Back to The Real World

We are back from vacation.  Feeling rested and renewed.  THANK YOU LORD!

(Too bad we all brought colds home with us! )

Not fun to be back into the routine already, but it is what it is and I plan to do better!  I am determined to manage my time better, get more sleep, exercise more, eat better, etc.

Funny how going on vacation kind of has the same effect as a new year.  You have  a new perspective, you re-assess your goals and feel like you are making a fresh start :)

Below is a link to an interesting infographic I came across this morning while catching up on my email.  It’s called “How Social Media Distracts You at Work”.  The problem is that part of my job involves managing social media accounts for clients.  This becomes a problem because then my own accounts are on my screen also.  (Facebook, twitter, pinterest, linked in, digg, etc!) And yes it is way too easy to get distracted by that!

I’ve read before about planning your social media times, like you check it 3 times/day or something.  And you set the times.  Or you plan to check it only after project X has been completed.  I definitely need to do something like this and be more productive!

Anxiety: Dr. Oz Knows What to Do!

Don’t ya just love Dr. Oz?

And I have been a fan of forever.  So I clicked a link in my email cuz it looked like he was gonna give us a recipe for a St Patrick’s Day smoothie.  It was a trick.  It was actually an article about a 48 Hour Cleanse.  See the green smoothie picture?  lol

Anyway, while I was there I found this terrific article!

Dr. Oz’s Worry Cure & Diet Plan  <—– Click here.

It’s about things you can do to feel better if you are a worry wart.  I’m not a worry wart in the sense that he is talking about – but I really think this would apply to my kind of anxiety also.

A few of the highlights:
Deep breathing – We all know this.  New idea though – carry a balloon with you and blow it up – it forces you to take long slow breaths.  I like this because I sometimes have trouble slowing my breathing down.  I can see me doing this in my car.

Lemon Balm – “Lemon balm has been used since the Middle Ages as a calming herb. Take 400 mgs twice daily to prevent your stomach from reacting to your worried thoughts;”  I don’t really have a worried stomach – lol.  But he calls it a calming herb and that sounds good to me!

He gives a recipe for an “anti-anxiety elixir” that contains lemon juice, ginger, and honey.  I love that it is normal ingredients I already have in my house although I’m skeptical that this would actually prevent a panic attack. :)

Aromatherapy – Escents Stress Relief Aromatherapy Inhaler (see it here) – I might try this!

Complex carbohydrates act as tranquilizers by increasing mood-elevating serotonin in your brain.  Like a tranquilizer people.  I’m strangely excited by that word – like it will actually work well enough to kick these panic attacks to the curb.   Whole Wheat, Oats, Beans, Barley, Blue Potatoes.  What is a Blue Potato???   That looks like something fun to try in the garden this summer!  (Am I evil because I just thought of how great it would be to grow these and give some to my all-knowing-gardener-mother-in-law? She’d surely be impressed. Ha! )

Tryptophan  – I’ve heard of this one before.  It’s in turkey.  Dr Oz says it is also in shrimp, bananas, soy sauce, pumpkin seeds, & kale.  I can’t afford to eat shrimp every day that I feel anxious, but I can surely eat a banana or some pumpkin seeds.  Or some brown rice with soy sauce for lunch.  Hey, that’ll help with the diet and produce more serotonin.  Sounds like a new lunch plan!

Omega-3 fatty acids – Causes calmness via the cortisol hormone.  Cool.  Salmon (love!), tuna, flaxseed, walnuts….  I happen to know that avocados are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids too.
I’ve actually been trying to feed avocados to my family a lot lately.  They aren’t in love with them but they DO love the joke that hubby made about fatty asses.  That will never die unfortunately.  Anytime there is an avocado in the area, my kids want to discuss the health benefits and just HAVE to say fatty acids.  Aren’t they so cool?

Panic-Proof Parfait.  NO kidding – that is the recipe title :)
(Cantaloupe, oats, pistachios & cottage cheese)

More recipes: Stress Less Taco Salad and Worry-Free Steak.  Hee hee.

