Thursday, November 04, 2010

Halloween 2010

OK, you guys know I like things a bit on the dark and scary side. You KNOW I love Halloween. My daughter has been, in recent years, a Goth Fairy and a Dead Prom Queen. Mark has borrowed my Dead Pirate costume. Brenda and I have twice run a Haunted Pirate Ship at her house. I dress Goth for Halloween. I love love love this stuff.

So I had to get myself in an entirely different frame of mind when Kira excitedly told me her final decision for a costume this year.

She wanted to be an ice cream sundae.

I had to think sweetness and light. I had to think soft and puffy. People, I had to think PASTEL.

Well, I was able to get in the right mode. Spent entirely too much time figuring out how to make the costume (bowl and spoon were paper mache over chicken wire, scoop was pink flannel, sewn to a shirt that I cut open, stuffed, that went over her head and tied on the sides (after it was all done I figured out a much easier way I could have made that, but oh well). Chocolate sauce was dark brown satin. Felt sprinkles glued on. Cherry on top was the easiest, a styrofoam ball that I sculpted a little, painted, wired onto a headband and pushed a pipe-cleaner stem into. A bit of (pastel, dammit) makeup and a couple of side ponytails and she was adorable!

Won for the Most Creative Costume for grades 3-5 at the Halloween Carnival. Many, *many* compliments. Her friends kept poking and hugging her because she was so squishy soft. She giggled a lot. It was all good.

Yesterday she announced what she wants to be next year. I held my breath while she threw her hands out wide over her head and proudly exclaimed....


Yesssssssssss. mk

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Incredibly, Insanely Bored

And so I am blogging.

It is just after 10pm and I just realized that the only thing I have had to eat today was some Cheez-Its. So I found the need to go out in the kitchen and look at the Cheez-Its. Which were just about gone, even though Mark just opened the box today. And so I put the rest of them in a bowl because I was pretty much like "what the hell" and then to wash them down I got the Mike's Classic Margarita (raspberry) that didn't fit in the six-pack holder when I combined the partially empty lime and raspberry six-packs earlier today, and so it was sitting alone by itself on a shelf. Now I feel better that I do not have leftover Mike's Margaritas just floating around the fridge but a little odd because there is now just one lone raspberry surrounded by five limes and so I might have to drink that one, too.

And people? I had not even OPENED the drink when all that went through my head. That's just my normal brain-talk.

So, my boyfriend (yes, I am referring to him as my boyfriend now) just texted me with "what r u doing" and I answered "blogging" and he said "about what" and I said "right now, cheez-its and margaritas. this is one of my dump-out-whatever-crosses-your-brain posts." My god, I think he is gonna meet the crazy. Wow.

When we first got together he told me he intended to make me fall in love with him. (freakout alert!!!!) So like yesterday or something when he asked me what I was doing I said I was wondering if he had fallen in love with me yet. It took him an HOUR to respond & what he said was "that's a scary word." hahahahahaha EXACTLY. So I reminded him what he had said to me and he said it was very sneaky of me to get him like that. Well played, markira, said I to myself. :) So I am less nervous now about the whole thing, oddly enough.

He was supposed to come up tonight but his son has his first soccer game of the season tomorrow at 8am (WTF, who schedules a soccer game at 8am on a Sunday????), so naturally he can't make it. Which kinda sucks, but is also a little okay because I've been running around all week and now I'm just vegging, which is kinda nice.

Damn. I have two Cheez-Its left. I suppose I may have to eat something that has nutritional value. 'Cause I can't drink without food without feeling sick and I am now in the mood to consume some alcohol. And plus I can't leave that lonely little raspberry Mike's Margarita in the fridge. It's probably feeling really awkward surrounded by all the lime guys.

OK, I think I'm gonna at least change into pjs. Don't go anywhere.

I'm back. Thanks for waiting. :)

OH. I dreamed last night that Kira started her period. So now I'm all paranoid that I was having some sort of precognitive dream or something, so I wanted to make sure I put this down BEFOREHAND because you know how many times you get the deja-vu thing and think you probably dreamed of it or something and people are all "uh huh, sure." So now this is DOCUMENTED. Because of course I have NO idea how to go back and edit the post dates or put in additional stuff later in a post. Of course not. Right.

OR, my body could have totally been faking me out just before it sprung another one of these ill-timed off-cycle bleeding sessions that just showed up. I am SO ready for those to stop. Man, I'm almost hoping for a freaking cyst or fibroid or something that they can FIX so this will cut it out (sorry, Paul, I know I should have given you a heads-up before those last two paragraphs, but even if I had, I know you would have read them anyway, so I didn't).

I'm going sailing in a little less than two weeks!! Brenda invited me on the Captain's Birthday cruise, which I am really psyched for. I've never been on the schooner in September, I think it's gonna totally rock, and plus I'll be with one of my favorite people in the whole world (awwwww).

I think I'll go get that other drink now.

Does anyone else have a problem when they have an odd number of drinks left in the six-pack? Cause now I have five drinks in there, and it is bothering me. I may have to fix that. After this one.

And yeah, didn't end up with anything even vaguely healthy to eat with. Instead, I looked at my counter and saw the mostly-empty bag of Popcorn Indiana Kettlecorn ****

****OK, why the FUCK does "paste" not show up as an option when I copy links anymore?? This has happened the last few times I've tried it (not just here on the blog, either) and it is REALLY STARTING TO IRRITATE ME.

Anyway. Popcorn. That stuff is awesome. It rocks. I'd put a link but it's more work than just telling you to Google it.

So anyway. I put the rest of it in a bowl. It's slightly stale, because I ate most of the bag and then hit my "I won't eat anymore because then it will be gone" stage and started hoarding it. Which, yeah, is bizarre, but I do it a lot and that is why there are fifteen partially-eaten bags of potato chips on top of my fridge.

