Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve



Image from here.

I haven't done resolutions in a couple of years. Everything got so knocked on its ear when Dad passed. And it's pretty easy for me to fall back into a default position of letting life pass me by, even with the terrible understanding of mortality that his passing brought, because it's a position that I lived in for so many years, when I was unmedicated, had no sense of self, and was in such pain. It's why I don't root for USF's football team...it has nothing to do with the fact that they didn't have football when I attended that school; it has everything to do with the fact that my five years there are an open wound that I don't revisit often.

This year though, there are very specific goals that deserve to be written down. I've learned how to keep an exercise regimen. I'm moving us out of Florida in October. We still want to try for children. I want to plant more vegetables and herbs and keep them alive. These are very big goals that require thought, planning, and much activity to come to fruitition. I'm finally in a place mentally, emotionally, where I'm ready to make these things happen.

The picture above is actually a good illustration of what I'm working toward...I won't have livestock for at least another year probably after the move; we will be in a rental house at first, and lord only knows what the individual landlord will allow in regard to gardening, animals, etc. But I'll be in a place with seasons and I'll be working outdoors much more, this time next year, and will need a good vest and barn coat, gods and my spirit willing. I'll be in a new job and money will likely be tight, and I could even be working on another member of the family by then; so the world's my oyster right now, kind of, and I know what I want for us...so it can only be good to finally write some stuff down again, get goals on paper and look at them, and then create off-shoots on top of off-shoots of those lists as we scrimp, save, purge, organize, and work our tails off toward the October move.

Time's been moving terribly fast lately. I haven't had an answer to how to slow it down, just been letting it do its thing and scare the crap out of me, the worry that we've let too much time go by, that children aren't possible at all, that there are so, SO damn many things I want to accomplish in this life and here we are still in this rathole apartment in Florida. I've read enough where the answer is really frickin' obvious, though, and I'm very grateful to Jenna from Cold Antler for sharing that she got back into yoga/meditation lately, because one line in a recent blog post rang so true that I'm putting it in my resolutions: "I want to start every day able to clear my head and touch my toes." Just 15 minutes of zazen morning and night and a light yoga workout. It's as mandatory as coffee in the mornings and getting my ass back to the Y several times a week; it'll feed my soul and shove out the god-awful-clattery noise that's in my head 25/8.

I'm blessed to be able to read so many intelligent and creative bloggers...told a couple of them just that today. They give me ideas, drive my creativity, spark so many great feelings that help me expand my personality, who I am vs. who I want to be. And their experiences on farms of their own are the delicious compost feeding the seed of my own dream. So maybe my continued good steps toward mental and physical health are the water on the garden. I'm not a huge fan of metaphors, but I've been in enough therapy to see that that's not a bad interpretation of how things will play out, as my work turns into results and these goals are achieved. Sure can't do it from a weak position; and that's not even an issue anyway, because I'm never letting go of the strengths I've gained the last 6 months. Physically and emotionally, minus a small sidestep for the holidays and Mom's surgery, I'm definitely on the right track.

I can't talk to you people all night; I've got serious thinking to do! Count your blessings, hug your families, and have a great New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Taking Stock Wednesday


Image from here

Outside: Cool...warming gradually to Florida levels during the day.

Inside: Chilly...we're keeping it low and will open up soon, since the hard freezes are past us for now.

Wearing: Nightshirt, flip-flops...will switch to socks soon, as my tootsies are cold. Can't wait for new slippers to come in, ordered 'em today!

Creating: Lists of goals...it's terribly clich├ęd, I know, but I get contemplative this time of year. I've tried to celebrate the new year at Samhain like a good little pagan, but it's no dice...Gregorian calendar takes hold and I'm adrift on the dreams that can be/will be realized in the new year...

Reading: Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs and a pile of other library books about organics, farming, herbalism, cooking with grains, and crafting (glad I thought to grab Amanda Soule's Handmade Home, because it helped me see I do want to spend the money on it).

