Monthly Archives: April 2011

Lady bits talk

I have never wanted my period to come so badly.

Never had a real pregnancy scare, had lots of painful cramps, so it wasn’t something I ever hoped for.

Now I want it to come to show my hormones are balancing and normal and my body is cycling as it should without hormones telling it what to do.

Pretty please, body? Put me in excruciating, doubled-over pain soon?

Love, me.

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Sleep Deprived (AKA So Effing Tired)

I.

Am.

Exhausted.

I was going to bold one of those words, but I’m too tired.

It has been weeks since I slept well. Since I slept through the night. Since I didn’t have stress dreams/nightmares.

My insomnia has kicked in with a passion.

I cannot fall asleep. No matter what hour I go to bed or how exhausted I am when my head hits the pillow, I spend the next 1-3 hours lying wide awake with my eyes shut, trying to relax enough to let some peace in.

I cannot stay asleep. I have woken up several hours before I needed to every. Single. Morning.

My CFS is not caused by my insomnia, but it sure can be made worse by it. And, unrelated to any of that, I need an abnormal amount of sleep just to stay normal. About 10 hours a night. Ridiculous. Unreasonable. Which is why I am often low-level tired. But that is my base level that is really required for functioning. I can do 9 sometimes, but I’ll pay for it.

So let’s look at last night, just as a typical example.

Fall asleep around 12:30AM.

Wake up from nightmares at 6AM.

In case you’re a bit fuzzy on math, that’s 5.5 hours of (nightmare-riddled) sleep.

And in case that fuzziness extends, 5.5 < 10. Also, 5.5 < 9.

Yeah.

That.

For 2+ weeks.

So.

Effing.

Tired.

I’m hoping it’s hormones. And that as my body regulates to being off the pill (pleaseohpleaseohplease) this will go away.

Soon.

Really, really soon.

So tired of living in a fog and being unable to do the one thing that would help: sleep.

So tired of the bitchy, short-tempered person I become on this cocktail of minimal sleep + wonky hormones.

Just so tired.

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How to bring in light (literally!)

I have always been averse to cleaning. It has to do with growing up with an obsessive-compulsive neat freak for a father, who was very unclear but demanding in his regular directives to clean. So as soon as I got my own space, I basically went, “I don’t have to clean any more, nanner-nanner-boo-boo!” while sticking out my tongue and waggling my fingers on my nose. Which sure showed him! Especially since I get annoyed by a messy house (to an extent. Lived in = OK, tornado hit = not).

Yeah. It’s working well for me. Not.

Recently a combination of more energy, more time, and more determination has hit, and I have spent at least 20 minutes every day picking up and cleaning my house. It feels good. It’s starting (slowly) to look better. I’m making headway.

Which means, as I start to care about my house looking good, and as the sun starts to schizophrenically show it’s face, that I am becoming aware of how very, very dark my house is.

Dark = dreary = things don’t look good, even if they are clean.

I live in a duplex. The entire front of my (half of) the house is a garage. Which means that 2 of the 4 walls of my house have no windows. At all. (We’re only talking downstairs, here. Upstairs is small and fine.)

My living room is pretty good, because it’s at the back of my house. A big window in the big wall, two smaller windows in the little wall. It’s pretty light in there.

But as you move back things get worse quickly.

The dining area is fine. Sliding glass door and a small window light it up OK, though it’s still kind of dark. just from how it’s tucked in.

Move back farther and hit the kitchen. With one little window and lots of dark (beautiful, but dark) cabinets. And lots of shade thrown from the hallway running past these two rooms and the staircase. It gets some residual light from the living room, but not much. And that hallway sucks all the light it can out, you can feel the shadows pressing in.

It just feels so enclosed and dark and depressing in there.

But what I hate most, so very, very much, is my entryway. The first impression people have of my home. It is in a little nook, surrounded almost completely by 4 walls. There is one opening to the hallway (which has no windows and is pretty blocked off from any). There is one opening to the utility area (part of the garage that was finished so we now have half a garage in depth, aka NO windows and totally dark). And there is a teeny-tiny maybe 8″ wide window by the front door.

It feels like a freaking cave.

There are lights I can turn on. They do an OK job lighting things up, but it still feels so dark and like the light has to really work to hit everywhere.

Short of adding windows or skylights, does anyone have home decorating tips about how to light up your space? I’d love for things to feel like the light was really flowing in, rather than feeling depressed every time I step into my house and am surrounded by the dark.

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Different types of smarts

There are many different kinds of smarts. Some people are good at art. Some people are physically brilliant (aka athletes).

I am a very intelligent person. Not to brag. Seriously. I think well. I am very good at reasoning. Figuring things out. That is how I am smart. It has served me well, first in school and now in the real world.

I am not, however, a good memorizer. At. All. I don’t remember facts.

Little things. Like, you know, names. Pssssssh, details.

Or dates. Or titles. Or trivia. Or countries. Or states.

