Buying a new car. Since everything in the world costs significantly more this week than it did a year ago, we traded in my Pilot for a Honda CRV.
Our monthly payment is going down more than $100, and our gas usage should decrease significantly. The color is called Royal Blue Pearl, and it is brighter in person than in the photo. I like the color, and it is what they had available, but the name Red Tango Pearl made me smile.
Sweetheart is happy about the amount of room now available in the garage, and so am I. I did have to forego my steering wheel radio controls and my "way back" seating, but it rides nicely, and saving the money makes me smile.
I'm hoping the next car I purchase will be a hybrid.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I went for my first appointment with my new crazy doc yesterday. He had clearly reviewed the notes from his partner who dumped me and moved to Connecticut where Autumn actually exists.
He was one of those people who just exudes smartness. Some people talk smart, and some people just are smart. He had some good ideas about diet, nutrition and yoga which made me very happy. Since I am a nurse, I obviously have faith in western medicine. However, I think we don't know as much as we think we do. He gave me so much information in a short period of time, that I had a hard time processing it, and I was paying attention.
So, I am now taking large amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin e, and drinking whey protein shakes. I will have to wait until August to really start with the yoga, because I am going to be out of town twice in July.
He did also add one more traditional medication to my cocktail. I was afraid he would want to take me off the Effexor (which I have heard is a bitch), but that was not at all in his thinking. He added a small dose of Abilify. I feel like I have graduated, because this is a medication in the category of Major Tranquilizers. That is the category of drugs used to treat schizophrenics. However, the newest ones have been used successfully in very small doses as an adjunct for depression and anxiety.
I would love to go to bed at night without taking a sleeping pill with a small amount of confidence that I might actually sleep through the night. I would love to be able to stop taking my anti anxiety meds on a regular basis. I don't mind being on some meds, I am after all the proud owner of 3 psychiatric diagnoses. Major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and now (due to being the insurance holder for the therapy we are doing with Brownie--and insurance companies require a diagnosis) Adjustment disorder.
I'm really hoping this new approach works, because I'm ready to be less crazy then I am....as long as I don't get to be completely normal, because that would just be wrong.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Brownie has been taking hip hop dance lessons since January, and today was the big recital.
The thing about recitals is that there are a jillion kids and nearly 50 performances, and I only cared about one. The THIRTY-SECOND one. Yes, the kids are cute, yes the costumes are adorable, but how many times can you say "aaaaaw" and how many times can you giggle at the ones who just can't quite get it right?
The little girl sitting next to me was way cute. She was about four years old and started talking to me out of the blue. The show was Sleeping Beauty, and when Malificent made her first appearance, the little girl was quick to assure me that everything would work out okay. A bit later, there was a dance of forest cougars. When the mice came out a few numbers later, she said, "If those cougars come back, those mice are going to get eaten up."
It was two hours into the show before Brownie performed. The number didn't exactly go as planned, but Brownie looked good and was smiling the whole time. We gave her the flowers and lots of hugs. I don't think she will be taking dance again in the fall, but I think it has been a good thing for her.
As a bonus, Blondie came over for the long morning of dress rehearsal. It was nice to have some one on one time with her. She helped me with a craft project and gave me the wonderful compliment, "You should sell this stuff in stores." I don't really believe her, but it was a totally sweet thing to say.
This upcoming week is so busy. I have an appointment with my new shrink on Tuesday. My last one moved away (bitch), and I am seeing a colleague in her office I have yet to meet. It is a male doctor, and I haven't ever gone to a psych person with a Y chromosome before. I hope he has some brilliant ideas that do not involve a horrid withdrawal from Effexor but will help me get rid of the anxiety symptoms I just cannot seem to shake. Wednesday I go to get my first crown seated and get prepped for the second one. I totally dread it, but I know I will be glad when it is done. Then, Sweetheart and I have appointment #2 with the child specialist. I feel good about the progress we made the first session, and I want to keep going. I think it is clear that we will likely be bringing Brownie in herself sooner than later.
Happy week everyone? What does this week have in store for you?