OK, I'm getting a little paranoid 'cause my boyfriend has not texted back since I told him about the blogging (but have not given him the blog name) and so I checked my sitemeter to see if maybe he had found it somehow. Apparently he hasn't, but I *did* find out that my average hits have gone up to 19 a day, with 12 today! Now, I know that's not a big deal or anything, but considering this is the AVERAGE and I go MONTHS at a time without writing, I think that's still pretty good. You know. For me. It's not Bloggess-league, but I'll take it. Especially since I'm not really writing this stuff for anyone but me (I love you guys who are reading this, but sorry, you're all just a bonus).

I'd be in bed right now but I had some caffeine cause I thought I was gonna hang out with a friend tonight and then she bailed and so now I'm all wired up for nothing. Lucky you, guys.

OK, I'm even boring myself now, so I think I'm gonna wrap it up. And I don't want to finish this drink OR this popcorn (no, I have no idea what is wrong with me), so I think I'm gonna go put away and go to bed, even though I'm not tired. Maybe I'll fall asleep anyway.

Lately when I've been falling asleep, it has been FAST asleep. Like, not waking up when the phone rings right next to me, kind of sleep. That has never happened in my entire life, I have always been a very light sleeper. I think it's awesome and I totally thank the drugs for the Periodic Limb Movement Disorder. Although I'm still tired during the day. But that may be a combination of other factors, like the depression, the Vit D deficiency, my general biochemical makeup, etc etc.

So. Everyone have a good night, talk to you all later, yeah? mk

oh, and yeah, on the Kira/period thing? I am soooo expecting that to happen literally any day now. To the point that the poor girl can't say she has a stomach ache or cramp (from sports) without my first thought being "PERIOD!!" She has gotten to the point that she sees my face and before I even open my mouth she says, "No. I checked." None of the other girls in her class have started (that I am aware of), but Kira appears to be a bit more, um, physically ready than they are. (yes, I mean the bra thing. shut up.)

OK. I neeeeeed to go to bed and shut the hell up. good night. If you see me approaching the keyboard again tonight, throw yourself in front of me. :P
Which would be a damn good trick, really, considering you can't actually SEE me....can you? Crap, now I'm gonna dream about the CIA or ninjas or something. mk

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Steaming Students

Several schools in my area released their students at the half-day because of "extreme heat conditions and poor air quality." Some local schools are closed today as well, and I believe it is likely the rest will close early again today, as the weather conditions are supposed to be about the same.

Maine as a state is generally unprepared for excessive heat. Most of the schools don't have air conditioning. Many of the buildings are made of dark brick with lots of large windows. A lot of classrooms don't even have fans to circulate air. When the outside temperatures are in the mid-to-high 90s, with body heat the temperature inside the classrooms can be over 100 degrees.

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory and an air quality alert. The heat index values are expected to be about 100 degrees. Outside. They specifically mention that "the high heat and humidity combined with the long duration of the current heat wave will make conditions uncomfortable and potentially dangerous especially in hot buildings without air conditioning or proper ventilation."

This is the first time that I know of that schools in Maine have closed due to heat. There has been a huge uproar in the community (mostly, I believe, from people who do not have children) about the superintendents' decisions to close the schools. There has been an awful lot of "we never did that when *I* was a kid, and it was plenty hot some days, let me tell you." These people probably also declare that they walked five miles every day to school, in a blizzard, uphill. Both ways. And liked it.

The fact is, when we were growing up, schools in Maine did not start until after Labor Day. Check the weather: next Tuesday it's supposed to be in the high 60s. The average high temperature for that day is about 71, with the record high being 83 back in 1983. Yesterday's previous record high was the same, but back in 1995. Yesterday's high temperature *shattered* the previous high record by about 15 degrees.

And we are putting students in the buildings, in school-approved attire that includes no spaghetti tanks, halter tops or back-baring tops, skirts or shorts reaching at least fingertip length. And we are making them sit still for up to 80 minutes at a time. With no air conditioning and little air circulation. Without enough hydration, even if they have water bottles with them, which many did not. And expecting them to pay attention and learn.

So yeah, I completely support the schools for sending people home. I hope they do it again today.

I guess in the future we'll have to include "severe weather days" instead of "snow days" in our projection for the length of the school day. :) mk

p.s. For those who deal with these high temperatures all the time (I'm looking at you, Florida) and laugh at the reaction Maine is having, I challenge you to have your kids attend school in 0 degree temperatures (or lower), when you've received a foot or so of snow the previous day. Laugh then.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bucking Tradition

I did NOT take my kids school-clothes shopping this year.

That's right. I didn't do it. Did not pack us all off to the nearest mall and spend enormous amounts of money so that they would have just the "right" outfit for the first days of school and would be all up-to-the-minute on the current fashion trends.

I did buy new sneakers. Mark's were holding together by sheer willpower, and Kira had outgrown hers. For the rest: each of those kids has more clothes than anyone I know. And neither one of them takes care of them. I have grown beyond tired and frustrated and furious at seeing clean clothes thrown all over their rooms (and the hallway...and the closet), dirty clothes mixed in with clean clothes, clean clothes rewashed because they figured it was easier to just throw it all in the laundry than actually put things in drawers.

It's not like I ask a lot of them. First off, both of them are perfectly capable of doing their own laundry if they so chose. I don't even demand that. I wash their clothes, fold them, separate them into categories (shirts, pants, socks, underwear, etc), and then just ask them to take their clothes up and put them away. Sometimes, if I'm feeling particularly like Becky Home-Ecky, I will bring their clothes up into their bedroom and lay them out on the bed in the categories. At that point all the kid has to do is pick up a pile, walk over to a bureau, open a drawer, and PUT THE CLOTHES IN.

Instead, I'll go in and find all the clothes heaped on the floor all together because they needed to get in the bed to go to sleep. So I told them, several weeks ago: I'm not buying any new clothes until you take care of your old clothes. This includes picking ALL of them up off the floor, sorting out clothes that you don't wear or don't fit, and putting the rest away. And until then, not an iota of unnecessary clothing.

