Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Another Halloween has come and gone. I bought candy but very few kids came this year so I will be hauling in candy to work tomorrow much to the chagrin of my coworkers. I may keep a few Hershey bars for myself. There is something about a small Hershey bar that I like. I know many people think Hershey’s is subpar but not me.

Lately, I have had a huge aversion to computers during the weekend. I do not want to turn it on. I don’t care about checking my email except to look at my mail on my phone and to check Twitter every now and then. If it wasn’t for my phone, I might be out of touch on the weekend.

and I feel so guilty that I start crying. It is a never ending cycle.

over the phone and blogging, well, takes a back seat.

I didn’t go see Mom this weekend. I couldn’t do it. I was feeling a little blah and I just could not bring myself there. Sometimes I need to control the trigger points and this weekend, it might have propelled me downward. The guilt I feel about not going also brings me down. I go and I leave crying. I stay home and I feel so guilty that I start crying. It is a never ending cycle.

I confessed to Dad that I didn’t go see her and he said, “Yeah, it is getting hard.” He went this weekend however.

At least the snow fears I had did not come true this week but some parts of the state got over 21 inches of snow – in October.  It was just rainy and wicked windy on Saturday. All of the leaves came off of the trees, which makes the area look even more dead and depressed. It was an excuse to stay under the covers. A place I am in all to often during the weekends lately.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy Friday

I will not bitch and moan about the weather.

I will not bitch and moan about the snow before the pumpkins are gone.

I will not.

I will say I am happy that it is Friday. I was listening to my two new favorite songs on my drive home tonight and actually bouncing in my seat. Not like I have a hot date or any wonderfully exciting things this weekend but I just was bouncy. Since I was stuck in traffic, I think I got a few strange looks from the disgruntled drivers on the Southeast Expressway tonight.

I just was not one of them.

What songs made me bounce?

The Airborne Toxic Event is one of my favorite bands lately and this song just inspires me to jump but since I am driving bouncing along as I go.

I used to like Oasis a while ago but I LOVE this song for some reason. It makes me want to sing. I may have to get a ticket to his show in Boston at the Wang Theater in November.

Since the commute home actually made me happy, I thought I would share it with you guys and forget about the crappy weather tomorrow.

I am off to climb under a blanket and watch Grimm. Have a happy Friday and Saturday.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Support Wednesday: Taking the Edge Off

Have ever heard Brad Paisley’s song Alcohol?

I am not a huge fan of country music. I am more of a bitter rock music gal myself but a lot of Paisley’s songs are just good.

One of the things that sometimes worries me is replacing food with alcohol. In information sessions and just in general, I have heard that people are often shocked that after a person loses weight they drift or swim towards alcohol. When that coping mechanism disappears, you often fill it in with another.

I like to drink. I will admit it. I like the way it makes me feel. I like how it takes the edge off.  I don’t drink every day or even every week.  When I lost weight before, I found that wingman of food slipping right in while food was not looking.

When I want to drink slowly, I will order beer, since outside of pumpkin beer, I would not miss it. When I don’t care then cider or mixed drinks are called for. I never touched alcohol until I went to college and then for a while, it was my new best friend. I stopped after college for a while, only to pick it up again like 10 years ago.

I know that alcohol defeats the purpose of taking anti-depressants. It is the downer to the upper. I know that I could easily slip that line to abusing alcohol.  I can see it totally filling the void if I am not careful. That is one reason why I am working so hard now to fill that void with other things. 

Do you take one unhealthy habit and replace it with another?

My appointment yesterday was my second mandatory psychologist appointment before surgery. I am cleared in that department. Apparently my mind is in the right place. Between my therapy and psychologist appointments, I don’t need any more mental health appointments.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Another Day, Another Guy

So, guess what happened to me again today?

I was walking down the escalator at North Station on my way to take the Orange Line from work over to my doctor’s appointment this afternoon. I was feeling pretty shitty and not looking my best. A man comes up besides me and said, “Hi, I am xxxxxx, how are you?”

