Thursday, January 09, 2014

Wow, Splendid Days!

Sometimes I wake up in the morning and have such clarity. I'm ready to go. I have energy. I'm not already in a fog. I'm not riddled with anxiety. I may not have a plan, but one soon develops. I have this incredibly positive outlook on everything. Nothing feels impossible. I have the Laverne & Shirley theme song playing in my head. I wish every day was this way. I also wish that my every day wasn't so tied to temperature. The pattern I see emerge with this clarity is that if it's below about 45 degrees outside, then I don't have it. If it's cold out, I feel sluggish and stiff and my fingers get so cold (even if the thermostat says it's 74 in here) that I can't even type.

I feel chilled to my core. I feel it in my bones. I complain about the summer heat in Texas, but at least I can go outside and move my body without pain or discomfort.

I try to exercise to warm me up. I have hot cereal. I drink hot fluids. I take a long bath. I soak my hands in hot water. I wear gloves and pull my sleeves down over my hands. I wear two pairs of everything including socks. I wear hats and scarves. If it's below 45 degrees out there, I'm bundled up in here. And then, even if I manage to get some kind of warmth generated, I'm so bundled up it's cumbersome to move around very much.

Anyway, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and have been taking a replacement hormone for just over 2 months now. I go back to get my dose adjusted in a few weeks and I think it's going to need to be adjusted upward. I am getting some relief, though. I definitely have a ton more energy and my thinking is not muddled. I am not so exhausted that I give up on everything. That's a hard thing to explain, but basically over the last ? five or so years I have just felt so worn down that I don't really put up much of a fight about anything. I'm just like, "Sounds good. Whatever. Shouldn't hurt. Okay. Do whatever you want." I'm also seeing some of my eyebrows return, which is pretty bizarre. I forget what it's like to have some outer brow instead of just two little hairs out there that I guard with my life. Now I have like six!

My sex drive went up briefly but now it's kind of going down. I think that may also have more to do with temperature, because a lot of times my mind is like, "Hey, let's do this thing!" Then my body is like, "Must. Find. Heat. Be. Still. Covers. Layers."

I'm definitely not depressed any more. Of course, there could be other reasons for that. Getting married after a long courtship (ha), my father dying and my son turning 18 and coming into his own have all been turning points for me this year in one way or another. Rocks I've been carrying around for so long I've been able to drop and my load seems lighter, at last. Some days, even when it is cold, I feel like I can breathe easier and I am more relaxed.

I'm not as constipated any more, thanks for asking. I feel like I'm doing a systems check here, which makes sense since I'm about to go back to the doctor. What else... skin is still super dry but my flaky head stuff has mostly gone away. I'm still having issues with my feet, which were going away for a while but are back the past few weeks pretty bad. October was the worst month ever for my period (I bled something like 23 days that month) and November was a little better and then the last two periods have been almost normal, so there's something! Still pretty heavy but a normal amount of days and something like 25 days apart?

Meh. I'm so sick of worrying about my health and thankful to have excellent insurance now so all these things can get taken care of. Things are looking up in that way and it's made a huge difference in my life and my happiness. I'm almost there...

In other news, I was going to do some Pilates today, but have decided that I want my desk back in the bedroom where it was for so many years, cluttered bedroom be damned. I live in a 964 square foot house, what can I expect? I had this crazy notion that I wanted it in the living room between these two windows and that proved problematic for several reasons. First, everyone is always in there doing distracting things like playing games or watching TV or eating stuff or playing with cats. Second, my ADD kicks into high gear when there is a task at hand and a window nearby. Look, a bird! A cat! A jogger! What's that slow car doing? What are my neighbors up to? There's the mail! SQUIRREL! And third, it is seriously cold by those windows!

I've had my desk here all of half an hour and already I feel wrapped up in my little cocoon and I just want to drink cocoa and write like (the) Dickens. Ha! I moved my craft table out and now it's housing some of the plants from the back room that are spending their winter inside. Will be nice to have some greenery in the living room. Also, I will be about 5 feet away from my better half's desk which will probably keep me from crushing so much fucking candy since he harasses me endlessly every time I play.

Here's to productivity in the new year.

Friday, October 04, 2013

I'm nervous.

It's 11:48 a.m. and I am tired.

I am always tired. I am so tired of always being tired.

