Wordless Wednesdays — Its the Little Things

Sometimes, the smallest things can bring inordinate amounts of joy.  I broke into song when this showed up on my door step yesterday!  Now I can actually write down addresses and phone numbers instead of asking people again and again for their contact information.  What a concept!


I Need Ear Plugs

I’d just about give up my left big-toe right now to have a little silence.  I’m even thinking of going and sitting in my car.  Between DSB and his obsession with the TV, and the dogs going sideways because the neighbors happen to be hanging out in the driveway, and DSB’s phone ringing incessantly, and my blood thumping in my ears, I’m about to go a little haywire.

It’s been a busy week, a busy weekend, and I am still running on a sleep deficit.  I don’t feel very good physically, due to the lack of sleep, and the neighbors are about to not feel very good physically get an earful if they don’t get out of my yard.  I’m starting to feel more than a little cranky around the edges.

Really, why must there be such noise?

I almost took a nap today, but QoB called and I ripped off the ol’ CPAP, invited her over, and went off to find some pants.  It really turned out to be a good thing that she came over, because we got quite a bit done.  Or rather, QoB cleaned like the madwoman that she is and I helped do a few things, but otherwise sat around feeling ill and guilty for not helping much.

And I have ants.  Hopefully we took care of them, but mercy, there were quite a few.  When I told DSB, he was unimpressed and told me that he had advised me of such over a week ago.  Somehow I doubt that, but we must choose our battles, so I said, “Ok, hon,” and went back to doing dishes.  I really did do a lot of dishes today.  That I know as concrete fact, whereas it is remotely possible that DSB had already advised me of the ants a week ago.  Like I said, you pick your battles.

Another battle that I did not end up picking with DSB was that of the “miscellaneous computer crap” that has been piling up in my dining room over the last month.  QoB nipped that one in the bud and tucked it all away, nice and neat.  On a not-so-lovely note, DSB did not notice that it was all gone when he came inside.  Apparently chaos only drives ME insane.

My apologies that this post is all over the place.  I am suffering severe brain fog that I am hoping will remit, say, tomorrow, because I am positive I am going to get a good night’s sleep.  Cross your fingers and toes on that one.  I know I am.


Overdue Word Vomit

Well hello again (and let me pre-warn you that this post is all over the place:  there’s kind of a brain-vomit all over the screen kinda-thing going on here).

These random comings and goings are quite annoying, for me, maybe for you, maybe not.  They’re annoying for me because then I don’t SEE what I have been up to, written right there on the screen, and I have a tendency of FORGETTING life’s lessons, and so I have to learn them over and over and over.

A few weeks ago, my new therapist, fuck! I can’t remember what I named her.  Something about cognitive disortions, so we’re just going to go with CD.  This is what happens when you go too long without blogging, as I had mentioned before, you FORGET things.  And you also forget that it is impolite to do all-caps but I am writing this with such feeling, it’s hard not to just throw capslock on and scream the entire post.

My mind is all over the place.  What I began to say is that CD put me in a “Intermediate Treatment” group a few weeks ago.  She was concerned about my higher scores of suicidal ideation, mounting depression, and feelings of worthlessness.  Now, I hate groups.  Hate.  Hate.  Hate.

I actually kind of like this one, and will be somewhat on the sad side to see it go here in a week or so.  Sad, but true.  This group focuses on your core values and then helps you figure out activities so you can meet goals based on your core values.  You basically fill out a daily schedule, one day ahead of time, placing in it activities that you think will help you achieve your goal (based on your core value).  There’s some other stuff to it, but the main thing is the daily schedule, pre-filling it, and then editing it as needed as the day goes by and shit either does or doesn’t.  There is also rating of the enjoyment of the activity, as well as importance of the activity.

I don’t know what it is about this group, but there are certain goals that I was kind of working on before, but am really working on now (for some reason), and I am actually accomplishing them.  I have been taking a shower every-other, to every 3rd day.  That’s exceptionally good for me.  I have been making it more a priority to read each day.  To get outside each day.  To cook dinner each night.

