Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thank you for your service

Today is Veteran's Day here in the U.S. I could have and probably should have written this post already. It shouldn't be taking a national holiday for me to actually do this. Trust me that I don't need a day in November to get me to think about service men and women and a day in May to remember those who died in service of this country.

When I say, "Thank you for your service" there is so much more behind it than those few words. It feels like a trite thing to say. It is meant to express gratitude but doesn't quite cover it.

So, here's all that is included in my "Thank you for your service."

Thank you giving up who you were to the person you would become; for giving up time with your family and loved ones. Thank you for giving up bedtime routines and the many "firsts" of a child's life. Thank you for your willingness to miss out on so many of the ordinary routines of life as well as the big moments. These sacrifices are beyond my ability to truly understand, but know that I realize they exist.

Thank you for surviving. You may have moments during which you wish maybe you hadn't. I understand the darkness even if I don't know yours. Thank you for your daily survival of the war you may be fighting within yourself.

I'm sorry that our expression of gratitude pales in comparison to what you have done.

Thank you for your service.



Sunday, November 1, 2015

Just wait a minute

November 1st is probably as good a time as any for a retail themed post. I am this blog's resident retail expert, so this task falls to me.

The other day I overheard a woman who was annoyed about how long she had to wait in line. Five of the six registers were running.  The sixth probably would have been open, but, what people don't seem to understand, is that there probably wasn't a person to run that one. Many reasons can account for that; if everyone is pulled on to register, then no one is on the floor to help you (lady who would probably complain about not finding anyone on the floor); scheduling tools use the previous year's sales to determine the staffing for the current year, so if last year was dead and the current week hasn't been unusually busy, chances are the store wasn't planning on things being busy; and, maybe, just maybe, that register has experienced the blue screen of death.

Anyway, this whole thing just got me thinking, "What the fuck is wrong with waiting in line?" If you are so tightly scheduled, maybe running in for clothes isn't something to try to squeeze in...like those jeans... After all, Murphy makes the law and he gives no fucks. You're in a hurry to get that sweater? Well, according to statute 101c of the Law of Murphy, rushing to by a sweater is punishable by a full system crash and need for reboot. Decided to make a quick stop to grab a couple of your favorite tank tops? Not without paying the penalty of cranky-customer-holding-up-the-line-to-berate-16-year-old-cashier-who-obviously-makes-all-policies.  Like I said, Murphy has not one fuck to give.

So, here are some things you can do with your line time.

Quality Time
See that kid you brought with you? The one watching the world for cues on how to behave in a store? Interact with your kid. Teach him/her patience through your example. Have a conversation, even if you have a baby with you. Embrace the moment and connect with your tiny human.

Breathe
Pretty self explanatory, I believe.

Sort
Instead of getting to the register, having the cashier scan everything, and then deciding that you don't want something, do it in line. This doesn't mean that you dump the stuff you don't want some random place along the way through the line. Simply give the items you are opting out of to the cashier. Crazy, right? I mean, who would think of doing something like that? Yep, I'm a genius, a genius of manners and courteous behavior.

Prep
Here's something I learned from my parents. Use your line time to get things ready to be checked out easily. This can be something like taking clothes off of the hangers. Another is to get the tags out of whatever little places they got themselves tucked. I learned how to prep greeting cards for the cashier from watching my dad. Once he selected a card, he grabbed the envelope, slid the card upside under the flap so that the bar code was exposed for the cashier. I've even heard cashiers thank him. Such simple things.

Strike Up A Conversation
This makes me shudder, but some people don't mind striking up a conversation with strangers. I can't do it, I don't want it done to me, but others don't think that way. I'm just throwing this out there.

There's An App For That
Use your smartphone for good. Find an app that calms you. Not a Facebook or Twitter, but something to slow you down, to keep you from stressing out. There are coloring apps because of the new trend in adult coloring for calm and peace and zen and whatever. I find crossword puzzles to be a nice distraction.

