Friday, February 26, 2010


So I dropped Eleanor off this morning at preschool and immediately wondered what I should do with the 2 hours of free time I had. Should I run to Target and pick up Jeff's prescription? Oh wait, the pharmacy doesn't open until 10:00 a.m. Should I go to Sharp Shopper? Well, I could, but we really don't need anything. Finders Keepers? Same thing, we really don't need anything and I don't want to spend the money. As I'm thinking all of this, I realize I'm yawning. And I realize how I tired I feel. So I decided to go home. I thought, "I could clean the house. Vacuum the living room. Mop the floors." Yes, I could have. But what I did do was take a nap. I grumbled to my husband, who was getting ready to leave for work, that I didn't *want* to take a nap - it felt like I was wasting my free time. On the other hand, I didn't want to be tired and cranky the rest of the day either.

So I took a nap. A nice, glorious nap. Maybe it will keep me awake tonight. Maybe my house will go uncleaned for a little while longer (O.K., no maybe about that one). Maybe it wasn't the best use of my time.

Then again, maybe it was.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I have no oompfh. No git' up 'n go. I just don't feel like doing anything. And so I'm sitting in front of the screen and my daughter is (happily) watching much more Scooby Doo than she ought to, and I just can't get up the gumption to change this. I'm sure it's at least in part because I'm tired today, but still, this is becoming too much of a habit. I don't want to be oompfh-less. I certainly don't want to teach my daughter to entertain herself via videos. And yet more days than not I find myself saying, "Eh, just for today..." What a LIE to myself!

So, I've gotta figure out how to get my Oompfh back. This is my quest in my 38th year. I need Oompfh. I need to give my children Oompfh. I need to stop letting TV and Facebook and particularly going to bed too darn late steal my energy, make my values fade into the background, and have me leading a zombie-like existence.

Monday, February 22, 2010


I asked my husband yesterday if it bothered him that I have been staying home while he went to church with the kids. "A little," he admitted. "Is it the child care? Or the spiritual side of things?" I asked. "Definitely not the kid care stuff, a little the spiritual," he replied - "It's just a bit awkward and a little lonely to be there by myself when everyone else is with a spouse." So I decided I would go back to church with him, even though he said it was O.K. if I didn't - he could understand why I wanted to stay home and rest.

But as I was falling asleep, I asked myself why it is I don't want to go to church lately. Yes, I do usually end up napping at that time, which I often need. But I know it's bigger than that. So I asked myself, "Do you still believe in God?" "YES!" came my internal answer. "Do you still believe in Jesus?" "YES!" I replied, again. "So what's the deal?"

The deal is, I *want* fervently to believe in God and Jesus and the goodness of it all (even though God doesn't promise it will all be good) - but I am terribly angry with Him. Enraged. Mad. Furious. Livid. Frustrated. Doubting. Because if God is God and God is Love and Jesus is the way, why does my son have Tourette's Syndrome and Asperger's? Why do I battle obesity and anxiety? Why do kids have cancer? Why do earthquakes take hundreds of thousands of lives? Why do people send money to other countries without sending money to help the destitute in their own? Why do I have a nice house and car and husband and life, and other people are living in slums or being beaten or dealing drugs or being subjected to who knows what? Why would God let cancer take away my pastor's wife?

Either God and Jesus are active in the world, walking among this suffering, or they're distant/remote. If they're here, I just don't get it. Yes, I know Jesus suffered for all of us, God KNOWS what suffering feels like - but I still don't get it. Do I expect Utopia? Heaven on Earth? I don't know. And if they're NOT here on Earth, if they're more like distant observers with whom we will only come face to face after we pass out of this realm, what's the point? And isn't it cruel?

And finally, yes, I certainly waffle with my old believes that God and Jesus are man-made creations to explain and assuage some of our deepest questions, fears, and needs. I know that could still be true. My gut screams at me that there is a God, that Jesus is real, which lets me know I still believe at some Christian level.

But I am just so full of rage that going to church and following the liturgy and smiling and spreading the Peace and taking Eucharist and hearing about Sunday school and exchanging pleasantries with people I don't really know just doesn't feel meaningful to me. I hope some day it will. I suppose it will start with me going back to church.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I feel as if I am constantly irritable. This bothers me. I do not want to be constantly irritable. I'd much rather be calm, happy, relaxed, breezy, able to go with the flow, unconcerned, not worried, and a joy to be around. Instead, I'm irritable and cranky for what feels like most of my days. Is it because of my life stage? Being a stay-at-home mom means I don't own my time and am at other people's beck and call, or at least doing things for other people, much of the time. Is it because I'm tired? Lord knows I don't go to bed early enough - I can't seem to relinquish that little bit of "me" time at the end of the day, and while I know it would be great to be zonked out by 10:00 p.m., I'm usually putting the book down and turning off the lights closer to 11:00. So I suppose chronic sleep deprivation could play a role. Is it my personality? Am I so innately selfish and whiny that not being able to do what I want to do just because I want to do it leaves me perpetually a bitch? My mom always told me I should have 0 or 1 kids; she meant it lovingly, I guess, and recently said it was because of what I've just mentioned - not owning my time. So is it me? Or is it biochemical, like the anxiety I struggled with post-partum (and which still occasionally gets me now)? Do I just not have enough serotonin, dopamine, and beta-endorphin floating around up there to keep me feeling groovy?

