Thursday, June 22, 2017

Ventriloquism and the Sinus Blowfish

Yesterday, it felt like a frightened blowfish swam up my right nostril and lodged itself in my sinus cavity. POOF! Nothing getting in, nothing getting out. I felt like that all day long. That, plus my right ear felt...weird. I was on my way to being well and truly convinced I was headed toward a sinus infection or an ear infection - or both. (Because...well, history does repeat itself.)

At one point - without warning - I suddenly could breathe again. Out of both sides. It was noticeable because truthfully, I almost never can breathe out of both sides. I'm sort of used to it being one or the other. So when I felt air flow - right and left - I noticed.

I posted to Facebook: MIRACLE! I can breathe out of both nostrils! Wait...nope. Never mind. #Allergies.

Because as soon as I started to post the blowfish got angry again.

Today, I feel fine. Apparently, the blowfish who took cover in my sinuses kissed and made up with whatever frightened it and sent it up there in the first place. Today, I'm normal. Kinda breathing out of one side, and clear on the other.  It will switch up in an our or two.

This has been a lifelong commitment. This battle between which sides of my head wish to breathe. They cannot, it seems, draw or release air at the same time.

If you're a Jeff Dunham fan, you'll understand what I mean when I say, "I talk, you talk. I talk, you talk. We cannot both talk at the same time!" Remove the word "talk" and insert the word "breathe" and...there you have it. That's me. (Jeff Dunham, for those who don't know, is a ventriloquist. And he is freakin' hysterical. There's a very short clip below to prove it.)

Anyway, my father once told me, "Jenny, you've been this way since the day you were born. I don't think you could make a sniffle I'm not familiar with."

This, sadly, is true. I've been an allergy-ridden mess since day one.

But, I'm alive. And, every day I get up on this side of the earth is a pretty good day. Right?


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Silly Stories, Goofy Voices, and Girl-Child

The other day, I snuggled in bed with Girl-child at bedtime, and told her silly stories in a goofy, made-up voice. We both had a very good time, and I don't think I've ever heard her laugh so hard. She said her face hurt. The voice I was doing was so goofy, I actually had trouble maintaining it; I kept making myself laugh.

Anyway, do you remember Lily Tomlin's Edith Ann sitting in the huge rocking chair telling the story about the crazy sandwich she made, which included raisins (I think) but then she decided she couldn't eat the sandwich because she didn't like raisins? It's been a while since I've seen or heard it, so mostly I made my own version of the story. But Girl-child thought it was great. At some point during that story, I'd said something about putting mayonnaise on the bread and she said, "Mayonnaise on a bed!? How is that even possible?" And - using my goofy voice - I said, "BREAD! BREAD! NOT BED! Who would be mayonnaise on a BED? That's just silly!" Which, of course had her giggling again.

I elaborated a lot. And she was totally engrossed in the story. When I finally came to the punchline - "I decided I couldn't eat it because I don't like raisins, so I threw it out." - she howled. She had tears running down her face she was laughing so hard.

I didn't realize I was so funny.

Then, I made up another story. This one was totally off the top of my head. About a kid who found a flower outside, thought it was pretty, picked it, and brought it in the house. His mom got upset, because she said it wasn't a flower, it was a weed, and it didn't belong in the house. But the kid said, "NO! It's not a weed, it's a pretty flower and I want to keep it!" Ensue argument between kid and mom, leading to mom finally saying something about the weed probably having bugs on it. The kid said, "BUGS!? I like BUGS!" and immediately went into his room to get his little bug catcher case. He put the flower in it, and brought it to his room.

Later, while he was brushing his teeth and getting ready for bed, he heard his mom hollering at him, "...and I went my room, 'cause that's where my mom was yelling at me from and she said, 'Why is this flower in your bug catcher in your room? I thought I told you to put it outside?' But I said that she said there might be bugs on it so I put it in my bug catcher!" Ensue another argument between kid and mom, leading to a final agreement that the kid would put the flower outside in the morning.

When the kid woke up in the morning, the flower was gone! "...vanished! and I went downstairs and said, 'MOM! My flower is gone!' and she said, 'Yes, I already put it outside.'" Kid was very upset, but ultimately, that was the end of it.