Kira has had a particularly hard time comprehending this. She has had repeated meltdowns because I actually required her to not be a complete pig. She has ignored my repeated reminders that we weren't going school shopping until she had done the above.Then she decided she would GUILT me into buying her new clothes. I heard about the new clothes she got at her father's house. I heard about how she would be the only one without new clothes. I heard about how EVERYONE would make fun of her for having to wear old clothes. I heard about how she's had to wear the same clothes for the last two or three YEARS (ahem: bullshit. bull. fucking. shit.). I heard about how mean I was, how I didn't care about her, etc etc.

She wrote and mailed a letter to one of her best friends complaining about it. She even called my MOTHER (who agreed with me and told Kira so. Kira was not impressed that Gram was not on her side).

Unbelievable meltdown the last day I would have the kids before they went with their dad for the remainder of vacation (they would be with me Sunday night and Monday, so they went on Friday evening with X).

Now, I like buying clothes for the kids. I like having them be fashionable. I love seeing what Kira does with the combinations. Our family finances growing up didn't allow for fashion, and yes, I overcompensate for that.

But I also remember how much my sister and I appreciated new clothes, and how rare it was that we got them. We went on specific shopping trips to get clothes when we needed new ones. It wasn't a constant "oh, look at the cute thing I picked up for you today" event. (This is not to say that we were complete ragamuffins. But fashionable clothes was not a financial priority in the house.)

So, as hard as it was for ME to not take Kira out and get her an adorable little black sharkbite vest and some of the new superskinny jeans and a plaid skirt with a white button-down and tie and oh the most ADORABLE sweater-vest etc etc etc, I held strong.

And you know what? She didn't die. She actually took a look at the clothes she has, found a skirt she's had for a year (A YEAR) that she never once had worn to school, paired it with a v-neck t-shirt that looks like a billion other v-neck t-shirts, put on her new sneakers, looked adorable, and loved her outfit.

Now she's looking at what else she has that people haven't seen. Unsurprisingly, there's a lot. Especially considering that I have gotten her new things periodically in the spring and early summer. Brand stuff, even (Justice, her faaaaaaaavorite store, that is too pricey even on sale, but which you can often find at TJMaxx, and sometimes even on clearance there...guess where she got a cool burnout t-shirt and multicolored zipup this summer?)

Unsurprisingly, Mark didn't care that I wasn't taking him school shopping. He wore a white polo and jeans his first day (today). Of course, guys do have it easier than girls, but even still, he was perfectly aware that he has plenty of stuff that fits & looks good, and that's all he needed.

So, I'm continuing to hold out: no new clothes until the current ones are cared for properly. I'm kinda curious how long until Kira caves. She thinks she's more stubborn than I am.

Oh, so wrong. mk
I will never admit that you are right Mom, I had plenty to wear.

Look at these rags you force me to wear...I look hideous. Turn away your eyes!
Yeah, Mom, I'm rockin' the jean-and-polo thing.
Thank you, thank you, for not spending hundred$ you don't have so I could have clothes that look exactly the same as this. Just newer.

Friday, August 27, 2010

OB/GYN....Men, look away

So I have an appointment this morning with the gynecologist. I've been referred by my primary care physician because they think I need to see a specialist and find out why my period has been so bizarre for, oh, almost TWO YEARS. I've had blood drawn for hormone level testing, and I'll find out those results today, too.

I know, I know...two years and I'm just *now* getting it taken care of? Well, yeah. I'm not really great about staying on top of my own personal health (see: how I managed to grow a ginormous tumor the size of a human head and not know). Also, I just kinda figured it maybe kinda had something to do with either approaching perimenopause or maybe because I had become sexually active (don't ask how I equated occasional sex with messing up my entire menstrual cycle, and no, I don't mean anything related to possible pregnancy), or maybe it was just a delayed reaction to the surgery to remove said ginormous tumor. You know, like seven or eight months delayed.

My PCP *did* arrange for a transvaginal ultrasound to check for cysts that may have formed on or around my one remaining ovary (and sadly, I had actually forgotten which one had been removed. I have since come up with a little mnemonic to remind me: my right is left). Nada. Which is good, but at least if they *had* found a cyst, I would have known what the damn problem was and they could take care of it. Unless they would have put me in surgical menopause, which would have TOTALLY sucked, so I suppose I'm happy they didn't find anything. Yeah. Happy.

Anyway. This is but one on a long list of bodily screw-ups that I am slowly but surely trying to get straightened out. Next on my list is a referral to an ortho to find out why the hell I have this gross-looking cyst popping out of my left foot on top of my bunion. (yes, I know it's a bursa...but WHY...and can they get rid of it)

Have also been dealing with my Vitamin D deficiency. (Did I tell y'all about that? no?) Well, several months ago my PCP had my Vit-D levels checked, and they were 28. Minimum guideline should be 50, and recent studies show that 80 is a way better indicator of true health. So dr. put me on a mega-dose of D once a week...50,000 IU (daily recommended is oh, around 200-400). After three months, I was re-tested. My levels went up to 37. So I'm still deficient. However, for some reason my doctor has taken me *off* the super-dose and is now recommending that I do a daily supplement of 2000 IU. I went with more recent studies' findings and have bumped that up to 4000 IU, plus am *trying* to get sunlight each day. Which is difficult for me, because it means leaving the safety of my home and going *outside*. Where there are *people*.

Which could segue into how I'm doing with various therapies, but I'm going to take pity on you people and end here. Also, I should probably go up and shower etc to get ready for my appointment. :) Check ya later, people! mk

So. Will keep posted if there are any significant results.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I'm developing a new hobby: super-couponing. I want to be one of those people who get $1000 worth of groceries for 47 cents or something crazy like that. A couple of my friends, Ginnie & Paula, have been doing it for awhile and they really get some amazing deals.

In the process, I've gotten rather obsessive about sending away for freebies. Through Facebook, I've signed up with four or five freebie sites that do all the hunting for you, and then provide links to these deals. So far I've gotten one-year subscriptions to Seventeen, Cosmo, Taste of Home, Everyday with Racheal Ray, Health, and one or two others I can't remember right now (I think Marie Claire might be one). I've received 3 Atkins bars, an EPA Estuaries poster (that Kira put up in her room), and I have a ton more things on the way, most of which I can't even remember. Health and beauty samples, pens, paper, a stadium cushion, foods...oh, who knows it all. Since I just started this a couple of weeks ago, it's just now that the fruits of my labor will start pouring in. It's fun to go to the mailbox. :)

And I've been collecting coupons, and learning how to really use them. For example, I have multiple copies of a $1 off coupon for Post-It Super Sticky notes. Which are on sale at WalMart for $1. That equals FREE. I currently have more pads of Post-Its than I think I will use in a year. And planning to get more.