It figures the first time in a long time that I sit down to really write would sound just that way. Isn't it what I always used to say? Which makes me wonder about how long this "tired" problem has actually been going on. I guess when I was younger I didn't really think it could have anything to do my health. My body. I didn't think there was anything wrong with being tired, I just thought it's how things went. I was busy. I had a pretty taxing job. I was raising a kid. I was dealing with family bullshit. Trying to manage all my emotional baggage. Living the life of the square peg. It's all pretty tiring.

Now it is a different type of tired. It is a heavy, desperate sort of tired. When my bones are finally still at the end of the day, it feels so good. So final.

I'm writing all this and I start to realize that I'm not very good at using my mouth to get out what's really in my head. Verbalizing does not lead to analyzing. Things are coming to my fingertips that would never in a million years come to my mouth. I am about to say things that I would never tell anyone. Not my closest friend. Not my husband. Not my kid. Not my cats. It's not because it's all such a secret or something. It's just that those words don't come and if they do, it's not in the same form and they lack something. They're missing some key component. Components. Something that has to do with my feelings and interpretation and vulnerability and being close to a thing instead of distant.

I say, out loud to my husband, something like, "I'm nervous," regarding my pending medical test results. This is like, a simple declaration about some physical sensations I'm having at that moment. Maybe I'm a little distracted and having some butterflies in my stomach. And he dismisses it and tells me not to worry. He is great at this not worrying thing. Cognitively it makes so much good sense. There are things I can't control. There's nothing I can do but wait. I shouldn't obsess over every single outcome. So on. So forth. But what is underneath "I'm nervous" is a whole lot of other stuff. And I need to think about it. And I need to feel it out. I need to run through the full gamut of emotions. I need to plan for every contingency. I need to have all the information at my disposal should I need it. That is to say, when the thing happens, when the shit hits the fan, I want to be prepared for it so I don't freak fucking out.

So, I'm nervous. The real thing that is happening underneath those words today is that I am feeling very strange about life. About living. I've been on this crusade to clean my house and there are some significant mental bits that go with that. I'm purging. I'm casting things off. I'm making room. I'm getting rid of some of this baggage. I'm aware that I'm always one tragedy away from becoming one of those hoarders you see on TV. I have this dream of living in this tiny little house with just a handful of objects that I own out of necessity rather than nostalgia. I think it will free me. All my life I have felt sort of trapped.

So, I'm working on the closet. I'm looking through photo albums. I came across a picture of my son when he was a baby. He was in a lifejacket on a boat and someone was holding him on her lap. And it was me. And I did not recognize myself. I was searching my mind, looking at this face wondering who was holding my baby. And it was me. It suddenly clicked that it was me. So, naturally, I tried to recreate this moment in my brain, but it was lost to me. I don't remember what I was doing on this boat or when it happened or who else was with me. The picture was loose in the back of a photo album filled with unrelated photos. I mean, pictures of Jacob when he was a baby, but none of us in any type of boat or water situation. And you know, it's strange, because I'm realizing that I have only been on a handful of boats in my lifetime and all those memories are accessible to me, it seems. But not that one. So, why?

And so, I'm looking more at these photos and I realize that I don't really remember most of these photos. I mean, I have stories that go with them. I see myself and have snippets in my brain of events that took place. But I do not feel at all connected to those memories or to the pictures. I feel like I'm looking at someone else's life. When the memory plays, I do not feel anything, but I have a cognitive awareness of things. I remember this person or that person. I am aware that they were significant enough in my life to be at my baby shower or my first wedding or at my house or my dinner table. But those people are like ghosts. Like strangers. True, these are people who haven't been in my life for a long time. Twenty or so years most of them. But it's not that. It's that they were always strangers. I was always disconnected from them for the most part. It's like someone else is always living my life. Or, it's like the person who I know as me is never actually living.

That is probably closest to true. There is a big shell of a person that is out there living and dealing with shit and then there's this other person who is really me who is trapped in here. I am never really who I am. It's kind of difficult to explain. A while back someone posted a video and I was in it. I was something like 19 at the time. Again, I didn't recognize myself at first. I knew people who were in the video, but many I did not. It all seemed sort of familiar and had a dreamlike quality to it. And then I caught these glimpses of something I recognized. "Who is that?" I thought. I know that person. It's on the tip of my tongue. I recognize those earrings. Wait, that's me.