If you do prefer to use a social media app, perhaps consider posting a selfie of yourself patiently waiting in line. #patienceisavirture #thisiswhatpatiencelookslike

So, just remember that lines happen and that's not a bad thing.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

I will miss him is an understatement

Last Friday was one of those times when distance seems even further than it is. When knowing the time difference between CLE and DEN means the phone calls are not going to be about something good.

My Uncle Jimmy passed away. Even as I type it, I still can't believe it.

When I was in Cleveland last month, I went with my parents to see Uncle Jimmy. We were listening to John Blanche express his anger toward that lady in the state below Ohio who won't let Amanda & Eve or Adam & Steve get married. Uncle Jimmy made a comment to give my dad a hard time and then gave me a look with his eyebrows raised while nodding and tilting his head toward my dad. He gave me that look many times through the years. It was his way of telling me, "Hey, did you see what I did there? I'm messing with your dad and he hasn't even realized it." Jim "The Truck Driver" was the goofball sidekick to his serious, older brother, John "From Euclid."*

I will miss that goofball.

This post has been on my mind all week. I just haven't been able to find the words to explain the sense of loss. Uncle Jimmy (not Uncle Jim or Uncle James because that would sound weird coming out of my mouth) was fun and silly and sweet and a big teddy bear. He and his family lived near ours so he wasn't a virtual stranger to me.

He wasn't one of those relatives who leaves you uncomfortable with the idea of having to be hugged. I never had to be forced to hug him; my parents didn't have to prod me. Sitting on his lap as a child felt like home -- comfortable, safe, cozy, and warm. I was never, even at 40 years of age, annoyed when he called me, "Honey." It wasn't the same vibe as when some waitress in a diner whom I've never seen says it. It was Uncle Jimmy, it was okay.

I'm not sure how things will be when I return to CLE next week for his memorial service. I know things will never be the same. I know seeing my cousins who are now "orphans" in their 40s will be rough. The idea of seeing my dad breaks my heart. Uncle Jimmy was his younger brother, his only sibling. They were not only close in age, but they were close in each others hearts. I know my dad is feeling this more than he admitted to me on the phone. So, as tough as it will be, I know I have to be there, not only for my own mourning, but for his and for my cousins.

I wish I knew the words to really express what my Uncle Jimmy meant to me. Alas, I do not. So, here I will leave you with a picture which captures his essence for me:


* The descriptions for my dad and my uncle that were used on a radio show when they called-in to answer trivia questions. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Deciding when it's enough

My step-daughter had to make a difficult decision last week. Her 8 year-old cat was dealing with renal failure. He seemed so young, but it isn't an uncommon thing for middle aged cats to develop kidney disease. We were giving him IV fluids at home and feeding him a renal care diet. His response to these things just wasn't what we had hoped. He was getting so thin and was a little more than 7 lbs. Conner struggled over what to do.

Looking at end of life choices sucks. Oswald would have moments of perking up and seeming like himself. That would make it seem like putting him down was not the right thing. Then, you would be close to him, smell the sickness oozing from him, and see and feel how skeletal he had become.

So, on Thursday, September 17th, in the morning, Conner took Oswald to the vet with Shawn and her Grandma. I was not there, but I got home just before they did. Conner and I sat outside and I let her say what she wanted to say, cry as much as she wanted. She praised the vet for how comforting and supportive she was toward Conner and Oswald during all of it. This made me grateful because I knew it helped Conner feel a little more at peace with her decision.

When it comes to these kinds of situations, it is so hard to know what to do. Are there enough good days for the pet to out weigh the bad? Is the pet suffering? Do we know for sure? Are we not ready to let go of our companion? Are we living in denial and thinking that things aren't bad enough yet?  Sometimes, I think it boils down to whose life are we trying to preserve?

As much as I miss the little bugger and I can see my buddy Jarvis wondering where the kitty went, I know Conner did the right thing. She knew ending his suffering was more important than her trying to hold on a little longer.






