Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Begone BlogHer!

I have officially given up on BlogHer and deleted that account. After the tech-guy (aka the hubby) couldn't figure out how to make it work better for me, I asked an admin to delete my account.

It was quite stressful for me. Feeling like a failure, having to ask for help, having to ask for help again. But now that it's over, I'm relieved.

It seems like a great service and platform for many women bloggers, but it didn't feel right to me. The main issue was not being able to link my blog with that service and then having to copy and paste to repost in BlogHer. It was a pain and their blogging service was cruddy. So I will stick with Blogger! The hubby is a fan of WordPress, but I don't think I could handle that change right now, especially considering all the changes I have just made...

The blog has been repainted and I started up a Twitter to match! The whole process is just about complete and I think it'll stick for a good while. It did get me thinking about exposure though, which is a tricky thing for me.

Yes, I started this blog just for myself without expecting many visitors or readers but now that I've been blogging for a couple years and have racked up a few comments and followers I have been thinking more about my public face. It's kind of funny, as much as I think and speak out about stigma and mental illness, I'm afraid to walk the walk! I'm afraid of my real-world Hannah and my Hannah Bananaface realm colliding.

As far as my personal life, I don't really care. I don't have much of a personal life outside this apartment and those friends that I do have are supportive. My family... I don't know. There is a big tradition of shame in my family and while I'm pretty sure my siblings couldn't care less I'm afraid my parents would be concerned. Embarrassed and concerned about my job prospects down the line if a potential employer were to discover the blog.

Which boils everything down to why I started blogging the first place, mental health. It's the poison in the water, the content that makes the blog "touchy." Mental health is the reason I'm afraid to step out of my shell for fear of my clients and potential clients thinking less of me.

The hubster did a good job of reassuring me. Letting me know that I'm not "that crazy." I'm not a danger to myself or others, so what should anyone care? But I have to consider the fact that clients might not want to work with someone who has anxiety issues or depression. It has never conflicted with my work as a doula and I'm remarkably good at stowing my private issues away to jump into doula action when needed, but that might not matter to certain people. Certain people don't want to be around anybody "mental" at all.

Well, I guess if they don't want to be around me, I won't be around them! I'll have to have faith that things will work out and most people won't ever link me to this blog or read Hannah Bananaface. Let's face it, I'm a small fish in a big, big pond! Maybe I'm not perfectly anonymous, but I'll run the risk of ripples in my personal life to preserve my blogging life. After all, I see HBF more than I see most of my friends and family ;)

So here I come world, a-Twittering and a-blogging to my heart's content!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wellness Update

Had a check-up with DO last Friday and had to do some lab work for my thyroid. She lowered my dose a little bit and recommended I get back to taking my Vitamin D daily to help with my eye twitch.

Yeah, I got an eye twitch. It seemed to back off when I neglected to take my thyroid pill daily, so I was kind of self-medicating by not medicating, if that makes sense. Now I'm going to try and get back on top of taking pills and supplements and vitamins AND tracking my waking temperature and other stuff for a new form of au naturale birth control.


Yep. Big changes on the horizon. I'm freaking out now that we're starting to initiate birth control change procedures, but also excited for the change.

Changing up birth control is a big deal, especially when you're in a relationship. It's not just about my uterus! I have to consider the hubster's feelings and while he's apprehensive he's also hoping for some positive changes in my mood. When we first got together I was on OCPs and he had no idea when my cycle hit, nowadays he sees it coming before I realize I'm PMSing-so I guess the IUD has affected my period whether I knew it or not!

The main reason I'm getting the IUD removed and opting for non-hormonal, non-invasive birth control is my mood and overall health. But there is no guarantee what this will do if anything. No providers have offered up much commentary on my correlation between my depression and hormonal birth control (they both started up about the same time for me). Sure, it might not be related, but I can't drop it until I find out for sure. Enter, Fertility Awareness Method a la non-hormonal birth control.

Since I've become more interested in natural remedies and Eastern Medicine I've also become more interested in my natural cycle. From what I remember it isn't pleasant. Let's just say some women's Aunt Flos are skinny, whispers of womanhood while others are super obese. Unfortunately, mine is the latter. Oh the memories of traumatic teenage embarrassment!

But in the interest of holistic wellness and a more natural attempt at healthy living rather than psychoactive, I will bear whatever aunt comes a-knockin. With the assistance of Costco and my favorite feminine hygiene products, I'm sure. You would not believe the drastic effects of an IUD on a woman's flow, I'm talking next to nothing. They're probably come out with self-unwrapping pads by now and I wouldn't know it! Haven't had to bother shopping for 'em!

Also had some developing news regarding the insurance debacle earlier this summer. I had gone cold turkey not seeing any providers this summer and just the past couple weeks have heard back from those providers about becoming covered under the current insurance. Well, it's going to change again in January. Seriously.