It's really fun, it's entertaining me, and hey, saving some money, which is ALWAYS helpful. Even better, it's making me look seriously at each and every purchase I am making: can I get this cheaper? Should I wait on this until it goes on sale and combine it with this coupon? Is the store brand really cheaper, or do I save more money by getting the name brand and using a coupon?

I've spent so long on auto-pilot with so many of my shopping purchases. Get the store brand, stick with this kind of paper towel, buy things as you need them. I'm in the process of changing that thought process, of losing "brand loyalty," of understanding sale cycles and how to create stockpiles.

It's a bit harder to do the huge "save $100's" shopping that people with access to a larger variety of stores can do. For example, we don't have a nearby CVS, Walgreens, or Target. So I'll have to make do with what I can do with WalMart and the local grocery stores. And start shopping at Rite-Aid, which I have always avoided because their stuff is pricier. But apparently not with the various sales and coupon deals I'm learning about.

It's pretty interesting stuff. The kids say I need to get a hobby. I told them this *is* my new hobby.

Does anyone else do this stuff? Tell me some stories, people! mk

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Danger: Man Cooking

My boyfriend can't cook. I mean, the man cannot scramble eggs. I know: I've eaten his attempt.

Now, I'm not a fabulous cook myself, but I do a fairly decent job in the kitchen when I want to. The major exception is grilling. I am really not good at grilling. I probably could be a lot better if I tried, but a) I'm afraid of fire and b) yeah, that's about it. I am getting better, I burn the food less badly now, and occasionally even make the kids' steak they way they like it. Mostly. Kinda. Sometimes.

Anyway. He can't cook. He doesn't even try, really, just eats pre-packaged stuff. Now, since he lives in New Hampshire and I only see him once every two weeks for about 24 hours, this is not really a big problem for me.

But it made me start thinking about men and cooking in general. Men seem to fall into one of two categories: either they don't cook at all, or they are really good. I don't know any guys who say they're middle-of-the-road in the kitchen.

Mark took a cooking class a few years ago as part of an after-school program sponsored by a local community group. He loved it. Got his own personalized apron at the end of it and everything. Since then, he hasn't done a lot of major stuff in the kitchen, but he *has* been doing a bit of grilling this summer at camp, and he does a pretty decent job on the hot dogs and hamburgers that have been entrusted to him.

I keep thinking that I should get him more involved in cooking, perhaps have him responsible for a complete meal every once in awhile. Invariably, however, I come up with this idea just as we are entering the hell-schedule of school-and-soccer. Or school-and-basketball. Then, when we actually have *time* to do it, I completely forget.

He's a sophomore in high school. He's got a few years before he'll have his own place and be required to do his own cooking. I'd like him to be a good cook. He seems to enjoy it when he does it. If he's in the mood. If he's not, there is much whining about not waaaaaaaaanting to cook and does he haaaaaaaaave to. (yes. 15. the re-introduction of the whine)

So. Anyone out there know a man who likes to cook (or *is* a man who likes to cook)? When did you start dabbling? What is it that got you interested? Speak up, peeps. Thanks! mk

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Timing Is Everything

So, I've been seeing this guy for a few weeks now (yes, the guy I mentioned in the last post). We text and/or talk every day, and he's coming for another visit this weekend.

This is the dilemma: how long do I wait before I reveal that I have mental health issues?

I mean, I have quite a long list of crap going on with me:

*borderline personality disorder
*anxiety disorder
*panic disorder
*sleep issues that I take meds for (periodic limb movement) (ok, that one is not technically mental health, but still, I mention sleep issues and people think it's in my head, even when I explain that it was observed in a sleep lab)

Considering how many people don't even understand that these are "real" illnesses, it can really freak a guy out. I don't want him looking at me like I'm unstable and ready to go psychotic any second. Neither do I think it's fair (for either of us) to date him for too long a while and then surprise him with all this stuff.

So when is the magic moment? When would YOU want to know that about someone you were dating? mk

p.s. One of the things that really concerns him is how tense I am...he is constantly trying to convince me to relax. And it bothered him that I didn't sleep the last time he was here. These may be factors leaning towards telling him sooner.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Not Like I Wait For The Last Minute Or Anything....

Hello, my name is markira, and I am a Class A Procrastinator.

I have a guest coming tonight, staying over & spending the day tomorrow. I have known about this for two weeks. Here is today's to-do list, all to get done before 5 (and, by the way, does not count getting myself ready & pretty for him).

*clean out fridge
*empty garbage
*FINISH laundry (about 3 more loads)
*clear dining room table
*clear bar
*clear hutch
*clear dining room floor
*put away skateboards & scooters from deck
*roll up & put away garden hose (currently snaked across pretty much the whole driveway)
*clear desk (a HUGE job in itself)
*clear floor in front of desk
*clear bottom of stairs
*water plants
*dust downstairs
*vacuum downstairs & stairs
*swiffer downstairs
*clean toilet
*clean sink & mirror
*change out towels
*clean bathroom floor
*change sheets in bedroom (he's sleeping in my room, I'm sleeping in Kira's)
*make bed
*put away clothes
*dust upstairs
*vacuum upstairs
*grocery shop
*borrow cooker from camp (for lobsters...yes, I am cooking lobster...for him)

I am an idiot. I will be a wreck before he gets here.

And yet, here I am online. Did I mention I am a Class A Procrastinator & an idiot???? :) mk

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Windjamming with Kira

Brenda called me the other day and asked if I would like to go on one of the overnight sails (silly woman, to even think I might *not* want to go). It was on Sunday afternoon to Monday morning. Mark is currently away in New York camping for two weeks with a buddy (same thing he did last year), so I made arrangements with X to shorten his weekend visit & took Kira.

