Sunday, December 30, 2007
So it boils down to this--I'm wrestling internally right now and have been for almost a year. On top of my normal family chaos, I've started thinking of things outside of my self. I've started thinking about the world...the world I'm supposed to live in when I'm old...the world my children are supposed to live in when they're old...the world I hope hasn't gone to a pile of crap by the time I might have grandchildren growing old in the world. Have you ever paid attention to how much garbage you throw away each week? Seriously, have you ever sat and looked at it? Then have you ever tried to cut it down by 1/3 or 1/2? Sometime in late Spring 2007, we started recycling bottles and cans...it honestly cut our weekly trash in half! That made me feel like I could actually do something worthwhile for the world while at the same time made me feel horrible for all of the recyclable crap I've had buried in various landfills over the years...
And plastic bags--how many are in your house right now? Come on, actually look...don't just guess while you're sipping your coffee... I have approximately 30 in the plastic bag holder and another 30 holding various crap in 3 different closets. I have another 4 or 5 in my desk at work. Did you know that they don't biodegrade--they photodegrade? That means they break down into tiny pieces that never go away--ever. So my 65 bags, no matter if I reuse them or not, will eventually end up in a landfill and will never disappear but will more than likely end up in my drinking water as some cruel form of karma...Oh, but you recycle them, do you? Did you know that they don't recycle well? A lot of times, they are turned into useless plastic pellets that aren't able to be used for anything...kind of depressing, isn't it? But don't take my word for all of this--go find out for yourself. My suggestion is to start out at www.reusablebags.com and read the information on plastic bags there...then go to your favorite search engine and start reading articles from reputable websites. Have fun and take your Prozac, because it can be depressingly overwhelming at first...
On Christmas a few days ago, I looked at the mound of wrapping paper on the floor after the presents were opened and I actually sat there stunned and a bit nauseous. Bye-bye gigantic mound of paper! Have fun in the landfill! So, things will have to change a bit there...I'm thinking reusable fabric gift bags at least on birthdays and for my Christmas gifts from now on. It's hard to put the kid's Christmas gifts in bags as they will peek in them under the tree. Maybe I'll do half wrapped and half bagged next year and keep the bagged ones locked up until Christmas...it's hard to do the "no shopping Christmas" thing for kids who are teens and who have always had gifts...I don't know, but I've got a whole year to work that all out in my brain...
So, no New Year's resolutions...not for me anyways...do what you'd like for yourself. I'll try to be thoughtful, witty and semi-entertaining on this blog once again even if I'm only entertaining myself. I won't be doing any vigilant "one green change per day/week" kind of thing...it's all about the baby steps in my house...right now, I'm thinking I'm doing pretty darn good keeping the heat down between 64-66 degrees Fahrenheit at night... I won't be winning any Nobel prizes for my sacrifice, nor will I be inspirational to any of the "green bloggers" that I so often follow...but I'm at least doing something positive and I'll get there eventually--wherever "there" is...and hopefully when I get there things will be just ducky...
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
So anyways, we've made some changes around my house. I started making my own eco-friendly, inexpensive laundry detergent. My husband made a composter. I took a vacation day from work and had my mother teach me how to use a sewing machine so that I could make cloth napkins. I stopped using disposable dishes/utensils/cups entirely--at work and at home. I don't buy bottled water anymore---I carry my own refillable water bottle. I try to always take cloth bags to the grocery store so I don't have to accept paper or plastic bags. We recycle far more now than we ever have---shampoo bottles, medicine bottles, etc. And we are trying to make it to the Farmer's Market every weekend so that we can purchase locally grown food---free from pesticides as well as supporting our local farmers. Oh, and we changed out all of our regular light bulbs with CFLs.
Don't get me wrong....I'm no tree hugger....I just know there has got to be a better way than the ridiculous path we're on right now. Gas is often over $3 a gallon, men/women are losing their lives overseas left and right, school shootings are quickly becoming commonplace, but our beloved media would rather focus on celebrities' death, detox, addiction and arrest. Something has got to change. I can't live with myself if I don't try something different. I've got to do something to make the world a bit more ducky...
