Tuesday, July 31, 2007

never a dull moment

Well I am back from Chicago. It turned out to be a much more interesting and enjoyable trip than I had expected it to be. The training was useful and provided some practical information in addition to some inspiration to me personally as an artist. I have finished very little work in the last few years. Here is the last painting that I actually finished. You can see by how short my hair was that it was a LONG time ago...about three years ago actually. Yikes.

Before I left for Chicago we celebrated my birthday. It ended up being a wonderful day, from start to finish. In the morning I got up and met Erin at Greenlake for our last walk together before her departure to Brazil. The night before we went out for a going-away-get-together and when I told her about my plans to go to a shooting range she said she thought it sounded like fun. So she, Mr. C, and I all went to a shooting range and shot pistols! The first gun was a 9mm and the second one was a 38 Special. Wow! I said that I wanted to do something to take me out of my comfort zone, and I sure did! When we got there I realized how truly out of my element I was. But it was so exciting. I was worried that since I am so small that the gun would have too much force for me to handle, but I think I did very well. Erin did take a picture of me and Mr. C, so if she sends it to me I will post it. For now, here are the targets that we shot.

Of course we did go get cheesecake. Mr. C insisted that I get three slices! I didn't have a chance to eat very much, though, since my flight was early the next morning and I didn't take any for the plane. For our evening entertainment Mr. C and I went to a burlesque show at a place in Post Alley called the Pink Door. We had a great time and I even got tipsy (he kept buying me White Russians).

While I was in Chicago Mr. C was woken up from an after-work nap to find out that a man driving down our street blacked-out and drove into our cars. He first side-swiped our neighbor's car, then drove right into the back of Mr. C's car, which smashed into my car, then he side-swiped my car. My car is still able to be driven (although not at night as the tail lights no longer work) but Mr. C's car is in really bad shape. We don't know exactly how things will shake down yet, but are working with the insurance people to get it all sorted out. Yikes again.

Friday, July 20, 2007

on my mind...

This is going to be one of those random posts...

Tomorrow is my birthday. I am still not certain what I will do to celebrate it. Per his request I sent Mr. C some ideas for activities and gifts and at this point I will let him take control of making final decisions. I just want to do something fun/silly/odd to perhaps get me out of my comfort-zone. We'll see what ends up happening. I will post about it eventually. One thing that I know for certain is that at some point during the day there will be extravagantly decadent cheesecake. And if past experience is an indicator for future expectations, Mr. C will insist that I get at least two slices.

I'm leaving early Sunday morning for Chicago. I will be there for six days. I am not super excited to be going as I am finally starting to get the hang of this relaxing thing. The trip is for work--I will be attending an Institute for teaching Advanced Placement Art. I've been teaching it for two years and really enjoy it, so when the brochure came three months ago it sounded like a great idea. I will enjoy it once I am there. Do you think they will let me take left-over chessecake on the airplane?

Holy cow...have you seen Tammy Faye (Baker) lately? Yesterday we were watching CNN and as the program went to commercial her image flashed on the screen to promo. an interview with Larry King. She looked like a painted skeleton. Mr. C and I both literally gasped in recoil. How sad. The poor woman has cancer. Her face will haunt me for months.

Tonight is Erin's going away party. She is leaving for Brazil while I will be in Chicago. I can't write about it because I will get too emotional. I am going to miss my friend terribly.

It looks like we will be moving once our lease is up in September. Last week Mr. C and I had discussed this and had pretty much come to the decision to move. We want to stay in this neighborhood, but find a larger house. Well the other day our landlord called and asked me what our plans are because she wants to move into our house. She has another house a few blocks away that might be coming available around the time our lease is up, so we may move in there. I've walked by the house and it looks good from the outside.

After only three days I feel like the little green pills are starting to work. I'm still not eating a lot but one of the side effects, at least initially, is loss of appetite. Since I've already lost six pounds this has to change soon. It will. I love food. I'm sure the cheesecake will help:)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

about therapy

I saw the therapist for the second time today. The first visit did go very well so before I went in today I had myself prepared for that to have been an anomaly. But once again things went well.