Then, two weeks later, it was the mom's birthday and daddy bought mom a vase of flowers. In it, were a few stems of baby's breath - which in the kid's mind looked an awful lot like the weed his mom had made him get rid of a couple weeks earlier, so he removed the baby's breath from the arrangement and tossed them outside. When his mom realized what he'd done, he said, "But you said flowers like that weren't allowed in the house! They looked just like the one I had and so I put them outside!"

Girl-child said, "Solid burn!" Which had ME howling!

Anyway - the actual story was much funnier when I was telling it in person, in my silly voice, to Girl-child. We spent 45 minutes or so being silly, and then it was bedtime for bonzo. She said, "Mom, this has been the best day ever!"

Apparently, I'm doing something right.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Boy Scouts are stinky after a week at camp

I did a good job last week not saying anything about how Hubby and Boy-Child were gone all week long at Boy Scout camp in North Carolina.  It was just me, and Girl-Child, and I didn't want to give any creepers an opportunity creepy. So everyone is home now and my world has returned to semi-normal.

When my boys are gone, and especially when Hubby is gone, I do not sleep well. The first night they were gone I was up practically all night. I think I finally fell asleep around 2:30 and was up again around 5:15. I remember seriously considering just throwing it to the wind and skipping church, but Girl-Child had to perform her Acolyte duties at the 11AM service, and it was Promotion Sunday (the day the kids who are rising grades move into their new classrooms; Girl-Child was moving up to YOUTH!) so we had to go to church.  I think I managed not to act like a zombie, but I sure felt like one.

Then, Sunday night, I let Girl-Child sleep in bed with me. But she kick and hogs the bed. She claims I steal covers, but whether I did or not (I claim not), I figure it's just desserts for only having 1/4 of the queen size bed. How a 10 year old can take up so much room is beyond me. She actually put her feet into the small of my back at one point and pushed. That was when I got up, shoved her over and said, "You have to move, or you're going back to your own room." She reluctantly relinquished a few scant inches and I climbed back in. Needless to say, on Monday night, she was back in her own bed.

So, you may be wondering what in the world I did with Girl-Child while I was at work all week? Well, I have wonderful, amazing, giving friends. One of whom graciously agreed to take her on all week. Not just to keep her at her home and keep her safe, but she fed her, did fun stuff, and was even up waaaay earlier than normal just to receive her at the door. I cannot express how much it meant to not only know that my girl was safe, but that she was with someone I trust implicitly. We were even invited to dinner on Tuesday night, which was a repast beyond expectation. Seriously, grilled steak and chicken, steamed broccoli, baked potatoes, grilled shrimp on skewers; wine. It was yum! They kept Girl-child overnight on Wednesday night - so I didn't see her from Wednesday morning until I got off of work on Thursday night. (A long time alone; and it was weird. I didn't really know what to do with myself.)

Oh, and I broke a toe kicking a chair. I didn't kick the chair on purpose; it did nothing wrong. My foot slipped as I tried to push my chair back and away from the dinner table, kicked the leg of another chair which was occupied. My toe was not was simply not enough force to make that chair move, so my toe went CRUNCH! And I went YIPE! Yes, yes - I assured my gracious hosts - I'm perfectly fine. I finished inner with grace and aplomb, hobbled to my car later, and went home to nurse my swollen, purple toe. It feels better now, but YOWIE! I don't like breaking toes. I've done it before and it hurts, by golly! It's much better now; a week later. But still twinges if I step wrong.  The swelling and bruising is mostly gone, except for a couple of spots. I expect I'll live to see another day.

The week passed slowly, with little decent sleep, and then it was Saturday and my boys were coming home! Girl-Child and I went to the Lavender Festival and had a blast. Picked up a Father's Day gift for Hubby, looked at all kinds of fun stuff, ate Italian Ice before lunch, bought a new outfit for her doll whom she adores (we get a new one every year; they're handmade by the vendor), I got a henna tattoo on my hand, Girl-Child filled a sand necklace, made a card for her daddy for Father's day, we saw lots of people we know and love. Then we went to visit some of our animal friends during an adoption event. And suddenly, it was time to go welcome the boys home!

