Sunday, October 23, 2011

Doing What Makes ME Happy!

For a long time, I just went along with whatever other people wanted to do.  If my friends wanted to stay up and party til the sun came up even though I was tired and wanted to sleep, ok!  If everyone wanted to stay in even though I wanted to go out, ok!  If someone wanted me to take them somewhere and I didn't feel like going anywhere, I would do it anyway!

So recently, I decided to do the things that I wanted.  Instead of pushing aside MY wants and needs, I have been respecting myself enough to say no when I want to say no and say yes when I want to say yes.  The problem is a few of my friends have had a hard time with this transition.  They think I don't like them anymore just cause I am tired and decide to go home instead of staying out til the wee-morning hours.  They think I only hang around for food or some stupid thing like that because I say I don't feel like doing something or going somewhere.  Frankly, it is frustrating!

But I realize it is a transition.  No one is used to me looking out for me.  They are used to me looking out for everyone else.  So here is this blog post - a note to those who think I am not happy with them, don't want to hang out with them, don't want to be their friend, or anything else completely silly like that.  Guess what.  I still like you.  I'm not going anywhere.  I will still support my friends no matter what.  Deal with it.


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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Silent Suffering is so Damn Sexy!

I am so tired of this!  For the last 3 weeks, it has been a near constant onslaught of pain, illness, or discomfort.  I've had rheumatic flares, some sort of stomach virus, migraines, depression, random sharp pains, and now my stomach is pissed off...again!  I get the right amount of sleep, but I am exhausted just hours after I wake up and feel like I need a nap.  School starts again in just a couple days and I have no motivation to accomplish anything.

Perhaps the worst part is that no one knows what I am going through right now because I have this ridiculous belief in my head that I need to be the tough one.  I can't show my pain and sadness.  I take care of everyone else when they are sick or hurting and I suffer in silence because I don't want to be a burden on anyone.  And I know several of my friends will read this and then I will get chastised for not saying anything, but I can't ever seem to say the words out loud.  I need help.  Just a shoulder.  Just a support.  And blogging is as close as I ever seem to come to sharing my struggles with the world.

All I want to do is lay in bed, nurse my aches and pains, and cry.  It would be nice to have someone just hold me and comfort me, but my husband is 950 miles away.  Can I just put life on pause for a few days so I can try to get some relief and comfort?  But that is not possible.  And in the time it has taken me to write this blog post, it is now time for me to get to work once again.  There are classes to observe and homework to be done.  Here is to another day of putting off being weak.


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Friday, August 19, 2011

Coping with Bipolar

If there is one thing that a bipolar person struggles with on a daily basis, it is how to cope with the inevitable ups and downs.  For many years, I fought the roller coaster tooth and nail.  I would refuse to admit I was going into a depression or a hypomanic episode.  I would continue with the things I had to do no matter what, until eventually I completely crashed.  Finally one of these crashes landed me in partial inpatient program.

I was forced to use FMLA time at work to cut my hours in half while I recovered.  Three days a week, I spent half my day at the program (IOP) and the other half the day at work.  The other two days, I took the morning for myself and spent the afternoon at work.  This lasted for nearly two months.

At first, I hated going to IOP.  I felt like a failure.  I was failing my job, my boss, my family, my friends, my psychiatrist, and anyone else who ever tried to help me manage my bipolar.  How could I possibly have let myself get so bad?  But that is just the thing.  I didn't let myself get that depressed.  It is a chemical reaction in my brain that I can't completely control.  I can mess with it a little through medication and lifestyle choices (a regular schedule, plenty of sleep, exercise, etc.), but even when I do everything exactly right, I will still have episodes.  It is hard to see that when you are in the midst of a deep depression though.  At that moment in time, I was convinced I could have controlled it and I failed.  I was worthless because I couldn't control my own emotions.

As I continued this program, which is really like an intense therapy program, I grew to appreciate it.  I had weekly contact with my psychiatrist for quick med adjustments, I had daily contact with multiple therapists, but most importantly, I learned a huge number of new coping skills to replace the unhealthy ones and the ones that stopped working all together.  These coping skills help me prevent a return to IOP.  And now I want to share some of these tips and tricks with you.  For the next couple days or weeks (depending on how often I post), I will pull out a coping skill from my stash to highlight.  Learn it.  Practice it.  Love it.  Add them to your arsenal.  Then come back here and let me know how it worked for you. *

Focused Breathing*

For today, we will start simple with focused breathing.  This is a very simple coping tool, but it is very effective for some people.  This technique works best with your eyes closed.

Try your best to block out the sounds and noises around you and focus only on the sound of your breath.  Listen closely as you inhale deeply, hold your breath for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly.

Now inhale again while counting to 5, focusing on the sound and feel of your breath.  Hold your breath for a count of 5.  Now exhale while counting to 10, focusing on the feel as you release the air from your lungs.

Again, inhale, really filling those lungs, feeling your chest expand in all directions, for 1-2-3-4-5.  Hold for 1-2-3-4-5.  Now exhale slowly and revel in the release for 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10.

Repeat this process, focusing more and more on your breath until you feel relaxed.  Always remember to take longer to exhale than inhale.  This will prevent hyperventilation.

Once you are relaxed, you have two choices according to how you feel.  You can continue what you were doing before you became overwhelmed, or you can take a break completely and do something else that makes you happy.  If you simply cannot complete the task, it is ok!  Hand it off to someone else or put it off til tomorrow (or another time you are feeling more stable).  There is absolutely nothing wrong with this.  You don't have to be Superman/Superwoman.  Chances are whatever it is will not be the cause life or death (unless you are a surgeon or something, then finish the surgery.  hehe.).

*Note:  I feel like I need to put a disclaimer of some sort.  I am NOT a doctor of any sort.  I am a bipolar patient merely sharing tools that help me cope.  If you have concerns about anything I post, please consult with your psychiatrist or primary care doctor first!

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Case of the Blahs

For the last 6 weeks, I have lived in San Francisco with my husband.  In two weeks I return to Tucson for school.  If you are confused about this, read about me Living in Two States.  Got it?  Good.

During these 6 weeks in San Francisco, I have learned several things.

1) I am totally into living where I don't have to have a car.
2) I am totally digging this cute little town we settled in.
3) My body totally does not dig the cold weather (high of 65 in August? really?).
4) My mind totally does not dig the frequently overcast skies.
5) Meter maids are ridiculously on time.
6) I love my living room!  Seriously, it is adorably awesome.
7) There is so much to do when you don't have a television.
8) There is so little to do when you hurt too much (mentally or physically) to go anywhere or do anything.

And now that I only have 2 weeks left before I leave again, I am increasingly frustrated with my mind and body.  I wanted these last two weeks with my husband to be amazing where I am the fun and energetic woman he met 4 1/2 years ago.  But that is proving to be a challenge.  2 of the last 3 days, I have been totally blah.  I've had a headache  that won't go away and next to no appetite.  Whether it is the symptoms bringing me down emotionally or the blah-ness (yes, that is a word in my dictionary) causing the symptoms doesn't matter.  All that matters is that it is screwing up my plans!

Now I know some of you may be thinking that it is only 2 days, but when you only have 14 left, that 2 can grow into 10 quickly and easily.  And rarely do I pull out of a blah episode in a mere 2 days.  Add onto this situation by throwing in some joint pain after 2 weeks nearly pain free and I am utterly blah-ed out.  Is it too much to ask for my body and mind to work with me for a change?  All I am asking is for 12 freakin days!  At least I feel like I have made the most of the time that has already passed.  I may not be able to play the role of the perfect, fun, energetic wife right now, but its the thought that counts...right?

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How Many Spoons Do YOU Have Today?

