Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Have You Hugged a Pig Today?!!?!

To Quarantine or Not to Quarantine, that is the question ...

Last night in our kitchen, April 27th in the year 2009, Ali asked me, “So are you freaked out about the swine flu?” And of course, as occurs in our kitchen, or any other room in the house when someone poses a question, discussion ensued.

I told Ali I felt like things were very “hysterical” right now, but also that I felt as if I had died, gone to heaven and woke up during a repeat episode of “That 70s Show.:”

I, and many of my age-mate peers can remember things like this happening before, like, remember that time at band camp, in 1976, our bicentennial year, when that soldier got sick at Fort Dix and everyone freaked out?!?!?”

Yes, we had that, and lived and hopefully braced and educated our ways through it, because when Legionnaire’s disease flew down the pike and out the air vents and blasted the “flu thing” off the map. We were learning to temper our hysteria, based on prior bracing and education measures, and Leginnaire’s disease was like the followup/brush up course to get us ready for things like the Tylenol poisonings, etc.

Face it, life is an ongoing process and while you our out and on-going, you might touch a doorknob covered with microscopic slime, and weird stuff does find its way in, out, under and through the air vents, and sometimes big fat buttheads poison your food, drink or medications, and if they get bored or really angry about things, there are any number of bullying, terroristic activities that might worry any given population.

You have to live and learn to live with what’s up and coming and, yeah, sometimes … terrifying.

Ali noted that there had been a lot of the “hysteria” thing at her school, too, as well as the usual joking that goes along with this kind of stuff. I mean, seriously, when’s the last time you made out with a pig?!?!?!? And why are the pigs getting such a raw deal in this, because pigs are really cute, and it’s everybody’s favorite thing to do at the State Fair, go in and gawk the big fat mommy pig and all her cute little piglets!

Where is the real harm in that, or anything?!?!?! That’s always the tough question to answer with things like this

It was also good to hear that instructors at her high school quickly launched on this stuff, as fresh “teachable moment” interesting shit, that will keep the kids’ minds open, beyond the usual textbook stuff. It’s always great for a teacher to have current events to apply to past documented knowledge, to bandy it all about, and inform the young minds before them. Textbooks are for kids! News clippings, conversations, pros, cons and debating bold face supposed lies, is where the real education takes place.

Several summers ago, I took a class entitled “Coming Plagues, Disease, Inequality, and History.” Sounds scary, doesn’t it? But I must tell you it was a fabulous ride, and was taught by two of my favorite professors, one in History and the other in English.

Our only “textbook” was The First Horseman, Disease in Human History, by John Aberth, a textbook of sorts, yes, but a slim paperback volume and quite actually a “good read.” I highly recommend it. You can swallow it in one sitting, even, and the only side-effect is it will make you hungry for more information.

From there we launched into research, discussion, comparisons and stark contrasting with trips on the web, in the library, reading Camus’ The Plague (love that book!), Fools Crow by James Welch (another one of my fav-fav-favs!) and poetic works such as the “Pied Piper of Hamelin” by Browning. The former list does not even bust into the latter works or discussions that took place as the class continued.

Suffice it to say, talking about plague and disease, well it really is quite INFECTIOUS!

The class, though small, (since it was a summer school thing) was diverse in age, majors, gender, etc., including that of the profs, one male and one female, one born and raised in this country, and one born and raised abroad, with a 10 to 15-year age difference between them, as well. (So the room, on a daily basis ran the range of boy, girl, boy, girl, and ages between 17 and 60).

We all had different perspectives on the history of disease, and yes within those perspectives existed myths and bogus constructs that can be as debilitating, if not more so, than an actual physical disease.

I suppose, all things considered (and believe me we dove in and tried to consider everything!!!!!), the class while well-rounded was merely a stepping stone to future understanding.

Ali and I talked, last night as well, about how these myths, bogus contrasts and a slew of mis-information coupled with hysteria can really color things that are actually going on. We talked about how much easier it is to approach situations like this by grabbing information from everywhere (public opinion and outcry, mass-f’d up media, etc.), all of it, mixed together to form something we can learn from, ask questions about, and live by.

And we did talk about the media a lot! I mentioned strongly to consider the mean age of reporters on some stations and news writers on the web, who were younger than myself, who do not have a “That 70s Show” reel running in their head from which to launch constructive opinions on the craziness going on. So it’s easy right now for this whole stinky swine flu subject (on radio and TV, at least and if you are not flipping channels and frequencies) to really adversely infect psyches as well as physical bods, because so many have taken the swine flu bug and really run off with it in a million, (advertisers-buy-your-space-here-because everyone is watching!) TV news directions!

Working in the medical field, far removed and at my desk, I am also pulling in consultations and such from a number of hospitals in several areas of the country, presently. Among the infectious disease docs I’ve encountered of late, there does not seem to be the same hysteria as we see on TV. I mean if I see one more masked person, I’m going to scream. While that’s cautionary, let’s not show the same picture a zillion times, because that’s entirely something else!

