The Upswing

My mother told me the other day that her therapist can tell where she is in her bipolar cycle by the look on her face when she enters the room.   I totally get that.  I used to be able to tell what type of “mood” she was in by the way she said, “Good Morning.”  Or didn’t, in some cases.  When I was a kid and had something I wanted to ask her, I would try to do it over the phone, because her demeanor was so much better when on the phone.  Then when we lived together and worked together, people would laugh because I would come to her office to say good morning.  We knew each other well enough to stagger our prep time in the morning and most of them we never saw each other at home.

I don’t know why I’ve been thinking about this except to say, I find myself on an “up” cycle right now.  It’s like the fight with Frenemy was the bottom and as soon as it was over I started climbing out of it.  I don’t think my “cycles” are as short as my mother’s, either.  Or maybe I’m just pretending.  I have a face I put on in public situations.  (For some reason, I can’t keep that face on at work, but whatever.)

I think part of my problem with my Dad stems from the fact that he has a friend who is bipolar.  When she is at her low point she has been suicidal.  For some reason, my father recognizes her as having a mental illness.  But he thinks my mom and I are just “moody”.  It’s kind of like how he feels free to tell me how great I looked when I was 16.  Over and over and over.  Dude, you looked pretty sharp at 16, too.  Neither of us are 16.

My point, if I have one, is that I’m hoping this is an up cycle that will keep me going up for a while.  Here are some things that are making a difference, or I hope will in the future:

  • I’m loving working from home on Monday and Wednesday.  I’m actually getting some of my lengthy to-do list done.  Every day I’m not busy at work, I get a little more comfortable doing things around the house.  I’m sure this will come in handy around the holidays.
  • I’m also loving my Water Aerobics class – which we refer to as “Splish-Splash”.  I’m about 10 weeks into it now and I think I’ve only missed one session, which was because of a conflicting appointment.  I just signed up for another 10 sessions.
  • When I signed up for my 10 session punch card at the pool, I also signed up for a 3 month gym membership.  This works for me on two levels. 1) It’s cheaper than my previous gym membership. 2) It makes the WA classes less expensive and gives me free access to the pool on days when I don’t have class.  I’m hoping and wishing that I feel the gumption to get up and go to actually use the gym and get sweaty again.
  • The weather is perfect right now.  I’m actually wearing a sweater today!  It’s sunny and brisk.  I love it.  I’d prefer to be out in it rather than looking at it through my window, but at least I get to look at it.

There are so many things I’d like to do.  I think I’ll make a list and actually do some of them.  There are a lot of empty weekends in October that I can fill with fun things.

Countdown to Nuggettown:  5 weeks.

I Feel Skinny, Oh So Skinny

Or less fat anyway.  I’m pretty sure I haven’t lost any weight.  Just proof that the mind can play mean and nasty tricks on you when you stop paying attention.

On the other hand, if I feel like I’m losing weight, that may prompt me to do more things to make me lose weight.

I’m at work right now.  I have … quite literally…nothing to do.  Which was fine yesterday and would be fine tomorrow, when I am working from home, but today it is going to make for a very long day.  [Crickets…]

The “EMERGENCY” project (from which I’ve been removed) is stalled in legal at the customer, so Frenemy has yet to turn over any of her projects to me.  Since I’m not on the project, I’m not really aware of any way I can help with it, so there you are.

If I were at home, I could be cleaning in preparation for “Game Night” on Friday.  “Game Night” is something a friend of mine does occasionally, just because she likes to play them.  And she and her friends are nuts, so there’s that.  But this time we’re having it with an agenda.  We’re introducing The Boy to a GIRL.  She’s a frequent participant in game night and a crazy little thing.  She’s cute and funny and sarcastic.  She’s rowdy, but in a good way.  I think The Boy needs a little rowdy in his life. At the very least he needs some friends his own age.  No pressure.  Just want them to meet.

And if I happen to get some adorable blond-haired, blue-eyed grandchildren out of the deal, that’s just gravy.

