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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Tale as Old as Time

Gorgeous.

It was beautiful.

The mood reminded me of Into the Woods (the movie version), but the whole production was so very theatrical that Abby and I both wanted to applaud at the end of every musical number.

Gaston is a much better villain in this; he's just as over-the-top as in the animated version, but far more sinister and believable. And both Gaston and Kill the Beast were terrifically well done.

 LaFou was great, Again, over-the-top without being an actual caricature.

Kevin Kline, even as "crazy old Maurice" was priceless. As always.

Emma Watson can sing. Who knew? It might be auto-tuned and all, but still.

The animation for Chip reminded me a bit of BB-8.

Ha! Funny story: Lizzy heard the line from the title song "...barely even friends, then somebody bends, unexpectedly..." and given all the Legend of Korra we've been watching, she made a connection to the word "bends" that was probably not what Menken and Ashman had in mind.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, as well as the rest of the day.

We just did lunch and the movie and some errands, but it was so much better a day than I have had in the past couple weeks.

I think my boss was right; I need some time off (not necessarily from work, although the shorter work days coming up will probably help me), even if it's just a day here and there. Some time when I'm not sick, or taking care of someone else for the entire day, or whatever. None of what we did today had to be done today.

And I think that made all the difference.

Of course Beauty and the Beast (and the Phantom of the Opera, for that matter) always remind me of my favorite of the Greek myths - Hades and Persephone. Oh, you can talk about Stockholm Syndrome and sexism and potential for abuse, but that's not all there is to these types of stories. I knew that even at twelve, 36 years ago, in Mr. Hansen's (he of the pretty blue eyes) seventh grade social studies class.

It's a good story.

A tale as old as time, if you will.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Rough Times

yeah, so it's been a rough few days, for no real reason aside from the obvious. My boss thinks I should take a leave of absence (yeah, no, that would just add stress to the pile; LoA is unpaid leave). I'm already taking this coming Friday off (it would have been Laston's and my tenth wedding anniversary; I don't think I can people) and half days Wednesday and Thursday before it. On the seventh of April I have a spa day planned. I'm hoping that moving to that eight-hour schedule the following week will help.

I'm in counseling but I've only seen her once so far. My supervisor said I should apply for short term disability, which IS (partially) paid, but I'm not sure that depression qualifies, or that it would be good for me to not-people for weeks on end. I see the counselor early next week though, so maybe she can tell me.

I'm not that badly off in the grand scheme of things, but I'm having trouble focusing on work, getting sick way too often (even for me in the springtime), and just generally being out of sorts. Lizzy slams things around; I just tear up at the drop of a hat.

I'm not real fond of having this little control over my own being.

Pity Party Peace Out.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Whole Month?!

Wow.

It's been a month since I posted last, and what a month it's been! We've had a lot of stuff happening. In no particular order...

Today, a month later, Abby probably has pinkeye. Lizzy has the same crud I had on Saturday (I rather suspected the latter, but a day of fever and what we call "feeling noodley" (as in limp as a noodle) and sleep, followed by general malaise, sounds just like mine). Abby's going to the doctor to check out the potential pinkeye, and I (with the help of some friends online) am trying to view being stuck at home as an opportunity for going makeup-free and braless for the day.

Abby enjoyed her first job (although she found it very tiring to help keep track of a large group of five-to-seven-year-olds for several hours a day), and also had a couple of babysitting nights while that child's big sister and mom were selling cookies with me and Lizzy. She's on her way, folks, and it just may be that her tentative plans (for over two years now) for a double major of Theater Arts and Education are looking viable.

Of course, it wouldn't hurt her to learn to spell before doing a degree in education. To that end, her dad is looking into whether their medical insurance  covers things like testing for dyslexia. If it does, we'll take her to the place where Lizzy got her ADHD and Aspergers (or high-functioning autism spectrum disorder or whatever they're calling it this week) diagnosis (and her pediatric grief counseling). We know them, trust them, and they're handy; what's not to like?

On that note, I've started counseling myself, although I've only had one session so far. I suffer from Mom Disease (also known as Taking Care of the Kids Before Yourself Too Often,) and I have had that forever. Add in what my doctor calls Primary Grief Reaction: Anxiety, and, well, monthly massages just don't cut it on their own. I went to a few meetings of a widows' support group, and they were very nice, but the time and place and commute were very inconvenient for me, and it just wasn't the best fit.

Anyway, we're still swimming, and now with school accommodations and grief counseling and springtime (note the new springy theme,) we have more flotation devices to help keep us up!


Monday, February 20, 2017

Keeping Busy

So this morning I woke up to a familiar springtime sound around here... baby woodpeckers learning their trade. Thankfully, this year they don't seem to be using the metal flashing around the bathroom fans, because holy hell, that was noisy.

It was Laston who first figured out what the sound was, the first spring we were in this house, and so this morning I was feeling a bit wistfully sad. But not swamped under by emotion, which is a huge improvement.

Adding to the wistful sadness is a Proud Mama My Baby Is Growing Up moment; my daughter has her first Real Job, and one in an industry she looooves. Abby (14) is an assistant counselor at Studio East this week, helping out the teachers with the K-2 day-camp kids. They don't pay her in real cash (because under age for that), but they pay her in credit toward future tuition the next time she wants to be in one of their camps or productions.

This is a big deal, because their production tuitions are fairly expensive, and the YAPI (Young Actors Professional Intensive - they learn from not only the Studio East pros, but also from other bigwigs in the industry around here, in culture-conscious Seattle) camp she auditioned and interviewed for this summer? Very expensive. This will help defray those costs, as will a partial scholarship we may qualify for.

