12.23.2008

Did somebody say "Those in need"???

I haven't posted in a while. Ooops. Sometimes it's nice to wait a while so things can actually happen between updates. That's my story, anyway.

This will be a quickie update. I've been on Lexapro for 2 weeks now. What a difference time can make. During the first week I wasn't so sure I could make it. I was SO SO SO groggy and drowsy about an hour after taking it and thought this would make it difficult to have any sort of fun after 7pm. Luckily, my body has gotten used to it and I no longer have severe drowsiness. I'm not brave enough to start taking it in the mornings, though. My night routine will do just fine. I'm no longer feeling any side-effects that I can tell and overall I feel like a normal person.

I am still having mini-anxiety attacks at some of my usual trigger places, but haven't been tested to my fullest yet. That will be a job interview should I be granted one. We'll see. I can say, however, that I feel like I'm happier. It's not an overwhelming change, but I just feel a bit lighter in spirit. I'm only 2 weeks in and working on my third week which is the middle marker for the meds being fully integrated into my system. It's at least easier now that I'm not so pre-occupied with side-effects.

We're getting ready for a different kind of Christmas this year. Mostly our routine will be slightly different. We're doing Christmas morning with the McFarland's at our house this year. I'm excited to host a holiday get-together at our house and hope they like it, too. We have this new, nice, big house and I've been itching to stretch its legs and have family over. We'll be spending Christmas Eve with my parents since we don't get to see them after the holidays when we go to Pennsylvania.  I think she misses having us home in the days after Christmas, but she'll take the opportunity to keep Three while we're gone in our place :)

Hope everyone has a great Christmas and New Year!

12.11.2008

Foul weather brings foul mood

I've been in a really crappy mood today.  The more the day wears on, the worse it gets. I've had a crazy week...crazy month...crazy several months for that matter and I'm just feeling like crap right now. Get ready to call the wahmbulance.

*Deep breath* I started taking Lexapro on Saturday morning. This is a step I wanted to avoid in my path to wellness, but alas, here I am 5 days deep into Lexapro. Psychiatric drugs scare the stuff out of me, but my doctor wanted me on it rather than Xanex because it's non-habit-forming and I could take it every day. I'm trying. I'm really trying. But it isn't fun...not yet anyway.

I'm not a big fan of medication you get from a pharmacist. I just don't like altering myself with medicine.  I'm super-sensitive to side-effects mainly because I look for them...and wait for them...and obsess over them. It's a craziness all its own.  I've never used drugs and never plan to or  had any desire to. I don't understand people wanting to feel all weird and out of body. I just don't get it. However, I was feeling desperate and I'm hoping once the Lexapro fully integrates into my system (6 weeks!) that I'll go back to feeling more like a normal person, rather than a medicated version of myself. Luckily, I've found refuge in a old friend who is also taking Lexapro. The input and feedback has helped me more than I've conveyed yet so, thank you...

Here's where my mood has gone to hell. Monday, we ride into work like a normal day. However, I had some sort of weird panic attack (over what exactly, I am not sure) that scared me to death and threw off the rest of my day. It was weird and like none I've had before. I felt like I was on fire under my skin in my chest area and I felt like I was going to be sick. I had to sit in the car with the A/C on full blast for a minute before it went away. Terrible. Tuesday, I got up having taken Lexapro the night before, and just didn't want to face another day like Monday so I called in sick.  I came back to work on Wednesday and from then on I swear I'm getting the cold shoulder from my co-workers.  They are probably just about as sick of me as I am and everyone else around me is. They are hardly speaking to me and the 2 entire questions I've been asked in the last 2 days have been asked in that way where you can tell they are forcing themselves to ask and then they don't actually care to stick around to hear your answer. The kind of question that they hope won't require more than the generic answer they're looking for. I don't know if they feel like they need to leave me alone, but I don't care.

Screw them. I could say (and feel) worse words, but my MIL reads this and I don't want her to disown me! :) I've gone through absolute personal hell as far as I'm concerned during the last 3 years.  It's progressively gotten worse starting with my current job. This is the hardest job I've ever had. Would be your average pencil-pusher type job without the phones, but answering these phones is sheer torture. If you've never done it, my stories wouldn't do the experience justice and nothing pisses me off more than people saying "Well I would've said..." or "You should say..." and then having a good haha over it all. OH SHUT UP. No one has a clue and doesn't care to have a clue. I'm that person with the life people point at and think, "I'm glad I'm not her" and then they back away slowly and change the subject. Yes, don't dare act like you're interested in someone else's life should it happen to not be all peaches-n-cream. On the other hand, there are people that try to ask me how things are, but approach me as if I'm going to break right in half if I have to utter more than 10 words. So I keep it short since clearly, you don't think I can handle a conversation.

I've gone from job woes, to emotional & personal, and anxiety & health woes during these last 3 years. I know I've been an absolute burden and PITA to my family and husband. I know everyone is so sick of me and that hurts the most. I've slowly watched people I used to talk to back away to the point that we have no contact except on few occasions. I've seen people move on, make new friends, have new lives of which I'm not a part. Even my mom who spent the better part of the last 5 years dealing with my dad's law suit is now moving into a new part of her life. I'm happy to see her happy and enjoying the company of friends she's connected with from her past. She's lost tons of weight, buys pretty clothes and things for the house and makes plans with friends. I'm happy for her, but at the same time sad, because I feel even she has left me behind in a sense. It's bittersweet because I'm so glad she's finally at a new place where she's found happiness, but at the same time, I don't feel included.

But back to my current mood and what's urking me so much today. PEOPLE. People suck. They have disappointed me over and over and over and over.  People are rude, selfish, clueless, selfish, stupid, ignorant, selfish, annoying and...did I mention selfish? GRRRRRRR. I've trusted and relied on so many people so many times who did nothing but disappoint me in the end. I'm not claiming to be perfect, but I like to think I consider others whenever I can and try not to be a completely clueless jerk when it comes to other people.  I could list for days, but I won't.

I'm just tired of caring and tired of being disappointed. I don't know how to be the jerk that it seems everyone else is. I'm just being me and I probably consider what other people think and want before I consider what I want. If that sounds like I'm tooting my own horn there, that is in fact the opposite of what I mean to convey. I worry about what others will think, what they'll say, what they'll like etc. way more than I should. It's a curse in that I have started just not doing anything so that people will have nothing to criticize. I would love to just walk away....walk into a new life with my husband and dogs, take them elsewhere and start over. I found myself and my confidence in New York City and I so wish I had gone there after college and become that me I found there in 1999. It was a personal high and I wish I could get there again.

I deserve better than this life I'm carving out for myself. I deserve to figure out how to "be normal" and happy and confident. I deserve more than this BS job. I'm a smart girl who has been exposed to one of the nastiest sides of human beings. I truly believe I've been affected by this work and I should file a Worker's Comp claim! I keep thinking that if I could only escape this job that I'd be able to start digging myself out of this hole. I don't even recognize myself anymore. I just know that I feel completely isolated (and abandoned) from everyone except Seth for the most part. God love him. I'm sure I'm to blame for that, but I can't help but feel like people just don't want to approach someone who is going through a  hard time. So they just ignore them. Good call, idiots.

12.03.2008

And then there were THREE

Three years ago today, Seth and I got married! We've had a fun 3 years laying the foundation for our little family and home.

We celebrated year one by buying ourselves a puppy we named "Three" in honor of the occasion. She arrived threeannivfrom Missouri the Saturday after Thanksgiving and we've been in love with her ever since. The picture is one of the first we took of her the very first night we brought her home.  Then we abandoned our new puppy after one week (we let her Uncle Cameron keep her since he lived next door) to take an anniversary trip to Black Mountain to stay in my Uncle Abbey's mountain cabin. We went to the Biltmore House and took a night-time Christmas tour which was fun (Diggle went, too) and something I had always wanted to do. When we got back to the cabin, I cooked a yummy meal and we brought out the top layer of our wedding cake, which was just as fabulous a year later as it was on the day of our wedding. I was happy to get to eat an entire slice rather than the one chunk I got on our wedding day. Then we curled up and watched our wedding video by the warm wood stove.

abbeyshouse1 biltmore1



Hmm...year 2. I don't remember what we did! OOPS! I'll get back to you on that. I'm sure we did something.

Year 3...we have no plans for year 3. No gifts, no muss, no fuss. We've indulged in a new house, new furniture, and new toys this year so I don't think we could ask for much more without sounding like greedy little children.  For me, just to look back at this past year and see what Seth has done for me with no complaints, no grumbles, no difficulty - that's gift enough.  I don't think I deserve such a patient and kind husband, but I'll take him! It's been a rough year for me and I know I wouldn't have fared so well without my Seth.

12.02.2008

Seth's 30th Birthday

I was on a computer strike over the holidays so I didn't give my hubby a proper Happy 30th Birthday shout-out on the 'ole blog. (He probably prefers that I didn't). Here are a few photos from the "family party" we had at our house. I ordered the cake for him and was SO excited to give it to him - I think he loved it!


sethcakehold1


sethcake


cakecloseup1

News on the health front

It feels like an eternity since I last posted. In fact, when I checked my calendar, I was actually quite surprised that it has been just 8 days - it seems like weeks! There's a lot to report so here goes.

