Monday, September 18, 2017

PMS Institute

PMS can mean many things, but in this case, it means Peri-Menopause.

After this past two weeks I realized something. There needs to be a mental institute for peri-menopausal women. 

I'm generally a nice person- really, I am! But during this past month, the grasp on my emotions has been getting steadily worse, and I think it all started two to three years ago, when the peri-menopausal monster decided to rear its over-estrogenated, roller-coaster-emotioned head.

As of this weekend, I lost my grip entirely.

I was crying for no reason. Anything brought me to near-crying! The pastors' sermon was uplifting, but my eyes acted like it was an eulogy. He could have said the word 'the' and my eyes would blur with unreleased tears.

But that wasn't all folks- oh no! I went from an understanding, loving person to unreasonable shrew in less than 1.2 seconds- and all it took was a loving smile from my hard-working husband. 

He doesn't deserve that. My worst enemy doesn't deserve that! But on I spewed, ranting and raving about all the wrong in my life and the world, volcanic words erupting from my mouth and throwing ash all over the living room carpets.

When I was by myself, I cried that no one cared. When I was with people at church, I wanted to be alone. Does that sound like a sane person?

Well, this wasn't the first time this happened (though I admit it was one of the worst hormonal episodes), so I decided to get checked out. I'm still not sure if that was the right decision or not, because they found something.

Atypical cells.

So instead of an institute, I'm going to the hospital for an outpatient procedure called a D&C. Apparently I have a few layers that decided to stay put and they have to go in and do a little wallpaper removal. They have to check my innards to make sure those atypical cells were possibly an organic typo, or if I need to get some parts removed. The doc told me my estrogen levels were through the roof- and that was probably why I was a peri-menopausal psychopath, and that I was also a high, pre-cancer risk. 

Oh Joy and Rapture.

I go in for the surgery Wednesday. If things turn out to be atypical (or even cancerous), I will be having a hysterectomy. In my case, it will be a hystericalectomy. I'm not crazy about having my parts removed, but I'm also not crazy about being hormonally crazy either. 

(Wolfburgers, anyone? Been there, almost done that!)

After talking to a few of my 'ectomy' friends, it seems the hormonal roller coaster rides will stop, and the estrogen levels will level off, because I won't be producing it anymore. Since estrogen is stored in the fat cells (according to the doc), I'll get some of the estrogen back when I start losing weight, but eventually I'll have to start taking supplements. 

Eventually. Like when I'm eighty.

So the trade off is a calmer, happier and possibly thinner me (or at least thinning), no chance of having to support kids in college in my seventies, and no more monthly (or quarterly) mattresses in exchange for one uterus and a couple of over-active ovaries. 

I think I can handle that- at least until the next hormonal surge happens. Then I'll be in the bedroom drowning myself in my tear-soaked pillow. Sigh.

In the mean time I would ask for your prayers and positive thoughts as I go under the whatever-it-is they use for the D&C- and don't tell me, I really don't want to know. 
Just so long as I'm in a medical institution for less than a day and not a mental one for the rest of my hot-flashing, teeth-grinding life, I believe God's got this- but a lot of prayers sure don't hurt matters...right?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tis The Sneezon



Ah, Spring and Autumn, you delight me with your bright regalia of color, your special sweet smells of growth and defoliation, with your wild creatures running amok to either celebrate the end of winter, or scurrying to find food for their secret winter stashes. 

But your pollen laden air can go take a long hiketh off of a short cliffeth.

Those itchy eyes, that red and swollen nose is oh-so-attractive to my slumbering mate as he is startled awake by the thundering moose-like bellow of the wild that is the blowing of my very stuffed, yet runny nose. To this day it amazes me just how much can be forcibly propelled out of one's nostrils; so much so that I imagine there is some sort of miraculous measurement written in the vast pages of Guinness Book of World Records. 
Go back to sleep my love I gently croon in a very unromantic babbling cant (for one cannot utter certain letters when ones nose is so stuffed) , praying he will be in deep slumber before my next allergenic eruption.

Sometimes I manage to hold back the explosive utterances, only to find myself questing with quavering fingers through the darkened recesses of the bedding for my eyeballs. On occasion, I manage to sleep.