There are still some things that I just can’t quite get my head wrapped around, like keeping my house super-clean.  I’m not even sure that’s an attainable goal.  I think I need to break that one into little steps and go about it different.  Today, when I was working on housework, I set a timer where I would work for 15 minutes and then rest for 5.  Rinse and repeat.  Wax on, wax off.  It really did work pretty well and my kitchen is spotless and my horrifying laundryroom is totally picked up.

There are some things I really hate to do, but mostly that is to clean floors.  And it is very necessary in this household, because we have two dogs, and one of those dogs sheds like a bad dog.  We have more dirt than grass where they run, and let’s face it, they are just constantly tracking shit in.  I don’t know how to get my floors clean and keep them clean.  I try to mop, they’re dirty an hour later.  So I don’t bother.  I really do need to work on this.  I think one of my big hang-ups on this one is that my mom is always talking about  needing to clean her floors and has this near-obsession with doing so.  And she always has.  Forever.  Amen.

DSB did some working around so that I am using an actual (very large) monitor, real keyboard, real mouse, and still using my laptop.  We had thought the laptop was toast but it turned out it just needed a few driver updates and fixes.  It is kind of like a docking station, except much less sophisticated.  But I love it and today is the first day it has worked.  So, yay!  I am hoping this will get me to journal and blog more, maybe even catch up with the news.  DSB warns me not to be on it all the time, because he knows there are other things that need doing.  Like I need DSB to remind me what needs doing.  Kind of like I reminded him to take the trash down to the road today, which he never does but is on his “duty list,” might I say.  He took it like a trooper, though, and I am very happy it’s down there because it was very full and I know we’ll create a bunch more trash and I want to have room to put it.

And that’s why I did laundry, totally reorganized the laundry room, washed and put away dishes, organized the dining room, and thought about doing the floors today.  To my credit, it is very muddy outside and doing the floors would just piss me off 10 minutes later.  That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Recovery Stalling Out: Why I’m Afraid to Get Better

I am hoping I’m getting ready to process an epiphany of some kind.  I am so fucking frustrated right now with life and processes and change and with being terrified of realizing any success.

I have had mental health issues the majority of my life.  I  have spent some of it unmedicated and miserable, and a lot of it medicated and miserable.  It has only been in the last several months that I have achieved some semblance of stability.  My life is very slowly coming together.  I haven’t had a serious suicidal thought in months, haven’t been manic in over a year, and haven’t had a depressive episode lasting longer than a month in quite some time.  That’s progress, right?

Every reasonable part of my brain screams, “Yes, dumbass!  That’s progress.  REAL progress!”  Every other part of it tells me I’m still a failure and, in all honesty, that’s how I feel.  It all comes back down to that stupid fucking worksheet that my therapist gave me about the “stages of recovery” at which time she told me that I was the stage below what I would have put myself at.  My therapist thinks that I am just now accepting my diagnosis and starting to think about making changes.

I feel like I am making fucking changes already, but then if I sit really still and quiet, it’s clear in my brain that I’m not and putting myself out as such makes me a fraud. The stumbling block is the fucking changes.  There are various things about myself and my environment that I want to change, but I can’t seem to get it done.

I have set a goal to shower every other day.  And I can’t make myself do it.  Just can’t.  It’s like I have this mental block about it.  The thought of getting in the shower terrifies me, even though I know I’ll feel better when I’m done.  Taking a shower is a long process during which I often have to sit and psych myself up about for hours.  Hours, people.  Fuck.

I have a personal goal to get my house cleaned and keep it that way.  I do a pretty good job of keeping up with my kitchen, but the rest of my house looks like a dust storm full of dog hair blew through it.  Every surface is dirty.  There is some clutter, but not terrible.  I look around and I just see all this random shit and I am so overwhelmed, I can’t even take a breath.

My anxiety about making even the most minute change in my life is totally unreal.  It takes my breath and sets a grand piano on my chest.  It renders me immobile, literally.  My heart is starting to race and my breathing is becoming rapid just thinking about all of these FUCKING CHANGES I need to make.

Because the real question is, when/if I do make these changes, what then?  Will me not keeping up with it be a sign that I am slipping, or is it human to revert back to old behaviors?  What will happen when/if I am able to take a shower every other day?  What will happen when/if I can get my house clean and maintain it?  Terrifying shit.  It probably sounds trivial to most people, and I can imagine people reading this and thinking, “Just get in the fucking shower already!” but it really isn’t that easy.