The week of November 17th was pretty much hell. Starting the night of November 16th, I got 4 or less hours of sleep Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights. I had no idea why I was struck with a sudden bout of insomnia, as sleep has always been no problem for me. For each night I STILL couldn't sleep, I got more and more worked up about it which made sleeping even harder. After the 3rd night of no sleeping, I called my former gynecologist's office to see if they'd fill a prescription for Xanex which my psychologist had suggested.  Through some finagling, she agreed to fill it and I was able to get some sleep that night. WHEW. When I called begging for drugs, the nurse also convinced me to come in and meet one of the other doctors so I could have a physical (one for which I am way overdue).  My previous doctor retired in August and I haven't gone back since because I had no idea who I wanted to see.  The meet-and-greet appointment was for the next morning; it was a meeting mostly for me to get to know her before "signing on" as her newest patient. Luckily, she was awesome, she listened to me, was caring, and actually gave me some news which felt like an answer to my prayers. I found out later that she is also the same doctor of one of my mom's friends who ALSO used to struggle with anxiety. My mom knew she loved her doctor, but could never remember to ask her for her name. It's always nice to get a good referral from a friend and I felt lucky that I had randomly picked the same doctor she was seeing!

So I get to my appointment and after just a few minutes of talking with the doctor about the symptoms I've had with anxiety and other female-type issues, she simply asked if I had ever heard of PCOS? I had to control my urge to scream and cheer and kiss her all at the same time. Oddly enough, I had stumbled upon information about PCOS a while back and thought it sounded like it could be what was wrong with me. I had forgotten about it in the midst of all the anxiety and therapy and la la la la laaaaa. She just looked at me and name several red-flag symptoms of this syndrome and told me it was treatable. Just like that. Simple as that. GAH. I was happy but sort of pissed at the same time. All these years I'd been seeing the other doctor and he never mentioned it! Not even once! MEN!

I left feeling like a new woman. Just to have information to run with. Something to pin down as proof that I'M NOT CRAZY! That something really is physically wrong and that it's fixable and that I might feel better soon. One of the classic signs is weight around the waist. HI! That's me. When I got back to work my boss tells me she's got a friend who has the same thing and once she started a treatment program, the weight just melted off. I sure hope that happens to me, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up. This news brought my week to a wonderful close and I felt SO much better about life in general. I'm looking forward to getting the blood tests and then going back in January to talk treatment. I'm holding on to this diagnosis for all it's worth right now.

Important to note is that during the week described above and the following week, I wasn't going to have any meetings with my psychologist. During the last appointment with her, I asked if I could take a couple of weeks off and come back after Thanksgiving. I felt like having to talk about anxiety once a week made me focus TOO MUCH on it and was actually making it worse. She agreed and so I went without for those 2 weeks. I had my first appointment back today and was glad to be able to report some improvements, some news about my female issues, and some news about medications and how things were working.

For some reason, I wasn't looking forward to the appointment at all. I was thinking of asking her if she thought it'd be a good idea if I stopped coming every single week and spaced it out a bit more. Turns out, I didn't have to do the asking because she brought it up herself. She asked me how I thought I should proceed with therapy and counseling and when I told her my feelings she agreed. YAY! I have one more appointment with her on December 16th and after that I'm taking a break for Christmas and will go back sometime in January. There may be a new job in my future* so I told her I'd have to call her later to set up an appointment in January. I was so relieved to see that she agreed and wasn't looking down her nose at me as if I was trying to get out of counseling. I do want to go back as long as I'm still having concerns and issues, but my hope is that by releasing me from the week to week schedule, that I'll start to gain back some confidence and sanity and take a hold of my life by myself. It would be nice.

* More on this later! Stay tuned!

11.24.2008

Anniversaries

Four years ago yesterday Seth proposed.  I didn't remember it yesterday, but something reminded me of it when I got to work this morning.

At the time, I was working as a Residence Director at Meredith College and was busy closing the dorms for Thanksgiving break.  I was also taking some courses in Interior Design so I remember being SO ready for a break. It felt just like when I was in college the first time around - professors loaded us up with with tests and projects due just days before a big holiday break. I kept telling myself "If I can just make it 2 more days, I'll be done." It was a super-busy and stressful time being responsible for completing a big project, studying for tests, and making sure 120 some girls got out of the dorm safely and quickly.

If I remember correctly, November 23, 2004, was a Tuesday. Seth and I had spend the previous Sunday not exactly happy with each other and to this day, I have no idea why. Tuesday was the day before the dorms closed for Thanksgiving and I had planned to head to Seth's townhouse in Apex to hang out to celebrate being done with exams and projects.  Seth called me while I was driving over and he was particularly interested in where exactly I was and how long until I thought I'd be at his house. It seemed a little strange, but he must have been able to offer up some sort of reasonable explanation for his odd questioning, so I thought nothing of it.

When I got to the house, I pulled up by the curb out front as usual and headed to the front door. Just to set the scene, our old townhouse had a completely open floor plan downstairs. There were 3 rooms each separated by only partial walls. Upon opening the front door you'd be in the living room, which was separated by a half-wall from the dining room, which was separated by a wall with a large pass-through to the kitchen. So, I opened the front door and went inside. I didn't see Seth, but saw that he had set the dining room table complete with candles and either wine or sparkling cider, and I could smell dinner cooking. Most of it was already on the table. However, no Seth. I thought, "How sweet!" and I called for him thinking he was upstairs...but no answer. Then I thought he must have run across the street to grab the mail while he was waiting for me to arrive. Hmm.

The thought of a proposal had not entered my mind for one single, solitary second. For each question in my head, I was able to come up with a completely reasonable answer or explanation. And then the doorbell rang. I answered it and it was Seth. Still no proposal red flags went up. I remember looking at him like "What the heck are you doing?" and tried to pull him inside. I thought he was trying to make up for our previous Sunday tiff. I was STILL clueless and he was resisting me pulling him inside. Then, he pulled a gorgeous bouquet of a dozen roses from behind his back and in one swift motion got down on one knee right there on our front porch with the door wide open.

DING! DING! DING! I think my proposal alarm finally went off at that point and I covered my face and cried. He said a bunch of sweet things that I wish I could remember and then opened the box to reveal the ring I had picked out months ago. It was a crazy, surreal moment that I can still see so vividly today. There was a recliner right by the door and I remember having to sit down. That's when he put the ring on my finger and I couldn't stop staring at it. My stomach was so full of butterflies that I couldn't eat the dinner Seth made for us! I think he ate it all by himself and then we rushed out to go visit his parents and mine to share the great news! It was a fun night.

This time of year is full of anniversary-type events for us. Starting with our engagement anniversary (which I'm not usually that good at remembering, but it's fun when I do), then Seth's birthday on the 29th and then our wedding anniversary on December 3rd. Throw in there Thanksgiving and Christmas and we've got a fun couple of months full of celebrations. We'll be celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary next week and I'm happy to report that even 3 short years later, I still know I married the world's greatest man :) Thanks for loving me Sethie! I know it's not been easy, but I appreciate and love you more than you know. MUAH!

11.14.2008

Guilty posting

It has been a week.

I've not posted in over a week and aside from actually having a pretty interesting week, I haven't wanted to post anything.  The lack of interest in posting is due to a Saturday of random anger that's too complicated (and frankly, NOYB) to go into detail about, a Monday panic attack at work that sent me home, a Tuesday at home (thanks Veterans!), and a Wednesday appointment with the therapist at which I finally felt like I got through to her. I hate feeling like every post will be about something sad and pathetic like my issues with anxiety, however, that's the main thing that consuming my life right now so I suppose I don't have a choice when it comes to exciting topics for entries. I'm forcing myself to post today so I won't lose all my loyal readers. heh.

So...Monday. I came to work same as any day. A little back-story is that last year I was having some trouble with low blood-sugar and after a few appointments with my doctor, determined I wasn't eating the right things in the mornings and changed up my AM consumption to anything with protein rather than carbs.  Monday, I knew we were low on food and that I didn't have my trust yogurt to take to work for a snack but I thought I'd be OK for one more day until I could hit up the grocery store on my Tuesday off. Around 11:30 I started having those telltale signs of a sugar drop which kicks my adrenaline into high gear and makes me feel all shaky and jittery and it's so not fun. I call Seth and ask him to bring me something to drink and snack as I had nothing at work and no cash. Usually eating fixes it after about 15 minutes or so, but this time, I couldn't snap out of it and it felt like it was getting worse. Long story short, Seth and I went home early. I knew I had probably panicked about feeling bad and just made it worse. I was pretty much fine by the time I got home. So...that threw me off and I was really disappointed in myself for losing control.

Tuesday was mostly fine. I needed to go to the grocery store and even this simple task ended up being challenging. Seth and I usually run our errands together, but sometimes there's no need for both of us to go or Seth just isn't in the mood to go. In the past, no problem - I'd go alone occasionally. Now, I worry that each thing I do outside of my normal schedule will cause anxiety and possibly panic. I spent about 45 minutes convincing myself to go. I was mentally pushing myself out the door. I think the previous day's events were making it harder, too.  I eventually went...by myself...and all was fine.

