Monthly Archives: June 2011

June goal review

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How are we already looking at July?? Is the year going as quickly for you as it is for me? Last month I set goals that I thought I could achieve, and I’m happy to say that I think I did pretty well this month!

1. Write a letter every week. (I seem to have fallen off the 52 Letter Challenge wagon lately.)I did this! I think I might have missed a week, but I’m not stressing about that.

2. Apply to at least 4 jobs.
I applied to many more than just 4 jobs, so I’d say this was a success!

3. Keep up with Weight Watchers and consistently lose something (anything!) every week.
I would have to check, but I believe I lost every week. There was one week that I stayed the same, but I can’t remember if it was in June or May. Anyway, success!

4. Go to the gym at least 3 times a week.
Three out of the 4 weeks this month I did go to the gym at least 3 times! I’m so proud of myself for this.

5. Blog more often (at least 3 times a week)
I had to look back at this too, but as far as I can tell I was successful in this as well!


6. Find a way to advertise my Etsy shop (preferably cheaply!)
Now this, I wasn’t very good at. In fact, I pretty much failed it. I did, however, make two sales this month! I feel richer already.


Did you set goals? How did you do this month?

Stigma

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The good news is that attitudes are improving toward mental illness. The bad news is that 1 in 6 people still believe that mental illness like depression is still caused by a lack of willpower and self-discipline. Can you imagine? If you’ve ever been depressed you know that it’s certainly not a lack of willpower that makes you feel like crying all the time. It’s not a lack of self-discipline that makes you hit snooze over and over again because you just can’t get out of bed.

The stigma around being depressed frustrates me like nothing else. Do you think I like being unhappy? Do you think that I enjoy it when the littlest thing makes me burst into tears? That I love it when a simple comment at work that is slightly critical forces me into the bathroom to compose myself, lest I show my manager that I’m about to cry? Definitely not.

For the first time in a long time this past week I had PMS. I recently switched from Prozac, an antidepressant to Lamictal, a mood stabilizer. For the most part, I’m happy with this switch, but I discovered this last week that my PMS, which is usually under control, was a little over the top. It was nothing out of the ordinary for regular people, certainly nothing like the PMDD that I used to experience, but it was enough to make me unhappy throughout the week.

This week made me remember what it used to be like before I went on the Prozac, and I hated it. Couldn’t I have “snapped out of it” though? Not exactly. There were undertones of stress and anxiety I felt throughout the week that nothing could really help. The only thing that kept me going was the fact that I knew it was temporary and that in a week I’d laugh at the fact that I cried over the fact that Geoff didn’t get to go to lunch with his friends on Friday because he was too busy. (Yes, I seriously had a meltdown over that)

Unfortunately for people who regularly suffer from depression, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Not only that, but if their friends or family members are one of the 1 in 6 people who think they are acting like that just to bring attention, and that they can definitely help it, they must feel so alone. I’m lucky in the fact that Geoff understands, and lives with my occasional meltdowns. Others aren’t so lucky.

Depression is real; it’s often chemical and often the only way out might be medication. So lets ditch the stigma, realize that some people just can’t help it, and offer our support rather than our criticism. Then, and only then, will people realize that it’s OK to feel this way, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

On being happy

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Have you ever met someone who loves to be depressed? Bear with me here while I explain. I used to frequent Livejournal a lot (don’t judge) and I noticed a pattern with my fellow “writers” (a term I use loosely). Many of them were depressed, anxious, in terrible relationships, on many different medications. I tried to help them, comfort them, give them suggestions, but so often my advice fell on deaf ears. They didn’t have time to see a therapist, they didn’t have the money, no drugs worked for them so they didn’t want to try something else.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that there are many people who struggle with many different medications (my best friend being one of them) before settling on one that works for them. I understand not having health insurance, so being unable to see a therapist or a doctor. What I don’t understand, however, is how people seem to enjoy being depressed.

I sometimes think of depression like a bad relationship. Many people who grew up in an abusive home will, in turn, either be abusive themselves as an adult, or continually return to an abusive relationship. For these people, that’s all they know, but they are so wrong. Depression is the same way. If it’s all you know, why take the risk to change it? And yet…there is something about being depressed. There’s attention in having “issues”. There will always be someone there to stroke your ego, tell you things will be OK, that you are an amazing person. Always someone who seems to care about you. Coming out of your depression you will lose this, and many people, whether they realize it or not, don’t want to let go of this.

How very sad for them! Don’t they realize what is out there for them? Life can be so much better. The day the Prozac started working for me was one I will never forget. It was like a veil was lifted and I could finally feel and be happy. Until that moment, I hadn’t realized how unhappy I really was feeling. Sometimes you don’t realize how bad you feel until you actually start to feel better.

I remember one time visiting with my psychiatrist when we were trying a new medication. I sat there and teared up while talking about Christmas…a month later. He looked right at me and told me the medication wasn’t working, because I shouldn’t feel like that. I could feel better and I had no idea. Up until then I assumed the medication was working, and that was how I was supposed to feel.

Humans are not meant to be unhappy. We are social creatures and, as such, should enjoy our lives and each other. Sometimes our bodies need a little help chemically, but that’s acceptable. What isn’t acceptable is just taking your depression in stride when you could feel so much better. It takes a lot of work to be one of those people who likes feeling bad. I know, because back in high school I was one. But it takes a lot less work to enjoy your life and feel. Which one sounds more appealing to you?

