Thursday, September 17, 2009

No MD? No problem

After meeting with my MD last week, I learned that I don't actually need a doctor's help to wean myself off of the antidepressant Paxil.

That's right.

I can do whatever I want; whatever method "works for me" to get off the drug. And in case it doesn't "work out" I have a year's worth of Paxil I can have refilled regularly at my local pharmacy.

It's a Brave New World in medicine.

Anyone who has ever received health "care" is probably already familiar with the "hurry up and wait" policy the medical industry has adopted. Get to the office early, wait; get in the examining room with the uncomfortable table and shiny stainless steel equipment, wait some more; see the doctor, get the hell out.

You're likely to have a more meaningful exchange with the "Sandwich Artists" at Subway.

I suppose it should come as no surprise; everything in society is on an "expedited" mode. Meals (fast food), conversations (do we every really STOP talking either via phone, Facebook, Twitter, blog), shopping (hello credit cards).

But really? Getting off Paxil can be painful... even when done correctly (see "withdrawal symptoms)

Her cavalier attitude was very troubling to me but I guess it is really just par for the course.

My next course of action: Contact a psychiatrist for real advice and a concrete plan of attack. Try not to be discouraged.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Life Less Medicated

I am thinking about ending an important relationship in my life.

It's a relationship that has lasted for nearly a decade - but I think it might be time to move on.

I tried once to break it off, but ending a relationship is kind of complicated when your partner is an antidepressant.

Paxil and I first became introduced the summer of my junior year of high school. Putting it simply: I felt bad, Paxil made me feel better.

The healthy way to end a relationship with a drug like Paxil is pretty much the opposite of the healthy way to end a relationship with another person: You have to do it very slowly, or it will be painful. For people, the reverse is usually true.

Now, you might be wondering why I would want to write about something so "personal" in a public blog; it's not my personality to be so free with information about certain aspects of my life. At one time, I may have been hesitant to mention that I am on an antidepressant - there was a stigma attached. But times have changed.

ABC recently (August) reported that the number of people taking antidepressants has doubled from 1996 to 2005.

In 2005, about 27 million people (10 percent of all Americans) were taking antidepressants.

So you see, I am in good company.

I was told a long time ago the reason I was depressed was because not enough of a certain chemical was being produced in my brain; this could be true. Since then it has never been confirmed, nor denied. How could it? As far as I know there is still no way to hack into people's brains and measure chemical production.

The Mayo clinic calls clinical depression a "chronic illness" like diabetes. If this is the case, I will need to be on medication for life.

But because there is no simple answer, no one single "cause" of depression, our friends in the medical community have to address it on a case by case basis.

My case: I started on Paxil during my teenage years. Some people might consider this a difficult time in life. I did.

I am a really different person from the person I was back then (as most people are) and my perspective has changed. Part of that change is attributable to the experiences of life. I would like to see if the person I am now, in a dramatically different environment, can live sans-medication. If I can't, count me as a statistic supporting the theory that depression is more biochemical and genetic.

I can live with that.

But first I want to know if I can live a life that is less medicated.
*To those nice people in my life who are inclined to worrying: I am doing this with medical oversight.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Don't Speak (says it all)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"To Blog or Not to Blog..." (you know the rest)

I will not be getting a raise this year, cost-of-living or otherwise; instead my company is giving me a blog.

I am happy because this is a total validation of my blog-worthiness; I am sad because I would rather have money.

I tried to explain this "raise" (in esteem, if nothing else) to my mother.

MOM: What is a blog?

ME: Like my personal blog, but for work.

MOM: I guess I don't really understand what a blog is...

She was not alone.

Others were equally puzzled:

OTHERS: So, what is the point of giving you a blog?

ME: To drive people to our Web site and engage readers.

OTHERS: Like, to drive revenue and advertising?

ME: Ummm... not specifically, but I suppose that could happen as a result...