Going: Nowhere special, except over to Mom's sometime this weekend to help her take down Christmas at her place. We're still driving the rental, possibly til next Monday. Otherwise, we're doing the usual at the apartment...a little cleaning, a little organizing, a little purging...it's so terrific to look around this place and really see what needs to happen. The Charlotte move is a mere 10 months away.

Hoping: The car's ready by Friday, cuz I miss it. Even though the cupholders are niftier in the rental and it's a smooooooth '09 ride, I'm quite attached to our Nissan. Need to go looking for new bumper stickers. Also hoping I get to knit a little, bake a little, and relax a lot this weekend. Between Mom's surgery and the holidays, the last 2 months have kicked my tushie a little. I'm ready to get back at home with my center and get some shit accomplished!

Monday, December 27, 2010

AAAAHHHH..........

Apparently it's mini post day.

When you live in Florida and the wind's up so much your midday outside temp is 39F, and you've been sick and ornery both with a head cold and lousy intestinal issues that made you feel like your chi needed rebalancing, and you got in a car accident right before the holidays so your poor car is languishing in a body shop somewhere all alone, without the car mascot or anything (we named him Frank), AND they're taking the noisy pagan bumper stickers away..........

............but now you're back from the holiday and trying to concentrate on work, and there's new blogs to read and cleaning/organizing to plan, and you're feeling MUCH better health-wise and for that you're so grateful that it has you looking to educate yourself on herbalism and more natural means of staying healthy, and you're in a good mood and feeling strong and there's a little money in the bank, so you indulge in an S'bucks breve latte (yes, OK, not the healthiest way to start a new leaf, but holycrap, that tastes good going down!).........

The little things mean so much sometimes. Tis the season for gratitude....but ideally, it's something to note throughout the year, so the heck with the season.....this life is so short, and there's so veryvery much I wish to accomplish in it, but I'm also more and more aware of the need for the quiet, the stillness, finding time to seek my center and live in it......so the speed at which the wheel turns won't be so scary. I am blessed.

Workyworkwork

Yea, OK, not!

Two Six more blogs to the right....probably more than that, as I tend to add them as I find them. I'm a packrat of useful blogs, lovelovelove being able to get glimpses into how like-minded folks handle life. Gets my brain stirring, making lists, pulling out fabric and yarn, dreaming of chickens and puppies, or tossing butter, sugar, and flour together to create something yummy.....

Bitter cold today...so glad to be home!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Home

Such a small word for something so big. I'm enjoying a fresh perspective following the last couple of days.








These semi-crappy cell phone photos illustrate how my holiday started. I left work Tuesday night with every intention of grabbing smokes for the man, heading home, and baking bread...and then spending Wednesday relaxing and doing loads of cookies to bring up to SC to his folks the following day. Or relaxing, and trimming back on my baking plans, because I was still fighting the cold and feeling like crap from my ColdCalm overindulgence. The best laid plans...

I was stopped at a light on US 1 when I was suddenly rear-ended and shoved into the car in front of me. I never took my damn foot off the brake. The driver in error hit a pickup, which hit an Escalade, which hit me, and I nudged a Hyundai. For those of you heading home on US 1 Tuesday night from the Flagler/Bayard biz district, yeah, that was me in that mess. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and I think the only totaled vehicle was the sphincter who caused the whole thing.

The cops were summoned, and the girl I hit worked in insurance...her boss drove by and stopped to assist, get everybody's addresses, phone #s on paper, etc. We stood around for the better part of an hour while the guy who caused the accident steered clear of the rest of us. We bemoaned the crappy timing...the guy who caused everything was scheduled to go out of town the next day and wouldn't be back in town til January-something, never mind our travel plans, so we were skeptical that things would be addressed before the holiday hit.