I haven’t been doing a lot of medical transcribing lately, but in the very recent past have peppered it in again in the salt mines of my other varied work, just to keep my finger on the pulse of what goes on in medicine nowadays. So I was pleased to be a part of this right now, pulling information and essentially “live feed” from actual hospitals in actual cities, where the big news hysteria aspect of all this has not settled in at the hospital workplace. The doctors are transcribing in measured form, and as far as I can tell, I can’t hear any screaming or hysteria in the background.

The medical feed allows me that “live” and very interesting perspective on things, as the country moves through this particular germy ilk. Hopefully, we are learning from our past mistakes, getting to a point where we have something to put forth in the future for similar concerns, and keeping some of the hypo-ola (crapola) at bay.

Yeah, I know, long answer, long answer … but that’s what it’s like if you are standing around in our kitchen. And if Ali ever asks a question (any of my kids), I’m always mindful of the fact that this means they really, really want to know something, and they also really, really might have something to say about things, something they’d like to bounce off a parent in a “safe zone” before they discuss it at the school lunch table and someone pours milk over their head! (Seriously the discussions at Ali’s lunch table this year have really run the gamete, to include (but not limited to) this past election and their ever-always discussions and debates on religion).

So, by Kid Three, April 2009, I’m used to this kind of “kitchen chat,” and I also was glad she didn’t ask something like, “Hey, Mom, how would you feel if I bifurcated my tongue with a hot knife, pierced my butt cheeks, quit school, grabbed my guitar and my notebooks and ran off to be a teen hobo? Is that a train whistle, I hear?”

See, some conversations, even while in-depth, world-widely covered, and difficult to factor yourselves in an out of, are a lot easier than questions she (and her sisters) might otherwise ask (have asked), which would make me want to stick my head in the freezer!

... now, where did I put my copy of Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask?!?!? ... because, dammit, if the kids don't ever-so-often, ask!

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my ... and rats, and swine and birds, oh my ... aching ass ... and we have not even discussed what happens if "the rabbit dies!" When did furry creatures, cute little pigs and birds become so scary?!?!?!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Seventh Heaven

As I dragged, drugged, dragged (?!?!?) myself out of bed this morning, and to my desk, to an enormously worded project that is nearing 70 pages, due back to a client tomorrow, I decided to read “my blogs” first, my internet buddies in writing crimes who help to wipe the sleep from my eyes and the cobbywebs from my brain.

I was touched, tickled and pleased to see that Candy had listed her seven favorite things, to which and to behold, at the very end she listed her seven favorite blogs, and I and my blog were among her favorites.


In short order, I attacked the “assignment” attached to this honor, which was to list my own seven favorite things, and also my own favorite seven blogs. I decided to attempt the task IMMEDIATELY, without reading any further blogs, so that my list would be truly off the cuff, and so it goes:

My Seven Favorite Things:

1. The smell of books. I sniff the pages of every book I choose from the library, receive as a gift, find at a book sale or bookstore, and when a book comes via Amazon.com, as soon as I get it out of the bubble wrap, I sniff it.

2. A giggle that catches in the back of someone’s throat, just at the point that they catch their breath, and then the cascade of new giggles that ensues. (This is especially lovely in babies and children; however, when a grown adult returns to this state where they can waterfall a giggle storm, that’s also pretty incredible.)

3. Snow, thunder snowstorms, rain, thunderstorms, dewdrops, raindrops, snowflakes, snow.

4. Peonies.

5. The effortless, amazingly fulfilling, reciprocal & unconditional love that exists between my true self and my children/grand-children, hugging and kissing their warm cheeks and scalps, squeezing their shoulders and ultimately sending them on their way.

6. Great lakes, oceans and white rapids.

7. Dark, rich, glistening bean coffee, freshly ground, brewed, arriving in my favorite mug w/one sweetener pack and poofy, sea-foamy skimmed milk atop … and if not available, top shelf gin.

........And my favorite blogs, alphabetically, and so sorry, while I’m no good at embedding links and such, so this list will look so messy:

Alphabetically, we have:

Blynd_Poets blog http://blyndpoet.blogspot.com/ … and when you get there, you will realize that he has only one post, a poem, circa five months ago. I have urged him, over and over, to blog-out and off the map, so we’ll see. I could direct you to his Authorsden.com and/or myspace blogs but it’s all poetry, and you can easily google him, but I think we should all sit on our hands and wait for him to blog out in full sentences, if and when he is ready.

Revellian … http://revellian.com/ … I love-love love!!!!! Bobby’s blog, and I’m a huge lurker now because, while I can at times coherently comment on his posts, I most often times (and think I have at least twice) commented, “Can I just spend one night up inside your head! Just one night!” And you realize, if you post that comment three or more times, it’s blog-stalking, but really, Bobby, if you are reading this, can I?!?!??!?! …. pretty please, just one night!