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Blue Mashed Potatoes – It looks like purple play-doh!  I just spent way too much time looking at blue potatoes on the internet.  And I’m going to buy some blue seed potatoes  for the garden too from Wood Prairie Farm. :)

Picture Source

Panic Attacks & Marriage Problems

It’s all connected.

Know when my panic attacks started?  When my marriage took a nosedive.

I have been fighting back and doing better.  I’ve made awesome progress.

My marriage improved also this past year.

Now my husband is driving me nuts again and I feel so jittery today – like I’m going to jump out of my skin.

Am I saying he causes my panic attacks?

No.  Although it’d be great to be able to blame him, I can’t.  Our marriage problems definitely contributed to my anxiety though, I guarantee that!

I believe the way I deal with my marriage problems is what puts me over the edge.  Apparently I had reached my limit 5 years ago when this all started.

I am a relationship person.  My life is about people, relationships.    Husband, kids, sisters, friends, etc.  I know for many people their life focus is their job, or money, or a religious mission, or the white picket fence.  My focus is and always was – people.

I care way too much what other people think of me.  I always have.  I take it to heart when someone is mad at me, or someone just doesn’t like me, or if someone is moody.  The problem with that is that I married the moodiest man on the planet.

My self-worth depends on the status of my relationships.  That is a wow kind of sentence.  It is something that I know is ridiculous.  And I don’t actually think that.  But if I am being honest – I really do live my life that way!  Even though I try really hard NOT to do that.

I have to work on that.

What I need to do

I’ve said these things a million times.  I’ve said them, thought them, typed the, wrote them….

I need to go to bed earlier.
I need to get more sleep.
I need to get up earlier.
I need to be more motivated.
I need to shower first thing in the morning.
I need to get dressed to shoes every day.
I need to stop drinking so much coffee.
I need to drink more water.
I need to quit eating chocolate.
I need to eat more fruit.
I need to eat more salads.
I need to quit eating french fries.
I need to keep track of my blood sugar levels better.
I need to be more organized.
I need to declutter.
I need to find time to read more.
I need to exercise more.
I need to lose 20 pounds.
I need to be more fun and spontaneous.
I need to lighten up.
I need to be more out-going.
I need to read my bible every day.
I need to start going to church again.
I need to call my mom regularly.
I need to visit my mom more often.
I need to call my dad more often.
I need to stop yelling.
I need to be more patient.
I need to watch less TV.
I need to get off this computer.

I need to get my act together!

I’m Not Selfish, I’m Cheap.

Hubby thinks I am selfish.  No, he did not come right out and say those words.  But several times this week I’ve felt the need to defend myself and declare that I am not selfish.

“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”


So I started to think about it.  Yes, I suppose I do some selfish things.  I don’t think of myself as a selfish person though.  Not in an unhealthy or detrimental way.

I have been checking my blood sugar again lately.  I decided to switch to sugar-free creamer.  Hubby used it one morning and I said he should use the other stuff, not the sugar-free stuff since it costs so much more.  He acted like I was the devil woman because if it was good enough for me, why not him?  Well, you don’t have blood sugar issues.  Well wouldn’t it still be good for me to cut back on sugar?  Umm, ok.  I guess.  But we have 2 big yummy flavors of regular creamer in the fridge.  Can he at least use that until it is gone?  He huffed.

Does that make me selfish?  No, I think it makes me cheap.  I hated to spend the extra money on the sugar free creamer in the first place.  I decided it was the right thing to do for my health.  I would use it sparingly and make it last.  Well that went out the window when he decided to use it too.  He is a “use it up” kinda guy when it comes to food especially.  And I can tell you right now that if we go through the sugar-free stuff as quickly as the regular, I will just quit buying it altogether cuz I won’t be able to justify the cost.  So no – not selfish, cheap.  (And he isn’t harmed by regular sugar-included creamer anyway so it’s not like I was treating myself better than I was treating him!)

