Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Secrets: November 29, 2009

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment.

I've been away for a while, traveling as far as Pittsburgh, PA and Portland, OR ... checking out universities with my daughters. Then there was Thanksgiving ... then my birthday. And someplace in there I was sick for a couple days.

It feels good to feel good and be happy ... and catch up on PostSecret and blog! These seven secrets from the last three weeks tickled my fancy. And everybody knows it's great to have one's fancy tickled every now and again!

I enjoy being the adult who makes up stories
like this for little ones.


My kids roll their eyes when I do it,
but I often find myself whistling "Jingle Bells"
"Deck the Halls" throughout the year.

I think God IS the love of friends!

Some very special moments happened between my mom and me
... and again with my dad and me
... in the minutes before they died.

I'm CERTAIN my brain doesn't function exactly as it should,
and I do change it, slightly, for the benefit of my family.
It's difficult to live with someone who doesn't manage a mental illness.

I want to be like him when I grow up!
I think I'm on a pretty good path.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Happy Couple

I simply like this photo of our president and the first lady at the state dinner.

They have such a great connection in the way they look at each other.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gratitude: Day 6

I'm thankful that

... Julie asked me to accompany her to Pittsburgh to check out her new school and find some living arrangements.

We'll have lots of time together traveling, learning, exploring and visiting the family burial plot. My little girl is all grown up.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Gratitude: Day 5

I'm thankful for

... my husband who helps me manage my computer files.

Just look how quick he is at it! His hands move like fury so that you can see right through them!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gratitude: Day 4

I'm thankful for

... my new laptop.

It's powerful.

It has great internet connection speed.

And who can resist that purple hue?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gratitude: Day 3

I'm thankful for

... a membership at the local gym.

A funny thing happened on the way to the treadmill...

Jodie and I were working out together this morning when our trainer came up to us to ask if we'd like to be in a photo. The two of us joined another gym member and our trainer and had a 'photo shoot' of sorts with a gal from the local newspaper.

Our photo may be featured in an add for the gym in a week or two. If it pans out, I'll post a picture.

Go Elf Yourself!

Just getting in the spirit of the season, folks!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gratitude: Day 2

I'm thankful for

... a hot breakfast with my husband while the snow tires are mounted on his car

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gratitude: Day 1

I'm thankful for

... the aroma of pumpkin muffins baking in the oven

... the bright autumn sun beckoning me outdoors on a frosty morning

Monday, November 9, 2009

Snapshots of This Day

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW it's dark and rainy. Autumn's days are numbered. It feels like snow will soon peek over the mountains. The Canadian geese call.

I AM THINKING that the more I try to simplify my life, the easier it is to add complications to it. In my heart, I want to downsize. New technologies jump in and demand attention.

I AM THANKFUL FOR my eldest daughter finding her path again. She took a difficult detour. All signs point to a clear (though bumpy) road ahead. No flat tires, please!

FROM THE KITCHEN the aroma of salmon cooking in our new stove-top smoker. Lovely new invention. One toy that didn't feel too complicated.

I AM WEARING slouching-around-the-house clothes. Stretchy pants. My big, baggy, dusty pink sweater. Good clothes for curling up and reading or slipping out the door for a 2-mile walk.

I AM CREATING a comfortable home. With Flylady's help, our house is peaceful. Daily and weekly tasks are accomplished with a minimum of fuss. There's more time for peace, more room to breathe. Visual and audio chaos levels are at an all-time low.

I AM GOING to Pittsburgh, PA before too long ... just another week! My middle daughter and I will learn our way around town, will explore her new school, and will visit the grave of my parents (first time in over 10 years!)

I AM READING a book about willpower and self discipline. Finished it yesterday, in fact. Didn't care for it. I don't think I am part of the audience this book was written for. Men might like this. I find a lot more practical help, from a woman's perspective, from Flylady.

I AM HOPING that I stop feeling overwhelmed soon! I'm hoping I can take things one step at a time and make progress on learning the new technologies that have recently been introduced to my life: Zune, GPS, Dell laptop, Droid phone.