Simply Breakfast …. http://simplybreakfast.blogspot.com/ …Jen used to post pictures of her breakfast EVERY DAY! … but now, not so much, but she has some new stuff since she just recently went to Paris where the breakfasts were to die for, and to take pictures of.

Simply Photo …. http://www.simplyphoto.blogspot.com/ … This is Jen’s photo blog. I find both of her blogs to be the most relaxing and centering blogs on the internet, so much so that if she ever writes that she is “stressed” or “overwhelmed” or having a bad day, I have to blink twice and allow her that.

Taste with Your Eyes … http://tastewiththeeyes.blogspot.com/ Just “go there,” and taste with your eyes! I’m not kidding you!

Why Moms Drink Rum …. http://www.whymomdrinksrum.net/ …. Just go there, and you will find honesty, real life and meandering such as, “Today sucked ass. Not even human ass. It sucked big slimy orangutan ass folks. They don't wipe.” Holly is a real, live riot!

Writing to Survive … http://www.writingtosurvive.com/index.php ... I love Jennifer, inside and out, and she has an especially real and articulate way of putting her insides on paper.

And of course, Candy, who listed me among her favorite blogs, but I can’t put her in my list of seven, or she’d have to list seven more of her favorite things, and seven more favorite blogs, and then this would be like the blog song that never ends. Thanks, Candy, dearest.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Have You Brushed Your Teeth with a Twig Today?!?!?!?

Happy Earth Day, but please people let's remember a few things:

We've always known that if you throw egg shells and coffee grounds out into the yard, flowers will grow. You don't have to be all fancy-dancy about it.

We've also always known what a little bit of elbow grease, water, bleach, baking soda, etc. will do in a pinch ... but now we are being made to feel we need to buy these products prepackaged with the word "Green" on them for it to do any good, for for it to "be any good" for the planet!


Fuck, in a pinch, you can brush your teeth with a twig!

But we've all forgotten these things, and we are all being made to feel not only the dire state of things, but that we have to buy the next new-and-earthly-improved product in order to do better and feel better!

What?!??! ... the F!

The reality is, we all know how to be kind to the Earth.

It's in us somewhere; we've just forgotten and/or the marketers have screamed through the TV at us that we are doing it wrong, and that we need this, that or the other paper towel, sprayed with "just the right Earth-friendly ingredients," but it's just not so.

I only say this because today is Earth Day and it no longer holds the esteem and dream that it used to.

It's all about the hype, and you better buy "green products" from a CHEMICAL COMPANY!!!! if you are going to fix it.

How about you just go outside and breathe, and then plant your garden, as per usual and embrace the other parts of your footprint that aren't carbony!

For crying out loud, it's not that difficult!

And I say it today, because I've had my ear to a few too many focus group sessions, branding table talks and the like since the first of the year, and I'm telling you for the economy to drive back up, yes, we have to spend money.

But spend it wisely.

Spend it on something else.

Don't spend your hard-earned "green" on "green shit" that the designers and manufacturers have marketed and packaged in such a way that you will feel "guilted" into using their products lest Mother Earth swoon in swan song!

That's just not what it's all about.

Instead, brush your whites with a stick today!

Pull the blinds before the sun to save on air-conditioning, and/or put on a sweatshirt instead of turning the heat back on!

What, you can't get that spot out?!?!?!

Elbow grease, remember?!?!?!

And if all you have in the house is that, your elbow, and an old bottle of Windex, use it!

What's the alternative, you can't pour it out?!?!??!

And if you did, where would you pour it?!?!?

Seriously, what are people doing with their old, supposedly deadly cleaning products???!?

They are probably whipping them in the trash and pouring them down their sinks so they end up in the sewers floating around and mutating all those undigested daily vitamins and psych meds!

And the next time you feel like Fabreezing your whole damn house so that it smells like White Linens or Spring Rain!

Open a damn window, instead, and let the real breeze tickle your actual real linens!

Or put up a laundry line for crying out loud before every community in subdivided America bans them!

Happy Earth Day everyone!

It's not about the guilt. It's about embracing the globe with some measure of sanity.

Peace out.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Blame Game versus the Reframe Game

The lead-in on the Yahoo homepage, “Kids May Hurt Marriages.”

The article’s title, "Kids Curb Marital Satisfaction.”

May or might, for fear or in spite, what the F?!?!?!?

Consider this ... divorce, splits, irreconcilable differences and other "shit happens" in couple-hood (and all other “hoods”), and there is not a single kid, dog, hermit crab or flowering plant that does not question, "Was it me? Am I the reason you and dad or you and sig other broke up?"

So, why rub this in by doing and reporting on the results of a study that is going to push the person who thought it was “all their fault” right over the edge?!?!?

Seriously, it's a question that pops up all the time, no matter the age of the kid, and I'm talking about adult “kids” who have the had experience of watching their parents go through a divorce after they are “all grown up" and have already moved out of the house.

