Monthly Archives: March 2011

Clouds over blue sky.

In 2011,

Hours searched for a new job: hundreds

Résumés sent: 71

Times rewriting the basic résumé: 3

Number of résumé versions, based on job duties sought: 3

Number of interviews gained: 1 (phone)

Number of thanks-but-no-thanks e-mails: 22


There is a domain name out there registered to me that expires at the end of July. A domain name that I hoped would turn into a project related to diabetes advocacy, a project that I hoped would turn into my livelihood. It seemed to be the right time, soon after a mutual decision between me and my employer to reduce my hours to part-time due to reduced workload.

Then, life threw a curveball and I found myself in search of full-time employment again. It is not a desperate situation – savings account still holds four months of full-time income, and while underemployed, I am still employed.

The thing is, I am beginning to question how deep my heart is in this search for another accounting or administrative position. The thing is, I am beginning to wonder if I am sabotaging my future because of the idea of that domain name, that project, that potential for livelihood.

I am just sick and tired of seeing the thanks-but-no-thanks e-mails, after all the time I spend searching, applying, and tweaking my résumé when I could have been creating my livelihood with that time.

Funny how Genie chose “blue sky” (or “to float big ideas around, like brainstorming with no limits”) as this month‘s Living Out Loud topic, when that is all I seem to be doing lately. I keep dreaming big, not for a big salary, but for big personal satisfaction.

I know what is realistic. Stop dreaming for awhile, stop dipping into my savings, and accept that I must find something less than perfect to pay the bills.

(But I am still renewing that domain name in hopes that dreaming of the project, of the potential livelihood, was not just a fantasy.)

I am thankful.

What is it with all these fantastic writing prompts lately? The next ChronicBabe carnival is another one that shines, “I’m thankful for…“, with a submission deadline of Friday, April 1 at 10 pm CT.

I am thankful for so many people, things, and ideas when it comes to dealing with my chronic conditions.

I am thankful for thyroid replacement hormone that allows me to live my life without all the nasty symptoms that come with an untreated errant thyroid.

I am thankful for health care professionals who look at the doctor-patient relationship as a team effort, rather than giving off the vibe that they are the expert and I must listen to them.

I am thankful for staff members at two different hospitals who made me feel comfortable even in the worst of illness and in the midst of recovering from major surgeries.

I am thankful to live in a time when so many treatment options are available to people living with type 2 diabetes.

I am thankful for loved ones, through blood or through spirit, who support me during tough times. (That means you, too, diabetes online community and ChronicBabes.)

Most of all, I am thankful for being able to be thankful, that my life is not always an emotional mess and that I can look on the bright side (at least once in awhile).

What helps.

Help is a four-letter word.

Frustration, complaining, anger, and crying may all take place before I dare ask for help.

The thing is, I carry on my shoulders too much worry and too much fear. No wonder I possess a two-year-old diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder; no wonder I possess a memory of worries and fears going back nearly three decades.

I am beginning to accept that I need to move past the worries and fears and ask for help to avoid frustration, complaining, anger, and crying.

One of the biggest obstacles is my hatred of the telephone, my fear of the telephone. A couple therapists ago, back in junior high, gave me “homework” that entailed calling a couple of my classmates just to chat. I did it, laughed it off when time with that therapist was over, and never really got the hang of conversation on the phone, other than for work purposes.

Before long there was the internet and bulletin board systems and chat rooms and message boards and Twitter. Who needed to talk on the phone, when all emotions could be spilled onto the computer with people just waiting to support me? I thought that was help.

For several months now, my mother and I have chatted on the telephone almost every week, as I navigate through this latest rough patch. Not that long ago, I might have spoken with her maybe once a season. She insisted that the more she hears from me, the less she worries. Because helping others is not foreign to me, I relented; so began the weekly phone calls. Maybe she cannot understand or relate to what I am going through, but at least I hear her voice across the thousand miles between us. It helps.

Then, last month, I managed to divulge some of my troubles over the telephone to a trusted friend, more than I could express in an e-mail or in a message board posting. It felt good to speak out loud about these troubles to someone outside my psychiatrist’s office. It helps – and now I know I need to hear the voices of other friends, near and far.

Last week, I joined Team WILD (Women Inspiring Life with Diabetes). I am realizing that, this time, I cannot lose weight and I cannot gain back diabetes control without the kind of help this organization provides; not just through interactive webinars, but through one-on-one telephone calls with coaches and certified diabetes educators. I am seeking out help with something I thought I could do on my own, but has instead been filled with frustrations and complaints and anger and tears.

