Sep 21, 2006


When I was a little girl, I was fortunate to live very close to my grandma, and therefore, got to spend a lot of time with her. Each summer, my sister and I would take turns spending the night at her "house" - my aunt and uncle renovated their garage into her own little apartment. It was tiny, but so was she. She had her own bathroom and kitchen. She had a separate entrance into her place - it even had a working doorbell. It reminded me of a dollhouse. I loved it there.

The first time she invited me to spend the night, I was a little apprehensive. I was too young to attend sleepovers at my friends' houses, so I had never been away from my mom and dad. But she convinced me. She talked about this "magic bed" that I would get to sleep in and watch tv. A magic bed? What did it do? For the next two days I conjured up all kinds of images in my head. I finally settled on the idea that this bed would be able to lift me off the ground so I could see the tv better. That's it...I was sold! I couldn't wait to spend the night.

Turns out that the magic bed was actually just a cot. The magic part was that it could fold in half and be rolled into another room for easy storage. However, my cousin and I made it more magical by folding each other up in it and pushing it through the house. Ahh, the good old days...

I've been thinking about my grandma lately. She will turn 89 in December. She's had a difficult time lately - dealing with the loss of her daughter and now having to deal with the daughter she has left. The daughter she was never very close to. The daughter that she said cruel and demeaning things to over the past 60 years.

I was putting some makeup on earlier today and had a strange memory of my grandma. Whenever we would run errands with her (she never learned to drive), I would sit with her in the back seat of the car and she would reach in her purse. Over the years I learned that she was searching for one of three things: 1) a tissue, 2) hard candy, or 3) her compact. Whenever she pulled out her compact, she would rub some powder over her face. I would watch her intently as she did this. Every time, like clock work, she would look over at me and put some powder on my nose. It smelled funny - almost medicinal - but I loved it. I loved to listen to the "click" the compact made when she shut it closed.

When I was old enough to wear makeup (and buy my own), I bought the same compact my grandma used. I've never used anything else. It reminds me of her. I think it always will.

Sep 20, 2006

The Heat Is On...

...literally. The heat came on the other day for the first time since early spring. Actually, I was forced to turn it on when the temp inside the house reached 63 degrees. So for the past two days it has gone on and off throughout the day - mostly just in the evening and early morning.

This serves as a reminder that fall and winter are bearing down on us. I walked outside yesterday to get the mail and I was slapped in the face with the smell of either burning leaves or someone running their fireplace. I'm leaning toward the fireplace since there really aren't many leaves that have fallen - at least not in my neighborhood.

I love fall. OK, I love the concept of fall - leaves changing colors, Halloween, football games, jeans and sweaters, food that is not cooked on a grill, etc. However, with it fall brings many other things I could do without. The number one thing is the shorter days. How I hate that.

The shortened days and darkness coming at such an early hour can sometimes set me into a "mini-depression." Having been diagnosed as clinically depressed at the age of 14, I know what the serious stuff is all about. This isn't quite like that - similar feelings on a much smaller scale. Maybe I only feel that way for a couple of days, a week at most. I seem to be able to pull myself out of it rather well these days. Having family around me is always good and I am able to busy myself with activities and hobbies that I enjoy. At 14, the depression and anxiety paralyzed me. I could not see beyond it - no family, no friends, no hobbies could have pulled me away from it. I was consumed by my emotions. I was consumed by my thoughts.

This went on for quite a few months. My parents (thank God for them) were on top of things and a combination of therapy and medication helped me. Things seemed to be OK again. Life returned to "normal," and I laughed and enjoyed my family and friends once again. I did slip a few times over the next few years, but never once returned to that dark pit I couldn't see my way out of years before.

On a brighter note, I absolutely LOVE Halloween. I love dressing up, but as an adult I don't have much of a chance to do it. However, I married someone who also loves it, and my stepson is at the age where he still loves it. In fact, the three of us dress up together. In 2003, we went as Batman, Robin, and Catwoman. In 2004, we went as characters from "Gilligan's Island." Last year, we dressed up as two T-Birds and one Pink Lady a la "Grease." We rotate turns and each get to pick the costumes. This year is my stepson's turn to choose. We are all dressing up as Elvis - he is "Jailhouse Rock" Elvis, my husband is the brooding, 1950's Elvis, and I got stuck with white jumpsuit Elvis. Hmm...this will be interesting to say the least.

Sep 7, 2006

Good Day

Today was one of those days when I really loved my job. Maybe love is too strong of a word, but I felt very energized and excited about the work I do. This comes on the heels of a very crappy day. Let me just say it started with waking up at 7 AM with a migraine so painful that I would have preferred to have my dentist bore a hole in my head with her drill. Sometimes, when I have horrible migraines, I think about all of the painful things that would feel better than the actual migraine I was experiencing - this is how I came up with the dentist bit. My other favorites include:
  1. A jackhammer to the head/face
  2. A sledgehammer to the head to be swung by any of my favorite MLB players
  3. Banging my head against the wall...any wall
  4. Being stabbed in the eye (whichever eye is experiencing the pain)

OK, so this is morbid and kind of spooky, but what else can I do with my time when I'm dealing with a 17-hour migraine that, at times, I think just might kill me?

Back to my crappy day. It was not a 17-hour migraine - more like an 8-hour migraine. I was able to work once the meds kicked in, although I was higher than a kite for the first few hours. I refuse to get in to what exactly made the work day so crappy. I will not think about it any more than I already have because it is not healthy for me to stew about this. It is not healthy for me to go back to what I was feeling yesterday. All I will say is "Circus Tickets." I know what this means and 20 years from now, I can look back on this and recall the situation. That's all that matters.

So, it's no wonder today was better.

On a completely different note, I found this picture at my parents' house a couple of weeks ago. It's a picture of my sister, me, and my mom.

(Apparently, I can't get this picture to appear - I'll try again later)...

From the looks of things, we were at the "nature center," as we liked to call it. We did that a lot when I was young. I can so clearly remember running down the hill by the apple orchard, holding on to my big sister's hand and squealing with excitement as I got that funny feeling in my stomach as we descended. What happened to those times? How did I get to be 33 years old? How did I get to be so critical and negative? I remember being 4 or 5 years old and only caring about playing outside and going to the zoo or the "nature center" with my family. Now I worry about, well, everything. I care what people think of me - people that really shouldn't make a difference to me. I worry about having enough money to pay bills. I worry about getting a terminal illness. I worry about someone I love getting a terminal illness. I worry about getting old. I worry about failing - in work, in marriage, in life in general.

I don't really want to be that young again, mainly because I really don't feel like reliving all the bad times - broken hearts, high school, deaths, etc. But just for a few minutes, I'd like to have that feeling back. The feeling of no worries. The feeling of being excited about running through the sprinkler, waiting for my dad to come home from work, helping my mom fold towels, and eating a pb&j sandwich.