Grandchildren gravy?  Kind of gross.

The last couple of weeks have been pretty rough for me.  It’s mostly job-related and all culminated in another screaming match with Co-Worker Frenemy. My half of the conversation was on the phone from home, and I don’t remember yelling (but probably did).  Her half of the conversation was in the office and several of my co-workers heard her, even though she was behind closed doors at the time.

It never ceases to amaze me how much I forget to hide my crazy at work.  I start out feeling vindicated in my feelings of injustice and end up questioning every little thing.  I still think she was wrong, but I wish I could handle these things well.  The problem we have is that we know each other too well.  And, because we were so close, personal history always plays a part.  I wish I wouldn’t let her comments about my work hurt me.  I know I’m intelligent.  I know I’m an organized and dedicated worker.  I know I don’t have her experience.  I know we have completely different viewpoints when it comes to business.

I also can’t forgive her for how she behaved during my cancer experience.

She was annoyingly “supportive” before my surgery.  She insisted on having Husband’s phone number and used it when she didn’t feel updates were coming frequently enough.  She was very upset when I told her she COULD NOT come to the hospital. (I was already dealing with both parents.  I didn’t need someone else to make feel better.)  On the day after my return home, she brought her 3 year old over and proceeded to contradict me when I told the toddler to please stop harassing my dog.  And then she would call me every few days to ask what she could do for me.  And when I told her I’d love it if she could come get me and take me for coffee, she agreed.  And then cancelled on me four times.  It was a year before she could actually make that coffee date.  By that time I didn’t care.

To be fair, her grandmother did die right after my surgery.  She was 102.  And Frenemy was the executor of her will, so there was a lot to do and much drama (of her making).  My first voyage outside of home was to her grandmother’s visitation.  But she couldn’t pull it together to take me for coffee.  And I’m not sure I would be so upset if she hadn’t made the plans and then cancelled at the last minute.  That time was difficult for me since I wasn’t allowed to drive and was at the mercy of others to get out into the world.

I know I’ve said all this before.  I thought I was over it.  I thought I was over not getting the promotion I wanted (and was told I would get).  I thought I was over he need to be “better” than me so much that she actually did get a promotion.  (So we wouldn’t be at the same level.  Cause that wouldn’t be “true”.)  I thought I was over acting crazy at my job and sobbing with frustration when I can’t wrap my head around what someone else wants from me.

The point was supposed to be that I stressed myself out so badly over this that I think I actually made myself sick.  I came home Friday with every joint and muscle aching.  Saturday I slept most of the day and felt feverish.  I didn’t feel like myself again until last night.

I’m not sure things are going to blow over this time.  I’ve been removed from the project we were arguing about.  Boss Man says it’s not personal and gave a list of perfectly reasonable reasons for the exclusion.   But I still feel like I’ve screwed myself out of something that could have given some new experience.  Instead, she gets to focus solely on this project and I get all the leftover crap she has had on her plate for months.

Great job me!

But, as always, after the crazy outburst, I feel calmer and more in control.  I’m going to choose to focus on my personal life and make the job that thing that I do eight hours a day, five days a week, to keep the wolf from the door.  Not important.  Just something I do.  I will try to make this my mantra.  It’s not who I am or who I want to be.  I care about doing my job well.  But apparently I care too much.

Sweating the Small Stuff

A few years back, prior to The Cancer, I had my thyroid ablated.  This involves taking a radiated iodine pill which adheres to and shrinks the thyroid gland.  This was to treat my Graves disease that had me sweating constantly, always tired and frustrated with my attempts at weight loss.  There’s nothing painful about the process, except the patient is required to be away from other people and animals for several days so that they are not accidentally radiated.  And it worked really well.  So well that the doctor didn’t believe me when a month after treatment I was telling him it was a success.  “You can’t be feeling any difference yet.”, was his reaction.  But I was cold.  And I was never cold.  I loved it.  There were a couple of side effects that surfaced later, but once my Synthroid was regulated, all was well.