Slowly, I am coming to accept that it is not quite so crude to ask for help.

(This is a submission for the next Patients for a Moment, hosted by Hayzell at Possibilism. We are asked to write about the subject “Help”.)

Church on Sunday, II – and more.

On the second Sunday of the search, I found a church.

A smaller space, filled with people of all ages and where music fills the room; a sermon that truly resonated with me during this period of spiritual growth; a feeling of being welcomed by church members, ministers, and other visitors alike; so many opportunities to pursue activities that help those in need locally and globally.

Knowing that first impressions can sometimes be misleading, I hesitate to make any decision about a formal membership, though I know what I will be doing on Sunday mornings for at least a little while. You will find me in church.

After finding comfort in the religious service, I browsed a local bookstore to comfort the reader in me. While I still have a stack of books to read, I could not resist a couple of new ones which Goodreads friends have suggested. One, How To Be Sick by Toni Bernhard, will add a touch of Buddhism to this spiritual journey, no doubt.

The rest of my Sunday (so far) included a savory crepe of asparagus and hollandaise sauce accompanied by a cup of coffee at (what else?) a creperie; a long walk admiring the nearby foothills and mountains; and some time tackling that “to-read” pile of books.

Online time kept to a minimum, other than a couple of scheduled chats, a little writing, and a little organizing. Perhaps this is what every Sunday should look like – more doing, less feeling lazy and bored and just jumping online because “there’s nothing better to do”.

Hail, hail.

Oh, BugginWord, complain all you want about snow and cold and ice coming after the calendar has turned to spring. There are two things I want you to remember.

  • It may be warm and sunny and springlike here in the Denver-Boulder area, but that means that wildfire danger is high because we haven’t had measurable precipitation since sometime in February (and March is typically our snowiest month). Every time I walk out my door, I smell smoke and I don’t mean the kind that comes from smoking a cigarette or a joint. Pee You.
  • Hail is not just a winter weather thing. In fact, in all my years, I only remember hail accompanying spring and summer thunderstorms. In fact…

Once upon a time five years ago, to celebrate turning the big 30, I decided to participate in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. 26.2 miles of walking the first day, 13.1 miles the second. I trained and raised money and walked the entire marathon length the first day, only to be defeated early on the second day by nasty reactive hypoglycemia a couple miles from breakfast. That’s not the point, though.

The point is, after I showered and ate dinner the first evening, I went to get ready for bed in the tents at the park where we were to spend the night. Except that it started thundering in the distance, with swirling winds battering the tent. I thought about heading to the food or first aid tents when lightning seemed to get closer and closer, making me realize I probably should lay low in the tent to avoid being the highest point around.

And then came the hail. Pounding the tent, pounding my head and my back through the tent, as I huddled in a corner. Please make it stop, I said over and over to my agnostic self, as I became convinced I would get struck by lightning or the hail would pelt me in the head or chest and kill me.  What took about five minutes to run its course over the tent city seemed to last about five hours.

Yeah, I know. I walked 26.2 miles that day and yet I could barely handle being stuck in a tent during a hailing thunderstorm. Such a wimp!

Negative into positive.

Last night’s high winds knocked me into an anxiety storm.

Debris hit the window panes and I freaked. Not only about the debris hitting the window panes and the room shaking and that howling wind, but about all the other crap in my life hitting the proverbial fan (not to mention all the crap going on in the world).

The high winds affected the cat in much the same manner, ears perked and tail in agitated motion.

I grabbed the new toy I bought her and we started playing. It was almost like she was a kitten again (not that I know what she was like a kitten – she came to us at a year old). That is when I got inspired.

I got out the wimpy dumbbells and the balance ball DVDs and got my own workout.

Instead of taking one of those anti-anxiety pills stashed in my purse for the panicky moments of my life, exercise acted as an anti-anxiety measure.

I managed to turn negative thoughts into more positive ones, thinking of the good things instead of the bad things. Focusing on my breath and my movements instead of that wind and the crap in my life and the world’s current problems.

“At least I am exercising and eating right”, I thought to myself as I stretched one last time, “that is a start at being more optimistic”.

Crockpot Lesson #5 – A New-to-Me Recipe

I started looking for new recipes this past month, as I started getting bored with the same old, same old. This one ended up being a winner, seeming much fresher than what might be found in a restaurant, though I would add another chile pepper next time as it turned out milder than I either expected or would have liked.

Again, I am posting the recipe as found in the cookbook, then italicizing in parentheses the changes I made in ingredients.