But I remember nothing about that day. In fact, there is so much I don't remember about that entire time in my life. And there is so much I don't remember about most of my life. At least, I don't remember it in the same ways as I do other parts of my life. I feel like I have not been a present participant in most of my life. I feel like someone else did that. And I watched. Except that sometimes I didn't and then I just don't remember at all. Once in a while, something will happen and a pleasant memory will be jostled from my childhood. And then very shortly after, a bad one will follow. And so I spend a lot of time trying not to remember anything at all. It's like these good memories are stored in the same place as the bad ones and accessing one disturbs the others nearby.

Or it's sort of like turning the ground to plant a garden and stirring up old weed seeds. Sometimes it's better to just smother the ground with cardboard and start your garden over on top of that. But I can't get over this feeling. This feeling of never feeling like I'm really living. Of feeling like I'm not here for what's actually happening. This feeling of being here but not being here. Being inside my head and away. Being trapped.

In the last few years, I have felt much more like I am myself. I am whoever I am. I am me. It's been a couple of months since I've gotten married and something about that seems to have flipped a switch in me and I feel like a person again. Like I am real. After being hidden away for so long, I am out now. Like the things happening around me every day are actually happening to me. Like they matter. I am feeling and experiencing things. I am here.

But now, I feel like I'm going back there. Away. I'm back to not really hearing what people say. Not really experiencing the things I am doing. Not really being alive. My shell is doing the laundry and cooking and driving my kid to school and arguing about politics and shaking my head at the foolish things that people say. Meanwhile, I sit here waiting to hear if I have a pituitary tumor or cancer in my plasma cells or lupus or a host of other things I can't even pronounce. I'm trying to rewind to the appointment just days ago, where my shell sat and heard my doctor say all these things so that I can access it all. So that I can prepare. So that I can arm myself and protect this other little me that lives inside my head so that hopefully she will be able to come out and live for a little while. But I just hear that my own body is probably attacking itself. And I just think, "No, that can't be happening, because *I* am in here and that is not how it works."

And while the phlebotomist repeatedly poked my arm and hand, slowly extracting the eight vials of blood she needed, I went inside my head to the safest, most real place I could last remember being. To the last place I felt completely and totally alive and myself. And there I was, standing on red rocks in the desert, looking down on the man who would be my husband in just moments. He was taking a picture of me. And when I look at that picture, I see myself. I recognize me. And when I pair it with the memory of him taking it, I am on the other side and I know I was there experiencing it. Living. Being real.

And so, I'm nervous. Because I feel like I'm finally happy now and I'm finally myself and everything is okay and I don't want to go away yet.

But for at least the next 12 days, I realize I am not going to be here. Unless I am *here* instead. That is the funny thing about saying vs. writing and living inside my head vs. living outside it. If I am writing, then I will at least be alive in this space, saying the things I cannot get out of my mouth. That trapped, distant person will have a place to be.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Spring Already?

I used to have my desk in my bedroom. And I worked from home. And I was going to school. And I was homeschooling my kid. It seemed like I spent so much time chained to my desk. When I quit my job to devote more time to family + school, I decided to do away with my desk and just be a nomad with my laptop. I think it's left me feeling a little lost, though. Granted, it did serve its purpose. It broke that habit that I had of checking my email one last time. Just once more. Checking Facebook before bed. Lingering over Jacob's school a little longer than necessary. Reading the discussion boards on Blackboard and delaying my bedtime (and other bedroom activities) over and over again.

I decided though — with a midterm paper bearing down on me, pathfinders to create and CSS to code for my Web class — that I needed my desk back. I needed a place to sit and just hammer it out. Jacob had taken my old one and since has decided that "Megadesk" really just meant another flat surface in his room to gather dust and crap, so he was happy to return a desk to me. He was not, however, thrilled about giving up the Jerker (which is this crazy desk that nerds love from IKEA), so I got his old desk. It's taking up a little corner of the dining room and I'm actually quite liking the arrangement.

This weekend, a sparrow couple built a nest in our pine tree in the front yard. This morning, thanks to the new desk being nicely situated between two windows, I got to see them having a little lovefest on the branch. So, I guess that means this spring we will be hosting a family of sparrows. I need to get some off-the-ground bird feeders so that they don't fall prey to the feral cats. Not that those fatties are too interested in birds, really. I see them messing with snakes, cicadas and grasshoppers here and there, but they leave the birds well enough alone.