Friday, September 18, 2015

From my point of "The View"

Here's another post about recent events on "The View" to get lost in the world wide web's abyss. Yeah, I'm adding my -2&cent.

I watched the clip of the segment and as it started I thought it was being blown out of proportion in the "click bait" way the internet has created with trending topics. It seemed to me that Michelle Collins was simply (or maybe not so simply) saying that she didn't think reciting a self-written monologue was really that much of a talent when others were singing opera or playing instruments. Nursing wasn't under attack, in my point of view. Perhaps that would have been the end of it and nursing would become the focus if Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson, wasn't wearing her scrubs while reciting the monologue, we'll never know. Then...

The conversation had all the cross-talk interrupting that I have come to know as the norm for these panel talk shows. At that point, nursing was starting to become part of it. "Nursing costume" and "doctor's stethoscope" were thrown out for all to hear in viral video clips across all of social media.

Since then, apologies were issued about the misconstrued statements. Michelle Collins expressed her mad love for nurses and how they deserve raises. This after some pretty negative tweets toward the nursing community that she since deleted. Deleted, I'm guessing, because the would conflict with the public apology being given to save the show.  Joy Behar's apology about her "doctor's stethoscope" comment was thrown into the mix. She played the "some of my best friends" card by naming the people she knows who use stethoscopes which are not the doctors only instruments. THEN, her back-pedaling went on to say she really had not been paying attention to the whole conversation that had been taking place. She simply saw a woman in scrubs and wearing a stethoscope on the screen and was wondering what that was about. Probably one of the worst things a talk show host could admit to, in my opinion. REALLY? You weren't paying attention to what was being TALKED about on the TALK show you host....especially that day when you were sitting in what has been known in the moderator seat at the table. That's really not helping your case and perhaps you should stop and gather your thoughts before TALKING.

As time has passed since the initial criticism of her "talent", I've thought more about what "talent" is. Maybe Miss Colorado wasn't reciting the most profound monologue ever. It may not have been as enthralling as a Ted Talk from Bren&eacute Brown, but I know that public speaking isn't in my wheelhouse. So, whether she talked about nursing or not, speaking on a stage without nothing but yourself present is pretty damn talented in my eyes.

Now, if people were thinking that she was presenting nursing as her talent, I'm on board with nursing being a talent. I don't know how many of the nurses I know do it. I have no poker face to keep me from completely breaking down in front of patients when they need me to be my strongest. The list of other skills and talents nurses need to get through the day is longer than I can even think of, I'm sure. Careers require talents. I mean, when asked about strengths in an interview or trying to sell yourself on paper in a r&eacutesum&eacute, most often, you are listing some kind of talent.

I'm not sure if Kelley Johnson can sing, dance, or play an instrument. Maybe she can or maybe she can't. Maybe she thought her message was stronger than if she would have done any of those things. If I were the type of person to be in pageants, I'm not sure what I would try to do for that portion of the competition. Would pulling out a couch, sitting at my laptop, watching reality TV while playing #hashtag games on Twitter work? Miss America isn't strictly a talent competition, you can find those kinds of things on FOX and NBC (trust me, I know TV). The winner of the pageant goes on tour, but not a concert tour, a tour based on the platform they wish to promote to improve the world. As a nurse who didn't win the final title, Miss Colorado is still going on to improve the world one patient, patient's family, and coworker at a time.

Finally, what "The View" hosts and many others seem to have missed in Kelley Johnson's monologue is how the message went beyond nursing. It was about not minimizing yourself with the use of "I'm just a..."  

Monday, September 14, 2015

Hard work, dedication, and dreams coming true

I love my husband and have many reasons for doing so. Some of them are none of your damn business. However, I do have some things I am willing to share, even brag about to the masses. So, here it goes.

Over 20 years ago, he met his friend Al at CU Boulder. Out of that meeting they developed their geeky interests and unique talents into a long-term friendship. They really had creative energy between them that, all these years later, brought them to a realization of a collaborative dream.

The original idea was to create a superhero role-playing game. They began work on this and from that came a whole other project! Five years ago they launched their webcomic The Specialists.

