thrilled.

So he was at 'the pond' for a few days and then pulled out his feeding tube. The nursing staff put it back in, but he started vomiting, so he ended up in the emergency room where it turns out he had a bladder infection and lots of chest congestion and the doctor admitted him for a couple days. Of course, soon after starting the strong antibiotics for the infection, he got the intestinal infection he had before. Since they caught it soon, it cleared up fast and he was able to go back to the pond today.

It's a whole two-step-forward-one step-back kinda thing. Very frustrating. Requires determination, patience, perseverance and all that stuff. Dad does great with therapy - trying everything they tell him without complaining. Now if he can keep infections away, he's sure to start making two steps forward for each step back.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Anthony Burgess

In a previous post I told you about my son's interest in A Clockwork Orange. Well, he did a book report for school (he is in the 10th grade) and at first got 36/40 points with the very first thing the teacher marked incorrect being the author. Take a look at the original report:
Chris L.
3rd Period
A Clockwork Orange was written by Anthony Burgess. This book has influenced culture a lot. A Clockwork Orange was originally published in 1962 in England. The book was released in the U.S. but the publisher left out the last chapter; because of this, the movie version of A Clockwork Orange (made by Stanley Kubrick) left out the ending of the book. The book is written in a first person point of view. A Clockwork Orange uses a strange vocabulary of slang terms that Anthony Burgess made up.
The story is set somewhere in the 1960's in an average city. The main character, Alex, is a horrible kid. With his gang, he commits horrible crimes; for example, robbery, rape, and vicious beatings of random people in the streets. His gang consists of 4 members: Alex (the leader), Pete, George, and Dim (Dim is the stupid, rough one). They use strange words like droog (a gang member) and horrorshow (cool or good). They dress in white outfits with black bowler caps and boots.
The book shows you the horrible things that Alex has done, and has gone through. Alex and his droogs (gang members) commit various crimes during the night. Alex is a very cocky character and eventually his gang starts to turn on him. While they were breaking into a womans house, the police were called by the homeowner. When Alex ran out of the house, he was cracked over the head with a milk bottle. His droogs got away and left him to get caught. Alex was sent to prison; in prison he heard of a special treatment that he could go through to get out of jail. The treatment was very horrible; Alex was strapped to a chair with his eyes held open. He had to watch horrible movies of murder, rape, and other crimes. The treatment eventually made him sick, so when he acted in a bad fashion, he felt sick. After the treatment he was released and had to go through horrible things.
The themes in A Clockwork Orange are very unclear. I think that one of the themes tells how people sometimes get what they deserve. Alex deserved to be imprisoned. It also shows you that people change and recieve things that they don't deserve. A man gets revenge on Alex after he is released from jail. A Clockwork Orange shows people that sometimes it's fun to be a bad person. Alex goes through phases throughout the story; at first he is a horrible person and by the end of the story he is a normal man.
I highly recommend A Clockwork Orange, it's a very interesting book. I liked it because even though Alex was such a horrible person, I grew to like him. The vocabulary used in the book is very entertaining. Although I liked this book I wouldn't recommend it to people that have gone through traumatic experiences like rape, and harsh beatings. My sister found it very offensive and disgusting. It has very horrible parts in it, but it's interesting to see a person my age change like Alex did. I also recommend the movie, although it is old, it summarizes the book very well. A Clockwork Orange is one of my favorite books.
The teacher told Chris "I don't remember who the author is, but this is wrong." So he tried to tell her maybe she was confused with Stanley Kubrick who made the film and she said no. Then he had to prove it to her on the Internet and ended up with 38/40 points for his report.

Can you hear me screaming?? A language arts teacher!!??? AND YOU THINK SHE COULD HAVE LOOKED IT UP BEFORE MARKING IT WRONG!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Moving on down to the 4th Floor

Dad is now in the Rehabilitation Center on the 4th floor of the hospital. He seemed anxious and after a full day today, was quite out of sorts when I got there. A busy day, a new schedule and lots and lots of work for him. The speech therapist worked on swallowing. Another day or two and his trach site will be healed over so he can do a barium swallow test. He got to have some water, pudding and other treats so that she could see how he's doing. Yummy since the only thing he's had in his mouth has been a bit of mouthwash on a little sponge and some tart lemon swabs to stimulate salivating.

Physical therapy wore him out. He complained about the pain - getting stretched after being bedridden for 6 weeks is going to be hard. He also went on about some off the wall stuff, but after he started to calm down, that went away. Our hope is that he can recover enough to come home. The hard thing is trying to encourage him without threatening him or making him feel that it's his fault if he doesn't improve. It's possible that he won't be able to accomplish certain things. And then you have to make it upbeat that working hard and being in pain is what he has to do in order to make progress. And then I wonder if therapy just keeps getting harder because once he gets to one point, there will always be more to work on. Plus we have no idea of how it feels for him and he knows it and says that and I wish we could take some of that from him. He has to do all this extremely hard work himself.

So that was Day 1. Keep tuned in!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The most interesting things can happen at Libraries

The Friends of the Kingsteignton Library in Devon, England, are taking the threatened closure of one of 12 underused libraries by the county council seriously enough to engage in a nude protest. Local library lovers—among them several councilors at the district and parish levels—have been demonstrating against the closing of the library, rain or shine, since February. But last summer, chanting “Don’t strip us of our library,” the group staged a nude indoor protest behind a shelf of large-print books....

Sunday, October 08, 2006

What Hurts My Feelings

Not being Informed.
Not being Included.
Not being Invited.
Not being Introduced.

Not being Appreciated.
Not being Acknowledged.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Snacks at School

Finally a very commen sense idea - let's get all the high calorie, sugary, non-nutritional junk out of school. Things that have come off of our grocery list at home: chips, soda, candy and ice cream. There isn't a whole lot of baking going on - my oven doesn't do a very good job, although my family maintains that I'm the one that burns the bottoms of the cookies.

Another idea on how to help the child obesity problem: PE for everyone. All grades, all days.
Some things my teens seemed to enjoy (besides changing for gym):
  • being able to choose from different activities (archery, golf, softball, etc.)
  • doing circuit training in the weight room
  • working on the Presidential Council on Fitness Challenge

Some fit things we've done as a family:

  • taken karate class together
  • passes to the amusement park in the summer meant lots of walking

Ok, that's a couple things off the top of my head - not enough really. And we reflect that.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

What I've Learned

What I've learned in the last few weeks:

Not to take for granted breathing, speaking, eating, or my body's ability to move.
That everyone has their own way of dealing with and responding to stress.
That little kindnesses mean a lot and big problems can be insignificant in the blink of an eye.

