Monday, May 13, 2013

You should check this out

I would love for you to go to Hyperbole and a Half and read her second post on depression (the first one is amazing, as well). If you've never experienced depression (lucky you!), it nails it. If you have experienced depression, you'll be all "OMG YEEEEEEEEES. SHE GETS IT. THIS WOMAN IS MY SOUL SISTER AND WE NEEDS TO BE BFFs". Also, when I was reading the second post, I cried when I saw this illustration:

Been here, my friends. Been here and have the sweatshirt to prove it.
I own that sweatshirt, I wore it all winter, and it smelled bad and was stained and I would wallow in it and be all "this sweatshirt is like my life. Old, stained and smelly and worthless." So go now, read the posts. Experience feelings.

Her entire site is amazing, so browse and laugh.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Star Wars GIF party!

I love Star Wars. Some salty language in some of these...but they're so funny it's forgivable, I think:

This one fills me with such unspeakable joy. 
I live this every time I get in the car with my son. I've never said this particular phrase to him, but I understand why it would be said. Source

Wheeeeee! Source
Also unspeakable joy for this one. Source
People are so clever.
May the 4th be with you!

Friday, April 26, 2013

A letter to Bella, gif party style: Haters gonna hate

My sweet, sweet Bella,

Right now, you're struggling a bit with how others perceive you. I blathered at you at length in the car on the way to school this morning; you indulged me and gave the appearance of listening, even if you weren't, for which your old mom is grateful. I'm not entirely certain what I said sunk in, though, so I wanted to write you this letter. Also, I am going to intersperse my advice with Community gifs, because you love Community just like I do, because we are TOTALLY AWESOME, like this Troy gif:

Sometimes, people just suck. Sometimes, those people are people who are close to you, people that you look up to and love and admire. And that's hard to deal with, baby, really hard.


I love you, just the way you are. Now, keep in mind that, being loved just the way you are is not a license to not change, to not learn and grow. "Mom says I'm fine the way I am, so why should I study for that science test" is not a valid excuse for blowing stuff off.

I love you no matter what, but I do expect you to try.

You are not perfect, my love. But neither am I - neither are any of us - so no one is asking you to be perfect. Chin up, my love!

Not a gif, but still funny
I think you are an AMAZING child. You astonish me every day with your goodness, your kindness, your sweet, loving heart. You are smart, funny, charmingly weird, and one of the best things that has ever happened to me in my life. I don't know I got lucky enough to be your mom, but I thank God for you every day.

This is how I feel about being your mom.

There are going to be times in your life when  you feel glum, when you feel low and sad and depressed and alone...

But you can always turn to your mom, because girl...

I got this, baby love. Bring it to mom and we'll work it out.

You need to talk? Cry? Scream? Laugh? Need some space? Need some air?

You got it, dollface.
Eventually, you'll feel better. Like this:

You see, sometimes, grown-ups don't like change either. Sometimes we're downright afraid of it. We see circumstances changing, we see people changing, people growing, and it scares us a bit.

It's scary to think of you growing up, of you not needing us as much anymore. And instead of saying a prayer and letting go, sometimes people like to grasp a hold even more tightly. They mean well, and they love you so much. They just don't want to let go. Hopefully, eventually, these people will have a moment of dawning realization:

...and realize that you are the amazing girl you are, with the amazing foundation that you have, and realize that
you got this. So just remember: YOU ARE...

TOTALLY awesome.
So you should just be the amazing you that you are. Feel free to be as weird as you want to be:

Although maybe not this weird.
And remember, you are loved. You are treasured. You are special and sweet and a child of God. We all experience some speed bumps in life every now and then - we all have a lot to learn still, even us grown-ups. We're all just trying to do the best job that we can. You're going to be ok - we're all going to be ok. And that's OK.