Brenda had a really bad head cold, so it wasn't a very fun trip for her. I hope she feels better before she goes out tomorrow.It was raining lightly for most of the afternoon on Sunday, but it cleared up in time for a perfectly gorgeous sunset over Owls Head harbor, where we anchored for the night.

In the morning, we were treated to some really unusual mist patterns over the ocean. I'm glad I had my camera, I've never seen morning mist like that.

There was very little wind the entire trip, but it was still, as always, incredible to be out on the ocean. So grateful to Brenda for inviting us!!! mk

Monday, June 14, 2010

Young (Wo)man, There's a Place You Can Go....

Yeah, I joined the Y. This was back in, what, April? I've been going 2-3 times every week since then. It's a pretty good part of my morning. I'm in my workout gear right now, as a matter of fact, headed there momentarily, but lemme tell you how this came about.

I had a couple of big roadblocks to joining the was that memberships are damn expensive. The other, bigger, one is my social phobia. I didn't want to be around people. Who would be looking at me. While I was all sweaty and gross in workout gear.

But it niggled. So I started looking into it, more as a way to shut my mind the hell up than anything else. And I found that they offered financial assistance. So I printed up an application. And let it sit there. For weeks.

Finally, a friend (yeah, ok, a guy...who unfortunately I'm not in contact with anymore) challenged me to get the application in. That day. So I did it. And it was as simple as walking in the front door and giving it to the receptionist.

And I got a notice that I would receive assistance that suddenly put the membership into manageable range. I only had to do a single, since X has a family membership and my kids are on that. So after I let that letter sit around for a couple more weeks, I sucked it up and went in and filled out the appropriate stuff and got my little beeper card (what I call the little thing you have to slide through the slot to release the turnstile).

And then I STILL didn't go.

So my "new" therapist (how long am I gonna call him that? Well, I'm from Maine. Unless you were actually born here, you're referred to as "from away" your entire life. Doesn't matter if you moved here three minutes after birth. We are resistant to change as a people.) came up with an interesting idea for me.

The reason I wasn't going to the Y was fear. (yes, this is not news. stay with me) Fear was motivating me to stay away. What we needed to do was find a BIGGER fear of NOT going. And, as my health and wellness as a whole is not a big motivator for me, threat of worsening health wasn't going to do it. Not to mention it's not a definite, immediate, cause-and-effect thing (I did not go to the Y on Monday, and Tuesday my leg fell off).

SO. We came up with a plan.

First we made up a workout plan. How many days a week, how long would I stay, what would I do, etc. Then we came up with the motivator.

I would go to the Y three days a week, for at least an hour each time (an hour of working out, not just an hour of being in the building). I had six weeks. In those six weeks, I had to stick to that schedule for four consecutive weeks. (not a lot of wiggle room for slacking, hey?)

IF, at the end of the six weeks, I had NOT met that goal, my therapist would then take the check I had written out in an amount of money I REALLY could not afford, that I had already given to him, and he would mail that check.

To my ex.

Yeah. So if I didn't go work out, I would be giving my ex money. A lot of money.

Let me tell you: BIG MOTIVATOR.

I made that goal in five weeks.

I had to tell at least one other person about this contract so I would have a cheerleader besides John (my therapist...yes, I find it necessary to keep identifying him). I told Brenda, and then I also clued in a couple of other people. I ALSO came up with a little acronym that I put at the end of every email to Brenda, and usually at the end of a Facebook status update if it said I was going to the Y. It was NMFS.

No Money For (ex's name)!

It didn't take long for me to get a little addicted to these workouts. I feel REALLY great after I'm done with them. And people don't stare. They've got their own sweaty selves to tend to. I do 30-40 minutes on the various weight machines, and 30-40 minutes walking the track. I'm measurably stronger than I was at the beginning, and although I haven't lost any weight per se, my clothes fit better.

So. John did a good thing. Apparently there were some questions from his coworkers whether he should have done something so extreme, but hell, I agreed to it, thought it was a really good way to get me off my ass and in the door. Then they were questioning whether he really would have mailed the check. My mom asked me the same thing: "He wouldn't really *mail* it, though, right?"

Um, it defeats the WHOLE PURPOSE of the thing if he wouldn't have mailed the check, people!
What fear is there of him holding a check if he's just going to give it back to me and say, "just kidding!"

Fear as motivator. It worked. Worked great. So now when I see something I'm scared to do, I've started thinking: is there something bigger I'm scared of if I *don't* do this? And if there isn't, can I create one?

Anyway, I'm off to my workout. Have a great morning!! mk

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sleep Results

Sorry, Paul, no pic of me with a cpap mask on...I don't have sleep apnea! Apparently I don't have hypopnea either, despite what the tech said. What I *do* have is periodic leg movement disorder. My legs twitched or moved about 23 times an hour, resulting in 20 or so arousals, or movements from one stage of sleep to a lighter stage. Which, of course, sums up to I sleep like crap. It's kind of hard to get deep, restful sleep when your sleep stage is interrupted every three minutes or so.

Anyway. So now we are in the "try to fix it" part of the process. The first thing we're doing is having me take clonazepam at night. It's an anti-convulsant with muscle relaxant and anti-anxiety side effects, to stop the leg movement. We started out with a .5mg dose at night, and if there aren't significant benefits, we'll jump up to 1mg.

And let me tell you, I have noticed a difference! I am beginning to feel more rested. I'm not completely exhausted all day long. I have been on this med for a week, and I am very pleased. There still needs to be some tweaking, I do still get tired later in the day, and can easily take a 1.5 hour nap or so, but it's still SO much better. And that was on the .5mg dose.

Last night I bumped up to 1mg. And I overslept! I slept from about 9:30 to about 6:30 or 7. I don't know if that is related in any way to a bunch of stress I've been going through lately or what, but it was interesting. I'm more tired right now than I have been the last several days, but as I've also just gotten up, it could just be that. So we'll give it a bit of time. I might try the 1mg again tonight, depending on how the rest of the day goes.