The morning alarm sounds, bringing me into a new day- or at least that is what I assume, since my eyelids are cemented shut. Nocturnal tears wept to relieve the itchiness apparently hardens overnight into an almost impenetrable crust, for which I need a minuscule hammer and chisel to remove the stubborn ocular barnacles so I can at last see the light of pre-dawn.

Mornings are fraught with frantic searching for fresh hankies as I sense the pre-sneeze tickling in the vast depths of my nasal cavity, often ending with a hasty toilet paper substitute when the needed eco-friendly solution to my carbon footprint can't be found; but when that swatch of soft washable nose gear is located, a cry of triumph and the thrill of glorious celebratory glee courses through my very being when said hankie is conscripted in time for the gust that even the Big Bad Wolf would envy.

Or should I say series of gusts, for you see, my body, having lain dormant for more than a few hours, makes up for time by sending me into convulsive, multiple sneezing fits that more than one hankie is required. This is especially appreciated when engaged in conversation or if consuming the morning repast.

If it weren't for the hankies, many, many forests would suffer decimation from my spring and autumn pollen perturbed proboscis. There aren't enough tissues in the universe to save my poor nose, not to mention we'd either be bereft of funds from the expense, or the earth would suffocate from the overfilling of our toxic waste dumps from my allergenic leavings.

Another happenstance that fills me with joyful exuberance is the unexpected spritzing of a non-incontinent yet neither leak-proof bladder. When in mid-sneeze, one has no control over ones intense muscular contractions of  the solar plexus, henceforth no command over the drips, drops, or complete loss of control concerning urinary release. This makes any outing delightfully more adventurous, even when one is wearing a washcloth, or mini mattress made for other womanly functions. 
Trips are planned carefully, in accordance to the location of bathrooms, or within a three foot vicinity of the domicile in case a sneeze occurs.

As for allergy alleviation, One can either be drowsy and muddle-headed all day, or choose the path of the overnight medication that would send one into an almost coma-like stupor; though either will send your body into a severe mode of dehydration, sending any and all fluids to the finite depths of ones bladder. As long as no fluids are consumed, all seems well- but the moment liquid touches ones lips, all symptoms come rushing back with an epic vengeance, bringing forth tear-blinded eyes and fits of sneezing that will alleviate the hydration-bloated urine-filled water balloon that ones so desperately tries not to loosen, because a lavatory is not within waddling distance.

But I digress. I neither wish to be in a stupor nor venture out into the wilderness that is my city with a trunk of clean clothing 'just in case' some allergens befall my sensitive senses.

So here I sit, in the safety of my enclosed writing sanctuary, grateful for windows that close and a place to hold two formidable stacks of hankies; Nary daring to open the door even to feline yowlings or family encouragers, content to be a hermit until the winter snows arrive, ensconced in an atmosphere gloriously pollen-free. 

At least until dinnertime. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Self(ish) Sufficiency

Self- Sufficiency. 

It's the ultimate goal for most of us. In fact, the world commends someone who is self-sufficient; this is a person that doesn't need to rely on anyone else to do what he has to get done- he does it all on his own.

I was taught from a young age to be self-sufficient. But my self-sufficiency was based all on me- not others. Doing it on my own meant that I was not only competent (which gave my confidence a boost), but the job would be done right.

Asking for help was a no-no. 

Sufficient means adequate or enough. Self-sufficient means I'm enough. I'm adequate. All I need is me to do what I need to do. But many, many times I find myself overwhelmed by life and drowning in chaos! 

Am I enough? Nope. not by a longshot. Anyone would consider a man a fool if he was drowning and didn't ask for help...right? So why do I pride myself on getting out of the chaos on my own? 

It's definitely selfish-sufficiency. 

I need friends. I need family. And most important, I need God. Only God can give me the strength to call out for help, and provide that help when I ask for it!

When I'm down, I talk to my cheerleaders. And they do the same with me. I am supported, and I in turn support others. I'm spiritually fed, and I spiritually feed others. And everyone is stronger for it.

Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't ask for help. Sometimes I feel like I'm whining- and to be honest, sometimes I am. But I'm blessed enough to have friends willing to tell me when I'm getting to that point, and they in turn appreciate that I don't pull punches either. 