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
But enough about the fam...I need to talk about stuff that will lower NOT raise my blood pressure...Did you hear about San Francisco being the first city in the US to ban plastic bags made from petroleum products? The mayor still has to sign the bill, but once that is through--all large supermarkets and drugstores will have to use an alternative to plastic bags. I read all about it on CNN.com this morning and was quite pleased. It will save approximately 450,000 gallons of oil a year and 1400 tons of trash in the landfill! Isn't that friggin' amazing? For the past 2 weeks I've become more and more concerned with how much trash my family creates. I didn't even realize that plastic bags were that big of a deal until I stumbled upon www.reusablebags.com. The facts/statistics are mind blowing. So--I have been refusing bags for small purchases at stores this past week as my little contribution to the planet, and I've been taking a canvas bag to use in place of plastic bags when I buy more items than I can carry. Don't get me wrong...I'm no tree hugger...far from it actually. But I finally hit a point where I realize that what we do today really does impact future generations--specifically my kids. If I stay concerned with myself and my own personal happiness/comfort, I'll leave nothing but more shit for the next generation...and that's not cool.
On that note...April 22nd is Earth Day...I've never given a crap about it before, but this year during that whole week, another lady at work and I are "going green". We certainly won't be "purists"---we've both decided that using Kleenex is non-negotiable...we must be allowed to use our Kleenex, dammit! However, we are not accepting ANY plastic bags at stores that week. We are not using any ziploc bags, disposable water bottles or plastic utensils. We haven't ironed out all of the details yet, but I'm proud to be at the point where I'm willing to try...at least for one week. Maybe there is hope for me yet...Join us if you'd like--it would make me feel just ducky to have more company...
Monday, March 12, 2007
What will the temporary band-aid to my self-esteem be?...A healthy dose of Garnier Nutrisse #50 Truffle - Medium Natural Brown on my head and a slap dash attempt at taming the unruly eyebrows taking over my face...I started dying my hair about 5 1/2 years ago when 3 separate people at work--in one week--told me "Your hair is starting to get gray". Bastards! Is that truly any concern of theirs? Why exactly did they feel the need to enlighten me to their bastardly observations? Did they really think I didn't notice or that I didn't own a mirror? Anyways, it was enough of an assault on my self-esteem that I started dying my hair. Personal appearance-wise I'm very much a minimalist. In every other area I tend not to be, but with my appearance I am. I don't wear any jewelry except my wedding ring and some very small earrings. My haircut is low maintenance--no curling/straightening irons, just a hair dryer and a round brush. I have a simple wardrobe--each piece easily mixes and matches with the others...I don't believe in owning an outfit that can't be broken up and worn separately. I always choose neutral colored shoes, bags and coats. I've never gotten into the whole manicure/paint your nails thing. I LOVE make-up and what it can do when properly applied, but I NEVER wear it. Go figure! I have zero idea why I don't wear it regularly. I tend to wear it for a day or two and then I fall back into my minimalist no-make-up ways...
But, I've looked in the mirror the past few weeks and thought "Damn baby you need help." So, last night I pulled out the long overdue box of Truffle hair color and my tweezers with the idea that those were the two things I could do to make an immediate difference to my self-esteem. I can't chop off a fat roll for instant gratification...I can't purchase $60 in perfectly selected make-up to give myself an instant face-lift...I can't snap my fingers and have a totally new wardrobe, but I can put on the rubber gloves and mix up the brown liquid of the gods that makes me look passable.
I was supposed to go clothes shopping this evening, but my daughter is through-the-roof manic and I instantly knew when she got home from school that shopping wasn't going to happen tonight. Typically when the old self-esteem is this low, I go commando and do the hair dye, shopping and other "me" things all in one day. It is enough of a jolt to keep me going for awhile. Having to spread the experience out is painful and unsatisfying and actually detracts from the self-esteem boost, but that is my reality right now. While taking care of myself is crucial, keeping her safe is even more important. Some day...some day...some day...things will be just ducky again.
Friday, March 2, 2007
School has been cancelled the past 2 days because of more snow and ice. Even the shopping mall, day care centers, local dairy and local factories have shut down and/or closed early due to the weather. While watching the public closings/notices that inevitably scroll across the bottom of the TV screen in winter in Minnesota I read that the "American Guild of Organists Saturday Spring Tune up is cancelled." I thought that was pretty funny especially when I dramatically told my husband the news... But I don't think anything could top the fact that the local churches cancelled their "National Day of Prayer" festivities. I said "Hey Jeff, don't bother praying tomorrow. They cancelled the national day of prayer---even God is snowed in."