That any day is a good day when:

You can look your loved one in the eye and say "I love you"
You can touch, hug, kiss and hold someone who can touch, hug, kiss and hold you - well, even if they can't and at least you can.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What else is going on?

You ask...I answer. My hubby had surgery on his knee to fix some torn cartilige. It was outpatient surgery and he hobbled around home less than a week. Now he's doing physical therapy and will be better than new in no time!

My heel pain is constant and worsening caused by plantar fasciatis. The doc gave me a cortisone shot which had lidocane which eliminated all the pain for about an hour. So for that short, sweet time there was no pain and it became so clear how bad and how long this thing has hurt. The feeling of relief just rushed over me. But it crept back and hurts worse and in a larger area now - so back to the doc tomorrow. He said something about surgery if the shot didn't work....

Mattie (our french bulldog) has had some permanent nerve damage in her front paws and is taking a course of prednisone. She is still happy-go-lucky as usual.

We went to dinner for my daughter's 20th! birthday and had a blast! I kinda walked into a 'family joke' and the funny stuff went on and on. We laughed so hard, tears ran down our face. After all the stress about dad's stroke, the laughter was a great release.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Stroke effects

Dad was moved to Select Specialty Hospital within the hospital this week. The time spent in ICU seemed unending - a succession of days and nights - good and bad where we were hopeful one minute and waiting for the worst the next. Dad was in a morphine induced coma to help keep him calm so that his blood pressure wouldn't spike. When they tried to bring him out of that, they still had him on one med that caused headache, so kept up the morphine to keep him comfortable. There were days when he was very agitated. For more than a week, he didn't open his eyes. He was on a ventilator, feeding tube, IV and had tubes everywhere. He had a special air bed that would turn him slightly from side to side to prevent bed sores.

Trying to make him more comfortable and reduce the risk of infection, the nurses inserted a PICC line. A day or two after that, they put his feeding tube into his stomach instead of down his throat. He developed an infection last week. We thought it could be a turn for the worse. Once they got the fever down, they did a tracheotomy. Now nothing is down his throat!

Yesterday was his first day at Select. I got there about 8:30am. The place is busy; much different than ICU with nurses having about 4 patients each. Dad has a team of a few nurses, a couple aides, his doctors(family, infectious disease, intensive care, neurology) , and the therapists(physical and speech) Everyone needed to assess him and by early afternoon, he was zonked. The most exciting part was the speech therapist who really got him responding and he seemed happy about that. For the first time since the stroke, he looked me in the eyes, seemed to recognize me, squeezed my hand and even mouthed that he was hot, so I took his blanket off.

Baby steps, Baby steps

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Dad's Stroke

My dad had a stroke the week before last. He had been working outside. My brothers were going to visit and when they got there, he was sitting in a chair unable to move. He regained movement about 10 hours later at the hospital. He needed surgery on his carotid artery which was blocked. Since it was scheduled for the following Tuesday, he got to go home for the weekend. He was at my niece's 1st birthday party on Sunday. Tuesday's surgery was pushed to Wednesday because the surgeon had an emergency. During surgery Wednesday, he had another stroke. He had another surgery following that to make sure the artery was clear. They kept him in a coma to keep his blood pressure down and started to bring him out of it Friday. A scan showed small vascular disease in his brain. His left side is paralyzed, he's on a respirator, being tube fed and given pain meds. When the blood pressure and pain meds start to wear off, he starts to wake and his blood pressure spikes. He is very uncomfortable and agitated at that point. This morning when I called the nurse said he rested well during the night, so I'll be spending the morning with him. Yesterday he had tears. They are starting to wean him off the respirator. He is making small improvements like that. From what I can observe and what I've read surviving a stroke is not an easy process. He has been such a support for me; the parent I could count on for stability. Now I want to be there with him and for him. I hope it is some comfort to him that his family is there and not upsetting for him.

This is hard hard hard.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

girlfriday: my best advice

My best blog friend, girlfriday gives us a confidence boost.

I also love Stephen Colbert's article in Wired.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Mom, I have something important to tell you

Yes, those were the words on my voicemail this afternoon. My daughter found out she's pregnant today. She had told me about her period being late earlier this week. So now we are expecting two new grandbabies. It's a little different when it's your daughter who is pregnant. I'm concerned about her health and her pregnancy. She has endometriosis, so being pregnant will help give her body a break from that. She's been having unprotected sex with her fiancee for a while, so I think she was concerned about being able to get pregnant. She's petite and has some other health problems, so I hope everything goes well for her.

They just started college and are living with her dad's girlfriend right now. They planned to get work/study jobs and live there for a while. Now they'll need a place of their own. They are struggling financially. They were planning a September 2007 wedding. They have lots of things running through their minds right now. She went to the doctor and he focused them for the moment by saying that since she has endometriosis, this is a blessing and they should think nothing but positive thoughts. Good advice.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Artist or Actress?

Today our painting class was filmed by our local PBS station. For the first time, I was the first to finish painting and was filmed signing my painting! This was my best work yet - a scene of water crashing into a large rock jutting out of the ocean. If there's any broadcast, I'll be sure to blog about it.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

It's a Girl!

Our future grand-baby is a girl! My husband went to the doctor's appointment with the expectant mommy and her mother. He was so excited and has pictures of the ultra-sound which I hope to post. Now when I'm out and see something cute, I can go ahead and BUY it! Due date: December 31.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Rescue Me

Being an educated, professional couple I hate to admit to some of the television shows we watch. The quantity of television is also very high. Some of our favorites are CSI, 24, Law & Order SVU and Criminal Intent, Emeril Live, What not to Wear, any dog shows, poker & ultimate fighting (husband) and Lost (me). We watched a season or two of Nip/Tuck - just when you think things couldn't get weirder - gotta see what they come up with next. Hubby also likes Desperate Housewives. So some of this trash TV is entertaining in an outlandishly raunchy kind of way. Our newest discovery is Rescue Me - the fire station that would be down the street from the Desperate Housewives if it were in the suburbs. We laughed out loud - very loudly.

Other TV comedy I like: The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Dead Like Me which was cancelled after 2 seasons on Showtime and is now being rerun on cable, but not the same being edited for language.

Oh, and we have Media Center so all this is recorded and watched without commercials at our convenience for hours at a time. Next entertainment post must be about reading books....

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Suicide Hotline change

Please take note of this change. If this affects you or your family, make sure those who may need the number have it with them. For anyone who has contemplated suicide, never hesitate to call. If you are ever having suicidal thoughts, contact your doctor, the suicide hotline or go to the nearest emergency room. Suicidal thoughts are symptoms of mental illness and symptoms can be treated.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Sunday, August 13, 2006

They're not teenagers anymore

A friend of my step-son's moved back in with us a couple weeks ago. He turned 21 shortly after. The guy is working 2 full time jobs and is going to start at the Police Academy at the end of the month. He'll have to quit his day job. He's stayed with us before and is really nice to have around.