Even in a case where the kid is “all grown up,” or in a worse case scenario where a kid was “too little to even remember,” this is not the type of theory that bears perpetuation, you know?

A kid who is supposedly “all grown up,” and sophisticated and so beyond this crap (not!), will even ask this questions of themselves, or of their parents, “Was it me/was it us/did we/did we kids mess it up for you?

So Yahoo chooses the wee hours of Easter weekend to break this story, a family and friends’ long weekend, where people get together, break bread, eat ham and celebrate, bond and unfortunately in some cases … fight!

I've pulled and transcribed many ER notes for many years over the Easter holiday (from many locales in the US), and for some reason Easter weekend is the most psychosocially-challenging long weekend of the entire [religious] holiday schedule!

It never fails.

It beats out Christmas and even the drunken festival of drinking which starts at dawn and goes to dusk on St. Patrick’s Day!

People fight, take their grandma's meds, punch their brothers in the head, overeat, over-drink, underestimate all their limits, tell tall stories, and basically make butts of themselves.

It starts, usually, on Thursday nights (especially if people have Friday off, because then Thursday is "their Friday").

Everyone is going off and/or out to celebrate their three-day weekend, or heading out on the highways, etc. They are either loving or dreading whatever they will be doing, or wherever they will be going for the horrendously long and psychosocially challenging weekend!

So, why, in the world when it's seen as "mean" or "brainwashing" to tell your kids that there is an Easter Bunny (when supposedly there really isn’t), why then (and even for the grownup kids) do we now burst their bubble and tell them if their mummy and daddy have broken up at some point in their lives (whether they are children still, or adult children now) that it most likely WAS ..ALL.. THEIR FAULT!

An "eight-year study eight-year study of 218 couples found 90 percent experienced a decrease in marital satisfaction once the first child was born."

Shouldn’t that be something more like, “We didn’t even have to study people to realize that child-birthing and child-rearing are life changing experiences.”

“Life changing” is a lot more empowering than “life ending, and oh my aching ass, these kids are going to be the death of what we consider to be US!!!”

It strikes me as totally the wrong way to be looking at things.

The study also concluded that "Couples who do not have children also show diminished marital quality over time; however, having a baby accelerates the deterioration, especially seen during periods of adjustment right after the birth of a child."

How about this theory instead, "Couples who do not have children also show diminished marital quality over time; however, acting like a baby (whether you have a child or not) and being unable to handle day-to-day problems (whether you have a child or not) and basically losing sight of the reasons why you met and chose to stay together in the first place, compounded by an inability to persevere, managing your way through the short-term crapola and problems, to get to the bigger picture (the part where you stay together and live ‘happily ever after,’ so to speak) accelerates the breakdown in couples, especially when one or the other of the said ‘couple’ (whether they have children or not) is acting like a SPOILED BRAT!”

Let's get real, and let's get off our pity-ass pots!

I'm not slamming anyone who is depressed and/or otherwise psychologically, psychiatrically and/or physiologically considered a time-bomb in the heart and restart arena, but please let's not play the blame game.

I’m sure there is some hugely and widely successful psychoanalyst out there, who should have a TV show, and could replace even Dr. Phil, who is telling his patients, “Reframe, and don’t Blame,” you know?

My brain, as I've previously mentioned, since my stroke “mimics bipolar activity" at its best, and believe me I am frustrated on a daily basis by this crap, but I have learned after years (yeah, it's been quite the ongoing and not always pleasant process to "get good with this") that blaming what happened for what is, didn’t really cheer my ass up!

So .......... In the very least, LET'S NOT BLAME OUR KIDS, for crying out loud, for any of our problems, couples or singles.

And, I'm telling you kids will cry OUTLOUD (aka challenge and enlighten you), and sometimes seemingly for no immediate discernible reason they will act up and go mad, and they will probably even throw up on you at some point. But is that any reason to blame them, and their ongoing growth and transitioning into adulthood, as a significant component in the break-up of your marriage or significantly other-ly important relationship?

Shouldn’t you beblaming (oops reframing) it, in that it was possibly your own inability at ongoing growth and sustained adulthood (you big crybaby!) as to why things may or may have not worked out the way you might have imagined?

Shit happens, sometimes with no good reason, and sometimes it takes forever and then some to figure out the whys and difficult how of things, but blaming the kids?!?!!?

Yeah, so I THINK NOT!

Study or no study, and this one is full of Silly Putty (aka CRAPOLA!!), we should not be blaming our kids, or giving them any kind of terror ball to run with that even remotely reinforces the fact that it might be ALL THEIR FAULT!!!! that mummy and duddy broke up.

The above goes for real little kids, and real live adult kids, who even without this giant ball of fire implanted in their gut, might already be thinking, “I wonder if it was my/our fault?”

