Monday, December 3, 2012

The Power of Negative Self Talk

I've been thinking about writing this post for a while, and I usually sit and hammer out a post all in one go as part of a therapeutic purging but this one I think might take time. We'll see.

I want to talk about the incredible power that your self talk has over your self image. Because I don't think I can understate the incredible difference that this has made in my life. And its still new for me but I want to share because it has been such a change for good, that I can't not share what I've learned with those I love. Ya know?

Some definitions before we start so we're all on the same page. Self talk is the things you say to or about yourself and how you say them. You can say them out loud or in your head, it doesn't matter, they have power either way. These things can be good or bad. And sometimes its not immediately obvious which category they fall under b/c as a society we tend to be fond of self deprecating humor, but that too is often dangerous. I'll talk more on this in a bit.

Self Image is how you see yourself. This includes both your mental image of yourself and what you see when you look in the mirror (which is not usually what is really there but can be strongly altered by the filter of your self image). Some one who is depressed is liable to have a very negative self image and what they see when they look in the mirror might be very accurate on the negative end of the spectrum but they can't see any of the good that others see. Other mental illness such as eating disorders can warp your perspective so badly that while they might look like a holocaust survivor to anyone else, but when they look in the mirror all they can see is a fat person. Literally. Some one with Narcissistic Personality Disorder would look in the same mirror and see only good things (possibly far more good things than are actually there) and none of the bad.

I think one of the healthier goals you can have in life is to have a fairly accurate and overall positive self image.

I'm also going to pull the terms Pride and Self Esteem and in my usage they're not going to be the same thing. Self Esteem is positive self pride - for example - when you are rightly glad and proud of yourself for the good things that you have done and for the accurate evaluation of your own strengths. Its a good thing to have good self esteem. You want to have positive self worth.

Pride in my usage is akin to arrogance and over statement of your own achievements. You fail to recognize the support that others give you in your tasks. Everything you do is good and perfect and wonderful and you did it all by yourself and others should kiss your grits.

Negative Self Esteem is what happens when you feel worthless because you fail to recognize the good and give credit to yourself.

And now I'm going to share w/ you an image that I slaved over in photoshop that, sadly, came as something of a revelation to me in my early 20s. Because somehow I got it into my head as a teenager that there were only two options:

If you said good things about yourself, then you were arrogant and stuck up. And I had been horribly bullied by arrogant, stuck up girls so I desperately didn't want to be like them so I avoided saying anything nice about myself at all costs.

This was bad (also wrong).

The reality is that its a spectrum. There are 3 options and not just two. And like most things, swinging too far in either direction is a bad thing but theres a happy place somewhere in the middle that you want to aim for where life is good. With out further ado here it is:

Aren't you amazed at how beautifully colored and detailed that chart is? I know its amazing. lol. But ya know what? It works great to illustrate my point. Its a spectrum and I've discovered that not only can you say nice things to yourself and about yourself with out becoming one of "Those" people, you SHOULD say nice things to and about yourself because its healthy and does good things for you.

Ya know for years in Psych I read about and was taught about the power of positive and negative self talk. And somehow I just didn't think that really applied to me. Yes, in this one area I had rocks in my head but the good news is that I have learned.

I used to have horrible self esteem and an even worse self image. Looking in the mirror used to reduce me to tears. Literally. When I looked in the mirror all I could see was someone grotesquely obese (regardless of my actual size at the time) and borderline deformed in the face. I couldn't see a single positive thing and all I could see were all the horrible imperfections and it seemed the longer I stared at them the more pronounced the deformation.

And the things I said to myself and about myself were even worse. It started when I was in middle school and people called me an arrogant bitch because I was intelligent and wouldn't let people copy off my papers (because I felt it was morally wrong and I didn't want to be a sinner).

People said I talked funny. (The clearest I could get anybody to elaborate on what it was I was doing wrong, so I could try to fix it, was that it was my vocabulary and I had no idea how to fix that.) But I learned quickly that if I made fun of myself first - that self deprecating humor I mentioned earlier - then it diffused the situation and they laughed with me instead of at me. It was survival in the horrible school I was in (I was living in the ghetto and my name was "Hey White Girl" for a few years). And like many survival skills for horrible situations - they might save your life then but applied to normal life, are terribly unhealthy.

Then we moved and I hit puberty and now because I had boobs and hips when none of my peers did, they called me fat and I learned to apply self deprecating humor to that as well.

I have a pet theory that this is why so many fat comics commit suicide. Because they too learned that if they made fun of their weight before others did that they could avoid being laughed AT and instead be laughed WITH. But they, like me, didn't realize the terrible price of that humor...

The problem, that I didn't realize at the time, is that long term - I believed it. I started to believe I really was stupid and fat. It happened so slowly I didn't notice but it did happen.

By the time I was in high school, I was seriously considering an eating disorder as a viable weight loss option because I was so unhappy with how I looked. Even when I lost weight and was dang near perfect in my proportions (in hindsight) I still thought I was fat. I compared myself to the other girls and because I wasn't perfect, I was worthless.

And that is more or less how I thought until college. And there a few wonderful roommates and companions on my mission taught me the revolutionary new thoughts that "Chubby girls get married too" and "Anybody who doesn't want you because of how you look, isn't the kind of person you want to be with anyways" and "Just because you're not perfect doesn't mean you're worthless".

Those might sound like "Duh" statements to you, (and I sincerely hope thats the case) but sadly, for me they were revolutionary.

And then I met Adam. And for what he has taught me in this area I will forever be thankful. Because prior to getting married to him I avoided all negative self talk in his presence (okay maybe more like 90% of the time I managed to keep it hidden) b/c I loved the way he saw me and I didn't want to point out all the things wrong w/ me in case I managed to convince him of them and he'd lose interest...

So when we got married and he started hearing more of it (harder to hide things from people you live with) his response was thusly: "Hey!! Nobody gets to talk smack about my wife! Not even my wife!"  lol. It made me smile and it seemed to truly, deeply bother him when ever I did it so I made a conscious effort to avoid negative self talk aloud in his presence.

And sometimes the difference was subtle. Instead of going "Omg, I am so stupid!" (which would get me in trouble lol), I could say "Oh man, I had a stupid!" (Which he also objected to initially and I pointed out, that no I'm not stupid in general, but in this one decision was a poor choice etc etc).

Doesn't sound like much of a difference but I started to notice a change in the feeling. When I would call myself stupid, it didn't feel nice. It was a pang in my chest. But when I would say "Oh man, I can't believe I had that stupid moment", I didn't get that bad feeling. I like avoiding bad feelings so I kept it up. I even started to watch how I worded things in my own head.

Then I realized I was going to be having children and that I desperately didn't want them to learn my bad self image habits from me (because "Do what I say and not what I do" has never yet proven to be an effective parenting technique). And, this sounds silly, but I learned I couldn't look at myself in the mirror with out a barrage of negative thoughts. So I avoided it. Unless I'm doing my hair or make up, or just checking to make sure I look okay before walking out the door, I didn't look in the mirror.

It was kind of a "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" and since staring at myself in the mirror naked lead to involuntary negative thoughts (not that I made a habit out of that or anything, just more, I catch sight of myself after say a shower and go "OMG!" and then stare for a few minutes at what I felt was a train wreck and poke and prod and jiggle and catologue all the parts I hated... you wanna talk about powerful negative reinforcement....). But so because I couldn't look with out bad thoughts, I made sure I avoided looking.

And I did this for probably a year or so. I'm not sure exactly. I still find its not advisable for me to stare. Its much healthier for me to only check out my weight loss progress in the mirror with clothing ON. And to make sure to ridgidly control my thoughts. "Yes this does not look how I would like it to look, BUT it does look better than it did before and that is positive". I also make sure I include at least one positive for every negative to try to keep balance.

And something miraculous started to happen. After I'd do my make up and look in the mirror, instead of wincing and going "Well thats as good as its going to get", I'd actually look in the mirror, wince free and think "I actually look pretty decent!" I even got so far as thinking I looked pretty.

