photo dump: the thankful edition

It’s Thanksgiving Day so I’m going to give thanks, as one should on Thanksgiving Day…and every other day.

For Thing 1 and Thing 2, generously provided by my employer and a co-worker who has no use for the 12 pound turkey they handed him as we left work early in the morning last week. Yes, I named them, as I do every year. Deal with it! Meanwhile, Thing 1 and Thing 2 are currently soaking in an icy cold, brine-y bath waiting to be properly roasted.

For bringing sexy back in the way that only Personal Protective Equipment can. This look is hot. No. It really is hot.

The perfect pick-me-up after running 4 miles before you work your 4th 12 hour night shift in a week. Hurray for Snickers and for running and for a busy, busy full NICU which means work!

For kick-ass looking compression socks to wear after running a few miles before working hard on your feet for 12 hours all night long. Oh, and, give thanks for the break relief RN who makes the moment where you get to put your feet up for 20 minutes.

Be thankful for the 2 hour nap you had after working all night before you take the time to drive your favorite Princess 125 miles in the rain and wind and fog across a couple bridges during drive time Bay Area traffic so that she can attend two hours of Princess training.

It’s totally worth it when she sends you this picture of her being fitted for the wig of her favorite princess, one of a few who she will be portraying. Yes, you can almost hear her squeeing with delight from the only open cafe in the area where you sat and waited during those two hours. Worth it. Totally. So was her telling you how much she loved you and was glad you were driving as you drove across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge in the 0.25 mile visibility fog.

This card with this name on it which we waited for for 12 years because no matter what the social workers tell you, it isn’t as easy as it should be to get your child’s social security card with his name on it after the adoption is finalized because government agencies can be so frustratingly dumb sometimes. But not Maria at the Manteca Social Security Administration office. Sure it took her several hours to figure a way around the bureaucratic walls but she did it because, as she humbly put it, “there’s always a way around walls.”

Remembering when you said you couldn’t wait for your kid to outgrow his shoes and clothes before they wear out when you see that the shoes that you just got him are too small. Human Growth Hormones, we are so thankful especially when you see your son’s height and weight plotted at <1%ile on the growth chart because look at that, the kid is almost finally plotting on the normal growth chart!

Pretty scarves and jewelry and makeup and clothes that flatter what your mama gave you, no matter what your age is, that you wear for no other reason than because you want to; which has nothing to do with completely unwanted attention from any stranger who imagines that you got all dressed up because you want their attention.

Yeah.

No.

Taking the time to catch part 3 of the 4 part Hunger Games Trilogy with this child of yours because that is what the two of you do together after the husbands and kids are asleep.

Running this for the third holiday season because otherwise you might just murder someone…or at least given them a really big hug with your hands around their neck because it is the holidays and because you like to eat and to drink because it is the holidays and because you like to run…a lot.

Moments of relaxation and the cat who makes you sit still and enjoy them. I plan to do just that today after I run a 10K and get Thing 1 and Thing 2 into the oven.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all!

 

play it again: discovering the heart of the ocean

Originally published October 13, 2011

A boy and girl from differing social backgrounds meet during the ill-fated maiden voyage of RMS Titanic…

And now my fifth circus clown discovers Titanic. We are right on schedule too as he is around the same age as his four sisters before him watched this epic story as told by James Cameron. For the girls it was the star-crossed lovers story that lured them in. For Daniel it is the fact that Jack Dawson is cool…oh, and when the ship sank. THAT was really cool!

My favorite part watching it with him?

When he turns to me and states, “You know this really happened, Mom. There really was a Titanic and it is at the bottom of the ocean.” That’s my favorite part, my favorite part each time I have watched it with each of my circus clowns for their very first time.

Of course this means that my Little Man is growing up. Up next in the horizon up ahead, god help me, puberty.

the lost little spark of madness

You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.
~ Robin Williams July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014

Unbelievable!

My daughter Abby described the feeling of hearing the news of Robin Williams’ death this afternoon perfectly. It was as if suddenly all laughter and joy was sucked out of the atmosphere.

Unreal!