Girl-Child made a sign - WELCOME HOME TROOP 129 - and we held it up street-side and waved furiously as the big yellow bus full of tired and stinky scouts rumbled back into the church parking lot. There was loud beeping and excitement and both Hubby and Boy-Child were pleased with their warm welcome.

I'm glad to have my boys home. We're back to our usual daily chaos, which, as much as the chaos makes me absolutely CRAZY, I miss it when it's not there.


PS: Remind me to tell you about the time Boy-Child sliced open his hand and finger with a knife. That's a good story. (Ugh.) File it under, "At Least He Didn't Die," or "It Couldda Been Worse."

Monday, June 19, 2017

Latent Creativity

Years ago, I had an Etsy site; a place to sell the silly things I made that I thought were special. I sold some things - gratefully - mostly to family, but also to a few people I didn't know. It was fun. Then the kids became needier (as they do), and my free-time became less (as it does), and so I let my "store" lapse. I didn't close it - always hopeful I'd get back to it - but it's been, for want of a better word, dormant for several years.

Kiddos are now older, though my free-time is still somewhat lacking. I prefer spending free-time with kiddos, or volunteering, or doing various things at church, like the puppet ministry or teaching Sunday school.

BUT...on occasion I still do something crafty.  And thus I have done, and wanted to share it with you! (It's a big picture; keep scrolling for more info!)

To View (or purchase) on Etsy, CLICK HERE

This is a handmade (by me!), crocheted afghan/throw. It's 60" x 40" (approx) and I almost don't want to part with it! It started out as a practice piece (I wanted to learn how to make a chevron pattern) but the practice piece came together so nicely, I decided to keep going. The result is what you see here. 

Hubby said, "Honey, I hope you don't take this the wrong way,'s kinda wacko. All those colors, you know?"

I said, "Yeah! I like it. It appeals to my sense of weird." (Or, something like that.)

So, it's definitely a little obnoxious and I know it won't be for everyone, but I LOVE it; I'm super pleased with how it turned out.

I decided, rather than write about my woes - of which I have many - I'd throw in something creative, fun, and positive today.

Feel free to share! :)

(Yes, I suppose that was a sales pitch. Whaddaya think?)


PS: Woes return (with interwoven humor) next time.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Wild Things

If you have anyone else living in your home (doesn't matter who) have you ever felt like you're constantly stepping on, stepping over, stepping around or picking up stuff that doesn't belong wherever it is? (Usually on the floor.)

I had a rough night last night. I watched the time on the clock slowly creep toward midnight and was still mentally wired. I had a zillion things zinging around inside my skull so it was impossible to settle. As my brain played pinball, (TILT!) I fussed at things, picked stuff up, looked through a file for something I was trying to find, did laundry, fixed the dishwasher, took the trash out (twice), made sure everything I could recycle was in the recycle bin, scooped the litter box, and generally buzzed around (another analogy) like a fly caught in a Mason jar.

Eventually, I gravitated toward the bedroom realizing that the clock had gone well past midnight and was closing solidly in on 2:30AM. Physically, I was exhausted. Mentally, I was wired. Those two things don't make for restful sleep. Further, both fur kids decided it was time to seek revenge for earlier in the day when I played Alpha Female and captured them to clip nails and apply their monthly flea meds. There was much roaring of terrible roars, gnashing of terrible teeth, rolling of terrible eyes, and showing of terrible claws. (Usually directed at my feet under the covers.) Thanks, Maurice Sendak.

Needless to say, I'm not myself today. I'm tired, my head feels fuzzy, and I can't concentrate very well. Thank goodness for being busy or I'd be taking a nap under my desk. I'm expecting a busy night tonight, as well. Maybe I'll be able to get in bed before 10PM?

Wish me luck!


Friday, June 09, 2017


Yesterday, Co-worker came to my office to talk to Boss. Boss told Co-Worker to wait a minute, he was finishing something up. Co-Worker paced in front of my desk...waiting, expectantly.

Me: Did Boss make you wait?

Co-Worker: Yes, he had to give birth to a thought.


