Sunday, February 26, 2012

This Week In Crazytown (February 19-25, 2012) Moody Edition

It's been a bit of a moody week or so. Don't worry I'm taking my meds, the elderly and small children are safe and you don't have to lock up your kittens for fear I'm going to start kicking them , I'm just regular old moody for no specific reason at all.

Obviously, I haven't really felt inclined to write, but here I am and I thought I'd share with you the crazy things that make me moody. Not the big things but the little weird things that make me all snarly.

All the cool shoes have peep toes.
I have little stubby toes. My husband calls then Fred Flintstone toes, but I'm not sure what that means. Anyway, this means that when I put on a pair of open toe shoes it looks like I have no toes and that just looks weird.  Grrrr!

So pretty.  Maybe I can put them on a shelf like a piece of art.

Not being able to eat the very specific food I want.
Do you ever get the craving for something so specific you can taste it? Right at this moment I'm totally craving these excellent cherry-almond bars from the bakery down the street from my house (Carolyn's Bakery - Represent!!). I can taste them, but there's no way I'm going to get one today, so the taste is going to haunt me and in so doing make me moody.

American-made movies about WWII
Listen, I understand that the United States' participation in WWII was crucial to the Allies' victory, but at the same time it wasn't the only factor. I can think of at least 4 things right now that led to the end of WWII that had nothing to do with the USA (Hitler's move against the USSR, Mussolini's Death, Hitlers ill preparedness for and over-extension into USSR territory, overwhelming Nazi losses in Africa, Finland and Italy, etc).  Yet every American-made movie about WWII makes out as if without the US we'd all be living in the Third Reich, goose stepping and eating schnitzel. It makes me crazy!
Nb. This does not include The Great Escape. That movie is cinematic GOLD!

Late people/Being late
I work in an office that runs on appointments. If a client is even 5 minutes late the entire day can be thrown off. You think I'm exaggerating but I'm not. As you can imagine this has the potential to make me very moody.  As an observer of the evils of tardiness, I've become very conscious of arriving on time to things and it makes me all grumpy and mad when I think I'm going to be late for something or end up late to something.

Dropping things on the floor
Do you ever notice that when you're having a bad day everything seems to drop on the floor? This is probably because you're not yourself and you're all horrible and moody, but it still sucks and makes you even moodier.

Computers/technology in general
Nothing makes me want to become a Luddite and start getting all smashity more than being in a bad mood and having to work with computers, fax machines, printers, scanners or other pieces of office technology.
It's as if me being in a bad mood makes them work slower, jam, freeze or otherwise become useless. Someone should do a study on this.

Spongebob Squarepants
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? I'll tell you who, probably the most annoying cartoon character ever invented. From his irritating laugh to his dumb as dirt pal Patrick I am always irritated with Spongebob. However, when I'm in a bad mood, he makes me CRAZY. My poor kid wants to watch his Spongebob DVD's and I have to explain that if he watches those mommy's head will explode and she'll start drinking straight from the bottle.

Plus size clothing
For my optimum shopping experience I need to be in a very zen state of mind. I must be at one with the universe and I should probably have a strawberry, banana, mango smoothie in my hand. However, this is not always possible. Sometime I have to buy a dress or heaven forbid a swim suit quickly and without the prerequisite 90 minutes of pre-shopping meditation.  This horrible experience is compounded by the fact that I'm chubby and therefore have to patronize plus-size stores or sections of stores. Nothing makes me see red like have to try on a shapeless, 100% polyester, tent that costs 3x as much as it's size 12 counterpart. It doesn't take long for me to start ranting about society's penchant for fat-shaming and how I don't think the fashion industry should be the ones to punish me for my general lethargy and poor eating habits. That's when the hubs usually pops out of nowhere, ushers me to the car, hands me some Kleenex and drives towards the nearest restaurant that sells milk shakes.

Please, please I so want to wear cheap fabrics covered in horrible patterns because I don't  have enough body image issues.