Jeff and I watched a movie a couple of nights ago called "Kinky Boots". Now don't go getting all judgmental on me here...it was rated PG-13 and is about a man who inherits a failing shoe company and has to find a new niche in the market or go bankrupt. So---he starts making sexy boots for drag queens that are made to withstand a man's size/weight...hence the title "Kinky Boots". It was really, really good. It was super funny, but had great depth as well. It dealt with acceptance---not just of others but about accepting yourself too. We both highly recommend it and will be buying it for our DVD collection. Not many DVD's make it that far...typically we Netflix them and send them back...the ones that get purchased are special.... :)
Well, I better scoot...I'm writing this from work...yes, technically it is a no-no, but it is snowing and dreary and half of the office isn't here due to the weather...Fine! I feel guilty now. Are you satisfied?...anyways...hope your day is just ducky!
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Monday, February 19, 2007
Illness, cold, fever, aches
Green stuff coming out my nose
Tissue with lotion
I know....it's lame, but it amused me quite a bit this afternoon...
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Sunday, February 11, 2007
It's bad tonight...my nerves are shattered. Just talk to me. I'll make it through the night.
~Edna St. Vincent Millay
These two quotes pretty much sum up my day. This wasn't a good day. My daughter had a 1 1/2 hour long manic rage today....complete with screaming, crying and irrational thoughts. She has been "on the fence" for most of the week...it was all initially triggered on Tuesday when the school bus driver was an entire hour late to pick up the kids due to a lot of snow and bus problems. The kids all stood outside in the snow/cold for over a half an hour before they went back to their homes. She called me at work and I called the school and the bus company. It was all too much for her. She has been irritable and manic ever since. Today it all culminated into a huge rage. She hasn't had one like that in a couple of years.....Luckily her older sister was at a friend's house at the time. It allowed me to focus on calming my daughter down without having to calm them both down.... My older daughter gets freaked out by the rages....I do too, but I can't show it 'cause I'm the mom. There are a million words of encouragement out there...the sun will come out tomorrow....this too shall pass....blah, blah, blah....this sucks....there is no way to make it stop sucking....things will get better, but the manic rages will ALWAYS suck....I love her...she's my girl...the manic rages still suck....the one thing that makes me smile right now is that I just thought "Hey, suck rhymes with duck!" And that folks, makes things a little more ducky....
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
I used to listen to a band called the Crash Test Dummies all the time. I think they were pretty much considered a one hit wonder in the 1990s. The lead singer has this unmistakeably low/strange voice. One of their semi-obscure songs was entitled Afternoons and Coffee Spoons. I love that song. It is a rather odd song, but it has a catchy tune. The chorus goes "Afternoons will be measured out, measured with, coffee spoons and T.S. Elliott." I hadn't heard that song in many years when I stumbled upon it yesterday while browsing my MP3 collection. How can you not love a rock song that has the lyrics "I've heard the rattle in my bronchi"? It was like coming home again....
Then today, I was browsing on a quotation website that I tend to frequent often and I saw this quote "Success is relative. It is what we can make of the mess we have made of things.".....which just happens to be credited to the writer.....wait for it....oh yeah, baby....T.S. Elliott. I think it is a super cool quote that seems to fit my life perfectly.
I can't seem to get away from T.S. Elliott lately.....I wonder where I'll hear about him next? I'll have to check him out on Wikipedia. I don't know much about him and I don't think I've read any of his work.....although that doesn't mean much because I can't remember squat anymore and I'm not even 40......What I do know, is that he is a famous author and judging from his quote listed above---he is definitely someone I need to know more about.
Life is all about the six degrees of separation folks...and that's just ducky with me......
Friday, February 2, 2007
Monday, January 29, 2007
Why do I like this movie so much? Besides being incredibly hilarious, it is ultimately about family and being there for one another when you need it most. They are totally dysfunctional---which reminds both my husband and I of our own families, but (just like our own families) they truly care about one another and are "there" for one another. They don't always agree. They don't always understand, but they are present and supportive when they are needed....and that, dear readers, is awesome in both a family and a movie.
It's also kind of cool that the DVD cover is bright, rubber ducky yellow.....it's been snowy and cold for two weeks here in Minnesota, but watching Little Miss Sunshine makes me feel just ducky.....
Friday, January 26, 2007
I reached for sleep and drew it round me like a blanket muffling pain and
thought together in the merciful dark.
It is beautiful, but melancholy to me.....oh, yeah...and just ducky.....