My step-son turns 21 on Monday. He'll be getting his real estate license soon. I know he's a natural and can't wait to see him in action. He's going to be a dad, but isn't romantically together with the mom right now. Life can get complicated.

My future son-in-law turns 21 on Tuesday. I remember meeting him when he was 18 and promising me he would never quit high school - then didn't make it through that year. But he's since received his GED, is a welder and is going to college this fall. He and my daughter have made it through some tough times and I respect him for that. He loves her and I love him for that.

My daughter will be 20 next month! As many a mom has found, we get along so well now. What a relief that the struggling adolescent years are behind us. The tough choices I made with her still pain me and anger her. As time goes on, may our new relationship heal those hurts that linger.

My step-daughter will be 25 and is ingrained in her adulthood. She is finishing college, thinking of grad school and involved with her boyfriend's business. They live in Memphis and I haven't seen her since before we got married. Maybe I can go next time her dad visits.

A kid in college

It's happening - my daughter got financial aid and is signing up for classes on Monday! She will be going to Stark State College for Early Childhood Education. I graduated from there in 1982 with an Associate's Degree in Mechanical Engineering. She is very nervous about school since it's been a while since high school and even though she's very intelligent, her effort at that time wasn't all that great. Of course (I tell her and myself) I can help her with everything! Is this a mother's way of saying I am still needed? Since I have forced her to be very independent to the point of making her feel that I don't want to help her, it may be my way of easing the guilt.

This is a proud and exciting time. Hopefully she will find the same inspiration, motivation and determination that college gave me - plus the career and financial success that follows.

Of course we'll watch Kitty for you

Recently we lost our cat, Bones so when my daughter asked if we could take her cat for a while, we said yes. Her name is Kitty since they couldn't come up with a name for her. Makes sense to me -- that's all we really ever called Bones anyway. So Kitty is beautiful - black with very nice white markings. She is very smart. She has been known to put the scooper in the litter box if she wants it cleaned and even brought it to my daughter when that was ignored. She doesn't care for the dog, but is settling in nicely having chosen her spots to hang out. The world is on her terms - she will make you pet her, but doesn't like it if you pet her. She likes to nip affectionately -- we do not like this. One evening she crawled on my chest as I was on the laptop and 'nipped' my cheek. I yelled with surprise, threw up my hands; she fled, the laptop flew to the floor. Hubby was like 'what the--?' So now I try to avoid her love bites.

Kitty will be going back with my daughter when they get a new place. I wonder if she'll remember us?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Princess Bride

Of course, I am.....

Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

Lazy Town

My kids just told me about this show on Nick Jr. today - the main character's name is Stephanie! What a coincidence - that's my name! And I'm pretty lazy!

But seriously, after checking out the web site, there's lots of good stuff to get kids moving and eating right. The show is winning awards and making toys with Fisher-Price.

Monday, July 10, 2006

At Home

Asking myself the question - am I doing this?
A parent at home can create a cohesive family lifestyle in the midst of today’s rushed and media-distracted lifestyles. The at-home parent can hold down the fort during the day, provide loving care to the children, create home cooked and healthy meals for everyone and create a calm, peaceful sanctuary for the whole family. The home-based parent can be an anchor in the storm of daily modern life and a strong and living "heart" at the center of the family.

At first, all that was true. I had been laid off, we were just married and I was in my perfect world resting from a life of a working single parent of two. Then I needed a job, worked full-time at Target before getting my dream job at the library. For a few months, I worked at both places which wore me out considerably. After leaving Target, my hours at the library changed to Tue & Wed 9-2 and Thur 11-4. Now if that isn't the most perfect schedule in the world. So you would think that peaceful sanctuary would reappear. Umm, more like a mediocre pit stop.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ultimate Fighting Challenge

There are many sports watched at our house. Hockey - my husband is from Michigan and is a Detroit Red Wings fan. He graduated from Michigan State or is that U of M? (just kidding, honey) So we follow the Spartans football and basketball. We watch the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. We watch the Superbowl - well, at least the commercials and I like to catch the halftime show. LeBron James and Ben Curtis are from 'round here. Golf and poker are on the TV at all possible times. All was well for me, the only woman in a house of three males. But then my husband discovered the UFC.

This no-holds-barred any style of fighting is too violent for me. The big talking is like WWF for intelligent people. So here I sit blogging and surfing the internet. Is there a UFC 'season'? I doubt it.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Northside

Tonight my son played bass guitar on stage with his guitar teacher at open mic night! It was so exciting for both of us. He did a great job and will be going back often, I'm sure.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

But the cat didn't come back

Not really knowing what could be causing her somewhat comatose condition, the vet put the cat to sleep last night. Actually, she has a name but we usually referred to her as 'the cat.' My husband took her from friends who rescued her as a stray. She was bone skinny, so he called her Bones, which is short for Bonita. We will miss her reading the paper in bed with us on Sunday and her playing with Mattie. After Mattie is ok, we'll think about another cat to keep her company. This time a short-haired cat because we won't miss the long white hair or lovely hairballs Bones left behind. My dad lives out in the country and has 14 acres of woods. He's been feeding cats for years and has a large colony of wild cats that just had kittens. Years ago, the kids and I took a kitten and it was the best cat - really beautiful and a great buddy to our other cat. When we moved, we were fortunate to be able to give them to a family so that they could stay together. My stepmom says the new kittens are really cute. My niece has taken one already. Mattie goes to the vet this morning and will still take medicine for another ten days.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The cat's turn

My husband, stepson and friend are taking the cat to the vet ER. She was lying at the bottom of the stairs, which is an unusual place for her to be, for the longest time. When I went to close the door and it got close to her, she didn't move a muscle. When I bent down to shoo her up, she just laid there so I called the guys to come check her. She was just lying there not moving and when my husband picked her up, she was just limp so we called the vet. My husband says he thinks she may have had a stroke.

You don't realize how much pets are part of the family until something happens to them. Mattie, recovering from her herniated disc, lost control of her bladder lying next to me on the couch. I thought she was slobbering on me until I saw that it wasn't that end that was wet! She goes back for a recheck on Thursday.

Our big worry is vacation coming up. My stepson is staying, but he works or goes to school every day. I hope nothing serious happens while we're gone. That would really suck.