I know I have about 15-16 years of sleep debt to make up, so I don't expect to feel all energetic and "cured" overnight (no pun intended). But a little better every day would be great, and not to fall any further behind also.

If overall we're not happy with how the clonazepam works, we'll move on to a dopominergic, which increases dopamine and reduces muscle contractions. Other possibilities, after we've worked on reducing the PLM, is to try a stimulant to counteract the daytime sleepiness. These include Provigil or, believe it or not, Ritalin! But that's ages down the road. First let's see how this one does. :)

So there ya go, peeps, my sleep results. I KNEW something was messed up with my sleep! Now to just tweak til it's all better. mk

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

To sleep...perchance to dream...

So. We all know I have these sleep issues. And exhaustion issues. Well, my therapist (love this guy!) put the two together and asked me if I had done a sleep study, which I hadn't. So he told me to TELL my doctor to refer me to the sleep clinic. And they did!

So on March 23rd, I headed over to the sleep lab for an overnight. They showed me to this little room with a giant saggy bed (that was a SleepNumber bed, but I never got around to actually playing with that), and an attached bathroom that had the biggest freakin toilet I have ever seen. Seriously. Huge. Apparently they get some rather large clients. This toilet is certified to hold up to 2000 pounds. Really. And naturally, I didn't bring my camera with me to share pictures.

Anyway, this older gentleman with a very quiet, soothing voice attached over 20 wires to me, mostly on my scalp and face, oh, and upper chest. I had one above one eye, below the other eye, nasal prongs up my nose (to monitor air intake), a sound monitor taped to my throat (to register snoring), two bands across my upper chest and abdomen (to monitor breathing), electrodes attached to my shins (to see about periodic limb movement, also known as restless leg syndrome), a heart and blood-oxygen monitor clipped to my index finger. I was seriously wired for sound. All of these wires were gathered behind and up on the top of my head and then ran to a box hanging from an IV pole next to the bed. I told the somnographer that I really, REALLY wished I had brought my camera so I could get pictures and blog this. (see, I was thinking of you!)

So then I took my meds, put my mouthguard in (and let me tell you, I felt some sexy), made sure my cell phone was off (it would interfere with the equipment. couldn't use my iPod, either), the guy ran a few tests from the control room, came back and adjusted a few things, and we were set. He shut the lights out from the control room and I settled down to sleep.

Which, amazingly, I actually did!! I woke up with no idea what time it was (no clocks in the room), but after a bit (I think his name was David) came on the intercom & told me he thought we were done, and he gradually brought the lights up. Then he came in to disconnect me.

He had told me the night before that they needed at least six hours of sleep activity to call it a full study. I was really worried they wouldn't get that from me, but apparently they did! Yay me!

I asked him if he had any observations he could share, knowing that he can't give me any official results, and after agreeing to that disclaimer, he told me some stuff.

I spent most of the night sleeping on my stomach, although sometimes on my sides. I didn't sleep on my back at all. And I often slept with my head tilted way back, like to open my airway more. I had delayed-onset REM sleep, like my body was trying to avoid hitting that stage of sleep, because that is when the most instances of any airway restriction happens. And sure enough, I had marked reduction in air intake, about 50%. (I researched and learned that this is called hypopnea)

That was pretty much all he gave me, I think. Then he was all done with the wires, he left the room, I got dressed, he escorted me out, and I went home and took a shower to get all the gunk out of my hair that held the wires on (it was like came out really easily), and took a nap (it was 6am). The only thing that I had to remind me of the night was this fairly big, really bright red rectangle on my throat with a little circle in the middle and lines extending on either side, from the tape that held on the sound monitor. It lasted until the next day. I completely forgot it was there when we went to the store later that night to pick up pizza. Wonder what they thought (it's a tiny country store, they all know me).

I go in on Friday and learn my official results (I've also asked for a copy of the report...yeah, I'm a geek). The most likely treatment, if it *is* hypopnea, is the same as for sleep apnea: wearing a breathing mask at night, called a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). It looks like a fighter pilot mask, attached to a tube, attached to a machine you keep next to the bed. Man, I am gonna be so sexy and attractive at night! I guess it's a good thing there's nobody on the other side of the bed. :P

BUT. Some of the symptoms of hypopnea may include excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, forgetfulness, mood or behavior changes, trouble concentrating, loss of energy, nervousness, and morning headaches. Hello! All the stuff I've been complaining about for YEARS. Could be cured!! Which will be so incredibly awesome!!!! (and yes, I'm a tiny bit pissed that nobody thought of doing this years ago)

Anyway, I'll know more Friday, and yes, I will (try to) keep you posted!!!! mk

Holy Crap....TWO MONTHS...really?

Man, I am neglecting the hell out of this blog. It's funny, too, because I *think* of posts all the time...then I just seem to forget whenever I'm anywhere near a keyboard.

OK, so I'll post a few now. Sorry to barrage you with them after such an absence, but if I don't do it now, I'll forget again.

mk =)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Yes, I Still Hate Valentine's Day

I'm so tired.

I'm tired of this stupid freakin' build-up to the "most romantic day of the year" which is just a bunch of bullshit because it's not at all a spontaneous expression of the overflowing love you feel for someone. It's a cave to the pressure that the ENTIRE WORLD seems to put on anyone in a relationship, that if they DON'T get something excessive (or god forbid, anything at all) for their "Valentine," then they are somehow heartless neglectful horrible jerks, one step away from a monster.

I'm tired of feeling jealous of the people who announce with fanfare just how amazing their partner is because they gave/did/made this-or-that. It's bad enough if on a random day of the year, someone spoils their special someone rotten and I have to hear about it and get all wistful. I even understand this expectation for a declaration or grand show of love on a day that has personal significance, like an anniversary. That's individual, specific to a particular bond of love. But a nationally observed day of love? C'mon.

I'm tired of the weeks of buildup before the actual date, day after day of watching sappy commercials on television that tell you that if you just get your woman *this* spectacular diamond solitaire pendant, or *these* one-of-a-kind earrings (mass-produced in Taiwan), or take her on *that* once-of-a-lifetime dream vacation to some exotic beach resort, only then will you be able to truly show your love. Bullshit.