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

GIF Party: IT'S FINALLY OVER edition

It's a GIF party: feelings edition, in which I am going to try and express my emotions about my recent situation using only (mostly) Community GIFs, like so: catch up. Custody battle is finally over. It felt like it took forever. It also felt as though I was going totally bonkers. There were many days prior to the completion where I felt like this:

Close to the end of 5 hours of mediation, I felt much like this (not from Community, but PERFECTLY expresses how I was feeling):

Although we were in a first floor conference room, so it might not have been very effective, but it would have gotten me the hell out of there.

However, we successfully mediated our issues and they have been resolved!

Sometimes I feel sad, because I miss my kids TONS when they're gone:

But then I realized I need to...CHANG... point of view.

Not a GIF, so exempt from the Community-mostly rule of this post. Self-congratulatory for my use of Chang, above. 
But a lot of days, I feel like this:

A content and complacent happy, that I sometimes feel the need to exaggerate for the sake of others.

Also, just because I like it, here is Ron Swanson dancing:

This makes me happy. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How to Have a Cold

I am writing this for my daughter, who is currently sick and sniffly with a cold. I believe that this is important information that I should impart to her, so that one day she will be able to capably care for herself or someone else.

I guess the signs of an incoming cold (or sinus or other various and assorted respiratory infections) vary for everyone. Maybe your nose starts running, just a little at first. Your head feels stopped up, maybe your throat starts to get that prickly feeling and you think to yourself, uh-oh. You're in denial. "It's just my allergies." you assure concerned co-workers, who shoot you side eye every time you blow your nose or sneeze. Your nose starts dripping more, and since you are still in cold denial and not yet willing to stuff tissues in every available pocket, you start surreptitiously wiping it on your sleeve, or if you're really desperate, your shirt collar.  The throat tickle worsens and suddenly doing anything other than sitting still and nursing a throat drop causes you to have a coughing fit of epic proportions. The side eye from co-workers continue, as you try to assure them, in between coughing fits, that it's still just allergies.

Then there comes a moment - and again, this is probably different for everyone - in which you are forced to finally admit to yourself, but most definitely not anyone else yet, that this is a cold. For me it's usually a sneeze, a huge sneeze with a lengthy buildup. The kind of sneeze where you sort of involuntarily freeze and contort your face around until you sneeze violently, usually expelling an alarming volume of mucus that you are then forced to wipe somewhere. After this sneeze - and I never know it before, but I always know after - I know.  I know I'm in for at least a few days of moaning, whining couch sleeping, tissue-littered floors and early, clumsy attempts at natural remedies followed by an enthusiastic embracing of modern medicines, as you ditch the Echinacea and Vitamin C for Alkaseltzer cold and Nyquil.

Because justice is so poetic, often times this moment occurs while I'm at work. I sneeze THE sneeze, try and wipe the snot on my office chair or somewhere on my sweater, and then have to decide: do I admit to these good people that I have been lying through my teeth for two days about allergies so that I can leave and go home? Or do I stubbornly cling to the lie and soldier through, germing up my desk, my phone, my pens, my keyboard, until I can stagger out at 4 o'clock and drive home in a haze of sinus pressure? I find it's better to just 'fess up as soon you are willing to admit that this is more than an allergy attack. Just find your boss, and say something charming like, "I really thought this was just allergies, but I just keep feeling worse as the day goes on. I think it might be--" at which point the recipient of this speech interrupts with "Just go home! Go home and feel better." And then they go through all the motions of helping you pack up and gather your things, and as they lead you towards the door, someone else is approaching your workstation wearing a surgical mask and carrying a spray bottle of undiluted alcohol to sanitize your stuff. And their stuff. Because we've all seen those Mythbusters episodes about sneezing.

The next step is incredibly important: if it can at all be avoided, DO NOT GO HOME YET. Even if there are children to be picked up, even if you feel like hell, do not go home without stopping and picking up some essential supplies. Yes, you're tired and you're sick, but the truth of the matter is that if you go home now, you will not feel like going to the store later. I don't care what you tell yourself, you won't do it. And around 10PM, when you're miserable and your nose is completely raw from blowing it on paper towels (or baby wipes, like I did once), you'll wish you had stopped at the store, but now it's too late, and maybe the kids are in bed and also, you don't feel like going. Maybe you'll be lucky and there's someone else who will go for you, but never assume.