I feel very strange about this weather and spring breaking out all over the place. I have been waiting for winter to happen and aside from a few cold days and one day of sleet, nothing has really happened. Now everything is in bloom. My pear tree, sages, rosemary, phlox and whatever that thing is in the side yard are going crazy. Echinacea is putting leaves out all over the place. Onions have some buds shooting up. The chocolate mint is coming back with a vengeance and the succulents are going wild with new growth. Pine trees have yellow bundles ready to explode.

I have a bad feeling about it all. I fear that lots of bugs and pollen (and other allergical things) and sweltering temperatures are just around the corner. How mild has this winter been? I cut down the stalks of my pepper plants a month or so ago, thinking that they were all dead, of course and wanting to get that space ready for something else. Now, I have a new poblano pepper plant growing from the stalks, straight out of the ground. Not kidding. Pretty freaky.

On that note, I've decided that I am not growing any veggies this summer. I'm going to be too busy and if this summer is like last, then screw it. I'm done with that. I am going to grow some herbs in pots, though. I can't do without fresh herbs. Especially basil.

In other news, I'm toying with the thought of eating more raw foods. I never thought I'd say that. Maybe it's because summer will be here soon with its bounty of handheld, grab-and-go foods or maybe it's just because I'm sick of cooking right now with school and all. It may be because I had two severe reactions to coconut this last week, both requiring massive amounts of Benadryl and albuterol and one almost requiring the epi-pen. It's had me freaked out about food quite a bit and I'm finding myself drawn to known foods and single ingredient items only. I think I'm going to buy myself a Vitamix for graduation.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

80 Pounds of Sugar

I'm angry at sugar right now. I make all these changes to my diet and lose all this weight and now sugar wants to hold me up. I got a kitchen scale for Christmas. Today, I decided to weigh the sugar that goes into my two cups of daily coffee.

110 grams. Yeah, I like it sweet. Plus I think that I've been getting desensitized to sugar or something.

So, that's about 80 pounds a year of sugar that I eat. And that's not counting what goes into things like my muffins and whatnot. That 80 pounds translates roughly into 105,000 calories. And it equals about 30 pounds of fat lingering on my thighs, butt, gut and arms if you consider a pound is worth 3,500 calories. And I wonder why these last 30 pounds are such a total bitch to get off. Lay off the sugar, superchunk.

I could at least be having some healthy calories, no? Sugar. Screw that stuff. I don't need it.

And, of course, that brings me to the slavery that is coffee. I keep having this battle. I get off it. I get back on it. Back and forth. I always feel better when I'm off of it, but I love the taste so much. The smell of it is so tempting, so hard to resist. And getting off it always makes me such a wreck. The migraines. The fog. The total lack of clarity for several weeks (yet it feels like eternity.) Right now, I'm longing to go off it again, but I have a statistics exam and several papers to write soon. So, I'm inclined to put it off.

But I should just get off it. It only takes those two cups to completely screw up my sleep, too. Just one little cup in the afternoon, and I will toss and turn in bed until 7am. Two cups early in the morning and I'm up until at least 3am unless my evening reading is very technical.

When I was younger I thought I had an insomnia problem, but I didn't at all. I was delusional. It was clearly a coffee problem.

And just think of how sweet everything tastes once I get off all the sugar. Every time I go off the coffee, a few weeks later I'm eating a piece of fruit and I'm practically writhing on the floor and moaning in ecstasy.

I'm talking myself into it here.

Okay. Fine. Tea. Two cups of tea for a week. Then one cup for a week. Then none except green since I like that without sugar and it's so low in caffeine. That's my final answer and I'm sticking to it.

Damn you, sugar.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Librarian at Play

My lover gave me an early Christmas present. Something he picked up for a penny. The Librarian at Play. A book by Edmund Lester Pearson, printed in 1911. It made me cry. It's such a quirky little thing. I'm almost as fascinated by the cataloging details as I am the actual content. The binding. The repairs. (It was an old library book at S.U.N.Y. Geneseo.)

The index is the most amusing thing. I have the second edition. Here's what it says:

"Since the publication of the first edition of this book two or three readers have pointed out that it needs an index. By the addition of an index, they say, its value as a work of reference would become almost wholly negligible. Impressed by the force of their remarks, I employed expert aid, and the index now printed at the end of the volume is the result. It was prepared by Miss Narcissa Bloom, an honor graduate of the Philander Library School, and it may therefore be relied upon as the flower of modern library science."