Or math facts.

Even at my engineering job, basic, rote calculations that we did all the time I often didn’t remember. Others would go, oh, it’s another x problem, and just do it. I would go, oh, it’s another x problem, flip to the right spot in the book, and then just do it. It sometimes annoyed my superiors because pages of basic calculations took longer than they maybe should have, because I’d have to look steps up instead of having them memorized. But on the other hand, give me something new I’d never seen, and I’d pick it up much faster than normal.

But yeah, those math facts? Equations? Processes? Definitely don’t necessarily stay right at the front of my brain. Unless I’ve done them, by hand, a lot.

I was reminded of this today at work. I was doing homework help at the tutoring center, bouncing between three girls at vastly different levels of math.

The lowest one I was fine with. Basic algebra. I love algebra. I do it for fun. It’s all figuring stuff out.

The second one was doing something I had never seen. To a tutor who works on memorization of math facts, that would have been deadly. If they couldn’t recall it (because they’d never seen it), the wouldn’t have had much recourse except to try to teach themself the technique, which could have been a slow process. I, however, just grabbed the students’ book, flipped back, and less than a minute later returned it to her knowing how to do her homework well enough to explain different problems in detail. For that kind of student, my kind of thinking is great.

The third one was preparing for an IB test. Which means a large chunk of fairly advanced math. We were doing complex probabilities, statistics, differential calculus, integral calculus, and a bunch of other stuff I can’t even remember.

And every question was on a different topic.

Most of the topics I couldn’t just pull up the answer. Some of them I hadn’t seen in 6 years. Even those I’d seen more recently….I just don’t memorize that stuff. I look it up quickly and I’m good to go.

But when every 5 minutes it’s a new problem in a new branch of mathematics…well…that minute to look it up and refresh how to do it sure adds up.

I may be smart in my own way. But I’ll admit that today I was a wee bit jealous of people would can just remember their shit!

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Summer Pasta Salad

It’s not summer yet, but yesterday we got some actual sun! It was gorgeous! And while meeting with a client in their yard, I was warm. Aaaaaaaaaah.

So with that warmth, I decided to bring out my summery pasta salad for dinner.

I was so excited for it I forgot to take pictures, like I did with my delicious enchiladas, but luckily, given my laziness, this is a simple recipe.

Ingredients

  • (1) 14-16 oz package of whole wheat corkscrew pasta
  • ~1/2 pound of salami (cut in 2 or 3 thick slices)
  • ~1/2 pound of pepperoni (cut in 2 or 3 thick slices)
  • ~1/2 an onion
  • (1 or 2) 14 oz package(s) of blue cheese crumbles
  • caesar dressing (to taste)

1) Cook pasta to desired level of doneness and drain.

2) Chop onion into small pieces. Chop salami and pepperoni into small-ish (~1/4″) cubes.

3) Mix pasta, salami, pepperoni, onion, and blue cheese in a large mixing bowl. Add caesar dressing and mix until entire salad is coated.

4) There is no 4. That’s it. Enjoy!

This is such a cool, refreshing salad. If you’re not a big onion fan, the saleslady today suggested adding grapes instead, which I think also sounds quite good! If you try it, let me know what you think.

And hey, it may not be the healthiest of meals, but it’s better than lots!

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That’s What She Said Addendum

Well wouldn’t ya know, I forgot a piece I wanted to put in my That’s What She Said post. I knew I was forgetting something, but it was late and I was tired (much like now). So without further ado:

Faithless

This is a great, great piece about raising a child in America when you are not Christian. Christianity is everywhere. Seriously. I had no idea how ubiquitous it was until I was no longer Christian. I didn’t get why people got upset about it until I stopped being Christian. And then I saw how omnipresent it was. Wow.

Stacey at Is There Any Mommy Out There? is Jewish, and wrote about a big message her child learned at his Christian kindergarten.

“Mrs. S. believes that.” He pouts, shaken and teary-eyed, because his idolized teacher has told him that there are two options, to believe or not to believe, and she has made it clear, with her body language and her voice and her word choice that “to believe” is good and right and “not to believe” is wrong.

“You should believe,” he tells me and my heart stops and I know. I know I have made a mistake. I did not expect Kindergarten theology to go beyond kindness and acceptance, but it has.  Somewhere in there between the love everlasting and the do onto others, the real message has come home. The shadow of John 3:16.

It is so hard to pull a quote from this piece, because I want to quote every paragraph. The whole thing is chilling and beautifully done. Her story, the way it unfolds, the language she uses, is stunning.

“Garrett,” I say to him softly, for the hundredth or so time. “There are many ways to believe about the force we call god.  There are unlimited ways to god, as many ways as there are people on the planet, past, present and future, as many ways as there are flower petals, as many ways as there are thoughts.”

And I can see myself in her words. I can see this happening to me, if I just send my child to get first communion to keep the grandparents happy. Or send them to a good after-school program or camp that just happens to be Christian. And I don’t want that.