You can read the article here: http://www.msplinks.com/MDFodHRwOi8vbmV3cy55YWhvby5jb20vcy9saXZlc2NpZW5jZS8yMDA5MDQwOC9zY19saXZlc2NpZW5jZS9raWRzY3VyYm1hcml0YWxzYXRpc2ZhY3Rpb24=And, and I’m not saying that there is zero-merit to the study, but I think the study is more important when it comes to understanding the aspects of depression and unhappiness and the way in which people are too quickly picking a person, place and/or thing for which to lay BLAME!!! and thinking that if only it, there, that or this other THING would change, they would be happy.

The reality is, emotions are processional by nature and worth working through which does not include "blame" as a tool.

Certainly, people, places and even ordinary and extraordinary THINGS can be components or partners in crime to our bruised hearts and psyches, but choosing one, and/or blaming one (backed up by studies and/or not) is not the way to go!

I’m back to the “reframe don’t blame” thing, which actually what a catchy phrase, so if no one else is using it, can I have it?!!?!?

But I digress … Suffice it to say (by Christ, and/or the Easter Bunny), people, PLEASE find something (someone, animal, vegetable, mineral and or even an 800-CHAT line!!!) to hold onto this long weekend (any weekend, and any day of the year), and hold on tight!

If this person, place, or thing works for you, great!

If it ceases to be functional, find something new to hold onto.

This is a far better mode of operating than kicking the beasts (your dog) after a bad day at work and/or blaming your kids if your marriage is all f’d up!

So … Peace out, and bless you all, you beasts and children, and have a happy, safe, and wonderful long holiday weekend.

Seriously, do not be punching yee brethren in the head!


... bless the beasts and the children, for in this world, they have no voice, they have no choice ... keep them safe, keep them warm ...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

holding pattern ...

... yeah, so, and since my last post, which will quickly come up upon a week ago, now, where I was discussing, working through and building (painstakingly) my "stick to this" list, I kind of fell by the wayside.

I think I left off somewhere where I was essentially sorting through shit and stuff, and/or something like that.

Near as I can remember, it was a Friday evening and I was going to sort through my yarn and any need-to-be finished projects in that realm. My ultimate long-term goal is getting the creative side of my office and studio running again, starting an etsy shop and continuing some of my other artistic activities, writing to be included. I keep saying I will get to these very integral parts of my soul, and then I don't. That's the shits of being me.

And, you know, I did what I headed off to do last Friday night. And it was fun, and I realized that all the balls of yarn, which have been waiting in a large wicker basket since our move into this house, and the two moves prior to it (3+ years all total), were not at fully as messed up, and totally tangled, as I first thought (imagined, obsessed, and generally blew out of proportion using my brain as dynamite and one small thought as the match). Again, this is me sucking at being me!

So, it's amazing how things can build, and grow in your mind to huge-gantic proportions all because you are stinkin' thinkin' instead of forming thoughts based on reality, and actually dealing with a task that has forced your hand beyond all the reasons in your head.

So, I dealt with the yarn, and that is what I learned. Things are never as bad, or as tangled or fucked up as they originally seem.

Now, while I learned that, and while I honestly was learning at a burning and "building up to something" kind of pace, I also was falling hopelessly to the wayside.

While the yarn has been carefully sorted, some rewound, and various (and not too many at that) projects left to finish, while many more lurk in my mind's design, my insides unfortunately chose that time to cease up! Fuck!

I essentially took a nap, which I do both literally and figuratively. My way of dealing with my fucking mimic of a bipolar brain is to complete the tasks at hand that require dealing with (the ones where if you don't do them, you get hauled away for not taking care of your kids, lose clients because you take jobs and don't do them, etc.) is to finish shit as soon as I can and then take a nap.

I log a lot of sleep during this down-swing time, since sleep moves time in big chunks and if I'm not awake, I don't reel and mis-deal the insanity into something that I cannot use.

This, in and of itself, is what I've been struggling with for the past seven years since my stroke, the way in which my brain "mimics bipolar activity," so said the neuropsych geek I saw seven years ago.

So, there are these tremendous upswings where I feel like my legitimate and functional "old self," who used to be a real sprocket in action.

I love these times and bask in total recognition of "me" and how "things used to be," and how much I enjoyed being me, never mind the little deaths. But that little joy, no longer keeps me, because the "off/down/for shit" times cost too much, and I feel so fucked over.

After my stroke, I began to hate, and was very angry at myself, and got really depressed over the fact that things weren't like "before" and that I had become one of those bitter "before vs. after" people who just can't get over themselves or whatever it is that is bothering them.

That person, that bitter person, just wasn't me, but guess what it? Shit, piss, fuck, it was me! (in the now, and forever)

During these down times, my head essentially "shuts down," and if it tries to stay or play at being way far "up," I can't concentrate, and I begin cancelling things, not showing up when I try to catch my reflection in the mirror and basically sidelying and or flat out lying about what I am doing, when I'm actually motionless inside, frozen, waiting for the elevator door to up when I push the "up" arrow button.