I said hello back. He said he just got out of court and was acquitted on all charges thanks to his mother and mumbled something about drugs in the past. I said congratulations.

He said, “I am a nice guy, I have friends. I love women who wear boots, tights and a skirt. Would you like to go to the movies some times?”

I got asked out again. Granted the whole court thing and drugs totally are a no-go but still, am I am emitting some sort of vibe? Is it just that I actually talked to someone on the T?

I was feeling and probably looking horrible.

I am shocked. Really. Maybe I should get back into online dating or hit the bars again or just aimlessly ride around on the T all day.

The whole things flabbergasts me.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Under the Covers

I wish I could say that yesterday, I cleaned or was somewhat productive. No, that was not how the day went. I had plans that I totally forgot about. I had been up late reading. Just a book that I could not put down. One chapter became two, etc. I went to sleep, woke up and realized that it was cold in my apartment and I might as well stay under the covers. I did and I picked up the book again.

I got up to make some coffee and some breakfast and was freezing. I decided rather than actually turn the heat on, I would get dressed, eat and get back under those covers and guess what, read. That is what I did from about 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. I read. You might ask what?

Another book series with a hero that is tempting and you will probably only find on the pages of a book, Alexander (Shura). Oh my. All of the sudden I want to read more Russian historical fiction. I have already downloaded the second book, Tatiana & Alexander to read.

Maybe all the Russian sites that seem to find their way to my blog will now have a reason for coming.

One thing I am looking forward to about my surgery is that I will have a lot of reading time. I can not wait! My Goodread’s list is wicked long and growing.

I was also out of sorts yesterday. I fought with Not So Secret Sister at dinner, who said “I would write about it here” during the fight. I should have just stayed home. Some days are just a big no win situation and yesterday was one of them. I was still a bit out of sorts today but no one really came to talk to me today at work. It was probably for the best.

All I can say, I am happy the day went by fast.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Yes, I did.

You are all probably wondering, did I go out with the Algerian? Yes, I did, last night. I was wavering on the staying home or going out and he called after work and we decided to grab dinner. Being a tad wishy washy, I had no clue what I wanted so we went into Chinatown.

The T was running will long delays so we had lots of time to chat on the train about the usual stuff, work, family, hobbies, etc. He seemed nice and was somewhat easy to talk to. I did most of the question asking. When we got off the train, we walked around a bit and found ourselves at Shabu Zen in Chinatown. There was a wait so we did most of the talking. I asked about Algeria, where he had travelled, etc.

Shabu was a first experience for me. I had been to Chinese hot pot restaurant and of course the wonderful pho. I will have to try another time when I am more at ease.

When we were called to go into the restaurant, we went into the bathroom to wash his hands. I thought nothing of that. Once the food came he went again to wash his hands. Then during and after the meal, he also washed his hands. I thought that was a bit weird. He said I should wash my hands. Ugh. I had to go to the ladies room but my hands were fine.

I have my problems. I tried my hardest to hide them and make a decent first impression. I got dressed up, put make up on, smiled, laughed, talked a bit much. I did not want to come across as a depressed downer of a gal. I did not mention Mom and some of the other issues. This hand washing thing bothered me a bit, even more so that he wanted me to wash my hands as well. I am not some disgusting barbarian. I had showered before and wash my hands as appropriate. Maybe I am being a little too nit picky but it bothered me. 

The rest of the date went as expected. He tried to get me back to his apartment. I wanted none of that at this point. He was nice but I am not sure if I want to go out with him again.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Umbrella Carnage

It was an umbrella graveyard in Boston today. It poured most of the day and that Boston wind whipped off of the water in between the buildings and your umbrella was either destroyed or useless.  If there is one thing I do not like about my home city is the weather. Blah! The whole city was a big grump today. Traffic was awful. At least it is over.

I dropped a plastic storage container of oatmeal on my little toe this morning and that started the day out correctly. The toe is a bit swollen and purple but I will survive.

I was correct about my admirer being from the Middle East. He told me he is from Algeria last night. Interesting.