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
...that I am in love with and entertained by my husband.
We purchased a cheaper brand of canned cat food (Aristocats), and Little Miss Sidney turned up her nose at it. Percy and Boris liked it just fine, so I figured she could just get the hell over it, I didn't ever give my animals canned food at all before we moved to Houston.
He went out and purchased a carton of Fancy Feast because, "It isn't fair for her to be left out of the nightly treat time."
He's the nice one in our relationship...in case you hadn't figured it out by now.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Last night Brownie came into the bedroom as I was changing out of work clothes. She asked me to stay in there a minute so she could "talk about puberty."
She proceeded to rail about having to wear a bra, growing hair, wearing deodorant and having acne. However, the WORST thing about puberty (evidently) is the boys. I suppose it has to do with the fact that the girls are starting to like the boys but they don't WANT to like the boys, since (as we all know--boys are stinky).
The conversation meandered a bit to this point. "When we see women with big boobies, we call them Monster Trucks." Okay, kid, whatever you say.
"I bet you can guess what we are talking about when we say Oscar Mayers." Yep, I think my tired brain can even figure that one out. "I don't know why we even talk about weiners." To myself...'talk all you want, just don't you dare even THINK of getting anywhere close to one, okay.'
***Later at bathtime. Brownie says, "Blondie says I have monster trucks!" I replied, "You only have matchbox cars, sweetie." "You mean those little toy cars?" she asked. I replied that yes, those were what I had in mind. She thought a second and decided that matchbox cars were acceptable.
>>>>On a related note, a friend at work reported that her 10 year old son approached her very seriously. "Mom, I was reading about puberty, and I think I have it."
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I managed somehow to find an in network provider that seemed like a good possible fit for us (location and specialty). I called her, and she's on maternity leave. Oh crap, I think, now I have to start the whole search again. However, she had someone covering for her in the same office. Miracle of miracles, she was also on the plan, and she seemed like a reasonable person when we spoke briefly on the phone about what was going on. And, she had an opening tomorrow which we were able to fit into our schedule. I hope this is a good sign of things to come. Sweetheart and I have talked about what our goals are and what we hope to get accomplished. I am very optimistic about things. I know it won't be easy, but I also know that we can make it work.
I was quite amazed by the mound of paperwork that she emailed me to complete prior to the session. It wasn't health history, it was all the stuff she had to tell us to cover her ass. "I understand that there is no guarantee regarding the duration of treatment or that I will benefit from counseling. I understand taht therapy may deal with sensitive or difficult topics and may elicit uncomfortable emotions."
Well, no shit. You mean if I don't work hard/have a good relationship/good fit with the therapist, it might not work?
Therapy isn't EASY? Oh yeah, if it were easy then I wouldn't have to PAY someone to help me deeal with this shit.
Then there were the Office Guidelines (which translate to common sense things but we have to spell it out for the idiots).
Do not allow your children to play in the elevator.
Take your child to the bathroom before the session.
Do not leave your minor child unattended in the waiting room.
We expect ther to be a need for snacks prior to afternoon and evening sessions. For your convenience, we have placed trash cans in each office.
I know that they wrote these because there have been parents who dropped their kids off to walk to the office, played in the elevator, and left trash all over the place, and generally made a nuisance of themselves. Give me a break!
When I first was in therapy about half my life ago, all I did was make an appointment and show up. None of the shit about no promises of success, that it wasn't magical fairy dust, and that I had to behave like a human and not an animal. How weird!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
I honestly do not know how anyone does this job well. There are many roles I think I do acceptably. Nurse, wife, daughter, friend, sister. Generally good person in life. However, I have never been so stymied in all my days as I am now. Stepmother, who the hell manages that one right? If you do, I give you all the accolades I can find.
