Thursday, October 29, 2009

An experiment

I have been in a funk for a couple weeks. I haven't been able to quite put my finger on it,so today I sat down and really thought about it. I have a hypothesis, but I'm not at all certain that it is correct. So an experiment is in order.
Here are the symptoms of my funk:
always in a daze
can't remember things
can't get much done
don't want to get much done
am having a hard time pinning down an actual thought
unable to make a decision
don't really care about much
don't want to engage socially
seems like the world is moving in a swirl around me
can't do a basic math problem in my head
when I read, I only skim and don't really absorb anything

It took me all morning to get a handle on that list. Now, depression is no stranger to me, but my depression, which started post-partum after Blue was born and never left once it made it found a warm comfy home with me, doesn't usually take these forms. My depression is based on social anxiety and a feeling of not being able to handle anything. Plus, I am on medication which has been working well for several years.

I started looking up these symptoms as side effects of the new allergy and asthma medications I am on, and the thing that kept coming up was not any of the medications I am on, but ADD. I don't have a history of ADD, and while that does not discount it completely, there was an article I ran across that was so profoundly close to my truth that I was stunned.

Could the internet be the source of my problems? Certainly, if you are one of my 2 followers (Hi Deb! Hi Marie!) you know that my problems do not stem from too much blogging. But my Google Reader has 254 unread items in it. Last night? It was down to 0. I can't keep up with the blogs. I really can't. I see so many things that I want to do and try, yet all the time I have is frittered away reading more, more, more. My house is a mess, dinner is rarely made, my children run around half naked, my rear end is growing roots into the couch. Okay, so I really am exaggerating, but at the same time, maybe not as much as I wish I was.

It does not negate the fact that I suffer from depression and anxiety, or that I am a creative type who lacks organization skills, or that I am essentially not a very good housewife (though I am a good mother and wife), but it just might have tipped the scales.

So here's what I am going to do. For one week, I am not going to look at my reader. I am not going to troll blogs. I am not going to follow links. I am not going to partake of the internet.


I'm not sure this will be easy. I used to think of blogs as my chill-time. At night, after a long day when the kids are in bed. Or at the witching hour when I'd had enough and I resorted to a princess movie for the kids and a glass of wine and some internet for me. Zone out time.

Then it was with a cup of coffee in the morning to read the news, since we don't get television. Then it was just for a few little breaks here and there because I am always running around and I just need a minute to myself. And so maybe I really am addicted to the internet? We shall see.

Now, there are exceptions, of course. What I really want to avoid is zoning out in other peoples creativity, not cut myself off from my own. I want to avoid my antisocial behavior, not distance myself from far away friends. So I will still read my e-mail, and I will still... blog. Yup. I must be the only person in blogland who thinks that I need to spend a little more time with my blog. But it doesn't have to be my blog. It could be a notebook or journal. It just has to be something I am making as opposed to watching what other people are making.

I didn't mean for this to happen, it just snow- balled. There is so much prettiness on the internet and I love it. I do. But I need a break. If this doesn't work, and my brain doesn't snap back to its normal self, then I'll  have to try something else.

And now, there is a little girl who is calling my name with some very fancy silky crayons in her hand. I think I'll go discover what she has to show me. I'll check in with you soon, though, and let you know how things are going.

Oh, and all these pictures are mine. Just random pictures I like.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Roadside find

It isn't unusual for me to find things along the road. In fact, it happens almost daily sometimes. And then there's the 'Free Store' at the dump that I frequent. Frequent so often that I hope no one ever reviews the security tapes of the store. It's kind of embarassing. But - how are you going to get the good stuff if you aren't there at the right time? Well,  last Saturday Jason was working at home and Blue had her one-on-one working with her, so Ivy and I were driving around scavenging to get out of the way. We'd had a pretty successful day. I got a nice wooden chair with an upholstered cushion, and a funny little circular picture with a convex glass and spokes coming out of it. And then. On the side of the road. My heart skipped a beat, seriously. I thought I must be mistaken. We turned around and drove back. Yes. A kiln. A Kiln! Who loves a KILN on the side of the road? And not a crapped up kiln that would need to be repurposed, either.

One of the things I love about my husband is his agreeableness to my antics. And, of course, it is reciprocal. I called him and he immediately drove over. He had said he would bring my mother's car with the trailer, but - oops - neither she nor her husband was home. So he came in his Civic anyway. And we decided that we would just put the kiln in my car. And that is just what we did.