It's that time of year again where someone says something or a I read an article that reminds me of The Spoon Theory.  If you, or anyone you know has what many like to call "an invisible illness," you can understand the frustration when someone doesn't look sick even though they are.  The Spoon Theory is an excellent analogy to describe what it is like to live with "an invisible illness" every second of every day.  I know it looks long, but trust me, it is worth the read.  And now I share it with you, courtesy of ButYouDontLookSick.com.

The Spoon Theory, by Christine Miserandino

My best friend and I were in the diner, talking. As usual, it was very late and we were eating French fries with gravy. Like normal girls our age, we spent a lot of time in the diner while in college, and most of the time we spent talking about boys, music or trivial things, that seemed very important at the time. We never got serious about anything in particular and spent most of our time laughing.

As I went to take some of my medicine with a snack as I usually did, she watched me with an awkward kind of stare, instead of continuing the conversation. She then asked me out of the blue what it felt like to have Lupus and be sick. I was shocked not only because she asked the random question, but also because I assumed she knew all there was to know about Lupus. She came to doctors with me, she saw me walk with a cane, and throw up in the bathroom. She had seen me cry in pain, what else was there to know?
I started to ramble on about pills, and aches and pains, but she kept pursuing, and didn’t seem satisfied with my answers. I was a little surprised as being my roommate in college and friend for years; I thought she already knew the medical definition of Lupus. Then she looked at me with a face every sick person knows well, the face of pure curiosity about something no one healthy can truly understand. She asked what it felt like, not physically, but what it felt like to be me, to be sick.
As I tried to gain my composure, I glanced around the table for help or guidance, or at least stall for time to think. I was trying to find the right words. How do I answer a question I never was able to answer for myself? How do I explain every detail of every day being effected, and give the emotions a sick person goes through with clarity. I could have given up, cracked a joke like I usually do, and changed the subject, but I remember thinking if I don’t try to explain this, how could I ever expect her to understand. If I can’t explain this to my best friend, how could I explain my world to anyone else? I had to at least try.
At that moment, the spoon theory was born. I quickly grabbed every spoon on the table; hell I grabbed spoons off of the other tables. I looked at her in the eyes and said “Here you go, you have Lupus”. She looked at me slightly confused, as anyone would when they are being handed a bouquet of spoons. The cold metal spoons clanked in my hands, as I grouped them together and shoved them into her hands.
I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.
Most people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions. So for my explanation, I used spoons to convey this point. I wanted something for her to actually hold, for me to then take away, since most people who get sick feel a “loss” of a life they once knew. If I was in control of taking away the spoons, then she would know what it feels like to have someone or something else, in this case Lupus, being in control.
She grabbed the spoons with excitement. She didn’t understand what I was doing, but she is always up for a good time, so I guess she thought I was cracking a joke of some kind like I usually do when talking about touchy topics. Little did she know how serious I would become?
I asked her to count her spoons. She asked why, and I explained that when you are healthy you expect to have a never-ending supply of “spoons”. But when you have to now plan your day, you need to know exactly how many “spoons” you are starting with. It doesn’t guarantee that you might not lose some along the way, but at least it helps to know where you are starting. She counted out 12 spoons. She laughed and said she wanted more. I said no, and I knew right away that this little game would work, when she looked disappointed, and we hadn’t even started yet. I’ve wanted more “spoons” for years and haven’t found a way yet to get more, why should she? I also told her to always be conscious of how many she had, and not to drop them because she can never forget she has Lupus.
I asked her to list off the tasks of her day, including the most simple. As, she rattled off daily chores, or just fun things to do; I explained how each one would cost her a spoon. When she jumped right into getting ready for work as her first task of the morning, I cut her off and took away a spoon. I practically jumped down her throat. I said ” No! You don’t just get up. You have to crack open your eyes, and then realize you are late. You didn’t sleep well the night before. You have to crawl out of bed, and then you have to make your self something to eat before you can do anything else, because if you don’t, you can’t take your medicine, and if you don’t take your medicine you might as well give up all your spoons for today and tomorrow too.” I quickly took away a spoon and she realized she hasn’t even gotten dressed yet. Showering cost her spoon, just for washing her hair and shaving her legs. Reaching high and low that early in the morning could actually cost more than one spoon, but I figured I would give her a break; I didn’t want to scare her right away. Getting dressed was worth another spoon. I stopped her and broke down every task to show her how every little detail needs to be thought about. You cannot simply just throw clothes on when you are sick. I explained that I have to see what clothes I can physically put on, if my hands hurt that day buttons are out of the question. If I have bruises that day, I need to wear long sleeves, and if I have a fever I need a sweater to stay warm and so on. If my hair is falling out I need to spend more time to look presentable, and then you need to factor in another 5 minutes for feeling badly that it took you 2 hours to do all this.
I think she was starting to understand when she theoretically didn’t even get to work, and she was left with 6 spoons. I then explained to her that she needed to choose the rest of her day wisely, since when your “spoons” are gone, they are gone. Sometimes you can borrow against tomorrow’s “spoons”, but just think how hard tomorrow will be with less “spoons”. I also needed to explain that a person who is sick always lives with the looming thought that tomorrow may be the day that a cold comes, or an infection, or any number of things that could be very dangerous. So you do not want to run low on “spoons”, because you never know when you truly will need them. I didn’t want to depress her, but I needed to be realistic, and unfortunately being prepared for the worst is part of a real day for me.
We went through the rest of the day, and she slowly learned that skipping lunch would cost her a spoon, as well as standing on a train, or even typing at her computer too long. She was forced to make choices and think about things differently. Hypothetically, she had to choose not to run errands, so that she could eat dinner that night.
When we got to the end of her pretend day, she said she was hungry. I summarized that she had to eat dinner but she only had one spoon left. If she cooked, she wouldn’t have enough energy to clean the pots. If she went out for dinner, she might be too tired to drive home safely. Then I also explained, that I didn’t even bother to add into this game, that she was so nauseous, that cooking was probably out of the question anyway. So she decided to make soup, it was easy. I then said it is only 7pm, you have the rest of the night but maybe end up with one spoon, so you can do something fun, or clean your apartment, or do chores, but you can’t do it all.
I rarely see her emotional, so when I saw her upset I knew maybe I was getting through to her. I didn’t want my friend to be upset, but at the same time I was happy to think finally maybe someone understood me a little bit. She had tears in her eyes and asked quietly “Christine, How do you do it? Do you really do this everyday?” I explained that some days were worse then others; some days I have more spoons then most. But I can never make it go away and I can’t forget about it, I always have to think about it. I handed her a spoon I had been holding in reserve. I said simply, “I have learned to live life with an extra spoon in my pocket, in reserve. You need to always be prepared.”
Its hard, the hardest thing I ever had to learn is to slow down, and not do everything. I fight this to this day. I hate feeling left out, having to choose to stay home, or to not get things done that I want to. I wanted her to feel that frustration. I wanted her to understand, that everything everyone else does comes so easy, but for me it is one hundred little jobs in one. I need to think about the weather, my temperature that day, and the whole day’s plans before I can attack any one given thing. When other people can simply do things, I have to attack it and make a plan like I am strategizing a war. It is in that lifestyle, the difference between being sick and healthy. It is the beautiful ability to not think and just do. I miss that freedom. I miss never having to count “spoons”.
After we were emotional and talked about this for a little while longer, I sensed she was sad. Maybe she finally understood. Maybe she realized that she never could truly and honestly say she understands. But at least now she might not complain so much when I can’t go out for dinner some nights, or when I never seem to make it to her house and she always has to drive to mine. I gave her a hug when we walked out of the diner. I had the one spoon in my hand and I said “Don’t worry. I see this as a blessing. I have been forced to think about everything I do. Do you know how many spoons people waste everyday? I don’t have room for wasted time, or wasted “spoons” and I chose to spend this time with you.”
Ever since this night, I have used the spoon theory to explain my life to many people. In fact, my family and friends refer to spoons all the time. It has been a code word for what I can and cannot do. Once people understand the spoon theory they seem to understand me better, but I also think they live their life a little differently too. I think it isn’t just good for understanding Lupus, but anyone dealing with any disability or illness. Hopefully, they don’t take so much for granted or their life in general. I give a piece of myself, in every sense of the word when I do anything. It has become an inside joke. I have become famous for saying to people jokingly that they should feel special when I spend time with them, because they have one of my “spoons”.
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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Living in Two States

So if you are close to me, you know I am living my life in two states right now -- Arizona and California.  If you are not close to me, you are probably asking why.  See, my husband and I had been living together in Arizona for the last year or so because he got a job with Sony Online Entertainment, his dream job (making computer games), in Tucson.  Unfortunately, after about a year and a half of employment, Sony shut down the Tucson office and laid off just about everyone.  This led to a job hunt which netted results in San Francisco.