We knew today might be tough. The girls were just back from a week long camp, and they were exhausted. What we did not know was that the first tantrum would happen within three steps into the house. It involved (of all things) the wrong color pair of flip flops and resulted in meltdown. Screaming in her sister's face, wailing that life wasn NEVER EVER fair, and throwing a water bottle. The last action got her sent to time out upstairs. She hates this. She screams and stomps her way to her room, and then proceeds to tell us how horrible we are. She wants to go back to her mommy's house. We are too mean here. And the kicker, "I want my daddy!" So, daddy goes upstairs to sit outside the door and she engages him by ranting about all the ways life isn't fair to her. He is trying valiantly. Seeing his daughters cry and not scooping them up for a hug earns him mounds of credit. She calms down, and they talk. However, then I want for her to talk to me--since I was the one who sent her upstairs in the first place. She and daddy think they have already talked, but I have such fears of being the bad guy. "I send her upstairs, daddy lets her out" just doesn't work with me. And, since I am such more of a processor than he is, she knows the discussion will include more--and she resists. Then, my dear husband sees the calm beginning to unravel, and he feels desperate. I know he wants me to let it go, but it doesn't feel right to me.
We make an agreement that when she calls for daddy, he can sit outside her room and not engage. When she is actually calm, he will let me know and we can process things together so she doesn't have to to it twice.
When a later incident means she is stomping up the stairs again, we mostly manage to keep to the plan. It seems like it works, but I know my husband's heart is breaking as he sits outside her door listening to her rail against everything in her life. It breaks mine, and I am the firmer of us--by a long shot.
The after talk feels productive, We talk about things she has used before to calm down and agree to make a list to keep upstairs so that she can have some reminders when the times are tough. We talk about how to see the warning signs and change the activity before it gets to that point. We talk about how she is more sensitive to begin with and now is fighting those rotten hormones. We give her credit that both things make it harder, but that she has to behave appropriately no matter what garbage is rolling around her bloodstream. I know puberty at this age is not unusual, but it would be nice to get a bit more life under her belt before she has to deal with it.
Hubby and I agree to make an appointment with a counselor. First for us, then for Brownie if it seems appropriate. I know we could be more supportive of each other in the moment, but it is so very hard. I hate to see him struggle when she goes upstairs. I hate to find him with his head under the pillow trying to block out her screaming. I know that even when I'm getting frustrated with him--he is trying his best. And so am I.
Send answers and alcohol.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Yesterday, my father told me he had sent me a package I needed to sign for because he had insured it. I reminded him that he shouldn't have sent me anything that needed insurance. He blew me off like he does about things like that. I told him I would be home after 3, and that if they had tried to deliver it earlier, I would pick it up today. He left me two voice mails and we had a conversation aroun 5:30 in chich he said he was having "angst" over the fact it had not arrived. At this point, I said to Sweetheart that it must have been something sentimental for him to be so upset. He couldn't find the tracking number, the store he mailed from was closed, and the website couldn't help him without the tracking number. As we headed out through the garage, I went to check one more time to see if a note had blown off or maybe they had come during the 20 minutes I was in the tub. I notice a very slight bulge under the door mat. It is the package--with the "signature required" sticker proudly displayed. Poppa was happy to hear that it had arrived. Turns out he was "going through some things" and found his mother's wedding band in a box and decided that it would be better served sent to me. My fingers are definitely larger than hers were, but I am happy to have it.
Then, we went to eat. A thinking blogger would have taken her camera, but it I had I would have embarrassed my husband so maybe that's for the best.
We went to a restaurant named t'afia that focuses on using local foods. I splurged and got the five course tasting special which was awesome. I meant to ask for a menu, but forgot after two drinks over my usual. Here's what I remember (but with much less foodie phrasing)
Course 1 Crackers with baked brie and quince paste
Course 2 Peach and tomato gazpacho
Course 3 Mushrooms in a kind of wonton-ish roll (see what I mean about non foodie phrasing?) with radishes, smoked salmon, and a creamy, yummy sauce
Course 4 Shrimp (that were not shrimpy) rolled in poblano peppers, and the best pieces of dead pig (bacon) I may have ever eaten. There was a cold side dish of avocado and citrus fruit in a spicy tomato based dressing.
