Jenster's Musings

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blogger Schlogger

In the nearly three years that I've been blogging I haven't had any issues with Blogger. Until now. I very much want to change my profile picture but I can't. Blogger won't let me. And when you have a problem can you just shoot of an email and ask what to do? No! You get directed and redirected and redirected some more and it's making me none too happy!!

I'm thinking of changing to Wordpress.

Thoughts? Comments? Commiserations?


Mused by Jenster :: 6:22 PM :: 14 People musing:

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Hello?? Spring?? You There??

Bus Stop - 6:45 A.M. - 22 degrees

Bus Stop - 7:30 A.M. - 23 degrees

Back Deck - 8:00 A.M. - 24 degrees



Mused by Jenster :: 7:58 AM :: 8 People musing:

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Divine Bovines and the Weather


I have been overwhelmed by the comments, emails and real life conversations I've had since my last post. Writing it all out helped me see things a bit more clearly and realize that yes, this funk has gone on much too long. I've been in funks before but always managed to pull myself out of it. Not this time, though, so tomorrow I'll go see my internist and tell her all about how I've been feeling - or not feeling as the case may be - and go from there.

There's a tremendous relief that comes with finally making this decision. Though why do I feel as though this is a sign of weakness? I think I have some pride issues going on. I don't see depression as a weakness in others. Why should it be that way for me? Just one more thing I need to get over.

Do you think if she puts me on a mild antidepressant I'll all of a sudden have the desire and energy to clean my home from top to bottom, eat only healthy food and crave exercise?


Several weeks ago I made the 32-And-Below rule. The 32-And-Below rule says that I will only drive the kids to the bus stop and let them sit in the warm car if it's 32 degrees or colder. Last week they were a bit bummed because it was above freezing. The last several mornings, however, have been in the low 20's. I told Todd, "Man! I should have said single digits only!" Too late for that now, though.

Saturday night Taylor and his friend went camping. I told him it was going to be really cold that night and asked if he packed appropriately. "Yeah, Mom. I'm good." Short of going through his bag I had to take him at his word.

Nick dropped him off Sunday morning and he told us how he nearly froze to death the night before. Nick had a warm quilted sleeping bag and wool socks. Taylor had his regular nylon sleeping bag and cotton socks. He slept with his hoodie on and the hood tied down around his face as far as it would go.
You know, I hate to say, "I told you so." Oh, who am I kidding? I LOVE to say, "I told you so." Maybe next time he'll listen to his mama!
Yeah. Mother of the Year is now officially a distant dream.

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Mused by Jenster :: 8:36 PM :: 3 People musing:

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

I Can't Be Depressed. I'm A Christian.

WARNING: The following post may be lengthy, convoluted, angsty and just plain lousy.

I have always been a pretty happy person. Things never really bothered me, I got along well with just about everybody, I was usually good for a smile or a laugh. I'm still that same person, but something has changed over the last couple of years.

Depression is just not something I've ever had to deal with. Oh sure, I've been sad - I suppose I've had situational depression. I would guess everybody has that at one time or another. But I've never suffered from clinical depression. Even when I was diagnosed with cancer; even when I was going through chemotherapy; even when Todd was living 1200 miles away - I don't think I was clinically depressed.

Now? I'm not so sure. Not ever having experienced it before I'm not positive what I'm going through. The word depression has flitted through my conscience, but I dismiss it as soon as it shows up. I'm hesitant to go see my doctor about this because I fear he'll take the easy way out and say, "Yeah, you're depressed. Take a happy pill once a day and you'll be fine." Now I'm not opposed to that if it's what I truly need, but I want to be sure before I start popping pretty colored capsules on a regular basis.

A friend of mine used to suffer from severe clinical depression complete with feelings of hopelessness and suicidal thoughts. She fought professional help because she had been told one time or another that good Christians didn't suffer from depression. She also tried to kill herself. Thankfully she has since gotten the help she needs and today she is a happy, thriving, GOOD CHRISTIAN, who manages her condition with medication and counseling. I remember feeling so angry on her behalf that she would have such baggage. Real depression is a physical condition, not a weakness of the mind.

What I'm struggling with in no way mirrors my friend's struggles and yet I find myself thinking, "If I was just closer to God I wouldn't be feeling this way." Makes me want to smack me. Now don't get me wrong. I wholeheartedly believe Jesus keeps me stabilized. In fact, I KNOW Jesus keeps me stabilized. I'm sure my emotions would be even messier without Him! But there's definitely something else going on that hasn't before.