I have a chocolate stash in my desk.  I do not like to share it.  It’s yummy dark chocolate.  It’s a special treat also.  They all know about my stash and I’m sure they sneak some :)  But it’s common knowledge that I am not gonna get it out and serve it to everyone in the house for a snack or desert.   Why?  Well it’s mine.  Aren’t I allowed to have something that is just mine?  It’s the expensive kind.  I make it last, I savor it.  The rest of my family prefers milk chocolate to dark chocolate.  So why would I give them my expensive stash when they don’t really love that kind anyway?  Sure, they’d eat it.  But they wouldn’t love it.  I love it.  So yea, I guess I don’t want it wasted on people who will not appreciate it.  Hmm.  That sounds selfish.  But then if I had a million bucks, I wouldn’t care if they ate all my special stash would I?  See I’m not selfish, I’m just cheap.

What else?  Oh –  my toothpaste :)  Yep.  I’m on a mission to whiten my teeth.  I drink way too much coffee & tea & red wine.  It shows on my teeth.  I have tried white strips and frankly they just make me gag and I never follow through with it.  I have not had the professional whitening done at the dentist office mainly because I hate being trapped in that chair. (Thank you panic attacks for my yellowed teeth!)  And because I’m too cheap.  Ha!  So I just bought the new Colgate Optic White toothpaste.  It says it works as well as the strips and you can see results in a week.  Well it’s only been 2 days so we’ll see.  BUT I did not put the toothpaste on the bathroom counter with the rest of the toothpaste.  Why?  Cuz it’s expensive!  Cuz I am always scrubbing globs of toothpaste out of the sink.  Cuz I know that most of the toothpaste my kids put on their toothbrushes ends up in the sink in big globs and never even makes it into their mouths.  See that’s wasteful!  This new Colgate has a pretty strong taste and they probably wouldn’t like it anyway.  And I do plan to put it on the counter so that I remember to use it.  But I wanted a chance to tell them all about it and how it is a different kind and what it is for before I put it out there.  Hubby saw me using it and questioned me about it.  He made some snide remark about me having my own special tooth paste blah blah blah.  Selfish?  Maybe.  Cheap.  Yes.

Kid1 & I have been walking after school.  Some days she goes to the library for math tutoring so she doesn’t get home until later.  We still walk before supper, which means supper is later.  We did try to eat first just to keep with our usual routine, but we were not motivated AT ALL to walk after dinner and then we would get busy with homework, dishes etc and our walks would get pushed aside.  Kid1 was thrilled.  I was not.  So that’s why we changed it.  Yes, dear Hubby who values meal time more than any person I know, your dinner will be later than usual on math tutoring days.  And maybe even some other days as I try to go with the flow and still get our exercise in.  He was not thrilled about this.  Our whole schedule has to change so you can walk?  I told him if he didn’t want supper to be later, he could cook for us those nights.  Right??  Sounded good to me.  That hasn’t happened yet.  But I stood up for what I know is important to my daughter’s (& my) health.  He does know the plan with these walks, and he supports it, but was miffed when it interfered with his evening.  Ugh.  Selfish?  Not. At. All.  Him? Yes.  He’ll get over it.

Yesterday I was having a horrible heat flash.  I opened the back door and stood against the screen while flipping through a cookbook for a crockpot recipe.  I’ll bet I had only been there 20-30 seconds when hubby objected and gruffly told me to go outside.  We got into this whole argument about how I should be considerate to the rest of them and not freeze them out.  AND I was costing us money cuz the furnace is gonna have to run and heat the place back up.  So he says I should just step outside when I need to.  Well fine.  And I often do that.  But does he have any idea how often I have heat flashes?  Some days I would be out on the porch more than in the house!  And excuse me?  I am BOILING over here….  He wants me to have some consideration?  So everyone else gets consideration BUT me?  He can put a sweatshirt on.  I am already stripped down to my tank top. So does this mean I’m selfish?  No, I think it means he is even cheaper than me cuz he is more worried about the heating bill than his over-heated wife :)

(He came out once while I was on the porch yesterday and asked me what I was doing.  I said “Praying that God will curse you with hot flashes too.”  Hee Hee.)

Wow this is a whole lot of rationalizing to convince myself I’m not selfish.