These are good, handy items to have around the house all the time, but maybe you've run out of them for some reason. Possibly because I'm not a very good adult, I never think about tissues if I don't actively need them, thus I rarely have tissues in the house. So the following is a list of things to make your cold experience a little better (your list might be different from mine, so feel free to add, but never, ever subtract):

  • Echinacea
  • Vitamin C
  • Hot Steam Vaporizer (you might be tempted to skip this, but don't do it! they have many benefits)
  • Vapo-Oil, or some other product that you can put in your vaporizer
  • Tissues with at the VERY least lotion. Even better with lotion and aloe, and BEST with lotion and Vick's scent
  • Neti Pot (if you're like me and can't take sinus meds, this is a lifesaver!)
  • Neti Pot Saline Packets
  • Convenience Foods
While you are at the store, you should pick out some food items that can be easily cooked and/or eaten. Go ahead and get some soup, but if you want Hot Pockets, get those as well. You will lose your sense of taste fairly soon, so it's not really going to matter. Plan on drinking lots of water, but also grab a special beverage for your sick days. Ginger ale is always good. Get orange juice if you want, but OJ gives me heartburn. Once you have obtained everything on the list, go home. 

1) Put on comfy pajamas. Go with a light weight pajama, because you can always cover up with a blanket if you get cold.

2) Pick your sick spot. Maybe this is your bed, maybe this is the sofa - but decide where you will hold your court of sick. It's usually best if this spot has access to a television and decent natural light for reading. Prepare your sick spot with comfy pillows and your favorite blanket. If you are a responsible person, place a small trash can nearby for litter. If not, throw your litter on the floor - screw it, you're sick. Make sure there is a place to hold a drink. Find books you might want to read and place them nearby. Put your new, soft, vick's scented tissues nearby.

3) Prepare your vaporizer. Instructions will come with it. Don't add too much salt, but be as heavy handed with the Vapo-oil as you would like. I'm not happy until the entire house smells like Vick's. If someone were to approach my home, I want them to be able to smell the Vick's from the porch - sort of an olfactory plague cross. The vaporizer should be close enough to be helpful, but not so close that it steams up your glasses or obstructs your view of the TV.

4) Go into the kitchen (bathroom, back porch, wherever), blow your nose and use your neti pot. Is it gross? Absolutely. Uncomfortable? Yes. Helpful and possibly able to shorten the duration of your cold? Totally worth it, then. Use distilled water so you don't get any weird water bugs in your brain (true story; google it).

5) Take your vitamins. Wash them down with a decent amount of water.

6) Fix yourself some dinner. Maybe you're still willing to go for the soup, but maybe the Hot Pockets are calling your name. Whichever, fix it, eat it. It's probably best to eat it in the kitchen or whatever passes for your dining area - if you bring it to your comfy sick spot, you might be too lazy to remove your dishes and then you'll just feel gross.

7) Lie back and settle in. Shove tissues in your nose, if it feels too drippy. Take off your pants, if that's what feels comfortable. Wallow in your own filth and misery. Think unhappy thoughts. Remark to yourself about how unfair it is to be sick when you have to work the next day. Do the same a couple of days later, when you're complaining about how unfair it is to be sick when you're off the next day.

8) The duration of an illness can be lessened with rest, so rest.