Then another little miracle happened. I posted a bunch of headshots to FB for opinions from friends (I needed a new profile pic for work) and an old friend of mine who is gifted with photoshop took one and played around with it. She sent me a copy and apologized and hoped I didn't mind.

And no, no I didn't mind one little bit.

In fact I stared at this image for weeks afterwards (which sounds incredibly vain now that I write it but I swear its not) just because I was so shocked that that girl in the picture was ME and she was beautiful. I had never put myself and the word beautiful together in a sentence. I was pretty, maybe, with make up. But I'd never be so arrogant as to call myself beautiful. But that was the only word I felt was accurate for that picture. I think it helps A LOT that the pencil-sketch like quality of the picture means you only see the features themselves and not any imperfections in the skin or circles under the eyes. You just see the features that are very pleasant.

But either way it was the start of a recognition of the revolution that had happened with out my hardly even noticing. I discovered that I actually liked myself, that I could look in a mirror and LIKE what I saw there and that while I don't look like I want to look like, in terms of "I'd like to be skinnier because I want to be healthy", I don't hate or punish myself for not looking like I should.

And I credit it to my positive self talk. Its important people. Don't ever, ever call yourself dumb or stupid or ugly. Never. Not even for a joke. You might have made a stupid decision or made an ugly face but you yourself are not stupid or fat or ugly.

So please, start today. Resolve to never, ever say bad things about yourself. Not even in your own head. It hurts. Even if it seems silly or frivolous, I thought Adam was full of it and I only stopped abusing myself to keep the peace in our house but I cannot understate the powerful positive impact this has made in my life.

Self abuse robbed me of the energy I need to accomplish things, don't let it steal your joy and your energy. You can have positive self esteem with out being prideful. Be accurate and fair to yourself. I am not fat. I have weight I would like to lose so that I can be healthier. I am not stupid tho I occasionally make stupid decisions but I can learn from those and not do them again.

(For the record, this took a couple weeks to write).

Friday, November 16, 2012

I feel better now

I just wanted to apologize to anybody who actually read my last post. I blame the hor-moan-ies. (No pun intended, Im trying to capture the pronunciation from My Big Fat Greek Wedding).

The good news is sometimes you just have to hit bottom, have a pity party and cry for a bit to get your husbands attention. LOL

After a long talk w/ the Hub, we then both jumped in and did some cleaning including moving the filing cabinet to its new home (where it is INFINITELY more functional and accessible) and then my Wonderful and Amazing Husband took it upon himself to do some cleaning in the kitchen/dining room AND catch up on the bulk of the filing backlog in that room.

Its a frickin miracle. He cleared over half the floor AND counter space. You can see my kitchen counters, floors and kitchen table ALL at the same time!! Really!

So that has helped me to feel infinitely better about life and I even managed to get ALL THREE COATS of acrylic varnish sealer stuff on the book cases and shelves so they are all set out to dry and cure up and then we'll be able to throw the bookcases together FINALLY which will empty out that back bedroom nicely in time for my folks to come stay for Christmas.

Life is definitely looking up.

Its a miracle.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I'm in a bad mood

Do you ever just hate your house and think there is no way in hell you are ever going to get this disgusting pit of filth clean?

Cuz that's where I am at right now. I am never going to manage to get this god awful hell hole clean. I'm entirely ready to just pile everything up in the yard, light a match and just start over. I think I will manage to reach my goal weight before I manage to conquer this mess.

I don't even want to try any more because in order to actually fix it I will have to do major gut and purge work and while I do that my back will be turned on the rest of the filth that will breed with abandon while I'm not looking. And gut and purge work always generates terrifying mess while its in process anyways and I think if this gets much worse we won't actually be able to move and the health department may actually shut us down.

And I have to conquer it bc my parents are coming for Christmas and there's no where for them to stay atm bc we have succeeded in covering every effing flat surface (save most of the floor but gimme one more week there...) with crap, crap and more crap.

And it just makes me angry and I want to throw things and smash things and I'm not usually the destructive type but right now I feel like I'm up against Goliath alone and with my hubby and kid and 3 cats are workin their hardest to generate as much filth as possible to undermine the ground I'm standing on.

And for some reason I'd really rather read a book or sleep right now than deal with my life.

I wish I could have my mommy here to help me dig my way out of this pit bc she loves me and really wouldn't judge me like I deserve to be judged for lettin my house get this bad. Anybody else would judge me and they'd be right to do so.

Times like now I envy my sister her anxiety disorder. She freaks out/stresses out like this and she had to clean everything. I get stressed and just want to curl up in my little stress ball fetal position and hide. Either way I would feel like shit but at least I could feel like shit in a clean house and that seems to bring her some measure of comfort instead of me just adding to my problems.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Problem With Fiction

See this is why my reading new fiction is dangerous. I almost never have this problem with non fic no matter how fascinating it is. But when it comes to good fiction... I lack... Middle gears. Even if I do manage I tell myself to go to bed, and put the book down, my brain still won't let me sleep. I Know. What happens NEXT. I'm like one of those animals with lock jaw that latches on to something and can't let go for love or money.

If I didn't have plans I can't easily weasel out of tomorrow I'd just say screw it and stay up all night but I need sleep and so I'm layin here, futilely trying to sleep and failing miserably.

And this is why I reread old books. They're safer that way. I can actually put them down (usually, provided its not the good part) when I need to and get my brain back from them. I don't latch on like a limpet. I can moderate. But tonight it was this or cake and I had 52.8 running through my head so I chose this.

Maybe telling you about it will sufficiently exorcise my demons and I will sleep. Also I'm typing this via the blogger mobile app on my phone an not proof reading so we apologize in advance.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Oh the Profanity


So I made the mistake of indulging in some morbid curiosity and did some math this afternoon. I've been doing Weight Watchers for a little over a year now and I wonder how much weight I'd actually lost, not counting the weight I've gained back occasionally when I have a stupid and stop tracking for a while.

Because I mean I know reached 25 lbs below my starting weight at one point but I've gained some back. It was my fault. I stopped tracking and started doing emotional eating and thats like taking an alcoholic to a bar. I swear I'll be okay, it will just be one drink and then 8 pounds later I go, "Oh CRAP!" and start getting serious again. I tell myself its okay, I just need to forgive myself and move on. At least I'm lighter than I was before, yada yada yada.

But I'm really kind of annoyed with myself at the moment because I have gained and lost the same 8 pounds THREE TIMES NOW. And its all my fault. Weight Watchers is a totally livable program. I can absolutely do this. The problem is that I get lazy or stressed or whatever and I stop tracking my points. I tell myself its okay, I know what I'm doing now. I'll keep track in my head. Its just for today. Then today turns into a week, and a week turns into 3 weeks and then I finally break down and face the scale and its bad.

I, Ami, am addicted to food and I cannot control my eating with out help. Seriously.

So even though I hit 25 lbs below my starting weight, I'm sitting at more like 18 pounds below starting at the moment.

And I was curious - how much weight have I lost total? Not including the gain backs? So I looked it up  on my weight trackers. I figured it would probably be in the mid 30 pound range, right? Sounds reasonable. Not too bad.

Oh no. 52.8 pounds. Thats right. You read that right. In the last 14 months I have lost a total of fifty-two-point-fricking-eight POUNDS. And what do I have to show for it??! 18 pounds and some change.

Thats it.

Oh. my. God.

I would be well over a third of the way to goal weight. Almost half way to my goal weight if I hadn't taken those little binge holidays. OVER A THIRD OF THE WAY.

I have worked my butt off to lose over 52.8 pounds and I only have 18.6 pounds to show for it because I lack the consistency and dedication and HUMILITY to admit I cannot control myself and I have to track my points because with out accountability I will screw up. Hell you'd think I would have got the message when I was staring down the barrel at 300 pounds and decided to start doing Weight Watchers because clearly I don't know how to feed myself with out gaining weight! But no, I clearly lack real conversion to that principle because otherwise I'd have 52.8 pounds to show for it and not 18 pounds.

So that means while I lost 52.8 pounds, I've gained 34.2 of it BACK. And I didn't do it all at once. I'd lose 10 pounds gain back 2. Lose 6 pounds, gain back 1. Lose 9.5 pounds, gain back .5. Lose 3 pounds and gain back 6.