I do not think it is wrong for me to be kind to me, and to do & have some things that I want – just for me.  This is kind of a new area for me.  I have done more of this type of stuff since I got a backbone and decided to be ME and stand up for myself in this family. I am worth it.  So yea, I am taking care of me.  I still take care of everyone else in this family too. That hasn’t changed. Perhaps they have been inconvenienced a time or two.  So what.  Learning that life does not always revolve around them is a good lesson.

Are You Happy?

Happiness Flowchart

Working the Concession Booth

OK guys.  Be proud of me.  Be very very proud.

Well maybe hold your applause until I report back….

Tomorrow night I am scheduled to work in the concession booth at the football game.  I have been successfully avoiding this for 2 years.  I even signed up to “open” the booth for all Thursday junior high home games – just so I could avoid the Friday night Varsity games.  Obviously Friday night games draw a much bigger crowd.  And I’m all for avoiding that.

Oh.  And did I mention that tomorrow was HOMECOMING?  Yes, the biggest crowd of the whole season will be there.

In addition to the regular homecoming events, our town has gone crazy and has scheduled a huge alumni reunion type thing too.  We are a small school.  And every year we hear threats that we may need to consolidate with nearby towns.  I guess people are starting to think it may actually happen so everyone is being all nostalgic and wanted to make this a really big event.  In case this is the last year our school exists.

I am an alumni band member :)  I played the clarinet and the trumpet.  I am not participating in the big festivites cuz, well cuz I don’t really want to be out there marching around on the football field now do I?!?  Sitting in the bleachers is hard enough.  Put me out there on the field in front of everyone?  NOT gonna happen.  (Amazing how I did things like that repeatedly for several years with no trouble and now it sounds horrifying.  Be damned panic attacks!)

Like I said, I have been helping at the concession booth during the Thursday night games.  The first time I did that was very hard!  I was so very nervous!  Happily, I got to work in the back part cooking hamburgers and serving up nachos & cheese.  I’ve never had to work the front counter and frankly I refuse to do so!  I want to be involved and I want to be helpful.  I’m a band parent now and I will be for many years, so I chose to work those Thursday nights as a kind of exposure therapy :) Call it a personal challenge. The deal is that one other lady and I get there before the game starts and get everything set up and cooking.  Then when other helps arrives for the evening we get to leave.  That sounded do-able to me.  Much better than working all night at a Friday night game.  And it is required that all parents cover at least one shift during the season.  So this was my way to do it but not have to do it big :)

So much for that.  The parent in charge of the concession booth called and practically begged me to help.  Most of the people that were scheduled for that night will be busy marching around on the field.  Hmm.  She is very sweet and was so very desperate.  I gave her a lame excuse, said I’d talk to my hubby cuz we potentially had some other plans (lie!) and get back to her.  It bugged me all day as I was working!  Finally I text my sis-in-law, and asked her if she wanted to help.  She loves stuff like that!  I figured she could help in my place.  She said “You’re helping too right?!?!  It’ll be fun.”  So after that text nagging me for a while longer, I called that sweet band parent lady back and told her we’d help.  This all happened yesterday. (Wed.)  So far, I’m not freaking out.  That’s awesome.  Hopefully I will be able to hold onto this attitude and it will be fun.  I will definitely take an ativan before I go.  Definitely.  I’m not feeling confident enough to handle this without that.  It gets pretty cramped in that booth, I would really hate to have a melt down there.  You know what though?  I think it’s gonna be ok.  I really do.  Maybe even fun :)

I think I am actually more nervous about seeing old friends that I am about working the booth.  It is always awkward seeing people from high school that you haven’t seen in ages.  I always feel like they are judging me :(  Guess I’ll be faking it until I make it tomorrow night too!  My “I am awesome, who the hell are you?” attitude always seems to help get me though these things.  Ha.

Wish we luck.

This is getting long so I’ll tell you all about my horrible panic attack in the bleachers in my next post.

I think my sisters know about my blog.