Truth can sting, but it's better to rid yourself of those splinters of trouble before they fester and infect your entire being.

As for my gentler, less blunt friends, they are my comforters when I feel like the world is full of thorns. God has blessed me with an entire garden of different blooms to go to when I need help.

But I have to be willing to walk into the garden!



On occasion I still suffer from selfish-efficiency. But God reminds me that I wasn't meant to do everything on my own. And sometimes He has me remind others as well!

It's good to find more than one friend to tell your troubles to and share your concerns and sorrows. I'm lucky enough- blessed enough- to have a small group I can confide in for the harder issues. Some are sounding boards for ideas (in fact, I might have to stop telling her ideas because we are both creatives and we give each other even more ideas! :) ), and some are great for those ups and downs when I enter a new stage of life.

One thing I've learned was to give as well as receive. That was the hardest lesson!

I had to remember to listen as well as speak. To learn as well as teach. To follow as well as lead. And for this very stubborn, hard-headed woman, God had His hands full!

He still does.

Don't be afraid to find your own blossoms in your garden of friends. You might even be surprised when you find them! And don't forget to also talk to your Best Friend Ever...God!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Lights Out, Little Owl


Our son, my night owl, has flown the coop. As of Thursday, he's residing in college. 

We all were excited for our own reasons. My husband and I, because he's going to get a higher education, will be independent, and will learn to earn his daily bread for a lifetime. Our son, for getting out from the dubious parental thumbs of his parents and the tell-tale informative skills of his sister. His sister, because she will no longer have to put up with his teasing and his consumption of all her favorite snacks.
And for us three early birds, no more loud noises late at night, when our night owl leaves on every light- especially the one in the living room- and stomps about the house because he forgets everyone else is asleep.

We were all excited.

It wasn't easy getting him ready. The entire month was a tug-of-war on my nerves, because of shopping trips, packing (or so I thought was him packing) and other college roadblocks that are the very essence of joy for a first-time college parent. 

Once the road blocks were removed (or at least dealt with), all we had to do was take what he packed and put it in the van the night before, because, being the early birds most of us are, we have to leave at the crack of dark to do everything we'd planned. However, there was a problem.

Let's just say for the parent of an Aspie, his kind of packing wasn't our kind of packing.
His kind of packing was to put things in their own piles in his room and to go through every single thing, stacking it neatly in said pile. Then plan to throw everything in the van pell-mell at the last minute, sneaking in a few forbidden items while we were asleep.

We didn't find this out until the day before we were supposed to leave. 

He also has a gift to become scarce when chores are involved, so my husband, daughter and a family friend (who was helping because of my wonky knees) managed to get most of his important gear packed and into the van before bedtime. Whew! 
Of course my son helped some. And by some, I mean telling everyone what he wanted to take with him, which was almost everything. We parents knew better and managed to keep most of his valuables (and valued things like a plethora of desk toys) at home.

Oddly enough, our night owl was up with us at dawn, ready for the first leg of his lifes' journey.
This trip was an all day event because his college was a four hour drive one way, with side visits to make on the way there. And it was a perfect morning! All of the van windows opened as we all breathed in the fresh air of freedom.

College students greeted us with tubs to carry the new students' belongings to the dorms, and our son was stashed and settled in no time. Then it was off to our last dinner with him (at least for a while), and he was chomping at the bit for us to go. He didn't really want a huge farewell- there were too many things to see and people to meet. He is a very sociable Aspie. I taught him that. Maybe I taught him too well.

We got into the van soon after dinner and made our way home. I was excited for him, but a little sad as well. I expected him to be a bit more...loving. I expected more heartfelt hugs and instead received a brush-off. He was looking forward to flying out of the nest I had built.

No more yelling to get him to do chores.
No more trying to wake him up in the mornings and failing miserably.
No more calling for him, trying to find him while his earphones are on.
No more arguments over what he will and won't take.
No more stress, hoping he filled out the forms he needed.

I could breathe now. 

When we got home, we were all tired and ready for bed. Early birds don't fare well after a long day, and I was ready for a nice deep sleep. I wasn't worried about his safety or how he would do his first night- after all, he's a young man now. The first part of my job concerning him was done. Now I was entering a new phase of motherhood with my son.

