January 29, 2010

Disney's Hot Ticket

FYI: I really don't give the Magic Potion that much credit, although yes, I am a nut. Duh! Why would I be trying this in the first place?!? However. I am feeling pretty darn good, third day in a row.

I was just reading a post on Janana Bee about The Rock -er, Dwayne. She's upset with The Rock for going "all Disney" on her. I can understand; she's an old WWF fan and this turn on his career path must be excrutiating to watch. But me? I'm personally grateful for the staff over there at the happiest place on earth. I was not a WWF fan at all, so I never knew who The Rock was, really, until they sucked him over to the dark side.
Janana thinks Dwayne's lost his hotness. Hello?!? Ok, so he's not all guns and sweat, like in the old days. But I have to sit through a lot of brain-rotting movies, because I'm a Mom* (i.e. Paul Blart - I wince just typing it). Sometimes, these movies claim to "appeal to adults too!", but what they really mean is that there might be a smidge of cleverly disguised adult humor, or a Stop Global Warming subplot.

Really? You want to appeal to Moms who take 11-year-old boys to the movies? Don't get in my way with politics or wit.
Hand over the popcorn and give me The Rock.

* Don't start with me. I know I don't "have to" take my kid to these movies, that I could take them to the Natural History Museum or enroll them in Scouts instead. Let me live in my fantasy that seeing all the popular movies and eating at McDonalds makes me a Good Mom.

January 28, 2010

Fun Fact about me: I have a wierd thing about teeth. I hate brushing them because it makes me gag. (But I do it anyway, twice a day, just so you know.) I can't even watch other people brush their teeth, that makes me gag too. You know how, when your kids are really little, you have to brush their teeth for them? Eeew!! I think my boys could brush their own teeth before they were potty trained.

So you can imagine how a root canal would sit with me, huh? Never, ever had work (beyond cleaning) done on my teeth, and I thought I was home free, at my age. But no. Last September, I called my cards too quickly and learned what an endodontist is. The day of the surgery, I went for the full sedation package, just short of knocking me totally out and staying overnight in the hospital, but I was still a nervous wreck and hated every minute of the entire day.

And today, I had the privilege of getting a redo on my root canal from last fall. I won't sicken bore you with the details of why I got to do this, but I will say that it was waaaaay better the second time around. Which, for the record, does not mean to suggest that one should always do a root canal twice. Not even kinda.

But guess what? I didn't freak out beforehand, like I did the first time, when I was shaking like a scared puppy, even though I was sedated enough that I couldn't move out of my chair, or remember my own name. I didn't get all chatty on the way there, like I do when I am insanely nervous about something. And, when I got home, I didn't get nauseous merely from the thought of what had just happened in my mouth.

Today, I easily conversed with My Endo (we're tight now), Dr. Susan, about why teens shouldn't have cell phones, right before she disappeared into my mouth and left - wait for this - stitches in my gums. I had taken a sedative (duh! I'm not stupid!) but wasn't all hooked up to an IV like last time, my will sitting on the table next to me, waiting for my wobbly, dying signature, just in case. And not once did I gag or shudder, before, during, or after the fact. I even looked at the stitches in the mirror when I got home. You have no idea how not me that is.

You know what I'm going to say, don't you?


Magic potion's working, methinks.

January 27, 2010

Day One on Mother Nature's Prozac

Well....it's been 24 hours or so since I had my first dose of magic potion. So far, I have had a really good day. I feel good. I don't feel like I'm going to fall asleep in the middle of any given activity. I don't feel like a drastic change has occurred, I'm just in a good mood. John and I talked about the placebo effect last night, wondering if I would start feeling super today just because I had my little blue bottle and $238 less in my bank account. I figure there must be some effect, but I'll know for sure when a crisis moment hits, or even after a few days if this feeling doesn't go away. Because sometimes I have these days all by myself, no medicinal help needed. But they don't last very long.

MC2, my naturopath, (she has the same initials as my life coach; is that a sign?) also taught me an exercise that is supposed to bring the right and left sides of my brain into harmony. Apparently, when an emotionally upsetting moment is occuring, the brain is all kinds of separated and out of sync. So, I'm supposed to do this exercise whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed, or can't make a decision, or am stressing over something. So, last night, before I went to bed, I thought I' do this. I wondered if maybe it would help me sleep better. I crawled into bed and after about 10 minutes, I started to stress out that it might not work. That, if it didn't, I would be stuck, today, having gotten an awful night's sleep. So I got up and took two Tylenol PMs anyway. So much for patience. I think there's some herb in my blue bottle for that, so I'll have to wait for it to kick in.