Girl-child grounded the cat. Why? Because Wendy (cat, a.k.a. "The Tiny Furry Dictator") has a habit of using her paw to snag a piece of fabric - crocheted blanket, a sweater, a towel - use said paw to bring fabric to her mouth, and then will spend minutes on end simply licking the fabric. It's akin to thumb-sucking in children, I think. Anyway - Wendy had been licking a crocheted blanket for almost 10 minutes and Girl-child had had it. She said, "That's it! Wendy! Enough! You're grounded!" then went over, picked the little fuzzball up, and relocated her to another part of the house.

It didn't work. As a friend said, "Grounding a cat is like trying to give a cat a Time Out" - which, of course, wouldn't work, either.

Still, it was amusing.


At work, trying desperately to attach a required form to a foreign trip request for a co-worker. Form. Will. Not. Attach. Three separate people tried and failed, including me. Finally, I hollered at Boss. "Boss! Would you come out here for a minute please?"

I explain the situation. Boss says, "Make the document into a PDF and try again."

Which, of course, worked like a charm. Now I feel like an idiot.

And...another clear reason why Boss is the Boss.


Last night, Girl-child had gotten ready for bed. I'd just finished showering so I had a towel on my head. It was late. Girl-child really should have already been in bed, but instead, she was in my room fussing over the fur babies. I took the towel off my head and intended to give her a light smack on the backside with it, but - not considering that Wet Towel = Heavy Towel = Doesn't Work Like a Dry Towel managed to actually snap the towel at Girl-child's backside. **POP!**

It hurt. She cried. I felt so awful because I truly didn't mean it to snap her like that. But then we both looked at each other and began to laugh like loons. She said, "Mom, I know you didn't mean to do that and I forgive you. I love you SO much!" I think I kinda love her, too. Goober.



PS: A little levity today was necessary. I'm an emotional wreck so I'm trying to make myself (and maybe you, too?) feel better. Did it help?

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Celery is Gross & Green Tea Tastes Like Dirt: An Anxiety Diet

The other day (which was probably more like a week ago or so) Hubby and I attended a class together. It was called Behavioral and Medicinal Characteristics of Plant-Based Nutrients presented by Merrily Khun, RN, CCRN (r), Ph.D., ND. Hubby went because, as a massage therapist, he can get continuing education credits to support his license. I went because Hubby asked if I wanted to go and I said yes. I'd never been to one of those classes (he's been to several I'd have like to have gone to, too) so I thought it would not only be educational, but interesting.

The speaker (Merrily Khun) did a good job. She was funny, engaging, her subject was interesting, seemed well-researched (she cited her research, too, which - as an admin at a National Laboratory - made me happy to see), kept us on track, and presented her work well.

(Funny aside: The venue made her use their presentation equipment, which she was unfamiliar with. During the early part of her presentation, she tried to show a video. She tried several times and, while we could hear the video, we couldn't see the video. She got quite frustrated. One person tried to help her, suggesting there must be a remote she needed to use, but that was unsuccessful, and the venue guy knew nothing about the technology. Finally, I couldn't stand it and got up to assist. Me - Ms. Anxiety-Don't-Like-Crowds - got up in front of 250+ people, climbed up on stage and showed her how to fix it. Et voila! The video was now showing on both large screens and her computer. There was actual applause! It was a strange thing. I guess it was a good thing that, in a large audience of people in professional occupations like nursing, therapists of all kinds, dietitians, nutritionists, etc., there was a lone administrative assistant in the audience with a background in first-level tech support.)

Anywho- I'm glad I went. I sat from about 8:15 AM until 4:00 PM and wasn't bored once. That's pretty good, right?

Glad I went, and yet...not.

What I took away from that class was, basically, that I should never, ever, eat again. Everything we put into our bodies is bad for us.  Bread is terrible. Wheat is terrible - for everyone, not just those who have Wheat/Gluten sensitivities/allergies. Real Wheat - the heirloom stuff - can really only be found in Europe these days. Everything you eat should be organic, raw. Oh, and raw almonds are great, except you need to make sure they're steamed, not fumigated because...chemicals. Black coffee is fine. Green tea is better. She was not opposed to alcohol - in moderation, of course. Avocados (organic) are perfect. Curcumin is a wonder supplement for pain and inflammation, even for those who are allergic to anti-inflammatories/NSAIDS, like Yours Truly. Sugar is the root of all that is wrong with us. Egg yolks will kill you, just like cigarettes will. (NOTE: I'm taking giant liberties here, and this is Jen's Interpretation. I'm more than paraphrasing.)