When he took the new job, we had some decisions to make.  I was and still am in school to become a teacher.  If I were to transfer my schooling to California, it would add 2-3 years onto my completion date.  Seeing as I was only about a year and a half out at the time, that just seemed silly.  Why pour more time and money into something that can be done quicker and risk having to move again and add more time on should another unforeseen circumstance come up?  And so came our decision to split our household.

At this time, 98% of our belongings are in our beautiful 2 bed, 2 bath duplex in San Francisco with my husband, including the 2 cats and 1 dog.  I usually reside in Tucson in a studio apartment with nothing but a bed, a dresser, a TV, a few select kitchen items, and a bookshelf I adopted after the move.  Oh!  I adopted some chairs too.  Can't forget the chairs.  You know, the plastic patio chairs?  Yea, those.

Anyway, so usually I live in Tucson.  It is very lonely.  Yes, I have friends there and they keep me distracted from my loneliness as much as possible, but when I lay in bed at night, I miss being wrapped up in my husband's arms.  I miss the good night kisses and the good morning smiles.  The plan is to have me fly back to San Francisco every couple months for a long weekend or a short week to visit.  Even better, I managed to work my school schedule around so I have been able to reside in San Francisco for the last 6 weeks!  Oh how nice to live with my husband again!

But now my time in San Francisco is drawing to an end.  In two weeks (and 12 hours), my bags will be packed and I will be headed back to Tucson until the holidays.  I look forward to the warmth of Arizona (San Francisco is too damn cold!) and I look forward to seeing my friends.  I look forward to getting back to school on campus instead of online, and I look forward to swimming.  But once again, I will be living on my own.  I will miss my husband madly.  I will probably cry when I leave and I will probably bury myself in distractions once I get "home" while I adjust again.  I will probably cry myself to sleep a few nights as well.  But we love each other and we know we can make it through this as long as we support each other.  We also know this way will work out better in the long run than any of the other options.


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Thursday, August 4, 2011

My Latest "Great" Idea

So I came across this wonderful article today about the writing process and how it is a journey of trial and error, blood, sweat, and tears.  It was written so well that I was inspired to revisit an old idea of mine.  I have played with this idea for years.  It has lingered in the back of my mind, just waiting for the right time to come bursting out onto paper...or the keyboard.

The idea?  Oh, its a book.

In the past, I have pushed the idea back into its dark hole, convincing myself it would be a horrible idea.  I mean, first of all, we all know how sucky of a writer I am (yea right).  Second, I get writer's block so easily with academic papers, what makes me think I could come up with enough to fill an entire book?  Obviously, not possible.  Third, the book I am thinking of writing is all about me, which we know would be boring as hell.  Fourth, it would focus on my journey through health issues and life in general as, what I like to call, a Bipolar Survivor.  Who the hell would want to read that crap?  And finally, it would require me opening up and sharing deep, dark, personal secrets and thoughts for all the world to read.

Yep.  Totally a horrible idea.  What the hell was I thinking.  I should abandon this quest line immediately.

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nothing Says Sexy Like a Speedo and Roller Skates

Yesterday, my husband and I decided to spend the day seeing the city (San Francisco).  We are in Oakland so it isn't like it is a long trip for us.  The day started innocent enough.  We went to his office since I still hadn't seen it yet and ended up having lunch with one of his co-workers at the Westfield Mall.  Nice guy.

After lunch, the plan was to kind of wind our way down to Fisherman's Wharf and find this clam chowder place I have fond memories of.  The weather was beautiful even with the wind blowing through the city.  Along the way, we found this beautiful little park!


Naturally, we had to take some time in this little piece of serenity found in the city.





Can you tell who my hubby wanted to focus on?

After we got done playing fancy photographer, we found our way to the start of the Wharf.  This is where we got a lesson in sexiness.  We are innocently walking along, complaining about how the clouds are starting to roll in and the wind is getting chilly when something catches my eye.  As this man exited the crowd, I regretted noticing his presence for he was on roller skates, which in and by itself is no big deal, but when you combine it with the wardrobe choice he made, it should be punishable by at least 10 lashes.  While speeding down the wharf in his old-school, 4-wheeled roller skates, this man chose to wear nothing but a Speedo.  His only saving grace was that it was a square-bottomed Speedo and he obviously did weight-lifting.  The guy was ripped, but he was so buff that it didn't even look good.  His pecs were so big that it looked like someone implanted half a basketball on each side of his chest.  So, imagine this if you will.  A man with muscles unnaturally large, making a kind of deformed look:


wearing these:


and these:


Yea baby.  Now that's what I call sexy.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

What world or life altering events are happening today?

A sadness pervades my being today.  It's not so much that I feel sad, but more like the sadness you feel when you see a funeral procession going by or you hear about a dear friend's loss.  Technically, nothing has happened to make you sad, but you are sad for the other people you cross paths with in life because of whatever circumstances they are in.  Its like a weight bearing down on your shoulders because those who received the weight can't bear it alone.  It is sad, heavy, and gloomy, yet I look out the window and the sun is shining and life is moving on.

In the past, I have been told that I sense things sometimes.  It isn't frequent and I don't even come close to believing that I am clairvoyant or anything silly like that, but I definitely have felt when something was wrong with someone I am close to.  Honestly, I believe all people can do this.  Only some choose to ignore these energy connections we make with people or society as a whole.  The point is, when I feel something like this, something that isn't my normal depression, the sadness or alarm that comes from outside myself and not inside, I take notice.  Usually, I can tell if it is focused from one person (a close family member or friend), or if it is from a group of people/world event. This feels like something bigger than an individual person.  Like a dark cloud has descended on part of the world today.

The problem - I don't know what or where it is from.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Sneaky Hate Spiral

A wonderful friend of mine linked one of my favorite blogs about the Sneaky Hate Spiral and that was sooooo my day yesterday.  And as I was telling her about what exactly happened, that got me to that OH. MY. GOD.  EVERYTHING MUST DIE!!!!  moment, it occurred to me -- this is exactly the kind of stuff people blog about!!!!  And by "people" I mean everyone but me because I am a horrible blogger and I never think I have anything interesting to write about.

So, first, go read about the Sneaky Hate Spiral and then read about my day!

Back?  Ok.

So that was totally me today! It all started with the cat playing with a toy - you know, the ones that have little bells in them to make them more fun for the cat and more annoying for the human?  Yea, that one.  No, I don't know why I bought it.  I just know I likely though "OH!  They will LUV playing with that!"  Of course, it never occured to me they would love to play with it at ungodly hours and wake me up an hour before my alarm.  

After I threw the toy across the room took the toy away hid the toy, then the neighbor was up and about upstairs and had unusually heavy feet today.  Since it was obvious I wasn't going to be able to get back to sleep, I proceeded to lay in bed and hope for sleep.  Yea.  Didn't happen.