A note about those saints of the sick, caretakers: If you have someone around to help you with things, awesome! Good for you. But be true to your sick self, and considerate for that someone. Are you the kind of person that really just wants to to be alone when you're sick - to sleep sans pants on the sofa with one leg thrown over the back, mouth gaping open and snoring like a chainsaw? Maybe you can excuse that someone from having to be around for that. Different people have different ideas of what taking care of someone else means. For one person it could be leaving soup on the front porch, ringing the doorbell (which is hopefully clouded in vapo-oil haze, if you're doing it right) and running away to their car to avoid your germs. This is acceptable, because who wants to get sick? Other people might think it means sitting with you the whole time. If you're cool with this, it is also acceptable. You should never feel the need to dictate how someone helps you, though. Demanding someone sit with you while you watch TV and hack and sneeze and fart into the couch cushions is never endearing. Accept offers of help graciously, if the help is needed, but don't expose innocent people to your germs because you are feeling lonely and want someone to wash your dishes.

Follow the three day rule. If you're not better in three days, go to the doctor. But do wait the three days, if you can. Use your common sense here. Don't get dehydrated or ignore troublesome symptoms.

And if your old mom is anywhere around, just know that you can call me - day or night, regardless of the hour and how germy you might be, no matter how old you are, and I'll gladly come and take care of you. I'll put a hand on your fevered brow and then make a fuss over you. Feel better, my love. And remember that this, too, shall pass.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Despite all my rage: a GIF party in honor of my inappropriate overreactions to frustrating situations that really aren't that big of a deal

I've been dealing with a lot of crazy emotions lately, due to the whole divorce thing. Sometimes I'm sad, sometimes I'm happy, sometimes I behave like a petulant toddler. I am generally fortunate enough to catch myself being irrational. Sometimes before it happens, but most often when I'm in the throes of some ridiculous rant, or am glaring at the back of a poor, innocent co-worker who is retreating from my desk after either being pointedly ignored OR threatened with bodily harm.

In some ways it's like being pregnant, or constantly having PMS. I take everything SO personally. I was getting ready to leave work the other when my co-worker decided to walk across the street to the post office to drop off some mail. He even took some mail that I had waiting to go out, which, had he not walked it over to the post office, would not have gone out until the next day. This was, in reality, a kind and decent gesture, but to my crazed mind? It was intentional. Intentionally done, to thwart my leaving in a timely manner. EVERYTHING EVERYONE DOES IS ABOUT ME IN SOME WAY, did you not know? I was standing at the glass door, watching his progress as he crossed the street to the mailboxes. "WHY did he go NOW? HE KNEW I had to leave. IT'S LIKE HE DOES THIS ON PURPOSE!" I fumed to myself, even stomping my foot for emphasis once. I was delayed for roughly two minutes by someone who was basically doing me a favor, and I was livid. Ridiculous.

Office supplies also infuriate me.

Other things that have driven me to inappropriate (whatever the word for over the top, not in line with circumstances) rage recently:

Captchas - Oh, these make me angry. I generally find them to be an inconvenience, but I understand their function and therefore am willing to put up with them. However, recently, I have been on the receiving end of some ridiculous captchas. The letters are so squished together and malformed that it just looks like this: "IIIIIIII". I was at my work computer and trying to take care of some personal business online. My boss was working near my desk, so I was hastily trying to wrap up what I was doing but encountered a illegible captcha mine field. I couldn't take the audible hints, because my boss was within earshot, so I just kept having to ask for new captchas, and by the time I finally got one I could make out, I was all like:

My printer at work (I can't even get into it, I'll just have to say it with Disney animation) -

But there are things that make me happy. This is one of them, because 1) I love Ron Swanson, and 2) this episode makes Bella laugh SO HARD that she makes me laugh at her laughing:

And also this one from Parks & Rec, because it makes me laugh every time (he's saying "STOP. POOPING."):

But, sadly, much of the time I am more like this:

But that's ok, because it's a process, right? Right.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Gut Check

It's amazing how the separation/divorce process keeps finding new ways to depress me. It's like any other kind of grief, I suppose, in that it sneaks up on you. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off, you're rolling merrily along, feeling good, thinking "I got this", and all of a sudden, SMACK! Dawning realization, grief, tears, depression, it all rolls back over you. At one low point, I remember sitting on the sofa, enduring random crying jags while watching 30 Rock episodes on Netflix and absentmindedly eating literally half of a cake (it was a small-ish cake, but still: half).