I'm feeling good about the whole thing, though. I thought it was pretty funny when I was telling John about it at dinner; I could tell he was trying not to laugh when I told him about my arm answering the wall questions. He's an even bigger skeptic than I, but at least he's supportive. He doesn't like living with my craziness any more than I do, I'm sure.

Completely off the subject, I read a great post today. For all my teacher friends and for anyone who has ever sent an utterly insignificant prayer up to the big guy, go read A Teacher's Prayer over at Joanne's blog. It made me laugh; if I were God, I would totally grant this one.

January 26, 2010

Just Ask My Arm

Woah. I just got home from my appointment with the Naturopath, and I wasn't terribly far off when I was poking fun at this yesterday. I feel like I just traveled backwards in time to about 1800-something, like I might walk out of the office and find that my Acura had been transformed into a horse and that, instead of stopping by Walmart on the way home for dinner, I would have to hit the back 40 and milk some cows before suppertime.

I know there are many of you who are not new to this way of thinking, so this won't come as a surprise to you. But for those of you die-hard pharmaceutical consumers, get this: I actually came home with a little blue bottle with a dropper in it, just like Laura Ingalls. With a hand-written label. And the word "remedy" on it. I was given this bottle after an hour and a half of answering questions with my arm muscles, as opposed to my vocal chords. And by that, I mean she would ask me questions and then touch my arm; if it moved just a tiny bit, my answer was "no". If it moved noticeably, my answer was "yes". For real.

The walls were lined with little hand-labeled vials and the first thing she told me was that I probably want to stay away from storing food in plastic containers, what with my family history of cancer and all. She was talking to me as if I even remotely understood her, but I set her straight right away. As soon as I asked her what in the world I would store food in, if I threw out my several thousand dollars worth of original Tupperware, I think she could see just how far down the other side of the spectrum I actually am.

But it appeared that I was no real challenge for her, and I started to relax. I thought, I must not be the worst she's seen. I must not be the only person who has come in here, completely oblivious to the fact that there are mercury fillings in my mouth that could, potentially, contribute to my death. And once we got into the muscle-as-voice thing, I was very intrigued. I kept trying to "figure out the trick", as if I were watching a magician. How does she get my arm to move like that? She's asking for information from the bottles on the wall, and my arm is answering her. She asked the wall, "Is there anything here I've missed?" And my arm answered "no." Seriously, I couldn't make this up.

She made a remedy for me that seemed to cover every possible ailment I might suffer now, or have every suffered in the past, from low self-esteem to an overwhelming desire to take a vacation by myself (no joke, there's actually an herb for that). I'm supposed to take it three times a day and within two weeks (probably much sooner, she told me) I am going to feel balanced and grounded and motivated again.

So you probably think I walked out of there hoping she hadn't cast any spells on me, fearing that I would turn into a frog on the way home. But I didn't. I was completely fascinated by the entire thing, and set my little blue bottle carefully on my console as I drove away. In my car.

I'll keep you posted....

Post It Note Tuesday

January 25, 2010

Something New

When I first started writing this blog, it was with the intention of sharing some of the trials and tribulations of raising a teenager on the verge, and the coping strategies I used to do it. I suppose I was mostly looking for an outlet, and a reason to write every day, since I wasn't working on a novel or anything concrete enough to warrant sitting here for hours on end. I guess I was hoping I might get some feedback or some brilliant ideas that would solve all my problems. Most of all, I just wanted the secret code to a peaceful and harmonious family.

I didn't claim to be savvy in parenting, sociology, psychiatry or medicine, I merely had a lot to say about it. I kind of veered from my original forum, though, when Matt left last spring. The worse things got in our house, the harder it was to write about, so I didn't. I tried being on anti-depressants for awhile, but I couldn't see through the emotionally protective fog to get to the rest of my life - the part that wasn't all screwed up. So I got rid of those and figured I should probably just do what my mom told me I should be doing all along. Get off your butt and get on with it! Stop feeling sorry for yourself! Why don't you put a smile on your face and you'll feel so much better!

I pulled up my bootstraps. I kicked myself in the ass. I became a little obsessive about getting things done, even if they weren't important things, or priorities. I cleaned and ran errands and showed up to volunteer on all the right days at school. I planned parties and attended functions. I used the anger that had built up over those months as fuel. Turns out, it was pretty high octane for awhile. Then, without warning, the anger started to disappear and I didn't have much to work with. Out of nowhere, one day on the phone to Joanne, I burst into tears and said, "I'm not angry anymore. I just miss him. So much." And so, that afternoon, I reinstated my client status with my therapist, MC, who is a Life Coach.

~~ Let me say, I really love her. Yet, I still struggle with this title: Life Coach. Really? Like she's gonna stand on third base and tell me when I should run home? I make fun of things like this all the time - anything even slightly new age puts me on the defensive. Not the kind of defensive where I doubt it and won't try it, but the defensive where I totally and completely buy into it but I'm pretty sure the rest of the world will think I'm a nutcase, so I need to defend myself.

