Rambling and Reveries: Wednesday Edition

This afternoon, I opened up a checking account for my graphic design slush-fund money. I feel like a grown up, or a stepford wife. I can’t decide which.


Does anyone else ever feel too anxious or emotionally exhausted for tv? Instead of the usual nightly Netflix with my husband after our kids go to bed, I just want to curl up in bed with a book or my laptop. My husband thinks I’m crazy. That might be the case.

I wish I could meet people and speed up the “get to know you” process by cutting out a lot of the small talk. We could get straight to the important things, like if you like puns, books, coffee, and still feel like an awkward 12 year old on the inside, we should be best friends.

My son’s first field trip is tomorrow and I signed up to chaperone. Suddenly I feel like a 12 year old before the first day at a new school. Should I wear my “Team 2nd Grade T-shirt or will the other parents think that is dorky? Am I supposed to pack a lunch? Is it weird if I bring a lunchable as a grownup? I wonder if it will be weird if I take photos? What if no one talks to me? Am I just going to stand around all day? Why did I sign up for this?” I am a special kind of awkward.


My photo of the day:

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Just a little plant life from my garden. I like this shot a lot considering it was from my cell phone.

Happy Wednesday, kids!
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Shit from Today

We have a lot of stressful, sad, awful crap going on in our lives right now, and it’s totally messing with my ability to write anything coherent and not completely depressing. Therefore, I’m going to take the pressure off, and just share some random shit about my day. 


 

If I had a quarter for every whiny word my 7 year old said while doing homework, I’d put them in a bag and throw it at him.


 

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This is my dog, Lydi. She’s 10 lbs of evil, but I respect her for her sass.


I met with my psychiatrist today. I pay for an hour appointment for every checkup and she normally spends about 10 minutes with me. Today, I made it my personal mission to use up as much of my very expensive hour as possible. I made it 32 minutes before it started to get really awkward.  Take that, Dr. B. #likeaboss


 

My book club is reading Ghost Story this month and my book isn’t scheduled to arrive from Amazon until Thursday. I have an irrational amount of anxiety about it already being October 13th and not even having the book in hand yet. On that note, shopping for Halloween costumes for my kids isn’t even on my radar yet. I am generally unprepared for the entire month of October.


 

That’s all I got today, folks. Let’s hope, for your sake, that something happy and interesting happens tomorrow. 😉

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Be Kind.

After my last post about my struggle with depression, I had several friends reach out to me and share their own stories of depression and mental illness. In most cases, I had no idea that they suffered from the same haunting demons of depression as I do. In several situations, I was pretty surprised to find out they struggled at all. As I was digesting this information and also attempting to come to terms with some devastating family news this week, I have been thinking a lot about how many private battles are going on around me that I know nothing about. This particular quote came to mind:

 

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I think about this when I’m paying for groceries and the cashier cheerfully asks me how I am today. I sometimes think “actually I’m barely holding it together” but instead I force a smile and mutter “good, thanks.” I wonder how many people I have encountered today that are also going through something terrible? How many are struggling with mental or physical illness? How many are saying goodbye to a loved one or missing someone that is already gone? How many are stuck in an unhappy marriage or an abusive relationship? How many are trying to stay strong for their children through a messy divorce? I realize I’m not only standing next to these people in the grocery store checkout line, but they are also my friends and neighbors. They are your friends and neighbors too.

Ergo, be kind. Be patient. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Always.

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My War with Depression

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I’ve wanted to write about depression for quite some time. I wanted to be authentic with my friends and readers,  to raise awareness, be relatable to others who struggle,  and to help end the stigma associated with mental illness. The problem is, I’ve only ever attempted to write about it when I’m stuck firmly in its grasp. For me, writing during the dark times doesn’t produce anything hopeful, helpful, or worth sharing. This time, however, is different.  This time,  I’m in the sunshine. I’m awake.  I feel alive. I see colors.  I feel the good and the happy.  This time, it is the right time to share.

The Attack:

I’ve been fighting the ruthless demons of depression since I was 19 years old. The demons come in waves, sometimes just to taunt me and let me know they are still lurking in the shadows, and sometimes they put down roots and relish in watching me drown. Their presence brings a smothering weight and darkness. My daily goals turn towards survival. Get out of bed: check. Survive the day: check. The simplest tasks appear to be overwhelming hurdles. Daily necessities, like showering and preparing basic meals, become obstacles I can barely face. I want to sleep my life away. Regardless of the day, regardless of what is on the agenda, my internal hourglass of dread begins upon waking, counting down the seconds until I can crawl back into bed. My bed is my sanctuary, my security, and yet also my prison.

In my experience, one of the most infuriating things about my depression, is that generally, there is no real reason for sadness. There is no deserving root cause. My life is good. My husband is incredibly sweet and thoughtful. My kids are healthy and thriving.  We have all the things we need and many of the things we want. There is no reason to be sad, and yet I am. I am sad because I had to get out of bed. I’m sad about getting dressed. I’m sad about making my kids’ breakfast. I’m sad because I can’t seem to enjoy things that should make me happy. I’m frustrated that I can’t seem to break free from the sadness, and I’m overwhelmed that I’m likely going to be fighting these demons, to some degree, for the rest of my life. That, to me, defines depression. It’s normal to be sad about sad things. It is not, however, normal to feel sad about putting on shoes.