Suddenly, I heard the garbage truck and thought "OH NO!  I forgot to take the cans out last night!"  So there I go, bounding out of the house with my hair all askew in my pajamas (which consist of very short, thin shorts and barely an excuse for a tank top) with my boobs flopping this way and that because I had no bra on, just to pull the cans to the curb before the garbage man drives away and I am stuck with stinky, full cans for the next week.  Yea, that had to have been a sight.  

Then, for the life of me, I could not find my damn keys in any less than 15 minutes.  When I finally got them and turned the car on, the the car radio was BLASTING only God knows what cause I hit that power button so fast I broke a nail which was quickly followed by a very unladylike word.  

At this point, I am already 10 minutes late leaving the house so naturally, I hit every, single red light between home and my destination, only to realize I had the wrong destination.  Yep. The stupid address in the stupid GPS was wrong.  Totally NOT my fault.  So I fix the GPS's screwup, cause again, not my fault, and I proceed to once again hit every,single red light between my false destination and my REAL destination. The traffic light gods hate me. 

I am now 20 minutes late for my appointment and I find every single parking spot on the street was taken except one.  Upon actually parking the car and exiting the vehicle, I find out that the stupid parking meter is broken. Grumbling, I move the car to another spot that happened to free itself of its previous vehicular occupant and this one had an electronic parking meter...across the street.  Naturally, this is a busy street and there were lots of cars so I had to wait for the walk signal at the light. We already know how traffic lights feel about me today.  

After sitting there for forever, I get across the stupid street to the meter and the thing didn't have the values of the buttons marked. Since I am already irritated and horribly late, I just push a bunch of them until it says I have paid the maximum amount, a mere 30 freaking minutes.  Then wait at the evil light again to go back to the car to put the validation on the dash. Upon placing my parking validation on the dash, locking and closing the door, and turning around to look at the light, I realized I would have to wait...again...to go back to the other side of the street where my actual destination was.  My head exploded inside.  

I unlocked my car, got inside, shut the door, and screamed bloody murder and beat on my steering wheel for about 2 minutes straight.  
Hate Spiral - 1.  Alicia - 0. 

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Drugs, Money, and Rock & Roll - Part 3

Ok, I promise I am going to finish this time.  The problem is it has now been sooooooo long that all the details have flown out of my head.  Sorry about that.

So I ended with us having to get the house moved in something like 10 days from Tucson, AZ to good old San Francisco.  Why you ask?  Well, the answer is quite simple.  D's work wanted him to start that soon.  YAY!  D has a job!  Boo, I have to do all this moving crap.

Let's see, so I start calling around looking for moving quotes and find that most of the companies are WAY too friggin expensive.  Therefore, I reserve a U-haul and start signing friends up to help us.  Later, I will end up changing my mind and hiring a moving company anyway.  Next step is finding a place to live and getting the house packed and moved, all in 10 days.  Did I mention the movers pick up 3-4 days before your desired delivery date?  So that is 6-7 days to find a place to live and pack the whole house.  Keep in mind, I am still recovering from my nose surgery during all this.

Next, I start figuring out transferring my schooling to California.  I am thinking this should be easy since I am attending University of Phoenix.  Guess what.  It isn't.  See, California has more stringent requirements for their teachers.  Something about needing a Master's Degree or something like that.  I forget the details now.  The part I DO remember is that I can transfer just fine.  Only problem is instead of finishing in 1 1/2 years, it will now take 3 1/2 to 4 years?!?!  Oh. Hell. No.  Because you know I don't already have enough stress on my plate.  Naturally, I start spinning in my head til I get to talk to D about it.

When I finally get to talk to D, the solution seemed simple enough.  I stay in Tucson to finish school while he goes to San Francisco to work and we just fly back and forth to visit each other.  Awesome.  It is silly to keep a 2-bedroom apartment for just one of me, so I rent a studio, choose the items to stay with me (futon, dresser, TV, and some kitchenware.  That's it), and continue on my merry little way packing everything else.  I get it all planned out that I will spend the next 3-4 months in Tucson getting all my observation hours out of the way, then spend 6 months in SF with the hubby, then spend the remaining 6-8 months in Tucson finishing up my program and student teaching.  And then the scrambling begins all while trying to coordinate a 1000-mile move.

So we have 6-7 days. We hop in the car, drive straight through to Sacramento (14 hours in case you were wondering), and crash for 6 hours at my brother's house.  We then spend the next 48 hours looking at more than a dozen potential places to live in the San Francisco area.  Guess which one we picked.  Yup!  The second to last place.  (It's awesome by the way).  By the time we finish in SF and get back to Tucson (driving straight through again), we have 3 days to pack before the movers get there. Somehow we get it done with the help of friends, but I'm exhausted, my nose hurts, my body hurts, and I did I mention, I'm exhausted?

So, the movers arrive the day after we finish packing.  They get everything loaded.  They say 2-3 days for delivery.  Cool.  So we can take our time a little on the way back to SF to meet them at the new house.  We load up the animals and head off to mom and dad's in Sacramento.  Oh, I forgot, we brought the dog out to stay with  my brother the previous weekend when we were house-hunting.  He kept her for the move, thank goodness.  Can you imagine trying to keep track of a 75-lb boxer/lab during all this?  Yea, right.

We drive straight through...again.  We sleep when we get there.  The cats are freaked out as expected.  We are exhausted and all we want is sleep, but no, we have to go back into the city to sign the lease on the new place and pay our rent.  Then we go back to mom and dad's and have them feed us that night.  The next day, we head to our new home and set up shop to wait for the movers...who don't show up for an extra 2 days.  That's right.  5 days to get our stuff. All I have to say is thank goodness we brought the air mattress and I booked my flight home through Southwest Air so I could change my return flight easily.

With no time to unpack or anything, we get the boxes and furniture in the house somewhat how we want it, do the move-in inspection, make a list for the landlord and Alicia has to run away to catch her plane.  Leaving D with boxes everywhere sucked.  Then my flight was delayed and my ride could no longer get me.  This is about the time when I start asking "why me?!?!"  Luckily, another friends said she could get me so I didn't have to pay for a cab ride home.  Thank you!  Finally got home and to bed at 2am with class the following night and no homework done.  Awesome.

Which brings us back to the school issue.  Remember how I was going to do 3-4 months in Tucson to get all my observation out of the way and then spend 6 months in Cali?  Yea, later I figure out I planned that out totally wrong because, guess what.  Those 3-4 months fall during summer break.  No classes to observe.  Crap.  I then have to figure out how to work it out so I can actually get some time with my husband.  The solution:

June - Tucson
July and August - SF (8 weeks online classes)
September through December - Tucson, but home for holidays
End of December through Beginning of January - SF (2 weeks)
Mid-January through May - Tucson
June and July - hopefully SF but that may change
August through November - Tucson
December - home to SF for good.  Merry Christmas!

Can we say stressful?  Yea.  Welcome to my life.

But guess what!  I survived!  I am still alive and kicking!  And I didn't kill anyone!  I totally rocked this move.


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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Drugs, Money, and Rock and Roll - Part 2

Check it out!  I finally got around to creating Part 2 of this saga!  Only problem is I didn't take notes or anything, so this might be kinda short.  And most of you probably know this part anyway.

So after I finally get to a fully functional, fairly drug-free state after my nose was broken fixed, I get to start dealing with the next adventure.  April 1st, my husband's company announces massive layoffs and office closures.  April Fools?  Nope.  It wasn't that surprising.  We knew there was a change coming, we just didn't think it was coming so soon and we didn't think it was going to be in the form of the unemployment line. 

Positive - D was already interviewing with many companies.
Negative - We knew we were going to have to move.  Again.  And likely to some place cold.  *cry*

Naturally, the hubby has a hard time deciphering paperwork like Cobra benefits, severance packages, etc.  Luckily, my head was fairly fog-free so I could help with that.  I spent the next week (or was it two?), living day to day, worrying wondering where we would end up living, taking D back and forth to the airport to fly places for interviews, and trying to figure out what the hell I am going to do about school.  Then D got a job!  One he was excited about too!  Bonus!  The destination?  San Francisco.