While immense revenue opportunities may exist in "blogging" I am fairly incompetent when it comes to the business side of things. As far as I am concerned a blog is an Internet Soap Box where I can spew forth personal narratives (in this case, they would pertain to my 9-5).

My task was to devise an over-riding theme for this blog. My boss had a couple of ideas and so did I. None were all that compelling and I was still not quite accepting the idea.

As a journalist, you don't want to bare too much of your soul to your "readers" because then they can make inferences about you. I write about my dog, for example, and something I might find humorous (trying to pull tick-like bumps off of her body for several minutes before realizing they are her doggy nipples) and before you know it an angry reader will be reporting me to PETA and taking my dog away. (Come on, it's an easy mistake to make).

Of course I wouldn't dream of mentioning in a professional blog how Ella likes to rifle through the bathroom garbage can during my "time of the month" and sample used sanitary items; or how she had a bad habit of ripping the crotches out of my dirty underwear (now she just licks them until they are soggy and I can wash them clean). I would only write about such really disturbing things in a blog where I can maintain some semblance of (perceived ) anonymity.

But how can I write about myself and my very human life, when I need my "readers" to believe I am somehow above those human idiosyncrasies that can be quickly translated into credibility damaging biases.

Journalists are at best shamans, and at worst voyeurs. We can't do anything or join any clubs that might jeopardize our precious journalistic integrity. I recently found a club I was interested in joining, the League of Women Voters, which is essentially a government watchdog organization - much like the Fourth Estate. It promotes political involvement (as opposed to the prevailing public apathy). Supposedly the organization is bipartisan. However, leaders at the national level often take a stand on certain issues, and I can't have that coming back to tarnish my shiny journalistic standards.

Sometimes I feel like I am like Scrooge in a "Christmas Carole" - I can only see (and report) what the ghosts are showing me; I am not allowed to impact the outcome of the events I see.

But I should write a blog.

I can't help but believe that "sharing" with "readers" in this way will call into question my journalistic integrity in everything I write OUTSIDE of the blogisphere.

I guess it will be a "fun" little experiment.

Or the beginning of the end.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Butter dish, the update

I need another "new" butter dish.

Perhaps made of plastic.

The second-hand glass butter dish I acquired earlier this spring met an unfortunate end last week

Presumably it was The Dog who knocked the butter dish off the counter Friday (it was during the 9 to 5 and there were no witnesses). When I came home after work, I discovered two monster glass shards on the living room floor, and smaller slivers in the kitchen.

The butter was no more.

The culpable party was without remorse, as is customary when these types of things happen and she (amazingly) survived the incident unscathed.

I, on the other hand, got a sneaky sliver of glass in my heel nearly five days later.

And so, the butter dish saga continues...

The World Gets a Second Chance

Anyone can read my blog again, oh lucky world inhabitants. Don't make me sorry I've let you back in...

Monday, July 13, 2009


Trapped in a waiting room for longer than I would have liked, I flipped through the glossy pages of an "Elle Decor" magazine to pass the time.

Home Improvement magazines have never been of interest to me mainly because I don't have a "home." "Home" denotes permanence and ownership. I am a nomadic renter with no sense of dwelling permanence - an affliction I've experienced since leaving college.

The places where I have lived since leaving my parents' house are less like homes and more like docking stations; places where I can "recharge" (eat, sleep, shower) and have the benefit of legal overnight parking.

People with "homes" tend to read magazines like "Decor" and worry about things like paint, mood lighting, area rugs, throw pillows and a menagerie of other completely non-functional, dust collecting room/house enhancements.

I "read" magazines like "Decor" only when I am trapped in a doctor's office, and the only other options in the periodical rack are "Parenting Today" and "Country Living."

Despite its general irrelevance to my life, I did see an interesting article in "Decor" about a New York artist named Kathryn Lynch.