So what IS going on? Is it because my hormones have been totally out of whack for the last few years? I suppose it could be. I've also read (but I can't remember where so I don't know how reliable this source is) that chemotherapy can cause the chemical imbalance which, in turn, causes depression. I know it's not a thyroid issue (which can cause similar symptoms) because I get that checked every six months.

But I'm always tired and run down. We missed a party last weekend because by 4:00 my head felt like it would explode and I just wanted to sleep. We made it to a different party this past Friday, but as much as I wanted to go (and did have a great time), I would have been content to stay at home and chill on the sofa. Today I was going to go into Philadelphia with a friend of mine for fun and a free photography lesson (she's an awesome photographer). I had to back out because I've been "too tired and distracted" to finish up something I'd committed to do a while go and it needs to be done by tomorrow.

My house is a wreck and I hate it like this. I've never been an exceptional housekeeper, but neither have I ever been as bad as I am now. I care and yet I don't care. I want it to be clean and tidy but the effort is too much. For a while I just figured my cleaning skills were stagnant from being waited on so much during treatment. That was over three years ago, however, so that excuse has gotten pretty thin. I'm just plain lazy. Except I was never this lazy before.

Most of the time I don't feel sad so I can't be depressed, right? I'm just always tired. Unless I'm busy doing something. I love my job and I don't seem to have the lazy or tired problem there. But when I get home I'm too exhausted to do much of anything. If only I would eat better; exercise regularly; pray and or study my Bible more I would feel like I used to, right? If I would lose weight I would feel better about myself. If my house was clean I would feel better about myself. If I would accomplish something worthwhile I would feel better about myself.

This morning as we were getting ready for church I complained to Todd about having a headache and being tired even though I had a good 8 hours or so of sleep last night. Very cautiously he said, "I'm going to tell you something and I don't want you to get defensive. I just want you to think about it. You might be depressed." Instead of getting defensive or thinking about it I told him I thought he might be right.

We talked about it more this evening and I've decided to call my doctor tomorrow morning. Todd came right out and said I've not been the same for a while. The funny thing is I was fine during the year from hell. So why am I not fine now? Who knows? I suppose I don't have to know.

There's a part of me - a fairly large part of me - who hopes I am depressed. It would explain so much of my behavior that I don't like at all. My laziness, my lack of concentration, my inability to stick to any type of exercise regime or eating plan - things I never had problems with before. Gosh! Maybe that's why I don't read like I used to. If there is a medication that I could take temporarily and would help me straighten out my wonkiness that would be great!

But here's my fear. From the minute I was diagnosed nearly four years ago I became the sole object of Todd's focus. He treated me like a queen, doting on me every second. When I had my mastectomy the following week he would hardly let anyone near me. He emptied my drains, bathed me, Veeted my legs, brought me food, set me up in the chair or in bed, made sure I was comfortable -- you name it, he did it. I worried that as soon as he was left alone and given time to think about our situation he would have a breakdown. Ten days after my surgery he got in his truck and left for the 1200 mile drive.

The first day was fine and he drove to Bristol, Virginia. The next morning after about an hour or so of driving he ended up in an ambulance on his way to a hospital with heart attack symptoms. It all caught up to him and he was put on an antianxiety and an antidepressant. After we were reunited as a family and everything was good again he tried to go off the antidepressant. Turns out the withdrawals from this particular medication are as bad as the original symptoms. So he's on this drug indefinitely and he hates it. I'm afraid of that happening.

I hope this post hasn't given the impression that I'm always sad or mopey or distraught. Nothing could be further from the truth. I'm not severely depressed - I don't feel hopeless and I'm not having suicidal tendencies AT ALL. It doesn't effect my job or my marriage or my parenting (I don't think, anyway). I would guess most people I know have no idea I've been having these struggles, though there were a couple people at church this morning who could tell something wasn't right. But that's because all of this came to a head today.

So why tell you all this? I'm not sure. Maybe for some wise words from those of you who have similar struggles. Maybe for prayers. Maybe because writing all this down is good therapy. Or maybe just to say that even a good Christian can be depressed.

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Mused by Jenster :: 7:10 PM :: 21 People musing:

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wearin' O' The Orange

Today I was in touch with my Irish roots in honor of St. Patty. I wore green and my Celtic jewelry and I made corned beef and cabbage for dinner.

Since we're not Catholic, nor has my family been for as long as we have a record, we should be wearing orange instead. And considering my ancestors left the Scottish Highlands to "help subdue the Catholics in Ireland", or something like that, it may be a mockery to wear green.