At this point the chef who Sweetheart knows came by the table. We raved about the food and she asked what we wanted for dessert. I was getting my scheduled 5th course, and he was having creme brulee. She decided that we needed some bonuses, so....
Course 5 My carrot and squash cake with creme fraich and the best blueberries ever. His creme brulee. Huge bread pudding with chocolate and decadence. Bowl of bittersweet chocolate truffles. Bowl of dates with marscapone and pistachioes.
I don't always eat healthy, but I rarely eat until I cause myself discomfort that follows me all the way home and makes me curl up and groan.
They also feature lots of Texas wines, and had some great cocktails.
I had a Bojito which was made with blood orange vodka. There were also wines infused with local fruits which we samples all of between the two of us. (I am not an English major. I know that sentence isn't right, but I don't care.)
We had reservations at 6:30 which I told my husband was the equivalent of eating at Picadilly at 4:30 for dinner when you are REALLY old.
The space was small with exposed ducts and beams. It was decorated art deco style, but the chairs were still comfortable.
This would have been way better with a photo of every course, but hubby might have been irritated--even with the extra leeway one is given on "the anniversary of the arrival of my pointy headed child" as my father calls my birthday.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Today I am 43 years old. I know that 40 is the new black and all, but I am as old as I have ever been.
Sweetheart is taking me out for dinner to a restaurant we have both been wanting to try. Then I will come home and go to sleep by 10 oclock since I'm due back at work at 6AM and I hate me some mornings.
I am old.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I love and hate cats. I brought this poor one eyed, three pawed ceramic cat (with sentimental value) into the den last week. I failed to capture the photograph or the Gray Baby Boris biting its ear and "rabbit kicking" it with his back legs, but I saw it happen. The next day the stuffed fox was with the cat. Perhaps Boris thought the fox would help him defeat the fake cat? Or the fox was another conquest as Boris thought the cat had been conquered? I was a bit more confused when I arrived home from work today and found the heart shaped plastic slinky added to the mix? Any theories?
At least they do cute things like sit in the window together.....
Or sit in the giant mixing bowl which is my most favorite inheritance from my stepmother. You can make three pound cakes at one time in that sucker!
Or just sun themselves on the rug (which I know is dirty--I mean we have all these freaking cats, what do you expect?)
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
I may be the only person in the world who has no idea what follows that quote in the movie. I'm okay with that.
The twins left Sunday for camp. An overnight camp from which they return on Friday. I am pleasantly surprised they have made it two nights without any phone calls home. To the best of my knowledge, they have spent the night away from parents and grandparents exactly once. That was for a birthday at the home of the girl who had lived across the street for a very long time. When we first started talking about going to Atlanta for the wedding, they were very worried about staying in a hotel. They are not terribly gung ho about trying new things, so when I heard about 5 nights at sleepaway camp I wondered. I figure that no news is good news.
The city of Atlanta had some fairly decent camps for kids in the summer. I know they had to be reasonably priced, because we didn't have any "extra" money. First there was day camp in the recreation center for mostly games and crafts. Then you moved on to day camp in the "woods." Finally, you graduated to a Monday through Friday sleep in cabins type camp.
One summer, I got off the bus returning from camp with tears streaming down my face. Mother later told me she thought it was because I was so glad to see her. It was actually because I was so upset it was over. Then, Mother did one of the coolest things she ever did. She and my best friend's mom arranged for Terri and I to return to camp the following week. Of course, the second week didn't have the same magic that the first week did, but it was still a very cool thing to do.
Did you go to camp as a kid? Are your kids going to camp this summer?
Monday, June 9, 2008
Blame this rant/stream of consciousness on Ms. Pants. I mean that in a good way. There has been some discussion about weight, plus size clothes, prejudice against fat people, etc. Rather than dumping my brain in her comments, I thought I'd do it here. One commenter said something to the effect that "we shouldn't make it easier for fat people."