Positive - Close to my family again and good friends.  Finally, fresh, fantastic sushi, and clam chowder!
Negative - It's FREAKING COLD!  And cloudy.  And windy.  And COLD.  This oughta be fun.

Awesome.  So then we started to contemplate the upcoming changes and where we wanted to live in the San Francisco area.  Time to rock and roll and get this house moved!  In 10 days.  Wait.  WHAT?!?!  10 day?!?!  Aw hell.  I hate having to rush things...

...to be continued in Part 3!


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Monday, May 30, 2011

The Model of a Life Well-Lived

Today, I said goodbye to a person very dear to me.  I laughed and I cried.  If you knew him, you would understand why.  A father-figure, a friend, a family member, a brother, a father, a confident, a roll model, and a husband.  Gary Granico.  He touched the hearts of many and he enriched the lives of so many more.  He lived life to the fullest and never backed down.  He was the first with a wise-crack and never left your side.  He showed me the model of a well-lived life.

I met Gary through my brother playing baseball.  Gary's son and my brother ended up on the same little league baseball team.  Gary and my dad bonded instantly.  I believe I was about 10 at the time.  From there, it grew into a blending of families involving baseball, fudgesicles, nights at Straw Hat Pizza, and BBQs, just to be followed by ties that bind as strong as blood, camping and houseboat trips, nights on the town, and family parties.  Yes, our families became close.  To my brother and I, a second father.  To my dad, a brother.

A long-time vet of the Airforce, we fittingly said goodbye to Gary on this Memorial Day.  May he rest in peace.

Gary "the Snake" Granico 


 August 28, 1951 - May 24, 2011
 Born August 28, 1951 in Sacramento to Tony and Jean Granico. Gary passed away on May 24th surrounded by his loving family. He is survived by Debbie, his devoted wife of 29 years, his son John, and his daughter Jeana. He was the brother of Linda and Toni, the uncle of Zack, Cason, and Shawn, and the brother in law of Jeri and Mike. Gary served in the USAF for 4 years and retired after 40 years of service from the Dept. of Defense. His greatest passions besides his family were fishing and coaching more little leaguers than we can count. He was blessed with many lifelong friends that will miss him dearly.

To help you get a feeling for how special this guy is, here are some words from friends who wrote in the guest book:




May 27, 2011
Debbie, John, Jeana, Linda, Toni Lynn & Family.
Gary was my cousin and my friend. He had a gift that if you were his friend you were his family. There was always 7 steps to Gary. I admired that he would color outside the lines, because that's who he was and he was endeared for being himself. He was a giver and his lust for life was contagious. I have so many fond memories of being in Chester with Gary and the rest of our cousins.
He will be missed by all. The world has lost a ray of sunshine.
Your Loving Cousin,
Joan



May 27, 2011
rest in peace Gary.
~
don babcock,
sutter creek, California



May 27, 2011
Gary, you will be truly missed. It was a pleasure knowing, working, and playing with you. I have many fond memories of you and will truly miss you. R.I.P. my brother.
~
Michael Foley,
a.k.a. Foo Foo,
Salida, California



May 27, 2011
Gary was my sons little league coach in Rosemont. He was a great guy and had a great passion for coaching all of our kids. I will miss seeing him at that the local pizza parlor (straw hat). As they say " only the good die young". Gary will be missed by a lot of people in the Rosemont area.
~
The Cobb family.



May 27, 2011
We love you Gary and will miss your contagious laugh and your humongous smile! Life will not be the same without you but we know you are now at peace and out of pain. Love Jon, Kylie, and Abigail
~
Kylie Villalva (Latimer),
Sacramento, California



May 27, 2011
Please accept my most heartfelt sympathies for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with your family during this difficult time.
~
Alissa Morotti,
Sacramento, California



May 27, 2011
Debbie, John, Jeana and the Granico & Cheek families,My heart is filled with sadness at the loss of Gary. He really was a remarkable person. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
~
Denise Pellerin-Johnson,
Sacramento, California




May 27, 2011
Toni and Linda and family. I'm so sorry for your loss. In my teenage years I received the name " Baby Stowe" from Gary. He made a big impact in my life. He was a big brother figure to me, gave me advice and let me know I did matter in this world, he made me fill special. He opened his home to me when I needed a place to live, and eat and sleep. I have lots of good, fun and crazy memories with Gary that will always make me laugh, especially rafting trips down the American River. He was good man. God Bless you and your family. You are all in my Thoughts.
~
Lisa Gentry ( Baby Stowe)



May 27, 2011
Gary the things i learned from you and the good talks we had i will never forget. Spring training, Chester and most of all coaching. we had some great times. Thank you for everything.
~
Sid Lucero,
Sacramento, California



May 27, 2011
Gary was not only every young man who went through Rosemont Little League's mentor and coach but like a father as well. He touched many lives and left a mark and a place in their heart.

"The coach's main job is 20 percent technical and 80 percent inspirational."
~Franz Stampfl

God Bless you Debbie, John and Jeana for sharing Gary (dad) with us all!
~
Teresa and J.P. Savage,
Sacramento, California



May 27, 2011
We are sorry to hear about your loss. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with your family during this difficult time. God is now taking care of Gary for he was a good father, husband, and a friend to all he met.
Winnie, Jeni, Maria, Susan and Tere
~
Winnie Cooper,
Rocklin, California



May 27, 2011
Gary was my cousin and my friend. Anyone who was his friend they became his family. He was a wonderful husband and caring Dad. He appreciated all the colors this world had to offer. Debbie, John, Jeana, Linda, Toni, & Family, wishing you comfort and love during this sad time.
~
Your Cousin Joan



May 27, 2011
Dear Toni and Linda --- I am so sorry to hear about Gary's passing. He will be missed. He was always one of my favorite childhood friends. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.
~
Love, Sharon Dorsey
Sacramento, California



May 27, 2011
Hey Bud - We are so glad our paths crossed with yours in this life! You were definitely one in a million and we think you knew at least a milliion people! You will be missed by them all. There's one thing that has to be said, it was always amazing how the tenor of a room, the garage, the golf course or where ever you were, changed when you showed up. Thanks for being our friend Gary and having us in your life...you will never be fogotten. God bless you and your family. Rest in peace my friend! Mike and Susan Levitt





May 27, 2011
Granico Family, I am so sorry for your loss. Gary was an inspiration to many young kids who were a part of Rosemont Little League. He always made my son Justin laugh and gave him more confidence than any other baseball coach. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
~
Debbie Smith,
Sacramento, California



May 27, 2011
Gary

I will miss you old friend, I truly enjoyed our days at Hiram Johnson (Class of '69). R.I.P.
~
Pat Dowden,
Loomis, California



May 27, 2011
Debbie, John, Jeana, Gary was not only the best Husband, Father and Family man, he was also a great friend. He is now with God and others we have lost recently. My heart and prayers go out to all of your family. We will truely miss him in our lives.
~
Kathy, Keith Jouganatos



May 27, 2011
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the entire Granico family. We will all miss Gary and his fun ways deeply. He was a great, friend, mentor and coach to a lot of us. We had many fun adventures coaching baseball and having post games talks over a brew or two (most likely more…lol). The Chester fishing trips to Lake Almanor were the best. I still remember Gary’s face when Kenny Rogers, Rodney and I pulled up to his gasless boat on the lake with fuel. Priceless! Thanks Gary for all the fun times!
~
Stefan OConnor,
Rosemont, California



May 27, 2011
I was shocked when my mom called to tell me about Gary. I hope you are all doing as well as can be expected at time like this. One of my first thoughts were of Larry, he would have been heart broken to have experienced this loss. Hopefully he and Gary are somewhere starting their on Fantasy Football League, smokin' a cigars and talkin' sports!!! My heart aches for all of you. Gary was a great guy, always a joy to be around. Hold on to your memories they will keep you strong.
~
Paula Alvarado Smith.