52.8 pounds!!!!

REALLY. I could be THAT MUCH LIGHTER RIGHT NOW. I could have FIVE of those lovely 10 pounds lost ribbons on my board in the kitchen instead of the 2 I do have. OMG.

I'm in shock. Can you tell?! I'm good old fashioned flabbergasted!! HOLEY-CHIT MAN!!

52.8 pounds!!! 52.8 POUNDS! FIFTY-two-point-eight POUNDS!!! O. M. G.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

My Thoughts on the Missionary Age Change

So today was the first day of General Conference (Mormonese Translation: General Conference is a big shindig the church throws twice a year in April and October, where they gather all the bigwigs together and have a big two day long conference, 5 different sessions, 2 hours each and you hear talks from all the current Apostles and the Prophet and his counselors plus an assortment of other church big wigs. Its broadcast world wide and is generally a big frickin' deal for the Mormon folks).

And generally if theres going to be any sort of big announcement it happens at the Saturday Morning session of Conference.

And today there was a BIG announcement!!

You can read it there but basically they've lowered the ages of the missionaries. Previously you had to be 19 for young men or 21 for young women to serve. Well that's changed. Now it is 18 for young men and 19 for young women.

And I think this is flat out the awesome sauce. And let me tell you why. Some of this makes sense to anybody, some of this only makes sense if you understand the strange world that is Utah Mormon Culture (which is its very own little funky thing).

For the guys lowering the age to 18 is great for those who are ready. You don't have to go right at 18 if you're not prepared or whatever but for those who are ready it means you don't have to go, get started on your first year of college, finally get everything all straightened out and then drop out, move home and leave for 2 years on a mission. That can really put a kink in your academics (but I can testify from personal experience that if the Lord wants you to serve it will all work out regardless but it does add to the anxiety and makes the planning more complex). So now the guys, as soon as they graduate high school can just go straight out into the mission field instead of going to school for one year, THEN going on a mission.

That's nice.

But what I'm really, really excited about is the age drop for the sisters. See they've always had the sisters be older, mostly b/c it helps to keep relationships in the field "mission appropriate" if the sisters are older. (FYI: There is NO dating whatsoever as a missionary. None.) But see one could argue that 21 was perfect b/c that way most of the girls can finish college and THEN serve. Nice right?

Except for this nagging cultural bit of STUPIDITY (I'm callin' it like it is people): If you go out on your mission at age 21, you get home at age 23. And at age 23, in Utah, one of my former roommates had her 6 year old niece come up to her and ask, "Aunt Maggie*, Why are you an Old Maid?" (I would like to note here that Aunt Maggie decided shortly after that experience that it was time to leave Utah and move to Texas where people aren't so very..... Utarded). So yeah. Women in Utah get home from their missions at age 23 and are instant old maids! (Yes I am well aware that the average age for a first marriage for a woman in this country is 27. Utah is weird. Welcome to the dark side of Mormon-Land. Please note this is the culture NOT the doctrine.)

And see what REALLY bugs me about that is that in our culture the common preference is for men to date/marry women their same age or younger. Its increasing in cultural acceptance (see the "Cougar" phenomenon) but its still not the norm. Especially among the Mormon crowd, where probably the most famous tradition (please note tongue in cheek) is this:

Girl and Boy Date and Fall in Love -> Boy goes on Mission and Girl Promises to "Wait For Him" -> Shortly into Mission Boy receives the infamous "Dear John Letter". Girl marries some Hot New RM (Return Missionary). Boy is heartbroken -> Boy finishes Mission, comes home. Finds some sweet YOUNG thing (Who is also "Waiting For Her Missionary"), woos her, wins her and leads her to break some other poor shmucks heart with a "Dear John Letter" and thus the circle continues.

Note if she's "waiting for her missionary" odds are she is between the ages of 18 and 21 (b/c the boys all go at 19 and get home at 21). See now how 23 year old single sister fits awkwardly into this picture. Most of her 23 year old peers at home already have 2-3 children by this point.

And you wanna know the saddest part of it? Those 23 year old "Old Maids" are the fricking cream of the crop. I mean no disrespect to those who don't serve but it is truly amazing the depth of knowledge and testimony you gain as a missionary. That's WHY they send the guys. One could argue that its for the Work of God but lets be honest- a big part of it is to get their moronic twerpy stage over with in a hurry.

In my experience most 18-19 year old guys are twerps. (I am actually quoting my Mission President's Wife here...) And left to their own devices they don't grow out of that until they're 25-30. But a mission is just this incredible thing that if you work, and study and teach and pray and really give your mission your all... It is the greatest refiners fire and when you're done you have Men (and Women) of God.

And these sisters.... I can't think of a better preparation to be a Mother. I have 18 months of serious experience teaching the gospel that I know will help me teach my children. I've learned how to work and study and have the Spirit with my companion. When you get a companion as a missionary - its a complete stranger and you get thrown together for at least 6 weeks and you have to figure out how to get a long with no tension whatsoever so that you can effectively do the work of the Lord. That can be quite a challenge if your personalities are.... less compatible. Its fantastic prep for learning how to work and communicate and study and pray with your Eternal Companion (aka Your Spouse).

So these AMAZING sisters who you would think the guys would be LINING UP for a date with them, often take YEARS after their mission to find their spouse, largely b/c "They're Older".

How stupid is that?!

Oh and lots and LOTS of sisters just plain don't get to go b/c they get married long before they got anywhere near 21 and could even think about praying about, "Should I go on a mission?". But now they're 19. The guys have been gone for a year so hopefully some of the hormones have cleared their heads and now they get the chance to really pray, "Am I supposed to go?"

Its more complicated for sisters than it is for most guys. For most guys, since the 70s or so the standard has been, "Every worthy and able young man should serve a mission." But for sisters, not all of us are called. And yes if they're supposed to stay home and get married straight away that will still happen but I just think it will be easier and more sisters will be able to serve.

And that is just so fricking exciting. And I am so happy for them. And jealous really. My father called me and was like, "Wow, only 15 years and Caleb can serve a mission!" And my Mom started to scold him for stressing me out and ya know... that thought doesn't stress me. I want him to go with my whole heart. The thought of him getting married and leaving my house, that stresses me, but a mission? I'm just excited and crazy jealous.

Because I loved my mission. I absolutely did not want to come home. I missed my family but that was it. If I could have still seen my family regularly as a missionary they would never have gotten me to leave. I will still resolutely say that it was flat out, hands down, the single best thing I have ever done FOR my whole life. And I'm so grateful for the chance to serve and if it wasn't for my family now I'd be beating down the door for them to let me serve again. I still dream about it actually.

So yeah. Just my two cents. I'm sorry if it really sounds like I've got the hate on for the Utah Mormons. They're okay, mostly. Just certain cultural quirks make me twitchy.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Colloquial vs Technical

I'm gonna go off on a little wild hair thats been buggin me for a bit here (and please keep in mind I'm still semi loopy from the muscle relaxer I took LAST NIGHT) and that is when people confuse/freak out over colloquial vs technical usage of terminology.

B/c see the nagging thing about language is that a word ultimately means what the user thinks it means, in their head, when they say it.

Read that last line twice to make sure you got it. Yes one could argue (rightly) that what a word means is whatever it is defined as meaning in a dictionary. Except see dictionaries change over time (The Oxford English Dictionary is the awesome sauce for this reason b/c it not only tracks what the word means now but what it USED to mean and when the meaning changed. Very important.) and the dictionaries change to reflect current usage. And some people seriously get their panties in a twist when some body gets the current (colloquial) usage wrong vs the technical (current dictionary version) usage or even visa versa.

Personally I think both usages are valid and you have to know your audience and the context they're being used for to know which version to go with.

Abstract rambling I know but here let me give you some examples:

Shoe Fetish

I like to say I have a "Shoe Fetish" (or at least I did before I screwed up my ankle and had to start wearing shoes for comfort and not looks). Now TECHNICALLY the term "Shoe Fetish" implies that I get off on shoes, sexually speaking. You periodically hear stories in the news about freaky little men who break into their coworkers apartments to steal shoes and they find them in some little apartment attic somewhere with 2000 stolen worn shoes that they just have to have for sexual reasons. Ew.