The Defense: 

Throughout the course of this great war on depression, I’ve learned a few things about my weapons of choice. I’ve learned that psychologists don’t necessarily have great people skills. I’ve learned that drugs can help you win one battle, and then become Switzerland for the next. I’ve learned that a “Happy Light” is only a helpful tool if you use it. And in my specific war, I’ve learned that the greatest tool at my disposal is exercise. As much as I’ve exercised for vanity or physical health throughout my life, I’ve learned that the single greatest reason I must exercise is that my brain needs it. Those magic little endorphins are like millions of tiny soldiers facing the front lines of my mind to protect their happy homeland.

Currently, my mind is experiencing an era of peace. The demons are at bay, most assuredly plotting their next move, but the mighty endorphins are confidently reigning supreme. The sun is shining and warm, colors are bright and vivid, and I can find happiness and joy in the simplest of daily activities. I must soak up these moments and memorize this feeling, for it is this very feeling I must remember when it’s time to fight again. There is hope. It gets better. The demons don’t win. I won’t let them win. I will always fight back. I will always become whole again.

Tactics:

If you are a warrior fighting your own depression battle, consider this a virtual hug. I’m so, so sorry you’re facing these awful demons. They are sons-of-bitches. The best advice I can give you, is to keep trying different strategies until something works, and give any strategy time to play itself out before you decide it isn’t working. It is the sum of many small choices that lead to feeling better. You don’t lose weight by eating one salad, and you won’t win a battle with depression by taking one pill or walking one mile. Please see a doctor if the sky gets too dark and you need reinforcements. Never go to war alone. It will get better. I believe in you. I believe you are stronger than this. You will feel the warmth of the sun again. You will find joy in the little things. You will feel awake and alive and find happiness again.

Lastly, if you are on the sidelines watching helplessly as someone you love fights this violent battle, you get a virtual hug too. I’ve been on that side of the battle as well, and I’m not sure which role is worse. Please don’t give up on your warrior. They cannot “snap out of it” and no one would choose this war. Listen to them, walk with them, and support them as they fight these ghastly demons. You are an important part of this battle. Your soldier needs you.

Call to Arms:

In honor of those fighting this wretched battle, please consider donating to help fund research that supports mental health. The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation  is one such organization, awarding scientific grants to those working to make discoveries in understanding causes and improving treatments of mental health disorders in children and adults. These grants fund research for disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, autism, and bipolar, attention-deficit hyperactivity, post-traumatic stress, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.  They’ve awarded more than $340 million to more than 4,000 carefully selected scientists in the past 25 years.

Support the mission. Charge ahead. Attack the demons. Donate.

 

With much love,

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24-hour Hotline

National Suicide Prevention Helpline

1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)

More help and information here.

**I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I’m just a regular girl who has been on the front lines of battle for 13 years.**

 

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons Bearded Dragons Are Awesome Pets

My family recently welcomed a new pet… yes ANOTHER one… :p Nearly 3 weeks ago, my husband and 2 boys were thrilled to finally convince me to let them get a reptile. After much research, we decided on a bearded dragon. Blogosphere, meet Hebe:

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Since bringing Hebe home, I have learned a TON about bearded dragons. I was very skeptical at first, particularly about feeding our new pet crickets (gross!), but Hebe has completely won me over. So, let me share my wealth of newly acquired dragon knowledge with you.

 

5 Reasons Why Bearded Dragons are Awesome Pets:

  1. They have an excellent temperament. Bearded Dragons are among the most docile and friendly reptiles to have as pets. They don’t mind being handled and are not as fast moving as some smaller lizards. They rarely bite (unless deserved), and are pretty easy going overall.IMG_20150901_180816
  2. They only poop like once a day. If you have ever cared for a pet like a rabbit, hamster or guinea pig, you will totally appreciate how little poop there is remove. One little scoop a day and the tank remains relatively clean and odorless. Granted, you should clean the whole thing out on a regular basis to be sanitary, but I love how easy it is as far as daily upkeep.IMG_20150824_143750
  3. You get to give them baths! I say “get to” because is there anything cuter than watching a bearded dragon scurry around in the tub? No, my friend, there isn’t. Weekly baths are good for bearded dragons for both hygiene and keeping their skin hydrated. Baths can also help with shedding their skin, constipation and fecal impaction.IMG_20150830_165455
  4. They are fascinating and interactive. We often pull up chairs in front of the tank to watch her eat or move about, and she also watches us when she sees we’re there. When bearded dragons are nice and warm in their basking spot, they open their mouths to help regulate their body temperature. This is one of my favorite sights, along with her sleeping on the bridge my husband made her.IMG_20150828_210226IMG_20150830_082520
  5.  You can pimp out their habitats. Like the aforementioned bridge, we, especially me, have had a lot of fun setting up and accessorizing Hebe’s tank. I sewed her a hammock, covered the back of the tank in brightly colored paper, and used my Cricut to put her name (and personal slogan that my 7 year old came up with) on the front of her tank. She is loved.