I AM HEARING the quiet buzz from the brains of my husband and child as they play with and learn about their new phones.

AROUND THE HOUSE the wind has been howling. It's quiet for the moment.

ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS is stitching. I haven't been doing enough of it lately. I'd like to dig up a new project to work on.

A FEW PLANS FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK include going to the gym, starting a new book, baking some pumpkin muffins, moving data onto my new computer, learning to use a cell phone for the first time. I'd also like to do some writing for our family's educational trust. If all goes really well, I'll stitch, I'll blog more often and do some photo editing and posting. Don't hold your breath.

Many thanks to Maureen for this idea.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday Secrets: November 08, 2009

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment.

These four cards had an impact on me today. The first is from PostSecret on Twitter. The other three are from Frank's blog today. In a way, these secrets connect to one another and to a part of my life story.

My dad had a terrible problem with rage. It embarrassed me when he yelled at unreasonable customers in his pizza shop. But it was downright terrifying when his rage turned on me. He literally slapped my first loose tooth out of my mouth.

I never found it.

Much much later, I learned that Dad's rage was very likely part of a mood disorder ... one that runs in families. One I have. My recovery is going well, but there are times when I dip into relapse.

I don't dip far.

The difference is that I know my relapses are not as much of a determining factor in my future as my recovery. I can be a victim of my mood disorder, but I'll be unpredictable and miserable. Instead, I've made a decision to live in a simpler, more centered way.

I have a charmed life.

One simple thing I do daily is check for mail at my local shipping store where I rent a post office box. Some days, the two young men working there are the only people I talk to in a day (outside my family). I look forward to those quick visits and our small chats.

Thanks, Kevin and Brad!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Book Review: An Unquiet Mind

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
by Kay Redfield Jamison

This is one of the very best books I’ve read on bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder. It’s power comes from three main thrusts:

  1. It’s very readable. The language is neither too lofty, too personal, nor too technical

  2. It is the author’s memoir of her personal experiences managing the disorder

  3. The author is not only a patient, she is also a professional with years of teaching and clinical experience working in the medical field. Her specialty deals with the pharmacology that is associated with mood disorders.

Kay Redfield Jamison is a professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She is the coauthor of one of the standard textbooks on manic-depressive disorder. Because she also has been managing the disorder for most of her adult life, she is able to bring a searing personal perspective to her writing that captures the essence of what it is like to deal with an unquiet mind for a lifetime. Being able to read the story of someone who is further along the road to recovery than I am brings both an awareness of the caution that must be exerted in moving forward, and a sense of exhilaration that this disorder can be a blessing as well as a curse.

That is the greatest gift of this book that I had not connected with in my other readings. Bipolar is a disorder, not an illness out of control, not an evil with the power to rule one’s life and make the patient a victim, but a disorder whose energy can be channeled to become an asset rather than simply a liability. It’s all about becoming aware of the symptoms, paying attention to the ebbs and flows of mood, resisting the temptations to stop taking medications, and learning to manage one’s energy through healthy choices.

Her many years of living with bipolar syndrome has given Kay a perspective and insight that are invaluable. As the book jacket states, “She has emerged with a memoir of enormous candor, vividness, and wisdom, one of those rare books that have the power to transform lives – and even save them.”

I would not recommend this book to someone who has recently been diagnosed with the disorder. In that stage, there are other resources that will be much more valuable in getting a person stabilized.

I highly recommend this book for those patients (and their families) who have come a way down the road to understanding the disorder and stabilizing their lives. These patients will recognize a bit of their own journey and will get a glimpse into the kind of abundant life that is possible in spite of – and because of – the volatility of the disorder.

Buy An Unquiet Mind from

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Secrets: November 01, 2009

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment.

Sometimes I wish I'd gone to library school
instead of volunteering for the Church for a year.
Roughly the same ...

My heart's for Dale.