Monday, September 14, 2009

Characters: Nikki

Dark hair. Pretty. We got to know each other while swinging on the wood playground structure at Sunset Elementary School. It was first grade. We were six. I felt so foreign, socially. Everyone else had met each other in Kindergarten the year before. I had stayed home - and I would have been educated at home for the rest of my life, if I'd been given the choice. But I wasn't given the choice, so there I was...

I remember the shock and dismay the first - and only - time I wore a dress on Friday. Apparently Friday was not just Friday. It was Friday-flip-up-day. This I discovered after I ran from the playground in tears, pulling my skirt down tightly against my legs as the boys laughed.

I forget which day was kiss chase day. Whichever day of the week it was, I happened to be carrying my hand-me-down metal Star Wars lunch box. X-Wing fighter on the front.

Monday, August 31, 2009

What am I?

Appropriate answer: I don't care. If you do, I don't have time for the fallout.

There are many labels that would accurately describe aspects of who I am. There was a time I clung to them. They gave me a sold-feeling sense of being Someone. I was Mormon. I was strange. I was a wife. A mother. I was bipolar. An attachment parent. A student. A writer. A...

Naming things can help a person make sense of the world and of their place in it.

Relying on the definitions of those names can also cripple a person. Expectations are developed. Assumptions are made that the thing labeled will - must - live up to its definition. While such assumptions can be useful when applied to objects, in people it too often draws individuals to groups of people who wear labels like laurels... and bond by alienating the Us from the Other. The otherness of the Other gets magnified, pointed out amongst the Us with knowing nods and a comfort that as certainly as there is Other, the Us maintains. If the Other were smarter, they would be Us. If the Other knew what We know, they would turn from their mis-thought ways. Whatever the individuals fear, they apply and magnify in their judgement of the Other.

We all do it. Nations. Religions. Political Parties.

And mothers.

Good grief, but I get pissed off about some of the labels mothers use to divide themselves and align in judgement that harms other women. As if the manufactured Mommy Wars weren't enough, I get sick to death of the sanctimonious clucking. Note to all the cutesy-monikered forms of pregnancy/birthing/baby-feeding/child-rearing activists: Actually help people or shut up. Quit using your energy to judge and mock. Mocking the methods your fellow mothers are using to raise their kids the best they can doesn't help anyone. It doesn't prove your dedication to your beliefs or strengthen those around you. It's toxic and demeaning. Stop it.

Think babies deserve breast milk? Nurse your babies. Be the example. When I was a new mommy, nursing in public was nerve-wracking. Early on I fed my baby bottles when we were out because I felt so alone and unsure. Want to know what helped? Being around relaxed, friendly people nursing their babies.

Think babies deserve to be carried next to a parent? Get active in providing slings to people who can't afford to go to websites with names like poshbaby, let alone debate the merits of six popular baby carriers. Many people have never seen a sling be used, let alone try to wrestle a crying infant into one while worrying the little darling will just fall out the other side.

Don't think kids should be spanked? Raise your kids in a way that demonstrates that your methods work. Very little makes me cringe faster than moms preaching gentle/NVC philosophies while their kids are terrorizing every living thing in a two-mile radius. Nobody's kids are perfect, but when your child is the hitter/biter/etc. at that particular moment, please quit preaching. Save your energy for helping your child navigate this crazy world. If your methods are viable, the people around you will notice and incorporate your methods into their own practices. That's it. People can smell smug a mile away and nothing turns them off faster.

So on and so forth about every damn label. The next time I hear someone disparaging "Main Stream" parenting like it's synonymous with child abuse, I am going to scream.

That is all.

Friday, August 28, 2009

We Have Lift-Off

This morning I almost posted this as my status update: should probably post disclaimers now.

But on FB this would probably sound like an attempt at manufactured mystery. It is not. So I took my FB update to its proper place (if, indeed, there is such a place). I meant this blog to orbit around bipolar disorder, and it has probably seemed to do anything but. So, for me, it has actually done a pretty good job of describing what my life with bipolar disorder is like. Most of the time I take my pills and don't think about it all that much.

And then...

A few days ago I started getting productive. Normalish productive. Finally getting around to all those tasks and chores that get put off for whatever mundane reason... Yesterday I was very productive. Organizing everything. Making meal plans for the next year. Scrubbing mineral deposits and other non-crucial stuff. Go me! Meanwhile I noticed smells seemed stronger. I began craving specific music.

On the way home from the gym, I was suddenly startled by the colors. Suddenly the popped into greater focus and more vivid hues... It was like taking off scratched and dirty sunglasses. And then I knew.