It did take a while to find a therapist. After the experience with that woman who totally went down the wrong road with me I was wary to jump right back into looking. A woman I admire and trust recommended someone, but when I spoke to her on the phone she told me she didn’t have any openings. She recommended several different colleagues and gave me some basic information about each of them. Based on what she told me I called the woman who I am seeing now (it took me over a month to make the call).

She has a background in and practices traditional psychotherapy but she also integrates energy work (Reiki) and mindfulness. So far we have spent the first half of each 90 minute session in “talk” therapy and the second half doing energy work. During the energy work time I do deep breathing and relaxation exercises and she also brings up things that came up during the talk therapy part and helps me work through them.

Something she is really helping me with is to be present with the “bad” feelings as they come up and not try to bury them. After the first visit she encouraged me to allow myself to feel these things and see what came up for me. When she said that I really wasn’t sure how it could possibly help. But it is helping and being able to work things through with her is a big part of that.

I realized today that the feeling I have of not trusting myself comes out of a larger issue of not trusting God. And as we worked through that I realized that I am already on the road to rebuilding that trust, but that it will take time. I also realized or became aware that while my faith/trust was damaged, it wasn't completely destroyed. Likewise, I wasn't destroyed either. And often when something is rebuilt it is stronger than it was initially. I believe that the healing work that I am doing is making me, my faith, and my relationship stronger.

Wow. Am I tempting fate by being so positive?

Oh, and the medication I am taking is for anxiety. She said it will take a couple weeks for them to really kick in, but since I am so small and very sensitive that I will most likely feel them sooner. I'm glad I took that step, too. Who knows how long I will choose to take them. Right now I am not concerned about it.

Monday, July 16, 2007

the big guns

I feel like my world has been turned upside down and shaken up...and this is not a bad thing, but it feels very bad most of the time.

I am facing things. I am forcing myself to have the hard conversations--with others and with myself. I am actively engaging in life. And while I know that change can be (by its very nature) tumultuous, today I finally asked for help in a way that I hadn't thought that I would really need.

I saw the new therapist last Wednesday and it went really well. She said that she might want to prescribe something for my anxiety, but wanted to wait until my following visit this Wednesday to see how I am doing. Today I called her and told her I don't think I can wait. I will pick up my prescription later today.

While things have been improving in all aspects of my life, there is still this strong undercurrent of anxiety that is always present. Yes, I can control it with breathing exercises and visualization. I can control it by dealing with things as they come up instead of trying to avoid them. I can control it, but only to a certain extent. Last night I woke up gasping for air. This has happened a couple of times in the last few weeks. That isn't good. No, I haven't been having all-out panic attacks (I've had them in the past, so I know for sure what they are) but this not being able to breathe thing is not good. And the worst "symptom" of all is this feeling of not being able to "be myself." This is making me feel crazy. Yesterday I really allowed myself to *be* with that feeling and I realized that at its core is this sense that I don't trust myself. Clearly it is something that I can and will work through in therapy, but I need to be able to sleep and eat in order to really do that work/live life.

Monday, July 9, 2007

a new look

So it isn't a drastic change or anything, but today when I was fussing over trying to get my stat meter to show up I played with the template and changed it.

Sometimes change feels good, even if it is something small.

I've been doing that around the house as well. It all started last night when I rearranged two chairs in my living room. We have a leather club chair that matches our sofa and a modern slipper chair and ottoman that is a similar color to the accent wall (in the celadon/chartreuse range). Anyway, I bought this chair and ottoman not too long after returning to work after William died. I feel like I have been sitting in this chair for a year. Moving it felt good to me. I had no idea how happy it would make Mr. C. He kept going on and on about how he can sit in his favorite chair again and how he has asked me numerous times to move it. I really didn't realize how much it would mean to him. Isn't it funny that 1) this went right passed me and 2) that he didn't feel like he could move the darn chair himself? Hmmm...

Another change: I am reaching out to old friendships that I have neglected. Saturday in a burst of inspiration I sent e-mails to two friends who I hadn't spoken to in about three years. One friend called me within hours. The other friend didn't get the e-mail until she got to work today, and wrote right back.

driving me crazy

For the past several days my stat counter is not showing up on my blog. It is still showing up as a page element and when I to into customize mode the html is still there. But the icon is not showing up and I cannot check my stats! I am not a stat freak or anything, but I do like to see who has visited each day. I've checked and the stat counter is still showing up on other blogs. If anyone has an idea what is going on or can give me a tip on how to make it show up I would be very appreciative.