Outer Banks Vacation

We're spending next week in Salvo, North Carolina on the outer banks near Cape Hatteras. My dad and step-mom rent a big house and all of us kids and our families spend the week by and in the pool and hottub, at the beach, fishing, surfing, kayaking, cooking, resting, playing games and visiting. We haven't been able to all be together for a while. My dad has four kids and so does my step-mom and we don't synchronize around the holidays as well as we used to. This is the third year going. There's about thirty of us. It is the absolute best time.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Bad Hair

I have a pet peeve about bad hair on TV - on people who should know better, whose livelihood depends in part on how they look. Assuming there's someone whose job it is to do the hair and makeup thing on these guys - they should be fired! Someone should do a reality show makeover of these people! Here are some of the people I see that I cannot believe have hair this bad:

Jim Angle - combover
Bill Gates - please get a good haircut

The Donald almost as famous for his hair as he is for being, well, "The Donald"

John Gibson (2)
What is with these
guys on Fox?


My son plays the bass guitar as well as the electric guitar. His teacher has just moved to a space in an art gallery above the Northside. They have an open mic nite Mondays and the two of them are working on playing there soon. How cool is that? You can hear him on Myspace or email him at

My Paintings

I've entered three paintings in a student art show! It opens Monday - they are judging today. I'm nervous, excited, proud and did I say excited?

Mattie our French Bulldog

Mattie our French Bulldog is suffering from a herniated disc. She's being treated with medication and cage rest. She's our baby.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Dulcimer Festival

Over the weekend we attended the Dulci-More Festival in Lisbon, OH at Camp McKinley, Ohio's most historic Boy Scout Camp. A delicious ham dinner was served Saturday evening including homemade desserts! The concert featured Tina Bergman & Bryan Thomas followed by Magpie.
The camp was beautiful with the sounds of traditional music, wildlife and water running through what was the Sandy & Beaver Canal. City tension melted away warmed by the first weekend of summer sun. Ahhhh...Summer!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Beta No. 2

So whenever your ready with the real thing, Bill - just let us know.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

My Engaging Daughter

Another Mother's Day weekend treat - my daughter and her boyfriend put an engagement ring on lay-away!

She is so excited - it is wonderful to see her so happy.

We went shopping for vintage dresses - perfect for her - she is petite and they all fit fairly well. The first one may be the one she gets and it will only need shortened and any changes she wants.

They plan on a Fall 2007 wedding.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

War and Peace

An interesting op-ed on the history of Mother's Day ran in the Akron Beacon Journal today on the same page as an article about the war on terror.
Contrary to what card makers would have us think, Mother's Day wasn't always a Hallmark holiday. The first Mother's Day proclamation, written by Julia Ward Howe in 1870, was a rallying cry for mothers to make their sons and husbands quit the business of warfare.

There has never been an age without war, not ever. Mass violence is a continual aspect of the human condition. Peace, like good weather, is always local and temporary. And what is peace anyway but the result of past victories in war and the effective threat of future war against would-be aggressors? We play with our children, read books, go to work and enjoy recreations only because people with guns stand ready, willing and able to kill other people with guns who would kill us if they could.

While best known for writing the Battle Hymn of the Republic, Howe lived through the Civil War. She was horrified by the violence she saw, and used her poetic gift to pen a proclamation against war -- a proclamation that birthed Mother's Day.

``Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause,'' Julia wrote. ``Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.''

It's sweet to forget this and therefore difficult to keep it in mind. ``It is hard for those who live near a Police Station to believe in the triumph of violence,'' as the poet T.S. Eliot wrote. That's us -- we Americans, protected by a mighty military that by and large obeys the rules of our republic -- safe enough, and keeping much of the world safe enough, so that we find it hard to believe in whatwould happen if that protection failed.

But these fighters do keep us safe. And because keeping us safe is harsh, dangerous work, we should glorify them, exalt them in story and song by way of appreciation.

Her solution? Women should join to ``promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.''

For the sake of mothers in the United States, Iraq and Iran, we should heed Julia Ward Howe's 1870 cry to ``Disarm! Disarm!'' and find the means ``whereby the great human family can live in peace.'''s not bloodlines but national creeds that make a people. And while even so great a creed as ours can't guarantee the decency of individuals, evil creeds surely sweep them up into destructive madness and therefore must be opposed.

Today, we face an enemy in the grip of a belief system just as evil, just as destructive in its intent as the system we fought back then. We were attacked at home in this war as we were in World War II. The outcome of the struggle is just as much in doubt.

Worse, because Islamic fundamentalism supersedes nationhood, the danger it poses is more protean and diffuse. It's easier to pretend it isn't there, more tempting for the war-weary and the fatally foolish to waver and sound retreat.

While assessing the intricate failings of our moral history, many of us have lost sight of the simple truth that the system that shapes us is, in fact, a great one, that it has moved us inexorably to do better and that it's well worth defending against every aggressor and certainly against as shabby and vicious an aggressor as we face today.

When war comes, as it always will, and when it is justified, as it is now, nuances and shades of gray have to be set aside. It is time, instead, for faith and for ferocity. Our enemies have these weapons, after all.

We're going to be Grandparents!

My stepson and his girlfriend are expecting a baby. It is an unexpected surprise for all, but we are looking at the bright spots. I've been in the 'in-between' group of my friends. One has small children, getting started with her family in her 40's. Pregnancy, childbirth, babies, toddlers and children - all wonderful memories now. When I watch her chasing after her little one, I am grateful that that exhausting time is in the past. Another friend has five children, the oldest of which has two children, making her a grandma. Last year, my sister became a grandma and this year she will have two more grandkids. Even though I admit I was jealous, I realized that our kids were young and it would be a while before we would have grandkids. Well, now that is in the future and my grandma fantasies can become realities. In the children's department at the library, grandparents bring their grandkids to story hour. They read to them, pick out books, put together puzzles, look at the fish and our turtle, Spike. We have books on grandparenthood, activities to do with grandkids, etc, etc.