The last time that (the colors) suddenly "switched," I was living in New York and had just been put on Zoloft - my first foray into psychotropics. It was also my first known flip into mania.

For years, the doctors and therapists I sought out for help repeatedly suggested that my reaction to the SSRIs was simply what normal people felt, and that I was too used to being depressed to remember what it felt like to be normal. The problem with that was that it didn't take long for things to spin out of control. Really out of control. So, eventually I'd stop taking the meds, crash down into horrific depression and just hang on for dear life (which included some self-medicating) until I could function just enough to seek out help. Again. Zoloft. Paxil. Effexor. I don't even remember, anymore, all the anti-depressants I've tried.

But I remember the colors, driving down a country road near Saratoga Springs. Each changing leaf rustled with a crisp vivid shudder that sent tiny electric shocks up my spine... and the smells of Autumn rushed by, cool in the wind created by rushing past fields in various degrees of harvest with the top down on my red convertible Chrysler LeBaron. Commuting to a job in Albany. Flush with confidence. Ready to take on the world.

This state. This hypomania. This is seduction at its finest. Right now I am standing at a precipice, arms flung out, leaning into the wind. Damn but it feels good. Sleep? Don't need it. Food? Take it or leave it. But the paint. The music. The words. The productivity... and the hope that this could be my new normal. That life will stay this way. That I can feel this way... always. Such a sweet notion. And so I try not to think about the likelihood of a mixed state to come, or a full blown mania that leaves me in terrifying hallucinations. Or even plain old depression that will hit, made so much worse by the mourning of the loss of this moment.

This is bipolar disorder. This is what bipolar people are hunting for when they quit taking their meds (I am still taking mine exactly as prescribed). During the "normal" portions of life, this is what I feel cheated for losing by choosing stability.

Ah. Hypomania. The holy grail of us bipolar nutjobs.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Why I Haven'tBeen Blogging

It's been a long day. Racing around, 3 kids into carseats, out of carseats, errand, back into carseats, out at the next stop... four hours of repetitious stopping, starting and buckling. Finally at home in the afternoon, we made flubber. The baby (now almost 18 months old) would only sleep on me, so I sat rocking her while G-Rex and the Baybster played with their green glittered goo.

And then it was time for my dance class. Almost didn't go. But I did. Then home for frozen pizza... and that brings us to this moment.

Tired. Too tired to fight kids into bed. So they are downstairs. Still awake. Watching their father play World of Warcraft.

Creativity withers and fades into a sense of something I once was... once did... sometime a long time ago.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

:::Crickets Chirping:::

Ah, but silence can be golden.

So, since I deleted a large chunk of this blog, I've been busy with my little life. Working on a novel, preparing for ACE's Personal Trainer certification... thinking... adjusting to new neighbors.

In my last entry, it seemed the neighborhood was emptying. It is no longer empty... but that's not necessarily a good thing. The empty properties have been auctioned - at something around $100k less than what we pre-bubble-implosioners paid. They are now apparently being rented out. Few kids. Many monster trucks and late night parties.

The bird feeder still hangs next door. Empty. The house is populated by three or four couples who park their vehicles haphazardly over the sidewalks and into our driveway and that of their other neighbors. Wheels gleam nakedly, disrobed of their tires - dots on the unmown lawn. There was a collision in front of our home, a few days ago. Apparently the HOA is being sued for something... and they deserve to be... except that I feel for the people trying to fill the HOA positions because I don't know what they're supposed to do to hold up the HOA standards. Continue to deliver citations to renters who don't give a rip?

Meanwhile, our lives go on.

GERD girl needs a new moniker. Bayba takes swimming and gymnastics lessons and only has one more year at home before she can go to school. G-Rex will be going to fourth grade, back to her magnet program, in a few weeks. She was just promoted to the next level in her gymnastics classes, so we're looking at a schedule shake-up. That's always fun in a family of people who don't handle transitions smoothly. Ah, the adventures of the neuro-challenged.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Yesterday, after dinner, my husband and I made an unusual decision. When a neighbor girl knocked on our door, right in the middle of dinner as the sun was going down and darkness descending, asking if G-Rex could come out to play, we reversed our usual, "No, we're eating dinner," and allowed G-Rex to go out. (How's that for a looooooooong sentence?) Why? Because the neighbor girl explained that they were moving and would probably not be here the following day.

I quizzed G-Rex, when she returned, about this sudden move. Why had we never seen a For Sale sign? Never heard anything about an impending departure? G said the neighbor girl told her that there was no sign because neighbor girl's parents didn't think there was any point in trying to sell the house. As for the sudden move, G didn't know and I'm doubting they had much motivation to broadcast their intentions.