I don't know. I wish I did. I had hoped that cleaning up the food might "fix" it. As of two weeks ago, we are avoiding foods containing artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, MSG, high fructose corn syrup, and anything hydrogenated. And also trying, with less success, to reduce white flour, sugar, and natural flavors intake. The Amazing Personality Transformation has not happened, however. I still feel bitchy! I still feel tired (I've even started napping again during the day). I'm not sure I feel different at all, actually, and that's depressing. Maybe it's because I'm still consuming a heck of a lot of baked good type stuff; yes, it's homemade, but cookies, cinnamon rolls, and pumpkin bread are still loaded with sugar, even if they are made from freshly milled flour and with raw milk. I'm sure my eating is still unbalanced, heavily favoring bready stuff and not getting as much protein, fruits, or veggies as I need.

Or is that me trying to create a new Holy Grail - if I can just get THAT part of my food fixed, THEN obviously I will no longer feel like the Wicked Witch of the West half of (O.K., most of) the time! Yeah, that's the ticket!

My mom mentioned once that she's sure her own mother had dysthymia - apparently a low-level depression that also includes irritability. So I'd like to go back to the "it's in my genes" argument. But does abdicating responsibility really do me any more good than assuming too much?

I don't know. I'm just tired of being grouchy. And perhaps, yes, grouchy from being tired.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ah, Sweet Freedom

Today both kids went to school. We have had massive snow in Virginia, but even more massive are the number of days the kids got "off" due to weather conditions. Although I actually spent the time in which my daughter is at preschool doing preparations for Jefferson's school festival on Saturday, it was still nice to have some time sans kids.

Last night Brett and I got to go out on a date - our first real date since before Christmas. Since it was Valentine's Day, I knew I could count on extra snuggles with my husband (he puts up with it on major holidays). We ate at a steakhouse and saw "Dear John." All typical date stuff, low key, but so much fun. I'm grateful to my parents for hosting the kids overnight!

Not much else today - we've been 2 weeks without artificial stuff or preservatives in our food. I'm sure my margarita last night had some, though, and I know the M&M's and cookies my daughter ate at school today for V-Day had some, too. I hope Jeff can abstain this afternoon at school. Because once you start back on those sweets, it is so hard to stop! I feel very "cravy" today, so I may have to make us something sweet here at home to counter that - it's still junky food, but at least I control what ingredients go into it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Anne: Extra Ordinary Girl

Hee hee, that's another title I've come up with for my yet-to-be-written Magnum Opus; a memoir of sorts, I suppose.

I do feel I have an ordinary life. What's special about me that would merit not only writing a memoir, but expecting someone to read it? I don't know. Maybe exactly that - the ordinariness of me. Just a silly middle-aged blonde woman chatting about growing up in Iowa, etc., etc.

I am an Iowan. My parents divorced when I was 5. I skipped 1st grade. I am left-handed. My mom married quickly after her first divorce and divorced again just as quickly. I went to 4 schools in 2 years during my 3rd-4th grade schooling. I was mocked incessantly in junior high for hanging out with 2 older girls who were considered strange; for supposedly being lesbian; for being overweight; for wearing my heart on my sleeve. I loved German in high school and lived in Germany for 4 months post-graduation. In college my big love was someone who had a girlfriend the entire time he and I "dated". I went to grad school and apparently excelled, but never felt confident enough and quit ABD. I married a wonderfully odd man who insists he is normal, and had an intensely difficult baby who turns out to have Tourette's and Asperger's. I lost my second baby, a girl, at 21 weeks from an apparent amnio-infection; she lived 3 hours. My third baby is my spunky sunshine. But I battled bad postpartum anxiety with both of my full-term babies. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

Oh, that's my life. Guess I don't need to write a book after all...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Thoughts on a Snowy Day

We're certainly getting more snow this winter in Virginia than I think I've ever seen. My son is on the way home early from school, which basically shoots any chance I might have had at a nap. Oh well.

Jeff just turned 9. I can't believe I have a 9 year old. Ellie is nearly 4. Pretty soon both of my kids will be school kids. Then teenagers. Ack. I just hope I can do well by Jeff. I love him intensely, but worry about him, too. What will his life be like, dealing with Asperger's and Tourette's? Will it hold him back? Will he be depressed? One of my greatest unexpressed fears is that some day he will kill himself. I don't know why I fear that; I hope the odds aren't great. Maybe because I know how hard it can be to be a person on this planet in general, much less when you've been handed some extra challenges. I pray he rises to the task of accepting and celebrating exactly who he is and finds strength in it, but I worry because he is pessimistic and self-critical by nature, it seems.

The snow is beautiful.

We are trying to clean up our eating and remove foods with artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, MSG or trans fats. If we can also avoid white flour, processed foods, and white sugar, great, but those are secondary right now. And man, it is HARD!!! Day 1, which was yesterday, was fine, but today Ellie and I ended up at a birthday party and had pizza and cake. Normal party food and I'm not going to restrict my kids from having that kind of food at a party, but still - it was frustrating not to even make it two days! And I know that not only the kids but I am also going to start clamoring for M&M's or a pizza or fast food or whatever. But it's a good challenge. I want to see what kind of effect it has on all of us.