I'm tired of being bitter for a month every year about being single. I honestly don't even know if I do or don't want to be in a relationship most of the time. But I'd like to be able to ponder this in peace and quiet, without a blaring hysterical focus on the status of everyone's relationship as the big V-day approaches. So many new and fragile dating relationships must implode under the pressure of the expectations thrust upon them about what to do about Valentine's Day. Do you get a present? A card? Roses? Dinner? Nothing? Is it time to kiss? More than kiss? Does he expect it? Does she? A big fast-forward is put on it. And this applies to pretty much every dating relationship that begins after the New Year. Am I doing enough? Too much? What are the rules here? ARE there rules here?

I'm just tired. Tired of seeing it all, tired of hearing it all, tired of being left out of it all even though I don't want it. Tired of wanting it, even when I don't want it. (confusing? try living through that contradictory pair of emotions)

I'm. so. tired. mk

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Pick Me!

Kira came home from school today with red writing all over the palm of her hand. Before I could get a picture, it got washed off, so I can't show you how cute it was, but...

What she had done was draw a big heart in the middle of her palm and then both above and below it she wrote "Pick me! Please"

She did this so that when she raised her hand in class her teacher would see it and hopefully pick her.

She said it didn't work. :) mk

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pet Petition

This is the email from my daughter to my dad (copied and pasted, font sizes and all):

Wish me luck! I am going to beg mom for a pet. So I need to come up with a convincing speech that will got mom's attention. I really want one but it seems like my speeches have not been very good at telling her that. I need to speak from the heart and really let her know what I want. I want a pet, not even a pet, a friend, someone who can play with me and I can care for. I want someone to make me laugh and keep me company.
I have to go know. See you later. bye

This is the email from Kira to me. Subject line: Important buisness:

Dear Ms. (markira's last name),
I would like to request a pet. I shall pay for it all (including the supplies), and take care of it. To earn one I shall do the chores for two months, clean my room and keep it clean. When I got to my father's house I will pay you to feed it. I will pay you $0.25 each time you feed it. I will vacoume my room once a week, and put newpapers on the floor when i take it out of its cage. I will do anything for a pet. If you can think of anything else I will be glad to here.
from your dear daughter,
Kira (markira's last name)

Attached was a Word document that consisted of two pictures of guinea pigs and the word


...and this is my response to my dad about Kira's letter.....

she just rips my heart up sometimes, y'know? still not getting a pet.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Dr. Nightmare

I am so easily amused.

I have a Garmin Nuvi that my parents gave me for Christmas 2008. (side note: GPS's are one of the most fabulous inventions ever!) I lovelovelove my Garmin. The standard female voice that came with it, I named Jenna. (I don't know why. She just *sounded* like a Jenna.) Love Jenna, she has really allowed me to have confidence in traveling, that I will get where I want to go. For a severely directionally challenged individual like myself, it's an amazing feeling.

I knew you could download other voices, vehicles, etc, so quite awhile back I did a bunch of that here. (it's all free. I like free.) Then I was an idiot and couldn't figure out the kind of cable to connect my Garmin to my PC, and then I got distracted so the whole thing sat forever. I accidentally discovered that I ALREADY POSSESSED the exact cable I needed, just a few weeks ago. Yes. Duh. Anyway, moved it all over & stuff. Updated my vehicle to a spiffy little silver sports car, switched over to the British Lady (who sounds like a BITCH), and ta-da.

Went to an away game for Mark today (not too far away, about 15-20 minutes) and I knew how to get there but one of the things I like about the Garmin is that it will also keep track of what time you are supposed to arrive. Which is great for me, who is obsessed & paranoid about being late. So I had it going and everything, and I got sick of British Bitch, so I decided to go with a new voice I had downloaded for the way home.

Dr. Nightmare.

It is the coolest voice EVER!!!!! I absolutely LOVELOVELOVELOVELOVE it! Every time he spoke, I got the biggest damn grin on my face. And then at one point, as I'm driving along admiring the full moon (yes), Dr. Nightmare randomly speaks up and said, "My usual transportation is by broomstick." (I got giggling hysterically at that point, I was so tickled) Almost home, and he said, "In one-quarter mile, turn right and arrive at the despicable destination." I mean, how awesome is that!!

I am SOOOOOOO waiting for the evil laugh...I know he'll have one!! :D mk

Friday, January 22, 2010

My Favorite Distraction

Yes, long time, let's not go there, eh?

Once again I am avoiding responsibility by messing around on the Internet. It's my favorite distraction. :) Sometimes I can even fool myself into thinking I'm accomplishing something, like now: I googled my doctor (so I wouldn't have to bother looking it up in my address book which is two feet away) and filled that information in on the Patient sheet that has to go with me in two weeks to my therapy appointment. 'Cause that's WAY more important than doing the laundry or catching up on dishes or maybe even dusting and vacuuming the house before the dust bunnies form an army and take over the world. And holy god, do not get started on washing floors.

MUCH better to fill out patient forms, and put up the kids' school pictures (now that Mark's FINALLY ARRIVED yesterday after MONTHS...nothing like having the kid's picture taken in September and finally arriving the end of January. And of course I didn't feel like I could put Kira's up without Mark's, so her picture is on my desk, and now I'm going to even stop typing this so I can locate it.

*mad rummaging*

wow. That was faster than I thought. Less than 30 seconds. Not to be confused with thinking my desk is organized or anything, because I can assure you it is NOT. And that's something I'm avoiding, too.

Along with putting away the Christmas decorations, which are currently taking up space on several steps. Except the snowflake lights, which are on the dining room table. To my credit, they haven't been on the table for a month...I just remembered they were up and took them down. Yes, they were on the sliding glass doors that we use to exit and enter the house. You'd think I would have noticed them. But I think my attention has been diverted by the suction frog that is smack dab at face level on the door. With a taped-on word balloon. It's really quite cute.

OK, so now I have both kids' pictures. So I can put them up, and put the wallet size in my wallet (wow, original) and get my parents' copies set to give to them later today when we go to Mark's game.