We are all starting to think of each other differently. They are starting a family, a new life and moving from dependence on us to having someone depend on them. You can tell they see us as parents - not the authority figure of their childhood but parents like them. We have this in common - expecting a baby. What greater event to expect? They can tell that we know how excited and scared they are - that we've been through the long wait of pregnancy and the uncertainty of childbirth. It may take a while for the reality of not only a life - but a lifetime of a child is ahead of them - their child to love, teach, take care of and enjoy. They are no longer young adults trying to find their way - they have the path ahead of them now.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

This is How I Am

Just a rambling post about how I feel today, which is like a slug! I've been lazy, unmotivated, blah, a couch potato, dragging, limping because of my heel pain, sleeping so hard during my nap that my husband greeted me with 'nice drool' upon seeing my pillow. My usual routine consists of the morning routine: get up, bathroom, coffee, let dog out, have cigarette (unless I've quit smoking that day), make simple breakfasts for hubby and son, pack lunch for husband, kiss him goodbye, take son to school. Then if it's a work day, I get ready & go to work for 5 hours shelving books at the library - a job which I LOVE for so many reasons: it's peaceful, I love books, no late fees for employees, coworkers are great, boss is even better and I have the best schedule in the world - I work Tue, Wed & Thur. Yes, 5 hours 3 days a week with a 4 day weekend every week at a job I LOVE. But if it's not a work day, I come home & tidy up, work on laundry, grocery shop, clean house, do errands, lunch with a friend - but only one of those. One activity a day is usually all that's accomplished. I'm a very low energy person - a type B personality, perhaps with adult ADD, an underactive thyroid (I take synthroid), depression (ditto on anti-depressants), aches and pains (anti-inflammatory meds), sleep apnea or maybe I'm just relaxed - a little too much. Once a week or so a spurt of energy shows up in time for me to keep my head above water. All this - and it's so much better than it used to be when I was a divorced, full-time working mom of 2 finishing college at night with an ex that didn't pay child support consistently for so long, he's $25,000 in arrears. Then I had NO energy, but managed to take the kids to their sports practices and games, scout meetings, friend's houses, movies, museums, fire station open houses for the free pancake breakfasts, the library (of course) and even saved for a vacation to Disney World. My house looked like it should be condemned, but everyone said the kids are only young once and they don't care. Well, at 19 and 15, I can see that was right - I am enjoying these young adults and am proud of our life. Things were not perfect - you do your best, work on priorities - but there will always be some things that were hard. I had to learn to make decisions even if there was no really good choices or outcome to be found. Adulthood - Responsibility - not always fun and games.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Choosing a Nursing Home

In anticipation of the possibility of admitting mom to a nursing home, I've found this site which will work up and email a comparison report. I'm also talking to her doctors, nurses, social worker at the hospital, and her case worker at the Area Agency on Aging. Mom's been a Passport client for many years, which has enabled her to live on her own. If you have aging or ill parents, contact your local Area Agency on Aging - it is an excellent source of information and assistance.


Mom was diagnosed with Parkinson's a couple months ago. After falling again, we stayed with her around the clock as she was in a wheelchair and needed assistance for everything. Last week, she was admitted to the hospital for more rehab. The neurologist increased her medication and she's getting intensive therapy. The Parkinson's was much more advanced than they first thought. Now we need to figure out if she will be able to go back home on her own. She could spend some time in a nursing home until she is able to be safe by herself. She's 70, has osteoporosis, diabetes, bipolar disorder and now Parkinson's - it's likely a nursing home is in the future.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Washington, DC

My son and I spent part of spring break at our nation's capital. It was my first visit and I can't wait to go back. At the zoo, we got a great view of Tai Shan. All three pandas were sleeping - Tai Shan in a tree - but it wasn't crowded and was so great to see them up close.

At the Library of Congress I applied for a reader registration card which gives me access to most of the reading rooms and we headed straight for the main reading room. I could spend an unlimited amount of time here among the 22 reading rooms and 3 buildings.

It was cherry blossom season and the spring days were beautiful. My son especially enjoyed riding the metro and we spent some time at Union Station where we shopped, had lunch and saw "V for Vendetta" because when you're 14 and sight-seeing you must spend a lot of time doing things that you could do at home!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Child Bride

This report really was amazing. I wonder how many innocent people are living in similarly evil situations. Far too many I am sure.

Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone From Yahoo! News

Change in Antidepressants May Beat Depression

A report at goes through the trial and error of getting the medication cocktail right. There are a lot of people who give up before they get better. The search for the holy grail can take some time.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Mom's Depression

An article in states the obvious and it's good that this is being studied. Parents - take care of yourselves! When my kids were growing up, I was a single working mom suffering from major depression/bipolar disorder. The battle seemed endless, and the fight went on day after day, medication after medication. After seeing what my mom went through when I was a kid, I was determined to do everything my doctor told me. Finally, it paid off but our life was affected - how can it not be? The highest priority as a parent is to take care of yourself; take care of your marriage; and take care of your kids. An unhealthy parent and/or unhealthy marriage can't set the stage for healthy kids. At times, it seems the right thing to do - put the kids first - before your mental health - instead of your marriage, but unhappy people make poor parents and provide poor examples of how to function in life.

For families dealing with depression, a book I highly recommend is Talking to Depression: Simple Ways to Connect When Someone in Your Life is Depressed.

If your child is suffering from depression, my favorite resource is Lonely, Sad and Angry.

A website that points to all others and has a great online community is Bipolar World.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Mighty Migraine

Woken by a migraine this morning, I begin the quest for relief. Coffee and a cigarette - nicotine and caffeine. Ran out of Relpax - have to drive 15 minutes to the drug store by my husband's work because it's less expensive there thank you formulary/non-formulary lists. The lady at the pharmacy asks how I'm doing. I've got a migraine and didn't refill my medicine. She says she can see it in my face (that bad, huh?) and that she does the same thing, thinking 'maybe I won't get another one.' She let's me know that the pack of six pills is a 3 day supply and I can get a refill that soon. Good, I'll be stocking up.

Back at home I take a pill, Xlear my sinuses, warm up my Bed Buddy, put in my brux guard and lay down. I look at the clock to see when I can take another Relpax. After 20 minutes, I get up and take a muscle relaxer. I think I fall asleep and then damn the coffee I have to get up and pee. Reheat the Bed Buddy, take out the brux guard and sleep for an hour. Hmmmm - feeling better, I get up and take that second Relpax and have some toast. Now it's time to tiptoe around the phantom pain left so that the migraine doesn't come back because if it does, it will be worse than the first. I miss my husband who left yesterday on a business trip overseas. Make a mental list of people to call if I need to go to the ER.

Since they're menstrual migraines, I reluctantly hope for menopause. That's just wrong. I'm only 45. But if I got to choose when the headaches would stop, it would be sooner rather than later. Ok, I'll be taking it easy the rest of the weekend, giving myself scalp massages, doing gentle stretches and trying not to read or make any sudden movements. Now I just need to figure out what to do to prevent my retarded dog from barking.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Bird Flu

The bird flu scares me. Every day there is very bad news.