Now that I've mentioned all those things I feel better. Thanks for being a good listener. :)

What kind of things make you crazy when you're having an "off week"?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Wheels On The Bus

I don't drive.

It's a long story that I won't bore you with except to say that I have never leaned. So to get to work or wherever I need to go when my husband's not around with the car I take the bus.

You never know who might be on your bus. 

I like taking the bus. I don't love it but I don't hate it either. It's cheaper than taking a cab and takes less time and energy than walking. Plus, it makes me feel all ecologically responsible and stuff.

Taking the bus isn't a new thing for me. My parents didn't own a car until I was in the fourth grade, another long story, so my mom and dad took us on the bus all the time. I am comfortable and familiar with taking the bus. However, I think that somewhere between the time I was 8 and now bus etiquette has been lost and occasionally I find myself about to freak out on the bus because of it. So, instead of having a meltdown and losing my bus riding privileges, I give you...

Helpful Hints to Ensure I Don't Freak Out On The Bus
 (Because, Obviously, It's all About Me)

  • When entering the bus, wait until all people have exited the bus before shoving your way on. We learned about waiting our turn in Kindergarten people. Think back to happier times and embrace that knowledge.
"Eat Paste", "Finger Paint" and "Pick Your Nose" just didn't have the same ring to it.
  • Unless your backpack/large purse contains state secrets it does not need a seat of it's own. Stop hogging the seats.

  • If you're in a double seat, move over close to the window so someone else can potentially take the seat beside you. You chose to take public transit now mingle!

You don't see anyone here complaining about the lack of space, do you? Suck it up, Buttercup and make a new friend.
  • Bathing is key to good bus relationships. Nobody wants to smell B.O., cat litter, stale booze, fish or butt on their morning commute. Trust me on this.

Nobody wants to get stuck next to Stinky McStinkerton. Blech!
  • Don't give the stink eye to parents of screaming infants/toddlers. I can assure you that they already feel like the world's worst parent because their kid is crying on the bus. They don't need more pressure from you.

I think this is a picture of a baby crying on an airplane. It's the same thing really, except that if you really can't take the crying you probably won't die throwing yourself off a bus. 
  • If I can hear your iPod from four seats over it's too loud. Save your ears and keep me from loudly singing off key to your tunes, turn it down.

You are neither as quiet nor as excellent a singer as you think. Also, your music sucks. Just sayin'.
  • As for cell phones, I don't want to hear your argument with your mom, babydaddy, ex, etc. Save personal calls for somewhere you can really let go and tell that person how you feel. The bus is not that place.

  • On the bus we use our inside voice and are cognizant of those around us.   Loudly chatting about your drunken exploits or your sexual proclivities is not cool in front of my 3 year old. I will turn my stink eye upon you. 

Nb. This also goes for the lady that reads aloud to her son on my bus to work. Not cool!

  • Let pregnant women, the elderly and people with physical needs sit down. Have you ever a seen a pregnant lady “Hulk Out” because she's forced to stand on a bus? I have and it's scary. Let her sit down.

She's got swollen ankles, low back pain and rage...lots of rage.

So, there are a few of my tips on how to use the bus without making me crazy. Use them and we'll all get along just fine.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

15 Years of Valentined Bliss

In attempt to beat out all the other bloggers that will inevitable be reminiscing about Valentine's Days past, bemoaning this "false, Hallmark holiday" or just generally talking about love. I present to you some recollections of the first Valentine's Day I spent with the hottie guy who would become my husband.

In January, 1997 I started dating a very cool, preppy, musician-type named Jeff.
Jeff and I met at a church function where he offered to teach me how to play the harmonica to which I responded, "Nice. The mouth organ? Pfft!" and flounced off in a neo-hippie huff. Jeff has never been a quitter and within two weeks we were dating.

February 14, 1997 was our first Valentines Day. I hadn't really dated seriously before Jeff so I was really nervous. At 17 years old I had a lot of issues with my self esteem (still do) and was pretty sure that even the slightest misstep on my part would open the eyes of this guy that even my dad referred to as a "babe magnet" and he would run screaming, arms flailing, as far away from me as he could. So I went out and bought him a goofy card, a hideous grey, striped shirt and an big, vinyl inflatable heart that said "Happy Valentine's Day".