I've been doing pretty well and won't be resuming my weekly check-ups by any means but I did feel good about making an appointment with my therapist for November. It will mean a complete restart but I think I'm in a different place, so starting over won't be a bad thing. Definitely need to work on anxiety crapola though! Me after a meet 'n greet is such a downer, even when I get hired! Crazy!

In other news, the household (well the furry members) are enduring a late-fall flea outbreak caused by the warmer weather here in the PNW. We've medicated and are in the process of extra cleaning and bed washes. The cats have oily treatment slicks between their shoulders and Fio is getting Benadryl to ward off the obnoxious itching fits. Yay family fun. Not.

I also started a Twitter account. We'll see how that goes! I got one of them fancy "buttons" added to the blog sidebar if anyone wants to follow and see what comes up day-to-day in Hannahland.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Klamath Falls Anniversary Trip

For our first anniversary we knew we wanted to take a little trip and it didn't take long for us to decide we'd like to go to Klamath Falls, OR again. Returning to our wedding site at Copper Creek Inn as a backup plan.

We left Fio with my parents and the cats had the apartment to themselves, which they seemed to enjoy quite well! Fio had a good time with his pitbull cousin too, at the very least a great workout!

The drive south went pretty smoothly and we made our traditional pit stop at the Woodburn Outlets before the longer haul through the mountains to Klamath Falls. Yeah, I still got cranky and a little crazy being in the car for that long, but we made it!

It was beautiful and the fall colors were brilliant. There was a chill in the air but most days were quite sunny and we even got a little burnt one afternoon hiking in the Lava Beds.

For our anniversary we had brunch at a local restaurant, WaffleHut, where they specialize in a special type of waffle called leige waffles (lee-age, with a soft 'g') which are delicious! We also opened cards and enjoyed a bottle of our wedding wine and then had tritip, mac 'n cheese, and roasted peppers like we had our last visit to Klamath Falls. We had our wedding cake lady make us one of her delicious blueberry-lemon creme pies.

Yum yum yum. Funny how celebrations the world over all involve FOOD.


Funny how they are all bird cards and two cards
are penguins like the sticker I put on the calendar!
During our stay we relaxed at the sauna, hot tub, and pool and we explored the Lava Beds and Crater Lake and we also vegged out in front of the TV.

We were also drawn in by our audiobook, although listening to a story about murders in National Parks kinda made the caves a little more creepy than usual! Little did we know it was part of a larger series, which lead to a few loose ends or unexplained references, but it worked out all right.





Crater Lake and the Lava Beds. We attempted the watchtower hike at Crate Lake but it was too icy and I said "hell no!" so we explored around Discovery Point trail and the visitor centers and earned some altitude-rasped, cooled throats even without a decent hike. At the Lava Beds we enjoyed totally different caves from our last visit including Valentine, Merrill, Blue Grotto, Ovis, Paradise Alley, and a hike out to Black Crater and a Modoc wars battle site. We saw deer, a rabbit, and even a bat (which we quietly left alone to his slumber).





In the end, we had a relaxing anniversary excursion with some successful outlet shopping and outdoor exploration. The trip home was a long one, but starting the day with WaffleHut, a pit stop and sammies along I-5, and dinner, card game, and coffee at my folks before the last leg of our journey home helped break up the day and prevent any decapitations (we all know I'd be the one to snap, let's face it). Kev wasn't immune to the car-cabin fever and travel weariness, but he was an endurance driving champ and an angel, as usual!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

My 1st Anniversary Trip

The hubster and I celebrated our first anniversary this past week with a trip to Klamath Falls, OR. We went there earlier this year and really enjoyed the area and it was even more fun this trip.

We stayed at the same resort/condo, brought along another audio book, and visited the Lava Beds National Monument again but explored new caves and visited Crater Lake. We stopped by the Woodburn Outlets and the local art gallery and Klamath Basin Brewery again, walked Main Street and tried a new restaurant, WaffleHut. This trip we copied our menu from the last visit with Chicago mix popcorn, mac 'n cheese, peppers, steak, croissants, turkey and mustard and then added some special anniversary treats like our wedding wine and a lemon creme blueberry pie from the same baker that did our wedding cake.

While we did a lot of the same things as our last trip this trip was different in some good ways. 

The hubbo helped me realize that I've come a long way and that we're doing better now than we were in February. My mood has improved quite a bit and I'm off of all anti-depressants! I did have some anxiety over the trip recalling how sour my mood was last time we traveled to Klamath Falls-yes, we had a great time, but I was so cranky!

A good trip, a good year. I"m happy with where we are heading and how far we've come! More soon :)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Framed!

Literally, we got our unity painting framed just in time for our anniversary :)


Tossing and Turning

Hardly slept last night after blogging. Just couldn't stop tossing and turning!

I feel betrayed, yet I feel judgmental. Maybe things will settle after a while, but for now it's pretty messy in my mind.

 I guess I can only deal with one emotion at a time. First up, the hurt and betrayal then maybe I'll try to explore the pity and compassion followed by a chaser of fear and confusion.

Cheers.