Friday, July 6, 2007

no longer focusing on the hole in the doughnut*

We went to a BBQ at the home of some friends of ours for the 4th of July. We were invited to the same BBQ last year and I backed out at the last minute and didn't go, Mr. C went alone. I just couldn't bare the idea of seeing the baby of another friend of ours, who was born a week after William's due date. But this year it didn't even occur to me that this baby, and many others, would be there until just before we went. It didn't worry me, I knew I would be fine, but I did wonder how it might feel. There was also another baby that I expected to see there--she was just born a month ago, which was a year after William's due date. Like many women who have lost a baby, I avoid newborns, so this would be the first tiny baby I had encountered since before my loss.

All told, there were 4 babies who were about a year or younger, and three toddlers. The small back yard was bursting at the seams with children. It didn't upset me in the slightest. The party was laid back, maybe even a little boring. At some point I sat off to the side with C--one of hosts. He and his wife cannot have children, she went into early menopause. Just after I sat down he made a comment to me about all of the children--how just a couple of years ago this was a completely different scene. I asked him if he and his wife ever consider their options. He said that they did talk about it at first, but came to the decision that which ever route they took that it would be stressful and difficult, and they aren't willing to put their marriage through that strain. He said that they are a family, and he is thankful for what they have and wants to nurture that. What he said, and how he said it, really impacted me.

Yesterday I was sitting on our deck, feeding the raccoon and I was reflecting on my feelings about being around all of those babies, and my conversation with C. While before I could say with all honesty that I am willing to wait as long as it takes to try again, that my marriage is most impotant, it wasn't true that I felt at peace with this on a certain level. In my heart I knew that my marriage was the most important thing, but I really wanted to be pregnant again. Now I am at a new peace with it. I actually do not feel like I want to be pregnant now. Yes, some day, but only when we are really ready. I am not feeling like I want or even need a timeline to grasp onto. I realize that there can be no way to put a timeframe on when we will be ready. I realize that by placing a one year mark for us to try again set in motion an unhealthy way of coping. It was as if I was putting my life on hold until that day came. I disengaged from the world in so many ways. I believe that this only has added to the strain on Mr. C.

Life doesn't fit into neat little packages, and things don't always follow the script we think they should. I am happy and thankful for what we have and do not want to get off track by always thinking about what it seems we ought to have. I could go on, but I think that is where I will leave it for now.

*The title comes from something an old friend used to say. She would refer to someone as always focusing on the hole in the doughnut when they were missing all of the good things in their life by focusing on the things that aren't meeting their expectations. (I suppose I didn't need to explain this, since it isn't that complex)

Monday, July 2, 2007

a visit with Collin...and a request

I went through a long streak of bad haircuts. Well, they really weren't that bad of haircuts so much that they were not the haircuts that I wanted. The streak ended when we were in Hawaii for my SIL's wedding in November of '05. This woman at a salon there finally gave me a haircut that I both wanted and liked. When I got back home I was determined to find a new stylist who could continue giving me haircuts that I would be happy with. I was lucky enough to find Collin. Today, sadly, he cut my hair for what will most likely be the last time. He has been having health issues and the doctor has advised him to stop styling hair because they think the sprays and whatnot may be to blame. But he has referred me to James, and he believes James will be a good fit for me. Here I am today, with a new cut thanks to Collin.

Now for the request. My birthday is coming up in a few weeks. I am turning 35. Birthdays, for the most part, have been a fun and happy part of life for me. Last year we kept it quiet. I still wasn't up for getting out much or being around people. But this year I feel like I really should do something. I will say that turning 35 is going to be hard for me. That wouldn't be the case if William had lived. But now here I am--childless and with no plan in the near future to try again. That being said, I want to do something fun or exciting, something that I will remember next year. I am asking for suggestions/ideas.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

our little buddy

It seems that there has been a change of heart here. At first Mr. C tried to chase this raccoon off with a BB gun. But the little buddy (who Mr. C thinks is a female) kept coming back. So for the last few nights he has been feeding her. The first couple of times he gave her some bread that I gave him. This wasn't very popular. Switching to crackers was a clear hit.