Intellectually, yes, I know this is stupid. I know that the stigmas attached to the study, practice and care of mental health are dying out and that I'm probably a statistic if I'm not in some kind of therapy. But still. There are the voices of my mother, my father, and anyone else in their generation, yammering away in the back of my head somewhere, making me slap my caveat all over the front page of my life before I tell you that, yes, I see a therapist and I take medication. ~~

When I told MC that I wanted to get my shit together without taking drugs, she decided to send me to a Naturopath. (Great! Now I get to mix up potions and press different points on my wrist when I feel like kicking back a bottle of Stoli.) My first appointment is tomorrow, and I'm actually excited about it. I haven't got anything to lose; I don't do well with the drugs and I certainly can't keep up my home-brewed concoction of Sleep, Insomnia, Food and Cabernet, so I'll try something new. I know it won't be a magic cure-all, but I'm hopeful that it might be a start. I'm convinced that finding some physical/physiological balance is the only way I'm going to get out of this ridiculous circle of dysfunction.

When Matt was little, I couldn't possibly have imagined that, by the time he was 17, I would rarely speak to him, or see him only from a distance. Some days, I drive past his school and wonder what would happen if I just went in there to stand in the same room with him. To smell him, to feel his gangly height and crazy hair against me, in a hug I haven't felt in so long. I want to call him, most every day, but I don't know what to say to him. In fact, he called this morning, just to say hello to Jack. I can't even manage to say anything to him when I have him right there on the phone. I pass it to Jack, and wish I could have thought of the right thing to say. The attempts I've made at writing to him have been ignored, and I wonder if he even gets the mail I send him.

Stigma or no stigma, I guess I do need MC standing there on third base. I have no idea how to run home.

January 23, 2010

Wow! Where does the time go? Honestly, I didn't mean to be gone so long. I marvel at some of the bloggers here who have small children (plural) jobs and families, and still manage to write every day.

I currrently feel as though I have multiple small children, although what's really happening is that my near-teenager, my husband, my 25 year old daughter and her boyfriend are playing Cabela's Big Game Hunter on the Wii. This, if you're not familiar with the game, is a sound that's up there in the Ten Most Annoying Noises in the World. It's a repetetive, yet random, series of bangs! coupled with this ticker-clicking noise from the counter that's tracking your points, mixed with a four note electric guitar rift that belongs to no music known to anyone and then an occasional comment from a person off screen, whom I can only assume is supposed to be your hunting partner. If there is such a thing. I know nothing about hunting, so there may be some technical term for that person. The funny thing is, no one playing knows anything about hunting either, so the running commentary among them is pretty entertaining.

This is the second day of our trip to visit Casey here at her home in Oregon. Yesterday, we met her and NB (the New Boyfriend) at a hockey game in Portland. I have never been to a hockey game before, and was really looking forward to going, as was Jack. I had an idea in my head of what it would be like, but it wasn't like that at all. Still, I loved it, and I'm pretty excited to go to another game as soon as I can. I'm mostly just impressed with the skill and agility it must take to even play the game, let alone play it well. I'm sure it's ten times harder than it looks, and it looks impossible. And never mind the game, it would take me a month just to learn how to hop over that wall in all that gear without taking out someone's eye or ending up in a turtle flop on the ice. I loved that part, where they all changed players. It was like a little bit of synchronized ice dancing right in the middle of a manly man's sport.

Oh, and the fighting! I had to ask if it was real, or if there was a touch of WWF in there, because it happens out of nowhere, for no reason that is apparent to a beginner like me. One minute they're all skating, and the next, there are helmets and pads and sticks on the ice and two or more guys are tearing each other up, and the refs are just standing there, doing nothing about it. Turns out it's pretty real. It's better than a goal to get the crowd riled up and then the fighters get huge applause as they glide into their respective penalty boxes. Evidently, they're like Beta fish - they have to have separate boxes or they'll kill each other. Normally, I'm opposed to any kind of fighting as sport - I think things like cage fighting are frightening and insane and sort of sick. But this, this spontaneous pounding mid-skate, was surprisingly fun to watch. Maybe because it only lasts a few seconds, and maybe because I witnessed none of the legendary bloodshed hockey is known for, I don't know. Whatever, it might be my new favorite sport.

January 12, 2010

Post It Note Tuesday

In response to J's comment on my last post:

Styx, Cornerstone Tour
June 20, 1980

Hammersmith Odeon, London

Todd Ogden broke up with Jenny Roundy that night and asked me out right before "Babe."

My first concert. My first boyfriend.

It's still in the pile.