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Note: Despite all this awesomeness, just like any pet, the decision to get a bearded dragon should not be taken lightly. They require a temperature controlled environment, start up and care can be expensive, and they can grow to 24 inches long. Please do your research before making a commitment to any new pet. 

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Just Call Me Detective Lindsey: Part 2.

Just Call Me Detective Lindsey: Part 2.

Picking up where my story left off, my sister and I were headed to Kentucky to investigate and solve the mystery of the thing. My sister stayed in the car with the kiddos and I jumped out, camera in hand, and ran up the hill. I snapped a couple of quick photos as I learned the secret of the concrete thing.

Here is what I saw:

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A drain and water reservoir. There you have it, and just like that, the mystery was solved.

Being on the side of a steep hill, the drain makes perfect sense. I felt kind of daft for not thinking of it myself. And though I hadn’t expected it to be anything remotely exciting, learning the answer left me feeling almost immediately disappointed. The same disappointment I’m guessing you are feeling now. All that for a stupid drain? Yup.

I suppose the obvious lesson here is that sometimes the mystery is best left unsolved. It was the mystery that made the thing fun. The other lesson, is that the fun is often in the journey, and not the destination. The mystery was fun and the adventure to solve it was fun, but the destination didn’t live up to the hype. Now, instead of laughing and making ridiculous guesses when we drive by the thing, we scoff, “there’s the stupid drain” as we melodramatically roll our eyes.

Solve your mysteries with care, my friends, and always revel in the journey.

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Day 18: Catitude

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My Happiness Project. Day 18.

Just like the rest of the internet, cats and their catitude rate pretty high on my list of things that are awesome. We have 2 cats, Cora (pictured above) and Mila (pictured below). Typically, they stare at me with glowing eyes full of hate, like they’re planning my ultimate demise. This week, I took them to the vet for their yearly shots and I’m pretty sure they’re still spewing residual hostility from the whole debacle. For all of that, I love them. I love their sass, curiosity, independence, and even their brazen rejections to my snuggle attempts.

 

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Just Call Me Detective Lindsey: Part 1

Just Call Me Detective Lindsey: Part 1.

Do you have any mysteries that you wonder about on a fairly consistent basis but never take any steps to solve? My husband and I have had one such mystery… until I solved it.

A year or two ago, construction began on some new apartment buildings on a road we periodically use. Out in front of the apartment buildings, on the side of the hill and directly in front of the road, is this big stone wall/enclosure/thing.

Exhibit A:

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Every time we passed this structure, my family and I would speculate what its purpose might be. It was usually my husband who would wonder about it out loud, and the rest of us would offer up our best guesses. It has a ladder going down one side, so early on, I guessed that maybe they were going to turn it into a swimming pool. Once it was clear that this hypothesis was wrong, my husband and I guessed that maybe it housed some sort of utilities or pipes feeding the apartment buildings. Our 4 year old son decided it was either where a 2-headed wolf or a bunch of snakes lived. We needed answers, people. 

Exhibit B:

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The mystery of the cement walls eventually became a thing in our family. We joked about it whenever we drove by, and I always laughed that one day I was going to investigate and find out the answer as a gift to my husband.

A couple of weeks ago, I was spending the afternoon with my sister and we were trying to come up with something fun to do with our kids. After we threw out a couple of half-hearted suggestions, I said, “Want to drive to Kentucky and help me solve a mystery as a surprise for Clayton?” I filled her in on “the thing” and 10 minutes later we had our 3 kids in the backseat and were headed on an adventure.

After a year or two of wondering, we were finally going to get an answer.

To be continued…

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Day 17: Running Water

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My Happiness Project. Day 17.

Running water might seem like a strange addition to my list, but there are a multitude of reasons for this appreciation. First and foremost, having clean water piped straight into our faucets to drink, cook, and clean with is an obvious win. We are an extremely fortunate generation, living in an extremely fortunate part of the world. Likewise, I find both the sight and sound of moving water exceedingly soothing and beautiful. Babbling brooks, soothing streams, flowing fountains. white waterfalls, and roaring rivers each orchestrate a playful melody that breeds calm and clarity.

It truly is wonderful… unless you need to pee. 😉

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Day 16: My Blender

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My Happiness Project. Day 16.

About a month ago, my husband decided we needed a nice blender. Being the maximizer that he is, he spent several hours one morning doing his homework before he decided on a Blendtec Classic. In full disclosure, I wasn’t entirely convinced. After all, we have already failed at becoming avid juicers, and are reminded of this flop by the pricey juicer taking up valuable real estate in our kitchen cabinets.  Nevertheless, this time, he was right. This blender is amazing and is so quick and easy. Easy to use, and easy to clean up. I use it nearly every day to make healthy smoothies, sometimes more than once a day, and the entire process usually takes 5 minutes from beginning to end. Our blender is so fabulous, that I named her. Readers, meet Brenda “the Blenda” Whirlington.

Now… who is interested in buying a slightly used juicer? 😉

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**Note: I have not been paid or compensated in any way to write anything about Blentec, or anything else. Opinions are strictly my own.**