During these times, I'm able to work, parent, love and continue lasting in my closest relationships, though those who love and last with me know that I still doth protest too much when this happens, and that it's still hard for me to live with me when I'm on the down spiral.

I seriously, would not put another person I loved through this, this watching me fight with myself and lose! But, seriously, that's what I've been doing! I've been putting my loved ones through this, and I love them to bits for their support and unconditional love right back at all the parts of me.

To the lay person, or any person I might lay at the time (just kidding ... my bipolar shit doesn't go to that extreme!). It always looks to the casual observer that, whether up and/or sliding down, I'm perfectly fine with it ... yeah, so and that's another lie I tell myself.

I think after a fashion, the casual observer can spot a manic-depressive whack job from a block and a half a way, my two competing selves included.

However, off to the side, when my work contracts are done, family is fed, and kind loving words are said (since again my bipolar activity doesn't hit extremes where I take work, make wild promises and then don't complete the work ... to which my doctor has duly noted for me that, I've got too long and large and wide a stick jammed up my ass to be severely to either bipolar side, because I overthink my swings ... to which I fully agreed, and was all like, "Yeah, you are so right, the only thing that stops me from being fully, and unadultratedly bipolar is that on one of my manic upswings, you won't find me dancing naked on a table at the local tavern because right now I'm way self-conscious about my belly fat!")

In essence, 10 pounds of annoying "belly fat" are all that stands between me and a write up in the local paper's Police Report column!

In other words, I'm so bipolar my bipolar shit smells just like everyone else's bipolar shit! I swing just as high and just as low, and the thing that I stubbornly cling to is the doctors words that my brain merely "mimics" this behavior and is not really happy to see or bit!

I stink, and therefore, I am ... bipolar.

Having done my best and/or worst to explain that, I guess I'm just trying to suffice, and to slice it up and say, I'm still all up in my own face, and trying to work out the fluff that is stuck in my stuff, but I couldn't keep up with the list that I started, because right as I started it, who knew!?!?!? (well, I knew, and should probably have known better than anyone) that the sheer delight of feeling like I was "onto something" and moving full fucking steam ahead like a madwoman surely meant I was due for a crash and burn ... which I was.

In an effort to appear sane to myself and to my blog, because yeah my blog has a secret police force that can come after me and say, "Hey, you are not writing this the way you intended to, and what about your high and mightly lists, huh?!?!?"

Well, because of that insane inner voice (which you know came from me and not my blog police) I was opening post windows, and leaving dot, dot, dot notations and placeholders, and I was going to come back and keep working through the list, as if, I hadn't really been taking the week off, inside my own head.

I was going to pretend I was posting and learning and working my way through my list on a daily basis, by holding the pages open, and editing in the info later, most of which I would have had to make up, because off to the side of things that I don't let slide during my down shit times, I was actually on snooze!

I know that sounds weird, but that's what the downswing is like for me. I lament it, and I torture myself over it, since I don't feel "quite right" or not "quite how I used to feel all the time," and it becomes this horrible thing, when really it's just how my brain works now, so hmm, hello, Anne?!!?!?? For hell's sake, why not get over your old self already!?!?!? Right?

Yeah, and so this is my way of saying, I like where my list started, I understand why it waylaid for a bit. During the down times, at best, aside from the things (people!!!) that I truly care about and refuse to take into the gutter with me, I walk through life "making myself go through the motions" of stuff like bathing, answering the phone and being kind to strangers and stray animals, but on the inside, I'm really totally on SNOOZE!

That being said, and honesty being my most brutal and favorite policy, I deleted all the placeholders, and I'm not going to pretend that I hadn't spiraled down there for a wee bit.

I will continue the list, picking up where I left off, and it will flesh out in it's own time, and in 30 days this brutal honesty which I so embrace, that is pretty much the habit I'm working towards, this acceptance of self.

You know, so there, now. It's not about lamenting and killing myself over the "off" days betwixt and between what's really going onward, right?

Now, isn't it amazing what one learns about oneself even when one has been busy beating themselves up when they were down the winding and horrifically difficult staircase.

Peace, it is, and peace out.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday's Addition to the "Stick to This" List ...

The "Stick to This" list thus far:

1. Do things while you still hate yourself. (A Barbara Sher-ism)

2. Pick up where you left off.
...Today, that means finishing my share of the laundry and putting the master bedroom walk-in closet in order, a task (the closet) I began three weeks ago or more.

While I made decent progress, putting in shelves, laying in more hangers and storage bags, etc., there are still two baskets of "keep or throw" clothes and items sitting in the bedroom and a few misc. things left to be done.

I tend to leave stuff like this "sit" when my brain goes numb, and I can't for the life of me get it, and any half-started task, all moving again.

As well, I've been knitting of late ... A LOT!!!! While I purchased new yarn for a throw and some pillows, I do have a large wicker bin full of yarn and one or two unfinished projects stored in the basement.