Wednesday was back to work. Seth had to take the CR-V to the body shop to get an estimate on the damage on our rear-ending from last Thursday so that meant I was going to work alone rather than our usual carpool. I was so nervous to go back to work. I was scared that I might have a repeat of Monday. Again, I made it to work (although very nervous and anxious) and got through the day OK.

Thursday I had an appointment with my therapist. I missed about 20 minutes of our appointment because we somehow missed each other when I came in and she thought I wasn't there. I told her of my Monday episode and was able to get a lot of things said and they came out clearly. Sometimes I struggle to make myself clear with her because I feel such a need for her to FULLY understand me without misinterpreting the things I say. I went with the intention of asking her if she thought it would be OK for me to not come back to her for a couple of weeks and to have a chance to regroup. Our weekly appointments are a source of anxiety for me as well and I told her I wanted to go a couple of weeks knowing I had nothing to be anxious about. She agreed and said we could try that. WHEW. I go back the day before mine and Seth's 3 year anniversary.  I hope I can report good things to her rather than bad. I told her I felt like I was getting worse at an incredibly fast pace but that I felt it was because I was talking about it with her and had become hyper-sensitive and super-aware of things that make me anxious. Anxiety has been popping up everywhere!

Then....we had the "medication" talk. She can't prescribe since she's not a psychiatrist, but she asked me if I was on any medications for my anxiety. I tell her no and then we have the discussion. Thankfully, it didn't come up as, "Wow, Kelley. You're a freaking freak. You need to be heavily medicated." It came up almost as if she assumed I was already taking something and wondered what it was. She was very kind about the subject and thinks I could use something "as needed" and not something I'd take every day. I'm going to call my doctor about getting a prescription. I just hope that doesn't prompt THEM to make me come in for an evaluation. Doctors and nurses can be so cold and judgemental sometimes. I know they deal with whining patients all day long, but that's no excuse for treating me like I'm an idiot who has no idea how to tell what's going on with my own body and mind.

Friday - that's today - has been fine. Thank goodness for Fridays. With each passing day and week, I'm getting closer to the end of this job. The new Governor will be inaugurated on January 10th so there's finally a hard date on which this administration will cease to exist and it's sooner than I was expecting. I hope that within the next month or few weeks I'll have some idea as to what my next job will be and for whom I'll be working if not the next Governor.

11.06.2008

I can't avoid this title: Yes We DID

wave

I've not quite known what to say about the election. I've been overwhelmed with the task of writing (for my own historical blogging record) about my feelings regarding the historic outcome of the 2008 Presidential Election. To wrap words around the sheer volume of my emotions about our great new President-Elect, Barack Obama, is to wrap words around the universe. I haven't felt I could do it justice for myself, so, I've decided to let pictures speak the thousands of words I just can't seem to find:

[caption id="attachment_377" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Crowd at Grant Park"]crowd1[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_385" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="New York City"]nyc[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_386" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Athens, Greece"]girl1[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_387" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Obama's former school in Jakarta, Indonesia"]jakarta1[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_388" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Grant Park, Chicago"]grantpark1[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_389" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Denmark"]denmakr1[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_390" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Tears of joy"]Tears of joy[/caption]

It's a privilege and so wonderful and so incredible to be alive at this great moment in US history. Not only has our country elected its first African-American President, but we've moved into some sort of new era in terms of the way our nation feels about its President. Perhaps it's the fact that we've been "led" (I use the term as loosely as it can possibly be used) by a man who is clearly one of the worst Presidents in history for the last 8 years. Our nation forgot how good it feels to be proud of its President and the feeling is overwhelming.

It feels good to feel good again. It feels amazing to be proud of America again. On Election night Seth and I stayed up until after Obama's victory speech. We were constantly flipping news channels and checking our favorite news web sites for updates and information throughout the night. I kept saying it felt like New Year's Eve and everyone was just waiting for the ball to fall. When that moment came it was so great. "Great" - such a wussy choice of a word for such a strong feeling.  I can't even chose better words because none of them seem worthy of Obama.  I had so many emotions but had no clue what to do with them. We, like so many other Americans, cried tears of pride, joy, and enormous hope when President-elect Obama gave his speech. What a proud moment. I still get all weepy when I hear clips of his speech or I look at photos like the ones above. I absolutely can not wait to see what the man does as our next President. It's going to be awesome, I just know it.





10.30.2008

Haters & Elections. What gives?

My husband made a good point this week. (I know, it had to happen once, right?)  He said that if our nation's politicians were as terrible as their opponents portray them to be in campaign commercials, then our nation is certainly bound for the dumpster no matter who comes out on top in any race.

It's true. Yet...not so true. I am saddened and disgusted by the negativity that comes with each campaign season. I find it so odd that while we are all part of one nation, one of the most free and privileged nations in the world, that when a major election gets under way, people just lose their freaking minds saying and doing anything to rip apart the candidate opposite the one they support. WHY? Why do people feel the need to spread lies and untruths, and are so easily swayed by rumors and resist truth like it's the plague? I witness this each and every day (multiple times a day) here at work. For some reason, people find pleasure in falsities. They'd rather believe something that makes them mad or scared rather than be corrected and learn the truth and feel better. WHY? I don't get it. Why would you want to hate rather than love? Please...someone tell me.

This Presidential campaign has been one of the nastiest and hateful I can remember since I turned 18 and registered to vote.  There's been more use of fear tactics than I recall in past elections and I don't see the point.  Clearly, from my previous posts, I support Barack Obama.  I support him, I respect him, and I'm impressed by the class with which he's run his campaign, and proud to say I voted (early) for him.  Simply put, I think he's the right man for the job. He's run a campaign as adults should. He's talked about what HE can do for our nation and not focused all his efforts on running McCain into the ground. He comes across mature and able to handle the criticism thrown his way, but McCain and Palin seem to not be able to ignore any negative comments thrown their way by the press or Obama's campaign, and they fire back with name-calling and fear tactics.

If elected, Senator Obama will be our nation's first African-American (really!) President. I don't think there's a better man to fill that spot than Barack Obama. It will be an historical moment on so many levels and if it happens, our nation should be able to stand up for him and SEE how far the country has come and be PROUD all at one time.  Unfortunately, given the events of this campaign, that probably won't be the case and instead I fear the US will embarrass itself in front of the world declaring such falsehoods as our President being a terrorist, being an Arab, being a Muslim, or even not a natural-born citizen of the US, etc, etc, etc.  For some reason, those who are filled with the most hate are the ones that yell the loudest during these campaigns. Aside from my obvious bias toward Obama, when things like name-calling and slander ensue, it makes the side perpetrating those acts look desperate...so very desperate.

I can say that because I've been there. Seth likes to argue me into a corner (regardless of what he'll tell you) to the point that by the time we're near the end of a disagreement, he's got me so flustered that even I feel like I don't have a point anymore and totally forgot where I was going with the point I had at the beginning of the conversation. Often I end up just being mean because... where else do I have to go once I feel defeated? It's the classic childish response to start name-calling and pointing fingers over minimal things. Somehow, you feel like you're gaining the lead again just by being mean. You feel powerful behind that meanness even though you're not adding a shred of legitimacy to your argument.  The adult version grows into exaggerating small bits of information until they resemble something so outrageous that you wonder how these people even made it past a minimum-wage paying job. Respectable adults should know better than to resort to such tactics.  It's a shame that this is the example our nation's leaders set for the public. No wonder the people that call our office are so hateful! They don't show respect to the elected official I work for (nor his staff), but why would they when elected officials don't even show respect for each other on a national stage? Adults need examples just like children do.

If you support one of our current Presidential candidates like I do, why don't you share with others WHY you support him? Why don't you take time to be proud of him and brag about what he can do for the country rather than spend a vast majority of your time stirring up crap that's just not true and that can so easily be proven false. We've got this great new thing called the INTERNET which give lies a lifespan of maybe 5 minutes at which point a fact-checker somewhere has called out your lie and can provide an "actually, this is the truth..." that buries a lie 6 feet under for good. There's no point in all the hating. There's no point in the name-calling.

The fact is that either Senator Obama or Senator McCain WILL be our President next week. We, as a nation, need to respect the person who wins no matter who you vote for.  Someone will lose and voters will not all get their way.  I sure didn't the past 2 elections, but I didn't have a tantrum about it. You pick yourself up and you move on no matter who wins. I'll have no choice but to do so if McCain wins, and if you support McCain, then you'll have to pick yourself up if Obama wins. This is our President we're talking about, he deserves the nation to respect him and believe in him if the majority votes him into office.

10.29.2008

Obama rally in Raleigh!

Seriously? How could you NOT be inspired by this man. Seriously.