Indian-Style Chicken with Puréed Spinach

(Makes 8 Servings From The Healthy Slow Cooker by Judith Finlayson)

  • 4 lbs skinless bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds (used dried)
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds (used dried)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced on the vertical
  • 1 tbsp minced peeled gingerroot (used dried)
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp salt / to taste
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, including juice
  • 2 packages fresh or frozen spinach
  • 1 to 2 long red or green chiles, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken stock (used vegetable stock)
  1. Rinse chicken under cold running water and pat dry. In a bowl, combine chicken and lemon juice. Toss well and set aside for 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast cumin and coriander seeds, stirring, until fragrant and cumin seeds just begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Immediately transfer to a mortar or spice grinder and grind. Set aside. (Since I used dried spices, I skipped this step.)
  3. In same skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Add onions and cook, stirring, until they begin to color, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, until golden, about 12 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, gingerroot, garlic, turmeric, peppercorns, and salt and cook, stirring for 1 minute.  Stir in tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
  4. Arrange marinated chicken evenly over the bottom of the slow cooker stoneware. Pour tomato mixture over top. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork.
  5. In a blender or food processor, combine spinach, chile(s), and chicken stock. Pulse until spinach is puréed. Add to chicken and stir well. Cover and cook on High for 20 minutes, until mixture is bubbly.

Nutritional Information per Serving: 290 calories, 34.9 g protein, 9.7 g carbohydrates, 2.9 g dietary fiber, 12.4 g fat (2.7 g saturated, 5.3 g monounsaturated, 2.5 g polyunsatured), 138 mg cholesterol, 665 mg sodium.

Church on Sunday.

I went to church today.

It wasn’t for a wedding or a baptism or a funeral.

I know. Little agnostic me going to church willingly.

You know what, though? I have been through so much the past eighteen months or so, from that worse case scenario to pondering what it means when an agnostic celebrates Christmas to being on my own, that going to church today felt right.

Is it simply a need for socialization or for directing a passion for social justice into something more tangible than the secular world provides? I don’t know. Did I hit the jackpot with this first church? I don’t know. Am I still agnostic? I don’t know.

The music of both religious and secular origins. A special time for the congregation’s children before they headed off to Children’s Church while the adults contemplated deeper, heavier stuff. The sermon touching on current events in Libya and Japan while trying to reconcile those horrible things with the teachings of Christianity and the particular denomination.

I don’t claim to know much about The Bible or hymns or the intricacies of the denomination I might continue to visit, but going to church just feels right, like a natural progression of life as I know it.

And there’s this.

There’s an elephant in the room.

It’s been there for awhile now, though it has decided to make itself more apparent lately.

I cannot deny any longer that it is there, as it keeps singing cheesy song lyrics like “sometimes love just ain’t enough” and “everybody needs a little time away”.

Yeah, it’s like that.

I moved closer to the day job a couple weeks ago, along with one of the cats.

Sometimes I am thrilled with the independence. Sometimes I cry myself to sleep, missing my old life. Sometimes I get really excited about the new adventures that lie ahead of me.  Sometimes I get really scared about being underemployed, despite a decent chunk of savings upon which to live.

I decided to allow the elephant to speak for a short while today, not for sympathy but for disclosure. I am finding it difficult to write without stepping back and feeling like I am saying too much that would raise questions.

There’s not much more to say about that elephant in the room. You can acknowledge it if you would like, but please do not expect me to talk about it here, or in any other setting. Not right now, at least.

Head above water.

Get enough sleep. Eat right. Exercise.

If all else fails, there is the anti-depressant to keep your head above water.

Easy to say, harder to do.

It’s been one of those weeks where sleep has been kept at a minimum instead of a maximum, thanks to a cat who thinks 3:15 AM is an appropriate time for me to start my day. I am feeling it everywhere – in what foods I want to eat (instead of what I should eat), in what exercise I am doing (very little due to fatigue), and of course, in how I am feeling emotionally (not well at all).

And then there was the talk with the doctor who is not my spectacular mental health professional about coming off the anti-depressant as I suspect it contributed to weight gain. I told him, I just need to get through March, through the end of the seasonal depression, then I will talk to SMHP about weaning off of it.

When I think about the weight gain, the little pill feels like a burden.

When I start feeling down and out after a week of little sleep and little self-care, the little pill feels like a lifeboat keeping my head (just barely) above water.

Easy to say I could wean off and that it is a burden, harder to do when I feel down and out and in need of a lifeboat.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 37 other followers

Powered by