At least the rest of the week is downhill from here. One thing I must do this weekend is get some clothes on sale to last the winter like long sleeved tops, etc. Since it is a bye week for my Patriots, Sunday will be a shopping day.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hello Goes A Long Way

Today started as a normal Tuesday. I woke up late, ran around, spilled coffee on the front of my coat, tripped on the way to the T and was sort of asked out. Yes, you got that right. I was walking along in my lack of caffeine coma induced stupor by where you get the buses at the T station near my house.

I figured that someone would be passing me but he started to walk next to me and said hello. I was a little mystified. Is he talking to me? I said hello back and proceeded to have a little chit chatty conversation as I made way into the station. As I went to go through the pass area, he asked if I wanted to get dinner sometime.

I said to myself why not. I have been on some crazy dates. Can’t be any worse.  I gave him my number. He already called me at work. I did not get the call. I should call him back tonight I suppose.

I did not recognize his accent but I am thinking that he must be Middle Eastern. He also probably lives near me since he was also walking. 

Once I got on the Red Line, it was running with delays so it went back to being a typical Tuesday and my head was in my book that I am reading, The Wolves of Andover. Someone was leaning on the pole with his whole body and was practically sitting on my lap. A typical day on the good old MBTA.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Once Upon A Time, I Watched TV….

For a Monday, today was fairly normal. My stomach was in knots and for whatever reason, I just could not feel right.

I was up later then normal last night watching Masterpiece Mystery on PBS.  I read all but the newest Kate Atkinson Jackson Brodie mysteries so I was not to miss this.

Since I haven’t been watching much TV lately, I am sort of looking forward to two shows that will be premiering soon.

Grim on NBC

Once Upon A Time on ABC

Luckily, there are two PBS stations here in Boston so since Once Upon A Time will conflict with Masterpiece Mystery, I can catch it on another night.

I used to be so hooked on TV. I watched lots of it. Now, not so much. Maybe because the computer is not within viewing of the TV so I can’t do both at once. The only other shows I have started watching, but I catch it On Demand is Revenge, about the woman picking off the Long Island socialites one by one to revenge her father – very good.

And of course the various animal programs on Nat Geo WILD or Animal Planet on the weekends.

Have you gotten into any fall TV?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

5 Things: In A Different Time….

I have always suffered from the grass is green elsewhere syndrome. If only I lived there, or if only I‘d been born 100 years ago. I love history. I love reading historical fiction. I have been on quite a medieval reading kick lately.

 

(All from Goodreads)

Yes, there were Knights in White Satin (Mom’s favorite song) and chivalry with fair maidens and the like but really, would I have wanted to live in those time. I think not and here is why:

1. No Coffee!

Coffee had not been “discovered” since it is not mentioned in any of the books I have read. All they seem to drink is beer and wine. Where is the caffeine? Were they drunk all the time?

I know they would not have missed coffee since it was not yet around but my modern mind, no coffee = no Jen.

2. The Plague

I know it is still around today, but the thought that something could kill so many people so quickly scares me. Would I have survived period?

Today’s medicine has its problems, but really, we are lucky.

3. Spinster? Great-grandmother?

Girls where married at 13 or 14. I can’t imagine being married at 13 or 14 but it certainly was common. Being that I am 37 (relishing my last few days of being 37), I would either be a total spinster or possibly a nun if I remained unmarried like that or a great-grandmother by 37!

4. City Life

It wasn’t easy. Cities were filthy. We take for granted the luxuries that are around today. I watched one episode of Filthy Cities about London and was very happy, that Boston, while it may be a bit nasty in some areas (Downtown Crossing is one), it is no comparison.

I am a city gal but not THAT sort of city gal. I’d rather be in the country, which had its problems as well.

5. I would not be able to write this.

I am just a blue collar, lower middle class gal from a little depressing town south of Boston. A bus driver and a dishwasher’s daughter. Education was my way out. College was supposed to be a step up (that is a different discussion) but would a dishwasher’s daughter go to school then? Most likely not.