I had the privilege of attending the Obama Vote Early for Change rally in downtown Raleigh today. It's days like today that being a state employee pays off. Working in a building just a block from the rally was handy and wonderful.  I left my office at 9:30am to meet up with Seth at his office which is right on Halifax Mall where the rally was held. We were able to get into the mall a tad early and got a great spot right near the front.  We were right under a press pool and somehow were in an area that wasn't stuffed to the gills with people (good for my anxiety level).  It was chilly and windy, but eventually warmed up to the point I had to shed my coat and hand it off to the hubby. I left my "comfy shoes" in the car and had heels on so I spent most of the rally either on my tip toes or with the heels of my shoes sunk in the soft ground. Not so easy for taking pics, but I think I did well with the camera given my wardrobe circumstances.

The crowd was happy and energized and clearly thrilled to be a part of something so fabulous and important.  Obama came out a little after noon and spoke for 45 minutes or so. It was inspiring just to be within feet of him as he encouraged people to get out and either vote early, vote on November 4th, and/or encourage friends, family, and even neighbors and strangers to be sure to vote. I was proud to be part of a crowd of folks (many of whom couldn't even get close enough to see him, and had to settle for only hearing him) who recognize the need for something and someONE new, fresh, and intelligent to lead our country into a better place. I believe in my heart of hearts that Senator Obama is the man for the job. I get chills listening to him speak. I've never been so excited to participate in an election. I've been of age to vote for several elections now but this one is different. I feel like my vote counts. I feel like everyone's votes count more than ever.  I am proud to be part of something this big and this important both from a historical and political perspective.

I got a ton of great photos at the rally! And I'll leave you with this video. GO VOTE!





10.27.2008

A Multitude of Thoughts on Things

This post has no point, so get over it quick before you read any further. I'm just dropping in to point out a few things that I'm a) interested in, b) excited about and c) just sayin'.

First up, Amy Poehler had her baby. YAY! Also...BOO. BOO because it means not as much hilarity on SNL. Hopefully she'll pop in after a little maternity leave, but I'm not sure if she's gone for good yet or not. But really, YAY for a baby!

Second, Obama is going to be in Raleigh on Wednesday right. across. the. street. from my office. Also, right between my hubby's office and my mommy's office. AM SO EXCITED! WILL BE GOING! WILL PROBABLY CRY! No seriously, it's going to be awesome and I'm SO THERE.

Third, Seth and I bought a junk-load of furniture last week. We bought ourselves a new bed, 2 bedside tables, a dresser and a coffee table. We thought furniture buying would come a lot later, but Restoration Hardware was having a 20% off sale and it was just too good to pass up. Here's a pic of our new stuffs (which is all back-ordered except the bed) that we'll get near the end of November.



The picture only gives you an idea of what we got.  The bed is the same except we got one with a lower foot board. Those are the same bedside tables we got, though. 3 drawers for putting junk in here we come! The dresser in the background is the one we got - too bad you can't see more of it. It's a dream. 11 drawers, 8 of which are completely cedar with dovetail joints. The top 3 drawers are felt-lined. ooooo. Anyway that's our stuff,  y'all. I LOVE it. I've been a big fan of mission and craftsman style stuff for a long time and I think this furniture will tickle my fancy for eternity.

We also got this coffee table in the same line of furniture. Clearly, I'm fond of the Larkspur, and there are several other pieces we hope to add in the future. It's a classic look and not a trendy take on mission. YAY RH! It's also worth mentioning that we love, love, love the couch in this photo and have 2 of them on our wishlist for future purchases. Maybe I need to go work at RH and get the dandy employee discount. Hmmm.

So anyway, on to other news. I spent all day Saturday with my mom helping her get her house ready for her big 40th reunion with the NCSU Fellows. She's so excited so I wanted to help her as much as she needed me. She's had so much done to her house in preparation for this event. I don't care what it took to motivate her to get some things updated and renovated, I'm just glad something sparked her and got her going. Let's see...she's had carpets cleaned, pillows made, curtains made, a chair recovered, trim painted, house power-washed, bought a queen-sized bed for guests, repainted a bedroom, had the carpet ripped off the stairs and the hardwood underneath refinished, and got rid of a lot of stuff in the playroom (aka: relative's crap storage central). She and I spent 12 hours (no lie) on Saturday getting the upstairs cleaned out and presentable. She never goes up there so it was dusty and crowded and had turned into a catch-all for things people didn't have room to store at their own homes. It's now a sparkly, clean, organized retreat for her guests coming this weekend! I'm happy that's finally done and I hope my mom feels like some weight has been lifted off of her. I feel that way and it's not my house! I'm glad I took a whole day to help her do whatever she needed. We had as much fun doing it as you can have while cleaning. I think she appreciated the company, too. (Beside my one break down when my dad let Three get out of the house, all was well, but wewillnotrecountthatstoryorIwillgetmadalloveragain).

Another thing...I like Beyonce's new song "If I were a Boy" and I dedicate it to all those idiot ex-boyfriends (well maybe just like 2 or 3 of them) who snoozed and losed and who probably STILL don't know how to treat a woman.

What else? OH! I voted early last Friday! And, I totally VOTED FOR CHANGE. Duh.

10.21.2008

On second thought...

I started to write this happy post about how much I love Amy Poehler and Tina Fey and how SNL is the only thing I can count on to make me laugh each week. I started to write that post in an attempt to squash the serious anger and down right hateful feelings I'm having this morning, but as you can see from the few words I've typed just now, coupled with the title of this post, I've swerved off that road of avoidance and have slammed head-first into a post of madness.

I am SO mad. I am SO frustrated. I am SO tired.

I've been going to a psychologist for how many weeks now? I feel like I'm not making any progress. In fact, I am starting to wonder if I'm getting worse? Now I think I'm starting to have panic attacks at night when I try to go to sleep. At first, I thought it was an effect of the Nasonex I take twice a day (once in the morning, once right before bedtime). I've had several episodes where I turn out the light and snuggle down in bed only to realize 20-30 minutes later that I'm a complete mess. I can't describe it, but it feels like someone's injected an insane dose of caffeine directly into my brain. My arms, legs, heart, lungs - everything - feels like it's on crack. I've never done a drug in my life, but I swear this must be what it feels like and I HATE it. In fact, I typically hate medications in general. Advil and Tylenol are the only medications that don't treat me like crap. The rest of them make me jittery and crazy.

But this...this seems to be coming from within...and I can't think of anything scarier at the moment. Last night I got PISSED. I was laying there feeling like I had enough nervous energy to explode. I got up a couple of times to try and break the cycle (which didn't work). I got water, I sat up in bed, I tried to ignore it. Nothing worked. (Eventually, I fell asleep, but it wasn't because I was able to calm myself down. I don't think it's a conincidence that this doesn't seem to occur on Friday or Saturday nights.) That's when I got pissed off. I started to think about work and what it has done to me. I quickly go down this spiral of hate. I hate my job, I hate that people here don't know what this has done to me, I hate what it's done to me, I hate that everyone else in the free world doesn't know what has happened to me, I hate that my very own family doesn't understand or seem to take it seriously, and I hate that it's made me a person that no one wants to hang out with. At least that's how it seems to me.

***NOTE: I wrote the above on Monday. It's now Tuesday. It was even making me mad to write yesterday so I stopped mid-post. I'll finish the entry today, Tuesday, now that I'm feeling better. Let me add that my sweet husband sent me these yesterday which improved my mood dramatically. Also, we bought a whole mess of bedroom furniture from Restoration Hardware after work and I got new shampoo and conditioner from Aveda as well. Ah, the simple smell of Aveda is enough to relax even Secretary Paulson. ***

I went to therapy this morning and spilled my hatred for my job (or the phones specifically). My therapist says that my job is like an abusive husband that I just can't seem to bring myself to leave. She's so right. It's exactly like that. Without the phones all would be fine - but the phones are torture. They're an uncontrollable and unpredictable monster that's been following me around for 3 years. She talks a lot about me needing to learn to give myself permission to do things. Whether it be to leave my job, try working for myself, even buying furniture or picking a paint color. I seem to freeze when I have to make certain types of decisions. It's super annoying.

She thinks I need to start thinking about setting a "last day" here at work and I'm on board with that. It's a little troubling to think about that right now and commit to it since I have no real job prospects, but I'm willing to give myself a date right now and hope that after the elections I'll have a better idea about where I'm headed (or not).

December 19th.

That's the date that I want to set me free. It would make my short-term dreams come true if that was my last day here (job or not), I could have 2 weeks off at Christmas and know I don't have to come back to this job. I could refresh myself and hopefully look forward to the next job. That's the only gigantic question mark at this point. The plan sounds great - except I don't want to cause any financial stress in our household.  When I started saying things that suddenly pulled the rug out from under that date, my therapist said "NO. You can't do that." and I wanted to cry. She was nice about it, but firm, and that was a first. I guess I need some tough love. Seth and my mom will allow me to flex on that date because they are worried about money (and should be to an extent). BUT, I'll get another job somewhere - but until then I'm going to mentally latch onto December 19th and look forward to it as my day to start over.

I changed my mind, I decided posting this clip just can't be skipped. Have you seen anything funnier? Amy Poehler is 3 weeks from her due date and she's busting rhymes like no other. HA! Love it!

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10.14.2008

Post in which I describe my weekend

We took yet another trip to the mountains with the in-laws this weekend. For me, I was hoping for a relaxing, stress-free weekend, and the rest of the family was going to ride the VA Creeper trail again. I would like to ride it again, but not this soon. I wanted some R&R as we've had some overly-hectic past few weeks in the office.