I love crocheting, but haven't knit in a million years. Admittedly, a few weeks ago when I picked up the knitting needles and some floofy yarn at the local craft market, to make this throw and some pillows, I was sheepishly thinking, I bet I knit one, purl two and then drop the whole mess and don't pick it up again. I suck butt!

My brain can be like this when it's groggy and bogged down and depressed as hell.

However, the opposite occurred when it came to the yarn. I've picked it back up, a lot! I completed the throw and the pillows and am confident that I will sort the wicker bin and complete the unfinished projects, while also making plans for new ones. Woot. Baby steps.

Additionally, my 7-year-old grand-goddess, Ruth, spent this week with me/us. While she was here I finally unpacked some old dress-up clothes and dolls that my daughters (the eldest being her mommy) used to play with.

It was fun spending time with Ruth, apart from her sisters this week, getting to know every unique little thing about her, sharing thoughts and making plans for the "next time" we get to be alone together. I'm looking forward to additional times like this as the girls get older, and taking advantage of seeing them not only as a threesome/sister cluster, but also each alone.

I could have just as soon as left all the old stuff packed up, talking about it now and then, saying I'd "get to it," but this week, I got to it, and the results were ten-fold.

While I've accummulated a number of new toys and such for the grand girlls, it was amazing to watch her go through the old stuff, imagining her way through several play days, but also hearing and asking additional questions about what her Mommy did when she was little, etc.

It was extremely empowering to have finally "dug out and gone through the old toys and stuff!"

And t
hat's pretty much what number two on my "Stick to This" list is all about, as part of my ongoing process ... "digging out and going through old toys and stuff!" It totally works, dude!

Of additional note:

http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendID=77458590 ... additionally, this is a link to my myspace blog ... it covers the time spent with Ruth, which was uplifting (as always with my kids and grandgirls) and also an integral part of my week and reminder as to my soul's makeup.

And ...........................................................> Walter took up immediate residence on top of the blanket from row one until the 6-foot long end!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pandora's Box ....

I've been paging through my personal archives in the last many weeks, written word, online stuff, my poetry, writing, old emails, snail mail, even some significant papers and thoughts I penned while back in college the second time around, old grocery lists, check stubs, etc. ... anything and everything that might help me define my self, or where I left off.

I'm on the verge of making a "to do" or "stick to this" list, kind of like New Year's resolutions long overdue, as part of my "30 days and this will be habit" personal project.

My "Me Project" felt like it had a slow start, which I lamented about yesterday, since I planned to start but felt like I was bogged down at the starting line, even though the gun had gone off.

I've been trying to define the chronic funk, thinking that once defined, I could then attack and be done with it.
Thinking like this, I wondered why the slow start, and how come I can't even come up with a plan of attack, the "to do," or "stick to this" list of personal reminders that will once again become habit.

By defining the funk, I figured it would be easier to dig my way out of it, but I'm realizing now that the "stick to this" list will be a gradual build. It's completion and practice will lead me to a better understanding of what the "funk" actually was, how it got there, took up head space and has been squatting there for years infected the rest of my self.

It's not like I can go to Anne-ipedia and in two seconds look up "Annes Fucked up Funk" and then go to selfcure.com and find the ingredients to fix things overnight.

I had been going about it all wrong, thinking I just had to name it and then fix it. Done!

Sitting here today, having realized the longer processional nature of this journey I'm embarking upon, I was thinking of a talk I saw on PBS a few years back. More than likely, I was "listening" to the talk while also working and doing any number of other tasks at hand. However, some of what was being said I wrote down, so I must have realized I would need it at some point.

In my office, this afternoon, I was able to turn around and reach for the exact notebook where these words were. Weird, I know, because there are A LOT OF NOTEBOOKS!

And I did find the words immediately. It was somewhat remarkable to note, that while I did jot down these things as they struck me, I then continued to fill the notebook with other things, living a life, completing that notebook and starting and finishing how many others? Seven years passed since I jotted down these "notes," but it was obvious I wrote them down knowing I'd know just when I'd need them.

The words I'm speaking about came from a motivational talk given by a woman named Barbara Sher, a life/career coach, although I'm not even sure if that's even close to describing her pep.

Today, I was most struck by two scrawled sentences in that notebook, gleaned from her talk:

"If you like it, there is a reason."

And later on the page ... "Do things while you still hate yourself."

Both statements confirmed for me that I'm heading in the right direction with my "stick to it" list. As I redefine for myself what has worked in the past, this "stick to it list" will be a list of "loves" versus hateful things that have bogged down my progress.

I likely will not write this list in one sitting; it will be a "work in progress," which ironically is the name of my business. So, yeah, bells went off, and a light bulb turned on, and I almost peed myself.

Work in Progress. Doy!

What is also important to note is that re-starting these things that I love, is/has been like pulling teeth. That has been a difficult phenomenon for me. I mean, really?!?!?! If you like something, and it "works for you," doy!!!! Don't you do it all the time, without asking or telling yourself that you should?

