30 June 2007


I'm feeling a bit like I'm 8 years old, playing a frenetic game of tag. The Aunt tagged me with this, (thanks Auntie! I've never been tagged before and I feel all popular! :-) and I'm wondering if I even KNOW 8 bloggers to tag back with it. Anyway.

1. Each player must post these rules first.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

eight random facts/habits about me:

1. I gave up caffeine a few months ago but have developed an addiction to iced coffee since the weather has warmed up. Decaf, of course, but I really don't need another addiction to add to my list of SN, various fangirl boards, chocolate and MySpace.
2. My movie collection and my music collection are both alphabetized. Why, yes, I *do* have obsessive-compulsive disorder, why do you ask?
3. I have a big girl-crush on Claire Forlani. She is so graceful and beautiful. Don't believe me? Watch "Meet Joe Black."
4. I am not a fan of most beer. Especially the mass-produced swill that passes for beer in most American bars. Yuck.
5. I speak 3 languages fluently. Swedish, German, and English. Bits and pieces of a few others, French, Russian, Spanish, Italian, and ASL. I can understand Norwegian and Danish pretty well because they're so similar to Swedish. I love linguistics.
6. Most reality television disgusts me. Just when I think the lowest common denominator has been reached, something new comes along that is even worse than what I thought was the most awful program. Witness: Survivor, Fear Factor, The Amazing Race. Ugh.
7. I can't watch horror movies because they scare me too much. And yet I will read Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and other stuff that scares the bejesus out of me.
8. I like the cold and snow. I miss it when the weather is 90+ degrees and 100% humidity lingers for weeks.

Wow, that was far more difficult than I thought it would be. Now to find 8 bloggers to tag back.

Erincee, MotherMe, Nikitaku, Amanda Marlena on We Shall Not Be Moved, Teri on WindLost, Mischa on Church Made Me Stupid, Milady de Winter on Chez Milady, and very unfairly because he's out of the country, John on The Shepard's Staff. Friends all, although they might think otherwise after having been tagged.

27 June 2007

Plate-Spinning, Head-Spinning

As my beloved job winds down, I'm left feeling as if I'm one of those plate jugglers that you sometimes see on variety shows, keeping 5 or 6 breakable plates in the air. What have I forgotten? Who have I not called? The speed with which this happened has my head spinning.

I have my moments, when this is heartbreaking and I'm in tears. But mostly, I'm impossibly happy, nearly euphoric, with the future stretched out in front of me, limitless in its possibilities. Should I be so happy? I no longer care if I should or shouldn't. I am. My shrink says that I'm in the process of "re-framing" whatever the hell that means. She also says that she's very glad to see me in that process, so it is apparently progress.

26 June 2007

Feeling like the weight of the world is off my shoulders

"G'on, brush yer shoulders off"~Rapper Jay-Z

I told you a week or so ago that my personal life had a bit of a blow, that I'd be dealing with the fallout for a while. I could not share the details at the time, but I can now, and it feels so incredibly freeing.

I'm tempted to throw caution entirely to the winds and share the whole story, and shed my anonymous pen name, almost like "coming out" must feel. I'm giddy, and thinking that perhaps I ought not feel giddy, that I ought to feel sad, or bad, but I just don't. Can't.

I resigned from my job. The job that has been such an important part of WHO I am, the job that has given my life extraordinary meaning for almost 3 years, the job that in the beginning was a dream job, being the boss, being in charge and doing something for the community where I live. Things at the job were closing up shop, and I resigned before the bitter end, when I would have been laid off anyway. Gave up, in a way, I suppose. But I don't feel bad about it, I feel that I made the best decision I could for myself, for this time, this place. That "living in the NOW" idea, which has always been so hard for me, that sense of serenity, that almost state of grace is with me now that I have decided to finally let it go.

This job has also been the reason, well, the primary reason, but maybe not the only one, that I've hidden behind a pen name. My stance as an abortion-rights activist, flaming liberal, and champion of feminist ideals probably wouldn't have gone down very well with my employer. I never hid who I was and what I was from them, but I didn't flaunt it in their faces, either.

I'm old enough, and wise enough, to continue to use the pen name, and to not identify the former employer by name. But now I can tell you that I was the director of a local chapter of a global non-profit organization whose work on behalf of children is recognized worldwide. If I did tell you the name, you'd know who it was right away. Heck, you may be able to guess just from those details. *shrug* SOOOO not my problem anymore.

I was the head of the local chapter, a small branch of the wider organization, responsible for keeping our programs fiscally healthy, running the day-to-day operations, supervising a small staff and a group of volunteers. I loved it deeply. It was the most frightening, trying, and at the same time the most exhilarating thing I've ever done in my life.

Coming as I do from a white-picket-fences background, two parents, stable home, good schools, college education, around the time I turned 25 I realized that I wasn't doing much to give back to the community at large, which had shaped who I am. Working as I did back then for a huge super-regional bank, what was I doing every day? Making the rich, richer. Pushing paper. Data entry. Stock transfers, legal document review, taxes....it mostly made me miserable. I wanted to be doing something that made a difference. Something that mattered.

In business school, they don't teach you how to become a middle manager, a corporate slave. Many of us with business degrees end up as just that, but I assure you most business students have plans to take over the world, to run a company, to be the top dog somewhere along the way. And the curriculum, indeed the instructors themselves, encourage that ideal, that when you graduate, you're set to hit the ground running.

For most graduates, reality smacks ya in the face about a year or so after you graduate, when you realize that no one is going to give you that promotion to senior vice president, and you have to work hard to impress everyone. For me, the first epiphany came when I was passed over for a promotion and they hired someone even younger than me for the job. The second one came when I hung up the telephone with a client one day after the client said, "Thanks, you've been really helpful. We couldn't have gotten through this whole process without you, Lucy." I realized when I hung up the phone that I'd just had the best compliment I was likely to get all week, and that was possibly the most satisfaction I would EVER get out of that job, the occasional times when I was able to help someone with a specific problem, solve some issue for them. Six months after that phone call, I was out of there when I was offered my non-profit job.

You might wonder, and perhaps rightfully so, "Lucy! How could you? Walk away from a children's charity? How *DO* you sleep at night?"

My answer to that is twofold; first, my insomnia has been a well documented occurrence on this site. Since making this decision, I've been sleeping better. Not fantastically, but better. Next, it is simply time. Time to move on to something else, time to re-evaluate what the hell I'm doing on this earth, time to breathe for just a minute.

We all spend more of our adult lives at work than we spend doing anything else, including sleeping. Think about it. Forty hours (and most likely more than that, 50-70 perhaps) a week if you work full time. Fifty-two weeks in a year. Most of us get 2 weeks vacation, so for sake of argument, and the easiest possible math for me, let's call it 50 weeks a year at 50 hours a week. 2500 hours a year spent at work. Multiply that by 40 years or so and be prepared to be astonished. But let's stay focused on just one year. There are 8760 hours in a year, 365x24=8760. So you work 2500 of those hours. That leaves you with 6260 hours a year to yourself. If you get 8 hours a sleep a night, lucky you. Most of us don't, so let's go with 6 hours a night of sleep. But that deletes another 2,190 hours from your free time, so you're left with 4,070 hours to do with as you will. I'm not going to sit here and figure out how much time we all spend in running errands, commuting to and from work, working from home or on our CrackBerries, e-mailing when we're supposed to be "off" because my point is this. If you don't love, and I mean absolutely LOVE, what you're doing for a living, why are you doing it?