I am afraid to get better because I am afraid of change and of who I will become if I make these changes.  Will people expect more of me?  Will I be able to live up to new expectations?  Will even more progress be requested of me?  At what point do we wrap things up and say, “Rose is okay now, just the way she is.”  I don’t see a point like that in the future.

Making it Click

I must admit, blogging is addictive.  Especially when you have some free time.  I spent the morning changing the appearance of the blog, using a new thing-a-ma-jigger that I found.  I think they’re called templates, but I could be wrong.  I left up the header picture that was on there, because it’s pretty, but not really “me.”  I have this fabulous little digital camera now and I am pretty sure I can get some great fall pics taken in my own backyard.  The trees are starting to turn and it’s gorgeous.

The new house is technically “in-town;” however, just across the street is considered outside the city limits.  There is a big patch of forested area very close to my house, and I have a humongous back yard with lots of trees and other prettiness.  I even have a huge asparagus patch that looks very mature and a stand of concord grapes.  Unfortunately, it seems that my neighbors’ have picked all of the grapes, so I will be putting up a sign because I am SO not sharing my asparagus. 

It has been a rather painful weekend for me.  I had to have a cyst removed on my lower back and have been back to the urgent care clinic three times since Saturday mid-day to have it drained and re-packed.  My fingers are crossed that I don’t have MRSA, but they sent in a sample to be cultured and I should know for sure by Tuesday.  Wonder what work would say if I did have MRSA?  Questions to be answered on Tuesday.

I am really rediscovering blogging here in the past couple of days.  It is something that I have missed doing regularly and never make time for.  I think it is high time that I start again.  Many thanks go out to Pasha for prompting and reminding me what a joy it is.  WordPress has really changed their site, so there may be a few little glitches here and there.  There is now a place where you can “like” a post on FB.  I am not sure I really want that up there, because I don’t want my work friends reading this.  Thinking I will just leave that one alone.

Speaking of FB, I have really been getting out of that scene lately.  I still read it, but find myself posting less frequently.  I get annoyed by people who complain on FB, and I don’t want everyone to know my business, so I generally just end up saying something goofy or replying to others’ goofy posts.  I have put a few pictures of my dogkids up and they seem to be well received.  It seems like that is a lot of what FB is about — showing off your kids/grandkids/etc.

So, as I said in my last post, I am looking for winter projects, doing much better when I have “missions.”  I have a little list going on my home computer and am adding a few more things.  I recently started reading again a blog that a friend of mine puts out.  She blogs religiously and seems to really love it.  She is always doing crafty things with her kids and she reminds me a lot of my mom in that respect.  Much love to you Adriana!

Adriana is another reason I am blogging.  I am interested in keeping up with what old friends are doing, and I would like for some old friends to know what is going on with me.  I am not a hugely social person, don’t go to bars or parties, but like to keep in touch with a few people.  I have a friend who is getting ready to have a baby and I am really excited to be back in touch with her.  We were Rocky and Bullwinkle back in the day, and even now when we get together we’re chatting nonstop, finishing each other’s sentences.

In other news, I started Weight Watchers a little over a month ago.  Prior to that, I was using SparkPeople and tracking what I ate.  Since the beginning of SparkPeople and into Weight Watchers, I have lost almost 25 pounds.  It is amazing how that small amount of weight off can make you feel so wonderful.  I have more energy, my clothes are getting baggy, and I am fitting into things I haven’t work in over a year.  I am more active and feel happier, not guilty all the time and feeling physically ill from eating crap and laying around.  For me, Weight Watchers is easy because you can eat anything you want and you have weekly support and pep-talks.  The website has what is called “E-Tools” and you can do all of your point tracking there, read success stories, build a recipe, search recipes, and read all kinds of interesting articles.  I am really loving it and what it has done for me so far.  I have not set a final goal, but am working on my first five percent.  After that I’ll go for another five percent, and then another and another, and so on.  I have a huge tupperware container and three large boxes of very cute clothes that will be fitting within the next 25 to 50 pounds I lose.  So very exciting!!