I relate this story only to fill you in on how effing frustrated it is to now be sweating at the drop of a hat.  Because the Tamoxifen I take to lessen the chances of The Cancer returning.  It blocks estrogen production and (I thought) throws the patient into early menopause.  HA!  Joke’s on me.  It doesn’t throw the patient into early menopause, it just mimics the symptoms.  My body will go through menopause when it wants to and that isn’t going to happen any time soon.

I don’t know why, but I was so focused on the hot flashes, that I didn’t even look into some of the other side effects of the drug.  I’ve been feeling like crap lately.  Just generic crap.  So I thought this morning I would check into the side effects in a little more detail.  Low and behold, many of the things that have been bothering me can be side effects of the drug.

  • Weight gain.
  • Mood swings.
  • Depression.
  • Thinning hair.
  • Bone and joint pain.
  • Swelling of the legs.
  • Peeling/splitting/ridged nails.  (Mystery solved.  Anyone want a ton of nail products?)
  • A few more that are too gross to discuss in public.

Then I go about researching my Effexor side effects.  Effexor is the drug I take to keep from ruining every relationship I have.  Well, looky there!

  • Weight gain.  (Really?  Again?  C’mon!)
  • Changes in mood (supposedly for the better).
  • Swelling of the legs.
  • Bloating.
  • Respiratory issues.
  • Hoarseness.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Loss of strength.
  • Abnormal dreams.  (I don’t mind this one.  They’re very entertaining.)
  • Other gross things.

I’m not sure if knowing this makes me feel better about things.  Usually, knowing there’s a reason I’m feeling the way I am makes me feel better, but looking down the barrel of three more years (possibly eight since they now recommend ten years of therapy, instead of the previous five) of worsening side effects from this drug fills me with dread.

I’ve been hearing reports of women who’ve opted out of the post cancer drug regimen.  I have a friend who’s having her ovaries yanked so she doesn’t have to take it any more.  My oncologist gave me that option, too.  But I’m not looking to have any more surgeries, thank you.  The last two years have been enough for me.  We’ll be putting off any non-life-threatening procedures until my PTSD subsides a little.  My PCP had the nerve to suggest it was time for another colonoscopy. “You should have one every five years.”, she suggests.  Well, I found the paperwork from my last one and guess what?  It was in 2012.  Boo-yah!  I have two more years and you can step off.

This past weekend, I was organizing my office.  One of the tasks was organizing The Cancer Binder.  When I was first diagnosed I quickly became overwhelmed by all the paperwork involved in managing the situation.  I was juggling four doctors and multiple tests and the plethora of bills that came from all directions.  It made me feel more in control to put all of this information in a binder.  All the bills I paid.  All the referrals.*  All the E.O.B.s.  Every pamphlet and piece of paper given to me by my doctors.  In the last year or so, though, I’ve started just shoving the documents into the book with no particular order and I wanted to get that together.  Then I put the bulging book away on a shelf instead of next to my desk where I have to look at it every day.  I wish I could say I wouldn’t have to update it, but the biopsy this spring proved I’m never going to be “over” this.  But having it “over there” is a reminder that things are not as bad as they could be.

Someday, I will be off these meds and through a real menopause and hopefully back to enjoying things like dry hair and not having to have paper towels at the ready to wipe my face.  Until then, I’ll just enjoy the one side effect of the medication that  is a plus:  Mosquitoes don’t think I taste good any more. :)

*Referrals were created by the devil and insurance companies just to make a patient’s life more difficult.  I have to call my regular doctor to get a piece of paper that says I can see my surgeon or my oncologist.  And there’s always a beginning and end date that never quite coincide with my appointment.  I had to change my most recent oncologist appointment four times until I could get the proper paperwork filed.

The Danger of an Idle Workday

Things are a little slow again at work.  I’ve been lucky to have had enough to do the last week or so, but it’s started to peter out.  Even the three days it took me to figure out some looping had to come to an end.  And, while I like the break, I am a danger to myself when I’m left with too much time at a computer and nothing productive to do.  My problem can be summed up in one word.