I admire them both. Al is a talented artist, a good friend, has good taste in woman seeing as he married my long-time friend Linda. Shawn is a talented writer, a good friend, married me so the good taste may be debatable, and he's great father.

This creative team has come quite far since the initial launch of the comic. They have developed a fan base, a growing audience, and actively engage readers in dialogue via comments on the site. The commitment they have made to this project has my admiration, especially since both have full-time careers and lives outside of the comic. How they do it is still a mystery to me.

At this point, they have finished 4 chapters of the story of The Specialists. As a chapter finished online, they printed them in paperback, taking them to various comic/pop culture conventions. Now, they are working on releasing a hardback volume comprised of all four chapters in one beautiful book. If you would like to help them to reach this next phase of their vision, please consider backing them in their Kickstarter campaign. Passing along the campaign to those you think may be interested, pledging even $1, and/or following the online version of The Specialists are all appreciated ways of giving your support to my personal superhero and our superhero friend. They are quite the dynamic duo. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Ready for the ride to come to a complete stop

This medication roller-coaster is getting old. I've gone from 80 mg of Paxil to 60 mg and holding. A trip home halted the taper so that I wasn't changing again while gone. This was wise, I guess, because I lost my shit in a REALLY big way making it the worst trip home in the 10 years since I've lived away.

Anyway, a few more days until my next appointment.

I'm in a dark place.

Maybe Wednesday will bring light.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

This ride may get bumpy

After more months than it should have taken, I got around to seeing a new psychiatrist (actually a psychiatric nurse practitioner). My first appointment was this week and lasted about an hour and a half. Shawn was with me, which was so great. I still had pretty intense anxiety about this new start, but Shawn's presence certainly helped.

This doctor wants Shawn there for the first few appointments. She thinks it's important to gain insights from his observations of me (poor guy). I also thought this was a really good idea. I've actually thought about it before, with other doctors. Also, a lot of it can be overwhelming and I'm a slow processor, so he can help me with all of that.

Looking at the history of my meds and results of an brief activity she had Shawn and me do, she suspects that I may have been being treated for the wrong condition all this time. Her suspicion is that I'm not dealing with chronic depression that SSRIs will successfully help. So, now the tapering begins. I'll be weaning off Paxil for the next few weeks.

What happens after that? Right now, the plan is working in lithium. Why lithium? Well, it's a classic. It's had some staying power. But, also because she thinks that I'm really a rider on the bipolar-coaster.

Bipolar depression. There it is. I'm still processing this whole thing. Obviously, she can't say this with absolute certainty after the one appointment, but that's kind of how the whole thing works; a lot of trial and error with medications. At first, I didn't think her suspicions of bipolar depression was something that bothered me. I have to admit, though, that it is weirding me out a bit. The stigma around various mental health issues is something that has bothered me. But, I guess that was easier for me when I thought I was just simply "depressed." So ridiculous, I know. Obviously, I have my own taboo issues about some of the other mental illness diagnoses that reflect the presence of that stigma within myself.

Big bonus points to this psychiatrist for having an adorable, 11-month old, Black Mouth Cur puppy. It's really nice to just see her and pet her (the puppy, not the doctor, just to be clear).


Friday, August 7, 2015

We did it our way

Thinking about our anniversary, my wish for couples who are planning weddings is to do it your way. You and your partner chose each other and you are the ones who should chose how that decision should be demonstrated to others.

You make the guest list and understand that feelings will be hurt; resentments will be felt, and, down the road, you may look back and think some changes should have been made. You can't invite everyone (unless you have the most amazing budget ever), so lines have to be drawn. You two get to draw those lines.

Each and every step of the way is for you TWO to decide. Yes, the two of you. It should never be only about one of you. If one of you doesn't have strong preferences, you should still be in the loop. Compromises may have to be made, but if you can't make them regarding the day of your wedding, you may have trouble with the ones required by the actual marriage.