I was one of thos really "hateable" skinny people when I was in my teens and twenties. I didn't exercise, I ate whatever-the-fuck I wanted, and I was small. I remember shopping for clothes at that time in my life. It was as simple as finding something I liked, could afford, and that was in stock in my (small) size. I did not have to make sure that my stomach that gains weight like a man was hidden. I never had to be certain that the fat part of my thighs wasn't blobbing out around my underpants. I never had to buy "smoosh it all in" undergarments. Shopping was easy. I used to like having my picture taken. I could smile, act goofy, do whatever when it was taken. I didn't have to worry about the angle of my body. I didn't think at all about how many chins might show up in any given pose. Anyone who thinks that things are "easy" for fat people is wrong.
I think it is an accurate self assessment to say that I didn't make myself fat. I turned 30, I turned 40, I quit smoking. I did not start eating donuts by the dozens, whole pizzas, or ice cream by the gallon. I don't think my eating/exercising habits changed very much at all. I found myself gaining weight, and did not get a handle on it fast enough. I do not blame anyone except myself for my weight, but I also do not pile barrels of guilt upon myself either. I don't like my weight, but I still like myself.
I worry about the effect my weight has on my stepdaughters. I worry about the effect society has on my stepdaughters. I don't know what the solution is, but I do know that it isn't simple. I also know that skinny people blaming fat people and fat people hating skinny people isn't it.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Chicka made me do this. I'm not making anyone, but I thought it was fun.
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.
1. Margaret's green glass mosaic gazing ball-- bowling in the garden, 2. Harlequin shrimp, 3. Chicago Skyline, 4. purple haze, 5. Ba Da Ba BAAAA, Ba Da BAAA, 6. Mojito, 7. Dove osano le Oche, 8. Raspberry & Lemon Mousse, 9. Sunset Dandelion, 10. Racoon Family, 11. Jumping into the new dimension (DSC_4769), 12. Sophie the Gnome
The harlequin shrimp and Sophie the Gnome were my most favorites.
Let me know if you do this where you hang out, okay?
Friday, June 6, 2008
I don't often dole out advice. I am full of opinions, but I also think it is every adult's inalienable right to ignore advice--particularly the unsolicited kind. However, I wish I had known this many moons and now many dollars ago.
Evidently, I clinch my teeth on a regular basis. My dentist called me a "grinder," but I do not think this is accurate. I am well aware that when I am stressed (which is far too often--remember, I earned an anxiety disorder diagnosis this year--go me!), my jaw is in a firmly clinched position.
As a result of the grinding or clinching (Sweetheart supports me in denying ever having heard me grind my teeth at night), my teeth are royally fucked.
I have managed to crack three of my four bottom molars due to the pressure on the teeth. Evidently, the previous fillings only serve as a wedge to make the teeth cracking more efficient. I was prepped for the first molar on Tuesday. I will have the crown seated in 2 weeks and on that day be prepped for the second crown. The third one is not as bad so my poor mouth (and poorer wallet) can wait a bit to fix that one. I will be fitted for a night guard to prevent grinding. I have been advised to wear it during the day during stressful times. It should be interesting to talk to my manager wearing a mouth guard. :-)
Anyway, I knew about the clinching a while back, but I had no idea how much it would damage my teeth, my poor aching mouth, and my finances going into summer travel sesason.
If you know you do this--get a freaking mouth guard. I know many insurances don't pay for them, but given that a crown is $1000 bucks and insurance pays less than half, a few bucks on a mouth guard is money well spent.
End of lesson. I will be setting up my PayPal account for donations in the upcoming days. Thank you in advance for your participation. (that last part is not really true.)
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Evidently, Brownie has been having some trouble rinsing all of the shampoo out of her hair. I gave her a cup to help with the process and told her to call me to check before she got out of the shower. I go upstairs and the cup has worked. It rinsed al of her thick hair and gave the bathroom floor a fairly good soaking as well. Then came the following conversation.
Brownie-I think I'm going to brush my pubic hair.
Me-Sure, if you feel like it, but it isn't really necessary.
Brownie-Blondie doesn't have any pubic hair, not a single one.
Me-How are you so certain about that?
Brownie-Well, since she is blonde, I thought it might be hard to see, so when she was naked I looked really close and even touched her. There was nothing there. I'm her sister, I can do stuff like that. But I did have to sneak up on her a little bit.