I assessed the damage and determined the car was driveable, but it looked questionable that the bumper would stay on. I had an old pair of Dad's shoes in the trunk (an eventual Goodwill drop-off) and I took off the laces to secure the bumper for the drive home (which was a HUGE nostalgia thing for me, as my mom did the same thing with mine and Lil Bro's shoelaces once in grade school, because our station wagon's back bumper had inexplicably given up the ghost). Bumper stayed on fine, but the first decent bump opened the trunk; it wouldn't stay latched. Yay.

Got home, called my insurance, filed a claim. Was given an adjuster and tried to inquire about a rental car for our trip north, but was told that could only occur when we actually got the car fixed. Couldn't do anything else after hours, so lay around in a brown stare mostly the rest of the evening.

Next day, got up leisurely (with no neck pain at all, yay!) and hit the phone. Got same song and dance from my insurance, but filed more info (taped interview, etc.) and hung up to plot next move. Phone rings 5 minutes later and it's the insurance company of the guy who caused everything. Everything's covered, when do you want to take your car in.....

Reliefreliefrelief...

We drove to SC in a rental '09 Kia Optima (smooth ride); the car's at the same body shop that handled Mom's bumper that I...ehem...mangled a while back. Our bumper and my pagan stickers will be history in the next day or three : (

Christmas with the inlaws was OK, no shouting matches or bloodshed. I held my tongue, ate my body weight in pecan pie, and enjoyed nuzzle time with my niece. This morning, I was treated to the best Christmas present ever: real snow! Fat, beautiful flakes that transformed Aiken into a cold, sticky paradise. I made a mini-snowman for the niece before I left, and Les and I threw a couple of snowballs at each other. His aim's better, the little creep : )

I'm looking forward to the next year, the next 10 months really. We'll start purging and reorganizing with a real goal in mind. I'll look into ETrade, now that my company's stock is finally rising a bit. I'll start saving. We move the weekend before Halloween 2011. Gods bless us every one.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bah!

No, not humbug...just virtually ramming my head against a wall...

Pretty sure my symptoms can be traced to my candida sensitivity...my eating habits have been atrocious lately. Add to that Sunday evening, which included a decent amount of alcohol and honey-baked ham and turkey, all that OJ, and the peppermint patties that have been surreptitiously inhaled in the bedroom the last week, and it's no wonder my body finally said "ENOUGH!"

The good news, I think it scared the cold off.

The bad news, I'm going into Christmas with his family, feeling like I don't want to eat anything except beans and brown rice.

Ho-ho-friggin'-ho!

I'm not myself today...

Then who the heck are you? Emily Dickenson?

Def not Emily, never was a fan of all that morose longing...actually I'm a self-flaggelating idiot today, so naturally, I want to share the experience with you lucky few.

I consider myself a fairly intelligent person. Above-average IQ and reasoning skills. Hold down a job that requires learnedness and precision. Good looking in the bargain ; )

So how is it that I misread a box of cold medicine and gave myself what had to have been a toxic reaction?

First incorrect assumption: that homeopathic medicine is somehow "less" than your normal over-the-counter stuff. When you're raised to trust the chemicals that go into your average Sudafed, you tend to think that anything embraced by the homeopathic community must not be worth its salt (or duck liver, as the case may be)...actually, it's the opposite; the levels of medicine they place in homeopathic remedies are concentrated, but if taken as directed, there is zero risk of overdose...you see that repeatedly in the advertising.

I'm a medical marvel then, cuz I feel like crap.

Actually, I'm rallying, but I can tell it's gonna take a couple of days. I felt myself getting a cold late Friday. Bought ColdCalm, because I was looking for Oscillococcinum and upon reading the info on the stuff, saw that the Oscillo...is for flu, whereas ColdCalm is self-explanatory. I've been reading granola blogs of SAHMs who swear by the stuff, so figured I'd give it a try. The instructions tell you to take 2 tablets every 15 minutes for the first 2 hours, and then 2 tablets every hour until symptoms desist. That's their wording.