I am about as educated in art appreciation as I am interested in home-improvement; I operate merely on preference. I have no deeper appreciation of art - technique, form, color or history. It is either pleasing to my eye, or not based strictly on the sum total of my life experiences/genes/personality/mood/fill-in-the-blank-and-call-in-a-psychoanalyst.

That being said: I would hang a Kathryn Lynch painting in my "home" (if I had one). They please my eye.

Blue Hudson River

A Moon + A Sense (My favorite)

City Blues

Fireworks (This one makes me think of the National Anthem)

Lynch also has some "art" that seems really juvenile-looking to me, but that is probably because I am not so "art-savvy" as to truly appreciate its craftsmanship. Blah blah blah. You can see the ones I like, and those I don't at the Sears-Peyton Gallery

Monday, June 29, 2009

Going the distance

I just want to brag that I ran three miles in 30 minutes Friday and Sunday nights. I got hot and sweaty and gross and winded but I felt like a real champ when I was done.

I am proud of this achievement because I have come a super long way from where I was nine months ago.

My goal is to run 3 miles at top speed a minimum of twice a week and work toward improving my 5K time. Finishing is good, kicking ass is better - even if it is just my own.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ella = Mutt

Do due increased demand, I am posting the results to a DNA test that was done on my dog, Ella, earlier this year. I swabbed her chubby little cheeks with a Q-Tip and sent the sample in a sealed envelope to BioPet Vet Lab. Several weeks later, they sent me a certificate and a breakdown of the results.

Based on the DNA analysis, Ella has four different breeds represented in her DNA: cocker spaniel, border collie, Italian Greyhound and Belgian Tervuren. The traits that I have identified in Ella are in bold.

The Cocker Spaniel is eager to both work and hunt. They are trusting and respectful of their master. They are of average intelligence and may be difficult to housebreak. Some like to bark. They love everyone and want people to be happy. They are usually good with children. If not socialized well, they may tend to be shy.

The Border Collie is outgoing, friendly and affectionate with those with whom they are familiar and reserved with strangers. They are highly intelligent, very motivated, enjoy working and may become neurotic if not given enough to do. They are not usually nervous or aggressive. They have a very strong herding instinct which they will use to attempt to herd cats or other small animals.

The Italian Greyhound is submissive, affectionate and gentle. They can be reserved with strangers but very attached to their masters. They are playful, sometimes intentionally naughty and may try to take advantage. They can also be timid and high strung. They do best in a quiet household with no small children. They are very active and may be difficult to housebreak

Belgian Tervuren is smart and obedient, serious and watchful, with strong protective and territorial instincts. They are loyal to their master, and thrive on companionship. If left alone, they may find ways to entertain themselves that may be destructive to surroundings. They have strong herding instincts that they may display by nipping at people's heels. They tend to attach themselves and bond strongly to one or two people.

In conclusion: Traits from these four breeds were written on pieces of paper, put in a black magician's hat, and randomly selected by the angels in heaven and thus was born the "Ella" dog.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I want to buy some knives for cutting fruits and vegetables.

But to be honest, I am a little intimidated.

I saw a set of Farberware Cutlery at Wal-Mart and considered them for purchase. Doing my best impression of an educated consumer, I read the back of the package.

Behind the window of tear-proof plastic was the printed promise of a limited lifetime guarantee... "UNLESS," the short paragraph stated, "they are not properly cared for." I inspected the back of the package for further information about "proper care" of knives, found none, then made a mental note of the Farberware Web site, where another line of text promised I could find "more information."

I visited the Web site and did not, however, find any more information. And so the care of knives remained a mystery...

Then I conducted a Yahoo search.

I learned that, in addition to washing knives in warm water with a gentle soap, "proper care" would also probably include "sharpening."

A few paragraphs attempted to explain the different sharpening methods, and revealed the existence of professional knife sharpeners.

Professional knife sharpeners?

I resisted the desire to find out more about these people: Who are they? Do they have degrees? Where do they work? What do they charge? Is this their main source of income or just a hobby to supplement their livelihood?