Me-Even a twin sister is allowed to keep her privates private if she wants to. Perhaps you could reconsider the sneaking up part of that and just ask her next time, okay?
Brownie-But I really wanted to know.
Me-Deciding to drop the subject as it seemed non productive.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Last night was a really good one with the kids. They were fed and watered (with vegetables, even) before I got home.
Then began the Drama of the Earrings.
It had benn 6 weeks since the piercing, and new earrings had been purchased. The girls were ready to have them changed. I must say, that the twins are not the rough and tumble type. They have a fairly low pain tolerance and are somewhat timid. We are working on those things.
I took out Brownie's first earring. I must admit that those piercing studs are cuter than they used to be, but they are still a bitch to remove. I do have fingernails, and either my fingernail or the earring pinched her earlobe. Oh my, the tears and drama. She now had one flower and one frog earring in place. Sweetheart was trying to convince her to change the other one and had little success.
I hugged her and asked if she knew what a Drama Queen was. I told her it was someone who mad a much larger deal of a minor situation. I acknowledged that her ear hurt a little, but reminded her that nobody has punched her. We then tried to get Blondie to change hers (she is less dram as a general rule), but her sister's antics had completely scared her.
THey were both covering their ears and shuddering. Brownie finally agreed (when her dad went to the car, I persuaded her that it would be cool for it to be changed when he returned). She pleaded, "Have mercy!" as if I had a dangerous weapon and were flogging her. The removal of the second was easier, but the reinsertion of the replacement was a bit difficult (you know, when the hole doesn't seem to quite line up). However, we completed the mission of twin one.
Blondie finally let me change hers. She is a bit braver for a moment, but kept shaking and pulling her head away. When I mentioned the danger of ripping a hole in the earlobe, she managed to chill. Unfortunately, her studs were even harder to unhook, but the earrings went in more easily.
I was a bit afraid that Brownie's earrings might not stand up to water very well, but when I mentioned it she said, "Well, I may not take a shower then."
This was nixed quickly by her father--you need a shower because you smell bad.
Last week's drama involved the shower thing. "I have taken a bath every day of my life for almot 10 years, and I am getting tired of it." Even though this was part of an unpleasant moment, Sweetheart and I had to squelch laughs. I told her she likely had many more years of daily bathing, so she best get over it.
Oh yeah, I'm twittering now, so if you want more of this nonsense, just follow me. If I'm not yet following you (and we like each other) let me know.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Sweetheart has had a brilliant idea, and since he ditched his blog a while back, he must use mine to convey his brilliance.
I was sitting around this Sunday watching George Stephanopolosisopolsisisisis, and I realized something that I’ve secretly known for a while. I’m infatuated with George Will. I don’t agree with him politically, but he’s such an uptight dude. He never smiles. I can imagine him going back to his Georgetown townhouse each evening, pouring over the newspapers with a glass of expensive scotch. Does he watch “Survivor”? Does he call up some of those expensive DC hookers? Anyway, I want George to have some fun. So, I was thinking - what if George let his hair down, and went to Kerrville?
Stay tuned for some of George’s further adventures…
This weekend was one of ups and downs with the girls. One of the ups was a game of hiding their new favorite toys--seen here resting in the cats' bed.
We would leave ransom notes and hide them in the microwave, the oven, the wine refrigerator or hang them from the cords of the blinds. This lead to squeals and screams from the girls.
The downs included whining, attitude that would put a fourteen year old to shame, arguing, and lack of following directions. These behaviors led to an animated discussion between my husband and me. Much of the discussion wasn't very in which much fun.
We now have come up with a contract (agreed to by their mother as well) that explains which behaviors are expected, and which of their privileges will be attached to said behaviors.
I know this is not a novel idea, but it is new for us. Sweetheart doesn't like to say no to anyone, much less his darling daughters. I am a bitch, so it is easy for me to set limits and kick ass. For him, it is a bit of a struggle, which he now knows he must take on.
Wish us luck.