Prior to the separation, I didn't get out much. By that I mean, I did things with the kids, but aside from going to work, never put too much of an effort into getting out without the kids. And then wa-BAM! Separation, and suddenly I find myself with actual kid-free time, two nights a week. I'm not complaining, don't get me wrong, but I just don't know what to do with myself.

At first it was exhilarating, having the house completely to myself. I listened to explicit music at high volume, walked around in the buff, was able to watch R-Rated shows and movies on the actual television (instead of sitting hunched over the computer with headphones). I went to the store by myself, just because I could. I brazenly ate a popsicle while sitting on the couch, and I'll explain to you why this is a big deal: most any mother of small children knows you cannot do this without your child wanting a popsicle, but they don't want the purple one they want the orange one, but then his sister got pink and he thinks that looks good but it's the last pink and HOW I MUST HATE HIM SO MUCH because I deliberately gave his sister the last pink one but wait, there's a red one, I'll take that one but can you open it? Can you wrap a napkin around it? Can you hold it for me? Oh wait, I dropped it on your new rug but that was like 5 minutes ago and I forgot to tell you because I got distracted by cartoons - and THAT is when you resolve to never eat anything in front of your children again.

The first few times the kids were gone I was all "WOOOOO!", but then my first weekend without them  rolled around. And I spent an entire Sunday going completely bonkers, going back and forth between bursts of productivity around the house and watching HBO shows. I would wander into one of the kids' rooms, look around for a few minutes and then suddenly decide to take on some overly ambitious project, like "I'm going to move all the furniture into the center of the room and paint in here!" - and then 20 minutes or so into the job I would come across something that would make me miss the kids so much it was like a physical ache. In Manny's room it was his handy dandy notebook, full of his scribbles, with the crayon taped together. In Bella's room it was her 3rd grade journal that I came across in her books, her sweet musings on some pages, other pages with just half a sentence or one or two words, because she was too busy talking during journal time. So I would sniffle, feel really sorry for myself, then go sit down and watch True Blood (because Alexander Skarsgard is like big viking balm for my troubled soul).

I was used to the companionship of marriage, and even though my husband worked a lot (because of his demanding job, that wasn't a bitter or nasty remark in any way), he was there some of the time. You come to depend on that, not just the person doing things for you but that person simply being there. Sitting up late into the evening watching 'The Office' on Netflix and hear a weird noise in the backyard? Your husband is asleep in the back of the house, and that is comforting. Even if he doesn't want to get up to check on it, there is someone there. There's a huge palmetto bug in the sink, you can ask him to kill it. There's someone there to get you a glass of tea when you're feeling lazy, someone there to physically make the petulant toddler brush his teeth when you're reached your petulant toddler limit for the day, someone there to do all the small things that you can take for granted. One of the things I miss the most that my husband used to do was making certain the trash and recycling got out to the curb for trash day. I'm really bad at doing this in a timely manner - many Tuesday mornings you can find me exploding through the front door carrying my trash and recycling, darting to the cans and throwing them in, and trying to maneuver two 50-gallon cans to the curb at the same time while the garbage truck is mere houses away.

So the reality of being husband-less has been an adjustment. No one to kill the bugs, or make sure the trash gets out to the curb. No one there when there are strange noises in the backyard, or the front yard or anywhere else. No one there to call into the room when Bubba has stacked 8 throw pillows and perched himself precariously atop them. No one to talk to once the kids are in bed. No one to step in and take over when you've reached your saturation point of grumpy preschooler. Its sad and its lonely. But its made me stronger, more independent, and more confident.