But I hate to be pinched so I'll continue to wear green. Besides, I have no interest in subduing anyone - Catholic or otherwise.

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Mused by Jenster :: 9:34 PM :: 4 People musing:

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Bibles and Crosses

Special for Sing 4 Joy


Mused by Jenster :: 9:44 PM :: 5 People musing:

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Survey Says...

I saw this survey on Lori's blog and bravely decided to try it here. I had to reign Todd in on a couple of his answers because this is a family show.

1. What is something I always say to you?
Taylor: Stop.
Katie: I’m just sayin’.
Todd: (To the kids) Are you running a fever or are you throwing up?

2. What makes me happy?
Taylor: When I stop.
Katie: Coffee.
Todd: The yummy coffee that I make you.

3. What makes me sad?
Taylor: When I don’t stop.
Katie: Not having coffee.
Todd: When you can’t find your happy place.

4. How do I make you laugh?
Taylor: By threatening me when I don’t stop.
Katie: How don’t you make me laugh? Saying stupid stuff.
Todd: When you say silly things, but mean it seriously.

5. What was I like as a child?
Taylor: Probably pretty annoying.
Katie: Weird? I don’t know! I didn’t know you as a child.
Todd: Cute.

6. How old am I?
Taylor: Oh my goodness.
Katie: 23.
Todd: 80.

7. How tall am I?
Taylor: Not very.
Katie: 6’1”. Do you want to be 6’1”? Maybe 5’8”. Is that good?
Todd: 5’4”. (Close. I'm 5'3".)

8. What is my favorite thing to do?
Taylor: Read.
Katie: Write. No, no, no. Blog.
Todd: To sit in your living room with a cup of coffee and your book/computer.

9. What do I do when you’re not around?
Taylor: I don’t know. I’m not around.
Katie: Sing badly.
Todd: Spend too much time on the computer.

10. If I become famous, what will it be for?
Taylor: Writing a book.
Katie: Writing or speaking.
Todd: For the book that shall remain nameless. I’m tired of bugging you about that.

11. What am I really good at?
Taylor: Taking pictures.
Katie: Talking.
Todd: Humor.

12. What am I not very good at?
Taylor: The quiet game.
Katie: Making jokes.
Todd: Sympathy.

13. What do I do for my job?
Taylor: Play solitaire.
Katie: You work as an assistant to Kelly.
Todd: You play with Kelly and all them.

14. What is my favorite food?
Taylor: Anything you don’t have to make.
Katie: Chocolate.
Todd: Mexican.

15. What makes you proud of me?
Taylor: That you didn’t die.
Katie: Accomplishing so much. (When I questioned what she meant she said getting through chemo and everything else that comes with having cancer.)
Todd: Being a breast cancer survivor.

16. If I were a cartoon character, who would I be?
Taylor: Elmer Fudd.
Katie: Belle from Beauty and the Beast because you tamed Daddy and she likes to read.
Todd: Cruella. What answer are you looking for? Oh! I know! Booboo!

17. What do we do together?
Taylor: Fill out ridiculous surveys.
Katie: We laugh together and we sing together.
Todd: We talk. We have nice discussions.

18. How are we the same?
Taylor: Name anything.
Katie: We’re both funny.
Todd: We both are deep thinkers. (huh? I thought I was shallow.)

19. How are we different?
Taylor: I’m a dude.
Katie: You’re my mother.
Todd: I’m a fixer and you’re not.

20. How do you know I love you?
Taylor: Because you tell me every now and then.
Katie: Because you laugh at my really bad jokes and you pull me back to reality.
Todd: Because you tell me.

21. Where is my favorite place to go?
Taylor: Pretty places.
Katie: To the beach because it reminds you of your childhood. Wait. Anywhere with me!
Todd: Barnes and Noble with a Starbuck’s.

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Mused by Jenster :: 8:24 PM :: 15 People musing:

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Heavy Heart

Some very special friends of ours are going through something horrendous right now. Todd and I have both shed tears today at the thought of their circumstances and the difficult decisions they're facing. "Difficult" seems too benign a word. Sometimes recipes are "difficult". Sometimes people are "difficult". Parking a landboat in a crowded lot is "difficult". What they're experiencing right now goes so far beyond "difficult", but I don't know what other word to use.

The one shining light in all this? I can't elaborate, but these friends are more extraordinary than we ever realized and it is a blessing to see how God is at work in their lives even through this mess. At how they're ALLOWING God to be at work in their lives even through this mess.