I was begining to feel way out of my league.

Who was I to undertake such an endeavor - this immense responsibility of knife ownership - without the proper training?

I took an Advil and closed my laptop.

I thought about my serrated knife in my kitchen drawer. I wasn't sure what it was meant for but I had, over the past five years, used it for everything from cutting watermelon to slicing into the hard plastic used for packaging knives and electronic devices like head phones and MP3 players.

Maybe this, too, is something that is simply a matter of trial and error.

But I don't know.

Sometimes I feel as if each day is merely an exercise in uncovering all of the things I don't yet know.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Financial 'whoas'

The transmission on my Pontiac Grand Prix needs to be rebuilt. Although not an imminent threat to my mobility, apparently some action will need to be taken in the near future. There is a lot of information on the Internet about the 2000 Grand Prix and it sounds like the transmission is (unfortunately) a common problem with this model after a certain number of miles. The total cost will be around $2,000, but since I just invested $500 in tires, rebuilding the transmission seems to be the wisest way to proceed. The mechanic said I could probably get another 50,000 miles out of my car with a rebuilt transmission. On the Internet it looks as thought I could sell my car for between $3,000 and $4,000 (that would be if it were healthy). I would rather keep it, though, than be saddled with a "new" used car with a mysterious past.

Other financial woes: something is very wrong with my laptop. I don't know what and I am not going to find out until it is in operable. Now it is difficult to use and inconsistent with a lot of weird error screens and spontaneous shutdowns. To take it in and get it fixed would be an assault on my already hurting finances: I am trying desperately to recover from wedding expenses/vacation and the impact of my work-imposed furlough. My grandfather recently dropped $200 to have his computer cleaned of viruses and I need that $200 for other things!

With all of these things hanging over my head, it would seem as though thoughts of going back to school for a master's degree are now in the same realm of possibility as becoming a rocket scientist.

My head is still above water, though, so I can't complain too much.

Wedded Bliss

Little sister tied the knot last month - twice. The first time (May 17) was on the gulf shore by a priest, the second time (May 20) was in a park by a civil servant. I guess they do things a little differently when an American citizen is marrying a Mexican citizen in his home country. The good news is they are married and they are in the process of having their marriage license recognized in the United States, as well. My hope is eventually (within the next two years) they move back to the United States. They are considering their official wedding date as May 17, by the way.

My first 5K

I ran my first 5K this weekend! I finished in 30:58 and improved my time with each lap of the mile-long track. I couldn't believe it! My goal was to simply complete the race without walking (or dying). I guess the gym time has been paying off. I suspect that soon I will be setting some new health/fitness goals. The feeling of accomplishment that I experience when I do something I never thought I could do is incomparable and worth the effort.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Whose dumb idea was this? Oh yeah, mine…

News coverage at my paper lately has been far from comprehensive. Reduced staff, reduced hours and reduced morale are at least in part to blame – but was this publication ever able to provide the complete countywide coverage it so loudly proclaimed?

I don’t know.

I’ve been here less than a year. During that time, I saw my fearless leader and a seasoned news editor sent packing – two casualties of the “economic situation” and what may be the slow and agonizing death of the community newspaper.

Since then it has been a struggle to find the happy medium between the bad days and the good.

On bad days, I send my resume anywhere and everywhere – it’s like a message in a bottle out on the open ocean and I am like an island castaway: I don’t know who will get my message and I really don’t care, I just hope that soon I will be rescued.

On good days, I want to make my paper the best it can be and in so doing create more work for myself. More stress inevitably follows.

I am not the editor. Certain responsibilities are not within my realm of authority. But in this brave new world of part-time and virtual editors, it is unlikely (if not impossible) for those who are in command to have any idea what is really happening on the ground. An intercessor is born.

I quietly made a list of our “perceived” coverage goals (those concocted with a larger staff) and compared it with a list of our “actual” coverage. I wasn’t surprised to find a gaping discrepancy.