The kiln, while heavy as the dickens, was not as heavy as either the claw foot tub or the Vermont Castings woodstove. It was close, though, as you can see. Not an extra inch in any direction. Have I mentioned I love my car, too? It's a Mazda 5. Drives like a car, doors slide open like a van, seats 6 with the rear seats up, holds a kiln with the rear seats down.

No, I don't have any affiliation with Mazda. (See? I think that's funny. Like I'm a blogger that Mazda would pay, or donate merchandise to.)

And here's something else I'm working on. Can you say Eeew? I did pay for this. It was a dollar and I hemmed and hawed about it. I think it's coming along nicely, though.

Have you ever read Centsational Girl? I heart Centsational Girl. Our styles couldn't be more different, but she inspires me so. It was on her advice (well, not personally, but general advice) I bought my first can of Rustoleum Heirloom White. I seriously felt like I was an Heirloom White virgin. I was almost embarrassed to buy it at the store. Like I'd be stopped by the style police and told I wasn't part of that group who could buy it. And in all honesty? I went to pay and the teenage boy who was at the register said 'Wow, that's a nice color." It makes me sad to see a teenage boy knows more about color than I do. No one had to tell him it was a nice color. He just knew.

Later, I will show you how this is coming along.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Be still, my queen of hearts.

Recently I found Beth's blog The Stories of A to Z. She is a crafty mom, and though she has boys, our kids have some striking similarities which makes me feel like we are at least on the same planet. For the record, I don't always feel that way with other parents.

Beth, in turn, led me to Kathleen's blog Grosgrain. Kathleen is also crafty, and she has two adorable little girls. I am eager to read more of her blog because she is WAY more crafty than me. In fact, it might not be doing her justice to call her 'crafty'. The woman is obviously a genius. But I came to a screeching halt at the end of her post because I had to enter her giveaway. Not just any giveaway, but the most perfect giveaway ever. The Queen of Hearts and Alice in Wonderland Costume Set GIVEAWAY!!!!

These costumes are to die for. Can you believe she didn't use any patterns? Oh, yeah, the bodice of Alice's dress she had a pattern for. That's like me saying I had a pattern for a buttonhole. Sheer genius, people. And no, she didn't say the one who gushes most wins the prize.

Blue has had a thing about cards lately. She and Jason started with one card poker. Then they moved on to two card poker. Now they're up to five cards which speeds things up since when they sit down to play, they have to play until the deck is gone. Solitaire? Yup. Clock? Yup. She asked me to teach her to play Spider the other day. I didn't even know there was a game called Spider. She was happy enough to play Go Fish with me (though I had to teach her - what kid plays poker before Go Fish). But the point here is, Blue loves cards. In fact, if you give her the chance, she will tell you all about her favorite card. Yeah. Her favorite card. Ever met a kid with Asperger's*? She will tell you till all about her favorite card. Again. And again. Her favorite card is the Ace of Spades. She hides it on the bottom of the deck so she can always have it for herself. I caught her sleeping with it one night. The kid loves the Ace of Spades. But then, I don't think she realized that she could be a card. And a tempermental card at that! How can this have escaped me? She will be absolutely thrilled when I tell her. Even if she doesn't win the costume, this is an 'in' to Alice in Wonderland. I can get out the book, we can read it together, and there will be a compelling reason for her to listen. Ivy and I have been reading a short version of Alice for some time, but Ivy is a kid who sits for books. Blue, not so much. Not unless it has good pictures anyway.

So go take a look-see over at Grosgrain. I don't think you will be disappointed. In fact, I'm headed over there myself right now. See you there.