Yes, yes, we all have bills to pay, and we're all looking for that dream job in Hawaii, but really, if you get up every morning and think, "Ugh, I have to go to WORK today. I hate it there. Please help me get through this day." Then you are wasting what little time you have on this earth. You're a grownup. Change it.

I loved, with my whole heart and soul, this non-profit job, loved it as much as I despised the bank job. It breaks my heart that the services we offer to people are going to disappear from my rust-belt community. That is far more painful, as idealistic as that sounds, than the fact that I'm going to be out of a job. Really, it is. I can get another job. I have a degree. I'm pretty damn employable. I'll survive. Thrive, even, who knows what I might find as another job in the future?

So now what for Lucy? I'm not going back to the bank, I can tell you THAT beyond a shadow of a doubt. I'm in the rather silly position of being 32 years old and having no idea what it is that I want to be when (if) I grow up. I think I'd like to stay in the non-profit arena. I also KNOW that I'd like to move far, far, far away from Oh-hia-ia, and that this may be the last, best opportunity that I have to do so.

But for the immediate future, I'm going to take a minute.


Savor the fact that I've survived the terrible depression that I suffered from, which was related in no small part to this job, as it broke my heart to watch it slowly die.

Take a week or two to work on the book, sit in the sunshine, watch the world go by, and for once, (and maybe the only time in my life) be unemployed. And then I'll get back into job hunting and being a productive member of society. How lucky I am to be able to do that for a minute. How scary, and how exciting.

24 June 2007


Growing up, L. M. Montgomery was one of my favorite authors. I read the Anne of Green Gables books over and over, and then, as now, I was astonished at her ability to describe things so fully that you could SEE them. You got such a sense of Victorian Canada from her books, transported to a time and place not my own, I felt as if I could have lived there. Her use of imagery is still unrivaled by many modern-day authors.

When I visited Prince Edward Island, where the books are set, in 2002, I had the sense of returning to a place that my very essence remembered, even though I'd never been there before. DH and I drove my car, from our home in Oh-hia-ia to PEI. We still own the car, and every time I wash it, even 5 years later, I still get island red dirt off of my blue car. So much of it caked the undercarriage that I'm fairly certain it'll never come completely off.

There are at least 7 books in the Anne series. In one of the last ones, "Anne of Windy Poplars" the title character, Anne, writes in a letter to her fiancee that she reads his letters at dusk, her favorite time of day. She likes the word "dusk" better than "twilight."

I so disagree. "Twilight" has so many possibilites, the fulfillment of the day's promises and yet hints of the night to come.

I live in a heavily wooded area. A major road runs behind my house, but in the summertime you would never know if it weren't for the noise of the traffic. You can not see the road at all, nor see flashes of the cars driving by in the daytime, sun winking off their shining exteriors. You don't even see their headlights when it is dark, so dense are the woods behind the house.

At twilight, the deep places in the woods hold shadows that are green rather than black, and look warm rather than foreboding. We have a small expanse of grass behind the house, but the rest of the property is in its natural state, with trees and all sorts of brush, honeysuckle vines growing over everything. The grass looks lush, emerald green at twilight, as if it is thick and luxurious. Any other time of day, it looks as it truly is, sparse and struggling to grow in the mostly shaded backyard.

When the honeysuckle blooms in early spring, the smell of the blossoms is intoxicating on the air. Bees are thick back there, gathering pollen. I'm allergic to bees, so I stay away until the blossoms wither and die.

Today, during the late afternoon and before the magic hour of twilight, I poked around back there, wondering, if there were any blackberry bushes. There are! And they are full of fat blackberries, still unripe, mostly red, but a few green ones too, meaning that I should be able to gather them in the coming days. Yum.

The twilight vanishes so quickly, swallowed up by the promise of night and the coming dark. One moment it is dusk, and in the next, dark. It is particularly at this time of year that I miss Sweden. I think about Sweden all the time, of course, but during the time around Midsummer, which was yesterday, the 23rd, I remember the sun rising at 2.30 in the morning, the complete lack of night that was amazing to experience. Twilight comes there, and never disappears. It just gets light again a few hours later. It is really neat, but it does make sleeping difficult. Of course, who wants to be sleeping when the light has returned, finally, after a long and dark winter? Almost no one! Parties last long into the twilight hours, making a late-day nap a necessity.

Our Midsummer party this year didn't go as late as a Swedish party might have, but still late enough that DH and I didn't get moving today until far later than our usual time. The result is that it is now what should be around bedtime for me, and I'm feeling like it is just time to get started. It is a good thing that the magic hour of twilight does not last as long here in Oh-hia-ia as it does in Sweden, or I might not get to sleep at all. There is something about the dark that eventually will force me to bed. But until then, I'm quite content to watch the shadows deepen, feel the temperature ease, and contemplate nothing much at all.

22 June 2007

Busy little bee

I have not been updating as frequently this week because I'm still out of the loop on the news cycle. I'll get back to ranting and raving about the Idiot Administration, really, I will. Just not today.

I'm not able to write at all about what's going on in my personal life either, but I will be able to do that soon as well. Hopefully.

I did scribble some fangirl idiocy this week over at MySpace, but that's hardly news, is it?

For now, know that all is well, I'm feeling mentally better than I have in ages and ages, in fact I managed to sleep last night for almost 10 hours. Not uninterrupted 10 hours, but I'm beginning to think that I will never get an uninterrupted night's sleep. C'est la vie.

I should be back for the Tuesday Brain Dump next week. Until then, Glad Midsommar!! (Happy Midsummer!)

21 June 2007

News, and Not News.

I've been out of the loop on the cycle of news since both sisters were home. No NPR listening, very little web-surfing over the past week. It was OK at first, being out of touch with current events, too much else going on to care, but then I got antsy about it. I had this weird feeling, itchy almost, that something was missing.

I'm still not caught up on national and international news, and it isn't likely that I will by the end of this week either. The level of personal angst has shot up sky-high since both sisters left. I was handed a particularly bad piece of personal news yesterday, something that I can't yet share with the internets, and I will spend quite a bit of time over the next week or so dealing with the fallout. Once it is complete, I may share the entire sordid story, or I may not, but I'm fairly certain that even though it was a huge body-blow initially, it is more of an opportunity than anything else. I'm fairly sure that my mental health will improve by leaps and bounds once I'm past the introductory shock.

In other news, if ya know me IRL, the party's this weekend. Midsommar, doncha know. This is a Swedish holiday that I started to celebrate here in America the year that J died, when I realized that life is short. We all say, "we should get together more often" or "I'll call you and we'll have lunch" and then we never do. So I began celebrating Midsommar because I damn well want to. It is one of my favorite holidays. There will be some traditional Swedish food, and I've encouraged guests that if they want to bring something, they should bring their own favorite ethnic dish. So I'm sure it will be a bevy of interesting things. We start at 7 on Saturday.

Listening to: Podrunner

19 June 2007

Random Postcard Sketches, without the pics

Middlesis went back to NYC Monday. Rather, I should say she initially attempted to return to the city. Her flight left around 8 pm, and she supposed that she'd be back in the Big Bad and at home by 11. Instead, she was bumped from the flight and spent a night at the airport, returning to NYC early on Tuesday. "Letting" either sister go is so hard. When we're actually saying goodbye, I have to focus on details other than the fact that they're leaving. Like her red slingback heels, with a peep toe, that I covet and have had numerous opportunities to steal, but haven't managed to make off with yet.