Hey! Now I can segue neatly into basketball! Kira's season is almost over, she has a tournament on Saturday and the certificate ceremony or whatever you call it. She's done very well this season, she's quite a good basketball player. There's a possibility that next year the girls' busline coach will have to dip into the fifth grade to get more players (next year's sixth grade class is very tiny, and there aren't a lot of girl athletes in that class or the current sixth grade). She is VERY excited about this possibility, even though it means that she will be playing against sixth, seventh, and eighth grade girls and will get her butt kicked. But she also knows that she will learn a LOT, and she gets to practice every day, which she is incredibly excited about. She's even looking forward to the suicides. The girls' coach also usually adds something at each stop point, like pushups or jumping jacks. Kira thinks this is great. Masochist. But the coach is awesome, and he hasn't had a lot of talent to work with in recent years (not to say all the girls suck, 'cause they don't, but some do, and he hasn't had any future WNBA-ers out of the rest of them, either), so I think it will be fun for him, too.

Mark is on the freshman team at the high school, and the team is having a great season (they are 9-1). Mark's a first-string post player, and he is showing noticeable improvement since the beginning of the season. He's not a superstar player like he was for his team last year, but he's solid and with some definite skills, including being his team's top rebounder. His coach is great and really works with all of the players to help them improve. The boys also earn their play time by how hard they work in practice, which is so cool. For example, he benched their "top" player for an entire quarter for skipping practice. The boys are expected to work hard and play hard, and they do. He also cycles all the players in the game, and doesn't wait to have a lead before he does it. He doesn't have a "win at all costs" attitude (not to say he doesn't want to win, 'cause he does), but his focus is on improving -all- of the players. I like it. I like how the second string is played even when we are behind, which gives them a chance to feel full game pressure. They're not just put in when we're way ahead and have to hold on to a lead, where it's okay to slip some points. Nope, they have to bring the team ahead. As a result, they all have to work harder, and that's awesome.

Both kids are struggling a bit academically this year. Kira's not in terms of not being able to grasp the concepts, or even in the application. But she's starting to develop her brother's poor study habits, and as a result has passed homework in late, and she has been given two academic detentions this year (you get a pink slip if you don't pass homework in on time, and if you do it again in the same week, you get an academic detention). She gets terribly upset when she gets pink slips, but this has not seemed to change her behaviours. And unfortunately I haven't been mentally with it enough to keep on top of her with this.

Mark is having the same issues of not passing his homework in on time, and his grades are showing it. This quarter he has four C's (last quarter he had 1), and it was by the skin on his teeth that a couple of them weren't D's. His father is going to go ballistic. I'M not too happy either. Mark is trying to brush it off on sports, but I know better. He has poor study habits. If he passed his homework in on time, his grades would easily be at least B's, and likely even A's. I was hoping that he would be able to police himself better once he saw that his poor habits really affected his grades, but I guess I'm going to have to try to step up and get back on his ass.

If I can. Of course, I am still struggling with all of my same issues, including the huge energy drain that is Seasonal Affective. It's slightly better this year because I have increased my Wellbutrin, but by no means is it "all better." It's still an uphill climb.

I continue to feel that if I can just get myself on top of the housework and better organized, that things will vastly improve. You would think with this knowledge I would get my ass off the computer and get to the house, hey? Yeah, not so much. Sometimes I can do it, sometimes I can't. It's also terribly frustrating on the days that I AM able to pull myself together and make some real progress, that the kids, who have slipped into horrible house habits as well, come home and destroy all of my progress in a matter of minutes. And I am just too emotionally battered to handle it properly.

So, we carry on. And now that I've blathered on for awhile, I'm gonna get off and (maybe) put a load of laundry in, put away dishes, get the kids' pictures hung, and get some of the crap off the stairs. Wish me luck!! mk

Title note: When Kira was in kindergarten, she had several boys in the class with huge crushes on her. One of my favorites was Thomas. When I first met Thomas's parents--at the skating rink--his dad said, "Ah, Kira. Thomas's favorite distraction." I loved it. :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I did the Macarena with my dog in my car because I'm sexy and I do what I want.

I started seeing really weird Facebook status messages from my friends, and finally figured out what they were doing. Create a sentence from these pieces:

Pick the month you were born:
January-------I kicked
February------I loved
March---------I karate chopped
April-----------I licked
May-----------I jumped on
June-----------I smelled
July-----------I did the Macarena with
August--------I had lunch with
September----I danced with
October-------I sang to
November-----I yelled at
December-----I ran over

Pick the day (number) you were born on:
1-------a birdbath
2-------a monster
3-------a phone
4-------a fork
5-------a snowman
6-------a gangster
7-------my mobile phone
8-------my dog
9-------my best friends' boyfriend
10------my neighbour
11------my science teacher
12------a banana
13------a fireman
14------a stuffed animal
15------a goat
16------a pickle
17------your mom
18------a spoon
19------a smurf
20------a baseball bat
21------a ninja
22------Chuck Norris
23------a noodle
24------a squirrel
25------a football player
26------my sister
27------my brother
28------an iPod
29------a surfer
30------a homeless guy
31------a llama

What is the last number of the year you were born:
1--------- In my car
2 ---------On your car
3 --------In a hole
4 ---------Under your bed
5 ---------Riding a Motorcycle
6 ---------Sliding down a hill
7 ---------In an elevator
8----------At the dinner table
9 -------- In line at the bank
0 -------- in your bathroom

Pick the colour of shirt you are wearing:
White--------because I'm cool like that.
Black---------because that's how I roll.
Pink----------because I'm NOT crazy.
Red----------because the voices told me to.
Blue----------because I'm sexy and I do what I want
Green--------because I think I need some serious help.
Purple--------because I'm AWESOME!
Gray---------because Big Bird said to and he's my leader.
Yellow--------because someone offered me 1,000,000 dollars.
Orange------because my family thinks I'm stupid anyway.
Brown---------because I can.
Other--------because I'm a Ninja!
None---------because I can't control myself!

Feel free to leave your result in the comments! mk