We left Friday around 5pm which wasn't ideal, but with less than 3 days of vacation leave remaining, I've got to save it for the holidays so I didn't have the luxury to take Friday off, unfortunately.  We were heading to a mountain cabin of a friend of the Mc's West Jefferson.  I can't remember what time we finally arrived, but it felt pretty late - maybe 9ish or so. We pretty much headed to bed soon after we got there. Obnoxiously, I couldn't shake the "I want my mommy" feeling that night. I had had a terrible day at work and was in a foul mood for most of the day. I had gotten in early and skipped lunch all so I could leave at 4pm.  I left without telling a soul goodbye which was probably weird, but I didn't care. I just wanted to leave. Plus, my boss had pissed me off earlier in the day and I just wasn't up for dishing out fake "have a great weekend and ENTIRE WEEK OFF" niceties.

(Slightly off topic) I've never taken an entire weekend off in these last 3 years except for my honeymoon which was obviously planned WELL in advance of me even knowing about this job. So I get annoyed when others get to take multiple weeks off each year when I'm struggling to take just one day off here and there. I started this job one month before our wedding. Instead of them just NOT PAYING ME for the 6 days I'd be off for my honeymoon, they forced me to go in the negative on vacation leave which then took 6 MONTHS of no vacation time whatsoever for me to make up just to get back to ZERO time off (again). It was wretched. Ever since then, I've never been able to keep up. I didn't get any extra days off at Christmas or Thanksgiving for the first 2 years either, since only 2 out of the 5 of us can be off at the same time. Which is a whole other set of screwed up in itself. Last year, I finally got first dibs on days off at Christmas. I was shocked as it seemed to be a "first ask first get" sort of leave request system. One of my co-workers takes almost a week and a half off at Christmas and has so much leave she can request it an entire year in advance. So it always left me with no option to take days off. ANYWAY, last Christmas I was able to go with the Mc's to PA finally. This year, we're planning on it again, although I'm wondering if I can even make it - going will deplete my leave all over again. Hmmm.

(Back on topic) I LOVE the idea of traveling, and really appreciate a place once I'm back home, but while I'm in the middle of the trip, I'm usually a ball of anxiety and nerves. It's annoying to say the least. My mind want to soak it all in and enjoy it, but it's also worried about the dumbest little things the whole time. I just stress myself out and that's exhausting. I always feel like everyone else is laid-back and casual and here I am trying to squash my pointless anxiety over nothing. It has yet to work. I'm waiting for a vacation where there is NO agenda and I can just do nothing and know that's what I'm supposed to be doing. Are there such vacations?

So Saturday, everyone loaded up bikes and things and headed to VA to ride the Creeper. They didn't leave until 12:30 or 1 and I expected them back between 5 and 6pm. I had the house and TV to myself and lucky for me, Cycle 10 of America's Next Top Model was on MTV - marathon style! I've decided ANTM marathons are the way to watch this show. I got addicted to this show last fall and would TiVo marathons and watch them back to back to back all weekend. Then I tried to TiVo the latest season with one show each week and it just wasn't the same...wasn't as satisfying. I think I watched 7 or 8 episodes on Saturday. I literally didn't get off the couch all day. I took a shower, but that was it. The kitchen and TV area were one big room (like a loft almost) so I didn't even have to leave the room to get food or anything! For the most part, that was great, although I did feel extremely lazy doing it. I wanted to finish a book I've been reading but ANTM wouldn't allow it.

Saturday night we went out to a great restaurant, Fraisers, in West Jefferson for the MIL's birthday dinner. It was really good and we were even able to do some literal window shopping while eating. They were selling these great wooden trees in the restaurant and they had them on display in the windows. MIL and myself each bought 3 of varying heights. Should be a cozy Christmas display this year.

Sunday, we headed to Boone to walk around downtown and do some shopping on and around King Street. What a busy downtown! I'd never really shopped in Boone before. We went to the Mast General Store where there were having a tent sale. I got some Chacos for 40% off! Inside the store, I think I could've bought one of everything and wiped out my entire bank account and been as happy as a clam. They had all the North Face, Patagonia, Danskos, warm, fuzzy, outdoorsy stuff a girl could want! They allowed dogs on leashes to come in the store so Seth brought Three in. She got lots of attention in that store and would get more throughout the day. Who could resist our precious baby.

We got lunch from Our Daily Bread and ate it outside - it was such a beautiful day! While waiting for lunch, a man with 2 Westies came strolling into the yard where we were hanging out! It was so cool! You don't often see Westies and here came 2. One of them was NOT friendly and wanted nothing to do with Three. Her owner had to hold her - she growled and showed her teeth the whole time. The other one was much friendlier and he/she(?) sniffed Three, but they didn't seem to hit it off and were bored with one another in minutes. It was still cute. He told me about his bike trailer that his dogs ride in and how he took them to NYC to join a group of 30-40 other Westies to try to get on the Today show. He was a nice man. Too bad his girl dog was such a bitch. (ha)

In general, a great trip. Totally makes me want to have my OWN mountain house. We seem to know people with mountain cabins and of course, I totally appreciate being able to stay in their homes at no charge, but I'd love to have my own place because one can never be quite as comfortable in other's homes as they can be in their own.  In my advanced age, I think I'd rather have a mountain house than a beach house. Nothing sounds like a better escape from what ails you than a mountain cabin tucked up in the trees away from people!

10.10.2008

Woah, BABY!

Perhaps I should take a hint or something, but I find myself surrounded by babies recently. Not terribly recently, but I'd say at least in the last 6 months.  I don't know if I'm actually gravitating towards the subject subconsciously or what, but it seems I find myself reading about or hearing about babies, babies, babies!

I've never really been a huge fan of babies. Probably because they make me nervous. I just feel awkward around them or like I'm going to break them or hold them wrong or make them cry. Then there are kids. Again, I feel intimidated by kids for some reason. I was never a babysitter growing up and during the times my cousins were born I was either too young to know what to do with them, or I was in my awkward teenage years before you start feeling all motherly, so I didn't spend much time with them, and when they were around they made me nervous so I avoided them. Weird, I know. I've just never been one of those girls/women who squealed with excitement when a baby came into the room. In fact, I think in general those kind of women are ones who've HAD a baby and know how exciting it can be to be a new mom. Just like I have a softer spot for puppies and dogs now that I've got my own - I think it's the same way for women and babies.

It's just odd how these tiny, chubby, deliciously cute people have crept into my life and I'm finding myself softening to the idea of maybe having one of my own some day (soon).  Maybe I'm even looking forward to it, too (?) Here's a list of the baby stalking I'm engaged in:

I am totally addicted to Amalah - who is expecting her 2nd child in 5 days. I don't know her personally, but I feel as if I do and I am so excited for her new baby to arrive and getting to know him through her blog entries. After she was on an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay, I found her blog and pretty much read 5 years worth of entries over the summer. I'm all caught up now and always look forward to her next entry. It's weird, yes.

I also read our friend Anna's blog about being a mom to adorable little Rachel and know she'll have lots more to say when baby #2 arrives very soon!

Another mommy blogger and former co-worker from Meredith whose blog I keep up with is Christy (sorry doods, she's a private blog) who is a new mom to almost 1 year-old Lily. I've learned a lot from Christy & Anna and hope if I'm ever a mom that I'll remember the great tips they've shared.

Melissa (from Real World New Orleans) just found out she's pregnant. I've been reading her blog for more than 5 years and she got married not too long ago and has been trying, trying, TRYING to get pregnant and finally had success. Again, don't know her personally, but she's hilarious and I've just kept up with her blog for years.

We also just found out from 2 sets of friends that they are each expecting their 1st child.

Not to mention our church. Oh goodness. We haven't started going to Sunday school so we don't know any of the younger couples in our church yet, by MY! ARE THEY FERTILE. The young couples sit near the pews we sit in regularly at church and they often get referenced by our pastors as being quite fertile. It seems 5 or 6 of them have been pregnant all at the same time and one of them is apparently pregnant with her 3rd when I swear she just had her 2nd not even 2 seconds ago! It's crazy but they seem to all be excited to have kids together. I'm sure it's nice to know your kids will grow up with your friend's kids.

So we've nailed being parent's to the world's best dog, we've bought ourselves a shiny, new house with 2 spare bedrooms and a big yard, so I guess you might say we're ready if it happens. It DOES sound like fun to decorate a nursery so we'll see what happens.

10.08.2008

Winding down during election season

Right now is a huge time of change and transition for me, and a time I've been looking forward to for 3 years.  It's not happening YET, but it's on the horizon and everyday requires thought and consideration of what's to come and how to prepare for the last day(s) of this administration. Yesterday, along with my 4 co-workers, I met with the big boss to discuss transition issues. I has hoping for more information than I got, but until the elections are over, no one really knows what's going to happen, and no one can really make any big moves toward the future. In any case, we talked about jobs and job security, and our feel for what's to come and where we'll be.