This is NOT what I mean when I say I have a "Shoe Fetish". I purposefully abuse the technical term (for the sake of humor) and go with the colloquial usage which has come to mean "I really love shoes! They make me giddy happy when I find a new pair ON SALE!!".

Most people understand that this is what I mean when I say the term "Shoe Fetish" and they go "OOOOh me too!" and I only occasionally get crap from the more technically minded (usually male) individuals. And I've learned to judge my listener and I can usually tell if they'll be okay with the "Shoe Fetish" term (and find it humorous) OR if I should go "Ohhh I seriously love shoes" just so I don't get that, "Ewwww you freak" look from somebody.

Antisocial vs Asocial

Similarly my husband is forever getting bent when somebody "misuses" the term "Antisocial". My husband is a strictly technical person. I periodically have to calm him down about this and I've found telling him "Its okay Sheldon" (The Big Bang Theory reference. If you don't get it, go start watching immediately after reading this post), helps him get a grip on things and take a deep breath.

Because see the colloquial usage says "Antisocial" when what they really mean is "Asocial". Technically. Because "Asocial" means somebody who is just not social. I.e. a homebody, someone with few or no friends who doesn't get out much and dislikes large groups (you could also describe them as introverts). But most people don't use "Asocial" to mean that (it is kind of a weird, if accurate, term). Most people use the term "Antisocial" to describe such a person.

Except in psychology Asocial vs Antisocial are two very different things. An Antisocial person is somebody more like the Joker in Batman Begins. Violent, aggressive, with no regard for the feelings of others or societal norms. They might really like large groups of people but mostly so they have an audience full of victims.... Colloquially this type of behavior usually gets termed "Psychopath" but that term may or may not encompass this set of behaviors depending on which dictionary you're looking at.

Confused yet? I know.

So basically, I tell him that YES "Asocial" is the correct term. However, the general populace doesn't KNOW this term and doesn't get the difference. So for clarity's sake if I'm speaking to a group of lay people I will use the term "Antisocial". If I'm speaking to a group of psychologists I'll use the term "Asocial" and ya know what, one could argue in both situations I'm using the right terminology, because its the one that my audience can understand.

Mentally Retarded

Now this one irritates me b/c some people don't get the difference between the colloquial usage and the technical term. They assume they are one in the same. And they are NOT.

For example: If you call some one a "retard", this is a derogatory term synonymous with "Stupid".

One could argue that usage of the word "retard" as a derogatory term is cruel to people who are actually "mentally retarded" and while they are probably right, at least personally, thats not what I mean. I would never, ever call an actual mentally retarded person a "retard". I generally reserve that term for a high functioning individual who is choosing to be an idiot. Its a fine distinction and probably means I'm a bad person and I should probably abandon its usage all together but it slips out occasionally, so there.

However, the technical term "Mentally retarded" does NOT mean "Stupid". It just means "Slow to learn."

For example: you might have noticed that nothing now days is "Fire Proof" this is because ANYTHING will burn if you get it hot enough, and thus the Sheldon's of the world (or more accurately, their lawyers) have declared that things must be called Fire Retardants, which means "really hard to catch on fire".

Likewise a mentally retarded person is not stupid and incapable of learning. Okay, point of fact, in some extreme cases, such as a permanent vegetative state, one could argue that such a person is in fact incapable of learning, and then somebody else would argue that you don't know what their brain is actually absorbing and down that road leads to madness. So for our purposes we're going to say that as long as they're capable of consciousness and some form of communication, they are still capable of learning.

It might be really hard, and they might be slow to learn but they are learning and that is all that mentally retarded means. They're not "learning proof", they're just "slow to learn". So before you get your panties in a twist that somebody is calling some one you know "mentally retarded" and you think that means that they are saying your loved one is "stupid and incapable of learning", it is NOT the same thing. It just means "slow to learn" like fire retardant means "slow to catch fire".

Flip side for law and policy makers out there: just because a child has been termed "mentally retarded" does not mean that they are incapable of learning and therefore you shouldn't even try or spend resources and time teaching them, it just means they need extra help and are still "worth" assisting.

So yeah. Long story short: please be aware that there are differences between the technical and colloquial definitions of terminology and that its important to use contextual clues to tell which one is being used to avoid misunderstandings and also using the version that is appropriate to your audience is important for clarities sake.

Any examples of technical vs colloquial that get your dander up or am I the only one with this problem? lol

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Random Hopefulness and a little Gritching

My brain is running in so many different directions right now I'm not even sure where to start.

In some ways things are looking good. I mean GOOD. Like haven't looked this positive and like I'm standing on the cusp of supreme awesomeness in I'm not sure how long. I've got a lot of hope right now and it feels so good.

But on the other hand I'm really, intensely annoyed b/c this week I fell at the park while I was there with my son and I rolled my left ankle. Prior to Thursday that ankle was known as "The Good Ankle" b/c I rolled the other one ("The Bad Ankle") while I was in college, and b/c I was stupid and Macho I walked on the dang thing for a whole day until I wimped out and went to a doctor and caused all sorts of extra damage that way and it took FOREVER to heal.

So on the one hand, I'm grateful I learned from this because I have treated this injury properly from the first moment and I'm delighted to say that I amazed and how much better this one is doing than my other one did at the same number of days post injury. I can already weight bear on it for short periods with out wanting to scream. It took me over a week to be able to do that with the Bad one. The bruising is wayyyyy more spectacular on this one. But I think thats because I wrapped it right away so there was less swelling for the bruising to get through to get to the surface and be visible, and the other one, by the time the bruising got thru all that swelling it had healed....

But point is that I'm annoyed b/c its dissing my yoga and my work out routine. And I didn't realize how much I'd come to depend on that routine in such a short period of time. I mean really. Because of that routine I was feeling very zen and doing GREAT with my eating. I was tracking like 95% of the time. It was awesome.

And now I'm not working out (even missed some before I hurt my ankle b/c of trip prep and then travel and then trip recovery time) and now I am desperately craving baked goods. And so I'm trying journaling as a method of stress reduction that doesn't result in me breaking out in fat, hence this blog post.

I'm hopeful because the Hub is FINALLY making progress. He has a Serious video game habit. I've seen this card before on the web:

And half the women are going "EXACTLY!" and the other half are going "Sounds AWESOME TO ME!!" b/c they're gamer chicks. And well I have this to say to the gamer chicks: Yeah it sounds great until you're doing married single parenting or trying to run an entire household SOLO or having to keep the kitchen clean alllllllll by yourself even tho there are 3 people generating dirty dishes because you're the only one who can tear themselves away from a game long enough to give two shits that the dishes are dirty and going to kill you all in your beds b/c they've been left so long they've developed a malignant sentient intelligence.

And I was tired of his video game habit about .... 5 minutes after we got married. Well, more like with in a few months I discovered that it was a Problem and not just a minor annoyance. (I don't handle being ignored well). 

And there have been efforts in the past to "cut back". He stopped with the console gaming and gave up his WOW subscription. But the PC gaming stayed. And the ever present iPod Touch that was never further than arms length. But at least those were easier to crow bar him away from - I have an extremely limited tolerance for something that requires 30 minutes of work to get to a "Save" point. Children don't care if you've saved. They need you NOW. So those concessions were made - stick to games that were easier to break way from, but the games stayed. 

And the time stayed. Massive amounts of time. Even working full time, Massive Amounts Of Time. 

But long story short, its finally starting to cost him. Its cost me for years, but it didn't cost him anything (or he wouldn't admit that it did anyways) so he didn't change it. But his stress related illnesses have piled up to a point that require a serious change in behavior, and in order to create time for stress reducing habits the video game addiction has to be cut back. Because while the video game addiction might seem to reduce stress (it lets you go to your Nothing Box) it doesn't actually accomplish anything, and when you come back up the stress is still there only now its worse b/c you've procrastinated so now you need more video games to continue avoiding the problem. 

Its just like my stress eating (I get stressed so I eat, which makes me fatter, so I get more stressed, so I eat more) only different. 

Maybe its something about turning 30. All of the sudden the crap you got away with at 20 starts turning on you and you have to deal with your problems or die. 

And he is. And he's making AMAZING progress and its just so delightful. It really is. I'm almost afraid to relax and get used to it for fear it turn out to be a dream and get taken away. 

And so I'm excited and hopeful for REAL change. 

And the jewelry thing feels like its on the cusp of making REAL progress. The enameled leaves are turning out beautifully and I think they will sell well. And I have a batch of them all prepped and ready for enameling as soon as I can hobble over to the table and keep my leg down for long enough to do that with out paying for it later (keeping it ELEVATED helps). And I made some contacts at the Vintaj workshop that I'm really, really excited about. 

And I'm also feeling inspired that there are several other things I need to do after I get those things moving and I just wanna jump on it and do everything all at once and be wonder woman. But this stupid body is getting really obnoxious. I can't push it like I used to. I have to respect its limits and go for the slow and steady pace bit. Even if I don't want to. And this injury really isn't helping anything. But seriously if I do push it, I pay for it after. I get a migraine that wipes me out for a whole day. I have to keep the stress with in set limits or I accomplish NOTHING. Its SO annoying. 

Its like "You can go 35 mph all day every day for a whole week or you can do 90 mph for one day and then break down and sit on the side of the road for a day and a half after, your choice". And so even though 35 feels so abominably slow compared to what I want to do - b/c the mind is sparking and jumping and dancing around, the body just plods along and threatens to blow a gasket if you stress it out at all. 

If this is aging - it SUCKS. I'm not old enough for this crap. 

But I can see what it will be when it all comes together. When I FINALLY make REAL progress on all of my plots and plans and it will be AMAZING and awesome and full of the Win. And so I plod along. And hope that my stupid ankle heals sooner rather than later. I can already stand on it. Next I need to be able to bend it in all directions with out pain, once I can manage that I add some resistance, then more resistance, then finally toe raises etc. I'm gonna do my own PT this time. I've done this before with the other one and the doc went over all of it with me so I think I should be able to manage it. If I do everything I can and I still have a problem then we'll go to the professionals but if I can save money and be my own torture chamber concierge then we'll go with it. One step at a time. 

And in the mean time I'm gonna make lots, and lots, and lots of lists..... 

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Latest

Here's a work in progress shot. I promise I'll post more pics when I'm done.  (Sorry for the poor quality shot. This was done with my cell phone).


So I learned a lot about dentistry over the last week and a half. I had to go for my annual cleaning and you know the part (my least favorite part I might add) where they go around your whole mouth and jab you in the gums right between all of your teeth? Apparently its not JUST b/c they're sadists. There is actually a point this is activity. Who knew right?

So apparently the point of this torture is to check the depth of your "periodontal pockets" (aka the little gaps in ur gums btwn your teeth). B/c your little pockets there should only be 1-2 mm deep. If they are 3mm deep or more it means you've got some bacteria growing in there, which is bad b/c the bacteria like to set up shop, stretch out and make some leg room and basically push your gum away from your tooth. It will even go so far as to pop off all the little ligaments that hold your gums to your teeth to keep your teeth in place.

If your pockets are 5mm deep or more you get referred to a periodontist who will do mean, mean things to you in the name of trying to keep your teeth IN your mouth. B/c not only will that bacteria pop all those ligaments right off, if they get deep enough, they'll then erode the bone in your jaw holding your tooth in place. It will eventually get loose and fall the frick out.

Oh and get this - this whole terrifying business - doesn't hurt at all. It doesn't hurt right up until your teeth start poppin out of your head like some sort of terrifying hill-billy fashion statement.

And it gets even better - deeper than 5mm and you can't get those clean all by yourself at home. So THAT means you have to go back to the periodontist every couple months to have them clean it for you until you heal back up from the bottom. FUNNNNN. (And what they do is so mean they have to numb your mouth up first and often only do one half of your mouth at a time....)

So get this - this bacteria can set up shop inside of 24 hours. The bastages can make hard plaques that have to be scraped off by a dentist in just over 24 hours. Oh and those plaques make it easier for them to stick to the tooth, so they breed better and faster than they would have otherwise.

Good news is that apparently its anaerobic bacteria (doesn't need oxygen to survive and oxygen is actually toxic to it), so actually half the point of flossing is just to get oxygen down below the gumline to kill those little mud suckers.

So I had made the switch from flossing less frequently w/ actual floss to flossing more frequently but w/ those little floss pick things b/c they're so convenient right? Well apparently they're not as effective as the actual floss b/c you can't wrap it AROUND the tooth like you're supposed to. Whiners. Which is why my pockets were more like 3-4s. And if I get any worse it will not be well with me. So guess who is switching back to regular floss and just found ALLLLLLL new motivation to do so DAILY no matter HOW tired I am. (Btw there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to floss and if you're not 100% sure that you know what you're doing - aka you haven't had a dental professional approve how you're doing it - then please be careful. If you jam the floss down there and saw you can actually do more harm than good).

Also I'm grateful for a very helpful hygienist who took the time to explain what they frick they meant when they say, "Oh you're all ones and twos, so you're good." My response: *smile, nod, pretend to have a clue*. Where as in this most recent visit "Well you're more like 3s and 4s this time so you really need to watch it." Me: "Say wha?" And she very nicely took the time to explain to me (with a very helpful diagram I might add) what that meant and why. And I'm like "Oooooohhhhhh. But my mouth doesn't hurt at all." Her: "Nope it won't. At least not until you're bleeding out the mouth every time you brush your teeth." Me: "Ewwwww...."

Ya know I had this dentist when I was a teenager tell me "How ever many teeth you want to keep thats how many you should floss. If you want 1 tooth, then floss just the 1 tooth. If you want all of them then you have to floss all of them." Well he was kind of a butthead so I mostly blew him off. I just found my cleanings went better (with less of the painful gouging) if I flossed on a semi regular basis so I did it, mostly. Well now that I'm 30 I'm finding all new motivation to take GOOOOOD good care of my mouth.

Who knows, I might even start bonding w/ Listerine... Not sure I'm that macho tho...

(Note: The hygienist didn't go quite this fully in depth with me. She just said enough to make me really curious so I went home and me and the google bonded and wikipedia came a long for the ride and we learned a bunch of fascinating crap about teeth.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


So I think I discovered something in the last day.

I always knew I had a.... compulsion when it came to books. When I was a kid my nickname was bookworm (really...) b/c I literally walked down the hallways w/ my nose planted in a book. They were my escape and my sanctuary from a world I just couldn't deal with in so many ways. And I've read just about every genre, except for bodice ripping romance novels - and then I read ONE just b/c I wanted to know what the hoopla was about. But since I'm not into porn and I prefer plot lines more than 2 lines deep I haven't read more. I've also largely given up really graphic horror - a la Stephen King's latest like "Desperation" and "Needful Things"(some of his old stuff is AWESOME) - b/c I've found it negatively impacts my spirituality.

But otherwise I'm pretty omnivorous and have since college discovered that I actually really love fantasy, a genre I'd largely stayed away from in high school and before, mostly b/c I was on a realistic fiction kick and partially b/c a lot of the other people that read fantasy were a smidgen.... intense for my tastes and since they tended to be into other things I didn't enjoy (like Anime) I assumed the same was true of their books.... Silly Mortal....

And by college I learned I had to limit my reading intake when classes were in session to only those books that my professors actually assigned me to read b/c otherwise I'd read whatever novel I was into and not do other things like.... eat, sleep, do my home work or even go to class. Yeah its bad.

And I always figured it was just b/c I was lazy, a bad person, weak willed, too curious (I HAVE TO KNOW what happens NEXT), etc. But last night and today I figured out something else - its not just my mind. This thing is a full body coup!

So last night at about 1 am as I was about to head to sleep b/c I was exhausted it occurred to me that one of my new favorite authors had a new book coming out sometime this summer and I couldn't remember the publication date. So like an idiot, I grabbed the iPad and looked it up.

Guess what?! It was released like 2 weeks ago! Sweet! So I quickly bought a Kindle copy so I could share with my sister (she got me hooked on this author by lending me the first several novels, so I've bought the last couple and shared them with her) and figured I'd read just a bit and head to sleep. I was exhausted after all, Caleb had swim lessons in the morning that we were not going to miss and I already knew who the main character was in this book, I just wanted a glimpse of the new heroine and I'd go to bed.

Silly mortal....

That was 1 am. And to really appreciate what I'm about to say - you need to understand that as much as I love to read - sleep is sacred. Sure I've stayed up nights before reading but not usually this bad and I've long since learned how much sleep my body has to get if I want to make it get up and move at all the next morning.

So when it got to be 5 am and I was still absolutely riveted and not at all sleepy, if on the physically exhausted side, and I knew I had to be up in less than 5 hours in order to get me and Caleb to swim lessons on time, so I made myself put the book down and try to crash out. It took me nearly an hour to quiet my minds obsessing over the novel to actually crash out.

Then comes the really surprising part - at 7:10 am my eye lids popped open of their own accord. I firmly told myself "No" and that I needed to get back to sleep and tried my hardest to crash back out. But my whole body was wide awake and demanding that I get back to reading that book. I tried to ignore it for about 45 mins before I gave up and realized I was only getting more awake not less so I got up and finished the novel by 10 when I was supposed to get up anyways. (We did make it to swim lessons on time and had a great time!)

My body. The one that loves sleep. The one that flat out will ignore every command I give it and do a pretty convincing dead fish impersonation if I try to push it beyond its limits and rob it of the sleep it requires woke me up after less than 2 hours of sleep so I could finish the book. Seriously.

And I haven't even felt like death warmed over today (I'll probably pay tomorrow...). I took a 2 hour nap this afternoon and woke up bright eyed and wanting to continue my re-reading of the book (I'm vexed b/c this is apparently Part 1 of 2 and Part 2 doesn't come out until Spring 2013!!!).

Holy crap no wonder I have a problem. My body is in on it! I used to depend on my body's obnoxious physical limits to keep me in reign but apparently no more.

I guess I have good instincts b/c I've found myself limiting my reading now as a mother much the same way I did as a college student b/c otherwise I neglect my household when it comes to a compelling work of fiction. Now that I know my body is in on the action... I'm almost afraid.

And in case your wondering what I'm reading - and you so cannot judge me by the covers, PLEASE don't judge me by the covers - in my defense I was reading Kindle versions w/ covers I didn't even look at until I was 3 books into the series and completely hooked - *ahem* - I'm reading the Cat and Bones books by Jeaniene Frost. The first one is "Halfway to the Grave" and if you read them please be aware you need to read the "side novels" in chronological order with the rest of the books b/c I didn't the first time and I was so confused by the jump between books 4 and 5 (when the first 2 side novels happen). The one I read last night is the latest side novel "Once Burned".

Also full disclosure - there is some language in these books but mostly there is a not insignificant portion of The Sex. I mean like by book 2 I was almost going, "Damn woman! I need a cigarette after that!" And since I'm not a big fan of a heavy focus on The Sex I would have stopped if my sister hadn't assured me that the rest of the Cat and Bones books get MUCH better in that department. Sure The Sex still happens but you don't need a chapter long play by play (you can skip it I promise, or not if thats your thing).

That said the author must have missed writing about The Sex b/c these side novels are a smidgen loaded, though to be honest after the third one its getting a smidgen repetitive so you can really skip it and not miss much. I just glance over it to make sure they don't say something important instead of the usual "Oh baby, oh baby".

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ami Meets The False Eye Lashes

So I was chatting with a friend of mine today who FREAKED OUT when she found out I hadn't tried false eyelashes. And I've kinda been wanting to try them and I had to go to the pharmacy anyways SO... I grabbed me a pair of these while I was there:

My girlfriend told me to get this brand but with strings attached for easy application and unfortunately they only had one pair with the strings on them and they were HUGE. WAYYYY more massive than these guys so we went with the harder to apply double pack to start the newbie off with something a smidgen less.... dramatic. 

So we're gonna go on a little adventure and I'm going to do something I probably will regret doing later and post photos of myself through out the make up application process so you can see the "Before" and "After" shots for comparison. 

Thats right I'm going to post completely un-retouched, absolutely no make up on close ups of myself. Online. No I'm not under duress (yet). (No I'm not making the before picture larger right now). 

Wow scary I know. I haven't even washed my face AND my eyebrows need a touch up. Love the red nose. Just MAKES the look. We're not discussing under eye circles, m'kay? 

So this is me with my face washed, moisturizer applied, and about an inch of concealer, primer on my eye lids and MAC mineral make up on my face. Much better, but kinda colorless.

So lets add some color shall we? Just b/c I always like the difference between with and WITH OUT mascara I'll show you this one with all my color done. I used bronzer for blush and did my eye shadow.

Please also note that we're performing this little experiment during the commercial breaks of "So You Think You Can Dance" so quite a bit of time passes as I do this, which is why my make up gets decidedly less fresh as things go on. 

And THIS one with mascara, eye liner and my eye brows done. If you don't think the hair on your face makes a difference these two shots (the ones directly above and below these lines) should convert you. LOOK I have EYE LASHES MA!! Oh! And eye brows!! They look super dark, but guess what, NOW they match my hair! And my husband wonders why I'm in love with my mascara...

 (and why yes I do have my mother's chin lol). 

And just so you can see what it looks like with the lids closed for comparison. 

And now we got to the REALLY hard part - putting on the fake eye lashes. Yes according to the wisdom of the ages (Google) I applied ALL my make up FIRST so I wouldn't funk up my eye lashes after. I mostly think this was the correct choice.

It started off pretty promising... kinda. Or rather it made me feel good about myself that instead of having to trim down the lashes to fit my eyes, they're actually a bit small for me. How cool is that?? I always thought my eyes were on the small side but these were BIG lashes and they don't make it but like almost 3/4s of the way across my lid with my eyes open. Sweet!

That was the high point.

Can I just say WOW that was more difficult than I was expecting it to be after watching all those YouTube videos of women confidently making this look so DANG EASY!! My first attempt to put them on I glued all my natural lashes on my right eye together. THAT took some undoing.

But eventually we got there. If I had taken video it probably would be a comedy... And MAN do these things feel weird. I've had them on a couple hours now and they're starting to not feel so odd but at first it was way funky. And the Hub was totally weirded out by them so by the time I got to taking pictures this is about how I felt about the experience:

Or maybe this one sums it up better: 

So lets do this. From a distance I don't think they look too bad. Definitely more noticeable than my natural ones: 

And here's lids closed... and why yes I fixed my eye liner on my right eye and forgot to fix my eye liner on my left. Nice of you to notice... You couldn't see my eyeliner like at all once I was done gluing and I had to use my pencil instead of my liquid liner b/c I couldn't get the liquid around the GIANT eye lashes. They look small in these photos but seriously - I look up now and my eye lashes touch my eyebrows!!

And a couple of terrifying close ups for the people who want to see every last pore lash. I had to crop my nose out of these shots b/c with the camera *this*close* to my face it looked crazy large and it was bothering me and we're discussing my lashes anyway okay so just get over it. No giant nose shots for you!

For the most part I really like the way they look. I'm debating if it looks weird to have them end before I run out of lid, but gluing the insides in the right place was WAY harder than the outsides b/c I have like no natural lashes there to stick them to so it was an adventure. Also I don't like how you can kinda see the little dotted lines on the insides where the lashes stick to their strip...

And here I teach you a valueable lesson about the importance of fixing your eyeliner after you put your lashes on so you don't wind up with one eye looking good and the other eye sporting really obvious fakes.

You're welcome.

Really my charity knows no bounds:

And so because thats a CRAZY amount of scrolling we'll give you some nice big fat before and afters right here at the end. You're welcome, again. 



 If you say you can't tell a difference please feel free to choke to death on a Tribble. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ode to Spray On Sunblock

Me + Spray On Sunblock = FAIL

So yesterday I tried this spray on sunblock thing before the kid and I went swimming. And apparently I got it right with the kid b/c he is fine (mercifully) but I instead got this narly, patchy, time delayed sun burn. It sucks.

I got home from the pool at like 11:30-ish and in the mirror I was just barely light pink. "Close call" was my thought. *head desk*

Then its like 7pm and we're watching tv and I start to notice that I hurt and my tshirt feels unreasonably hot but only in certain areas (its summer in Phoenix so the fact it didn't feel that way ALL OVER was my clue something was up). So I wander into the bathroom and take a look in the mirror. Right shoulder is light pink in places but not too bad. Then I see the left shoulder. HOLY CRAP that is RED.


And so right now I'm extremely grateful that my kid is just barely 3 years old and not to the point of freaking out over nudity b/c I have so been running around the house topless b/c clothes HURT. But my little party is about to end b/c my friend is going to drop by here in another hour and I'm going to have to put a shirt on which is going to STINK and she's just going to have to deal w/ the fact that my house is a mess and I'm not wearing a bra b/c right now my idea of a good time is holding as still as possible while sitting on the sofa and if I put bra straps on this monster there will be screaming which would probably impair our ability to have a conversation. Just sayin.

And I NEVER get sunburns, at least not in the last few years, had a couple of accidental burns when I first moved to Phoenix and had to readjust to life in the sun, but I digress. Point is I try my hardest NOT to get sunburns b/c my mother is a skin cancer survivor and I don't want that crap and I'm fricking glow in the dark white and I don't tan. I just get BRIGHT red, peel and go back to white. It sucks.

If anything I just get more freckles and dangit if freckles don't make me nervous now. I keep staring at them and trying to judge if they've changed and going over the ABC's of skin cancer (Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter) to see if I need to run screaming to a doc for a biopsy or not.

*screaming cussing many bad words more cussing*

Friday, June 1, 2012

*grumble grumble*

I wish that life were planable. Plannable? I dunno its not a word so I'm making it up. I want to be able to properly plan everything in my life and I want those plans to actually work. That way I could see clearly the path before me and know how it was going to go down and how it was all going to work out. Right now I see several different things that all need to happen in the near future.

The problem is that I think some of those things may be mutually exclusive things and so I just have no idea how its all going to happen and work out and fit together. Not with other things existing as they currently are. And just for bonus points, most of the major elements depends on my husband and not me to accomplish them and therefore that limits the amount of control I have over the situation, him not being a robot I can control (yes I've tried).

And so this elevates my stress and I'm trying really hard to not freak out and say eat a whole pan of brownies and have a panic attack. And so instead I find my self some what paralyzed. My ability to be productive in any form has just gone right down the tubes and all I really want to do is sleep b/c if I'm awake then I start worrying again and then I want to eat and eating is bad. I'm doing Weight Watchers and if I don't want to put right back on all the weight I've lost then I've got to find an alternate something to do but instead of say,"running a marathon" or "hiking a mountain" to relax, my anxiety level just makes me want to curl up in the fetal position.

Right now I'm filing that under "better than brownies but not good".

We take what we can get right?

Ya know I read a blog post by a friend about depression and thought, "Wow I'm actually doing really good. I haven't been that bad in a long, long time" and then I write this post and kinda go "Yeah..... but I'm not sure 'good' is the word I'd use to describe what I am right now given the whole need for the fetal position bit." *sigh* One step forward, two steps back. Something like that right?

I need to go make dinner b/c the missionaries are coming over which is something I usually thoroughly enjoy except all my pleasure at it is gone right now b/c I swear my ability to feed the missionaries in this ward with out incident is just cursed. There was the time I made dinner and they never showed up b/c apparently they didn't get their meal calendar. There was the time I made dinner and Adam was late coming home from work so I just hauled the table out in the court yard in front of our apartment and fed them al fresco (they can't come in if theres not another adult male in the house with me.... b/c three on one makes sense but whatever. Chaperones are goofy things). And then there was the time I somehow managed to lose my mind and sign up to feed them ON my anniversary when I actually had a babysitter and was going to get to go out on an actual date with my husband. I was so flustered I just threw cash at them and told them to take themselves out to eat.

Seriously. Any sane person would just NOT sign up anymore. I mean we have managed this successfully once or twice but the big problem we KEEP having is that I serve dinner at 6 pm. This is because my husband doesn't get home from work until 5:45 pm usually. Well apparently every other person on the planet eats dinner at 5 pm and so they always want to come earlier and I can't have them come earlier because I don't have a penis and my husbands penis won't be home for another hour and Caleb's isn't old enough to count. And they keep scheduling appointments for 6 pm. And while I commend them for their diligence in teaching the gospel its really the frick annoying. And if I didn't have a major soft spot for the missionaries, former missionary that I am, I would totally just give up.

So guess what happened today. I even specified on the calendar when I signed up a week ago that dinner would need to be at 6 pm. Guess what. They didn't GET the calendar until TODAY. So guess what they have scheduled at 6 pm? (Hint: Its NOT a dinner with me). And thats a problem b/c its 110 degrees outside and I'm not making them sit out there to eat a nice hot meal. Mercifully my husbands boss is feeling nice and he'll hopefully get home at more like 5:15 pm and that just gets to be enough time for them to eat cuz thats as good as its getting' folks.


Now if I can make myself go prep dinner instead of sit here and whine or escape into reading or try to sleep more....

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Dark Side of eReaders

So welcome to the Dark Side of the eReader world.

I was initially VERY skeptical of the whole eReader concept. I thought I'd never give up my beloved books. And then I was gifted a Kindle for Christmas a couple years ago and I fell quickly and deeply in love. I could buy all the books I wanted. RIGHT NOW. I didn't have to wait until the store opened, or even be bothered with putting on clothes, finding shoes and dragging me and the kiddo down to the store in the vain hopes they had the title I wanted for a price I was willing to pay!

AND even better it solved my storage issue. Because I am a voracious reader when I get on a kick and I like buying books because I have issues with libraries and return dates (and even bigger issues with waiting lists to get the titles I want), and if I buy too many more books I'm going to have to buy a bigger house in order to have room to store all of the books. With the Kindle and the Cloud I could buy all the books I wanted and not have to worry about where to keep them. Miracle!

Then after almost a year of happy use, our Kindle died.

It was a dark moment. Adam pulled it out of his bag and the screen was all messed up. It looked like it had been shattered or something - not physically just the e-ink display had funky lines all across it and only part of it responded when you turned it on and off or even did a hard reset. Hard to read a book when you can only see the bottom left corner of the page.

So I called Amazon and mercifully it was still under warranty so they replaced it no questions asked. I was very pleased and we continued on our merry way.... until May 2nd.

May 2nd my Kindle worked perfectly for my first flight. I charged up during my layover. It worked great. I got on the plane, pulled out my Kindle to read while I waited for the rest of the folks to board and to my horror my screen was all screwed up. It was an exact repeat of the problem we'd had before. And my Kindle had been in the padded sleeve with my lap top that is unharmed.

Now I admit I was very grateful for Amazon's Cloud because I was able to whip out my Android smart phone and VERY quickly download a couple books for my flight so I wasn't completely with out entertainment but I admit I almost panicked at the thought of a 9 hour flight and nothing to do. 

But then I got home and called Amazon and learned I had a problem. My warranty is up. They won't replace my Kindle, even tho its died of the exact same mystery illness that claimed my first one for no good reason.

Oh but they'll offer me another Kindle for a discounted price. They want me to shell out another 80 bucks to buy something that has already died for no apparent reason... TWICE.

So I'm like well screw this noise I'll take me and my money over to Nook and see how we like them apples. I'd love a tablet like an iPad but my budget can barely handle a base line e-Ink reader atm so we'll go with it.

Thats when we discover the problem: all those nice books I bought on Kindle? Yeah the Nook can't read them. In fact if you don't have a Kindle the only thing capable of reading a Kindle Book is an Android or iOS tablet,  smart phone or a computer. Suck. (For the record Nook is the same way. If you buy it on Nook the Kindle can't read it. Only Android and Apple can read it besides Nook).

Now I've got a smart phone and a lap top, but the smart phone is really small and the battery isn't that great. And the lap top is just plain large (and the battery life is a joke).

I miss my eReader.

So here's the rock: Pay $80 every year for a new Kindle,  assuming that I were to buy a replacement at the discounted price and it dies after a year or so and they offer me the discount AGAIN on the next one. That doesn't sound like a lot but consider what I'm paying for books too and add to that fact that I'm already too cheap to pay for cable and thats A LOT of money.

And here's the hard place: Buy a tablet. A basic Android tablet will run you $250 easy and an iPad starts at $499. Ouch.

My options suck.

Do Me a Favor

I would just like to ask every body that I have to interact with to please do me one favor: Before you judge me, before you assume that the reason I do or do not do something that you think I should do or not do, and decide I'm just a horrible person because I don't operate the same way you do... maybe just maybe ask me why.

Cuz I might have a reason. It might be a stupid reason according to your way of thinking, but see the thing is that feelings are real, even if they're not the most logical and since they are real they have to be dealt with. And maybe I haven't gotten to where I can deal with those yet.

So maybe I don't do something I should do. Something you consider basic and only common courtesy. But maybe I don't because doing that hurts for reasons that really have nothing to do with the action itself. It hurts and every time I do it, I hate the entire experience. I loathe it. I don't like it when other people do it because it reminds me of the thing that hurts.

And because I'm a human being and we are wired to avoid pain I don't deal with the thing that hurts because to be honest I have no idea how and I'm not sure its even possible to fix in this life so I avoid those things that remind me of it.

So think me to be a horrible person. Think I lack common courtesy and basic decency.

But maybe think before you slam me yet again behind my back - to ask me WHY.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

French Peasant Soup

I got the recipe from Rachael Ray's cookbook 365 No Repeats. She said this is her version of a soup she had on vacation in Bordeaux, France. Its super duper easy and a 30 min meal.

2 T EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 small ham steak, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery rib with its greens, chopped
1 leek, cleaned and sliced into half moons
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 small head of cabbage, cut into large pieces
1 tsp sugar
kosher salt
4 cups chicken stock or broth (I used broth)
1 15-ounce can cannelloni beans
Coarse black pepper
Crusty Bread
(And she recommends having it with a bottle of Bordeaux wine but we skipped that step)

Head a soup pot over medium-high heat with the EVOO. Add the ingredients to the pot as you chop them: ham, carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic and shallots. Add the cabbage to the pot and sprinkle with salt and sugar, add 2 cups of water and cover pot and allow cabbage to steam for 15 mins.

Uncover pot, add the stock and the beans. Crank the heat up to boil, reduce to simmer and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crusty bread (and I added a big salad on the side).

Super tasty and very easy. Uses TONS of fresh veggies. She says it serves 4 but in my world that serves more like 8!

UPDATE: This recipe is 3 points plus per serving (assuming you claim the recipe makes 8 servings instead of 4).

Whats Taking So Long?!

So for those of you who are wondering if I'm EVER going to post "after" pics of my little book case project part of the dining room remodel I've got some progress shots to explain what the frick is taking so long....

See I got them all painted, AND all the shelves painted, which took forever b/c I had to do it in batches b/c of limited work space. Then I got them in place - the two on the right I painted, the two on the left I bought. I think I did a dang good job of color matching them if I say so myself. Please ignore all the clutter. Its a work in progress (thats my story and I'm stickin' to it).

I was ALL excited b/c it took FOREVER and many, many coats of paint and primer and finally the day had arrived and things had cured the proper time and I was going to put the shelves INTO the bookcase. *drum roll please*......

And then THIS happened putting JUST THE FIRST SHELF IN PLACE: 

Yes those are big fat narly scratches in my nice white paint. LOVELY. On both sides: 

See, even left chunks on the shelf below. 

I was SO not happy. I tried waiting a week to see if it needed more cure time before putting the next one in place. Didn't fix it. 

So now I need to fix my scratches, and then try putting a couple coats of varnish on there and see if that fixes it. I'm wondering if my deglosser is not as good as the deglosser used and recommended by John and Sherry of YoungHouseLove. I tried to find theirs but I couldn't find it anywhere down here (they're in VA). If the varnish isn't enough then I'm going to have to strip them down, sand them, degloss them again, then re-prime, re-paint and re-varnish. Its a birch veneer on those bookcases. Its wood so it *should* stick. 

But um, right now I'm so epically irked I really want to just take an axe to the whole project so for its safety I've been working on decluttering the rest of the house and enjoying working in the yard while the beautiful weather lasts. I'm gonna wait on touching them again until its safe for both of us. 

Did I mention that 3rd bookcases I was gonna repaint and didn't have room to do is gonna get sold and I'll use whatever money I can get from that to put towards buying a new already-white bookcase. I've decided my sanity is worth the cash. Next time I do something like this - I'll do ONE bookcase to test it and THEN decided to paint vs sell the others b/c now I've ruined these perfectly good brown-black bookcases so I can't sell them. I have to find a way to refinish them. 

And thats why we're STILL not done yet in there. *deep breaths*

Progress on the Yard 3

So its been a while and things are looking better in the back yard. I'll up date you on the front yard after I get finished w/ the post-spring clean up. But hey compared to the thigh high weeds and dirt when we first bought the place this thing has come a LONG ways!!

Don't mind the strip of dead grass in the middle. I learned that my electric lawn mower is not macho enough to handle stripping things short enough to over seed winter rye so we're gonna officially file that task under: best left to a professional. The stripe should go away soon enough. The bermuda is coming out of dormancy and I just fertilized everything yesterday. 

Here's the little gardenia I planted along the shady back fence. She's kept blooming like mad (smells amazing) so I'm hopful she'll do well there. 

Yeah I still haven't moved the cactus in the play ground area. I need to get to that too... Also the tree on the right there needs some serious clean up. Lots of dead branches.  

I used some of that "Ground Clear for 1 Year" stuff on the path on the left side there to test it b/c I was afraid the run off would kill my grass but its only killed a couple little 6" or so patches of grass there so I vote thats a go in my book. Its done a great job of keeping the weeds out of the bricks. 

Ahhh my little side alley. 2 of the 3 vines I planted turned out to not be able to handle the heat here in Phoenix. I was very sad. I really wish plant info tags has a maximum temp rating and not just a minimum. It would be really helpful here. AND the 3rd vine has been a learning experience. Did you know that jasmine comes in 2 varieties? Mounding and Vining. I wanted a vine to climb up the wall so guess which type I bought? Thats right mounding. Ahhhh sweet learning experiences. Also jasmine really likes her sun so while she lived, she did not thrive. So I dug up all 3 plants, disposed of the dead ones and transplanted the mounding jasmine over by my rose bushes for some ground cover. I've replaced all 3 vines with bouganvilla that I scored for a song at Costco a few weeks back. 

 Yup theres the cactus that still needs moving. But it has crazy beautiful flowers in spring so I really want to try to keep it alive if at all possible. Wish me luck. 

Isn't it crazy how much that rose bush in the back right has grown?! That thing was 3 sticks and 2 leaves and mostly dead in the shade by my front door when we bought this house. I transplanted it, pruned it and said if it survives the shock it should do fine. I think its doin pretty okay personally. Also the mini rose there in the front is crazy! That thing like exploded back from its pruning and is COVERED in buds. I love it. The green thing in the front left is the mounding jasmine which will hopefully be much happier soon, and you can't see it hardly at all because of the shade but in the rear left there is my newest tiny little rose bush that I got for 3 bucks and has the most amazing ruffled, fragrant lavender blossoms. I'll get you pictures as she grows up and gets gorgeous. 

Also can just say that I really miss mulch?! Everything looks so much better w/ a nice thick, dark layer of mulch but no you can't use that here b/c it turns to sawdust in a single season (or so I'm told) so what you do is rock. And well lets just say that while rock might last forever the start up cost is prohibitive. *sigh* So I'll just keep battling the weeds for my dirt patches I guess. *sigh*