Two children in Indonesia have died and today there was a report that Israel has confirmed cases.
There is such a wide range of measures to detect, destroy, and defend depending on each country's resources and procedures that I feel that the spread will just keep gaining momentum. I pray for all the people who have become ill and for the families that have lost loved ones.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Depleted Uranium

Dr. Helen Caldicott on Depleted Uranium

My son, the apparently more aware of some things than I, gave me this article. Something else to be mad about. I'm going to get him a book on teen activism. He's ripe for it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Whatever Goes Down, Must Come Up

After months of let's call it seasonal depression, the fog lifts when robins start plopping around and the sun comes up much earlier. For a few days, a breeze of giddiness sets in and I'm joking, teasing and filled with happy songs in my head. An energy courses through my body. Thoughts of hope and plans and optimism race around in my brain. Who am I? Trying to reconcile this person with the normal me and the depressed me, I wonder what I am. Describing my mom to someone recently, I said that it was like having three moms - manic mom, depressed mom and normal mom. For me, being bipolar feels like three different pieces of the same fabric. The fabric of life, if you will. One piece that is a beautiful expression of the soul, an accurate representation of the personality. Another part shows threads interwoven made of sparkling gold and silver that shimmer and move with a life of their own, an uncontrollable magic carpet. With depression, the shimmer disappears and the fabric is left with emptiness where the sparkle was and a rotting away of the threads that can barely hold it together. But through ups and downs, the same basic pattern is there and that's how I hold onto myself: knowing that these extremes are part of my life but my true self is the part that is always there. Indestructible holy thread woven by God to create me. The creator raises me as a flag, representing His love. Whatever state my soul is in will suit His purpose at that time.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

A Clockwork Orange

After seeing the Stanley Kubrick film, my son, the 14 year old intellectual, read the book (including the original last chapter). He did a good job explaining it to me - similar to the article.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Jail time for parents

Beacon Journal 02/20/2006

Associated Press
COLUMBUS - Prison officials are asking lawmakers to consider alternatives to putting deadbeat parents behind bars, where they don't earn much money and continue failing to support their children. The 601 men and 24 women sent to prison in 2004 for not paying child support made $12 to $18 a month working prison jobs, while taxpayers paid about $63 a day for each prisoner's shelter, food, clothing and medical care. ``We strongly think each child should receive the support they are due,'' Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman Andrea Dean said. ``But we also understand there are going to be some deadbeat dads or parents for whom, if they had an opportunity, an alternative sanction other than prison would be a good option.'' About 2.5 percent of inmates admitted to prisons in 2004 were felony child support cases. Failure to pay child support is punishable by six to 12 months in prison. Repeat offenders can be imprisoned for as long as 18 months. Prison officials want lawmakers to consider work release or other programs that would allow nonviolent child support violators to work under supervision. They say those options could help ease crowding and save taxpayers the $23,000 each prisoner costs annually.
Having a child support arrearage of more than $5,000 OR moving to another state without reporting new employment qualify for felony violation. My ex has had approx. $25,000 in arrears for many years AND has moved to many different states without ever reporting his new employer. The child support agency hasn't filed charges. We usually manage to find where he is employed and as long as he's paying, what's the sense? My take? There should be a consistent way to apply the law or the law should be changed. The best child support change was allowing the state agency to collect directly from employers in another state. Before, if someone was in another state, it was a slow, cumbersome process which never worked for me.

My kids have done without and now that they are older, they will continue to lose out on opportunities. They have no college savings. Their dad hasn't filed income tax in order to avoid having child support arrearage taken from his refund; therefore, applying for financial aid becomes impossible. The amount of arrearage currently being paid is 20% of the current payment (one child now). Arrearage payments will continue to be paid after my youngest turns 18 in 3 years. (current estimate=80 months)

I believe that if he would have been jailed the first time, that may have been the last time he purposely avoided paying support.

Monday, February 20, 2006

My Politics

You are a

Social Liberal
(68% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(28% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Friday, February 17, 2006

My Mom

Mom's recent experiences in falling: For years, she's had some kind of arthritis somewhere. At one point or another, every kind everywhere. So when she falls, injury occurs. Last time, she was admitted to the hospital while they examined her back. First few days the word according to mom was that they'd be doing surgery tomorrow. Finally, it was no surgery at all. She got to spend a week in the rehab unit where they said she did wonderfully. She sent me to her apartment to get some clothes and I counted 20 bottles of assorted psychiatric, pain, anti-inflammatory, cholesterol, and thyroid drugs plus stuff I don't know anything about. After talking to a couple of friends from the building and seeing that, it's no wonder she can't walk! I should have been suspicious when she called and asked if I had any tranquilizers a few weeks ago. Now, I have NEVER had tranquilizers nor given my mom ANY of my prescription medication. Well, while she was at the hospital she sounded pretty good, but after a day or two back home, it's back to the slurred speech. Today the gist of what she said was that she fell getting into her lift chair. It's a special chair that when you press a button, it lifts up to help you get out of it. She tries to get in it while it's in the lifted position. I told her to put the chair back down when she got out and just try getting into when it was down. Like a regular chair. The elderly, spaced-out mentally ill parent can be a source of frustration.

The Witching Hour

This term refers to an hour, typically midnight, when witches have a power surge. Or something like that. In my world, it refers to the time in the middle of the night that pops your eyes open. Or the time when you're trying to keep your eyes closed as long as possible before having to get up and go pee. I've been waking up in the middle of the night for so long, I can't remember when it started. When I used to smoke, it was time for a cigarette. Now I check my email and have a snack if my tummy is growling. If it's close enough to morning, I just stay up.

This waking in the middle of the night is a symptom of depression. The doc says if it bothers me, he'd give me something to help me sleep. No thanks, there's too many bottles of pills already in the medicine cabinet. My theory is that for all of history, some of the late night wonderers had vivid imaginations and interest in the occult; thus, the witching hour. That doesn't describe me at all, it's just the kind of stupid stuff I think about in the middle of the night.

My Valentine

My sweetheart of a husband sent me a pajama-gram on Valentine's Day! A cute, comfy set of jammies in a beautiful sheer hat box - just what the doctor ordered. On Valentine's Day, I was home after having tummy trouble the evening before, so I showered & changed from the jammies I'd been wearing to my new jammies. My recovery was speedy.

Catching Up

Here I am, guilty of neglecting my blog. My goal is to get some posts from mind to screen. First, an update on me (it is MY blog, right?) A couple pounds found another place to live. Maybe it's the water walking - I'm adding water aerobics soon. The pain in my heel (plantar fascia) led to a doctor's visit. He prescribed orthotics which the insurance needs a pre-cert, so when that gets done, my feet will be in comfort. The heel is the main reason for the water exercising. I figured out why the left heel hurts worse. When I get up from my knees while shelving books in the children's department, I use my left foot first. So I've been trying to use the right, which has no strength in comparison! I am wayyy to young to have these physical ailments.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Rolling Stones Censured and so much more

Rolling Stones Censured

Perhaps we are on our way....
TV censors deemed two lyrics too sexually explicit to be broadcast and they were cut from the three-song show.....ABC said the changes to the Stones' show were made by the US National Football League (NFL) and its producers.
and So Much More:

It seems there's a trend to control free speech around the world. If people are already dying as a result of the Islam cartoons, what happens next? What is the reaction of countries whose embassies have been attached? Which Muslim countries will band together about this?