Jeff, who is still more romantic than I am, arranged a candlelit dinner of Kentucky Fried Chicken, gave me a gorgeous silver bracelet  and a balloon that read, "I Love You".  He even penned the word "man" on the balloon after I Love You, in an attempt not to rush things. However, the most enduring gift that Jeff gave me that Valentine's Day, aside from a deep hatred of Kentucky Fried Chicken, we both got food poisoning, and a new respect for Cupid's pseudo-holiday, was a song. Jeff, being the musician- ype that he was, wrote me a gorgeous song for Valentine's Day and as if it was yesterday, I can remember sitting on the pool table in his room trying not to swoon as he sang and played.

Just over five years after that first Valentine's Day I married that preppy, musician-type guy and as a wedding gift he had that song, and two other songs he written just for me, produced and put on a disc. This Valentine's Day will mark our fifteenth Valentine's Day and even though some have been spectacular and others have been more laid back I am always reminded of that day, hanging out in my new boyfriend's basement listening to him sing me a love song and thinking don't know why you bothered to write man on that balloon, I am so totally in love with you.

Now, for the first time ever, I give you Sunshine.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

This Week in Crazytown - (February 5 - 11, 2012)

So this week stated out with a huge bang. As most of you know Sunday was a huge day, people through parties, invited friends and family over and ate tons of awesome food. That's right it was... World Nutella Day?

1. Apparently, Sunday February 5th was the 5th annual World Nutella Day. Who would've thought?

Personally, I think this is way more fun than the Superbowl, which coincidentally was also on February 5th. I mean, who doesn't love Nutella? It's brown, gloopy, hazelnutty goodness. 

Check out the World Nutella Day website for more information about this day of days and for hundreds, (HUNDREDS!) of delicious Nutella recipes. Most of the recipes are for sweets, cakes, desserts and frosting, but there's a section of savory dishes that although interesting make my tummy a little nervous. The Butternut Squash Ravioli with Nutella Sauce and the Nutella-marinated Steaks probably freak me out the most.

2. It's dawned on me this week that the English language is super crazy, like CAH-RAY-ZEE with the finger twirl outside the ear and the eye-roll and everything.

My son is in first grade and he's learning to read. Now, maybe it's because I'm old and I've been reading since the dinosaurs and Rainbow Brite roamed the Earth, but I did not remember how hard English was. Words like "enough", "school", "know", "ski", etc are freaking hard. My poor kid is trying his best to read and every 2 minutes there's a word that doesn't follow the rules. He is persevering and even read me his entire copy of I Can Read With My Eyes Shut by Dr. Seuss but I can attest to a new found respect for anyone learning the English language for the first time. 

3. I have had this song stuck in my head all week. I don't know why. maybe it's the closeness of Valentine's Day, who knows? However I'm hoping that by sharing this song with you (courtesy of Will Ferrell's epic expose on 1970s tele-journalism and the sexism within - Anchorman) it will leave my head and infect yours. You're welcome!

It's been a fairly uncrazy week here so that's all I've got. Until next time, stay classy everybody!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Don't Feed the Elephant in the Room

Yesterday, Bell Canada, one of the largest telecommunication/media companies in Canada, began a national campaign, called “Let's Talk” to raise awareness and and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. For each text message and long distance call made in Canada yesterday, 5¢ was donated towards this effort. Considering the fact that Bell is one of the two major telecommunication/media companies in Canada this contribution should be staggering. Well done Bell!

I have always been aware of mental illness. Growing up it was the elephant in the room every time we spoke of my father's childhood or my Oma. My Oma was diagnosed with schizophrenia in the late 1950s, early 1960s. My sisters and I knew this and yet never talked about it together or with our parents. I can understand my father's reasons for not wanting to discuss this. His childhood especially was under the constant shadow of my Oma's illness. However, by not discussing my Oma's mental illness my sisters and I, once we were old enough to understand the basics of schizophrenia and the potential for it to be a genetic condition, lived in fear of developing it. We've discussed this as adults and all of us at one point or another worried that we might be afflicted with this illness.