* We're not actually sure of Blue's diagnosis. It is a difficult one to make. At ages 3 & 4 she was followed by a neurologist who gave her a diagnosis of autistic disorder. More recently she has been going through extensive evaluations with occupational and speech therapists as well as a neuropsychologist and a developmental pediatrician. I am not sure they agree with her current diagnosis. So I don't know if she has Asperger's or if she's autistic or if she falls under the broad category of PDD-NOS. She started the evaluations in May and we should hear their conclusions by November or so. In truth? I'm sort of terrified. I just don't know what to expect.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A day to celebrate

If you had asked me yesterday, I would not have told you it was a good thing. But after the intensity of the situation wore off, I realized I felt lighter. More sure of myself. More whole. Can you even imagine, in a weird twist of middle-school fate, I ran into the screaming woman again. On the playground. As I rode up on my bike with my dear friend and her little Peruvian daughter who happens to be Ivy's best friend. Oh, my. As it turns out, my dear friend and the screaming woman know each other. I immediately rode as fast as I could away from there, because I despise confrontation. But as I was riding, I thought "Well, the bully scared me away from the playground, didn't she?" and I rode right back. Unfortunately, my friend thought maybe a formal introduction might help the screaming woman and me get off to a better start. I don't blame her, but I also was not at all interested in talking to the woman. So I said as politely as I possibly could (meaning, I put my fangs away) "I don't really want to talk to you." She then proceeded to bawl me out again. And I won't go into the blow-by-blow, but in the end, she called me closed minded (as if) and I once again told her she was not going to change me. I am still me, I will still be kind, and open, and admire children of all nationalities and cultures. Including caucasian children. Then, having faced the demon (confrontation, that is, I have no illusions that the screaming woman is a demon) I rode away. And it occurred to me this morning that I am glad for that confrontation. I now know that I was not wrong, that she perceived the situation in a completely different way than I did, and that her issue is just that - hers. I have told myself that ad nauseum, but only today do I really feel it in my heart. Thus, thanks to her second berating, which I was somewhat prepared for, I am free of her. But in all honesty? I am still glad we live in different towns. I'm only human.

Now I don't know how much happiness I dare jam into this post, but I'm going to push it a little. My dear friend - we shall just call her D, for dear (as opposed to B who is my best friend? Or T who is my true friend?) - Ahem! Where was I?

D and I are scavengers at heart. Last year I found - on the side of a side road - a wicker set. Chairs. Loveseat. Table, ottomans. I called D as I am not a big fan of wicker. Turns out she been looking for a wicker set going on YEARS. So we stuffed and strapped and slowly bumped all the way to her house with her treasures sticking akimbo out of our cars.

But yesterday it was my turn. Come home to Mama, my pretties!

Can you believe I found these on the side of the road? I have been waiting eons for these. They still have their stickers on the bottom that says Arvin. I think I'm feeling faint. Two of them were originally kind of a Girl Scout green, and one was dark orange. They belonged to a woman named Bertha Colvin. I know because she wrote her name on the underside of each one in permanent marker. It makes me wonder if she brought them to a pot luck or something with her hot dog casserole, maybe? But that idea doesn't quite fly seeing as they weigh about 20 pounds each.

These chairs are definitely staying with me. (As opposed to a lot of other junk I have plans for, which will eventually, hopefully, be exchanged for some green currency.)

These girls have a friend already. I found her on the side of the road as well. Not close enough to the road to be obviously free, but kind of in the brush and nowhere near where someone would like to sit and relax. After debating with myself for a few long moments, I decided she really needed to come home with me.

You can see why, can't you? So in a fit of bravery, I went around back ('cause that's the way we do it in Maine) and found the woman of the house tending her chickens. Okay, maybe that part is made up, but it looks nice in my  memory. She came out of the house and I asked her if she was trying to get rid of the chair. She told me that it had belonged to her mother-in-law and that a few years ago her husband had decided to toss it. Thankfully, she was inspired to save it from its imminent demise by setting it out front with a scarecrow in it. I expressed my (admittedly small) concern that her scarecrow wouldn't have a place to sit this autumn, but she assured me she didn't bother to put one out anymore. So this chair has literally been sitting there waiting for me. It had ivy crawling up it, and it took some serious muscle to wrench the chair from its tendrilled grasp. This lovely creature is also going to stay home with me.

I'm not sure stylistically the chairs all go together, but I'm going to think on it some to see if I can get them to harmonize. I don't like or need things to be matchy-matchy. I would say it is time for me to build a covered porch. Don't you agree? Ha. Don't tell my husband I said that.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Why no crafting?

Well I just couldn't leave that last post at the top. In the light of a new day, I realized that it was not a personal issue. I just happened to be the target of the woman's outrage. She really was in my face and it really was completely unjustified. If she had only looked at me and said "I don't care to talk about it." calmly and politely, I certainly would have respected that and no harm done. So it is reassuring to me that it wasn't actually me. It was whoever happened to ask her about her daughter. Me, probably the next person and the next. This kind of anger doesn't happen all at once.