Actual coverage and perceived coverage were two entirely different creatures.

I presented my findings to the part-time/virtual editor, along with a proposed plan of action. The plan of action will require me to pick up a lot of the slack and reprioritize my workload; meaning some things will still fall by the wayside. However, I believe the truly important areas will receive the attention they require and future disasters will be averted.

If only there was a way to translate this brilliance into something resume-worthy instead of just added work for the time being.

Lucky for me, today is a “good” day and on good days I believe that making the best of the bumpy road I am on will lead to something profoundly better, albeit with its own challenges, in the NEAR future.

Yoga de-mystified

Today I am celebrating my one-week anniversary with yoga.

Only seven short days ago, I wandered into an upper level studio in Sturgeon Bay for a beginner’s class, stripped out of my socks, and got centered. I haven’t been the same since.

OK, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it was an eye-opening experience.

Yoga is actually kind of difficult to explain. Perhaps that is why it rarely receives an adequate explanation in pop-culture and is instead reduced to celebrity get-fit-quick sound bytes.

Participating in one Beginner’s Yoga class hardly makes me an expert – but I would still like to take a stab at deciphering this pastime to my beloved readers. (“Hi” grandma and grandpa; thanks for reading.)

So first, here is what the dictionary says:

“Yoga: A Hindu discipline aimed at training the consciousness for a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility; a system of exercises practiced as part of this discipline to promote control of the body and mind.”

This definition is probably the best I could find that avoids getting to caught up in the theological and cultural intricacies of the practice, which has its roots in India and specifically, the Hindu and Buddhist religions.

What surprised me after attending my first yoga class, was how a lot of the “poses” I learned were not unfamiliar. Many of them I had already done at one time or another, but they were called “stretches,” and were given far less mystical-sounding names.

The take-away message is that yoga can be whatever you make it – just another type of exercise or something more.

The difference between yoga and other physical activities is that you have to be “present” – focused on the here and now – because you will probably fall over if you aren’t. In other physical activities, it is a lot easier to mindlessly go through the motions.

Even if you are skeptical of the other benefits yoga promises to offer, I think most of us could use the reminder to focus on the here and now and be “present” in each moment of our lives.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Butter dish

My parents are coming to visit me this weekend and my mom is bringing me a butter dish. I am very excited about this because for some reason whenever I am shopping in places that actually sell butter dishes, I forget that I need one. As a result, my butter usually hangs out atop a teacup saucer or in an overly accommodating piece of tupperware in my 'frige.

At one time, the butter didn't have a home at all, and was left to shiver inside of its wax-paper packaging on a low refrigerator shelf. I quickly discovered that was a dangerous place for butter: any time the refrigerator door opened Ella (part pig/part dog) would take a swipe at it with her tongue.

Little things like butter dishes don't make a huge difference in life - but they are still nice to have. Just like a paper towel dispenser... but that is a story for another day...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Canon in D, anyone?

Several women I know are being made "honest" next month.

My Mom's best friend, Sue, will be the first to walk down the proverbial aisle, followed by my aunt, and then Little Sister.

Little Sister is getting married.


I still can't believe it, but I have come a long way since I first learned of her engagement last November.

Being the older sibling, it was hard for me to let go of the (admittedly irrational) belief that it is my duty - my birthright even - to complete all of life's major firsts, FIRST. My "failure" to comply with (real or perceived) societal norms resulted in a blighting sense of inadequacy.

Once upon a time, I had been engaged; once upon a time, there had been a chance for me. Now I had to face the harsh reality that my transition from bright-eyed young woman into cynical, spinsterly aunt was imminent - and I was helpless to stop it.