Skeletons

No, not the Halloween kind! This week I dug up an old family skeleton, as in family secret.

Earlier this year I learned how to look up case records on the state website but for whatever reason I didn't research my cousin's case (the one that disappeared for nearly a decade without anyone telling me why). Well this week I did that and even more!

After finding the case number on the website I looked up the phone number and address for the county clerks' office. It took me a couple days to get up the courage to call, even though the hubby assured me that court clerks are the nicest and best clerks, which they were when I finally called. I found out that I didn't have to order copies, I could go in to one of two locations and look at the files on their computers for free.

Well that's what I did Tuesday afternoon! The hubster and I planned it out so that I would catch the 1:01 pm bus south and he would meet me at the Seattle office after work.

I have to say, I almost always enjoy riding public buses, even with the odd smells. The leaves were delightful shades and I had lovely cup of coffee to sip on the way down from one of our local cafes. I enjoyed people watching and it felt nice being part of a pack. The bus driver was nice too (even if she talked to herself a little) and I was able to get off the bus within a block of the court building. It did take me a few minutes and a few unnecessary trips across cross walks before I figured out where I was going, but once I got in the building it was pretty dang easy to navigate my way to the clerks office.

All this cheerful build-up is pretty out of place when I consider the details of my cousin's case. Somehow, even with this disgusting nature of his crime I had a good day (he was convicted of child rape and attempted possession of child pornography-how the 'attempted' part works I'm not really sure, to me you either have it or you don't).

I already knew that he had gone away for some sort of child molestation, I just didn't know the details. I'm glad I found out for myself because I'm not sure I would have ever gotten the story from my family or even felt comfortable talking about it. It certainly didn't bring everything to a magical conclusion in my mind though, not nearly.

Reviewing the materials and seeing the dates made me think back through the years when I was around my cousin and after he disappeared, and then all the years my family lied and to the more recent months where I've heard about my cousin or seen him. It's so hard for me to hold in my mind, trying to reconcile familial love with morality.

My husband never wants to see him, never wants him near our future children, and sees no reason to have him in our lives, period. I can understand that point of view I just have guilt pangs. It's not really a feeling of commitment to my cousin, I don't really know him. It's a commitment and guilt factor from my aunt and mom.

Nowadays my mom is somewhat estranged from my Aunt S and cousin M but back when all this drama was fresh she was involved. She was on the court records as a defense witness with my cousin and she revealed that she had lied about a Vegas or Reno trip when I was younger because it was a trip with Aunt S to go visit my cousin after he was transferred to a jail out of state. I suppose I'm still susceptible to these kind of subliminal messages from my family instead of thinking like an independent adult, because those actions and behaviors have sent the message that family trumps rapist but it just doesn't feel right.

I tried to mull over different hypotheticals, as if one of my siblings or aunts or uncles had committed such a crime, but it's inconceivable. I believe in forgiveness and unconditional love but I also can't ignore the question of safety and reasonable judgement.

I'm not really sure where this leaves me but it was somewhat helpful and grounding getting some cold, hard facts and perspective. It's amazing to learn about something after the fact that affected my life over a decade ago. It's like reading a history book about myself with details I never noticed at the time. It's not exactly pretty but it really gives some depth to my family relations and some of the tension I sensed as a child but could not understand. I can only imagine the other dramas that flew over my head!

All in all I find myself with more questions than answers after my fact-finding journey. Was Mom that close to her nephew or did she go on those jail visits through obligation to her sister? What did Mom and Dad think about my cousin committing that type of crime and having been around me and my brother and sister? Why weren't me and my siblings debriefed when that cousin was released from prison?

When I was younger, I didn't feel comfortable around this cousin and now that I've reviewed the case record for myself I believe my juvenile gut reaction was spot on. My aunt may not agree, but my husband and I think my cousin is guilty and that will certainly affect the family dynamic. Unfortunately it seems like there has been a "choosing of sides" on this matter but hopefully a new norm will settle upon us soon.

And for the record, I have decided I will not be a mediator between my aunt and my mother. If they want to start talking/seeing each other again, it's on them. And I will not become some family mediator with this cousin drama either. I did my own research, I'm coming to my own conclusions, and I will make my own decisions and whatever path that takes me toward, here I come.

Jeesh. The whole thing leaves me feeling dirty!

In other news, Fio is doing somewhat better with his allergies but still itchy. Plans are in the works for our anniversary and I'm getting excited for the holidays. Ornament season has officially begun but is still picking up speed (no 2:00 am nights just yet). I've been trying to get back on top of my supplements and vitamins, but haven't had much luck. Tomorrow is a new day! On a similar note, I've been getting the jogging urge again, but it will be a long road back to where I was, that's for certain.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Little Steps

It caused me some anxiety but I was able to call two numbers I've been meaning to call for weeks now.

I followed up about doula certification evaluation forms and I made an appointment for a doctor's visit.

Lots of deep breathing and a Xanax later I'm glad I made the calls even though it certainly rattled me!

Little steps in the right direction, I do think.