Symptoms desisted fairly early, but I could still tell I was getting a cold; it was there in the background under layers of homepathy. For reasons I cannot explain, I thought this meant that I should be taking 2 tablets every hour for the duration of the cold. Don't ask me why; I'm baffled myself as to what made me think this way. Probably the fact that I was feeling so much better so quickly, that I was able to breathe through my nose even while it was evident I was in the middle of a cold...so me wanting to keep up that pleasantness tossed all reason out of my head. Got to rub it in my Lil Sis's face too (wasn't really trying to...I was just feeling so good, I wanted to tell other people about this great med...since Drixoral went off the market in the US, I've been at loose ends about a decent cold medicine).....she was still getting over a cold and not experiencing the chipper attitude and ability to breathe normally that I was. Mind you, I was also taking Zicam (miraculously according to the instructions) and mainlining OJ.

Saturday night I woke up with a backache, took me awhile to get back to sleep. We assumed it was the cold attacking a weak point in the homeopathy.

Sunday night, backache again, little worse this time, up and down my entire back. Usually if I get backaches at all, they're localized in my lower back and are the result of hormones or strain, neither of which were issues. I took some Advil and managed to get back to sleep, not thinking that it could be a result of overdoing it on the homeopathic meds. Second incorrect assumption.

Monday, I'm at work in the afternoon and all of a sudden, it's like I've been run over by a truck. The pain comes back, floods my entire torso, front and back, so that it's almost hard to breathe or stand up straight. I don't feel nauseous at all, and I'm not breaking out in sweats, otherwise I would've thought I was having a heart attack...I am 41 and built like a Biggest Loser contestant. I almost drove myself to the ER (my work is right next to one of the local hospitals), but I stubbornly went home instead, where I rested the rest of the evening, ate very little, and tried to assess what was happening to me. I think in addition to putting toxic levels of the med in my system, I engaged my candida sensitivity, because the sensation I was enjoying was like the worst bloating you've ever experienced. It felt like my diaphragm was out of place or something, or my digestion had shut down. Thankfully, the blinding headaches I usually get with my candida flare-ups haven't surfaced, but I'm still so high on ColdCalm, you could toss swine flu at my immune system right now and it would get soundly bitch-slapped back.

Today, I'm back at work with no appetite, and I feel damn fragile. I stopped taking everything cold-related, and I'm trying to flush my system with tea. The pain has dissipated and I'm fine to work, but def looking forward to going home and chilling. Thank goodness I only have to do breads tonight; cookies would kick my arse.

I'm such a f**king idiot.

OK, enough of that...I'm off work the next 3 days, we leave for SC on Thursday to visit his folks. Their Internet access has apparently improved substantially (no more dial-up!), but I prob still won't be on here until after the holiday weekend. I plan to spend lots of time outdoors, play with my niece, and hold my tongue about all the rest; but I'm expecting it'll be hard. I look forward to next year, when we can finally start establishing our own versions of the holiday season and make the family visits briefer, though more frequent.

Wishing you peace, courage, health, and hope this Yule!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Taking Stock



Outside: Not quite chilly enough...warming just enough to be balmy this weekend. I'm trying not to resent it.

Inside: Cool-ish...windows open, thank goodness. Last month's electric bill took a nice dip; we're hoping to keep that up for a while.

Wearing: pink top, purple velveteen PJ bottoms...comfy : )

Creating: hmm...thinking of doing some mending tonight. Breads and cookies will be baked Saturday, as we're celebrating early with my family on Sunday. Most gifts are figured out, and I'm resigning myself to the holiday things that won't get accomplished this year...

Reading: A New Song...and going through a very weird phase (for me) that involves trolling blogs written by homemakers, reformed Christians, and simple living folk...not sure what it all means, but I'm really enjoying the reads...

Going: Nowhere this week...hitting overtime Friday and Saturday at work, and the holiday celebrating will be at Mom's...

Hoping: we can polish off our shopping this weekend, because I'd rather not do any up in SC. That I can make good use of my time this weekend. That the holidays remain happy for us.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Rallying, planning, dreaming...


This image reminds me of Silvermine in Norwalk...not sure why.