So far today, I’ve ordered two instruction books for my steel guitar (along the lines of “Steel Guitar for Morons Having Not Touched a Musical Instrument In 40 Years”) and put a new bathroom scale on my wishlist.  I am this close to buying it.

The problem is, I have a bathroom scale (I think I still do) somewhere in my house.  It’s not a good one.  As I recall, it was a pain in the ass.  The kind you have to tap to start and then shoot for two out three (sometimes three out of five) for an accurate weight.  It was very frustrating.

I also have a gym membership and the gym has a doctor’s scale that I could use.  And while I was there, I could maybe use the treadmill or elliptical or something.  Since I was there and everything.  I read a tip on a blog that made a ton of sense.  She said that even if you don’t want to exercise, you should still get dressed and go.  Even if you’re walking slow enough to read a magazine while you watch a TV show, you’re still not sitting on the couch and you may just feel like doing something once you get there.

Instead of doing that, I’ve been eating poorly.  Again.

I don’t understand why I fell down the rabbit hole again, but I did.  Blame the birthday, blame the busy, blame the genes.  Doesn’t matter.  Eat like shit; feel like shit.  Feel like shit; only want to eat like shit.  That’s my circle of failure.  I had two good weeks and then it all went to hell in a hand basket.

To top it all off, I feel like I’m wanting to come down with something.  Which is not going to increase my desire to get up in any way.  I’m hoping it’s just allergies, but it’s feeling more and more like a virus of some sort.  I was pleased to have gotten at least two things done yesterday that needed doing, but for the most part, I felt like I could have slept all day.  And that feeling came crashing down on me Saturday evening, in the middle of a thoroughly enjoyable outing with the Besties.  I wish there as some little warning device I could wear that would alert me to a mood crash like that.  Sort of like the lights on the dashboard of your car that blink when it’s out of gas.  Yeah.  Like that.  Then you could tell your friends, “I’m sorry, but I have two more hours of happy left and then I’m going to get really quiet/bitchy/whiney.  Please don’t think it’s anything to do with you.”

Good news is this:  Husband is away tonight at a work function until the wee hours and Boy is closing, so I am going to get myself the hell out of here on time and go home to a house that has no one in it but me and my dog.  So I am going to skip Water Aerobics (yeah, yeah.  I know) and enjoy a few hours of peaceful bliss.  Or just go to bed as soon as I get home.

Onward toward tomorrow.

The Over Side of the Hill

Beginning my 53rd year.  Seems unreal.  I do not feel any different than I did when I began my 20th year.  A little more seasoned, is all.  Hopefully, making better choices.  (But still forget sunscreen half the time.)  Experienced enough to know that the times I want to stab my husband in the neck and the times I want to stab myself will pass.

Here are some things I’ve learned about myself:

  1. The best thing to do when I’m feeling blue is to be around people who make me smile.
  2. Being around people for too long leads to some much needed alone time.
  3. I love a nap.
  4. Napping is a sign that I don’t have enough interesting things to do.
  5. I’d still rather read a book old school style – with pages and a cover.
  6. I cry because I’m angry, not because I’m sad.
  7. No matter how much I hate the idea of it, exercise makes me feel better.
  8. No matter how much I love junk food, eating better makes me feel better.
  9. Seven and eight will always be a struggle for me.
  10. I’m dog people.  Cats are cute and all, but I love dogs.
  11. It’s never too late to try something new.
  12. “Good” food is a matter of taste more than execution.
  13. I prefer a smaller house and less stuff.
  14. I’d rather have money to travel than have cool things.
  15. Photos of my travels are better than t-shirts and souvenirs.
  16. Being a grandmother doesn’t make one feel old, it makes one feel young.
  17. Never make someone choose between you and the one they love.  You’ll always lose.
  18. I will always miss my grandmother too much on my birthday.
  19. It may not seem like much to me but it may be very important to someone else.  And vice-versa.
  20. Quality time spent with my best friend will erase anything bad that happened before it.