Monday, January 22, 2007
Anyways, if you are blessed enough to have insurance, you go to the doctor, but what happens when the doctor is rude or condescending or unwilling to look at the symptoms of the illness from a current perspective. 100 years ago, doctors would sometimes cut your arms and "bleed" out the illness....that would NEVER fly today. That is the "fresh" or current perspective I'm talking about...albeit an exaggerated example. My daughter clearly had a viral infection that was going around the school, but we ended up having a bizarro doctor when we took her in and the lady told her to eat more fiber! I was ticked off. Why can't you just look a doctor in the eye and say "That's ridiculous. You must be smoking crack."?
The mental health field is even "better." Finding a counselor or even a psychologist/psychiatrist that you feel comfortable with is not the easiest task. Sometimes gender plays an issue. Sometimes you want to talk to someone who has similar religious beliefs to those that you have. And psychologists/psychiatrists have different approaches that they take to therapy. Some believe in a very psychodynamic approach where they isolate the patient's therapy---closing out family, etc.....while others want to include at times anyone who is very influential like your spouse, child, parent, etc....Virtually all mental illness is only diagnosed through patient experience and symptoms which adds even more complexity to the situation. At least with cancer you can run blood tests and perform biopsies and know for certain "It's cancer." With mental illness, you don't have that 'luxury'. After much observation, the psych doctor says "I think it's this....or you have symptoms consistent with that...." Certainty in the mental illness field is virtually unheard of. What is thought to be severe depression turns out to be the depression side of manic depression (bipolar disorder)....or what is thought to be OCD is really schizophrenia...the list goes on....
In light of all this uncertainty, you add in a doctor's fallibility and it is a recipe for utter medical chaos. When two doctor's have seen you and they disagree---should we really have to fight for proper care or are we destined to sit back and watch the pissing contest? Why can't I ask for my daughter to have a female counselor and actually have her assigned to a female counselor? Why does she have to be assigned to a male for 2 months---just to see if they are a "fit"---and then put in a request for the female counselor that we asked for to begin with? Why do we have to push doctors (in many cases) to get the result that we need? I know that doctors aren't omniscient/omnipotent. I know they are human...but I'm tired of having to fight for the medical care that my family deserves. Thanks for listening to me rant....tomorrow I'm sure everything will be just ducky again....
Friday, January 19, 2007
Albert Camus was an Algerian-French writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. He was by no means a perfect man---he had his indiscretions, but he also gave us some of the most inspiring and truthful statements that I have ever read. Being the collector of quotations that I am, Albert Camus's quotations rank probably right at the top for me... My favorites include:
- Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
- Do not wait for the last judgment. It takes place every day.
- In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.
- What is a rebel? A person who says no.
- But in the end, one needs more courage to live than to kill himself.
- We are all special cases.
- Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
- But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?
- Charm is a way of getting the answer yes without asking a clear question.
- I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is.
- It is normal to give away a little of one's life in order not to lose it all.
- Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is.
- Everyone would like to behave like a pagan, with everyone else behaving like a Christian.
- After all manner of professors have done their best for us, the place we are to get knowledge is in books. The true university of these days is a collection of books.
- A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.
- Ah, my dear, for anyone who is alone, without God and without a master, the weight of days is dreadful.
- All great deeds and great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. Great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant's revolving door.
- You are forgiven for your happiness and your success only if you generously consent to share them.
I could go on and on and list dozens more fantastic quotes from Camus....the ones I have listed though have a special place in my heart. The ones I highlighted are my all-time favorites. I think I like quotations so much because words have such incredible power. The intense emotion and knowledge that can be shared through a few words is mind-boggling. When I am going through a difficult time in my life, I pull out my book of quotations and randomly start flipping pages. After about 15-20 minutes, I always feel a bit more ducky.....
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Monday, January 15, 2007
**In case any family reads this---don't worry...I'm not talking about JD or the girls. I don't want you to be needlessly alarmed.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
I'm back home in Minnesota finally. It was a good trip, but I missed my family and my bed. I just don't sleep as well when I'm not in my own bed. I must admit though---it was super nice wearing flip flops and eating outside all week in sunny Florida. I came back to below freezing temps....but I will be heading back to Florida for a week in February to finish out my new software training. It was very sweet but heartbreaking to hear that my youngest daughter was very "mama sick" (her version of missing her mom) all week and waited every night for my phone call. In Tampa I also got to eat at one of my favorite fast food restaurants for the first time in about 10 years.....wait for it....what is it......Chick-fil-a! I know it sounds silly, but they make awesome chicken and we don't have one in Minnesota anywhere close to where I live. It was well worth the wait...We also ate at a beach side restaurant named Frenchy's. It was very "Jimmy Buffet-esque" with vibrant colors, a laid back atmosphere and awesome fresh seafood!