Before she left, we spent a good bunch of time running around town in the Jeep, taking care of about 100 things that the three of us had made lists about. We're so related.

I carried my digital and film cameras around all day, but took only two pictures. I'm not sure why I don't take more pictures. It isn't like I forgot that the backpack camera case was on my shoulder. With temperatures hovering around 90 on Monday, and the air so thick and close you could perhaps chew it, if you had a mind to, I noticed the darn thing on my back. But I didn't take many snapshots of the three of us goofing around.

Since I wouldn't share pictures of my actual self anyway, instead I thought I'd try to sketch out some scenes from the day with words and see how it goes. Its funny, when I picture these scenes in my head, I can hear the click of an old-style real-film camera when I think of the image. So you must imagine that as well.

Four of us, both sisters, my mum and myself, sitting in a row of black leather chairs waiting for pedicures, all reading trashy celebrity gossip mags, foot crossed over the knee, leaned back. Almost mirrors for one another with our postures. We can't be mirrors for one another's looks, mum has red hair, Babysis has raven black, Middlesis has a dark brunette, I'm blonde. One of us does not dye her hair. The rest do.

Lunch, with Middlesis and an old friend of hers, who also happens to be my very talented hairdresser, on the patio of a restaurant in what is laughingly called "downtown." I watched her tell stories to him of life in the big city, about her job and her daily navigation of the city, and I marveled that the little girl who kept a small stuffed bunny rabbit tucked in her back jeans pocket (she called the bunny "pocket pal") has turned in to this elegant and sophisticated woman in front of me. When, exactly, did this happen?

Riding back to the parents place in the Jeep with the doors off, watching the lines painted on the highway from where the door would normally be. I watched the white edge lines, thinking that they looked three dimensional, like thick white rope or fire hoses, as if I could lean out of the Jeep and pick it up. Speeding along at 65 miles an hour, the wind rushing through the Jeep, thundering, but certainly not cooling us down.

Both sisters share my deep love of music, and both have as varied and diverse tastes as I do. We listened to Modest Mouse as we were running errands, "Float On" came on about 3 times.

Lounging on the big sectional in the basement, where it is much cooler, with both sisters, each of us covered with a big blanket, catching up on episodes of Entourage, which all three of us like for different reasons. Middlesis thinks Jeremy Priven is cute. Babysis thinks Adrien Griener is gorgeous. No disagreement from me on either. I like the entertainment industry backstory component, and I think Kevin Connolly is cute. I like the character of "E."

I may not have as much in common with my adult sisters as I'd like to, being that we've all chosen such diverse careers, but it amuses me a great deal that we all like a television show that's much, much sillier than my SN addiction.

Back to reality, work, and normal life tomorrow, when Babysis leaves early in the morning, bound for LA. I miss them both already.

18 June 2007

We Can Work It Out

In the 1980s, my mother was a huge Michael Bolton fan. She tortured my sisters and I for unspeakable hours by forcing us to listen to his music. I wasn't a fan then, and am still not a fan now.

Hearing his music on the radio, though, brings back memories of being about 13 and Mum blasting the music on a stereo that only played cassette tapes, and my mother and babysis singing at the top of their lungs. Me, I can sing. Decently well. Middlesis too. Mum and babysis? Not so much. I remember trying to suggest gently that maybe they ought to let Michael sing it himself, or better yet, that I had Def Leppard's "Hysteria" right here, really, I could pop it in the second cassette deck and play it right now, wouldn't everyone like that better? I knew I sure would.

As both sisters and I cruised around in an old Jeep that my dad has purchased as a summertime toy, babysis plugged her iPod in to the radio and announced that she was going to play her favorite song on the iPod, her mostest favoritest song on the whole 30-gig hard drive. Wait for it, she said, wait! Beginning a few seconds later were the first few cords of "How Can We Be Lovers If We Can't Be Friends." I am not at all surprised to find that I still remember every word. Nor am I surprised that babysis's singing skills haven't improved in California.

Babysis's poor friend B. He was with us, and subjected to all three of us singing along to the delightful Mr. Bolton at top volume. In case you've forgotten (and I am SO SORRY if you truly had for giving the dreadful song back to your memory) there's a quick 4-5 seconds in the song where the music stops and Bolton sings a cappella for just a second in that horrible voice that sounds like he's straining for every single note (seriously, dude, it is called breath control. Look in to it.) where he screeches, "We can work it out!"

That line, indeed the song's entire lyric, provide endless hours of fun for us, where we'll say the words to one another in very serious tones of voice, before we end up breaking down and rolling on the floor.

Again I say poor B. He watched this circus of his own free will for about 4 hours on Sunday. When he left, I asked if they thought we'd tortured him unfairly.

"Whatever, dude, we're more entertaining than any other three people I could name. Fuck, no," middlesis declared.

I love it that she's even more foul-mouthed than I am, and that both parents roll their eyes at her for such vulgarity rather than attempt to get her to clean up her act. And she's right. We are pretty darn funny. We entertain ourselves, anyway.

16 June 2007

Yep, I'm related to these people.

Having my sisters here is fairly bittersweet. Because while I treasure the time that we're spending together, it goes by so fast and will be over so quickly. I started writing this post very early on Saturday morning since everyone's still asleep. Only good thing I've ever discovered about insomnia. Hee.

My sisters and I are close. When they live in town, we do things like grocery shop together, we have dinner with one another weekly, sometimes more than weekly, we do "stuff" together. When they're not living in Oh-hi-ia, two of my closest friends are gone. Sniff. I miss them more than I can even put into words.

When they're here, I spend so much time laughing that my abs hurt. We giggle constantly when we're together. Explainations are not needed, the shared experience of our childhoods condensed into a shorthand that would be confusing to anyone who tried to keep up with the thread of conversation. We were sitting around the fire a few nights ago, and our mother was telling stories about her office, and a person at her office who is a huggy sort, kinda touchy-feely. In chorus, both sisters and I said, "Oh, I hate that. Don't TOUCH me!" And then we cracked up. Yeah, we're so related.

14 June 2007

The Full-Fat Version

My sisters being home means many things, not least of which is the chance for the three of us to catch up and be very silly together. We'll all be at my parent's place, with its lake and pool, plus all the water toys you could ever want. There's enough room for the whole fam there, and we have a great time. But it also means that there's lots and lots of good food around this weekend.

I made chocolate chip cookies on Wednesday night, not the usual hearty cookies that I'll make for DH and I with whole-wheat flour and all kinds of other things tossed in that make them more like trail mix. No, I made the two-sticks-of-butter that go straight to your thighs chocolate chip cookies. Not good for you. I can't resist the dough, but I'm better at resisting the baked cookies. Usually.

I also made lasagna. And when I tell you that I made lasagna, I mean all day in the kitchen and everything from scratch. I learned the recipe from a wise woman in Europe, and it is well worth the effort. Instead of using the ricotta cheese that you usually find in lasagna, this variation, probably northern-Italian influenced, uses a white sauce not unlike an Alfredo sauce for pasta. You can make this white sauce with skim milk and reduced fat cheese and margarine, but since I make it so rarely, why the heck would I do that? No, this was the hefty version.

It starts with a stick of butter, and a half cup of flour. You make a basic blonde roux, and then in a very long process, you add whole milk and cream, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, asiago cheese, Romano cheese, and fresh mozzarella cheese. This takes nearly an hour, and must be stirred constantly. Burn something in the bottom of the pan and you've got to start over, because you'll never get rid of that burnt taste, no matter how much doctoring you attempt. Add the cheese when the sauce is the wrong temperature and you're left with a stringy mess. Been there, done that, more than once.