I took this week off on the plan that we would go with my mom up to her time share for midwinter break. But Abby got a job (yay!) and someone has to get her there as she is not able to drive yet. And my mom didn't want to take the little girls up to the condo in the winter by herself (the Washington beaches are cold this time of year!) so she has them at her house for a few days.

This gives me Alone Time. Which I need, but which also makes me sad if I don't keep busy. Thus, I bring you the Proposed Schedule:

Monday: Kids to respective places, home for blogging, laundry, taking another swing through paperwork in the never-ending-search-for-missing-car-title (since the finance company apparently doesn't give a shit). Pick up Abby at 340 and come home for pork chops, asparagus, and Supernatural mini-marathon until bedtime.

Tuesday: Abby to work, Jenn to storage shed to get the last of the books sorted, then to HPB, research legit extra-cash things online (mom found some in the AARP magazine) and sign up for same. Pick up Abby at 340 and come home for orange chicken, fruit, and Supernatural mini-marathon until bedtime.

Wednesday: Abby to work, open savings account for Leanna and Lizzy at my credit union (yes, one of those things I though Laston had taken care of years ago; they are legion), move Abby's savings account from bank to same credit union (for convenience and because that feels safer to me), pay bills. Pick up Abby at 340 and Lizzy around four. Home for dinner (not sure what yet), Avatar: The Last Airbender until Lizzy bedtime, Supernatural until Abby bedtime.

Thursday: Abby to work, Lizzy and I to have vacation-homework-clean-and-cuddle day. Pick up Abby at 340. Home for dinner (not sure what yet), Avatar: The Last Airbender until Lizzy bedtime, Supernatural until Abby bedtime.

Friday: Abby to work, Lizzy and I to go to Weight Watchers (I missed it today because timing), then have vacation-homework-clean-and-cuddle day. Pick up Abby at 340 and Leanna around four. Home for dinner (not sure what yet), Avatar: The Last Airbender until Lizzy bedtime, Supernatural until Abby & Leanna bedtime.

Of course, laundry, dishes, and general maintenance are every day.

It looks like a lot. But it's really not.




Monday, February 13, 2017

Sadness vs Depression vs Side Effects (or All of the Above)

This is an open letter, especially to those I alarmed or worried on this Facebook thread yesterday.

I felt it coming like a wave at the beach.

But with help from you all, and a few realizations, it never materialized fully. I was sad, but not suffering from (or going to be suffering from) a major depressive episode.

There is definitely cause for sadness and depression over here. Laston's death was just over six months ago (last Friday, the tenth), Valentines' Day is coming up tomorrow (though we didn't really celebrate it, it was still there... and now he's not), I'm scared to death about the monster we as a country have created (but that's a matter for a different post, at least this time), there are money troubles (there are always money troubles), and it's still winter (in spite of the fact that I went out in a t-shirt and leggings today and was perfectly comfy).

So yeah, depression and anxiety and the usual suspects.

But the about-to-be-swamped-under feeling? Not the usual for me, even under these circumstances.

I took your advice. I did my deep breathing and planned today to be about me, not the world. I took my melatonin and my meditation app and went to bed.

And this morning I woke up just fine.

It occurred to me that the copious amounts of Benadryl and Albuterol I've been taking for the past couple days - thank you, massive allergy to spider venom - may have contributed to my sense of impending doom. I mean, Benadryl is a sleep aid, which means a depressant, no? And I didn't take any last night, nor did I use more than the daily inhaler (rather than the rescue inhaler) yesterday.

(On a side note, now I really grok why Abby's Epi-pen says to go to the hospital afterward if you have to use it. The aftereffects are probably nearly as bad as the anaphylaxis.)

So no medication hangover.

And the depression is back to the usual low levels.

Imagine that.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Good Days, Bad Days

I'm doing better in general.

Some of this is the Great Cleanathon of 2017; any of you who follow me on Facebook are well aware of this project. It has had the effect of making this house belong to me and the girls, with bits of Laston's character here and there; before it was Laston's and my house, with him missing.

Some of it is the widows' support group, although I've only been a few times. I'm not going this week either; there's a transgender awareness seminar at my local high school I want to attend instead. One of the effects of Doing Better in General is that I have more emotional energy for issues that are important to me. LGBTQ+ rights and awareness are - if you've ever read my blog you know this already - one of those issues.

However, because this sort of thing is so politicized these days - God forbid the RNC should actually practice the Minding Their Own Business they used to - that I can hardly stand to be on places like Facebook. There's so much awful going on, and that sort of thing can lead to Bad Days for me.

In the grand scheme of things, my Bad Days are nothing. I'm not getting deported, for instance, or beaten up in the street or depressed to the point of self-harm. I'm only constantly worried about money, and depressed for other reasons (like grief and winter, although the latter is better now that I have started a new schedule that a) gets me to work after the sun comes up, and b) netted me a window seat). And today because of a massive allergy attack a couple days ago (spider bite), I have the aftereffects of Too Much Medication too. Nothing big in comparison to people I know and love.

But for me, they're still Bad Days.

The good thing is that out of 43 days so far this year, I have had seven Bad Days. That's, well, about one day a week that are Bad Days on average. And that's a huge improvement over just a couple of months ago.

So all I need to do is get some more money (wanna buy a book?), get my taxes done (scheduled for Tuesday) so I can hopefully build some kind of buffer/cushion, and try to fake it 'til I make it some more.

And get a couple of epically asshatty strangers reported on Facebook. I can't do it from the app; it seems that Facebook's report-this-post link is broken in the app. I wonder why...

I got this.

I think.