I found a great-looking recipe on The Sphors Are Multiplying called Slow Cooker Chicken Chili Verde.  I am making that in the crock-pot tomorrow with a few changes.  I am really loving fall and the idea of having dinner made at the end of the day by dumping a few things in a crock-pot in the morning.  Next up is pork chops in sauerkraut.  Served with a baked potato, it just doesn’t get any better. 

Not really about food, but cute nonetheless…

Kate Nash, Pumpkin Soup

Weekend Run-Down

All things considered, it was a pretty good weekend.  Productive, if nothing else.  For once, Dr. Love and I had no place to be, no commitments, no plans.  It doesn’t happen often, really no time in recent memory, and it was actually pretty nice, which was surprising, as I’m a girl who loves a good plan and to follow a predetermined schedule.

Friday night was the end to a rough week and to be honest, I laid on the couch and watched TV all evening.  Dr. Love made dinner for me and it was really just lovely.  It’s nice to be taken care of so well.  I fell asleep on the couch around 9:00 p.m. while watching Battlestar Galactica, Season 2.0.  There was really nothing better that could have happened.

Saturday was pretty productive.  Dr. Love and I didn’t even sleep in too much.  He has been doing really great at getting up early, and it’s so nice to have him in the present all weekend instead of me tinkering around and him asleep on the couch.  We took Kizz to the Bark Park first thing, which was muddy but fun.  Making the grocery list was really hard, because I was trying to do minimal but still have a week of good recipes to use. I ended up pretty stressed out, but Dr. Love was able to calm me down, as always.

After going to the grocery store, we came home and cleaned (our new favorite thing to do, it seems) and I cooked broccoli chicken cheese casserole with rice, a tried and true family recipe.  Something I don’t even have directions to make, but know by heart from QoB cooking it from way back.

Sunday was pretty good, too, although we slept in quite a bit.  We managed to clean out the garage, Dr. Love changed the oil and oil filter in my car and added antifreeze.  I cleaned out my car thoroughly, including vacuuming and scrubbing all surfaces.  Between all the change I found in my car and Dr. Love counting $45 worth of quarters from our change jar, we decided we could spare a few bucks and go wash the cars at the self-wash.  Now I have a lovely clean car to start my new journey with and it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for quite a while.

To add to building mastery, I also cooked a new recipe that is simply sinful —  S’mores Pie from Eat at Home.  Divine, really, and also quick and easy.  We had the whole pie gone by the end of the weekend.  Also revised my resume so I can start sending it out.  Talk about a stressful process.  I think I have it down pretty well, though, and QoB is looking at it right now.  We’ll see what she suggests.

A fairly skillful weekend altogether, using building mastery (cooking new recipes, making meal plan for week, writing resume), distract/self-soothe (cleaning, cooking, blogging), effectiveness (cleaning out car, grocery shopping on weekend), wise mind (choosing to be productive but doing things I wanted to do).  My PLEASE skills were also taken care of pretty well, too.

Can’t ask for much more than that.

The Postal Service, Sleeping In

I Got Skillz

I have really been treasuring “sleeping in” lately.  Work has been super-busy, with a lot of late nights, not getting home until almost 7:00 p.m. most nights.  That’s not terrible, considering I usually go in at 9:00 a.m., but there are days when I have to go in early and then stay late.  And then I’m exhausted.

So, with the “sleeping in” comes the “not-blogging.”  I was on a bit of a streak there last week, but it seems like life is so BUSY now.  The beauty in that is that staying busy and doing things keeps me happy, keeps me feeling good.  The downside is that I don’t have as much time to blog or sit in front of my sun lamp in the mornings.

Having been in that pattern where I do nothing but work minimal hours and sleep, I’ll take the current pattern any day.  I don’t do well when I have too much time to ruminate and dwell on every.little.thing.

I have been using a lot of self-soothe techniques lately, mostly music.  I find that if I am feeling overwhelmed or emotionally dysregulated, about ten or fifteen minutes of good music can leave me feeling really rejuvenated.  This weekend, I sat in front of Dr. Love’s computer (with the huge speakers and sub-woofer) and rocked out to Queen, trying to get it together for a trip to the grocery store.  I ended up being in really good spirits and was able to manage the anxiety that always comes with a trip to the store.