It is, of course, a labor of love, I pull out the lasagna only for special occasions because of its pain-in-the-ass factor. But I won't eat more than a few bites of it myself, because it is much too high in fat to indulge in more than a wee bit.

Then there's the bratwurst that will be boiled in dark beer with sweet onions and garlic and whole black peppercorns, then tossed on the grill to sizzle. They're eaten with those onions removed from the beer bath and fried in butter. I can't resist one of those, some of the very very little red meat that I will eat.

Not to mention the potato chips that are not in MY house, ever, the scratch-made guacamole for the tortilla chips, the apple wood smoked bacon (um, bliss, I promise) and you've got a recipe for completely destroying the healthy eating that I've been doing for the past six months.

Fortunately, reason prevailed a tiny bit, and there are vegetable and fruit trays, I made my quinoa salad, which is really good for you. I brought boneless skinless chicken breasts to toss on the grill that are already in a tasty but not bad for you marinade, and I insisted on two cases of water to combat the temptation to drink soda and beer.

I don't know anything that will stop me from drinking mojitos, those will be around as well. And sangria. But we do usually wait until at least late afternoon....yeah, nothing I say here is going to help the impression you're getting right now, that we're all full-blown alkies. We're not, I promise.

I can work out at my parent's place, the community where they live has a nice exercise room. I'm not sure I'll take advantage of it, but I'm pretty sure that the potato chips I ate today while listening to babysis tell our dad stories of island life will end up coming back to haunt me unless I get on the elliptical and do my usual routine.

Middlesis gets here on Friday, and it looks like the three of us will have lots of time entirely to ourselves without anyone else around, and I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to that.

Listening to: Incubus, Light Grenades

13 June 2007

ideas, ideas, ideas.

Something that really sucked about how depressed I was without the meds is that my creativity was like a switch broken in the "off" position. All of a sudden, with the meds kicking in and working like gangbusters, I have ideas everywhere. Mostly ideas for blog posts, but even a few flashes of inspiration for the book, which has been stalled for a while.

Something I heard on NPR that made me think, oh, that would be a great blog post. Which isn't unusual, I often get inspiration from NPR, but this was something that I'm passionate about, a legal case that The Innocence Project was working on. Walking in to the gym, and another idea pops in my head. Driving the car, just ideas pouring out.

I'm actually NOT in front of the computer all the time, though, (believe it or not) and if I don't scribble down at least a sketch of the idea, it slips away. But my notes wouldn't be cohesive or anything but gibberish to anyone else but me. And not just because my handwriting is so terrible, either.

While on my way in to the gym the other day, I had to turn back around in the parking lot and go back to the car because I'd forgotten my iPod. Can't work out without music. Just. Can't. And when I stuffed the iPod in to the gym bag, I realized that I'd forgotten my little hand towel, that I use to mop off my face. I hate to sweat. Hate it. So I need that towel. I didn't get back in the car and drive back home to get it, not with gas at $3/gallon, thanks W!!!

But I did begin to giggle as I walked back through the parking lot, because I realized that I'd failed a crucial test of having my shit together as defined by Sci-Fi author Douglas Adams. Adams wrote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, among many other hilarious titles. A person who has their shit together "Knows where his towel is," according to the Hitchhiker's guide, anyway. I'm fairly certain that I could quote verbatim the passage from the book about the towels, but since I'm not sure if that'd be copyright infringement or not, I'll refrain.

Another idea for a post came from watching cars when I was on the highway the other day, unless I've got music to groove to or NPR news to listen to, driving around in Oh-hi-ia is BOR-RING! So I watch other cars. I find it endlessly amusing that you can tell so much about a person from their car. What sparked this was I saw a guy about my age in a Volkswagen Jetta, probably a 2005 or newer, with a Dave Matthews Band sticker on the rear windshield, another small sticker that said "26.2," an Ohio State Alumnus license plate, and a bracket around the license plate with the name of a car dealer.

What do I know about this guy right away? He's a marathon runner, (26.2 miles in a marathon, y'see) a DMB fan, an Ohio State Alumnus and he likely lives now in the greater Cleveland metro area, where the car was purchased. He's doing all right for himself, because the car is newer and well taken care of. He's probably someone who keeps things, his house, his car, his office, fairly orderly. He's got an ego, because otherwise he wouldn't advertise the marathon running, but it isn't out of control because you have to be a runner to "know" that 26.2 miles makes up a marathon run. He probably belongs to some sort of running club or group, and group members may all have that sticker. He's pretty far out of his usual stomping grounds here, we're a hike from Cleveland and a haul from Columbus, so I know he was on a trip, and because of where he was heading, I know his destination wasn't in Ohio.

Scary, all that stuff that I already know about this guy just from looking at his car. If he wasn't so eager to advertise things on his car, I would have looked over at the average white guy and moved on to look at something else, instead of psychoanalyzing him.

But we're all guilty of wanting to put our own stamp on our belongings. The only thing on my car is a small static sticker of the American flag. I'm not a particularly patriotic girl, in fact the level of nationalism in this country often disgusts me, but I put it there a few days after 9/11 as a defiant act, and until it falls off or becomes a nuisance by rattling around in the car somewhere because it has fallen off, there it will stay mostly because I can't be bothered to crawl into the back seat and remove it.

All of this is interesting, but not really enough to make one post for each thing, at least not yet. The book idea was just a paragraph that I'm going to go back and put earlier in the story, but it is a small detail that will allow me to take the story forward, which is something that I've been having trouble with.

And this all scares me, I almost feel like I'm on a manic high, and worry that the meds are too much. I've stopped, mostly, the tremors, so that's not much of a worry anymore, but what if this sudden burst of ideas, creativity, the energy, goes away when I start tapering down the dosage as a precursor to getting off of them? Guess I should worry about that when I get there. Which won't be for a while, the last thing I want to do right now is stop taking them.

12 June 2007

The music in my head isn't soothing to sleep to.

So often when I begin to write these brain dump posts, I start in one place and end up completely another, straying far from my original intent. That IS part of the point of the Tuesday posts, that they're meandering, a walk through what's going on in my head. Don't think, WRITE! But today I have a whole lot of disjointed issues to talk about that I'm going to try to make a cohesive whole. We'll see how that ends up working out for me.

First up is a bunch of things related to my mental health, which is so much better than it had been. After feeling like I'd been locked in solitary, in some dank and miserable place where no light ever shone, I'm back to feeling like my sixteen-million-projects-at-once self. And while this is an enormous relief, it is also frightening. That fear is entirely a product of the Catholic guilt that is instilled in every practitioner of Catholicism, or, if you like, a bit of that old Roman or Greek saying, that the gods don't like to see happy people. As if I were tempting Fate by being back to as normal as I ever get. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. But at least I'm no longer living in utter terror of that shoe dropping, as I was.

Today I was in my car after stopping at a local bookstore. I can't ever go into the bookstore and not buy ANYTHING, and this visit was no exception. I picked up two trashy brain-candy novels, the sort of thing that's perfect for reading poolside or at the beach. Typical summer fare. At the cash register, I grabbed a very small chocolate bar, an impulse that I'm rarely able to restrain. Buy me books and chocolate, and I'll be yours for life. It must be DARK chocolate, just in case, you know, you ever got the urge to buy me some. Once I was driving down the highway, I opened the white wrapper of the one-point-two ounce bar, peeled back the inner silver lining, and broke off two tiny squares, then broke those in half. Savoring the taste, the richness, the deep intoxicating scent and the feel of it in my mouth, I was struck suddenly with a sense of wonder.