But since then I have done a lot of thinking. I reflected on marriage and divorce and relationships – in general. For much of my adult life, I wasn't sure if I wanted to get married; what I did know was that I didn't want to get divorced. I pondered what the secret was - what makes some marriages happy and lasting and successful (generally speaking) while others end in divorce. I wanted a rhyme to the reason; I wanted to believe that there are "tell-tale signs" or similarities between failed relationships - symptoms that could be identified as treatable or untreatable. I wanted to believe that there are instances of foreshadowing in life that - if one is paying attention - one can heed to avoid an unhappy ending. While this may be true to some degree, there are never any guarantees.

On the plus side, I think I know under what circumstances I would like to marry.

Marriage, to me, is about finding a best friend, a lover and soul mate and pledging to them that no matter what happens, you want to solve your problems, and work together, and experience life's journey together - even when it is not easy. You want to share joy and love, and be there for each other when times are hard. You challenge each other to be better people, while being supportive. You are teammates with shared goals, but you also support each other in your individual goals.

This is what I want in a relationship and in a marriage. If I can't have it, I might be better off as a spinsterly aunt.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

decisions, decisions

Last August I made some life-altering decisions.

I confronted fears, I said goodbye and I cried.

Decisions are hard to make - and always involve taking a chance - even when it is not obvious.

I knew I was taking a chance. After I took that chance, there was a period of adjustment, things were better than I expected; and then worse than anticipated.

Now, I am living with the decisions that I made and the good and the bad that go with them.

This is life.

I am not sure whether it's more simple than we want to admit, or really complicated.

In any case, a lot has changed in my life in eight months: My job, my home, my outlook.

My goals are more clearly defined, my dreams better articulated and my vision of myself a little less murky.

I am coming to terms with being a grown-up and a human being and that scary thing called "making a decision."

Although sometimes we may struggle with decisions - and even postpone making them - in reality we are lucky that we have the opportunity.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Living in a small world, your life is very big. The minutia of the day to day consume your thoughts and the world revolves around one, blazing sun that is definitively you.

Then one day you wake up and realize, you are actually not the center of the universe and that a great bit of activity is going on around you - a thought that can bring comfort, as well as isolation.

Because the world is full of pain. Pain is bad and we hide from it as long as we can. Until the inevitable - "something really bad" - happens.

Sure, "something really bad" can happen when you are in your small world. But there is "bad" blown up for dramatic effect in absence of anything else interesting happening; and then there is bad.

Bad is something that can not be adequately described or spoken. It is the greatest pain - the absence of hope, the hollowness, the regret, the rage, the helplessness.

Bad is seeing a baby brought into the world under the worst of circumstance, with the odds already against her. Bad is watching that baby grow and fight against the odds, only to be stifled by obstacle after heart-wrenching obstacle. Bad is learning someone has stolen the innocence from that baby, who has already been through more than most people in their lives.

This is the best the world has to offer?

Something has to be done.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Beatings Will Continue. Period.

Winter, the economy, and job dissatisfaction are really taking their toll on my friends and me. We are all struggling to maintain our sanity in this really unfriendly reality. I have four friends (that I know of, maybe more), who, like myself, will be facing a week of unpaid furlough; another friend was laid off completely, as were two of my bosses; and one other friend who is leaving the journalism field altogether and going back school. Sometimes I wish I could do the same, but right now I am just not sure how that would work or what I could do differently to bring more meaning into my life and (hopefully) more job satisfaction.
The winter is making me really depressed, and I have been trying to channel it into something positive – singing and learning guitar.

Amy Lee of Evanesence and Tori Amos are my vocal “role models.” I realize I need to concentrate more on the fundamentals, the building blocks of vocals, because Amy & Tori have a much greater ability to control their voices on command than I do. Sometimes I can do something that sounds pretty good but I am not sure how it was accomplished. Other times I try to do something good and it ends up sounding like a boy going through puberty. Not good!

I know practice will make perfect – or at least “improved.” But fundamentals are so boring and vocal exercises just make me feel cheesy. “La la la la la la la la laaaaa.” At the same time I know it makes sense to do and you can’t just “whip it out” without some kind of warming up.