Feels damn good to be rallying...best I've felt in weeks, back to old self and all that...

Helps that the temp was friggin' 21F when I stepped out the door this morning. Wore my kid suede, which barely fits, but is too comfy not to wear in this weather, along with hat, gloves, scarf...

Going to place a basket on the table in the foyer for that stuff, so it's easy to grab as we're going out the door...such an easy concept. Should also guarantee that the weather warms soon after its placement.

I really can't remember it getting this cold this early before. Here in Florida, we get the cold days around February, or maybe January, but never December, it seems. I'm grateful. The cold air on my face wakes up my brain.

The leaves are finally changing. The trees along the highway are a rich palette of reds and rust intermixed with the pines. I wanted to take a picture, but that's never advisable when driving along I-95. Besides, pretty sure the camera's not in my bag lately...Tumblr's made me lazy in the picture department. Not exactly a bad thing though, as I'm also grateful for pics like these:



YES! I'm going to start cleaning and baking tonight. I can feel myself getting edgy about things to be accomplished for the holiday, and I don't want that. I want to take my time, take pleasure in the baking and creating. I want to really feel the spirit of the season, my spirit that is shaping how I view and celebrate the holiday season. I want to write down some of the ways I want to celebrate, to remind myself for next year...stuff like St. Nicholas' Day, and lighting candles for my version of Advent, and celebrating Yule ourselves while we celebrate Christmas with our families.....


And this idea is going to keep my cookie sizes under control. Love the idea of placing them in Mason jars, which we have handy, and it'll make it seem like there's more "stuff". The giving may be thin in spots, but the thought behind it will be rich with care.

All images from here, where they were likely snitched from elsewhere and credited, thx to Tumblr.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rehinged...


I've been on Paxil for 12+ years...went on it soon after moving to Jax. This was after a L...O...N...G...period of trying different meds for my "marked depression" with little success. This was before I knew that I was lithium deficient or that my body burns through meds faster than normal. I've recognized Paxil's benefits and that as long as it keeps working, it's something I need to be on.

Paxil works for me. I went through the requisite periods of thinking I was "cured" and trying to go off it several times. Paxil unfortunately has the added side effect of being physically addicting...so in addition to your brain unspooling from being off it, you also slowly realize that your entire body hurts. So I don't do that anymore. Deliberately, that is...

This past week, I ran out and refilled, but thanks to my usual exemplary budgeting methods, we didn't have the dough to pick up my refill til Friday. I was only off the damn stuff like, 36 hours. That 36 hours though, was enough time for my body to start to hurt and my brain to start to fly. I was never diagnosed bipolar, but I think I come as close as you can to that diagnosis without being it. All my plans for cleaning and organizing went through my hands like sand underwater yesterday (Saturday) as I realized I felt like crap. Les's and my moods tend to seesaw according to extremes, so he was up and coherent enough to go out with me yesterday...we dropped off recycling and got about half the holiday shopping done. But I was in a lousy, achy, self-flaggelating fog and turtled the rest of the night.

Today's better, not 100% of course, but I'm thinking about cleaning a little and getting grocery shopping done. I've been up a while and made pancakes, and the coffee's starting to kick in. It's the little things. But it's also a big reminder that I need to remain cognizant of my condition, that I'll never be someone who can neglect my meds. It's been hard enough staying off the lithium while we (seriously sporadically) navigate the concept of possible procreation. Going off the Paxil too is not an option, even by accident. And it was an accident, thankfully; I have gotten past that point of thinking I'm "all better". Age may bring wisdom, but it doesn't cure chemical imbalances.

The holiday shopping was kind of fun...we managed some purchases without draining the account yet, but there's a couple more to go. If I can get to the grocery store today, I will start baking..."quick" breads that can be frozen. And I'm thinking of a handmade gift for one sib and some handmade gift tags for all the pressies. It'll be a day of puttering as I let my brain "heal" again. Probably good that this is happening in winter, when the focus should be on stillness anyway. My holiday spirit has been buoyed by the above pic; I think it nutshells nicely the feelings of the season....I've just been flipping around the last three in my head: Peace. Gratitude. Stillness. Giving. Hope. Love.