I reached for my ever-present bottle of water, which had been sitting in the car for nearly an hour, and was stunned to discover that the water was still cool, even though the car was about 140 degrees F. (Yes, I'm such a geek that there is a thermometer inside the car. Don't ask why, you would only giggle all the more at the answer.) My sense of wonder deepened, amazed that the water had remained cool despite the day's blistering heat, and I took a deep breath, glad to be alive.

And it was then that I realized that I've been in a very, very bad place lately. Yes, I've scribbled and droned on and on here about how the depression was crippling, but that barely does the feeling justice. I wanted to, not die exactly, because I was never suicidal throughout this whole ordeal, but to not exist, to become invisible, to disappear. I know that I wasn't suicidal this time around because I've been there before and I wasn't there this time.

I felt for a little while like I was running around in a fog, when the medication started working. I wasn't despondent any longer, but I wasn't feeling anything else, either. Numb may or may not be preferable to the sludge that resides inside your head when you're depressed, I haven't made up my mind about that yet, but I know I didn't like it much more than the depression.

I know that I'm better now by leaps and bounds because I can feel other things now. My sisters are coming home to Oh-hi-ia later this week from New York City and the Los Angeles area, and I am so excited about that, excited in a bouncy, kid Christmas is two days away feeling. I haven't had a sense of anticipation about the future for an extraordinarily long time.

Several people in my real-world life have told me that I'm better, among them DH, friend K and my mother. I can tell that I'm better too, and since we each have such trouble recognizing change in ourselves, that is perhaps the best barometer of all.

I ate just those two small squares of chocolate, not needing, for once, to scarf the whole thing down without taking the minute you need to truly appreciate expensive chocolate. That's another great indicator for me that things in general, not just my mental health, are better. I need to eat less these days. That is ABSOLUTELY not to say that I'm not still hungry all the time. I am hungry all the freaking time, and I suspect that I will always be. But it takes less to satisfy that hunger, less to satiate me.

I remember someone saying something very close to that in one of the thousands of Weight Watchers meetings that I've been to over the years, and I inwardly rolled my eyes and thought as loudly as I am able to think, "Whatever, you bitch, you've lost three times the weight that I have." You never, ever, ever say such things aloud at Weight Watchers. I'll say them aloud to my friends who are as catty as I am, but I would have never said that aloud to the woman in my group. Bitchy I am. Cruel and that tactless, I am not.

I'm surprised, nay, astonished, to find that she was right. It does take less to make me full now that I'm thinner. Huh. Who'da thunk it? I still have a really, really long way to go in my quest to be in fighting shape, but I bought a pair of yoga pants yesterday that are size medium, and they fit. Medium! Wait, let me say that again. My new yoga pants are a SIZE MEDIUM!! I may have a long way to go, but I've come a long way, too.

Thinking about having come a very long way, it has been a very long time since I lived in Sweden, more than ten years, *sigh*, it has been fifteen years this year since I left Sweden. So why, all of a sudden, am I thinking in Swedish and having trouble finding English words for things? If I wasn't positive that my mental health has taken a turn for the better, I would think I was losing my mind. Talking to DH at home the other day, I was suggesting to him that he try to persuade a co-worker to do something the way DH wants it done. And I said, "Honey, why don't you just, what's the word, overtala honom, um, talk over him, y'know, make him see your way."

DH and I have been together for a very long time, and he's used to me swearing in Swedish, the occasional outbursts that I don't want people around me to understand, the phrases that mean 'that's stupid' and 'I don't know,' but the poor guy does not speak a word of Swedish. So he looked at me with complete incomprehension until I was able to find the word, persuade.

Over the weekend, at my parent's house, I did the same thing with my dad. Who also speaks no Swedish. WTH? And WTF? Why is this happening now? Over the years since I've left Sweden, if I get very, very intoxicated, I'm likely to start babbling bits of Swedish at you and not be able to understand why you're not following along. But stone cold sober? This has never happened. I've even had bits and pieces of dreams in Swedish lately. Again, I say WTH?

I seriously doubt that thinking in a second language is a side effect of my anti-depressant medication. How do you list THAT on a drug's warning labels? But that's the only thing that has changed for me in the last couple of weeks, my dosage has been upped. I haven't been spending time IM-ing the folks in Sweden, or composing long e-mail messages to them, or even spoken with them on the phone for about a month. So it makes no sense to me.

The meds make a lot of sense, but they are worrisome samtidigt, GAH, there it is again, samtidigt means 'at the same time.' This is what happens when you do stream-of-consciousness writing. Where was I? Oh, the meds. They worry me because I know that they are changing my brain chemistry, forcing my body to either make more dopamine or allowing it to absorb more of it, I don't remember which and I'm not going to look it up to verify. Either way, it is an artificial thing, and I don't want to take them for the rest of my life. I'm hoping to not need them for the rest of my life. That's why I'm doing talk therapy too, trying to work out some of the issues, to change my way of thinking, and some of the maybe self-destructive things that I do.

I've always had a very difficult time living in the moment, appreciating what's going on TODAY instead of worrying about what needs done to prepare for a doomsday tomorrow that might not ever come. Several friends have suggested to me that in this moment, right now, I need this help and hey, dumbass, you should just roll with it. I'm trying.

The visit from my sisters means that I will be offline for several days. Both of them heartily disapprove of my internet addiction, and since I only see them about 3 times a year and lately only get to have time with the three of us together at Christmas-time, I'm going to do my best to spend every waking moment with them, appreciating the moments that we have. I do sleep lots less than they do, so it is possible that I'll be online when they're sleeping in during the early morning hours that I'm not sleeping, but I'm not counting on it. Babysis comes home from California late Thursday and Middlesis from New York City on Friday, so at the least I'll be offline over the coming weekend.

One sister shares my SN ardor, no, that's not completely correct, one sister also LIKES Supernatural, the other one could care less, so I might even get in a few viewings of S2 episodes while they're here. Heee, heee, heee!

I hope YOUR Tuesday has been a nice one.

Listening to: Red Wanting Blue & Michelle Branch on the iPod, and a Gloria Estafan song that is stuck in my head.

11 June 2007

The Idiot Abroad

President Idiot is touring Europe, expected back in the good ole US of A tonight. As I spent most of the weekend getting re-acquainted with the sunshine, I didn't spend too much time listening to or watching the news. I did see on Headline News this morning that the people of Albania welcomed him with open arms. Yikes.

I was on the elliptical machine this morning, not running on the treadmill. I've given myself shin splints by pushing the running too far, too fast, so I've had to find other things to do to keep my heart rate up until the shin splints heal. But just like when I'm on the treadmill, I was watching the television without sound, so I am just guessing here, but I'd bet that the Albania media is a tightly controlled thing, and that the news there isn't a free press. Because that's the only explanation that I can come up with for why they would be the only European nation to not greet President Idiot with mass protests, flag burning, and by burning him in effigy.

In another country, he gave a great non-answer to Bulgarian concerns about the missal defense system, the so-called "Star Wars" crap that his administration resurrected from the trash heap at NASA, which is where it should have stayed. He told the Bulgarians that any missal defense system would protect against "long-range" missals, that it wouldn't help them anyway. Way to ease some fears, there, W!

Who the hell elected him, anyway?

There's much fandom insanity on MySpace today as an escape from politicking, if you're interested.