We slogged up the steps with my husband turning off the lights as he went, including that light in the living room that never gets turned off- it's always on for my son, the night owl. It's left on all day as well, since the room is a bit dark. For years I had an issue with that light always being on, but now that wasn't going to be a problem anymore.

My husband turned out the light. 

That was when it hit me. My son wasn't home. He's trying out his wings in college.

And that was when the tears started.

Lights out, little owl. Your morning bird momma misses you. 


Monday, August 21, 2017

Old School Mother Love



I'm an old school mom.

Let me rephrase that. I'm a mom that is old school, not that I'm old and a school mom, though I feel old and my kids are still in school; but that's not my point.

Old school love is different that your average 'Huggy Bear, Cuddleumpkins' kind of love.

Old school love is willing to get hard core.

It's willing to let your babies fall out of the nest and let them figure out how to get back up. 

It yells when your kids just aren't self motivated and need some 'assistance' getting started.

It isn't afraid to tell the truth, even if the truth hurts a little for now.

It swats kids' upside the head when they get too snarky or disrespectful.

It might even toss a wayward kid out of the house for a time, hoping the culture shock will set them straight.

It cries in private, so the kids don't see how much they are tearing your heart into little bits of misery.

Having an old school heart can be a very heavy burden sometimes. It can also make a parent very hoarse.

But old school love is more than that.

It also helps your child when she's done her best and still can't do it.

It tells your kids how awesome they are- and will be- at the top of your lungs, if they just apply some effort into the game that is life.

It hugs your kids in the middle of a yelling match- even if they fight your embrace.

It calls all your friends and neighbors the second your child slams the door as he leaves home, just to make sure he'll be safe. It makes you worry all night until he returns, yet still manages to keep your turmoil a secret.

And it's not afraid to ugly cry in front of the kids if all else fails.

Old school love isn't easy. It isn't that soft, warm blanket that people love to sink into after a hard day. Old school love is more like a snug, secure jacket that keeps you warm enough, but allows you to do what you have to do to accomplish life. It's like Kevlar- tough, flexible, and durable, and can take the hits its' dealt. 

Old school love is tough love around the softest of hearts.

I'm a mom with an old school heart. My Kevlar is dented, even torn in places, but it's still holding firm. It will be there when they call at three a.m. asking for help, or when someone breaks my baby's heart. It will also be there for backup in case my child needs some encouragement, or Momma Muscle in case they can't handle the problem. Old school hearts are like that.

So spread your wings my young ones. and go forth knowing I will be there in a half of a heartbeat if you need me. In the meantime, I'll be here to swat you upside the head, yell when you need it, and put on my combat boots when you or someone who wronged you needs a good butt-kicking.

Because old school love isn't afraid to get in the ring to fight with you, or for you. Old school love just wants you to win.

Monday, August 14, 2017

College Edumacayshkun



My son is going to college. 

As a parent, I'm torn between "Oh, my sweet Baby is going out on his own!" and "Buh-bye All-Knowing-One- good luck in the real world!"

To some of you, that last statement might seem snarky, but there's good reason behind it. You see, according to our nineteen year-old son, my husband and I are morons. 

We had a huge discussion with him about grants vs, loans, what kind of dorm to pick, what he'll really need vs. what he wants, and other fascinating topics of disinterest, when he chimed in with the statement, "But Mom, you and Dad don't understand because you've never been to college."

Let me let you in on something, Seeker-Of-Expensive-Knowledge, neither have you.

So how is it that he thinks he knows more than we do? Just because we never went to college, doesn't mean we are unedumacated- it just means our grandchildren won't be incurring the debt of our non-existent student loans.

My mother's heart wants to find ways to make enough to pay his way no matter what, working myself to the bone to make sure he's fully funded. I want to send him to college with enough care packages that he will want for nothing, never be hungry or thirsty, have enough blankets to stay warm, and a fan to keep him cool. I want all the best tech at his disposal, so he can do what he needs to do to succeed.