May 28, 2011
Granico Family,
Our deepest symapthy for your loss. My God bless you and your family during this sad time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you!
~
Rico & Antoinette Morotti,
Gold River, California



May 28, 2011
Debbie,John,Jeana,Linda,Toni Lyn,I am So sorry for the loss of Gary. I have fond memories of Gary's younger days. He was loving and a delite to be with. The memories of Chester will always be with me.He will be missed.
Love and God Bless. We will meet again Gary.
~
Love you, Aunt Jo



May 28, 2011
I am very saddened to hear about Gary's passing. It has been so many years since I last saw him as I moved out of the area but I always think about him. Gary was a great friend and an inspiring teammate. Not only was he a great coach and teacher of the game but a tremendous player. He was a big part of our "Express" Softball family. We had so much fun together and I will always remember his smile, his laugh and his gold glove. I miss you "Snake" and will always cherish the great times we had. May God Bless you, watch over you and give you peace!
~
TC Martin,
Green Bay, Wisconsin



May 28, 2011
It's raining in seattle! The yankees are in town! I never saw anyone play third base or shortstop, better than Gary! What a glove. lucky
~
larry pirch,
seattle, Washington



May 28, 2011
MAY YOUR SOUL REST IN ETERNAL PEACE
~
ED JONES,
SACRAMENTO, California



May 28, 2011
My heart is broken but I know you are free and not in pain any more. Thank you for always being there for me...good times and bad. I know you and Doug have a line in the water and a beer in your hand. Love you my brother.....Shorty
~
Shorty



May 28, 2011
I knew when I first saw Gary and signed up for Baseball that this guy was a special guy. What I didn't know, was how much Gary would touch me and my Family.
It has been said that you are fortunate if, in a lifetime, you can meet enough great people to count on one hand. In my lifetime I have had the opportunity to meet alot of people both business and leisure.I also think I am fortunate to have many friends, but Gary Granico was my "One Hander". He stands as one of those men you can count on one hand.
As Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet " He was a man. Take him for all and all. We shall not look upon his like again."
Rest in peace my Brother you will be thought of every day.
~
Mike Hamburg



May 29, 2011
Peace to you Gary, you are so sweet.
~
Laura Bishop,
Roseville, California



May 29, 2011
the world will stop spinning!
i'm a little lost for words this morning!
but i thought of this..
god will blink.. the world will stop spinning and baseball will bow their heads and tip their hats...
ug
~
USAF gonnella,
scottsdale, Arizona



May 29, 2011
hello im eric gunnarson gary/ snake and i were best friends back in the day my heart is very sad i cried i havent seen or will ever c gary again 4 30 years we all had nick names mine was trout im sorry i or we never had time to get together i only know in my heart he was a great man i remember the times we had as friends and i will cherish those times im sorry 4 your lose i dont know u but in my heart i feel your pain thats the wrong word i feel your lose only know we were friends u can ask others of me miles and time seperate friends the last time i saw gary it was as if we had never been apart 30 years ago i loved him as my brother and we were we just went different ways in life to his family i say im sorry and if u wish u can call me id like that             778 886 6029       im in canada GOD bless u all garys friend gunnar
~
eric gunnarson,
blaine, Washington



May 29, 2011
Our time shared as baseball dads was much appreciated by me and will always be remembered. Your and Debbie's kindnesses toward Steven are not forgotten. You are missed.
~
Glenn Thompson



May 30, 2011
Gary was there for the lives and deaths of my Great Grandfather, Great grandmother and Great Uncle. He will always be remembered, by me, as a kind, worm hearted Man, who was always there in a time of need.
Thank you for all you've ever done for my Family, Gary. You will be missed by many. We love you.
~
Kayla Kardokus,
Rancho Cordova, California



May 30, 2011
My prayers go out to the family and friends of Gary. I was in Turkey with Gary and played ball with him. Very sad to hear he is gone. God bless him.
~
Dennis Avery,
Litchfield, Michigan



May 30, 2011
Gary, thanks for the memories. The many nights at Crabshaw listening to the 'Skins' will stay with me always.....
~
Norm Longtin,
Omo Ranch, California



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Friday, May 13, 2011

Drugs, Money, and Rock and Roll - Part 1

Yea, yea, yea.  I know it has been over a month since I posted but I was busy!  So now I am posting because I promised...and I don't break promises.  But, since a LOT of shit has been going on, this is going to come in several parts. 

Let's start with the "Drugs" part of this.  If you recall, I was scheduled to have sinus surgery.  Specifically, they were doing a septoplasty and a sinus drainage.  What is a septoplasty you ask?  Essentially it is where you PAY someone to BREAK. YOUR. NOSE.  Yes, I paid someone to break my nose.  Why?  Because the inside was more crooked than Lombard Street in San Francisco and I couldn't breathe properly.  The only way to fix it is to break it and reset it.  Let me just say...Not. Fun.

Then there was the sinus drainage.  I had a horrible sinus infection that was not going away no matter what drugs they gave me so they scraped it out.  Doesn't that sound lovely?  How would you like to have someone scrape your sinuses clean?  Again...Not. Fun. 

Now you may be asking yourself, what does a person look like after they have had this torture procedure done?  Well, wonder no more!

I swear if someone doesn't turn off the lights, I am stabbing them with a rusty fork.

Yes, that means you.
There ya have it.  Two hours after surgery when you are home and laying on the couch, the lights are really, really bright.  If you have ever had a migraine, then you can relate to this kind of light sensitivity.  Hence the sunglasses.  Also note the bright orange earplugs.  Yup, sound sensitivity.  But my favorite part about this whole thing was definitely the face tampon under my nose.  I had to keep that on until my nose "stopped leaking."  Yes, that is the technical term.  I thought it was totally sexy and I just might start a new fashion line with it!  We will even throw in the free goal post drawing on your forehead! 

And then came recovery.  Though the pain was not as bad as I expected, it still hurt pretty bad.  But I had this wonderful prescription called Vicodin.  So I spent 4 days in a drug-induced haze where I slept 16-18 hours a day.  I am also told I tried to sort out some school stuff while drugged up, I tried cooking, and some various other things I do not recall.  What I DO recall is the nausea, dizziness, and pain.  But we will move past that to the point where I ditched the vicodin and its crappy uncomfortable side effects.

Next came functioning in the world WITHOUT the face tampon! 

 Yes, that is a swollen nose and black eye forming.

Oh wait!  You were wondering about that black thing coming out of my nose.

That black thing would be the end of my stitches which are taped to my face.  Don't I look HAWT!!!!
Now when I say I functioned in the world without a face tampon, I use the term "function" loosely.  Essentially it meant sitting up on the couch instead of laying down and occasionally walking around the apartment complex because I was getting cabin fever.  It never ended up more than that because my balance was still off and the dizziness came and went without any warning.  Finally, about a week after surgery, the dizziness and balance issues started resolving.  Shitty Perfect timing considering the next adventure I needed to start dealing with...


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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Learning Who My *Real* Friends Are

Ever thought you knew someone, and then one day you find out they totally aren't who you thought they were?  Ever thought you could count on someone and then when you really needed them, they weren't there?  That was my night last night.  I needed a friend, and I chose to take a chance and call on someone and they weren't there.  Then when they finally showed up, well, lets just say I was disappointed.  A very dear friend is dying and I get to hear about how parts of my life are screwed up.  Yea.  Helpful.  Oh if they only knew all the shit I did for them and the crap I went through. 