My grandmother in pre-World War II Italy, only went to school till the 3rd grade then worked on the farm. I think then I would definitely would not be able read not write had I lived 1,000 years ago.

That does not mean I wonder about my ancestors and that maybe if time travel was possible, I might want to go back for a little bit, but I am 21st century gal. I am not sure I would want to trade places with my grandmothers, one a Boston socialite and one an Italian farm gal.

Sometimes my depressed brain needs to be told it isn’t so bad.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Guilty

Another Friday, another meeting at the nursing home about Mom and her care. I went in feeling very overwhelmed. There were the nurses, social workers, my Dad and my brother and more tough conversations.
I found out that her feeding tube is currently going 24 hours a day at 45 ccs an hour. 


That is a lot for one stomach to handle. Can you imagine eating for 24 hours at a time?


I can not. She is becoming restless and bloated. Unfortunately, she can not tell us what is wrong. The 24 hour feedings are going to stop and she will have a few hours to digest and less intake in general. Eventually the feedings will go down to zero.


The immense guilt that I feel about putting the tube in the first place is overwhelming. If it had not been put in, she would be at peace now. What's done is done. We can not change that and made the decision based on the bad facts I had at the time. 


I just want her comfortable. When I go there and she is sleeping, I do not wake her up. She moves around and gets restless otherwise but at sleep she is peaceful and I do not want to disturb that peace. 


Dad is a mess when it comes to making decisions. I do not where in the process he is. There was a whole discussing about Mom and not feeling pain when she was lucid and I was trying to tell him that you had to protect her from the hot soup or the cut before because she could not. It erupted into a little fight and I gave up in exasperation. I just wanted the meeting over. 


So as of now, the tube feedings will be decreased from 24 hours and she will be getting less overall and my guilt continues. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Support Wednesday: Winter is Coming

What a slow Wednesday it was. I was up late. It was my fault. Ever feel like you have to finish that book you were reading? Well, I wanted to finish it. I regretted it this morning when the alarm went off and I put the blanket over my head.

One of my natural instincts is starting to kick in. I want to hibernate. Really, it would make me content. Flannel pajamas and sheets, Christmas tea, books, nice guy, sleeping all the time, HEAVEN.

Unfortunately, not reality, at all. No one to pay the rent if I hibernate. No one to feed Boots. Never mind the whole job thing. New England is so depressing once the leaves fall and everything dies. Nothing is colorful. Nothing is alive. Once it starts to snow, forget about it. After about 5 minutes, it gets all dirty.  Bah humbug!

Why am I so affected by winter? Do you find that winter affects you negatively?

I have planned events over the coming weeks to keep me busy and resist the urge to nest. Wine tasting here, foliage cruise and dinner there and hopefully, a weekend in Montreal.

Unlike so many people from the Boston area, I did not drive up to Montreal when I was 18 to imbibe like others did. I am not a guy so I didn’t go up to Montreal to visit some of the other attractions that city has to offer that they might like.

I going to ask Secret Sister about going up with me. She was one of those 18 year old imbibing up there but she has grown since then.

Another thing I am looking forward to is Italy. It won’t be for a while but it is a light at the end of the long tunnel of winter.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Insurance–Hospital Run Around

All day today I would answer the phone and say my “Hello, I’m blah blah.” Three times I got back, you sound like you are sleeping. One of those who said that was Dad and he says that often to me or else I get “Geez, your mousey.” Thanks Dad. He just called me again to tell me to watch the Republican debate, that it was “good.” 


I was not sleepy. Maybe a bit drowsy or day dreamy but not sleeping.
I also spent a large amount of time haggling with United Healthcare and if that does not make you sleepy, I don’t know what will. I called about the $809 therapy session bill I got and to find out why it was rejected. Finally after 5 calls to them, I found out that they coded the darn thing wrong. It should have been coded for a regular 45-50 minute therapy appointment and not an extended appointment. Ugh. Extended appointments need a prior authorization call from the provider. They will not give prior authorization to me. It needs to be them. 