And now the weather is cooling and the apples are turning red.  Soon the leaves will change and we’ll slide into my favorite time of year.  Now with more kayak!

Ah, Family!

This weekend was the Husband’s family reunion.  Normally we skip this event, except for the year that it’s our branch’s turn to host.  Then there’s no way he can get out of it.  The extra bonus is seeing our Niece and Nephew and their kids.  And their parents, although I don’t think their parents like us very much.  (Based on their reaction to the multiple invitations to visit our home.)  They stay with my SIL, because she has room and can keep her mouth shut when they say something she disagrees with.  (Not so much the husband.)

When we host the reunion, we do so at my SIL’s church.  She has taken over the matriarch role since my husband’s parents passed and she is the keeper of all family history.  She knows relatives names to 1,000 places.  And their birthdays and how they are sort of related to us but not really.  We all decided to meet at the church at 9:30 am to get things ready.  Dinner was to be served at 1:00, but people could be expected to start showing up around 11:30, since they were coming from all around the state.   When we got there at 9:30, there was already a crowd working on setup (who knows what time they got there) so every thing was pretty much done by 10:00.  (Many hands and all.)  That made for a fun couple of hours sitting around.  But it was nice to have more time to visit with the people we care about.

We ate some good farm food and ate some yummy deserts and had the silent auction to raise money for the next reunion.  Everything was going as usual.   Until one of the shirt-tail cousins came in the door carrying her two year old and calling her sister a C-U-Next-Tuesday at the top of her lungs.  Apparently, there is some strife between the two over a rental property and a lawsuit.  Just a little.  So sisters are screaming at each other and one is spouting profanity at the other in the church community room.  Their mother seemed oblivious to the situation, so I felt free to butt in and ask them to please have some respect.  Believe me, I used my grown-up voice.  And when Cussy McCusserston decided she was taking her toys and going home, I helped her carry them out.

You do not disrespect my SIL in her place of worship.

The (obviously) saner of the two sisters sort of apologized and helped us start cleaning up, because people had somehow disappeared while we were “working things out.”   Which was okay by us.  We got out of there about an hour earlier than planned.

So, aside from that, and Husband leaving to “let the dog out” for over an hour while I stayed behind with his family, the family reunion was a success.  We won’t have to go for another three or four years and by that time who knows how much family there will be to reunite?  Many of us would like to start having reunions of just the bloodline of Husbands grandparents.  I’m all about that.  And then we could have it on a Saturday!  And maybe Husband would want to go.


A few other things:

  1. Went to the oncologist yesterday and per their scale I have lost five pounds since my visit to my regular doctor on the 7th.  I would have liked it to be more, however, I am trying to not get hung up on numbers and just focus on the health.  I don’t have a scale at home and probably won’t be weighed again until October.
  2. Still keeping up with the splashing class.  The instructor was out last week and three of us even met at the pool to do some working out while she was gone.   Most of the friends I’ve started with have quit going but I made a new friend in the one who hasn’t.
  3. I am not even close to menopause.  Sigh.
  4. My reduction of sugar in my diet is going well.  Not perfectly by any means, but enough that my beloved Caramel Macchiato was too sweet this week.  I’ve added Salmon to my diet about once a week (even though it’s super expensive).
  5. I’m remembering how good it feels to eat well and move more.  (Why do I always have to remember that?)
  6. I did not take a single nap this weekend!  While I love my naps, I don’t like feeling like I have to have one to get through the day.  And I prefer that reason that I’m not taking one be that I’m busy doing something active.
  7. I bought a skort.  I bought it to wear to the reunion because it was hotter than the surface of the sun that day and I decided I didn’t care how ugly my legs were, I was going to go for comfort.  I don’t really know what I looked like but I looked at least as good as anyone there and I felt cute so that’s all that matters.


  1. Incorporate some movement into my days when I don’t have class.
  2. Cook more.
  3. Get more sleep. I’ve taken to staying up too late again.  I need sleep.  Sleep is good.