I have also been working on building mastery.  I’ve been cooking a lot, using recipes from Eat at Home, my new favorite website.  The writer’s focus is on low-cost, easy meals that can be made in bulk and then there are leftovers.  This helps immensely with nights where I don’t want to cook, just being able to pull something from the freezer that’s homemade, and also with packing lunches with leftovers.  I don’t have to think so much about what to take to work the next day, which is nice.

I’ve been rather domestic lately, using cleaning, cooking, and other little “chores” to build structure and distract myself when times are rough.  I really enjoy cooking for Dr. Love and I know he really appreciates eating something other than a piece of meat, a starch, and a veggie, which had always been my “go-to” meal.  And that’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with that, but you really can’t beat smothered steak with sauteed mushrooms and onions on a bed of homemade mashed potatoes or homemade pizza (the attempt at stromboli gone wrong) or chicken pot pie.  I know for a long time it seemed like the only really decent meal I could get was at QoB’s, but now it seems like I am turning out to be a pretty good cook.  Who would’ve thought?  🙂

I have DBT today and need to get my diary card filled out with all the skillfulness and effectiveness I have churned out in the past week.  I am really feeling pretty good and, even when I’m not feeling great, have been able to pull myself out of it by using my skills.  Yay for DBT!

I have found a new favorite artist using the “recommended for you” off YouTube.  Love it!

Stacie Orrico, So Simple

Overreacting to Normalcy

Today…(wait for it, wait for it) has been a pretty.good.day.  I am counting my weeks on DBT weeks now, starting on Wednesdays and ending on Tuesdays.  The rationale is that you do your diary card based on the week prior to group; therefore, with group being on Wednesday, Tuesday is close of business.

I had an annoying and blatantly obvious revelation today while I was chainsmoking in my car in an abandoned parking lot on my lunch break.  It became even clearer as the day went on, to the point that I’m finding myself observing my behavior and thinking, “How the hell did I not catch that behavioral phenomena before?” 

I am an emotionally reactive person.  I suppose I already knew this, or at least most of me did, but I was not willing to admit it.  And of course, like all of these little revelations that self-introspection brings, it annoys the crap out of me and leaves me shaking my head.  My interpretation of how my day went is based on how I’m feeling at that moment.  So.  Case in point being today’s situation (which is repeated non-stop in my life).  I had a pretty good day today.  I was up not-too-early and not-too-late, able to drink just the right amount of coffee.  I got a good parking spot, had positive interactions with my colleagues and other contacts, and really just plowed through my day and finished a lot of projects.  At the end of the day, I’m feeling good, ready to go home and see what could possibly make this day better.

On the way home, I lose an earring.  A new earring.  A new favorite earring.  A new favorite earring that I am convinced is good juju for Washburn Lady Blues games.  My mood went to hell almost immediately.  And it lasted for about ten minutes, because I remembered how great my day had been and how one earring isn’t going to change the world.  So I started cleaning and getting dinner together and putting away laundry.  And then, out of nowhere, everything started to get on my nerves.  My anxiety spiked, my cleaning became more frantic and the little voices inside my head were rapping about how dirty the house is and how lazy I am because I let Dr. Love take care of the laundry and how if only I could lose some weight I would have more energy and I could do it all myself.

So, that was about fifteen minutes ago.  I decided a little effectiveness was in order, a little self-soothe, distract.  Hell, you can lump it in to a bunch of different categories. 

So here I sit…smoking my e-cigarette, basking in the glow of my sunlamp, listening to my music, and blogging. 

And a state of near-perfect calm has come over me as I realize,

I’m hungry and dinner’s ready.  Time to eat!

Gnarls Barkely, Going On —

— another repeat, I realize…feel free to make some suggestions, as I could use an a new artist to obsess about. 🙂

The Pieces Fall Together

I have been horrible about blogging, so far out of my past routine that it seems as if that time was in a past life.  In a way, it was.  Life is totally different now.  My outlook, my goals, what I know, what I want and don’t want.  There is a clarity to my thoughts and I am also more able to play things forward in my head so that I don’t do anything too impulsive (at least sometimes).  Much less self-destructive behavior, if nothing else. 