Cheap, yummy and slightly healthy!

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The other day I looked out the window and saw that my broccoli was reaching critical mass. As a side note, I had no idea what broccoli really looks like when it grows, so I did a Google search to see when the time was right to pick them. Turns out it was the perfect time because apparently they flower and when the broccoli starts to turn yellow you need to pick them asap! Mine were borderline yellow so it was definitely time.

Broccoli wasn’t on the menu plan for this week, so I decided to get a little creative, and make lunch for us for the week at the same time. So I cooked up the broccoli and a box of macaroni and cheese (not the healthiest meal, but most definitely cheap) and had a nice lunch for the week!

As a side note, when I cooked up this broccoli I was shocked to see how bright green it was!

I guess when broccoli goes straight from the plant into the steamer it becomes obvious that it’s fresher than what you get in the supermarket! The more I grow my own food the more I don’t want to eat food that has been shipped to my store from the other side of the country!

Menu Plan Monday

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I pretty much completely failed at last week’s menu plan. For the most part it was an OK failure, and partially not my fault. On Thursday and Friday Geoff was out, which threw off my own plans. Then, on Saturday and Sunday we, unfortunately, at out. Not sure how that happened, exactly, but all I can say is, at least we went to the gym!
Here’s hoping for a more productive week this week.

Monday: We’re going straight from Weight Watchers to a bible study, so we’re going to have to grab something fast on the way, unfortunately.

Tuesday: Tuna steaks (we got a great price on them at Costco!), corn on the cob and asparagus I forgot to cook last week.

Wednesday: Youth group is over so no more free meal on Wednesday nights! Grilled pork chops, asparagus if we have any left over and some other kind of fruit or veggie. Possibly salad, I’m not sure.

Thursday: Geoff will be out so my dinner is up in the air. Probably some sort of leftovers or something I can throw together here in the house.

Friday: I’m bound and determined to have the breakfast for dinner that I’ve been meaning to have for the past couple weeks! Bacon, eggs and probably some hashbrowns we have in the freezer.

Saturday and Sunday are still up in the air, which can be dangerous, but it will depend a lot on what we are doing and what I can pull out of the freezer.

What are you eating this week? This post is linked to Orgjunkie’s Menu Plan Monday.

Dad

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When I was in middle school my dad was the most embarrassing person I knew. I was convinced he was out to make my life miserable.
His crimes?

He wore mismatched socks and showed people.
One time he arrived at youth group to pick me up wearing a mask and calling himself the Dread Pirate Roberts
He wore a “funny nose and glasses” (the glasses with the fuzzy eyebrows and mustache) to youth group (where my friends called him Cool Mr. Steve! He was anything but cool to me)
He drove through the center of town with the windows down and a friend in the car with Born to be Wild blasting.

And many more.

When I was 24 I loaded up my VW Beetle (affectionately named Maximum Speed, Max for short) and drove from Massachusetts to Washington. With my dad. With my dad, and his eclectic taste in music, and his excitement to drive cross-country with his daughter. (By the way, not to be outdone, my younger sister is driving from Massachusetts to California this summer…with guess who?)

My dad is awesome. Does everyone say this? That cross country drive was not one of the most relaxing things I’ve ever done. I got angry, frustrated when we got stuck, cabin fever because that is a very small vehicle and it’s a very long trip. But at the end of the day? Aside from the two days we spent in Wyoming, I wouldn’t trade that trip for anything. I’m not sure I ever expressed how grateful I am that I spent that time with my dad.

And those embarrassing acts? Well, lets just say that it took me years to realize that he did it because he loved me. Someday I hope my kids have a dad who loves them enough to embarrass them in front of all their friends.

Thanks, dad. Thanks for embarrassing me, and driving with me, and the many many many other things we’ve done together. I love you.

Happy Father’s Day, dad.

Two new (to us) bookshelves!

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When we moved into our house, Geoff’s mom sent a truckload (literally) of things from his room for our house. There was a lot of things we didn’t need, but there were also a lot of really useful things in that truck. One of them was a (short) solid wood bookshelf that held our movies. Gradually, however, we started to expand our DVD collection until the poor little bookshelf couldn’t hold everything!

I had the perfect spot for the bookshelf and I wanted another one about the same size to put next to it, so I started scouring Craigslist, to no avail. Do you know how difficult it is to find a bookshelf that is about 4 feet tall? So when I finally found a black one, I jumped right on it. Since the TV stand and the other large bookshelf we have in the den are both black as well, I decided to paint the original wood one.

(Geoff took this picture with the camera on the wrong setting for what we wanted, but I thought it looked so cool that I kept it.)

I love it! They fit perfectly under the window, and even though they aren’t exactly the same size, but the smaller one (the one I painted) is the perfect size for my Pleasant Street sign.

{As a side note, and in case you are wondering, that is the street I grew up on, and that sign was my Christmas present right before I got married. In my hometown they are working on replacing the old wooden signs with new, reflective ones. For a donation, you can replace the old sign with a new one and keep the wooden sign! It’s one of my favorite things we have here.}

We still have a little more room on the taller shelf and plenty of room under the TV stand for more DVDs, which is good because we really enjoy watching TV on DVD which is what most of our collection is!

So what do you think about my repurposing both a hand-me-down bookshelf and a used one?