I mention this to let you know how it has effected me. I have always been emotional. From the moment my hormones kicked in I experienced emotional highs and lows. However, after I had my son in 2005 I began to experienced major highs and lows, mostly lows. I was often lethargic, restless, quick to rage, unable to focus and generally miserable. I either binged on food or had zero appetite I went through periods of time when I could not get enough sleep and others were I struggled with insomnia. I often spoke about quitting my job or thought about hoping a Greyhound and disappearing. I was not, thankfully, suicidal.

As a Christian, who believes in healing, I was in a vicious cycle of spiritual upheaval. I would plead with God to fix whatever was wrong with me, to make me a better wife and mother, to remind Him that I was reading my Bible, going to church, volunteering and having faith for my healing. Then I would become angry, why wasn't I healed, how much did I have to do to prove that I was worthy of some divine assistance, what more did I have to do? Then I would become apologetic and begin the whole cycle again. It was exhausting.

In 2009 I was due to go in for my annual check up (physicals yay!). I was once again crying to my husband about how horrible a wife and mother I was and how I wanted to be better but how everything that came out of me seemed to be angry or hateful or sad or apathetic. He very gentle suggested that I talk to the doctor about my concerns because, in his words, “you have to do something”. I arrived at my appointment only to discover that I would not be seeing my regular doctor, a very nice, but very male middle aged man, but his new, young nurse practitioner(NP). My physical went as usual (Brrr cold speculum) until the NP asked how my moods were. I very carefully explained that something was not right and had not been for a while. I explained that I was worried it was schizophrenia, that I didn't know how to fix things and that I could not continue without some kind of help. After a series of questions in which it became apparent that I had suffered through some pretty heavy postpartum depression after my son was born she diagnosed me with PMDD, suggested some vitamin supplements and provided me with a very low prescription of Citalopram a serotonin reuptake inhibitor or more commonly an antidepressant.

PMDD or Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a severe forms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Like PMS, premenstrual dysphoric disorder follows a predictable, cyclic pattern. It effects 3% to 8% of the female population. Emotional symptoms are generally present, and in PMDD, mood symptoms are dominant. Substantial disruption to personal relationships is typical for women with PMDD. Anxiety, anger, and depression may also occur. The main symptoms, which can be disabling, include,
  • feelings of deep sadness or despair, and suicide ideation
  • feelings of intense tension or anxiety
  • increased intense sensitivity to rejection or criticism
  • panic attacks
  • rapid and severe mood swings, bouts of uncontrollable crying
  • lasting irritability or anger, increased interpersonal conflicts; typically sufferers are unaware of the impact they have on those close to them
  • apathy or disinterest in daily activities and relationships
  • difficulty concentrating
  • chronic fatigue
  • food cravings or binge eating
  • insomnia or hypersomnia; sleeping more than usual, or (in a smaller group of sufferers) being unable to sleep
  • feeling overwhelmed or feelings of being out of control
  • increase or decrease in sex drive
  • increased need for emotional closeness
This was me for 4 years. I can only imagine what my husband went through and try very hard not to think about how all of this may have effected my son.

Upon beginning treatment both my husband and myself could, almost instantaneously, see a definite change. I literally felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders and I could breath again. I faced a small amount of disdain from “well meaning” church folk who thought I should continue to pray for healing and keep off the medication, but I truly believed and continue to believe that my meeting with the NP (who coincidentally was let go several months later) and her line of questioning that got me to reveal what I felt was my darkest shame was an answer to prayer. Her name was Laura and because of her I am still married, I have a loving relationship with my son and I am much more pleasant human being.

