Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Getting to Know You

I haven't participated much in Create a Connection lately, but I'm always reading the posts there. Melba has created such a fun and vibrant community. Today's prompt is about Halloween.

1)What did your family do for Halloween?
The Halloweens that I remember most were when we lived in an apartment building in Brooklyn. We would simply trick or treat on a few floors and then call it done. I was not a big fan of Halloween as a kid. I really didn't (and don't!) enjoy knowing that people were looking at me, and it seems to me that the point of Halloween is to have people look at your costume!

2) Was your Mom (or Dad) the home made costume maker or did you get to pick your costume out at the store? Most of our costumes were home made, of the no sewing type. My parents definitely encouraged creativity. But I think we bought them from time to time as well.

3) Looking back at the various costumes you wore over the years, which one was your favorite?
For some reason right now the only one I can think of is when I went as a bird watcher. We lived on Staten Island at that time, and I was definitely in high anxiety mode of people looking at me, not to mention not knowing what the heck I was dressed as. Ah well, when your dad is a birder/bird photographer that's what happens. There are some cool photos of my sister and I that Halloween.

4) What kind of bag did you take Trick-or-Treating? No idea.

5) Now that you're not a "kid" anymore, do you still enjoy Halloween? Do you give out candy or do you take your own kids/nephews/nieces/ neighborhood kids out trick-or-treating?
Now that I have my own children I love Halloween- I can get creative with costumes, decorating, etc, but not be the center of attention. yay! I've made all of my kids' costumes, and I'm glad they enjoy collaborating on that with me because I think I'd have a hard time buying a costume for them! We go trick or treating on Halloween, after dinner. It is so odd for me, because my mother never let us go T'n'T after dark! That's just what people around her do though, so we do too. It is fun to go in the dark.

6) What's your favorite part of Halloween? Working with my kids on their costumes. The decision making process usually begins on November 1st! lol.

7) Are you wearing a costume to work today? nope!

Monday, October 29, 2007


Recently in my blog surfing I came across this post from Andrea of Superherodesigns. I've written about dreams before, and as you can see I had a hard time really letting go and dreaming wildly. [side note: I'm tickled that I did take and pass the lactation exam, am losing weight, and have begun exercising regularly and enjoying it! I'm thinking that was more of a goal list than a dream list. hmm. ]

However, Andrea's question introduces the idea of knowing you wouldn't fail. With that suggestion, I let my mind free.

If I knew I couldn't fail, I would open a bakery/cafe that had room for people, especially children, to come and create art. I would decorate our home boldly. I would somehow, someway, help to effect change in Burma, so that Aung San Suu Kyi and the entire Burmese people would be free. I would spend a year or more living in Italy, learning to speak Italian fluently, and enjoy la dolce vita.

I've been reading Jen Lemen's blog for a few months now. She is never short on beauty or inspiration. At the beginning of October she posted about dreaming as well. I've started a life list here; I'm only up to 38 so far, but I'm sure I will continue to think of both delicious and practical dreams to fill it up with. How 'bout you?

How to Get Mom's Attention

While Sam was sick, I received this message:

To: Mom
On couch near 1st bedroom

From: Sam at table

To Mom:

I want turkey on a hamburger bun.

Love, Sam

Yes, I did get up and fix his sandwich : )

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Pardon me, I was just unleashing my inner 18 year old : ) On Tuesday night I went to see Maroon 5. I fell head over heels in lust for Adam Levine and co a few years ago after seeing the video for This Love. I listened to Songs About Jane at least twice daily for months. It was pretty much the only thing I played on my ipod for the better part of two years (until How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb was released). So, yeah, I was obsessed. Although they toured and toured, I didn't get to see Maroon 5.

Until Tuesday. Squeeeee! I went by myself. My husband was willing to attend with me, but I wanted to be able to sing, dance, and, well, swoon without embarrassing myself in front of him. I danced, I sang, I swoooned. I was so excited when they first came out that I was sort of jittery and out of breath. It was everything I wished for, and then some. It was what I imagined all those hours in the car, listening to SAJ with the volume up high- the music surrounded me, as I danced in my own little world. They played all of the songs from SAJ that I always wanted to hear live, as well as all of the songs I really wanted to hear from their new disc. Every once in a while Adam had this huge, shit-eating grin on his face. He's cocky, but imo he has good reason to be. What fun to see him move all night. Sex on a stick that boy is. Did I just say that outloud?


Look what Sam found flying around our screened in porch yesterday:

It is a Gulf Fritillary. I think it hatched from a cocoon on our kiddy picnic table, which had been outside for quite a while. We brought it in for Maya to paint on the other day. It was so cool to see this very fresh specimen up close. The spots on the underwing that look white were actually silver, like they were drawn on with metallic paint. Beautiful.