I don’t like to do something without any defined purpose – largely this is because this is something I really want to do, but I am going to have a goal too. I would like to get to a point where I feel confident enough in my “skills” that I could do an open mic night or at least feel comfortable enough to join a choir, or audition to be in the chorus for some musical, or something. Because I really like singing and music and it makes me happy so….

Right now my favorite song to sing is “Lithium” (Evanesence) – go figure.

I know my mood will improve when spring arrives, or the economy improves – whichever happens first. The Groundhog said it will probably be a while before either.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

We Found a Dress (and no one died)

Little Sis, Big Sis and the one they call The Blessid Mother embarked on a journey Saturday, Jan. 17, to find a wedding dress for Little Sis. In three or so short and (relatively) painless hours the search was over, *the* dress was purchased, and no one died.

When all is said and done, my mom, my sister and I love and respect each other, but our similarities often make it hard for us to peacefully co-exist for extended periods of time and in confined spaces.

We are all very independent, strong-willed and sometimes stubborn creatures. While we can be cool-headed in other circumstances, for some reason, in one another’s company emotions can escalate and circumstances deteriorate at a break-neck speed.

We were all keenly aware of these facts when we piled into Mom’s Sonata and headed to David’s Bridal.

Amazingly, we (“we” being Little Sis) found a dress in less than three hours with only a few bumpy patches. All possibilities were considered, including walking barefoot down the aisle and hemming to the hilt.

In the end, Little Sis will do neither – but she did find a winning dress.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Progress is Slow & Painful

I've accomplished a lot of things this weekend - nothing all that important or interesting, but necessary.

I did some organizing and some pre-emptive "spring cleaning." The winter is a good time to sift through the crap and figure out what I really need and what needs to go. Lightening my personal load is important because if I decide in a moment's notice that I want to get the heck outta here, I don't want to be burdened with a lot of crap I don't need.

The only way you know what you need is by going through and assessing the value of each item. I am working through the spare bedroom and trying to pare down my collection of newsclippings, which is probably my biggest burden.

Although I haven't made a formal list of new year's resolutions, I have at the forefront of my brain a list of goals and every day I am taking steps closer to accomplishing them. Key words sum them up - cooking, health, fitness, music, persistence, patience.

Today I played a chord on the guitar and I was very excited. It was the "G" chord and it actually sounded right. Awesome. I am kind of disgusted by how long it took me to get to the point where I could play it and for a short time was convinced my fingers must just be too fat, or finger nails too long. Now I have no nails and I played one chord. I am thinking about taking lessons to speed the process a bit. But I guess I am not really in a HURRY. Besides, I need to save my money for "college."

If everything pans out right, next fall I am going to start taking some Digital Media classes at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. I have a meeting in Green Bay this week with an advisor to talk about their flexible adult programs and payment options. The reality is the journalism industry is a scary place to be and a girl has got to have a backup plan. In another two months my company is doing more layoffs and while I think they are only interested in frying the big fish - you just never know.

Besides that, I really am not crazy about living here. I mean, my house is nice enough, and certainly cheap enough, but I am convinced this area is no place to live if you are a single person. I hate knowing everything has gone to bed by 9 p.m. and the nearest "big" city is a 45 minute drive. Big cities are nice (and this "big city" is small by other people's standards) because there is more stuff to do and more people to meet (under the age of 40).

THis is a nice place to visit, but not a nice place to live if you are me.

Things to look forward too: My sister is coming home from Mexico next weekend for a visit and we are going to paint the town. That will be nice. It's been a long time since I've gone out and danced the night away. Then Sunday we are looking for *the* dress. Her wedding dress, that is. And potentially my bridesmaid's dress. That should be fun.... Ok... probably not. I will try to think positive about this... but the whole thing kind of makes me feel ill.... I am not sure why. I mean, I am happy for her but...still makes me ill....maybe because I have to wear lavendar? Maybe because I have to fly on a plane for her nuptuals? Maybe because she might never move back to the states? Maybe because it makes me revisit my doomed engagement 3 or so years ago? There are lots of reasons why this could potentially make me feel ill and want to drown myself in delicious margaritas and/or apple puckers and journey to the happy land of inhibition. Unfortunately the land of tremendous heartburn often follows quickly behind.