I received an email the week before last, recruiting me to work at the state prison.  They had my resume on file from something I applied for last September, and requested I come in for an interview.  I’ve never been recruited for a job before…very flattering.  They knew me from work that I did with some of their inmates when I was at the mental health center.  At any rate, the clinical director called me yesterday and offered me the job. 

I almost have to pinch myself to make sure it’s real.  My role will be coordinating inmate discharges from the prison, making sure people have mental health and medical care, applying for benefits for them, etc.  The hours are 8-5, Monday thru Friday.  All of my work is done there at the prison…no putting inmates in my car, traveling to meet inmates, going into their homes after they leave.  There are no weekends, holidays, on-call, evenings.  They have a great benefits package.  I’ll actually accrue sick leave and vacation time at a normal rate again.  Oh, and it pays more than what I was making at the mental health center, by over a dollar, and more than what I am making now by almost six dollars an hour.  Bills will be much easier to pay now. 

So, yay!

I have been sick since Tuesday with bronchitis, a sinus infection, and laryngitis.  My voice is starting to come back and I have a little more energy.  I am going to try and make it through a day of work today, which I haven’t been able to do since Monday. 

It was really nice outside yesterday and Matt and I took Kizzer for a walk (she was beyond excited, let’s say!) and then came home and did the Bowflex (that Matt set up in the basement) for about 30 minutes.  I felt really REALLY good about myself afterwards.  Afterward, I made spaghetti with Italian sausage and broccoli while Matt went to tae kwan do.  He came home, we chatted and I did some stuff online while he applied for jobs.  We ate together and then watched one of our favorite TV shows, Battlestar Galactica, and then I read for awhile and went to bed.  I told Matt that I felt best when I follow a routine like that and he also agrees that it’s something he could get into easily. 

With getting off work at 5:00 p.m. now, I will really have no excuse to not get into and stay in a routine, other than sheer laziness and willfulness.  You don’t realize how much you miss that kind of stability until it is gone.  I felt so good at the end of the day yesterday!

So here in a few minutes, I’m going in to work for my shift and am turning in my resignation.  My last day will be Friday and then I will start at the prison on Monday.  I’m beyond excited. 

Regina Spektor, Fidelity

Glorious Day Off

Today, Matt and I both have the day off.  This in itself is fairly rare.  To add to the gloriousness of it, we don’t have our day jam-packed with things to do.  We are going to be people of leisure.  I told him that there would be no housework, no errands to run.  I managed to get the house clean, the laundry done, and the weekly grocery run completed in the last few days so we should be able to stick to that. 

We are going to go visit my dear godmother, The Bird Lady, and eat chips and dip and be merry.  It will be really good to see her and I can’t wait for her to meet Matt.  I am hoping that she approves because her opinion means a lot to me.  She’s a very neat and interesting lady, with a house full of fabulously eclectic things (just like Mom and me!), a lot of which she has made or restored.  She’s a great story-teller and always sends her email updates to friends and family so that we know what is going on with her, and a lot of times she writes about her childhood and younger years.  I save these emails to show to my children and grandchildren someday, almost like bedtime stories. 

We are also going to celebrate Christmas with Dad and Karen tonight.  I think we’re eating a nice dinner first and then opening presents.  Every year, Dad and Karen give everyone a huge box of assorted food and snacks from around the world.  They hit all of the fun stores in KC, Lawrence, and small towns they visit and come up with some of the neatest stuff.  Oh, and there’s the yearly calendar.  Dad has given wall calendars every year since I can remember.  One year he didn’t, and everyone was really disappointed, because we really do depend on that coming in.  Kind of like when Mom didn’t put electronic toothbrush heads in our stockings and we all freaked out.  🙂

So, Matt and I are off to do some shopping.  I think we’re going to hit the mall and buy me some jeans and check out the candy store that is in there, because Matt has never seen it and, well, the man does love his candy.  We are also going to Famous Footwear because he desparately needs a new pair of tennis shoes and then we’re going to one of the various pet stores to pick up Kizzer some chew toys so that she will stop eating random objects around the house.  🙂

I think today calls for a little Barry White.

Barry White, Can’t Get Enough of Your Love