Listening to: "Peace On Earth" U2

10 June 2007

So THAT's what summer feels like!

I'd forgotten.

My parents live on one of Oh-hi-ia's many lakes, not THE lake, which in local parlance is Lake Erie, but a lake. A fairly large one. Their condo development also has a pool, so in the summer time, we spend quite a bit of time there.

Late yesterday afternoon, DH woke me from a nap to tell me that he was heading to the 'rents place to help my dad with a few projects around the dock. I blinked up at him, asking, "What time is it? And what's it like outside?"

When he informed me that it was nearly 3 pm and the day had turned out to be a beautiful one after the horrible storms that roared through the area on Friday, I decied that it was, indeed, time to get up and get moving.

Once at the lake, in my bathing suit, I sat poolside, reading, listening to U2 on the iPod, and watching the residents of the development get re-aquainted. In the wintertime, you see nary a soul in my parent's neighborhood. Come summer, they're all at the pool, bs-ing, sharing margaritas, wine, or whatever. It was here that I first had a mojito, which I now consider an essential summer drink. At the end of the post I'll share my recipe for mojitos.

It wasn't hot yesterday, just warm enough, with not a cloud in the sky. Before heading out, I'd slathered a new sunscreen from head to toe. I burn, quickly, in any sunny setting and since mum had skin cancer a few years ago, I'm even more vigilant in its application. OT for just a second, the sunscreen was this stuff, which incidentally I do not recommend. If feels downright icky on the skin.

That feeling of sunscreen on the skin, the shouts of the kids in the pool, the smell of margaritas on the air, the gentle warmth that surrounds you on a nice-but-not-too-hot&humid-day....I'd forgotten how nice it is.

Lucy's Non-Exact Mojito Recipe
makes one 2-quart pitcher

Juice of 3-5 limes, about 1/3 cup, keep the juiced halves of lime rind
Large bunch of mint
1/2 cup sugar
2-litre bottle of clear soda, or even just soda water
Rum, to taste, I usually use about 1/3 to 1/2 of a fifth, always Captain Morgan's

equipment needed
Mortar and pestle
Large spoon
pitcher, 2 quart or larger. Clear glass is nice, shows off the finished product.
as many glasses as needed to share with everyone

Juice the limes directly into the pitcher. Cut the halves of the lime rinds into quarters or smaller sections to toss in at the end. Add 1/2 of the sugar to the lime juice. Place the other half into the bowl of the mortar and pestle. Using the pestle, bash the mint leaves and sugar together. Reserve a few sprigs to garnish the glasses. No need to make a paste with the mint and sugar, just beat them together enough to break the mint leaves up a bit. Add the rum, and mint/sugar blend to the pitcher, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Pouring SLOWLY, because sometimes it fizzes over, add the soda. Give it another stir, toss in the lime sections, add a handful or so of ice, and prepare to be wowed at how refreshing this is.

09 June 2007

Everyone else is doing it....

so why shouldn't I?

Running their mouths about the whole Paris Hilton thing, that is. Nancy Grace, on Headline News. The President Idiot-worshiping fools on Fox. Larry King on CNN. But honestly, I feel like adding my two cents worth is just adding to unneeded hype. And telling the world how I feel about it isn't adding anything to the debate either. Do I feel bad for Paris? Sure. A little. Does she deserve to be in jail? Yep. Do the crime, do the time. But I do have to agree with one of the talking heads I saw on the news, who said something like "Do you think that you would see anything like this for a similar crime, a misdemeanor, that a sheriff's department would go and get someone for a regular person?" No, I don't. I think absolutely everyone involved in this whole sorry mess is desperately trying to wring their 15 minutes of fame out of it. Which is sad, frankly.

Obviously, the young woman needs help. I disagree with another of the talking heads, who said that she couldn't see any way for Paris's career to recover from this. First of all, WHAT CAREER? She's famous for being famous, although she has been in several movies, recorded an album, done some modeling. But not only does she not need the money, being one of the heirs to the Hilton hotel chain, I don't think she's all that interested in working, really working, for a living.

But let's allow the ugly, brutal truth to come out. I think she's beautiful, and I freely admit to a tiny bit of jealousy, of her beauty, youth, and wealth. I also think she's either not very bright or crazy like a fox, laughing all the way to the bank. You decide for yourself.

08 June 2007

How cool is Bono?

Way cool! NPR had an interview with the man himself on Morning Edition today. I am a huge U2 fan, but more than that, Bono's activism is so inspiring. Sure, he can make a greater impact than the average Joe, being a rock star and all, but the One.org organization that he's involved in touches millions. Even one of the J-man fan sites that I participate in has a "Make Poverty History" banner. I added one today, as I am finally beginning to understand HTML coding and was able to get it to work. I'm adding it to my MySpace, too. When we come together to work for a common cause, we can accomplish amazing things.

Once upon a time, I even saw that in my own community. It is a long and involved story, too personal for an anonymous blogger to share, even for me. That must seem strange, that I'm perfectly willing to share with the world my struggles with mental illness but not an inspiring tale of a community coming together. Sorry. You'll just have to take my word for it, that I've seen when people come together for a common cause, even here in the rustbelt, great things can happen.

I find it amazing and even a little awe-inspiring that even President Idiot and Condee listen to Bono. The interview on Morning Edition talked about a slight problem with Italy, and how the Italian Prime Minister also listens to him.

When you go to a U2 concert, as I did about 2 years ago, Bono spends no small amount of time talking to the crowd about his political issues. I went to see them with a close friend in Cleveland, at an arena that is now called "The Q," which holds 20,500 people. The concert was sold out. So every night that U2 is on stage somewhere, you can assume that they've got an audience of between 15,000 and 25,000 people. That's a lot of ears that Bono gets to bend. U2 live is one of the greatest shows I've ever seen.

Interesting, isn't it, that only a select few of rock royalty or megastars in the other entertainment genres get involved in things like this?

07 June 2007

I just don't get it.

And I probably never will.

The constitution of the United States sets up the doctrine of separation of CHURCH and STATE. To quote the founding fathers:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. (United States Constitution, Article VI)

Therefore it is with great dismay that I listened to a report on NPR's Morning Edition on Tuesday morning, about the Democratic presidential hopefuls coming together in a "debate" of sorts which was moderated by CNN's Soledad O'Brien. The focus of the debate? The faith of each candidate.

Personally, I don't give a crap what religion my political leaders are. I care about their stance on abortion and on women's rights, and I will vote for a pro-choice candidate every single time, all other things being equal about two candidates.

But after nearly eight years with President Idiot (who takes every opportunity to mention his own faith) at the helm, it seems to me that the line is blurred more than ever before between church and state. Certainly you hear lots more religion talk, what with those "faith-based" initiatives; and usually when we're talking religion in the media, we're talking Christianity and ignoring every other faith that exists. Don't get me started on that.

What I truly do not understand is why a politician's faith is at issue at all. Who cares? Tell me what you're going to do about poverty, about the fiasco in Iraq, about equal rights for women, about how you're going to protect a woman's right to choose, what you plan to do about America's dependence on oil, what you're going to do about the environment, if you're elected. Don't tell me about your faith, because not only do I not care if you're Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Muslim, whatever, I am not interested in hearing about it.

I know that the freedom of religion is not at all the same thing as freedom from religion. I'd like to live in a fully secular society, but even our money says, "In God We Trust" so I'm pretty sure that isn't going to happen anytime soon. But can we PLEASE stick to the issues for the coming presidential election and leave the personal stuff about each candidate out? Please?