I have decided to get a tattoo. It is just a matter of where and when. I know that this will really make my mom happy. Whenever I have mentioned the "t" word in the past, she has given me a look like I suggested we go drown some puppies: profound horror. It will be a tasteful little piece and I have asked an old friend of mine to draw it for me. He is a pretty good artist and he would take the task seriously. I don't know when this will happen. It will be a great surprise to everyone. Mwah ha ha. Trish, you better support me in this - you have two of them and I don't think you regret them.

So I "cooked" today. I made this tasty strawberry, walnut salad with poppyseed dressing, lettuce and spinach leaves. Yummy yummy. How do you like me now? I am going to try to do more "cooking" this year, as it could potentially be cheaper and healthier than eating other crap... Keep in mind, if I cook one meal once a month, I will be doing more than I have ever done before in my life. That reminds me, I have some eggs I need to hard boil for lunch tomorrow. Go me.

I am also going to try to do a better job of being organized and keeping my house clean - because that is what you are supposed to do. But at the end of the day, living life is still more important to me than shiny countertops and I vow to abandon cleaning when life strikes!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Life is too short

Life is OK. It could definitely be worse; I have a job, a steady paycheck, bills I can pay (for the most part), my health (for the most part) and great family and friends.

So is it bad to want *more* or dream about *bigger and better* things when I am lucky to just be where I am?

I am not sure.

On one hand, I feel like I should keep my eyes to the ground and my fingers crossed, ever pressing on in the direction I am headed ... On the other hand, I want to dream and strive for something better and take steps to reach another goal.

It's a tricky business...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Day 2

It's Day 2 of the New Year and things are still going well! I am a little bit sleepy at the moment, but aside from that 2009 is treating me kindly. I am thankful for all of the special people in my life and that my UTI appears to be going away. I hate UTIs. This weekend I plan to do some SERIOUS reorganizing of my house... and some cleaning too. I wish it wasn't so cold in the upper level of my house. Then I might actually spend time up there besides sleeping. Even that isn't too pleasant: I dive beneath the chilly covers and rub my limbs together to generate heat. If that doesn't work, I roll into a ball.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I resolve... to read

One of my New Year's resolutions this year is to read more. I am happy to say that I have no shortage of material. Trish provided me with three books and I have two at home that I am also planning to read and maybe engage in a blog dialoge with Trish about some of them. They are...

"Women Who Think Too Much: How to Break Free of Overthinking and Reclaim Your Life" by Susan Nolen-Hoeksema

"The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz

"You're Broke Because You Want to Be: How to Stop Getting By and Start Getting Ahead" by Larry Winget

"Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim: Essays" by David Sedaris

"A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle

Let the reading begin!

Happy New Year!

Somewhere in Northern Wisconsin, a group of people have gathered to celebrate the New Year in a special way: by plunging into the icy waters of Lake Michigan. They call themselves "polar bears;" I call them insane!

I celebrated the New Year, too.

I went shopping.

I have the distinction of being the first sale of 2009 at New York & Co. in Southridge Mall. The shopping experience was unlike any other I have ever had - simply put - bliss.

There were no crowds, the sales associates were friendly without being overbearing and almost everything was on sale. (It was the "big BIG sale.")

Adding to my pleasure was the fact that the size I previously wore was now too big! I had to buy a smaller size.


I left the store with three pairs of pants, four underwear, and a sweater - all for the low low price of $72. $72 that was paid for with $75 worth of gift cards.

I hate to be redundant, but...


So I started the New Year blissfully happy and it is my resolution to remain so for as long as humanly possible.