I got a box in the mail today, and was thinking it was my mom's birthday present for Erik. I was surprised that it was adressed to me. When I got it open I saw this necklace:

necklace by jessiedriscoll

I've had a similar necklace on my Etsy favorites for quite some time. My sister sent it to me as a congratulatory gift for passing the lactation exam! So awesome of her, I have to go call her!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sad and humorous scenes from a sick at home weekend

First the sad: poor Sam awoke early on Saturday morning, ran into our room, and complaining of a headache. He was burning up. He slept most of Saturday, preferring to sleep on the floor in the family room where we spent the day rather than in the comfort of his bed. The saddest sight was him, asleep on the floor, with his head on a board game that Maya and I had just played.

He perked up around 8 pm and worriedly said "I haven't worked on my math facts!" He did his flash cards for a bit then, even though I told him it was ok. He's also sad that he won't have perfect attendance this year. On Sunday he asked Erik how long a person could go without eating. My poor baby.

He's still hot and miserable today. Yesterday he told us that he felt like he was burning up, and that having a fever made him feel like he had no brain. We went to the doctor today and he started amoxil; hopefully he'll be fever free tomorrow, and then ready to return to school on Thursday.

And for the humorous: is there anything funnier than an eight year old listening to an ipod, singing When I'm 64, Tax Man, and all the Lonely People aloud? I think not.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A few things to share

  • A few weeks ago I read this wonderful article on Etsy. Then this post of sculptures was shared on the Craftzine blog, and I got hooked on her blog. Her work is astounding, she creates in every medium imaginable, and the statements her work makes just blow me away. I just ordered a copy of this print, and can't wait to hang it up to remind me that my dreams are Within Reach. Oh, and what I was really wanting to point out, this amazing piece that she just installed in a gallery in LA.

  • Here's more art, this time created by children affected by Hurricane Katrina. Incredibly moving. Be sure to check out the gallery and read the captions.

Unfried Chicken
1/4 c reduced calorie mayo
1 t dijon mustard
2 t grated lemon zest
1/2 t salt
4 drops hot pepper sauce
1 4lb chicken, cut into parts (I just use boneless thighs or breasts)
3/4 c cornflake crumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 350*. Spray shallow baking pan with nonstick spray.
  2. mix together mayo, mustard, lemon zest, salt, and pepper sauce in a large bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. I usually just put the chicken parts on the baking pan and spread the mayo mixture on the chicken with a pastry brush.
  3. Place cornflake crumbs in a ziploc bag; add chicken one piece at a time and shake to coat. Since my pieces are on the baking tray already I just sprinkle them with the crumbs.
  4. Place chicken on baking pan. Spray top of chicken lightly with nonstick spray. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, without turning, about 45 minutes. If you are using boneless chicken or smaller pieces it generally takes less time than that.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Closer, Together

There have been a lot of frustrated people in our house over the past year. Well, four of us to be exact. The kids would be kids, my cup would run over with anxiety, Erik would try to step in and fix things, and everyone would stomp off to their corner. Erik and I didn't get along much better than all four of us did. Yikes!

Even before I started feeling better, things began to improve when I understood more about what was going on with myself. I do a lot of thinking, but don't always share, even with my husband. I've realized (duh!) that I need to share what is going on inside, or he's not going to be able to help me, or even to understand why I act the way I do. I need to be mindful of my thought processes, talk back to myself when the automatic thoughts are wrong, and share those inner thoughts when the going is tough. This experience has brought us closer together.

From the depths it wasn't always easy to see all he was doing for me. I know I said some of this a few posts ago, but I really wanted to write something specifically thanking and recognizing Erik. (and was further pushed to do so by OMSH.) Without either of us really saying, my gosh, something not so great is going on here, he took over bedtime this summer, and took over dinner prep as well. Never once did he say, for heaven's sake woman, why can't you get out of bed and start dinner? Can't you read a goodnight story to one of the kids? Nope, he just went and took care of things.

Erik, when we met I was so intrigued by your laid back nature. I always hoped some of it would rub off on me. Sadly I think more of my high strung nature has rubbed off on you than the reverse, but we still make a great team. I know I am not the easiest person to live with, and it may seem that I don't always appreciate all you do for us. Thank you for loving me.

PS: I passed!

Who is this woman?

  • she's a mama
  • she's a wife
  • she's a chef and baker
  • she's a student
  • she's a breastfeeding helper
  • she's funny
  • she's usually serious, and that's ok
  • she's a photographer
  • she's a crafter and artist
  • she's a dreamer, though she doesn't share her dreams readily
  • she's finally comfortable looking at a goofy picture of herself without cringing and hitting delete

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I know bad things come in threes

but what about things breaking? Today two things fell apart on me- my Weight Watchers 10% weight loss key chain, and my Hello Kitty cell phone charm. Hmm. What does it all mean?

My take on the key chain is that it is time for me to break past my 10% because over the summer I maintained my weight but haven't gone any lower. I've started exercising in the past few weeks--after dinner walks in the neighborhood and I also picked up a WW dvd which has five 10 to 20 minute exercise routines. I can handle that.