For my loyal readers (ha), you know based on previous blog posts, that my job is not what anyone would describe as easy, comfortable, or for that matter, healthy.  I will have been here for 3 years on November 1st and I have no idea how I've managed to make it through.  My husband might argue that I have NOT made it through...at least unscathed. I've changed since I've been here and it hasn't been for the good. The only thing I can look back on and be thankful for is getting to work with nice people, and being forced to really understand how our local, state and federal governments are set up. I will forever value the knowledge I've gained at this job and kick myself in the butt for not knowing it before. Of course, I STILL would never have called a governor's office for answers, help, or to treat someone as my personal punching bag....I'm just sayin'.

I'm actively looking for jobs at this point. I'm willing to admit that I'm 30, have a BA, as well as a certificate in Paralegal Studies and STILL do not know what I want to be when I grow up. Sometimes I wonder if I ever will. Right now, I'm most interested in writing. I know with absolute certainty, that I never ever want to work with the public again. Unless I'm supposed to be working with cheerful, happy folks-....nah, still PASS. I know how brutal other human beings can be, and I wouldn't wish public service on anyone. I want to write and create, and participate with my peers, but I don't want to have to answer to the public. No thank you. I've found a job I'm really interested in although probably do not the most experience although I'm a quick study and could totally handle this job. According to the job description, I qualify; but it would be a step up to a leadership position which, in a way, I think would be good for me. I'm not talking major leader or anything, but certainly more status than I've got now. I'm going to talk to the big boss about it. Hopefully she'll be able to help at least get me an interview.

Transition and change are hard for me, but in the past, I've been able to adapt quickly and deal with it relatively well. Since I've been so plagued by anxiety and fear and panic this year, it's going to be even harder. I have a major fear of even going to a job interview because the last one I went to, I had a panic attack in the middle of and had to cover it up mid-interview. It was terrible. I'm scared to death it'll happen again. I'm working on that with my therapist. I know an interview is inevitable since I will have to have a new job come the end of January (if not before), but I'm still a bit lot scared. I wish I could take 2-3 months off with NO work just to recover and turn back into a normal person, but I've got to get paid, I've got to have health insurance, and I'm sure I'd never want to go back to work if I stopped now. Ah, 'twould be nice.

10.02.2008

I Suck at Life

I can't pinpoint the source, but something has caused my anxiety level to shoot through the roof this week - maybe even last week, too, after we got back from Boston.  My first day back to work was last Tuesday and it was the 3rd day of our office being bombarded with calls about the gas shortage in the western part of North Carolina. Since I missed out on most of the calls while we were gone, I sort of got thrown in the ring on Tuesday and had NO IDEA how nasty these callers were. Again. First Asheville, now it was Charlotte.

The first day back from a vacation is always hard because you've usually been gone long enough to have had time to shake the rage and tension from your system. Then you come back and it starts all over again, but that first day is tough to take - it's like no other. The only good part about last week was after Tuesday, we were allowed to shut down the phones Wednesday, Thursday and Friday since people were being so hateful. Callers went straight to voice mail where they were greeted with a recording regarding the gas shortage then allowed to leave a voice mail.  When they were on, we were constantly answering the phones and getting no work done. It was a gift from Heaven not to have to answer phones for 3 days. I've been here 3 years and that's NEVER happened before. We had to check messages every 30 minutes during our normal phone duty and return any calls that weren't about the gas shortage. I'd much rather handle phones like that ALL the time rather than the way we do it now. Most people don't leave messages and if they do, they are usually so self-absorbed, they don't remember to leave either their name, number or what they are calling about. NOTE: To the folks who call and say "My name is Tom and my number is 919-555-5555" and hang up - we ain't calling you back for sport - tell us WHAT YOU WANT and we'll call you back (maybe). People have NO phone etiquette.

In any case, it was refreshing to be off phones for 3 days. I was hoping for a 4th day on Monday, but no suck luck. We've been back on regular phone duty all week. While we're not being run over with nearly as many calls about the gas, calls are still coming in, and the callers are still just as belligerent. Everyday this week, shortly after I've gotten to work, I just melt into a ball of nerves and anxiety. It's miserable. I'm not even on phone duty first thing, but just to hear them ring seems to send me into a tailspin. Oddly enough, I'm the least anxious when I'm actually ON phones which tells me my anxiety builds just knowing what's coming. I hate it. Sometimes I can't believe I've been doing this for 3 years on November 1st. I've tried to leave before - had a job interview once and really wanted the job but didn't get it. The only time I've not had to answer phones was during my first week, one day last year when I had a cold and coughed so much I lost my voice, and the 3 days of last week. That's 8 days in 3 years I've not had to answer phones while I was at work. Geesh.

During my first few sessions of therapy, I talked to my psychologist about my anxiety since that is what bothers me most and is seriously disrupting my life.  She gave me a few tips on dealing with moments of stress and anxiety.  I tried  them out and they seemed to be working, but then this week happened, and my progress seems to have been shot to hell. You know that nervous feeling you got in high school when you had to give an oral presentation? You'd have butterflies, and clammy hands, and no matter what you did you just couldn't relax until it was over? That's me. That's how I've felt this week. Just jittery and nervous for seemingly no reason and with no trigger. I can say for the most part it's probably because of the phones, but then it happens at home, too. Home is the one place that feels anxiety free usually. I can't lose home. It's my haven.

I'm tired of this roller coaster. I don't know how to get a grip on things. I'm literally counting the days until this job is over. I've got October, November, December and most of January. Each day, I think that's no time at all, but right now it seems endless. My mind is crossing off days quicker than the calendar is. I wonder if my next job will help me regain my sense of control over myself?  I wonder if after enough time passes and I slowly start to forget how horrible these phones are if my mind will begin to heal itself?  I wonder if I'll be able to go in public, a job interview, hang out with friends, even simple things like going to a meeting with 20 or less people, will I be able to do any of these things without flipping out? It's scary to think how my anxiety owns me. I have no idea how I got to this place, but it's the worst feeling when you end up planning your life around anxiety or even the fear of anxiety.

Someone who doesn't work in our section made a joke last week about all of us getting PTSD after we leave here. I said "GETTING?!?! How about HAVE?"  Oddly enough, when I told my psychologist about my job she too, mentioned it sounding like PTSD. That's just wrong. I'm not saying I was forced into this job and I take a bit of responsibility for accepting the job, but in my defense, I was NOT told about these phones. If they had told me or I had experienced them before starting work, there's no way I'd have signed on for this. I've almost quit several times, had a resignation letter typed up and everything, but I'm not irresponsible, and I can't abandon my job without having another one waiting in the wings. That makes it hard. I'd love to cash it all in and stay home, but I don't have that luxury, and I don't think it'd be fair to put all the financial responsibility on Seth.  In any case, I have a desire to be happy at work and be happy at home. I want to work - I want to contribute to SOMETHING. I don't think that's asking for much. I hope this job crosses me off as having paid my dues to the "needy," but I'd much rather be on a different kind of team helping the needy. Mostly, our callers just see us as their punching bag and for lack of a better way of putting it, it's ruined me and it's ruined my life.

I don't usually share this stuff with anyone. I guess I felt like the internet would understand.

10.01.2008

Stupid is as stupid writes

One of my responsibilities at work is handling the email. We get hundreds of emails a day on average and perhaps thousands if there's a hot topic. A while back, I started collecting snippets from the dumbest of the dumb, the most ignorant of the ignorant, and the funniest of the funny emails in a Word document. We have a "Wall of Shame" here in the office where we pin up the best, weirdest, stupidest, and craziest letters on a bulletin board. It's so full it's 4 or 5 letters deep in most spots. When I first started working here, you could see the background of the bulletin board, but now it just looks like a mess of letters and papers. Truly hilarious if you take the time to read them all. Here's a visual:


Yes, that's a drawing of a Basset Hound with a pacifier in its mouth saying "Home School Sucks," and that sandwich on the right says "Education is a bologna sandwich," and the small postcard near the top is some woman's real-life model of a "Solar Bath House" which has bizarre details such as a skull hanging from a post by the stairs and a carousel hanging on the side of the house for no apparent reason. Lastly, yes, those are leprechauns someone knitted and mailed in on the upper left.



Because I have nothing any more interesting to write than what follows, I've decided to unveil these snippets today. I've provided my personal commentary in italics where necessary (pretty much everywhere). None of the snippets below have been altered in any way, shape or form from the original:

___________________________________


I have a cimpaint with the DMV.




I have been trying to get help on going to college but I keep getting turned down for help. I seen on your tv ad that is it no excuse nobody in North Carolina cannot attend college. (It's completely unclear as to why this person is having trouble getting (in)to college)



My mother is left at home with 5 kids and one on the way. She has sugar and her health is bad. (Her having sugar must be tough on the family)



You can't possibly know what going to North Carolina in 1995 did to my life. (That's the entire email)



(This is from a phone call) "Um, Sen. D's office told me to call ya'll. They said that they are federal and you are state. Um, I don't know what that means, but I need ya'lls heyulp."


I AM NOT ASKING YOU TO PARDON HIM I AM JUST ASKING YOU TO LOOK AT HIS CASE AND CONSIDER A FULL PARDON FOR HIM. (Oh....OK. I see the distinction.)