Today, I have a migraine, so I went back to bed to take a little nap and I am woken up by a text message from this same person essentially saying I screwed up somehow and I am now written out of their life forever.  Do you think they tell me what it was I did?  No.  Do you think they give me a chance to refute whatever accusation is going on here?  No.  Do you think they respond when I ask what the hell I did this time?  No.

Well guess what.  I don't give a damn anymore.  I do not have the mental or emotional energy to deal with this kind of childish bull shit anymore.  I have more important things in my life to deal with.  I have a husband who was laid off and is looking for a new job.  I have school that is kicking my ass because I am taking double classes right now.  I am having sinus surgery in a week.  I have rheumatoid arthritis that I have to manage without one of my medications because of that surgery.  I have a dear family friend, someone who is family despite the lack of blood relation, who I have known since I was 8, who is dying of lung cancer and may be leaving this world any day now.  I have a best friend who I fear is on the verge of collapse because of all the shit she has going on in her life.  I have my own insecurities and esteem issues to deal with.  So you wanna write me off without telling me what I did?  Fine.  Good riddance.  Have a nice life, cause I don't give a good God damn anymore. 



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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spotlight: Mental Illness

So I came here to write a new post and found out this post, that I wrote 3 weeks ago, never got published.  How the hell did I manage that?  Oh well.  Now you get to see it...three week late...




We all know that my spotlight is always on mental illness and bipolar disorder, but today, one of my favorite blogs is spotlighting mental illness for the entire month of march.  That's right, Aiming Low is shedding light on Mental Illness.  So please take a moment to visit their site.  So far they have addressed many things from depression to schizophrenia.

While you are at it, if you have a hard time understanding illness you can’t see, be it mental illness or something else like Celiac Disease or even cancer, visit this wonderful website and read about “The Spoon Theory.”  It is one of the best explanations I have ever seen and it has brought me closer to both family and friends through its story. 

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

What I Have Learned as a Nanny

So as you may or may not know, I am a nanny.  I take care of this wonderful, adorable toddler who just lights up my day.  I know all the textbook stuff about kids and I even babysat for the longest time, but I had never cared for a child continuously for such long periods nearly every day of the week.  It has been A-MAZ-ING!  Every day I get to watch this little guy discover things I take for granted.  He gets this look on his face like "O.M.G. Miss Alicia!!  Did you see THAT?!?!  That was SO COOL!!!!" 

I have always loved kids and I have always wanted at least three of my own.  Now I am going to school to become a teacher while considering fertility treatments after more than 2 years of trying to get pregnant to no avail.  After this nanny experience, I have learned several things are likely to happen when I become a teacher and parent:

1)  Patience is a virtue
2)  There is nothing more precious in the world than when "the lightbulb" turns on
3)  The quickest way to go from a bad/sad mood to a great mood is to get a smile and hug from a precious child
4)  The quickest way to go from a good mood to a bad mood is to have a chunk of flesh bitten off by that same child
5)  I will get every single little illness the children get and it will be twice as bad as they experienced
6)  Their favorite food for the last 6 months can suddenly hold no interest for no apparent reason
7)  They don't care if your RA is acting up - they still need you to be on top of your game
8)  They grow up waaaaay too fast


And you know what?  I wouldn't trade this experience or my future experiences as a teacher and parent for anything in the world.



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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sand and Sea

Have you ever just been sitting there and suddenly a slew of words pop into your head that you just have to write down?  It has been a long time since that happened to me.  I used to write all the time.  Poetry, short stories, etc.  I never thought much of it was any good, but that's ok.  It feels good to write something.

So today, as I sit here playing with the baby I watch, a slew of words pop into my head.  And for some strange reason, I feel like embarrassing myself by sharing this latest one with you.  Be nice.  My feelings get hurt easily.  ;)


Sand and Sea, February 17, 2011

My world is crashing down around me
It's laying at my feet
Little grains of sand washing out from under me

The more I try to hold it tight
The quicker my world flees
Like water through my fingertips
Or wind blowing the leaves

But even as my world seems
to fall into the sea
It don't fear the future
As long as you're by me


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Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day - Don't Be Lazy Big Spender

Today is Valentine's Day.  Florists, confectioners, and gift companies make millions of dollars on this day - all in the name of love.  And you know what?  I hate it. 

I know most people who don't like Valentine's Day are single people.  I used to be that single person who hated Valentine's Day and swore the only reason it existed was so people in relationships could rub it in the face of single people, but now I am married to one of the most caring, understanding men I have ever met.  And guess what...I still don't like Valentine's Day.  Want to know why?  If you don't, then go away.  Otherwise, read on!  hehe.

Now, let me begin by saying I fully support the idea behind Valentine's Day as a day to celebrate love, but the intentions are not always so good now.  I could say the main reason I don't like Valentine's Day is because of what corporate America has done to the holiday.  What was once a celebration of love is now an excuse for retailers to try and steal our wallets and pummel us with what they think Valentine's Day should look like - filled with expensive jewelry and chocolate. 

Like I said, I could say that was the main reason I don't like today.  But my dislike goes to a more emotional level.  Blame it on the Pisces in me.  My great dislike for this day actually goes to the celebration of love and relationships. Yes, yes.  I can hear you now.  "But Alicia, you just said you fully support the idea behind Valentine's Day as a day to celebrate love."  That is correct, I do.  However, this day has made us lazy.  Now that there is an "official" day to show you love someone, we seem to forget we should show we care all year long. 

We all do the obligatory "I love you" as we walk out the door for work or errands or whatever, but how often do you stop and really say it like you mean it?  How often do you look the person in the eye and say it the way you really feel it?  How often do you buy your significant other a card that says you care?  How often do you bring them even a single flower?  And how many women believe that it is all the responsibility of the man to do this stuff?  Guess what girls.  You Are WRONG!!  That's right, guys like to know you really care too.  Sure, a card or flower might seem cheesy to give to a guy, but if you do it in private, even the "manliest" man will appreciate the intention behind it.

And while we are going down this path, there is one more thing.  Who the hell said that showing you cared required spending money?  Does the guy who gives a $500 necklace really love his woman more than the guy who just makes breakfast in bed or prepares a nice home-cooked dinner by candlelight because that is all they can afford?  Hell no.  In fact, I think that says way more than some damn necklace.  Something that has some thought put into it that you couldn't just pick up at the store on the way home is much nicer. 

So what did we learn today?

Valentine's Day shouldn't be a once a year deal.  Show how much you care all throughout the year. 
You don't have to spend money to say I love you and make your significant other feel all warm and fuzzy.
Girls - It's not all about you!  Guys need to know you care too!  Pull the stick out of your ass.

And to my Valentine, my family, and my friends, I love you with every fiber of my being.  Thank you for being mine.


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Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's Not Our Fault You Make Us Crazy

My dear husband sent me a link to a text picture today.  I wonder if it was just supposed to be amusing or if he was trying to tell me something indirectly.


My conclusion:  He is trying to tell me that I over think things too much.

My advice to him and all other men out there:  If you just tell us you missed the 2 foot putt and can't figure out why, we might not act quite so crazy.  No guarantees though.




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Friday, February 4, 2011

Blessings

Every now and then, something happens that reminds you exactly how blessed you are.  The last week has been such a moment for me.  See, I live in Arizona.  Wonderful, warm, dry Arizona where my joints don't ache as often and my depressions are fewer in between.  However, the last week, we have experienced record low temperatures and freaking freezing winds...literally.  The lows for the last two nights were 18 degrees and 15 degrees (depending on what part of Tucson you live in).  Windchill hovered close to 0 degrees.  Well, Tucson just isn't used to this so it seems like every building has a busted water pipe or two.  Businesses have been closed due to lack of water and tens of thousands of people no longer have heat because of a natural gas shortage.