Then, here are some of the best entries from the index. My favorite entries are those for genealogists.

Ancestor Worship, see Genealogists. 

Animals, library classification of, impossible, 170. 

Authors, Young, hectic vanity of, 8. 

Children's Librarian, nefarious plot against a, 141. 

Extra-illustrators, see Snippers. 

Feet, Pigs', not in public library, 85. 

Flippancy of librarian, deplored, 300. 

Goat, Wild, see Wild Goat. 

Gray Hairs, cause of, to librarians, see Genealogists. 

Highball, Scotch, as a life-saver, 36. 

Librarian, see also Children's Librarian. 

Misers, clinking habits of, 58. 

Nuisances, see Genealogists. 

Pests, see Genealogists. 

Scotch Highball, see Highball, Scotch. 

Telephones, slowness of, when librarian is waiting in rain, 29. 

Thorns in the Flesh, see Genealogists. 

Wild Goat, see Goat, Wild.

From 1906 to 1920, this author wrote a column called "The Librarian" for the Boston Evening Transcript, a newspaper that died in 1941. Ahead of its time in that way, I suppose, given the current climate for newspapers. (It was ahead of its time in other ways, though. It was the first major American daily to have a female editor in 1842.) I want to go find these columns and read them all now.

I've had to use the OED twice now to look up words and in one case was almost stumped. (You, too, can nerd out with this book. It's really quite humorous. Library stories.)

Anyway, I didn't know about cutting pages. What did that mean? From the book:

"As there were no gauges on the books about the Flemish Renaissance, I had no data to go on, except the fact that although she declared she had 'skimmed through' them all and found them 'very helpful,' she had not, so far, cut any of the pages. I did not mention this to her, as she might have retorted that we ought to have cut them ourselves. Which was quite true."

And it led me to this equally nerdy bit and subsequently here. Interesting to both of us, probably. I guess I'd assumed that cutting somehow meant making a copy of something and I was trying to conjure up what type of technology might be used to do that in 1911. But, no. It's referring to the unbound edges of a book not being cut open yet. How do these things get past me?

I guess I should have just asked him about it. Funny. And all this for a penny.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Oh Lordy. I'm 40.

Allergies. Today? Really? This is not the day. I am so behind on everything and have a paper to do. I do not have time to be this way nor can I function if I'm drugged. "Claritin clear" my ass.

Anyway... Today feels like a new day for some reason. I can't put my finger on it, but I feel optimistic and everything has this shiny quality to it. I haven't been drinking this morning, so I can only assume that this is coming from inside. I did turn 40 this weekend, so maybe that has something to do with it. Is it that? Is this what happens when you reach the top of the hill? Is there a shiny new world on the other side?

Maybe it's all the yoga I've been doing.

Maybe it's all the clearing out of clutter and junk that I've been doing.

Maybe it's that I can finally feel that this whole school thing is real and it is, indeed, about to be ending. At least the first stage.

Maybe I'm just in a post-laundry folding state of euphoria.

I wish that whatever it is that's making this morning seem like the best, most cracktastic morning ever (allergies aside) would also somehow affect the fingernail picking that I've been engaging in lately. Most of my digits are pretty much down to bloody stumps. If everything is so great, then why so nervous? Why so much anxiety? Why so fidgety?

I guess I'm just realizing that it's all going to be fine. There were times in my life when I was sure I wouldn't make it to 40. Many times and starting very early in life. Probably before most people even know there is a beginning or end to life I was either wishing for my end to come or constantly thinking it was about to. But here I am. So far away from all those moments. The further away I am, the better it feels. Time and distance really do a pretty good job of healing.

You know, I think part of my feeling today is that maybe I've just sort of given up a little bit. Given in. There's a lot of stuff that's up in the air right now and it's kind of been making me crazy. I think maybe this morning when I woke up, I just thought, "Screw it. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen." Maybe that's where this peace is coming from. It's silly of me to spend so much time thinking about things that may not ever come and that I mostly don't control anyway.

Relax woman. Just enjoy the peaceful damn morning. You're 40. You're at the top of the hill and you can finally survey your kingdom. Enjoy the view. Quit overthinking it.

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