They won’t and/or can’t give me a copy of my policy. They said contact HR who told me to call United when I talked to HR. Just shoot me now.
Next after that, I had to call the hospital. I got the wrong department, call them and then was told to call the other department. I never got an answer from the hospital as I gave up exasperated. I will continue tomorrow.


They make me want to scream and cry.


I also had an appointment with the nutritionist today and I stepped on that scale. I decided to look at the number. It was a spur of the moment decision. I was curious.  It was down –9 pounds from when I last weighed in. I am told I will have a surgery date soon.


I think it was mostly because the last 2 weeks I did phase 1 of the South Beach diet and honestly, I did not miss bread. I missed having a beer or martini or some pumpkin but bread, no. I am ready to take on Phase 2 with fruits and some complex carbs.


Why must not-so-complicated things be so frigging complicated some times?

Monday, October 10, 2011

World Mental Health Day

I blog for World Mental Health Day

Today is World Mental Health Day. I have been asked to participate in the blog party and I gladly said I would be happy to contribute.

Why?

I have been open about my struggles here. How I have good and bad days. How the shadow of depression continues to slyly stalk me from the around the corner. I turn around and it waves. It may be diminished some days but it is there as ever.  

Looking me me in a grocery store or walking down the street, you would never  see what is going on in my head. The internal battles that I have over how I feel about myself, worthiness, everything. How some days I do not want fight, do not want to get out bed, just want to wither away to nothing. 

I look like an average American. I go to work. I come home. I feel like a cow getting on the cattle train to slaughter every day I go to work. I live for the weekend. I am close to my family and friends and just look like an average American gal.

But what is the average American?


It could be your Mother, Father, husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, friend, neighbor, me, you, ANYONE. I am not ashamed to say that I am struggling. There are days I need help and support. I can not do this alone. Luckily, I have the blog and it has helped me more then I know. 

Asking for help maybe a first big step but you are not alone. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Gorgeous Weekend & Men

I feel a little better today mood wise. Not happy, not sad, just there. An improvement. Physically though, ugh, my shoulder was killing me and my head felt like it was going to explode. If it is not one thing it is always another.

The good thing is tomorrow is actually Friday. I am working from home so I can actually get work done without getting phone calls or unclogging the copier. If I am lucky, I may even have the tuxedo beast kitty lying next to me purring in my pajamas.

I don’t have much going this week but it is supposed to be gorgeous. A gorgeous New England fall weekend – I will gladly take it.  Maybe I will go leaf peeping, though it is a bit too soon here.

Do you ever go leaf peeping?

I have a couple of movies to watch. I have been reading these books and so I added Swedish movie to the top of the list. I had never seen or heard of the actor, Joakim Natterqvist, before but, oh my, is he handsome.

The other movie I have to watch is Robin Hood with Russell Crowe.

I have been stuck on this medieval stuff lately and the reviews were good on Amazon. We’ll see.

Got any good plans?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Support Wednesday: Blahness

Today I am just blah. Totally blah.

I am not sure why. I feel ok. Maybe it is because I did not get out of the dungeon today. Or maybe just because I got at $879 bill for an hour of counseling for the weight loss surgery and I am going to have to haggle it out with United Healthcare. Just makes me sick to my stomach. Just to listen to my ramblings for an hour? Really?

Blah.

I don’t know. I feel a bit defeated, tired, overwhelmed and honestly, angry. No wonder why I can’t get out of bed in the morning.

My mind had the days all mixed up this week. I thought yesterday was Wednesday, today Thursday, which would make tomorrow Friday. Wrong. I don’t have a long weekend either like so much of the country. My next holiday off is Thanksgiving in November.

The other day there was a problem with Mom’s g-tube that meant it might have to come out. It would not go back in. The tube ended up being ok but one of these times, it won’t be and the call will be that it has to come out and the end will begin. Some times I just wish it would come to stop the suffering.

I think I need a mental health day sooner rather than later.