Make your wedding authentically yours. That is what you want your memories to be and compliments about it being "so you guys" and "awesome" and "one of the best" will let you know you succeeded.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Unhappy Anniversery

Today marks a year since my hysterectomy. I feel like these posts "Thoughts-ectomy" and "Things still aren't what they're supposed" aren't really far from how I still feel today.

I had the distraction of work and a long nap to keep me from having to think about this day too much.

Hey, but I'm a year without a period, so there's that.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Some pocket change

So many thoughts and opinions. Let's get this post-y started!

GAY MARRIAGE

SCOTUS got this one right, for sure...well, enough of SCOTUS got it right to make it so all 50 states have to allow gay marriage. I'm glad my friends cannot only get married, but now that marriage has to be recognized no matter where they go in the U.S.

So far, my marriage hasn't been destroyed because of this. So far, none of my liberal counterparts, well, whom I'm aware of, have started on a campaign for the right to marry animals. It may be too soon to tell, though.

I don't understand when people make the leap from gay marriage to bestiality. Is gay marriage really the gateway to that? For me, I would think a push for legalizing polygamy would come before human-animal marriage. If bestiality is the first thing coming to your mind, you may want to get that checked out.

COURAGE

I will openly state that the "T" portion of the LGBT community has always been a struggle for me to understand. My real life experiences with transgenders have not always been my proudest moments. With the birth of Caitlyn Jenner, I've really found myself trying to get a better view. I still have the then Bruce Jenner interview with Diane Sawyer saved on the DVR because I feel like it is something I can go back to and learn more, gain more understanding. I'm not sure what makes me feel so uncomfortable with this subject, but I know I want to work on that.

In 1993, ESPN started an awards program, Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award (ESPY). This year, Caitlyn Jenner was selected to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. I have had a vague awareness of this awards program. Basically, I knew it had to do with sports and ESPN. I couldn't tell you the categories, the names of winners, the time of year it airs. I honestly think most people didn't have much of a clue about them, either. It seems like ESPN viewers who are hardcore fans of sports were probably those who knew the details. That is, until this year.

The 2015 ceremony was moved to broadcast television. Between the move to ABC and Caitlyn Jenner being selected for a courage based award, all kinds of people became aware of the ESPYs and started to care who was getting what award. I even wonder how many people even have a clue who Arthur Ashe was (which is a shame because he did some big deal things).

So, getting back to the topic of courage. One of the things social media and the internet in general is good for is being a means to spew hate. Courage is one of those subjects for which everyone has an opinion and definition. I think everyone can think of someone to deem courageous. We can always argue that one person as better than another, but honestly, that is a pissing match that is hard for anyone to win. There can be more than one type of situation requiring courage and even more people to embody it. This award is given each year to one person, one person out of all those who are also deserving. You try picking just one person WITHOUT someone somewhere arguing that someone else deserved it more.

Thankfully, the world wide web does other things well. It helps me see that some people are using it to show the kind side of humanity. Things like this image that I've been seeing shared all over social media:

And, there's also this perspective which states things better than I just tried to do.

UGH! This is longer and more poorly written than I had planned, but I'm posting anyway. Apologies for the randomness and disjointed nature of this post. I'll try for better work next time.




Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Sometimes my head has too much in it

It's been a long stretch without a blog post. I've been having a lot of anxiety issues and it has been overwhelming. So, this stretch of silence isn't for lack of things to say. I'm trying to get things on track and hope to have some posts soon.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Why we can't have nice things

If anyone, anyone at all asks why we can't have nice things, the answer is assholes. Assholes who have no regard for people's personal nice things and for public nice things.

I will admit to having had my asshole moments. Back when I was a smoker, I would flick my butts out the window of my car or stamp them out on the ground. I didn't really think much of it. The idea of those things as littering never occurred to me. The more I walk Jarvis around the neighborhood and through parks the more I notice litter, including cigarette butts. I don't get it. Assholes, however, don't seem to notice or care how it takes away from the niceness of the neighborhood or park. They are just selfish, lazy assholes.