It is a great reminder. And it is a great call-to-action to all parents to remember to teach their children what is most important to them.

So yes, it matters. It matters to me and I am his mother.  I will consider it a colossal failure of my parenting – laughably beyond whether or not they read at an appropriate level as they enter elementary school – if I raise adults that believe that there is only one path to god or one definition of god or such a thing as a god who cares what path we take to empathy and goodness, kindness and light.

Go. Read the whole thing through. It is hauntingly beautiful.

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That’s What She Said: Parenting Edition

I’ve been finding a lot of really cool articles tonight, and catching up on others I had put off. So I’m going to put a bunch of them together and call it a post.

(Oh, and I, unfortunately, cannot take credit for the “That’s what she said” reference. I totally stole it from Kristen, author of one of my favorite blogs, Rage Against the Minivan. Go check her out, too!)

Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldeman on mentally ill parents

This is a great piece on raising children while one parent has a chronic mental illness. I love their open approach. To my mind, nothing makes something taboo like refusing to discuss it, be it race, adoption or mental illness.

Chabon and Waldeman try to treat her mental illness like any illness: something the family deals with together, without shame or guilt.

It’s a simple little piece, but I also love one of the comments:

I think there are generally different attitudes about mental vs. physical illness, though. Women with chronic illnesses that impact daily life (diabetes, MS, cancer, mobility impairments) are often encouraged and supported to have children – whereas women with mental illness are met with reactions such as “you are damaging your kids!” No one has ever told me I’m damaging my kids by forcing them to have a mom with juvenile diabetes – but they have told my bipolar friend the same thing. Yet, my diabetes makes me unavailable to care for my children at times, leads me to inexplicable (to them) tears on occasion, and can even be dangerous if I don’t manage it. Yet people have castigated her for doing the same things they praise me for. To me, this is one of the best examples of how mental illness is stigmatized. If you want to say that only the supremely fit should parent – I’m actually fine with your making that argument. But you damned well better include me in it, and not only my friend – we’re neither of us supremely fit, and so you should either exclude us both on that ground, or ntiehr.

Amen, sister.

Molehill Meet The Mountain Makers

This post by Naptime  Writing, another blogger I love to follow, so very well sums up my feelings on the whole J. Crew toenail story. And the links! Oh, the links in this article are FABULOUS. Click them all. Especially The Daily Show one, because you know how I love The Daily Show. And the one behind “arbitrary as gender clothing rules,” which brings you to a story referencing this picture:

of…any guesses? Anyone? Very famous historical figure? That, my dear friends, is a photo of FDR at age 2 1/2.

Yeah…pretty sure he wasn’t gay.

(And pretty sure if he was, IT DOESN’T MATTER).

She writes gems like this:

Regular readers know my 5 year old paints his nails with his Dad every weekend. They vary color, they vary number of nails painted. But generally, Peanut paints all twenty digits and Spouse paints twelve (all toes plus thumbs). You also know I think this is a delightful bit of bonding that teaches both of them to do what they enjoy rather than what they’re supposed to do. Because there are enough supposed tos in life, it’s never too young to learn to ignore the lame rules.

And most rules are lame.

Love it.

Oh, and click on the link in that paragraph, too. It takes you to her previous post about her son painting nails with his father, and how that is just. fine. And how toddlers? Like fun things.

My parents gave me a dump truck when I was in the hospital at age 2, and the nurses thought we were from some cult. I liked freaking trucks, y’all. And I didn’t turn out anything except open minded. All toddlers like trucks and trains and bugs and dolls, so why do we have to be wiping half of that off the map-o’-funness for them based on their plumbing?

I’ll stop quoting her, now, just go read the whole things. Or both of them. And all the links. It’s OK, I’ll wait.

Parents, don’t dress your girls like tramps

Love this article. It’s not as controversial as the other two. Or at least, I hope it isn’t. It starts out like this:

I saw someone at the airport the other day who really caught my eye.

Her beautiful, long blond hair was braided back a la Bo Derek in the movie “10” (or for the younger set, Christina Aguilera during her “Xtina” phase). Her lips were pink and shiny from the gloss, and her earrings dangled playfully from her lobes.

You can tell she had been vacationing somewhere warm, because you could see her deep tan around her midriff thanks to the halter top and the tight sweatpants that rested just a little low on her waist. The icing on the cake? The word “Juicy” was written on her backside.

Yeah, that 8-year-old girl was something to see alright. …

*facepalm*

He brings up great points about how we can get mad at manufacturers for making such products…but they wouldn’t make them if there wasn’t a market, so the buck should really stop with the parents who create the demand for, oh, say, padded bikini tops for kindergarteners. *shudder*

And finally, let’s end with some completely non-parenting nerdy goodness in honor of the release of Portal 2 today. :

It’s 53 seconds long. Enjoy!

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