I was talking with Blue about it last night. Thankfully she was not the one with me in the store. There would have been a LOT more explaining to do if that were the case. But I realized last night that talking with Jason about it hadn't completely eased the pain. I tried knitting, but even that was not soothing to me. And since when is knitting not soothing to me?! It was not until I had written it all down that I felt better. And I thought that was an interesting thing to tell Blue. Her reaction surprised me. She can be so much like her dad sometimes, so cool and detached regarding other people's feelings, that I was shocked when she started crying. The girl has got some serious empathy. And it just goes to prove that Jason was correct in saying she is as logical as him and as emotional as me. The many faces of autism, no? So we talked about when you are feeling bad or sad, the different ways to get that feeling out of you. An important lesson for any kid, but especially Blue, who has such a hard time with managing her emotions. Let's hope I don't forget to have that conversation with Ivy later on.

Now, the real reason for no crafting? Can you honestly believe this mess?

We had company recently and the easiest solution to not having any closets in the house (okay, yes, I do have some new closets under the kneewall, but they are very, very small) is to dump everything in my craft area. Remember how it is supposed to look?

Aaah. Tidiness. So my goal for the morning is to straighten that up. I'll give myself two hours and check back in with you at 10:39  so you can see how things are going. Okay? You'll keep my honest, won't you?

10:39 Update

You didn't really think I would be done in 2 hours, did you? While things are relatively sane around here today, Jason is working on a presentation, so he left to work at my mom's house down the street. So, I got a little distracted.

My kids have both, at different times, been obsessed with this post from Liesl Gibson of  oliver & s (whose patterns I just love). But it was the adoration Ivy showed Poochie, my old dog, that got my rear in gear. We didn't give him an IV or pull out the doctor kit, but we did remove all the intensely disgusting 70s era stuffing, wash him twice is hot water, and just now restuffed him. Next we will be creating new eyes, a new nose, and a new mouth. All of these were ripped off by Blue when she was a little younger and much more destructive. Ivy is determined that we should do that immediately, but my vote goes for watching the new Dora movie from the Redbox. And it's not as though she is putting up a big fight.

Oh, and the office? Well, it's not worse. Give me a couple more hours. Or at least the length of a Dora double header.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

An open letter to the woman who yelled at me in Target:

Dear Lady,

I can try to understand that you do not wish to discuss your daughter's country of origin with a complete stranger. What I cannot understand is how you chose to deal with me when I reached out to you. In this world, people try to find commonalities. Had you cared to, you might have found some with me. You might have heard about my love for the little Peruvian girl who is the daughter of a very dear friend. You might have heard about my sweet African-American niece. You might have found out how proud I am of them, and how much I envy their multicultural lives. But instead, you yelled at me. And after I held up my hands and backed out of the plushie aisle, you chose to chase me and hypothesize about what I might have done if you had approached me and yelled “Is your daughter from Russia?” It did not help that I thought perhaps people stopping me and asking where my daughter got her curls was sort-of the same. In your world, it is not. Obviously, you and I have absolutely no commonalities.

There are many, many unkind people in this world, but I am not one of them. You do not know me, and you did not know what my intentions were. You judged me without even seeing me. I will allow that you do not know how sensitive I am. But I am sensitive. Why then, even when I pointed out to you that there were tears creeping out of my eyes, did you not stop? That, lady, is unkind. You took my kindness and slashed it with your harsh words. You sent me a small way back into my shell. I am thankful that I finally got your ear and you stalked away in disgust when I told you that you would not change me. And you won't. I will continue to be kind, and open, and admit what hurts me. I will be friendly to and admiring of whichever child I want. I hope that people like me will continue to be kind to your child so she does not inherit the chip you have on your shoulder. Because that kind of chip is not genetic. It does not course through your blood or reside in your DNA. It is inherited through years of exposure. It makes me equally sad that you are so defensive, and she will see you being angry and insulted by her blatant heritage.

And lastly, I want to tell you that I do not appreciate being accosted and berated in the princess aisle at Target. I was publicly chastised with no chance to defend myself. You rebuked me in front of my child, and your child, too. That is not okay with me.

You, lady, are blog fodder.