I wish they didn’t.  I cannot confirm it but I suspect they do.  I made a mistake and posted a comment on a site one of my sisters likes.  Apparently I was signed in as Zoe, and the link to this blog is there…..  right on the same page BigSis made a comment on too.  I have asked the site to remove it but they have not yet.  It’s been a while, I don’t think they will.  So I either change this blog to private or face up to it.  LilSis has asked me a few questions and she may think she is sly, but – not so much.  I think they know.


To my sisters:  Hello.  I hate that you know about this blog.  I hate that I have been very concerned about what I may write here that may insult you or I would just rather you not know.  Obviously I write things here that I would never tell you otherwise.  Not everything – you know much already.  But some things.

BigSis, I am sure I have said a thing or two that made you mad, about you trying to “fix” me or my hair or whatever…  Oops. You know it is true – you are a fixer and I love you anyway :)

LilSis, you are probably shocked that I am such a horrible wife and do not submit to my hubby better.  Or maybe you already know that and are just praying feverishly for me.  I love you too.

I have found a supportive group of ladies here.  I value them and their experiences.  Otherwise I would have changed my blog to private as soon as I suspected you found it.

I’m not sure if I really want to KNOW that you have seen this blog.  But I guess I do.  I don’t want to keep wondering.  So let me have it. If you are reading this, let me know please.  If you leave a comment here, please be very careful to be anonymous.  No names or links to your own blog….. or other identifying info…  Yea, pretend you are in the secret service.

I think I am going to try to pretend you are not here.  I will be more real if I do that.  I’m sure you can understand.  Seriously, would you want me to read your diary?  I doubt it.  Wouldn’t you edit it before you handed it to me?  That’s what this is like.  My diary.

I love you guys.

Parent- Teacher Conference Time Again

Yes, again.  Ugh.  Wish this wasn’t a pain in my rear.  But it is.

Panic attacks suck.  True that.  lol

I am actually not worried about the conferences for Kids2 & 3 at the elementary school.  I think I have finally conquered those events.  I am not feeling panicked at all about those.  People who have read here before know that I SUFFER from panic attacks at these types of events.  I am getting much better and am actually not freaking about it right now.  And conferences are tomorrow so yay me.  This used to work me up for weeks in advance.

But of course we have a new one thrown into the mix.  And it is worrying me a bit.  Our Jr High school has “Team Conferences” for 7th  & 8th graders.  That means I need to go before the firing squad for Kid1.  Yep, that’s how it feels.  I did not go to the one in the fall.  I can rationalize and say that I did not go because I had already been talking to her teachers via email and there was no need for me to go in also.  But if I’m being completely honest here, I did not want to go AT ALL because the thought of having a “Team Conference” with all of her teachers freaked me out.  lol

(Quite a few other parents did not go to these either because it sounded so intimidating.  One of my friends, who also happens to be a 4th grade teacher said that sounded horrible and came up with the ‘firing squad” comparison.  Her kids are not in high school yet so she didn’t have to deal with it yet, but hated the sound of it too.  And she is a teacher and knows these people! )

Anyway, tomorrow at 2pm I will be facing the “team”.  Yikes.  Kid1 is having some trouble and I do need to go.  I would feel horrible for not going just because I’m nuts.  That doesn’t help her and she needs help.  I’m hoping to be able to setup a tutor for math while I’m there.  It is only a 15 minute time slot so it will not kill me.  (Flylady says you can do anything for 15 minutes! ) Honestly I don’t know how much you can really accomplish in 15 minutes, with 4 different teachers!  And I think that is stupid.  Why waste everyone’s time when really I just need to talk to the math & science teachers.  How does everyone being involved in the conversation help?  I dunno.  Hopefully it will be better than I expect.  Perhaps this has worked well for them in the past.  Who knows.  I think it sounds yucky and intimidating and it is why many parents don’t go at all.

Hubby may or not be going.  We’ll see.  He says he is.  But the time is not really ideal and he may be asleep.  Usually we are able to get morning appointments and we go before he goes to sleep.  (He works nights.)  But this is right in the middle of his sleep time so we’ll see.  I think he would probably be happy to get out if it and he has the perfect excuse.