06 June 2007

Scooter's been sentenced t'JAIL!

Scooter Libby has been sentenced to 30 months in jail for being the biggest blabbermouth in history. Also perhaps the most forgetful person in history, his testimony recorded in depositions that were played at his trial were rife with "I don't recall(s)" and "I don't remember(s)."

I have said before that I firmly believe that President Idiot will pardon Scooter either as one of his last official acts as president in 2009 or more likely that he will issue a pardon before Scooter even serves one day in jail.

I think he should go to jail. I think he should serve every single day of his sentence. I don't think he ought to get any special treatment because he is famous (or infamous, as the case may be). He had no right to leak the name of a CIA agent, but he did it anyway. Then, when he was caught out, he worked hard to obstruct the investigation into his wrongdoing.

I feel for the agent that he outed. Here she was, pursuing her chosen career, by all accounts she was good at it and liked it, and the Idiot Administration fucks it up for her. Thank Yew Dubya! Way to go!

However, I also think that the Veep should have been charged with something, (don't ask me what, I'm not a legal expert) because I'd be willing to bet Paris Hilton's inheritance that Scooter didn't come up with the brilliant plan to out Ms. Plame all by his lonesome little self, I'm sure that plan came from on high.

There are 593 days left in the Bush presidency. I found a countdown clock!

05 June 2007

Törstig Tisdag

Thirsty Tuesday

I am indulging a bit in my neurotic tendency to be a hypochondriac. Here's a silly thing. I'm worried about the amount of water I drink every day, which has increased dramatically since I started running at least a mile six days a week.

I do know that the thirst and the exercise are directly related. When I was in California around Mother's Day, I was active, but not as much as I am at home. By the 3rd day away from my usual routine, I wasn't as desperately thirsty. But I wasn't not thirsty either.

I've always been a water drinker, rather than soda or other things. The first time I visited Europe, at 14 years old, I was appalled at how expensive a can of Coca-Cola was, and stuck with water in order to be able to buy other things. Very important things. Like Sangria.

With the rise in bottled water being sold in this country, and an increased awareness that not only is soda a diuretic, but also in the awareness that the sugar in soda contributes to our expanding national waistlines, I don't ever have trouble anymore when all I want is some water. Used to be I got odd looks in stores when I asked for bottled water. Every single gas station, convenience store, even sometimes upscale department stores, sells bottled water now. We have a water cooler at home, and go through about 8 of the 5 gallon bottles every month, but I also buy bottled water by the case from a warehouse club for when we want water that's more portable.

I suppose it is very silly to purchase water when it can be had from the tap for much cheaper, but the taste and lack of chemicals in bottled water appeal to me. You have to read the labels of bottled water carefully; I remember finding gallon jugs in the grocery store once which flatly stated in tiny print: Source: City of Columbus water supply. Yuk.

The cases of water that I buy have 32 bottles, each containing 16.9 ounces of water. I drink one at the gym every morning while walking/running. Another on my way home from the gym. A third when I get to my office. A fourth usually before 10 AM. A fifth, and sometimes a sixth, with my lunch. Sometimes even a seventh on the way home from work, and then at least two or three 16 ounce glasses of water from the water cooler with dinner and while I'm online. That's a grand total, every day, of a little more than a gallon. It seems like a lot to me. A whole lot. An excessive amount.

The last time I was in Dr. H's office, I complained to him about it, wondering if my allergy pill was contributing to that problem, making me thirsty. No, he didn't think so. Well, what about my family history of Type 2 diabetes? Excessive thirst can be a symptom of undiagnosed diabetes. If you read this blog all the time, you know that becoming an insulin-dependent diabetic is one of my greatest fears, second only to the fear that abortion could be outlawed.

Dr. H rolled his eyes when I asked about diabetes again.

To reassure me, he flipped open my chart and showed me the lab results from the last time I had blood work done. Normal range for my glucose levels. "You know you're paranoid about this, right?," he asked me, exasperated. "I mean, if you want, we can do a finger-stick test right now, but really, you're NOT diabetic. And I'm going to start charging you for those, because I think that's the only way you're going to stop requesting them every time you come in here."

"All right, I know I'm overly worried about diabetes." I responded. "But I'm thirsty ALL THE TIME, that's not really a good thing, is it?"

"Luce, if you're thirsty, drink more water. But for chrissakes, quit worrying about it." He rolled his eyes again.

His advice is seldom bad, so I've tried. Lest you think he was too abrupt with me in the above exchange, he's someone I've known for a very long time, I knew him before he was a doctor, so a bit of back and forth harassment goes on every time I see him. But when I say I'm thirsty all time, I mean ALL THE DAMN TIME. It is this odd little tickle in my throat, and when I drink water to get rid of it, it reminds me of when you water plants that you've neglected, where the soil soaks it in hungrily. For a short while, that parched feeling dissipates. But not for very long. I'm talking a space of a few minutes.

On the Sunday before Memorial Day, DH and I trekked part of the way across Oh-hi-ia for a family gathering. We stopped for gas just outside our city, and I got out of the car to get some water for the ride, having forgotten to grab a few bottles from home. DH said, "Hon, there's already a bottle in the car. I brought it for myself, but you can have it."

Um, thanks, but it wouldn't be enough. I bought two one litre bottles and drank one entire litre before we got to our destination, which took roughly an hour. While at our destination, I drank 2 more bottles provided by our hosts, which were 32 ounces each. We were there for about 5 hours, so I'm not guzzling the stuff, but still. Then I drank the second litre on the way home. Doesn't that seem like a lot of water?

Sure, being hydrated is a good thing. But there's also too much of a good thing; have you ever heard of water intoxication? First time I ever heard that phrase, I thought that it sounded like fun. Intoxicated on water. Turns out not so much, really. You can die. You would need to drink something like three gallons of water over a very short period of time, but it is worrisome.

I've been trying to dig up some research to see just how much water I really should be drinking every day and if I ought to be concerned about this thirst, and of course I'm not turning up things that are helpful. I could have psychogenic polydipsia, although I seriously doubt it. Yeah, I'm nuts, but psychogenic polydipsia is usually not seen outside the population of those with serious mental disorders says Wiki.

Then there's Diabetes Insipidus. (the diabetes that I'm worried about, type 2, is Diabetes mellitus.) DI is about loss of kidney function, also worrisome, but unlikely, because lemme tell ya, my kidneys? Working just fine. One of the symptoms of DI is craving icy cold water. I do like my water cold, but if it isn't, it don't matter. I just need to quench the thirst.

About the most useful thing I've come across so far, besides Dr. Hottie's advice to just roll with it, is this article from CoolRunning.com, which just about says the same thing as Dr. H, but with some scientific facts to back them up. One hour's run can cause you to sweat more than a quart, active people need more water, you should try to drink 4-6 ounces of water every hour you're awake, yadda yadda. All good to know.

The end of the article makes some good points about alcohol consumption and running. Since this thirsty all the time thing started, I've been very cautious about any alcohol-consuming, because we all know how boozin' it up can make you dehydrated. Since I don't need any of that (I think the thirst then would KILL me) I've been skipping the hard liquor mixed drinks that I'm fond of occasionally indulging in.

But if you're looking for who took that last bottle of water? That would be me.

04 June 2007


Did you have chicken pox as a kid? I did, at 18 months old. A very mild case. When my sisters got it when I was in high school, I moved in to a friend's house to avoid being exposed to it again. I'd been informed, you see, that since I had it so young, and such a mild case of it, I was susceptible to a second bout of it.