So, here I go again with the "The Thing." You take someone like me, who is already a bit obsessive, already anxiety-ridden, already depressed (though working toward making myself better in several ways) and you tell that person that everything they eat is bad for them and they must break every habit they have, stop eating the things they love, stop eating the things they think are good for them, and start eating like a rabbit, what does that person do? Well, if you're me, you immediately go into Self-Preservation Mode and start buying organic (Holy Expensive, Batman!), stop eating bread of any kind, cut out all sugar (except what occurs naturally in fruits and veggies), drink nothing but water (not much of a challenge), black coffee (not much of a change), and green tea (which I'm trying to force myself to like, except I think it tastes like dirt). And celery is gross.

You make beautiful, colorful breakfasts and lunches with your Rabbit Food, and you pretend you're happy without bread, or cookies, or cake, or even hummus! I refuse to believe eggs are bad. Cheese is my friend (she never said otherwise) and coffee is coffee is coffee. Green tea...well, maybe I'll acquire the taste.

You know, They say "Diet" is a four-letter word for a reason.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Go me?

Yesterday was Memorial Day. Please don't misunderstand when I don't really talk about Memorial Day. I'm not dismissing it, or its importance. It's just not what I want to talk about.

I started CrossFit (which I genuinely like) a few weeks ago, and decided to go to the 9AM class. Yes, there was one on Memorial Day.

I already knew my regular trainer would be there, we'd discussed it. I either didn't know, or didn't remember, that they'd be doing "The Murph" workout; way beyond my current skill level. Although, I don't think my gym uses a 20lb vest or body armor for added weight. Either way, I was there at 9AM.

Usually, there are about 8 people in class when I'm there. Yesterday, there were closer to 30!

I already don't like crowds. My anxiety was already high. Too many people + high anxiety = I couldn't handle it, so I left. I ran away like a frightened dog with her tail between her legs. I chickened out. I was so disappointed in myself. I cried all the way home, and on Hubby's shoulder, and alone in my room. It took a while for me to settle down. It was not a full-blown anxiety attack, but it was up there. Add in the disappointment wasn't pretty.

I finally channeled some of my energy into cleaning. I completely cleaned the bathroom, did a few loads of laundry, stripped the bed, washed the sheets, the blankets - everything, and completely cleaned the cat box and surrounding area.

I was still in a funk, but somewhat less so.

I'm going back to CrossFit tonight. I don't want to quit. I'm sure my trainer will want to know what happened to me yesterday; why I just disappeared. I'm embarrassed to tell him, but I will. He needs to understand I'm challenging myself in more ways than just fitness.

Go me?


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Staplers: Evil Machines of Pain

You know, I would assume most people have some memories of their early elementary school years. Me? Not so much.

I kind of remember kindergarten. My teacher's name was Mrs. Vince. She had brown hair and was nice. She gave us trail mix with carob chips instead of chocolate in little white paper cups as snacks. We took naps. I read my first book all by myself in Kindergarten. It was called: Put Me In The Zoo. I was SO proud of myself. (It's still one of my favorites. I have read it to my kids.) I remember little seeds growing in cups, too. That's about it.

I remember, at some point in my very early elementary school years (couldn't tell you what grade or how old I was) there was a little half-wall at the left of the doorway, dividing the room, on which stood one of those huge staplers with the large pad on top for smacking... Anyway, my mother had me up in her arms and we were standing near this evil machine of pain when I managed to staple two fingers together. I cried. There was blood. It was traumatic. I've been wary of staplers since.

And that's about it. I have no memories of my early elementary school days until third grade. I know (because I've been told) that I repeated second grade. I have no memories of first grade at all.

Is that weird?

My doctor asked me if I have ever been diagnosed with PTSD. No, I haven't. He wondered aloud if I'm repressing some kind of traumatic incident (other than the Stapler Incident) but I don't know. It seems unlikely. And furthermore, what could be that traumatic that I would repress it entirely? I'm really not asking for suggestions, just putting forth a rhetorical question.