Countries are in flux about elections, democracy, power: In Nepal
The rebels have called the week-long strike as part of a campaign to disrupt local elections due on Wednesday.
And then there's the countries getting and wanting weapons:

Venezuela and Iran:
Iran's dispute with the international community over its nuclear program deteriorated sharply yesterday when Tehran withdrew from an agreement with the UN's atomic watchdog and stepped up its controversial uranium enrichment work.
And we have troops in Iraq and Afghanistan fighting a war on terror which includes wiretapping American citizens. Is the world becoming a jumbled, confusing, difficult and scary place? Or has it always been that way and we didn't happen to live through it like the generations before us: WWI & II, the Cold War - you get the idea.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Decisions, Decisions

How the depressed mind thinks when simple decision-making is impaired:

In the grocery store: Cereal - what kind? low sugar? high fiber? Ok, one of each that are on sale. What's cheaper - small box? big box? Maybe we don't need cereal this week. Do we have any oatmeal? (forgetting to look at list)
Bread - wheat? white? the whole wheat that looks like white to fool the ones that don't like wheat? How about getting some English muffins or bagels? which one? can't decide - never mind. (wonder if the list would help)

At home: Laundry - whites first? towels? clorine bleach? hot? cold to save energy? more than one load - no, because when I run out of steam they'll sit in the washer until they sour.
Do you want to go to a movie? which one? don't even ask - it hurts my brain to even think of it; just please choose the one you want - I will enjoy it.
Getting dressed - 5-10 minutes staring at the underwear drawer deciding which bra, panties and pair of socks to wear; then another 5-10 sitting on the bed in front of the closet picking out a shirt and pants. Keeping in mind the socks should match.

This explains why when I do wear jewelry, it's one or two simple pieces once in a while. Talking to the hairdresser - just do what you think will look good. It's frustrating. My mind, faced with a choice when I'm depressed, cannot think, choose, concentrate. It's very hard for people to understand. They think I don't care, but that's not it - my brain just won't go there right now.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Friday, January 20, 2006

It's getting better all the time

Compared to this time last week, I'm feeling better. There are still moments of downtime, but they are fewer and farther between. There was some humming among us the last couple days - both me and my son. That's always a good sign.

We had a bit of a scare with my mother-in-law (heretofore referred to as MIL) this week. She was at her volunteer job at the hospital and had an irregular heartbeat. They kept her for the night; my husband drove up; by the morning she was ok. We're just at that age where you know that your parents are not going to be here forever. My dad is having a spot on his lung watched. I worry and worry about him. It feels the same way as when the kids are not feeling well - you just don't want them to have to be in any pain.

We are trying to get in shape - be a bit healthier. I've quit smoking (with a relapse or two) and we're trying to exercise more. When the kids were small and I was single, I knew I needed to be healthy so that I could take care of them. Now I need to be healthy to feel better - slow the aches and pains that creep up during middle age. When I'm elderly, I suppose I'll be trying to be healthy for the kids again so they won't have to take care of me.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Abundant FreeTime

I hate the smell of hypocrisy in the morning
1) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, liposuction and air conditioning.
2) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.
3) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.
4) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.
5) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britney Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.
6) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.
7) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.
8) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.
9) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.
10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans...

--Re-post this if you believe in legalizing gay marriage

How to Move a Rhino

Wow. To give some black rhinos more room, conservationists are tranquilizing them and moving them. There are only four rhino species left - all are endangered. Did you know that rhinos are related to horses? That supports my unicorn theory - think about it.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

My daughter and I went shopping for a few hours last night. We had a really nice time. The conversation kept turning towards 'remember when we did this or that?' Like when we stayed at the hotel by the mall for a night when they were kids. The hotel offers a package - a room, pizza from the food court and a movie in the movie theater (where my daughter now works), plus the hotel has an indoor pool. Or when the kids were in sports. My daughter has an older brother who has two boys and her dad also has a younger kid, so she's gone to games and practices for them. It's nice when your kids start to get a taste of what kinds of things you did for them. I asked her if she had all her supplies in the trunk: large golf umbrella, chair, extra sweaters and jackets, blanket...she laughed. We did a lot of stuff when they were kids. My friends would comment on how much I did with my kids - I feel like I was a pretty good mom even though we struggled with money, exhaustion, and emotions.

My kids were in scouts, basketball, daughter in cheerleading, gymnastics, softball, son in baseball and football. She played violin in the orchestra and clarinet in the band. He played trombone in the band and plays electric and bass guitar for fun. When we could afford to, we went to movies, water parks and even saved to go to Disney. When we were broke, we went to the library, museum and roller skating. We were involved in church. I finished my bacherlor's degree and started a master's at night while working full time. All of the above while I was single and suffering from major depression. I feel like super-mom!

Now that they are teenagers, there's no extra-curricular activities. My son is failing some classes in high school. My daughter's health isn't too good and she has no insurance. It's time for their own struggles. Hopefully, they'll be able to look back and give themselves credit.

Friday, January 13, 2006

No motivation

It's my day off (1 of 4 actually) and things are backed up here - laundry, dusting, etc. Any motivation would help. I did take out the trash, make my husband breakfast and lunch and....oh yeah - let the dog out and brought the paper in. Ok, those last two don't really count, but I'm claiming them anyway. If I can just get some dirty dishes in the dishwasher and a load of clothes started, that would be a beginning.

I'm what you'd call a Type B personality. Things that make it to my priority list absolutely, positively have to get done. Lately, the list has been pretty damn short. The dog and cat get fed because they can't make a sandwich. Ok, we had one slow cooker meal this week. Maybe we'll have another one today.

Back in the fall, I was feeling great and talked the psychiatrist into reducing one of my anti-depressants. That was the mistake: now I'm somewhat down even after increasing the dose back to what it was. Just waiting to feel better and realizing that I should just stay with what is working. In the meantime, I'm in slow motion, sluggish, got that sad in the chest and behind the eyes feeling and have been taking extra naps. I haven't exercised, but I did make an appointment with the psychologist. My daughter is coming over today - that will cheer me up. Maybe we'll go shopping - we've got gift cards from Christmas burning holes in our wallets!

So that's how it goes with me - for every negative thought, I've learned to counter with a positive. When I'm critical of myself, I make a point of noticing any little thing that I accomplish. And my greatest skill is patience - the ability to wait however long it takes to feel better. I've felt so much worse for so much longer, so I'm confident I will be fine soon. I just hope I don't worry my husband too much.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Eat Me - then and now

Scientists have announced that the famed Donner party did not resort to cannibalism as has been believed for more than a century.