January 11, 2010

A Clean Sweep

I think I've mentioned that I'm sort of obsessed with cleaning my house. I mean, not in a can't-do-anything-else way, but probably more than normal people. I just like things in order. Tidy. Jen thinks this is a control thing - since I have little control over my kid, at least I can do this. She's probably right. Wish I could be obsessively controlling about my diet and exercise instead. But I digress.

Being this way doesn't come free. There's a price to neatness, and yesterday, I had to pay the piper. You know all that crap you don't exactly know what to do with, but feel like you can't throw out? Most of us put it in a pile. Maybe it's a neat pile, in a basket, or a drawer. Or maybe it's lots of piles, that multiply, all over the guest bedroom or the formal dining room table. And, eventually, we must attack the pile(s) and make tough decisions, in order to clear up some space. For most people, this might happen once a year, or even more frequently.

Not me, though, because my piles are in my garage. I mean, John's garage. They aren't in my face year round, reminding me, daily, that they need attention. They could sit out there for years and years, and never bother me.

I'm quite certain they bother John, but he's tolerant and nice and hardly ever blows a fit about all that crap I save that takes up "his space". Except for when they really do sit out there for years and years.

Turns out, I haven't dealt with my crap in almost a decade. I'm a closet hoarder. Not the obvious kind, who can't find the bathroom and eventually ends up on a reality show, but the kind who hides all that shit and hopes that no one notices it's still there. I have a really hard time letting go of things.

But yesterday, completely out of the blue, I was overwhelmed with motivation and a desire to expand my clutter-free space. In an impromptu spree, while John was putting away all the Christmas stuff, I tackled it. I didn't question it. I didn't even take a Xanax. I only drank one beer the entire day, and it wasn't because of anxiety, it was because I was on a roll and I was thirsty.

In the end, I managed to eliminate no fewer than four large boxes of crap, not including the two plastic file cabinets that I never actually used and six pairs of shoes that long ago passed the last person in the family on the hand-me-down list. The really sad thing is that the majority of it was paper. Paper. Like old bills and bank statements and kids' school work. (Wait, you say, that's pretty normal. Most people don't throw that stuff out right away.) But it got better: I found files from a job I held 12 years ago. Birthday cards from people I no longer know. Warranties for products that aren't even in production anymore. Receipts for clothes that are currently coming back into style. And my favorite? A grocery list. Did I think I might need ideas for the next time I went shopping?

But I got rid of it all. Ok, most of it. In a flash of downsizing, I made bold, firm decisions about the stuff that had to go and the stuff that got to stay. John helped me neatly put all the newly packed bins back in tidy, smaller places and we admired the floor of our garage. A floor! And we can even open the beer fridge now, without knocking anything over.

I think 90% of it went. Like the matchbook from the restaurant in NYC, circa 1988, where I lit the table next to me on fire by accidentally tipping the end of my menu in the candle while boisterously talking with my hands. (Don't lie. You'd have kept that too.) And I finally let go of all the health benefit brochures from the job I had before Jack was born. I'm pretty sure I can't claim on those anymore.

But I did keep the first nameplate from my first cubicle at my first job. Partly because it's kind of cool, and partly because it's the only nameplate I ever had. And I saved every card my husband has ever written me, because there are hundreds, and every one of them says something worth reading for the rest of my life.
Some things just need to stay in the pile.

January 9, 2010

I wish I could sit down tonight and write all about my month-long vacation to a remote Indonesian island that had no modern-day technological connection to the outside world, but sorry to say, I'm just back from my mental hiatus to nowhere in particular. I took a break from writing during the madness of Christmas not because I didn't have anything to say, but because I was afraid to say anything at all. I was afraid that if I started to talk about my first Christmas without Matt, I wouldn't be able to keep my shit together, and I'd never get through the month.

But I did. And now I'm back from wherever that place was. Maybe I went to Denial, where I could sail through the month of December, pretending that everything was ok. Maybe I shopped and wrapped and entertained and drank and ate and drank instead of having a complete nervous breakdown, which is, quite frankly, what I probably would have done instead. I was just really busy trying not to be sad and feel sorry for myself and spend every minute of every day wondering what I could have done differently - and blah, blah, blah.

But I'm back now. I'm back from not only The Verge, but from Denial too. It's time to start writing again, even if I have to dump way TMI on you while I'm here. I've decided that not writing is way worse than writing too much, since getting back in front of this keyboard is about killing me. I have spent the evening getting caught up on everyone's blogs and am a little embarrassed that I didn't bother to wish anyone a Merry Christmas or a Happy New Year. My belated and heartfelt wishes to all of you now - from my new, better place.

More later (as in, tomorrow, not February) when I'm feeling more in the groove. Tonight was just a matter of reconnecting with the blogosphere.

Glad to be here. I missed you guys :)