I have lots, and lots, and lots of gaping holes in my memory. I've written about that before. All the awful stuff surrounding my mother's death...I get why I've suppressed those memories. But the other...? I guess I might never know. And maybe I don't want to.

I know after my second Second Grade, we moved. I remember that move. And with the move came a new elementary school, and - what do you know? - third grade! Memories. Coincidence? Who knows? My teacher's name was Mrs. Glover and she had blonde hair and soft hands and was absolutely amazing. She took me and my brother in occasionally when my mom was having surgery or other treatments and procedures. She had a second home in New Hampshire, which I visited. I remember I threw up in her car on the way up there. How she didn't hate me for that is beyond me. She also had guinea pigs. That's when I found out just how horribly allergic I am to guinea pigs. Benadryl became my best friend. Her New Hampshire home was built into a rock and part of the inner walls of her home were actually natural rock. I also remember the other third grade teacher's name was Pearl Johnson. (Or was it Jackson?)  See? Memories.

Anyway, I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that some of whatever this stuff is (repressed or suppressed) can be directly linked to my current and ongoing depression and anxiety, but I'm no expert. Someone recently suggested I do some kind of regressive hypnosis to see if I can uncover whatever IT is. But I think probably not. As a wise friend of mine said, "Some doors need to remain closed."

What do you think?


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

I'm doing "The Thing" again

There are days where I'm just going along - feeling pretty good, getting stuff done, thinking about nothing in particular, or, at least nothing majorly negative - and then something, some little, tiny, itty bitty thing happens and suddenly I'm in a funk.

Then, I start to do "The Thing."

Those of you with anxiety issues will understand completely.

The Thing: "I'm a terrible person. No one likes me. I can't do anything right. I might as well just not even try..." and on and on and on. The whirlwind of negative self-thoughts and suddenly I'm spiraling downward; out of control.

OK - so a non-anxiety sufferer might say, "You shouldn't feel that way!" or some other well-intended, meant-to-be-bolstering statement. But it's not like I can turn it off; it's not as simple as that. Especially when coupled with depression! It's a self-hate, self-loathing thing that goes far beyond just feeling bad. I'm not a Gloomy Gus.

I try very hard not to take unintended slights, negative comments, or "constructive" criticism personally. But when you feel as I do, those things - casually tossed about - can create havoc within me.

Another thing, I am not an angry person by nature. When I lash out, it's usually because I've used up every ounce of my energy "faking it" to get through my day. My poor family tends to get the brunt of my Evil Alter Ego. I guess it's true that sometimes you hurt the ones you love the most. But after making sure I am a solid professional during the day, and kind and caring, and giving to others, I really don't have too much left to give. And home is my Safe Zone. Or, it's supposed to be. So when I get home and I'm surrounded by NEED (kids need me, hubby needs me, laundry needs to be done, animals need whatever they need in their needy way,) and I'm just done. I've literally got nothing left to give; I'm empty.

I feel awful when my kids want me - need me - and I love them dearly but sometimes it's all I can do to respond in a normal voice. Mostly, I want to screech, "JUST LEAVE ME ALONE FOR 5 MINUTES, WILL YA?!" - and have been known to do just that. I've calmly asked for 10 minutes of time when I get home just to settle; to arrange my mood and transform from Work Jen to Mom & Wife Jen. It's a definite transition. 10 minutes NEVER happens.

So, when I'm sharp with my words, or short with my responses, or snappish - it's probably not you, it's probably me. Granted, sometimes it legitimately might be you, but probably not.

Still one other thing to consider. I once took that Five Love Languages quiz and discovered that my Love Language is - STRONGLY - "Acts of Service." I don't need physical touch or contact, I don't need gifts, I don't need words of affirmation. But if you do something for me - unselfishly - I will respond to that. Do the dishes? Oh, be still my heart! (Seriously!) Clean your room? I could KISS you! (And probably will!) Bring me a hot tea when I'm not feeling great and haven't asked for one? So freaking awesome! Run me a hot bath and make me sit there for 20 minutes after a tough day. You know, nothing major. Just little things. But that, above nearly anything else in this world, will make me feel loved; feel better.

Yeah - the minor slight that set me on my downward spiral earlier has eased off a bit. It was stupid anyway and I know it.