Friday, December 10, 2010

My cup runneth over...

The weather is overcast and cool. Tumblr is working again, and I've been downloading Christmasy goodness this morning, including the niftiness above. I have Andy Williams playing over and over in my head, and it's not annoying me yet. I got paid, and we may be able to buy a pressie or two and still eat the next 2 weeks.

I'm in such a good mood.

Hitting the Y every other day. Looking forward to tearing into the apartment this weekend. We get angry at the cat when she tears around there like a madwoman, but honestly, she's just looking for someplace that isn't overrun with boxes and crap. We need to recycle this weekend, it's been piling up. I'm going to start baking for the holidays. I want to buy candycanes.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Taking Stock

Sorry, no pic tonight...my pics come from Tumblr lately, and they're experiencing growing pains again : (

Outside: CHILLY! I've been in heaven the last week, can't believe it's this cold this early in the season...usually FL doesn't get the below-freezing stuff til like, late January, if at all.....Christmas came early for Melanie : )

Inside: cozy...dinner out of the oven...windows open...

Wearing: jeans, boots that make me look 12, and a sweater that I call a woobie with sleeves...gotta run out to Mom's in a bit, so only half-changed after work.....

Creating: holiday lists and knitted hats, entirely in my head...still settling back into my version of life...it really throws me when I'm out of my comfort zone.

Reading: Plowing through the Mitford Series (currently in Out to Canaan)...picking up Starhawk occasionally as my brain allows.....

Going: hopefully nowhere special this weekend...the apartment really needs my attention...

Hoping: good question...that my check on Friday covers the bills and allows us a little mad money for the holidays...that we can get out and take care of most of the holiday gifts soon...that I can clean the apartment enough to decorate a bit without feeling like I'm adding to the clutter...

Monday's excursion in the bedroom closet was so cleansing, really got me thinking about the importance of material objects, what I can do without...couldn't believe that most of that big box was stuff for the dumpster. I'm ready to tuck into the next corner...

Monday, December 06, 2010

It's December?


Image (from here) defines how things look inside my head. I'm afloat in a sea of holiday merriment, making lists, thinking about how to decorate our pit of an apartment and my cubicle...paper garlands and snowflakes...ideas for baking and gifts....how in the future, I want to celebrate St. Nicholas' Day with or without children...how this time next year.....

I've been away...I know you've all missed me, all 6½ of you. My mom's surgery was a success; she's healing and back to work, ½ days to start. I spent most of last week over at her place, helping out. The dog and I got along surprisingly well. I worked out 2 days while I was there. We went and saw Burlesque, which I wasn't expecting to enjoy...but the music had me grinning all the way through. I lost complete track of time, was off work 4 days.

Back at work...company holiday party was OK, didn't win anything as expected. Celebrated 11 years with the company today...wasn't expecting a set of steak knives, but still feels like I deserve combat pay. We're losing our supervisor, gaining more editors, and they still haven't hired a manager. Not crazy about that, going into the holidays, but it's the normal "we fear change, change is evil" chicken-ness...coupled with the pondering of whether or not I should try for the supervisor position. I'm hormonal, and my head still kind of feels like it's screwed on backwards. Sleeping on couches and air mattresses does that to me.

Weather turned cold early down here. I'm in heaven, but since I haven't been home much, it's bringing about these unnatural bursts of organization. Went into the closet tonight looking for my footie pajamas and spent 3 hours unearthing the joint. Was a good exercise, I'm throwing out a huge pile of stuff, but holy crap! We let it get down to 58F in the apartment before we pussed out and turned the heat on...yes, we had the windows open, why do you ask?

Jenna's new Scottish Blackface ewes and a new copy of Mother Earth News about living off the land are setting me dreaming...

Have a great week, y'all!