I am tired. I am off to retreat into a book.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Where I Am From (really)

How did I get to have red hair, pale skin, green eyes and freckles if my Mother’s family are dark Southern Italians? I don’t look like my Mom. That is how.

There was once a car full of teen age girls driving down a road somewhere in Brighton, MA in about 1967. The driver saw a guy walking along the side of the road and knew him. She pulled over and asked if needed a ride. The only room in the car was in the back seat so he climbed in next to Rita (future Mom).

Rita was not impressed. In fact, he was very drunk and she was worried that he would throw up on her. Luckily, that never happened because that drunk guy was my Dad.

First generation Italian-American married Irish-American mutt in 1971.

My father’s family started to make their way here between 1810 and 1870ish from Longford, Leitrim, Donegal Ireland and Scotland. They came to Boston and stayed. We are still all here, as far as I know. Out side of my immediate family, there aren’t too many of us left that I am aware of.

Do you know where your family is from?

What we did not know that that made their journey to Ireland from somewhere else.  Dad is a genealogist. So much so that he participated in DNA genealogy.  He swabbed his mouth, my mouth, my brother’s mouth and probably a few others and off they went.

A few surprises came from the DNA stuff.  First off, that Dad really is my Dad (not that there was any question about that) and that the origin of that began in Africa, which for pale skinned people like me, would NOT be good. No wonder we moved along.

One thing, my maternal grandparents are from San Donato Val di Comino in Frosinone. It is roughly between Rome and Naples. If you are World War II history buff, it is very close to where Monte Cassino was fought. My grandmother was living there at the time.  Someday soon I will get there.

I have the urge to explore the world. If not the world, then my whole country and see every state, which I have not seen very many.

That is my where I am from ramblings. My mood has been a bit blah. Maybe it is getting cold, at least here in Boston and it has been cloudy and rainy. It just affects me. How is the weather where you are?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

5 Things: Escapes

I have fancied myself flying off to see the the birthplace of my Mother’s parents in Italy some time next year.  Luckily, there is Kayak to fuel my obsession. I am going to have to save my pennies. The flights were anywhere from $700 to $1,100. That cheap flight was with stops in NYC, Montreal and London. Ugh. The only saving grace is that the Euro is down somewhat when I last looked and that could be good news.

I even plugged in Glasgow, because, well, it is Scotland. Not much better. Between $500 – $600. The exchange rate with the pound is somewhat better as well.

To escape now, I turn to my old friend books instead of food. Boy have I been reading lately.

Here are 5 of the last books I have read:

1. The Green Rider by Kristen Britain

I liked it, not loved it. I was never really into fantasy before I read the Songs of Fire and Ice books and Harry Potter. This book did not grip me like some of the other books in my list but I did finish it.

2. The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham

This is another medieval fantasy 1st book in the series and I will definitely be reading the next one when it comes out this year. This was a could not put down for me book and I liked the characters, specifically some of the not so major characters.

3. Shadows and Strongholds by Elizabeth Chadwick

I am not sure what my obsession with medieval fiction is. Maybe to read about a world so different but eerily slightly similar to today’s society. This is a tale about a young man who goes off to learn how to be a knight and what he encounters along the way a thousand years ago. I loved it.

4. Lords of the White Castle by Elizabeth Chadwick

When I found out that Shadows and Strongholds was actually a prequel written after this book, I had to read the first book you know. This is about the young man’s son who also learned to be a knight and quite possibly was what Robin Hood was based on. I read this book in 2 days.

5. The Road to Jerusalem by Jan Guillou

I had never heard of this book until roaming about the awesome library in my city and it called out to me on the shelf. Ok, the picture of the knight on the cover called out but really, it did. It is the story of Arn Magnusson, a Swedish knight who through some events is sent to a monastery to return home and with one mistake (that today would totally be nothing) is sent off on Crusade. It is also set 1,000 years ago and there was a very popular Swedish film miniseries that will come from Netflix soon.

I bought a Kindle 4 Thursday with some Amazon gift certificates. The fact that you can now take library books out (and the gift certificates) where the deciding factor in choosing the Kindle. God help me.