I discovered that I have been exposed to it inadvertently very recently, a pretty virulent strain of it. The reason I'm so worried about it? I can't leave stuff like that alone. My cuticles are always torn up because I rip at them when I'm stressed, which helllooo, is all the damn time.

GAH! I do not have time for this right now! Keep your fingers crossed for me that I don't end up coming down with it.

You know that as soon as I heard about being exposed to it, every single inch of my skin started to itch, don't you? AAARRRRGGGHHH!

03 June 2007

May cause some side effects....

I've been taking the increased dose of Wellbutrin XL for more than a week now. Oddly enough, when I began taking this medication back in April, I didn't bother to read the information that comes along with every prescription that you get, usually a page or two from the pharmacy that lists side effects and talks about what the medication is usually prescribed for. I was so desperate to feel better that I didn't care what else the drug might cause my body to do.

I say that's odd because normally I will not take anything prescribed for me until I've done my own research and determined that it is the best drug to take for whatever is wrong. Yesterday, I picked up the refill of the prescription, and while DH drove us to a wonderful shopping center where I got a new pair of Calvin Klein jeans for $30, (ahh, retail therapy!) I read all the information that the pharmacist had given me.

I had looked up on Wellbutrin's website the side effects a few days ago when I noticed my hands shaking rather more than usual. My dad and middlesis also have these slight tremors in their hands, which are more pronounced when we're tired. But this is a more violent shaking. The website says that tremors are a side effect, and I stopped worrying about it.

But while talking to the pharmacist about the new higher dosage, I showed her my trembling hands and she pulled a complete WTH sort of expression. I hastened to reassure her, "Their website says it is a side effect, and it doesn't hurt or anything."

"Yeah, it is a possible side effect," she told me, "but it shouldn't be that pronounced. How long has it been going on? Have you talked to Dr. H about it?"

We talked about this for a few minutes, and she made me promise that if it does not disappear I will call Dr. H and talk to him about it. When I began the prescription, the Wellbutrin gave me a headache every afternoon, for about 8 days, at precisely 3.30 every day. I take it at around 9.30 every morning. The XL part of Wellbutrin XL means that it is an extended release medication, so it does stay in your system for 24 hours each time you take it. But the headaches went away, and the pharmacist thinks the tremors will too. I hope so.

It makes drinking anything a slight adventure, writing with a pen a bit tough, and typing rather more slow than I'm used to, because I have to go back and correct words when extra letters appear.

I'm rather entertained by the two pages of info that I got from the pharmacy, as the side effects, drug interaction precautions and instructions on how to use the medication are all a scream. They contradict one another as well. Under side effects, the following sentence can be found. Dry mouth, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, stomach/abdominal pain, flushing, headache, loss of appetite, constipation, trouble sleeping, increased sweating, strange taste in mouth, joint aches, dizziness or blurred vision may occur. Then, under a section titled "Precautions," this sentence makes me scratch my head. This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy; use caution engaging in activities requiring alertness such as driving or using machinery. Didn't you just say about 3 paragraphs ago that this medication would cause me to lose more sleep?

I did discuss extensively with Dr. H how I was worried about taking an antidepressant when he prescribed it for me, and the first question I asked him when he said "Wellbutrin" was "Can I drink?" Yeah, he assured me, in fact he said that would probably help me sleep better if I was having wine with dinner. Now I know he's wrong, sleep experts say that you should not try using booze to get more zzzs because it won't be good sleep that you get. But the instructions with the drug make it pretty clear that having a drink or two isn't a good plan. *Shrug* I don't think there are many meds out there that will cause you to keel over dead with just one drink.

It is helping, and I'm very grateful for that. But I'm hoping to not have to take it for any longer than necessary.

01 June 2007

Confused by the chemistry

Dr. Hottie upped the dosage on my anti-depressants, Wellbutrin XL, from 150 milligrams a day to 300 milligrams a day. A doubling of the dose. That seems like a lot to me, but I know that there are folks out there who take lots more and varied medications every day.

When I started taking the medication back in April, it didn't help right away. As the doctor had told me, it took a while for it to start making a difference. Better? Yes, I felt better. But as the weeks passed and I didn't feel any more human, and even felt as if things were on a dimmer switch, getting darker and darker, a few days ago I made the decision to contact the doctor to ask for help. Unfortunately, I can't be more precise than 'a few days ago' because I can't remember if it was Thursday or Friday, May 24th or 25th. Either way, as of the writing of this post, about 7 days with the new dosage, and unbelievably, amazingly, I feel fantastic.

I felt fantastic yesterday. I slept last night. Yes, with Ambien's assistance, but, I slept for a total of ALMOST eight hours, do you know how long it has been for me since that happened? More than a year. Got off the computer around 11 pm, read a book for about 10 minutes, fell asleep while reading, slept solidly until 3, back asleep by 3.30, didn't roll out of bed until 7.15. Not an uninterrupted night's sleep, but honestly that's asking too much at this stage.

I wish that I was able to read the research available out there on anti-depressants and depression and understand the scientific ins and outs. I can speak 4 languages, but can't add, subtract, divide and multiply. I only passed my high school chemistry class because the teacher was kind enough to tutor me in the subject for an hour every day in addition to lab time and class time. I really LOVE chemistry, but I don't understand it. At this particular point in my life, I don't think that there's much chance that I ever will. I've mostly made my peace with that, but it would be nice to have more than a basic grasp of chemistry.

I've read fascinating research on Seasonal Affected Disorder, (SAD) which while like depression isn't the same thing. Many, many, many people in Scandinavia suffer from it (yes, speaking from experience) actually, many people in all extreme northern or extreme southern climates, near the poles of the earth, are plagued with problems from SAD. Sweden did some groundbreaking light therapy back in the late 80s/early 90s that seemed to work; expose sufferers to more light than what they were getting. I think it was called White Room Therapy. When I lived in Sweden, the village that I lived in was not that far north, being on the latitude of 59.4167. The northernmost city in Ohio has a latitude of 41 by comparison. The arctic circle is at 66. (Remember that the equator is zero, so the lower the number, the warmer the climate, which works in both the Northern and Southern hemisphere.) But in the worst part of the winter, the sun went up at about 9.30 in the morning and set at 2.30 in the afternoon, meaning that we got about 5 hours of daylight. It ends up being very draining.

I understood the research on SAD because I read it in places like Newsweek and Time magazines, in places where it is explained for the lay person. All of the research I've been able to locate on depression that interests me is in places like the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) or other publications aimed at the scientific community. I've yet to find something that explains in plain language why this happens to people with no prior history of depression.

I don't know if my feeling better is because of the better weather, it has been sunny and warm all week here in Oh-hi-ia, and that's remarkable enough to note. While my idea of hell on earth is 90 degrees and 100% humidity, which is what we've had this week, it has been nice to see the sun and realize that the world does go on. Summer is coming! Heck, it is kinda here! I am hoping that I can take a few steps out of those dark rooms my brain has been in.

Major depressive disorder runs in my family, and considering the way my life's been going lately, it is no surprise that it happened to me. But there is no explanation for why your brain chemistry changes. Honestly, I don't think the scientists know either. Thank goodness that Tom Cruise doesn't rule the world and there are meds and treatment for this kind of thing, because if I shudder to think how I'd be doing if I just took some vitamins, as he suggested that Brooke Shields should have done!

Thank heavens it seems to be getting better.