Stupid ways to spell “gouging”:
GOUGHING
Gowlging
Gauging


Office Favorite: One person writes that they have Grandma seizures (rather than grand mal seizures)




While my husband were having breakfast at Brueggers on Saturday, a heavy-set black woman came in, made a purchase, then left in the same State vehicle in which she had arrived. Neither I nor my husband feels this is appropriate use of our tax dollars. I would appreciate a response/explanation. (How DARE that State Employee have the NERVE to EAT while WORKING ON A SATURDAY! Did she cause you to look up from your newspaper as you sat in a chair drinking coffee in your sloppy Saturday gear? I'm so sorry. I'm also pretty sure the "heavy-set black woman" about whom you write would be more than happy to cut that millionth of YOUR penny that paid for her to drive that State car and stuff it back in your pinched, sweaty, Republican fingers)



I would also like to get the general statue number, that says he, has to call a certain amount of people in a months time to full-fill his obligation as Governor. (HA!)


My friend told me about a program called "Blah blah blah Page" where the blah blah blah gives a certain "academic" student money to visit and take notes at museums. Is this true? If so how do I go about doing so? (HA!)



I can't even believe these folks - there's soooo much more than this to share, I wish I could post everything we come across that was ridiculous, but the internets would shatter under the sheer volume of stupidity and that might make Al Gore cry.




9.25.2008

Boston & Cambridge (our fair city)

Two DECADEs later....I finally got to visit the hometown of New Kids on the Block - the objects of my affection during my middle school years. Gah - that makes me feel all kinds of old. Here's a run-down of our travels.

Last Thursday around 7am, we loaded up the Civic (which averaged about 40 mpg all the way to Boston, TYVM) and headed towards Boston/Cambridge, Massachusetts. We started planning this trip back in May when we decided to go see The Swell Season again. I'd always wanted to go to Boston and this sounded like a great excuse, and a perfect time of year.

We anticipated a 12-hour drive, but with bathroom breaks and traffic in on the George Washington Bridge in NYC and then in Connecticut (for noreasonwhatsoever), it ended up taking about 14 hours to get there. We arrived at our wonderful hotel in Cambridge, The Kendall, around 9pm. On our drive through Cambridge, we noticed tons of college students everywhere. Our hotel was in MIT's backyard, but I wasn't expecting such a lively night-life scene for some reason. It seemed cool - we decided it was like a bigger Chapel Hill but with more history. We checked in and crashed for the night. Long day in the car. Zzzzs came easy.

Friday was the day of The Swell Season show and we weren't planning on wearing ourselves out sight-seeing to the point that we'd be dragging come show time. We opted to check out MIT and Harvard since they are both in Cambridge and we wouldn't have to head in to busy Boston just yet. We went to MIT first since it was right behind our hotel. I was impressed - what a great campus. It had this cozy feel to it and you could feel brainwaves of brilliance smacking you in the face every time someone walked past. For some reason, I expected to see adults everywhere - like 30-somethings as if you can only be smart when you're older - so it was odd to see real live 18-21 year olds running around being all smart and nerdy.

We went to the "dome building" (aka: the Maclaurin Buildings), the Student Center, the chapel, and just meandered around trying not look like the tourists that we were. Classes were obviously in session and we found ourselves getting caught up in the current of students rushing to and from class.  It's hard to tour a school - I mean, what's there to see besides the landmarks? - and not every school has a landmark. It was fun, though, and I felt like writing (fake) equations everywhere (as if I know any real equations!). My favorite buildings were the MIT Chapel and the Stata Center (even though a dump truck nearly ran over me at the Stata Center).



We hit the student store for some poser MIT gear and had lunch before we headed to Hahhhhvahd. We took our car to Harvard and parked in a parking deck which thought* had $2.00 parking. *Turns out it cost $14 to park for about 2 hours. Sweet! We parked and start walking. The streets aren't nice little square blocks like in NYC and downtown Raleigh (ha) so we used the GPS on our iPhones to find our way to the campus and then used this ancient device called a "paper map" that was in our hotel room to wind our way around campus, bumping into interesting things here and there. I wanted to find the official sign that said "Harvard University" or something to photograph to show where we were, but we had no way of knowing where that was (if one existed) and again, it ain't easy to tour a school. We walked through some fancy gates and were in the middle of one of 2 quads. It felt like Salem. Cozy and historic and smaller than I'd imagined. There was a group of acapella singers performing at the foot of the steps to the Widener Library so we climbed the steps and listened for a little bit. We went to Memorial Chapel as well, but couldn't go in since a service was in progress. From Harvard's Online virtual tour - looks like we missed seeing a gorgeous church. It's easy to forget what a famous school you're standing in the middle of when you're there - it wasn't intimidating in the least and that surprised me because I get intimidated in front of a 5 year old, nevermind the nation's brightest students.

Another surprise, was how nice everyone seemed in Boston and Cambridge. I sensed the students at MIT and Harvard were polite and nice (even though they weren't talking to us). Both schools were a pleasure to tour and were places I would've been right at home in had I gone to either school. It could have been a combination of the great weather, students throwing frisbees, riding bikes, laying in the grass, and singing that made it seem so pleasant and picturesque, but I think it's the feel of the city as a whole. Boston holds a special place in American history and you can tell people are proud and happy to live there.

Speaking of history, our last touristy stop on Friday was the Bunker Hill Monument (a stop on the Freedom Trail).  Saturday, we went in to Boston to walk the rest Freedom Trail (most of it) and go to the Aquarium. We took the "T" into the city and got out at Boston Common. We strolled around there and in the Boston Public Gardens for a bit. There was some sort of weed-worshipping concert event going on there so it was sort of annoying to hear from a distance. We decided to get started on the Freedom Trail which officially begins at Boston Common. The trail is cool - it's marked by a double-row of bricks laid into the sidewalks and streets all throughout the city so you really don't need a map as long as you follow the bricks. We did just that, opting to give ourselves a tour rather than paying to follow a guide around in a big group. NO THANKS. We went to the Massachusetts State House, Park Street Church, Old South Meeting House, and the Old North Church to name a few.  I was never into history when it was forced on me in high school and college, so I had to ask Seth about the significance of some of these places.  It's too bad I didn't care for this stuff when I was a teenager - wish my current self could've told my young self to "pay attention! you'll care about this someday!"

The New England Aquarium = a big ole thumbs down, $40 waste of time and money! I say that only because the one at Fort Fisher is practically identical if not better, was recently renovated, and FREE! It was feeding time for the penguins when we got there, and that was pretty much the highlight of our visit.  The New England Aquarium was dirty, old, dark, and overrun with people and obnoxious kids. We probably should've gone on Friday rather than Saturday. Oopsy. We checked the time when we left - we were in there 30 minutes. So my recommendation is if you ever find yourself in Boston - don't go to the Aquarium unless you're bored out of your skull. It's not worth the entry fee IMO.

Walking the Freedom Trail took up most of our day, but it was fun to walk the city and see these landmarks of American History. We took a couple of trains back to our hotel in Cambridge and rested. Neither of us were starved for dinner, so later on in the evening we decided to head down the street to The Cheesecake Factory to have dessert for dinner. It was delish - Dulce de Leche cheesecake is my fave there. We don't usually go out to some crazy-fancy restaurant when we travel to new cities. We probably should and would if we had more time in these places, but for the most part, it doesn't seem worth it usually.

Sunday, we woke up at 6am to head back to Raleigh. Waking up wasn't so fun - I got out of bed and was immediately dizzy or something. I felt like I was leaning to my right like in those old V-8 commercials. It was terrible but I managed to get a shower and pack the rest of my stuff. We put everything in the car, but I was feeling worse and we went to the hotel lobby to sit down. After a little while, we had to go back up to our room (we hadn't checked out yet) because I needed to lay down. I downed some Pepto to settle my tummy, and after about an hour or so I felt ready to hit the road.  After all my anxiety from not feeling well, I really had to pee about an hour into the drive. We were still in Massachusetts and took an exit we thought* said "service station" off the Mass Turnpike. It was SO confusing and we didn't see this supposed service station. I ended up going into a CVS and they let me use their employee bathroom which was behind a combination-locked door. ha.

Our next necessary stop was to get gas in Connecticut.  As we're exiting, we see people pulled off on the side of the road outside their cars like they are waiting for something. Then this stream of big rig trucks (most without their cargo box) come rolling down the hill (from a FedEx proccessing center). They starting honking their obnoxiously loud horns and we're looking around like we just drove through wet cement and they're trying to get us to MOOOOVE! We couldn't figure out what the deal was. However, we ignored it, got gas and tried to get back on the interstate. No go. Police had blocked the entrance ramp for whatever these trucks were doing. Using the trusty GPS we navigate through the town to another entrance ramp - which we find ALSO blocked. Travellers are pulled over and getting out like WTF? and this nice lady beside us goes to ask the policeman what's going on and when can we get back on the interstate. By the time she gets back, I had googled "truck convoy connecticut" and determined that this was an annual Make-A-Wish event in which 400 (that's not a typo) trucks convoy up and haul it down the highway. GRR! It was highly annoying, but one of those things you felt like the devil complaining about (it being for MAW and all). Still, I thought it highly irresponsible that they had an event that required them to close off all entrance ramps to this major interstate. Had we not had an iPhone on which to google, we would've never known what the deal was. After about 20 mins, our Policeman took off down the ramp for some reason and everyone made a mad dash to the ramp to get on the highway. I took video of part of the convoy (which I'll post later).