You might be wondering what the point of all of this is. Why did I bore you to tears with this, uncharacteristically serious, tale of woe. I lived for four years in shame and under a debilitating emotional weight because I was afraid to talk about what I was going through. I was afraid people might think I was crazy, that maybe I was crazy or that I was a bad wife, mother, person, etc because I was struggling. PMDD might not be considered a mental illness, but it has some of the same characteristics and, left untreated, fosters the same shame and stigmas that mental illness does. I really encourage you, if you're dealing with mental illness, hormonal/chemical imbalance or if you know someone who is to talk about it. Reach out and get help if you need it. Don't let yourself, your friends or family stay hidden in the dark. Don't feed the elephant in the room.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

This Week in Crazytown! (January 29-February 4, 2011)

What a week!!

I finally feel like I've gotten my equilibrium back after the craptacular start to the year that I've had. Here's what's been going on.

I've gotten back into reading again. It wasn't anything intellectually stimulating but I really felt pulled out of my reading funk by some of Lisa Kleypas' historical romances.

Call them "bodice rippers" call them trash, but I love to escape into a good romance novel.  There's something about watching two people fall in love under ridiculous circumstances that can sweep me away.  The series I read this week, was Lisa Kleypas' Hathaway Series, a series of 5 books that follow the lives and loves of the Hathaway Family. The series of books are set in Victorian England and are full of mystery, suspense, sexytimes and love *swoon*.

C.S. Lewis, author and Christian apologist, once said that "We read to know we are alive." I pretty much read to keep everyone alive. For me it's relaxing and helps me to de-stress. It's also something just for me and if you're a wife and/or mother you'll understand how valuable, rejuvenating and violence-reducing time for yourself really is.

I've also started writing again, nothing too mind blowing, but the point is that I'm doing it.
This past Friday my review of Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She's Dead was posted on Wicked Little Pixie the site I review books on. I didn't really have anything good to say about this book, but if you're looking for something to read you can find a lot of great books on WLP with honest reviews by real people...really fun people.

The second post was a joint post with site founder Nat on what we, as warm blooded women, deem to be unsexy for men. The list is populated with some pictures that may or may not burn your retinas and is a good refresher for that man in your life that occasionally needs some fashion advice.  We weren't able to list all of the unsexiness that plagues men, but there were a couple of really important no-no's, like the Speedo, Bicycle shorts, gansta pants, skinny jeans and overly-sculpted facial hair. I forgot to mention Do-rags, so I thought I'd include that here, just to share, because sharing is caring :)

Observe: A do-rag and a ugly stache. I think I just puked in my mouth .

Now, it wouldn't be a This Week in Crazytown Post if I didn't post some craziness I've observed this week.

1. The Karate Rap
Let me set this up for you. It was the late 80's and dinosaurs roamed the Earth Karate was huge! The original Karate Kid (1984) movie had made a star out of Ralph Macchio and made Karate the thing to do. I mean who doesn't want to break boards, crane kick on a stump on a beautiful California beach and catch flies with chopsticks? Am I right?  Anyway, Rap music was also becoming popular with the mainstream and, like we had with Jazz, Blues and Rock 'n' Roll, all of us honky white people were trying to steal Rap music and make it our own. This video combines Karate and horrible, white, 80's rap. Watch and be glad this did not catch on.

2. Lego Releases Images of the Lord of the Rings Mini-figures:
Ok, so this isn't really that crazy, but I am crazy excited about it. So I'm putting it in.

Gollum is soooo creepy. I must have it Precious!

3. This
*cue Cambridge Boys' Choir singing something angelic*

This culinary masterpiece is Sweet and Spicy Nutella-Coated Bacon! 
If you're not familiar with Nutella it's a chocolate and hazelnut spread that taste like heaven in your mouth. This recipe takes the majestically sweet  flavour of Nutella and combines it with the salty goodness that is bacon.
I love the combination of sweet and salty and I love both bacon and Nutella so this recipe sounds pretty much like a gift from God to me. Like angels fluttered down on gossamer wings and whispered it into the ear of whoever put it on the Internet just for me. It's that crazy good. I hope to try it soon and will let you know how it went.

Have a great week everybody, hope it's not too crazy!