Well, you would think so, but obviously I haven't been living like that for a long time, and I'm having to re-learn this whole concept.
As I continued to think about this, and Barbara Sher's talk from so many years ago, I did some netting about. I read a bit into Ms. Sher's newest book on Amazon this afternoon, "sneak-peeking" at what she has to say currently, and also spent a wee bit of time on her website prior to bookmarking it.

I was especially interested in what she describes as "scanners," in that "Scanners love to read and write, to fix and invent things, to design projects and businesses, to cook and sing and to create the perfect dinner party."

She goes on to note that she uses the word "and" here and not "either/or" because Scanners don't love one or the other of these things, THEY LOVE THEM ALL!
She later describes how this might sound lovely, but also consider the fact that Scanners are like a kid stuck in a candy store, with difficulty in choosing just one favorite.

It's easy to see how a Scanner might become hopelessly sidetracked and locked into thinking that they are supposed to pick just one thing to believe in or strive for, when in reality they just need to be organized and stop feeling bad because they essentially love a lot of things.

Later, she also discusses the difference between Scanners and someone with ADD. She also discusses (and this had the most interest for me) the difference between a Scanner and someone who might be otherwise depressed:

The types of attention span problems that have to do with depression are quite different than job-interest attention span. When you get so you can't read a book (and even newspaper articles) from start to finish, you can't pay attention during a conversation, and you have no idea where your keys and wallet are, when uually you know exactly where you put them, then you need to talk to somebody about therapy and medication, both of which work wonders.

If I were to formulate a diagnosis for what I'm going through it would be that I'm a depressed scanner. That's like the double-wammy effect, and I'm here to tell you, the two personality traits (scanning and depression) do not mix well on a daily basis. The fact that my brain "mimics bipolar activity" since my stroke, does not help matters. It has instead reduced me to a scanner who has painted herself into a very dark corner.

So welcome to my world, and welcome to thing one on my "Stick to This" list:

1. Do things while you still hate yourself ... which I guess could be better said as ... Live "as if" while you continue to get through what has been pissing you off. "As if" will become "As Is."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Thirty Days and It's a Habit ...

... I've been working on this concept, I truly have, and today was my "launch day," although I'm still ironing out the kinks and the gist of things, which I'll explain in my next blog entry. But I have been planning this, and I planned with good reason to complete the thirty days on exactly the 30th of April, the meaning of which will be fleshed out as I continue.

Right now, I'm spending the week, some lovely, long goofy event-filled days with my seven-year-old grand-daughter, Ruth.

Ruthie is on Spring break right now from her year-round school. Their school break is quite long, so I took the time to have the "oldest" over for the longest, all three of the grand girls next week, and then the "second oldest," Scarlet, for "almost the longest" prior to the break being over.

The youngest, Lili, I see quite frequently during the week and sometimes overnights, while her sissies are in school, but this far into the school year, they were ready for the break. And I was ready to have some alone time with them too. My daughter reported, "It's a good thing the break is coming because Ruthie and Rae have been riding Lili's butt about how she gets to see you the most!

However, while I'm seeing the girls each on a solitary basis, and once over in a group, as well as for Easter, rinse and repeat, I'm also working on the launch of ... of what!??!?! Of me, I guess, onward and upward and away from the things that have been holding me back, chronically.

I've been making some mental lists, after much introspection and self-evaluation trying to work towards a plan that will reveal a more ... a more what?!?!?! A more authentic me, I guess, but that is such a dated buzz-word way of trying to explain it. Perhaps I'll have my own personal buzz-word/s as I navigate through this.

This week, however, leading up to my "launch," has been delightful, a home spa treatment where I'm covered in little girl goddess germs. It's refreshing to be around young minds and hearts, especially if yo've been slogging through your own murky brain and heart for weeks on end, trying to come up with a meaner greener plan.

With my kids, or my grand-kids, or any kid, I wake up thinking, All I have to do today is show up!

It's that frickin' easy to be.

So it's been wonderfully waking up days on end, into Ruthie's seven year old world, where all I have to do is say, "Good morning, goof girl, what do you want for breakfast?" and she looks at me like I could pull the moon down if she asked for it.

Earlier this week I remarked to a client, since I worked a bit less this week, about how much fun I was having, and then ended it by saying, "I want to go to Amazon.com and order everyone a seven-year-old to hang out with for a week."

To which she said, "You say that about four-year-olds when Lili is there, and ..."

Um, yeah, so, you get what I mean.

Peace out. I have one more day in home-spa "Grandma Annie" land, and then four days to regroup during which I fully intend continue to flesh out some of the things I feel are essential for me to do for "30 days until it's a habit." And I'm also sticking to my other favorite adage, "You are at 80, who you were at 8."

It's all there, the real us, right inside of the stubborn, balking, split personas we futz with ... it just takes time and a healthy reminder or two as to what's at our core!

Peace out, loves.

And as I close this, I give you Goddess Ruth, who today mastered chopsticks!