To hear his death was by suicide and that he had been struggling mightily of late with severe depression made it all the more palpable for me…for so many. Sometimes the most gifted, the most brilliant, the most talented, the people who touch your hearts with the most laughter, joy and love are the ones living in the darkest depths of despair.

If you only knew.

I know.

I know too well. I was raised in that despair. I am living in that now. God what hard work it is to live every day like this!

My heart breaks for this huge void left in the world, for the heartbreaking loss his loved ones must now live with. Still I give thanks…for the laughter, so much laughter…for opening my eyes to a different, delightful world view seeing the humor, the laughter and the joy in the simplest of things every day. I give thanks for his truly amazing body of work and the fact that each one of my children could recall their favorite characters he portrayed…except for Mork…none of them knew about Mork from Ork.

GAH!

Kids!

The first thing I intend to do is go through his vast filmography and binge for the next few days. There’s nothing else on TV worth watching right now so why not? Yes, introduce this circus act of mine to Mork from Ork is on that agenda for sure.

The next thing I intend to do is go to my doctor for help because the depression and anxiety I live with is becoming again too much. The usual self care is just not cutting it lately. When your young son points out that he doesn’t like your overwhelming sadness well, yeah, it’s time to ask for help. I have no shame in that. There should be no shame, no hiding, no fear of being mocked or looked down upon as weak, no brushing depression aside as a “lesser” disease. No one should feel shamed to ask for help. I’m asking for more help.

I’m also sharing thoughts and information from a February 2010 post about suicide, anxiety and depression because people need to know…people need to care.

It’s Never Painless
originally posted February 27, 2010

My heart just breaks for Andrew Koenig‘s family and the family of Michael Blosil,  Marie Osmond’s son. I can’t imagine any parent that would not feel for the pain they must be in right now.

Living with depression is hard. Living with a loved one with depression is hard. I don’t doubt how hard it was for Koenig’s and Osmond’s family. I don’t doubt the pain both young men suffered through and the pain their families are in is more than evident. Still I have a hard time with those who choose ending their life as a way to end the pain. Walter Koenig spoke of how despondent his son was and how low he sunk in his despair but I would suggest that this wasn’t the case. I don’t doubt the depression he shares that his son had suffered from but it takes energy to do something about the depression one suffers from. The same would be for Michael Blosil as well. It takes energy to seek help or accept help and it takes energy to decide to end it all.

I speak from my own experiences. Working on recovering from depression I know how hard it is. This last year has been so hard, so very hard. It is hard-freakin’ work. I also know watching my own mother living with bipolar disorder over the years that it takes energy to take your life or attempt to take your life. In the lowest, most despondent times of her life mom never had the energy to do much of anything. She physically could not. As a child I did not understand why she could not get off of the couch and why she would remain in the same clothes for days just curled up in a limp ball there. I just knew that in worst days this was how it was. This was her life…and it was our life. It was when mom would get up off the couch that I would worry because that is when she would do something and her doing something would be to attempt to take her life. She attempted this a number of times when I was a child. She never was successful. Years later in a more candid, close moment she shared with me the depths of her pain and how she just wanted it to end. She admitted that she really didn’t think of anything else. She just wanted the crushing, crippling pain to end. I told her then and I still believe now that had she been successful in any of her attempt the pain would not be over. No. The pain would remain. It would remain with her children, with her parents, her husband, her siblings. We would carry her pain. We would carry it with us always.

Suicide is not painless. The pain remains.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include the following:

  • difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • fatigue and decreased energy
  • feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • irritability, restlessness
  • loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • overeating or appetite loss
  • persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

Depression carries a high risk of suicide. Anybody who expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken very, very seriously. Do not hesitate to call your local suicide hotline immediately. Call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) — or the deaf hotline at 1-800-4889.

Warning signs of suicide with depression include:

  • a sudden switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy
  • always talking or thinking about death
  • clinical depression (deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating) that gets worse
  • having a “death wish,” tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, like driving through red lights
  • losing interest in things one used to care about
  • making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
  • putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, changing a will
  • saying things like “It would be better if I wasn’t here” or “I want out”
  • talking about suicide (killing one’s self)
  • visiting or calling people one cares about

Remember, if you or someone you know is demonstrating any of the above warning signs of suicide with depression, either call your local suicide hot line, contact a mental health professional right away, or go to the emergency room for immediate treatment.

Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to help, to hug, to talk, to be there.

No matter what people tell you, words and ideas change the world. ~ Robin Williams

 

what not to do on an empty stomach

In life we all learn, usually the hard way, what we shouldn’t do on an empty stomach. At least I have learned that a number of times. Of course I learned it the hard way because I’m me.

  • take a very important test
  • work…guaranteed it will be the 12 hour shift from hell with little or no opportunity for a meal break much less a potty break
  • attend a few C-sections
  • run a 10K
  • grocery shop
  • jury duty

I could go on because too many times I have undertaken adventures on an empty stomach in spite of the fact that I know too well what happens to me when my blood sugar plummets.

But there is one thing one should do on an empty stomach, or perhaps with just a light snack beforehand and that is to see The Hundred Foot Journey.

I had the opportunity to see this film a couple of weeks ago while at BlogHer.

In “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) is a culinary ingénue with the gastronomic equivalent of perfect pitch. Displaced from their native India, the Kadam family, led by Papa (Om Puri), settles in the quaint village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the
south of France. Filled with charm, it is both picturesque and elegant
– the ideal place to settle down and open an Indian restaurant, Maison
Mumbai. That is, until the chilly chef proprietress of Le Saule Pleureur,
a Michelin-starred, classical French restaurant run by Madame Mallory
(Academy Award® winner Helen Mirren), gets wind of it.
Her icy protests against the new Indian restaurant a hundred feet from
her own escalate into a heated battle between the two establishments
until Hassan’s passion for French haute cuisine – and for Madame
Mallory’s enchanting sous chef, Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon) – combine
with his mysteriously-delicious talent to weave magic between their
two cultures and imbue Saint-Antonin with the flavors of life that even
Madame Mallory cannot ignore. Madame Mallory eventually recognizes
her culinary rival’s gift as a chef and takes Hassan under her wing.
“The Hundred-Foot Journey” abounds with flavors that burst across the tongue. A stimulating triumph over exile, blossoming with passion and heart, it is a portrayal of two worlds colliding and one young man’s drive to find the comfort of home, in every pot, wherever he may be.
Exactly!
The actual distance from Le Saule Pleureur Restaurant to the Maison Mumbai is not far: one-hundred feet, no more, no less. It’s a journey…albeit a small one…that both the Kadam family and Madame Mallory make numerous times throughout the film, but it represents more than just the distance between these two locations. It’s that point in our lives where we step out of our comfort zone and cross over into unfamiliar territory on a quest of self-discovery.
Oh, and it’s a love story and a love story with food…so much delicious, glorious food that you can almost smell and taste it all while watching this film.
A victory of passion over prejudice, “The Hundred-Foot Journey” is the convergence of two worlds through the power of acceptance and understanding and the unifying nature of food. I love what Helen Mirren said  about this film, “Don’t go to dinner until after you’ve seen this movie. Then go to a really nice French or Indian restaurant.” I would wholeheartedly say yes.
“The Hundred-Foot Journey” is presented by DreamWorks Pictures and Reliance Entertainment, directed by Academy Award® nominee Lasse Hallström and stars Academy Award winner Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal and Charlotte Le Bon. The film is produced by Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg, Academy Award
nominee Oprah Winfrey and Juliet Blake. The executive producers are Caroline Hewitt, Carla Gardini, Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King. The screenplay is written by Academy Award nominee Steven Knight, based on the novel “The Hundred-Foot Journey” by Richard C. Morais.
I was invited to a special screening of this film and received no compensation other than admission for two to the film and a small popcorn and soda. What I wouldn’t have given for some Chicken Tikka…just saying…

masterbuilder training

“With proper training…”

(and a little help from Zelda) …you could become a great MasterBuilder.”

Just remember who it was who helped you with that word search homework.

Yeah.

I know it sounds like a cat poster but it’s true. Just look at all that you have done when you believe that you are special.

Lego building and The Lego Movie, just a small part of our summer vacation where everything is awesome!