This is only the beginning of what will be a terrible season of their lives. My heart is breaking for them and if I hurt this much, how much more do they hurt? Please pray for them. You don't need to know the details. God knows exactly who you're thinking of.

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Mused by Jenster :: 9:17 PM :: 11 People musing:

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Best Book

I played some more with Precious yesterday as the sun was getting low and coming in through the dining room window. I managed to get some pretty good pictures (a collage of which will be forthcoming) but this was by far my favorite.

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Mused by Jenster :: 7:09 AM :: 16 People musing:

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

What A Trip!

I'm starting a series of posts on the CLEAR blog - Trippin' Through the Bible. You can get to it by clicking on the button below.

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Mused by Jenster :: 8:26 PM :: 9 People musing:

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Friday, March 06, 2009

No Sex in the Quaint Village

Today was the spa day with my friends, Kris, Sheri & Laura. The plan was to meet at Kris’ at 11:30 and then get our massages in shifts – two at 12:00 and two at 1:15. Have you ever had a massage? Do you have any idea how much work goes into preparing for a 60 minute massage?

For me there was the little matter of pre-massage deforestation. First I had to hit the underarms. Let me give you a brief history of my armpits. Because of the mastectomy I can’t ever shave my left underarm – a precaution to hopefully prevent lymphedema. So when I had my reconstruction tattoos I had laser hair removal at the same time. It was all in the same general area anyway. After one, two, three sessions the hair seemed to be gone. Sadly, it wasn’t. It’s very thin and sparse and kind of hard to see, but when it gets around an inch long you know it’s there. But who really cares when it’s winter and nobody is seeing my armpits anyway. Except for Todd because I sleep in a tank top, but I tell myself it’s exotic in a very bohemian, European kind of way. My choices were either braid the hair or Veet it. I chose the Veet because: A) trying to braid your own armpit hair is really awkward and nearly impossible; and B) braided underarm hair is gross.

Once my upper body was satisfactorily hair-free I jumped in the shower with a brand, spankin’ new razor and my pot of salt and oil scrub. I learned a long time ago to do the salt scrub before shaving and not after. So I scrubbed up good and then shaved my legs. I shaved my thighs twice, certain I got everything. Except for that I ended up dry shaving the patches I missed. After the Veeting and the scrubbing and the shaving and all that I realized I needed to paint my toenails. That chore done, I finished getting ready and then it was time to get dressed.

What does one wear to a massage? I hemmed and hawed and went back and forth between my nice jeans and a cute top or my tracksuit. I decided on the comfortable tracksuit with the elastic waistband. The thought of taking off my jeans and the seam indentions all over the place was bad enough, but the image of my totally relaxed self trying to put my jeans back on made me cringe. So the tracksuit it was with flip flops because I’d waited too long to paint my toenails.

I walked down to Kris’s and she and Laura were all cute in their jeans and sweaters and nice shoes and there I was. Then we picked up Sheri on our way out of the neighborhood and she was all cute in her jeans and sweaters and nice shoes. *sigh* No matter. I was comfy.

Because of my weight and my reconstruction issues and scars and whatnot I was pretty apprehensive about it. But once I lay down on the massage table in the darkened room with the relaxing music and the burning candles I forgot what I’d had to be anxious about. It was 60 minutes of sheer bliss. And my pants went back on quite nicely, thank you very much!

We were all so mellow when we reconvened after the massages. Really, really mellow. And hungry. So after our day at the spa we went out for a delicious late lunch/early dinner. And talked. And ate. And split a bottle of wine. And talked some more. And ate a ton. And talked even more. It was one of the most delightful days I think I’ve ever had.

When I got home I sat on the love seat and chatted with the family. Then I laid my head on the arm of the love seat. Then I put a foot on the love seat, soon to be followed by the other foot. Katie walked over to the quilt chest for something so I asked her to cover me up with a blanket. She took my crocs off and tucked me in all nice and cozy and I passed out. Taylor left with a friend, the pizza guy came, Todd and Katie ate and then Katie left with her friend and I was oblivious to most of it.
The girls and I decided we’re not going to wait a whole year to do this again.

We’re thinking of doing it twice a year, maybe even four times a year. Heck, if it wasn’t for the money I’d say once a week! As chill as I am right now my family should put their resources together and send me on a regular basis.

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Mused by Jenster :: 10:03 PM :: 16 People musing:

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Another Favorite of Mine

I don't care if you're a hockey fan or not. The NHL has some of the best commercials ever!


Mused by Jenster :: 7:39 PM :: 9 People musing:

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