So there you have it, an omen from the gods that I'm going to be breaking past this plateau ; )

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Thursday, October 04, 2007

International Bloggers' Day for Burma

Free Burma!

see also my post below.

Things I'm loving right now

  • a husband who cooks dinner, grocery shops, and vacuums
  • a husband who is doing his best to understand this lady he's married to
  • reading abridged versions of the Iliad and the Odyssey with Sam. I was a Classical Languages major and it is so much fun sharing this with him
  • my invite to Ravelry! Yay!
  • watching Maya learn to read. She's so determined
  • the wild clouds in Florida. I guess because Florida is mostly flat, and there aren't any tall buildings in my town, the sky is so BIG here. And the cloud formations lately have been amazing. I have been taking some photos and hope to get them online in a day or so
  • a weekend visit with my sister, her son, my grandma, and my aunt
  • noticing at least six intricate spider webs outside the house this morning
  • and best of all, noticing the lack of stomach aches and a racing heart :)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Have you ever been getting over an illness and suddenly realized just how very sick you were? Over the past few weeks, as I've been climbing out of a black hole I fell into, I realized that I fell into it almost a year ago. I realized that I was just going through the motions on many days and simply getting by.

Since last fall I've felt that my paxil had stopped working for me. My psychiatrist increased the dose (I think that was in December) and then again in the spring. Sometime in early fall my daughter's dance teacher asked us not to change in the bathroom and to use the changing room, so that others could access the bathroom. We'd been using the bathroom since she was halfway taking her clothing off to use the toilet so I had figured that it was just quicker. The teacher's request was totally reasonable, but I nearly burst into tears and had an awful, stung sensation in my core. I think it is related to the first grade incident I talked about the other day. Ordinarily, with the help of therapy and my medication, I've been able to shake off this feeling and go on with life. I noticed that I still felt stung and shamed the next day. I continued to feel unwell mentally as both my sister and sister-in-law talked about moving further away from where I live. My wonderful therapist helped a lot, but often I would wonder how on earth she could tell me I was doing so well when I felt so awful. I was so tired of feeling bad, and wondered if the only way to stop it was to end my life.

Sometime this spring my therapist said that I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and most likely have since I was a young child (like four or five years old). I've been in therapy on and off since college. I've been taking paxil for a number of years now, but that was the first time anyone ever mentioned GAD. I've always known I was tense, high strung, and a worrywort. But this, this was such a relief! Things started making sense, although it has still been a long journey.

At the end of the school year I would climb into bed and practice "benign neglect" of my children. Except I don't think it was completely benign. I don't believe in always entertaining my kids, but when I look back at those last six weeks of school I really didn't interact with them much. My husband put them to sleep most of the time. I did no crafts with them, didn't read with them. I don't mean that I was completely isolated from them. We had snuggles of course, and I did a lot of things with them over the summer. However I really did take to bed as much as possible. And in order to avoid the things that were upsetting me, I spent huge amounts of time on the internet.

Despite feeling so trapped by the anxiety, I did do a lot this summer; I'm amazed looking back. I volunteered at one of my kids' summer camps, I took the lactation exam, attended a conference where I had a lot of responsibilities to fulfill. And finally, I saw the psychiatrist again. Since I've been able to look at my symptoms under the lens of anxiety (and not depression, which is what I'd always thought was my primary problem), I described to her the physical symptoms that dog me--intense butterflies in my stomach, an anxious feeling in my chest, tingling in my arms. She peered at me from over the top of her glasses and said " You are having Way Too Many physical symptoms and medicine can help with that. I'm going to increase your prescription again. Most people would have been on this dose two years ago." I felt so relieved to hear this--I can't think of a time when I haven't experienced these symptoms more days than not! I sat in the car after the appointment, and told my husband, crying tears of relief.

I've been on the increased dose for a few weeks now. About two weeks ago I could tell that it was helping, because I did some things that I haven't been able to do for the past six months--I cleaned the bathrooms. I've attacked clutter in the family and living rooms (clutter is a huge trigger for me). My heart races far less. When I am feeling anxious, one or two deep breaths, along with reminding myself that everything is ok, calms me down.

I keep finding myself thinking about the past year, and shaking my head. I don't know how it got so awful. Even though I knew what to do to help myself, it was nearly impossible to do those things (get a good night's sleep, eat well, exercise). It astonishes me that it has taken nearly a year to feel like myself again. (There are small voices whispering in my ear that others have suffered far worse years, and I feel like erasing everything I've written here. I'm going to resist that though.)

It is such a relief to have energy, to realize that small steps in removing clutter or doing dishes or working on projects *does* do some good. I am sure I will have bad days sprinkled among the good ones, but I'm so glad to be living more fully again, and I'm excited to dream some dreams and go after them.