The asshole factor revealed itself in a different way when my husband shared an article with me. "Fans" of "Breaking Bad" have been throwing pizzas on the roof of the house filmed in an episode. The people, an older couple, who actually live in the house have had to deal with these assholes thinking that their home is fair game for idiotic assholery. If you go to the link for the actual article, you can read the show's creator Vince Gilligan's response to this specific type of asshole.

The United States exported some assholes in the form of tourists to Italy. One California asshole chick is like, "Woo-hoo! Let's take a selfie at the Colosseum." The other CA asshole expands on that with, "Wait, wait. You know what would take this selfie to the next level? Carving our initials in one of the walls and then posting it online!!!" Who the fuck are these people? Who thinks this is okay? Seriously, taking a selfie wasn't enough for them? They get busted and say, We did not imagine it was something so serious.” Really? REALLY? REALLY?

Last month a story was making its way around the news and the web. The story involved assholes who are raising potential assholes. Among all the historical memorials in Washington, D.C. is the Vietnam Women's Memorial. Photos were popping up showing a couple of small girls climbing all over it. This sparked a debate as to whether this was disrespectful or not. I think the small girls were innocent of disrespect. They probably have climbed around on statutes at libraries and playgrounds that are kid friendly. The real assholes in this situation are the parents. Asshole parents are a special kind of asshole. Assholery doesn't have to be passed on to the children. I don't think, at least I really hope, that there isn't an asshole gene. I want to believe that this event hitting the internet and the news will snap the parents out of their asshole ways and teach the girls not to become assholes themselves.

Don't be an asshole and fight the asshole powers that be!

Monday, March 9, 2015

The lessons my father showed me

One of my favorite pictures of my dad,
Today is my dad's 78th birthday. I got to thinking about all I've learned from him. He's not so much a talker who sat all of us down and said these are things that are important in life. I learned life lessons through his actions and there are many.

Family - The ties that bind

His immediate family was not very big. He had his parents and his younger brother. But, he grew-up in a neighborhood surrounded by his aunts, uncles, cousins, and the list goes on. His family even shared a duplex with my great-grandparents.

He has a vast knowledge of his family's history. Not only his side, though. He probably knows more about my mom's side than she does.

It's important to know where you come from and who shared in that journey. His famous Christmas letter is just one example of his appreciation of all the family has done and where it has been. It's also important to stick together. If he had his way, everyone would still be living in the same neighborhood.

Education & Culture - Find a way to learn

I don't know how he and my mom did it, but they made sure we had a many ways to be educated and to experience culture. Having 5 kids was not easy in general, but providing those kids with so many opportunities must have required an extra layer of strength.

When I was young, I had no concept of money and how it played into our lives. Looking back on my childhood, I can't believe how fortunate we were despite not being the most financially fortunate.

My dad has never taken living in Cleveland for granted. People may mock it, but it is truly a cultural mecca. No, really, it's not just my northeastern Ohio pride showing bias.

From a very young age, we knew about Wade Oval and University Circle. He got us family memberships at museums and then registered us for Saturday morning courses. I would probably not have gotten the chance to walk over a shark tank; search for mudpuppies in a river and then check for leeches when getting out; learn about the behind-the-scenes workings of museums; and much, much more without those classes.

He and my mom also wanted us to have the best education they thought possible. For them, that was in a Catholic school. That came at a price and tuition for 5 kids was a big price tag. Seriously, I don't know how they managed that, but they did.

Just upon entering my parents' house, the importance of books, fiction and non-fiction alike, are obvious. And, the value of books goes hand in hand with the importance of libraries. He supported the local library with countless hours of work with the Friends of the Library. Also, later in his life he worked for the county library system by helping area libraries at the reference desk on weekends.

My dad knows that television also has its contributions to culture and education. He supported public television with volunteer hours and membership. When the moon landing took place, he held my oldest brother up to the television as the event was covered. My brother was just a baby, but my dad was already teaching him about significant events. I can remember him making sure we gathered around the TV when Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles of Wales. Granted, that didn't end with a happily ever after, but we couldn't know that at the time of major world event.