Not sure if it would be better or worse with him there.  Kid1’s conference is giving me anxiety already.  But sometimes it is easier to “fake it till you make it” without him there.  I usually feel more confident facing these things on my own.  I feel self-conscious about my anxiety.  I mean I know it’s stupid and makes no sense.  I think when I am on my own, I can put on a better “act”.  Not sure if anyone will know what I mean here.  I can pretend it doesn’t bother me at all.  I pretend I am just fine and sometimes I even kinda cop an attitude.  Ha!  It helps me deal with it.  And if hubby is there…. he knows I am struggling.  He is watching me to see how I am reacting.  He is a little worried that I may freak and make him go himself.  And it gives me an out.  So sometimes I feel stronger on my own.  Know what I mean?

(Side note: I have struggled in the past with highways, just a little.  In those cases I definitely wanted another adult with me.  I once pulled over to the side of a very busy exit ramp in Fort Myers, Florida.  My friend was shocked – how could I pull over right there! she wanted to know.  We had just very slowly made our way across a very long bridge, traffic was all backed up and I was freaking out!  But I also had 5 kids in the car so I was not able to actually freak out.  I am proud of myself for getting us across that bridge safely without losing my mind.  But as soon as I saw an opportunity, I pulled over.  The safety of my passengers was more important than me winning the panic battle that day.  So sometimes, yea, you need someone there to back you up.  Sometimes you need a “safe” person.  Other times, I am stronger on my own.  )

Pray for me tomorrow please :)

THANK YOU LORD for this blog where I can vent and work out my feelings.

Hubby works 3rd Shift.. and I hate it!

I hate 3rd shift.    HATE it.  No, I don’t work it, hubby does.  I couldn’t do it.  I would be a walking zombie. When I am sleep deprived, all I want to do is throw up.  I am a person who needs my sleep.  I just am.

Hubby handles it well.   He chose to work 3rd.  He made that choice so he would be around for the kid’s activities.

He was on 1st shift when he started at his job and just hated it.  There are double the amount of employees and double the amount of bosses on 1st shift.  He is a guy that is very capable of doing his job without someone standing over him supervising.  And frankly when someone does that it just ticks him off.  He came home so many evenings saying he is tired of “playing their game”.    It just really ticked him off.

So then he switched to 2nd shift.   I loved 2nd shift!  It was awesome!  It was summertime when he first started that.  And I felt free.  Sorry to say that but I did.  If the kids and I were at the park, or swimming with friends, or visiting cousins, or whatever….  there was no time we had to be home.  He would leave around 2:30 in the afternoon.  I work from home and tried to get most of my work done in the mornings and we would have the rest of the day to just have fun.  And since Dad was home in the mornings, they got to ride the 4-wheelers, and play baseball with Dad and all sorts of fun Dad stuff.  They loved it.  Lunchtime became our family meal time.  Lunches are less of a pain than suppers to prepare and we still got our family meal together.  I felt like I was in charge of my own schedule for once.  It was very freeing to know that no one cared if I was home in time to make dinner.  Or if we ate PB & J again.  We just did what we wanted to do.  And I didn’t have to clear the decisions with him…. you know, kids ask if they are allowed to do something or if a friend can come over after supper and play or whatever.  I said yes if I wanted to say yes.  I did not have to check with him.  He didn’t care, he wouldn’t be there :)

When school started back up it was a bit harder.  I was the only one there to help 3 kids with homework.  And I was the only taxi for the evening.  But I still liked it.  Hubby and I got along great at that time in our marriage also.  He was at home and getting lots of stuff done around the house and with the kids during the day.  That made him feel productive and happy.  I was happy – no mom guilt while I worked in the mornings and the schedule according to me in the evenings.  Life was good.  lol

To be continued….

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This blog is my personal journal. I am trying hard to save my marriage. No, I am trying to build a great marriage. In case you haven't heard, marriage is HARD!
I am fighting back against anxiety & panic attacks. This is year 5 of this adventure. I am also codependent. I am an ACOA. Fun, Fun. I am trying hard to become a better me.