Because I had a hard time sleeping in the hotel, I had the 'opportunity' to watch some TV shows that have received much hype, but that I've never seen before....Scrubs and Sex in the City. I love the movie 'Garden State' which was written, directed and starred Zach Braf who also stars in Scrubs. It was amazing to see how completely different he is in Scrubs. I wouldn't say that I love Scrubs, but it has redeeming qualities and was definitely better than the other shows on at that time of night(a.k.a. way too early morning). Sex in the City turned out to be as raunchy and eye-opening as I thought it would be....but for some bizarre reason---I liked it. GASP!!!!!!!!!!! Don't tell my mother....she would be mortified. It is something that I would never, ever let my children watch, but I could see it becoming one of those guilty pleasures that I secretly watch when the family is out at the dog park, etc. 'Six Feet Under' is another one of those guilty pleasures....I don't watch tons of TV and typically it ends up being something on the Disney Channel because of my youngest daughter, but I have a few shows I like----Ugly Betty and House that are always a sure bet with me.
I was worried about flying. I am 6'0" tall and always feel cramped and claustrophobic on a plane...I was very lucky to only have 1 short, cramped flight though...the other 3 were much better as there was an empty seat between myself and whoever else ended up in my row. As my husband's sister is now a flight attendant, I watched the flight attendants much more closely than I typically would. I never get the fun-loving, happy flight attendants (like she is)....but there were some nice ones on the trip. There was also one FA I had that needs to retire...she was a bit cranky to the passengers---I started giggling at her when she walked up and down the aisle trying to give a bloody mary and a mini bottle of wine to various older couples as she couldn't remember who ordered them. She sat them down in front of one couple and the man looked at the woman and said "I know I'm old, but I still remember that I never ordered this." Finally she started calling out "Did anyone order drinks?" Oh well...maybe she was just having a bad day.
This could end up being a thoroughly boring blog that no one reads let alone enjoys, but I'm going to give the whole thing a shot anyways.....I am who I am.....if it is boring and uneventful to the rest of the world---I'm OK with that. I've worked hard to acccept who I am and where I'm at...if that doesn't entertain others, well...so be it. For me, everything is just ducky.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Why the title "Just Ducky"? Good question...I have a nice little collection of rubber ducks I keep on my desk at work. When I've been staring at the computer, racking my brain over a problem for far too long, I look at the ducks and everything seems lighter, happier, not so overwhelming. My life has been far too overwhelming in general the past 6 months...
You see, I have two daughters. The youngest was suspected of having Bipolar Disorder when she was 6 years old. By the time she was 8, she had a triple diagnosis of ADHD, Bipolar Disorder and ODD. I'm not one of those mothers that medicate their children and don't parent responsibly.....The child was having 2-3 hour-long rages where she would scream and cry and destroy things and hurt anyone who got in her way. It wasn't her "fault"---she has an illness... or rather 3 of them. She does take medication and does pretty well now. She doesn't have rages anymore---now we just struggle with the mania from time to time.
This fall, my older daughter kind of "wigged out". I don't say that in an uncaring way. If you've experienced a beloved family member having psychiatric issues, then you know what I mean. Anyways, she needed help, so she too was placed into counseling and just recently prescribed medication. Although she doesn't have an official diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, that's where it looks like it's headed. There is a family history of Bipolar on their biological "father's" side of the family...My husband (JD) is the girls' father...that guy just shares DNA with them. I refer to that guy and his wife as "Fruit Loop and Sugar"....not for any psychiatric reasons, but because it makes me laugh. I, of course, have never referred to them as Fruit Loop and Sugar around the children, but when I'm at work or alone with my husband or writing on this blog (which the kids won't read) then I call them Fruit Loop and Sugar. It makes me giggle just typing those words.....
I am not flippant or callous about my children's situation. I have long been diagnosed with/treated for severe depression. Some days are good. Some days suck. The kids have been "lava lamping" all fall/winter thus far with mania and depression. Medication changes, a hospital visit....have made the past few months interesting. Throw in a new puppy to spice things up more and you get a huge depression cocktail just waiting to be served.....Everyone has issues. These are mine. They could be worse. No one has died. We all love each other. Everything is Just Ducky.