Then there's a freak in Germany, Armin Meiwes, who cannibilized a volunteer. Apparently there are hundreds, perhaps more than a thousand cannibals in Germany.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Happiness 'Set Point'

According to Jonathan Haidt, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and author of the new book The Happiness Hypothesis:

"Happiness has a very weak relation to the events in our lives," Haidt says. "Your happiness level is determined mostly by the structure in your brain not by whether good or bad things happen to you. Negative events hurt or feel bad, but they are not usually as bad as we think and don't last as long as we think."

Happiness is an individual thing, he says, like a thermostat in our brains with a baseline that's predetermined by genetics. "We all move around, up or down, around our set point" depending on life events, he says. "The key to the psychology of happiness is to move to the upper range of your potential." He advises a three-point check-up on the state of personal relationships, the work environment and control over daily life, because improving those areas will boost happiness.

I could've told you THAT

AOL News - Cough Syrup Practically Worthless, Doctors Say

After raising kids with asthma and chronic bronchitis, the trick is to tell the doctor they're up all night coughing. Then they'll get some cough medicine that works. Poor kids - having to take that nasty tasting whatever-tussin for nothing!

Monday, January 09, 2006

High School Opens Vegetarian Lunch Line

There's a step in the right direction. Eliminating Coke and Pepsi machines would help also. This 'childhood obesity' problem could use a shot in the arm from year round physical education.

Video Game Violence

In the drop down Latest Headlines on the Mozilla Firefox toolbar, there is a news item Violent games 'affect behavior.'

Out of the 29 news items listed, 12 include violence. Perhaps violent news 'affects behavior' when it comes to adults. Maybe violence is part of our genetic makeup. It seems to have been with mankind since the beginning. My 14 year old son plays some violent video games and is peaceful and kind. People's behavior is based more on their personality. I don't think restricting or eliminating violent games or violence on television will change society.

Sharon Case May Raise Theological Issues

According to this article in Yahoo News, decapitation is an irrefutable sign of death. Can't argue with that one. The other types of 'brain death' aren't so clear.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Would you? Or wouldn't you?

My son goes back to school after the holidays and learns that a classmate has committed suicide. The first day was unclear - heard there was an accident or he had hung himself. The second day confirmed the hanging. The obituary said he 'died suddenly.'

Before the holidays a girl stepped out in front of a train. Two trains were passing in opposite directions. She crossed after the first went by right as the second started to pass. There were counseling sessions at the school and memorials left at the railroad crossing.

Being familiar with suicide attempts via my mom, depression via me and my kids, I would choose to open up. But I understand and respect those families who can't face that. People say that there is nothing worse than losing a kid. Losing a kid to suicide is worse - lots worse.

I wish I were professionally qualified to speak at schools about depression and suicide. Depression can be fatal, but it is treatable. If your kid needed medication to treat an illness that could kill, you would make sure those meds got taken. But stigma - the idea that mental illness is 'all in your head' - prevents people from getting treatment or helping the mentally ill. Your brain is a part of your body. If your body gets sick, you go to the doctor and get treatment. Mental illness is the brain getting sick.

It is also a mistake to always dismiss kids' moods as normal adolescence. The best thing to happen to my kid was a unit on depression in health class in 7th grade. He was able to come home and say 'I feel like that.' The biggest challenge was finding a child psychiatrist. So I would like to think that I would open up to help other families.

I'm not criticizing anyone. I can't presume to know the dynamics of other families. We all do the best we can. My thoughts and prayers are with those who are affected by mental illness.

Too old to rock n roll?

Being 45 myself and having attended a Stones concert, I was happy to hear the age limit was lifted. What I can't believe is that it existed in the first place! Unbelievable!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Hi ho hi ho; to Akron U we go!

The entire day was spent at the University of Akron for orientation with my stepson. We had a great day. It's been 12 years since I graduated and they've done hundreds of millions of dollars worth of improvements to the campus. We spent about half the day in a new hall. The student center was completely redone - hardly recognizable to me. And no more standing in long lines - once you know what you're doing, everything is online! You can even order your textbooks online and have them delivered. We got a lot done - picked up a $110 parking pass; checked out the bookstore; signed up for classes and all the other orientation stuff. Makes me want to go back to school. Or at least work at a university so the kids could go to school for free. AND I could go back to school!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Joined the Natatorium

So I’ve excercised 3 times in the last 5 days! Our community fitness center is new and has all kinds of equipment, weights, gyms, pools, classes, a indoor track, saunas & spa (my favorite feature) I’m up to 20 minutes of aerobic work on the elliptical trainer or bike, then a couple laps walking around the track before I hit the sauna and/or spa. I hope to check out a yoga class this week. My husband is making me dinner right now from a world cookbook he bought. Hopefully, we’ll get a little healthier every day!

Antidepressants do decrease suicide risk

After many reports of how anti-depressants could increase the risk of suicide, this study finds the opposite:

The study also found that newer antidepressants were associated with a faster decline in rates of suicidal behaviour than older drugs. Among the 65,103 patients taking antidepressants, there were 31 completed suicides in the six months following the antidepressant prescription.That rate was not higher in the one month after the prescription than in subsequent months. In the case of adolescents, the researchers found that teenagers had tried to commit suicide more often than adults. They found that the rate for the first six months of antidepressant treatment was 314 attempts per 100,000 in teens while in adults it was 78 attempts per 100,000.As with adults, the rate was highest in the month before treatment and declined by about 60 percent after treatment began.

Hopefully, this information will spread to those people who stopped or avoided treatment because of the reports that suicide attempts increased instead of decreased. This study was longer with a much much larger group than those that showed the opposite. More details are explained in this Rueters article.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year - Now Wait Just a Second!

This St. Paul Pioneer Press article dated 01/01/2006 says the 'Leap second' is the subject of a long debate. It seems that there are TWO kinds of seconds - an atomic second and an astronomical second:

Leap seconds are an outgrowth of the post-World War II development of increasingly accurate clocks based on the regular vibration, or "resonance," of atoms as they pass through a magnetic field. In 1958 an atomic second was defined as the time it takes for an atom of cesium 133 to tick through 9,192,631,770 cycles.
At that point atomic time and astronomical time are approximately the same, with the traditional astronomical second defined as 1/86,400th of a "mean solar day," the average time between two consecutive noons.
The trouble is that the heavens behave more capriciously than cesium. Also, the length of Earth's day is increasing by about two milliseconds per century because of the tides, whereas today's atomic clocks, unaffected by cosmic events, tick away with an accuracy within one second for every 20 million years.

Now who knew? And who cares? Apparently, there are those who say this difference affects things like computers and satellites. I'll bet not as much as the Y2K crisis.