Is ours going to be the only occupied house on our block?

In a similar exsanguinating vein, my lovely friend, Butterfly posted this link to an NPR story: It's an interesting read.

My next door neighbors have moved out, but left their bird feeder behind. I can currently see the birds jousting for space and fighting over seeds. I wonder how much time they have before the feeder is empty.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Someone Willing to Call it Like it Is

My older brother sent me the link to a blog entry by Jim Kunstler, entitled, Clusterfuck Nation: Forget About Recovery.

While I've been increasingly concerned that full-scale proletariat revolution is coming, he's actually outlined what could be done to prevent it. Too bad it'll never happen, what with the depth of corruption and all.

Must Read

The Baseline Scenario, 2/9/09

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pound of Flesh

The credit industry is evil in its governance of the world and should be overthrown.

Yes, I truly believe this.

As I watch the news... watching the Wall Street reporters blame The People for the financial crisis while the banks and manufacturers and giants of industry line up for handouts of the money taken from The People, I get ever closer in spirit to the disenfranchised fomenters of rebellion.

And I don't think I'm the only one.

At this point I've seen just about everything and everyone blamed for the panic at hand - except for the credit methodology itself. Our whole economy operates on great gears of credit and I've heard several arguments for this being a good thing.

I don't buy it.

The credit industry is just a global model for legal slavery. And an awful lot of people think they're immune to the consquences of such a model. All the Donnie Trumps and other assholes play the system - in and out of bankruptcy protection... screwing others with impunity while living large. The appearance of success seems to count as stability in our current society.

It is not stable.


And for now, The People are footing the bill.

For years (since about 1991, when I was 16 and first read about The French Revolution on my own) I've been gnawing over my personal hypothesis - that our empire is falling and due for some major reform... and at the rate that's going, it looks like we're following the near-precise roadmap of 18th century France. We're not that different than Rome, either, but France is more recent and easily linked, empathetically.

I hope that the Ponzi schemers (as well as the formerly-wealthy people they ruined) and over-compensated CEOs of failed business models... the FICO spin-doctors and credit card dealers and high-end bourgeoisie in general, read their history and begin to fear the backlash that's coming if they (and the government that has become comfortable with currying the favor of the upper crust) don't peaceably adopt some real reform.

Our nation survived The Great Depression. Can it survive The Great Recession?

Unsurprisingly, upon doing a little research, I found that I'm not the only person thinking this way. A lot of smart people with big degrees think so too.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis sees it.
Cranky curmudgeonly bloggers see it.
Read the history for yourself and come to your own conclusions.

My personal theory is that The People are getting scared and hungry enough that revolt is around the corner.

When the bread and circuses run out, the people with cake should be scared.

Friday, January 30, 2009

My People

From the Billings Gazette (newspaper of the "big city" nearest my homeland): Citation alleges public intoxication by Cody man on a white horse.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


"And sometimes I come downstairs and sit all by myself on the sofa and just hope that someone will see me." -- G-Rex

I'm feeling like a pretty crappy mom, right about now.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tuesday's Playlist

So, after way too much analysis, this is the playlist for tomorrow:

1. Don't Cha Pussycat Dolls
2. Fighter Christina Aguilera
3. Barroom Hero Dropkick Murphys
4. Mamma Mia ABBA
5. Mr. Brightside The Killers
6. Walk Away Dropkick Murphys
7. Wannabe Spice Girls
8. It's My Life Jon Bon Jovi
8. Dirrty Christina Aguilera
9. Short Skirt/Long Jacket Cake
10. My Humps Black Eyed Peas

About 45 minutes.
Yeah. 5 minute warmup, 30 minute elliptical, 10 minute cooldown

Off the Blwagon

I've had so many things to blog about, but never the time (or attention span) to sit and do so. So, for all my loyal fans and readers (ha!), I have added Twitter to my sidebar. No, I don't imagine my life is all that exciting to anyone else, but I'm a total tech junkie. Especially if it's free. So there ya go.

Meanwhile, I'm working on assembling the perfect playlists for my various gym adventures. I spent $9.00 on iTunes, yesterday. Yeah. I'm a highroller.

I'm a highroller who hasn't updated my musical preferences in ten years. My current playlists are made up of show tunes and club hits of the mid to late 90s. Go Dropkick!

So if my lapse in blogging hasn't scared you all off, please weigh in and advise me: what tunes are CRUCIAL to any decent cardio playlist?