But then my realist heart pipes in. How much as he done on his own so far? Ugh. Honestly, not as much as he could. And me 'following my mother's heart' would actually be detrimental to his growth into a productive human being. 
Why? 
Let me count the ways...as of right now:
He sleeps when he wants.
He eats when he wants.
He does chores when he feels like it, which mean he waits until we yell.
He hasn't earned any money because he doesn't work. Yet.

We trained him to be responsible. Really! This was a kid that at ten years of age, could do the laundry on his own. He even did it willingly! Now I can barely get him to clean himself, no less his own clothing.

Ick. 

He knows how to care for a home and keep things organized- he just doesn't do it. It's like trying to get an elephantine-sized sloth to run a marathon...it just ain't gonna happen, no matter how much prompting you do.

And after talking to the college staff, his is not the only case of All-Knowing-Do-Nothing Syndrome. In fact, colleges are loaded with peers like him, so he'll be in good company. At least for the first year. After that, I can see two things happening:

One, we parents will seem even more moronic than before, being mentally comparable to the amoebic gelatinous ooze of a fifth grade science project, because he can now claim a higher educational status.

Two, we parents will be genuinely revered and respected for the true Givers of Life Sustaining Food and Goods that we were, and hopefully will continue to be, because he ran out of snacks, money, and toilet paper. 

We also hope he'll think the second one without the addition of continual financial support, because he'll have a real job by then as a tutor and can pay his own bills.

Alas, for now, we have ten days left before the sloth goes off to start his new life. And ten days to go through his things, list what he needs, then go out and get the rest. 

It almost sounds like the beginning of a bad joke- A sloth and an amoeba go to store for college supplies...

We've learned life through experience. He needs experience to get through life. Hopefully we can find a happy medium before his college season is over, and if not, the means to move before he finds us!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Distraction Traction



I love to use that little red laser to play with my cats. They come running when they hear the soft scrape as I take it from the shelf, looking expectantly to the floor for the red dot that sends them running about the house as they try to catch it.

It's just a light. It's isn't something they can catch. Try telling one cat that, no less three

Unfortunately, I have my little red light too. Several, actually. I think everyone has at least one, maybe more. Mine are Facebook, emails, and videos. Facebook friends need to be spoken to, emails need sorting and deleting, and videos? 

Well, they need to be watched.

The sad part is, even if I had no internet, I'd still find other red laser lights to distract me. Like the crafty stuff I never put away. Or those piles of paperwork that need sorting, tossing and filing. And oh yes- books and magazines that need reading.

Don't get me wrong, Books and magazines are awesome things! I love to read. But when the story or how-to book distracts me from my work, then it becomes a problem.

Like this week.

I was supposed to write. In fact, I was supposed to write a lot. I have an agent interested in my book ideas, but he wants three of them finished and three ready to be done. I have one finished. Did I work on the other two? Nope. Not a single, solitary word. But I did start this great book on how to build your author platform.
I also had some health issues, but they required me to remain fairly still. Helloooo- writer here! Staying still is my job. My fingers were the only things that needed to really be running at top speed. 

Instead I used them to go through emails. Yes it had to be done. It had to be done for a long time! But I was supposed to be writing those stories. There goes that little red light again!

And here I sit on a Monday. It's Blog Day. It's also time for me to write my column and create a few puzzles for Ruby magazine- not to mention the puzzle book I'm supposed to finish in the next few weeks.

I feel like I'm in Distraction Traction- so distracted I can't move because everything I need to do is piling up around me. That's like twenty little red lights going in all different directions- Yikes!

Do you ever feel like that? I'm going to have to knuckle-down and break free of my Tractions. 

I'll turn off the internet as soon as I'm done this post (um...okay, after I post and share it, I swear!) I'll put the book in my purse so I don't see it. I'll crack open those story files and work on them until my brain is tired, then I'll work on the puzzle book (which is not actual writing, but more like digital crafting and a nice change of pace for my brain.) 

I will have at least one draft of one story finished and at least two others partially written- or have three story premises/outlines finished. And if I get done early, I'll continue writing instead of distracting myself. Maybe if I can do a little writing then do some puzzles I can entertain my brain long enough to get some projects finished!

Have you ever gotten stuck in Distraction Traction? I'd love to hear your stories of how you won free and pounced on those pesky projects!