Generosity & Kindness - Do for others what you can, and sometimes, maybe a little more

This may be the biggest of all and one he showed me the most. He is a giver, if not financially, then through time and sharing.

In my childhood, my dad managed the food and other household goods collection and distribution at the Catholic church. After mass, the donations left in designated areas of the church would be gathered and taken to a pantry in the basement of the rectory. He would then organize the products in their different areas. He would also make his own donations. The king of coupons, special offers, and weekly discounts for grocery shopping would always buy things for the food pantry while getting our family's groceries. Then, it would be time to "shop" the pantry. He would gather a variety of items to be taken to the families in his address box filled with names and addresses of the people the parish staff knew were in need. The assistance also went beyond the offerings behind the pantry door and would be for payment of utilities where the need was greater. Sometimes, I would help and go on deliveries and sometimes they were people I knew. I don't remember if he ever told me outright, but I knew we were doing something private, something I shouldn't share with others out of respect for those on the receiving end. At the holidays, the need was greater and turkeys, hams, and gifts were added to the deliveries. And, the same respect for the dignity of the recipients was there for me to see.

This already seems to have gone long and yet I feel I haven't even begun to do him justice. I do know that if the world were filled with more people who were even half the person my dad is, it would be a much better place.      




Thursday, February 26, 2015

This is 40?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's been awhile. I've been all over the place in my head. The anxiety character has been center stage in a real leading role. Starting 2015 hit a bit hard and cast off my streak of positive spins on life.

Sometimes, it seems that a sense of humor used for coping can mean people don't really understand you when you are serious. My anxiety can manifest itself in some ridiculous ways. I can recognize the silliness of some of it from an outsider's point-of-view, but it doesn't mean I can stop it easily.

So, why the picture of socks? Well, I have always had a love for patterned socks. This love meant wearing non-patterned clothes, often including shirts with a simple graphic image or character. If I chose to wear the socks in the picture, the goldfish could be worn with a shirt that is plain white; plain orange; or, one of the plain blues. For the Stormtrooper socks, I would be okay with a solid black; solid white; solid red; or, maybe even a shirt (black, white, red, or perhaps gray) with an image from "Star Wars".

I decided to go out of my comfort zone and wear some patterned socks with shirts I never would have considered. This wasn't as daring as it could have been because I was wearing long pants. It wasn't like anyone was really going to see the socks. I did this a couple of times. But, I still had other restrictions I would place on wearing the socks. One day, I was going to wear the Stormtrooper socks and thought about wearing a black t-shirt with a white image of Spider-Man on it. I could not do it. There was no way I was going to be okay with mixing a Marvel character mixing with a "Star Wars" image. At this point, there is no way for my stress level to accommodate wearing mismatched socks. I get anxious when I see mismatched socks on someone, or intentionally sold that way.

I bet you, dear reader, are wondering what any of this has to do with the title of this post. Well, I think my anxiety being on the rise is partially related to a new year starting and my 40th birthday coming up next month. The socks wearing decisions give me a sense of control in what feels like a dreaded time.

Many have mentioned the awesomeness that 40 brings or how it is merely a number. The thing is, for some of those people, they had kids and/or a career. They had a sense of purpose, a meaning to life.

I'm having an epic stare down with my 40th birthday. No matter what the year, my birthday marks the approximate anniversary of a failed embryo implant. But, adding 40 into the mix adds some salt. I thought we would have kids at this point. Also, I thought I'd be able to tolerate any job as long as I had those kids. Now, I don't have the kids, I don't have the uterus, and I don't have any idea what to do with myself. What I do have is anxiety and depression because I should have my life together and I don't know how to get beyond my head to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

In the meantime...

It's been awhile and I'm still trying to figure out what I want to write about for a new post.  In the meantime, enjoy this picture of me looking like a little kid at the grown-ups' table.