I was also used to the companionship of children. Little people to do for, to do things with, a constant hum of activity and conversation. From the moment I got home from work, there was always something to be done. Not just chores, the fun things, too - congratulatory hugs for yet another good behavior happy face for Bubba, laughing at how Bella's playground scrape looks like oddly like Scrooge McDuck. Then you move into other portions of the evening - the doing of homework, and the review of completed homework and tests ("why did you say that the beatitudes are Jesus telling us to have beautiful attitudes?", and so on and so forth), dinner and dishes and playing and walks and baths and bickering. Then bedtime, and you are exhausted and ready for bed yourself, and you putter around the house picking up, straightening and putting things to rights. Then maybe you watch some tv, maybe you read, maybe you mess around online, and then you sleep the sleep of the happily exhausted, knowing that, while you're not the perfect mom or housekeeper, you tried your best.

However, when the kids are gone, there is none of that. There is just deafening silence. I listen to music, I turn on the tv for background noise. I talk to myself, mostly about how disgusting or messy things are (for example, discovering a bowl of leftover spaghetti in the fridge but we haven't eaten spaghetti in a month). I clean and straighten and organize, but not as much as I could or should be. For a change of scenery I sit on the porch and posit theories about my neighbors, wondering why the people with the pool won't invite us to swim, or what exactly the people on the other side are doing with their blacked out back room. Then there's the people who live behind me and their mystery shed. I am fascinated by their shed, and their comings and goings in and out of it. I'm sure it's probably their laundry room, but I imagine maybe it's a meth lab, or it's where they keep their marijuana plants. For some reason I don't read, which is odd because I am usually a voracious reader, and I have the opportunity to read without interruption, but I think reading is just too quiet. It's dangerously close to being left alone with my thoughts (and remember, my thoughts run to meth labs in sheds), which is scary for me.

My first thoughts, when I realized being alone was becoming a problem for me, were that I should make an effort to become a social butterfly. I thought maybe I would find a group hobby of some sort, and start going out with friends more often. Well, the problem with a group hobby is that those things usually scheduled, and our schedule for visitation is rotating weekly (it follows my husband's work schedule. Or, ex. Or, soon to be ex. There needs to be a name for people in this situation), which means my availability literally falls on different days every single week. Ok, strike the group hobby, let's go out with friends! But wait...most of my friends are moms, too, so their availability is scarce. I have married friends who are childless, but again, there are issues of availability and also of compatibility - many of my witty anecdotes are child-based, so if you don't understand the magical rainbow of colors that toddler poop can come in, you might not be amused (not all of my stories are poop based, by the way. But many of them are). People are busy these days! That's not to say that I haven't had success finding people to go out with, or that I'm not enjoying spending time with people. I've reconnected with old friends, gone to parties, had dinners, had drinks. So it's not all bad!

So, when plan 'Social Butterfly' didn't pan out, I reflected some more and realized that I need to learn how to be alone. That might sound simple, as in, just be by yourself and there you go, that's it, but that's not what I mean. I mean that I need to learn to be at peace being alone, to learn that there is no shame in one. To just forge blindly ahead, filling my life with tasks and activities and outings and meetings, would be doing myself no favor. I have to learn to like myself and my own company. And maybe one day, down the road when I'm ready, that will allow me to attract someone who is more likely to enjoy my company as well.

So I'm going to start an experiment of sorts, making myself go outside of my comfort zone in the name of learning to love myself and my own company. This sounds incredibly vapid, I'm certain, or maybe selfish, or self-indulgent. But what I'm trying to say is that I sort of lack a sense of self right now, and I need to re-discover it. I'm not a wife anymore. I'm still a mother, but there are a couple of days a week when the kids aren't there. And I have no idea what to do. I do offer this up to God, and pray regularly. And I've put lots of things in God's hand during this entire process. But God isn't going to come down and, physically and in Person, hang with me when I'm at the beach by myself, so I need to find a way to enjoy it. Know what I mean?

So anyway, maybe I'll post here about my forced alone-ness and what I do. How it feels. And in the meantime, I offer you this sort of silly video with a neat message: