Sunday, November 27, 2011

Festivities Begin!

First off, I saw several semi trucks hauling semi trucks this weekend while on the road for Thanksgiving. Every time I see this phenomenon I can't help but stare. It seems so unnatural and always reminds me of ladybugs copulating.

In other news, Thanksgiving was great. My parents and the fiance and I went over the mountains to his folks' house. We played cards, watched movies, had some great food, and enjoyed relaxing together. The parents get along and his mom even said that it was very nice to get to know my folks before the wedding.

Black Friday started at a quarter to five for the fiance, me, and my parents. We hit up the local Freddie's and a few other shops with the fiance acting as navigator and my folks the driving force of shopping frenzy. I scored some comfy socks and slippers and the fiance got the new electric razor he's been pining over for months.

I enjoy the hustle and bustle of Black Friday and I've never had a bad experience. When I go out all the folks are usually excited and well mannered, sharing in some mutual comradeship. And who can't enjoy free coffee and donuts at the local Freddie's?

The only fly in the ointment is the consumerism I see and the occasional panicked expression filled with desperation.

It's so sad to see the people completely focused on gift giving and forgetting the spirit of the season. Not only is it less satisfying and soulful to have a Christmas completely focused on gifts, it takes such a toll on the people "celebrating" through consumerism.

I see so many harried and stressed people worried about finding the right gift and finding the money to pay for it all. None of my favorite holiday memories are based upon gifts. Yes, my family has some fun times unwrapping gifts and getting lost in a sea of colorful wrapping paper but the meals and cooking together, playing games, watching holiday flicks and enjoying the company of those we love most are the best and most cherished memories I have of Christmases past.

It takes some effort to resist the wave of Christmas shopping bonanza that descends upon the country this time of year, but it is definitely worth the effort to save some stress and focus on what's most important during the holiday season.

Cherish those you love and the traditions you share. The perfect gift won't seem to matter as much because you'll realize you already have everything you need.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Already Tuesday!

The fiance's van has been in the shop all weekend getting the transmission fixed. Originally the mechanic told us it would be finished by Monday, but now we're wondering if we'll be picking it up before we leave tomorrow for the Thanksgiving weekend.

We're both relieved to be getting the van back and not have to consider the more burdensome investment in a new car. While the interim has been challenging, we have adjusted to being a one-car household. Even with the adjustment there are a lot of frustrations and finagling to make things work and while we know we could manage with one car, we're glad to be back to two soon!

In other news, the ornament business has been bustling and I've been covered in permanent ink for days on end! After the holiday things are sure to pick up and I'm a little concerned about keeping up!

As far as writing names on ornaments go, I'm pretty speedy but I'm also one of the few people working on the ornaments ordered through the website-so I end up doing A LOT of ornaments! I'm glad to be working somewhere fun and relaxed but it has been a big leap in activity.

I'm not the worst of slugs, but I do have some extra work to do building up my stamina for the rush after Turkey Day.

The fiance and I are both looking forward to down time at the parents' home this weekend although we are planning on running around with my parents Black Friday morning.

The fiance has never joined Black Friday crowds and is still resisting the idea, but I think we'll have fun in the hustle and bustle. My parents love the holiday season and gifting, they like to hit Black Friday sales even if they don't buy anything or have things to pick up.

I'll try to get pictures if any of us lose any digits!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oh Boy

Couple of rough days this week. It wasn't all my fault, but I can't say that I'm not to blame for some of my own pain. I know my tendencies and I know my depression, yet I still watch myself relapse and fall into episodes over and over.

There is a poem by Portia Nelson that multiple counselors have read to me in over my years of therapy-and it's so truthful it hurts.

Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter 2
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter 3
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
Chapter 4
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
Chapter 5
I walk down another street.
Reading the poem makes me feel ashamed and sad, pricks up guilt from deep in my stomach from that place that tells me that I know better and that I can do/be better than this mess. 

But that reaction isn't healthy. It seems natural to me to feel guilty and ashamed and angry at myself, but that is just another part of a bigger problem to be solved.

I can't hate myself and heal myself.

This week's relapse was triggered by a variety of things, but mainly change in my routine without proper compensation. 

I've been working part-time with a local home business personalizing Christmas ornaments and the new schedule has kept me from getting to yoga, eating regularly, or even taking my meds as I'm supposed to. How could I NOT have expected trouble?

The bottom came after a rough morning. I was very tired and could've used another hour or two of sleep but had to get up to get to work and drop off the fiance. There was some radio conversation or some input that triggered my low self-esteem and disgust with my body.

Next thing you know I'm feeling frantic and isolated and vulnerable. I felt my head space closing in and the darkness gathering around me. Although I nearly talked myself out of texting anyone for help, I sent a little text to the fiance-"I wanna cut."

He knew exactly what was happening-he had noticed my decline the previous night-and he texted me supportive messages, and I made it to work without harming myself (although I did proactively throw the boxcutter stashed in my center console into the back of the car so I couldn't reach it so easily). 

I left work earlier than planned and called in sick to my shelter volunteer work. I hated to leave the kitties hanging, but I knew if I pushed myself I could be in for some major symptoms. I went straight home and to bed for the next four hours. 

Even though I did take some care of myself, I did drag a knife across my arm after I got home and instead of taking my prescribed Xanax to combat the panic/anxiety I popped three OTC sleeping pills to help me get to sleep. 

My thoughts were swirling with negativity and I knew getting to sleep would shut up the bad thoughts, but I feel a little guilty and scared about using the sleeping pills instead of the Xanax. I felt a little inkling of abuse in the action and all the images of drug addicts and drunks seeped into my consciousness as I snuggled into  my bed. 

I did talk to the fiance about the pills and he also seemed concerned. He understood that I simply wanted to sleep and escape my thoughts, but we both knew that popping sleeping pills wasn't a good coping strategy-especially popping more than recommended (the bottle says take two at a time). 

The next day I made sure to get to yoga and had a good time at work and yoga class. The fiance got the ole van into a transmission shop and decided to get it fixed instead of trying to figure out financing a new vehicle altogether. Things are turning up, but I know that I'm not out of the woods. 

Even with antidepressants and thyroid meds I have my own medication to administer and a lot of it is mental.  This is where a good counselor would come in handy, huh? I've never been very political, in fact I have very little faith in politicians, but it sure makes me wish congress or the prez or somebody could figure out a way to care for those in need. 

Maybe I'll see something like that in my lifetime-just might require emigration! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Damn Those Burritos

Strangely, "damn those burritos" and "damn the torpedoes" go hand in hand in my mind. The fiance has an affection for burrito shops. I have a problem NOT cleaning my plate when I eat-especially if something tastes good. Cue the gastric turmoil.

Yesterday we were in Portland and met up with one of the fiance's sisters for dinner-at a burrito shop. I ordered up a $4 veggie burrito and it turns out "$4" doesn't necessarily mean small. I'd say the burrito was on par size-wise with the most obese squirrel you can imagine and of course, I ate nearly the entire thing. Very soon afterward my gut started pepping up and I knew that I was in for some pain.

"Big-boned" Squirrel
Next thing you know we're on our way up I-5 and I'm reclined in the passenger seat groaning and riding out random shivers and temperature spikes as my body tries to battle the bulging burrito in my belly. The fiance is laughing maniacally while I swear never to go near a burrito again as long as I live.

As you can imagine, eventually nature regained balance and I was relieved of my gastric torture-but the memory lingers and here I sit typing it out for the world to read. BEWARE OF THE BURRITOS.

In better news, the earlier portion of our Portland trip was rather enjoyable and decidedly free of cilantro and spicy peppers.

Our previous attempt at engagement photos was rained out, but this weekend we decided we were headed south to Portland come hell or rain water. Lucky for us the rain didn't make an appearance until the very last part of our photo shoot and we were happy to escape to a nearby McMenamin's for some brews and cute picture opportunities!

We won't be able to review the pictures for a few weeks, but we thought the shoot went very well. We found some unique shots-one including a lonely decommissioned state sign and the leaves were gorgeous. The only fly in the ointment is whether or not we managed to look like normal human beings or crazy loons!

In other news, Millie has been a barfing machine lately but we're hoping it was only the result of stress after my parents' new cat visited. Iroh has been his normal chilaxed self and very cute during his frequent naps on his favorite red bed ;o)

Thursday, November 10, 2011


The fiance shattered my beloved Melita coffee carafe tonight. While the whole set-up only runs about $12 bucks the subject of a new coffee making technique surfaced quickly after the demise of my purty glass carafe.

I'm pretty sure that the carafe catastrophe was an accident-although I have my suspicions ;o) The fiance was quick to bring up the possibility of a percolator once the carafe was KIA. He even mentioned that he had been researching them that afternoon at work! Seems a bit suspicious to me.

Regardless of the fiance's intentions when he entered the kitchen this evening-we ended up purchasing a percolator as well as a chocolate turkey this evening.

The chocolate turkey was my special mission as hollow turkey chocolates filled with Mini M&Ms are a cherished autumn treat tradition in Hannahworld-and yes, sweets seem to be coming up a lot lately-blame the ovaries ;o) To enjoy a M&M filled chocolate turkey simply buy the ingredients, munch off a turkey's head, pour in M&Ms and then enjoy!

Our new coffee brewing machine.
The first brew took a couple tries, but once we got it down we found ourselves enjoying a robust brew in minutes! The cord is detachable and makes it super easy to bring the percolator to the table. It is certainly taller and more ungainly than the Melita carafe, but I'm trying to hold off judgement until I get to use it myself.

We are anti-coffee machine for the space it eats up sitting on the counter and prefer coffee brewing apparatus that are easily transferred to cabinet storage-just in case you were wondering why the "alternative brewing style."

In other news, the fiance has found a new level of affection for our shower rack.

 Classy. :o)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Move Over Santa!

Even before Halloween had passed Christmas merchandise was sneaking onto shelves in stores. I have a strict policy against Christmas-before-Thanksgiving festivities. True, I'm working on a Christmas stocking but that doesn't count!

So what does my policy cover? No holiday music, no holiday themed candy, no decorations, no themed movies-just enjoy FALL!

Per family tradition the Christmas season doesn't begin until Santa shows up at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Only then can the Christmas decorations pour forth and cover every surface in the house and candy canes are cleared for snacking.

With all the consumerist Christmas mayhem it can be hard to avoid contagious Christmas cheer before it's time. Especially when all the retail stores 86 their Halloween candy before you have time to sneeze!
Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, but it saddens me that traditions are so often replaced with economic stimulus. They may be able to force the Christmas season onto shelves around the country but they can't force the autumn leaves from the trees! Until Thanksgiving, I will be enjoying the foliage and the seasonal mellowcreme pumpkin binge-even if it means clearance bins at the local drug store. ;o)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

November Already!

I haven't been to a yoga class since the cars had their respective breakdowns which happened to coincide with the expiration of my yoga pass. I showed up at the center Tuesday to take two classes back-to-back from 4:15 to 6:30 but the instructor had moved across the country abruptly and now those very popular classes have been eliminated!

Now that we're down to one car we've had the fiance taking a bus one way and me picking him up or dropping him off. The original (and best plan) was for me to attend 4:15 yoga classes and pick him up at 5:30 and we'd commute home together. But life says, "NO! No convenience for you!"

With that instructor back in Chicago the only 4:15 class runs on Mondays so our travel arrangements are about to get more obnoxious ;o)

In other news the fiance turned our attention to National Novel Writing Month and I've tried to keep up with the 1,667 words a day in order to complete a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month but only three days into the challenge and I realize how difficult this is to do! It doesn't help that I'm working obsessively on the fiance's cross stitched stocking.

The fiance is excited about his story idea though and we plan to write together throughout the week. Even if we don't complete the challenge I think it's an important exercise to write. Blogging has been a good resource for me although I still have to loosen my lips to get words down at times!

Iceland has a rich history of story sharing and writing with high levels of literacy for centuries. Every time I write I try to embrace the idea that everyone's voice should be heard regardless of "quality" or "complexity." For me and so many others self criticism is a self inflicted gag that prevents us from sharing our stories orally or through written work. Maybe National Novel Writing Month is about expressing yourself more than completing an arbitrary amount of writing?

Regardless-just write! It doesn't have to be for a contest or anyone else, it can be just for you about anything at all and it will be beneficial :o)

Sticky and Bubba have been entertaining and enjoyable additions to our home. I never thought that such tiny frogs would pack so much personality but they are quite a duo! Whether it's tracking us and watching us do dishes or nipping each other and kicking around the small terrarium they make us laugh and even entertain the cats at times.

Iroh and Millie have been snuggle bugs lately. I think they are feeling the change in the weather just like us! We've been enjoying little fire logs every few nights, but I think more rip roaring fires might be in order soon ;o)