And yet I still consider myself blessed.  Why?  First, because I have a home that I can hide from the cold in.  Second, I am not one of the tens of thousands without heat.  Third, I am not one of the many with busted water pipes.  Fourth, my bed is oh so warm.  Fifth, my rheumatoid is only just now starting to scream at me (I expected it days ago).  And last but certainly not least, I won't be digging out of snow and ice for the next two weeks like the rest of the nation.  Bwahahahaha!  :P

Please know that even though I count my blessings, I pray for all those who don't have food, shelter, heat, etc., and I pray that all those who have to deal with the snow and ice stay safe and warm.


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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pieces of Me and You

Ever thought you knew someone, then something happened that made you question that friendship?  You want to believe, and in a way you do, but then there is that doubt stuck in the back of your mind that you just can't shake. 

That's where I am at right now.  I don't know what to believe anymore.  All I know is my feelings are hurt, my heart aches, and my spirit feels broken.  See, I don't call people friends lightly.  If you are a friend, I care about you, and your words can hurt me easily.  If you are an acquaintance, I wouldn't give a second thought to this crap.  And yet, I still want to believe, but to believe would mean two opposite realities exist.  So someone is lying, I don't know who, and it's breaking my heart because the only thing that hurts worse than being honest with me and hurting my feelings, is being lied to and not trusting me to forgive.


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Monday, January 31, 2011

Words can harm and words can save. What will your words do today?

The last 4 or 5 days have been a crazy roller coaster.  Many words were exchanged and now they are all circling through my head, cycling around and around.  My family calls it spinning.  See, we are good at getting something stuck in our head and then spinning it out of control.  We are the only ones I know that can make a stubbed toe turn into homelessness and death for ourselves and the ones we love.  I could explain the logic, but that is another post. 

The point is that it's this crazy snowball effect that we really have no control over.  So there have been words I have said that have caused hurt, pain, and confusion, but I have also said words that calm, heal, and bring happiness and laughter.  I have received the same in return.  Some words said to me (or around me) have caused hurt or confusion, and others have caused gratefulness and happiness. 

The problem is too often we all say words without completely thinking the thoughts through.  We don't think about what our words can do to a person.  And now I sit here, spinning in my head, asking myself questions that I don't have answers for.  Worrying, wondering, even if I did have the answers, what words would I choose to express them?


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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Coming Out

If you have followed my blog for any significant amount of time or you have gone through the past posts, you know the main purpose of this blog is to help erase the negative stigma associated with mental illness and Bipolar in particular.  However, there is another message that is incredibly important. 

If you are experiencing depression, anxiety, mania, or anything else that just doesn't feel right mentally and emotionally, there is absolutely no shame in getting help.  Speak up.  Speak out.  As Jenny, The Bloggess, reminded me this morning as I read through one of her most recent posts (I got behind), your friends and family would rather have a broken, bed-ridden you than no you at all.  "Your friends and family want you…broken or not.  Don’t leave.  Speak out.  Be honest about your condition to let others know that they can be honest with theirs. Together we’ll get through it." 

So for those who love you, read Jenny's post, then *speak out* because you're wanted in their life.

For Jenny, and Lori (a wonderful lady in Jenny's post), and for everyone else who suffers in silence:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Can One Letter Really Make a Difference? Uh...yea.

It has been a while since I've posted so I figured now is as good a time as any, and what better topic than boobs!  That's right, boobs.  Even better, I am going to talk about my boobs!  Or rather, bitch about them.  Why you ask?  Simple.  Because they have made my life more difficult lately. 

See, I am a fairly well-endowed woman.  No, you don't get to see pictures.  For the last, oh, I dunno, decade I have been a DD cup.  Also known as Double-Dang boobs.  For a long time, I hated them.  With a passion.  They get in the way, they cause horrible back pain, shopping for shirts is a royal pain, and bathing suits?  Forget it.  People and objects run into them  and people stare at them.  I swore if I ever had the money, I would get a reduction.  Then somewhere in the last 3 or 4 years, my attitude shifted.

Now I love my boobs...usually...because there are so many women out there who wish they had boobs like mine.  I figured rather than hate them, I should be thankful for what I have.  Embrace them.  Nurture them.  And find clothes and bathing suits that  flatter them.  No easy task, mind you.  But I had adapted and grown to love them.  Yes, I now LOVE my boobs.  My big, beautiful boobs. 

But now, I am a little irritated with them again.  Why?  Because apparently they decided to grow again over the last several months.  That's right.  I am now a DDD.  Fan-freaking-tastic.  The thought really didn't bother me at first because I figured I dealt with them before, I can deal with them now.  Until I went bra shopping.

See, bra shopping was always an adventure because there is always a very limited selection of DD bras in my favorite stores.  I discovered when I went in search of DDD bras that none of my favorite stores carry any of that size in store.  N.O.N.E.  Queue long list of swear words.  Even Victoria's Secret failed me!!!  Just when I was about to blow a gasket, I called my mother who always has the answers.  She told me to check the higher end department stores like Macy's.  Ugh, I hate that place.  But guess what.  As usual, mom was right...again.

While their selection wasn't anything to throw a party over, I was able to find several bras that fit properly and didn't look like my grandmother should be wearing them.  So now my beautiful, big, fantastic boobs have limited me to one, single store for bra shopping...or online.  Bra shopping online just doesn't seem right.


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Friday, January 14, 2011

Most People with Mental Illness are NOT Violent

 I received a message from a friend today about a statement that the U.S. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (USPRA) supposedly issued.  While I cannot confirm the statement came from them (it is not listed in their Press Releases on the website), I believe it is good for everyone to read because it is so very true.

If you know me in more than passing or you read this blog, you know that I have bipolar disorder.  I am not ashamed of it and I don't try to hide it from people.  In fact, I try to spread awareness of mental illness because I fight a negative stigma of mental illness every day.  No matter who wrote this statement, I hope it makes at least one or two people think twice before immediately passing judgment on someone they find out has a mental illness.

I highlighted my favorite parts.  Here is the message:



USPRA Issues Statement on Tucson Shooting January 13, 2011

The US Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association released the following statement in reaction to Saturday’s Tucson shooting in Arizona:

In wake of Tucson’s tragic shooting that shook America over the past weekend, we wish Congresswoman Giffords and the 13 other wounded indivi...duals a speedy recovery, and our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those whose lives were impacted by this act of horrific violence.

With such senseless acts, we often search for someone or something to blame. The assassination attempt on Congresswoman Giffords has generated considerable speculation around the mental condition of the suspected shooter, which has heightened the stigma associated with mental illness. We must remember that there is a weak link between mental illness and violence. According to SAHMSA, nearly five percent of the US population suffers from a mental illness resulting in serious functional impairment, but only a very small group of individuals with mental health issues shows any violent behavior. Most people with mental illnesses are not violent, and most people who are violent are not mentally ill.

While we have no way of knowing whether or not our nation’s mental health system failed this individual, the Tucson tragedy should spotlight mental health policy & the provision of mental health services as a national priority. The best strategy to providing individuals with mental illnesses the assistance they need is to have an accessible system of care that is easy to use. However, because the majority of mental health services are delivered through public systems, these are usually the first programs to be cut in a state budget when money runs short. More socially accepted diseases like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other physical illnesses don’t experience the same inconsistencies, yet funding for mental health programs seems to fall to the cutting room floor year after year.

In light of the Tucson shooting, we must also increase awareness of the need for mental health services within schools and colleges. The Mental Health on Campus Improvement Act attempted to increase accessibility to a range of mental and behavioral health services for students—including a focus on prevention, identification and treatment of students in college and university settings—but failed to gain any traction in the last two Congresses. We must realize that only by providing resources for prevention and outreach programs, can we ensure that students can obtain the support they need in order to recover and re-establish themselves in the community.

USPRA hopes that this tragic event brings the essential mental health system reforms that we so need in our nation and we will continue our responsibility to urge legislators to effectively address the needs of individuals with mental illness.


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