We FINALLY made it home around 9pm or so and went to get Three at my parents house. They were nice

enough to dogsit for us and I think she had a good time. I felt like she was giving me the cold shoulder when we got there, but she's back to being loving and sweet and I can't ask for much more. Great trip, would gladly go again, would happily live there, too!

9.24.2008

First, there's this:



Now I'm going to sit back and wait for the barrage of "I TOLD YOU SOs"....

9.23.2008

The Swell Season - Concert Review #2

For those of you loyal readers, you may remember a concert review for The Swell Season I posted back in May.  We made good on our plans to try to see them a second time and went to Boston this past weekend for a show at Boston University's Agganis Arena. I'm breaking up the posts on our trip to share about the concert and sightseeing separately. Herein lies a review of the show (our reason for going to Boston!).

Our intent in going to a second show was to make up for the over-crowded, standing room only, too hot, nasty bar, couldn't-see-the-band show we went to in Richmond. I wanted to go to a venue with seats where you could see over! the head! of the person! in front of you! We looked at the tour schedule and it was a toss up between Boston and Chicago. We chose Boston because it was a shorter drive and the show was on a Friday making it easier to take time off from work.

We arrived in Boston on Thursday night and slept in as best we could on Friday morning so as not to be too tired for the show that night. We spent the day touring MIT and Harvard on the Cambridge side of the Charles River. We went to the show well-rested, not overtired, and ready to actually ENJOY the music.

We have great parking right under the arena, find our seats with no problem, the people around us seem to be fine, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that one of our seats was on the END OF A ROW! Woohoo! I love having an end seat! So we're waiting and waiting and waiting and there are 2 opening acts - both good, second better than the first. Then we're waiting and waiting for The Swell Season to come on when security seats 2 girls behind us. I quickly realized that one of the girls was DRUUUUUUUUUUUUUNK with a capital D. This came to my attention when I overheard her friend pointing out that "remember, the police already took your beer when we tried to come in..." and my heart just sank. I thought - of all these seats, of all the shows, of all the people - WHY do these girls have to sit behind US? We just drove 14 hours to get to this show, and all was well until YOU sat down. I take a deep breath and just HOPE she chills out.

I can hear her back there asking the ladies beside her if they are drinking. She explains to them if they are, then could they please go buy her a beer - they obviously said NO. I hear her back there chomping on popcorn obnoxiously, she drops her lipstick, spills something, etc. But...for the moment they are quiet. Then the band comes out and they let out ridiculous, redneck-style, WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOs and start giggling. Seth turns around and very politely asks them if they could please keep it down. Cheers and claps are fine, but they were going overboard and Seth was trying to ask for quiet up front before we got too far into the show. So he asks, turns back around, 2 seconds later, they tap on his shoulder...he turns around, they go "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" right in his face. I IMMEDIATELY jump out of my seat, haul ass up the stairs, and go directly to the first security guard and tell him what just happened. He tells me he'll get "his team" on it. They all know exactly who I'm referring to. HA.

Meanwhile, the drunk girl's friend appears at the top of the stairs and puts on her most innocent face and voice. She's talking to me like "what's wrong? why are you upset?" and says "Where's your sense of fun?" I provide her with some choice words and basically just let her have it. I tell her I didn't pay to come to this show to have obnoxious drunk girls sit behind me and ruin it - not to mention the ladies beside them who I witnessed the drunk girl leaning ALL OVER trying to ask to buy her beer. This crowd is mostly laid back, older couples (a lot are older than we are) who are there to enjoy music sitting in a chair and chilling. Not the tailgating drunk crowd she seemed to be looking for. This wasn't a football game. So she continues her Miss Innocent routine and at this point, Seth has come up trying to figure out why I ran off. We tell this girl she should just stop talking - that she's about to get kicked out. The Security team shows up, they go down, pull these girls from their seats with their belongings and I hear them telling them "We've already talked with you once tonight" and they kick them out! YESSSSSSSSS! I've never felt so vindicated :)

We head back to our seats and the ladies who were so unfortunate as to have them sitting beside them, said "Thank you!" I was shaking with anger and I shed a few tears. I was just PISSED that I had come all this way to see this band a second time and these stupid girls almost ruined the show. I wasn't about to let them get away with it and had them booted before the first song was even over. We got back to our seats during "Falling Slowly" which I was surprised they played as their second song. I calmed down after a while and enjoyed the show - from a nice chair and with no one standing in front of me!

They played new songs, Glen invited a "real life busker" on stage who was also great, and it was an all-around great performance. I got a cool poster before we left. We got back to our hotel around midnight. I've got an itch to watch "Once" again - love, love, love that movie and Glen and Marketa.

9.18.2008

Punctuate much?

Props to Emporia, Virginia for this fabulous display of the inappropriate use of an apostrophe.

9.16.2008

"i love myself." - Diggle

I've been to my psychologist for 5 sessions as of today, and I realized I've not written about how things are going since session #1. Actually, I've got one post in my drafts that I decided not to post because I went off on a tangent about girls who copy other girls and how ANNOYED it makes me. It seemed to be a tangent... until today.

Today's session ended up going in the direction of my tendency to absolutely detest people who copy me, or things I do, or anything really. I don't mean copy as in "I was inspired by you and decided to go my own way with your idea," I mean copy as in straight up you-did-the-exact-same-thing-I-did-grrrrr.  I sound as if I am some queen of cool ideas - not the case - which is why it's so damn annoying when someone carbon-copies me.  Being copied makes me feel like I'm being put into a competition (against myself, essentially) against my will and I. can. not. stand. that.  There aren't many times I feel like I do something I can be proud of, or want to show off to someone else, so when those times come around, it's completely deflating and maddening when someone else takes the easy road and does the same thing. I just want to grab them and shake them!

Today, we talked about this tendency, and how my annoyance turns into almost a hatred. That sounds strong, but at the moment I realize something deeply personal is being taken from me in the form of a copy, it feels like raw hate. It's like a defense mechanism or something...like you're taking my clothes right off my back and I'm going to claw your eyes out to get them back. I enjoy seeing others' creativity, and like to take inspiration from them, but I certainly don't set out to copy verbatim (so to speak) what someone else does whether it be with their life, their home, their clothes, whatever. How boring for the person who is being copied!  Must be what celebrity trend-setters feel like from time to time. Again, I'm no where NEAR that sort of trend-settyness, but for me, it can take ONE single, solitary person to strip "myself" from me by stealing my idea(s). I treasure any trace of uniqueness I may have, and I hope others treasure that in their selves as well. It makes me mad to see someone cop out and use someone else's "self" as their own.

ANYWAY. My therapist made note of a common thread in all the stories I've shared with her so far. I've apparently got some sort of internal war with myself which leaves me constantly feeling like I'm losing the battle. Am a loser. She says if I feel at war with myself as well as with others, to have or do everything everyone else has, then I'm constantly going to disappoint myself and feel as if I have lost and that they are better than me for having won. She's SO RIGHT. And I know this. I know I don't focus on myself at times that are most critical which is probably why I second-guess myself so often, and why I feel like whatever choice I make is probably not the right one and I will regret it later. It's a vicious cycle in which it sucks to be in the middle. Today's session was a bit of an AH-HA moment, but certainly not the fix-all, end-all of my issues.

Last week, she had me go home, get on my elliptical and do an assessment of how I was feeling physically while I was on it. She wanted me to focus on me the entire time I was on the machine. I admitted to her on Thursday that I didn't see the point, that I didn't know what I was looking for, but that I did it anyway and gave her a report. She told me I did great and said that clearly, when I'm on that thing I'm not feeling good and that my mind is anywhere BUT on myself. It's on the clock, it's on the TV show I'm going to watch when I get off this thing, it's on tomorrow. She helped me realize I'm not focusing on me and she asked me what types of physical things I like to do that feel good to my body (minds out of gutters, people!). I told her I really couldn't think of anything at the moment until I remembered - PILATES! I described to her how I had worked with an instructor almost a year ago and how those sessions were...amazing. I found it SO interesting to do Pilates movements and breathing and how very FOCUSED on myself I had to be in order to successfully do the movements, stretches and breathing. I had to quit b/c it was $60 freaking dollars a session! She mentions trying Yoga. Again, I have a bit of an ah-ha moment. Perhaps I should be trying exercise in which I focus all my attention on ME and which feels good to mah bod-ee! She told me not to be too quick to recruit Yoga as my next life-changing experience, but to be open to the idea and look into it.

Maybe I'm not the running, sweating, iron-pumping type of girl I thought I should be in order to lose weight and feel better. Maybe what's best for me are the calm, self-focusing, and challenging activities which will help me get in touch with me, because I am, afterall, the most important person in my world.