Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Get Me Through December

There is just something about December. Since I started blogging, it has always been a bad month for me. It goes back so much further than that however. December has had a bittersweet tinge for me for the last 10 years. This year, after Thanksgiving, before the lighting of the tree in Rockafeller Center, was the tenth anniversary of my committing myself to a psych ward in New York City. It is something I have wanted to write about, but have been afraid to write about. Perhaps that is why I haven't been able to post much.

I am torn between a desire to remember what has to be the lowest point in my life, lower than even postpartum depression, lower than even perhaps my very first very broken heart, and a wish that it had never happened. It wasn't supposed to happen. I just want to forget.

My life had skyrocketed out of control. I had a career that no 22 year old should have, I had left behind my home, and a family unit wrought with trouble and dysfunction, and moved to two places where I knew few people. Then I had committed one of the cardinal sins of young adulthood and dated my boss while not controlling my depression. The breakup, the loneliness, it all added up and I cried out for help. What I needed was a break. I needed to walk away and find my center again. Except, I didn't know where to go. I ended up in a hospital emergency room, with the exboyfriend/boss, asking to get locked up. I was alone, and alone I didn't trust myself.

I didn't know it, but inpatient psych wards are for the really crazy people. The kind of person I was not. I heard no voices except the own inner monologue. I held down a good job, had the respect of my coworkers, and had already started to take the steps to improve my own mental health. I was just alone. What I needed was a friend, family, a break from the alone.

Once inside my life was not to be believed. The attending Shrink (hack) assigned to my case didn't want to let me out. She didn't think I was telling the truth about the job, the apartment, the cat, that were all waiting for me when I got out. It nearly made me crazy, for real.

Fortunately inside that terrifying place I found friends. An art therapist who saw what I really needed, a resident assigned to me who had spent time as an inpatient (as part of a school assignment) who knew what I was up against. They both advocated for me, called my mom (who my ex then flew out to help break me out), and put their necks on the line to help me get out without requiring a trip to see a judge about an involuntary committal.

The art therapist abandoned her internship because of how I was treated, and agreed to treat me after I got out. (I have yet to find a therapist I like as much as her) She gave me the tools I needed to prove my sanity. The resident encouraged me to talk to the other patients, to do my best to not isolate myself. He even suggested I had a way with the other patients (it takes one to know one) and that I should consider a career in psychiatry.

I try not to think about it much, but the whole thing left scars. There are days when I still question if maybe she wasn't right, that maybe I am crazy. Really crazy.

Ten years. Ten really wonderful and wild years. My life is nothing like what I would have ever thought it would be. It is so much better. Yet every December I am filled with doubt. Did I make the right choices, will I ever not feel like maybe I am just fooling everyone. Did I pass on the genetics that cause the chemical imbalance that screws with me every so often to my beautiful daughter.

I always make it through December. The darkest night comes and goes. The light returns.

A very special thanks to Natalie MacMaster and her song Get Me Through December. I'm pretty sure I listened to it on repeat for the rest of December that first year and for a few years after.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Couple That Works Together...

If you ever really want to give yourself a good challenge, try assembling a majorly complicated Ikea hack of an entertainment center with your husband while wrangling a two year old, just so you can install a brand new very large (especially for a girl that grew up without a TV) TV, with a Wii and BlueRay player thrown in for good measure.

So, the Ikea hack. I have pictures, but I'm saving them for another very long post about how cool it is. The making of it, not so much. There were four trips to Ikea, at least six to Home Depot (three in four hours at one point), and a couple to Best Buy thrown in for good measure. However, the thing is built like a rock now, fits our very large speakers (old), very new TV, and oddly shaped space in our living room. Whee!!!

We agonized over the TV for months, but finally the buzzing noise the old (18 years maybe?) TV was making, combined with silly good deal, were just too much and we did it. Had I only known it would take four days to get the whole thing done (including removing old Ikea hack entertainment center).

All of this of course means that instead of doing things like, cleaning before my mom comes, baking anything, or finishing wrapping and Christmas shopping has not happened. Which sort of sucks because I was sort of counting on two days with the kiddo still in daycare to be able to work on the whole sewing/baking/cleaning thing.

Ugh, just writing it all down makes me tired again. Tomorrow, A has promised to help me with whatever I need to get stuff done. I hope he can sew a straight line...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snow Sweeper

"No Mama! I do it!" In reference to cleaning the snow off of the front steps while I shoveled the front walk.

I am so glad I invested in some serious winter gear this year instead of just going to Target for snowpants and jacket. They are seriously waterproof and she came in warm except her face (failed snow angel attempt).

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Year of the Santa

I'm a horrible blogger. I haven't been blogging much at all, barely even on twitter, and honestly, just too busy to care.

This year has me stressed beyond belief. I've been having a hard time trying to figure out just what it is that has me so frazzled, so on edge (besides the antics of a two year old) and I realized that it is because of the importance of this year.

This is the year of the Santa.

M has a crazy good memory, she can remember everything, and this is the year that she will start to believe in Santa Claus. I want her to believe, I want her to enjoy it. I'm thirty-two and I still believe in the spirit of Santa Claus. The warm and fuzzy feeling you get from being generous to others.

This year though, Santa has to get her what she asks for. He has to know what her heart desires and bring it to her. That is more easily said than done. She doesn't even know what she wants. Other than near monthly gifts from her Nana (MIL). she just doesn't ask for toys or really get them. I've at least tried to make that something special, something for the holidays and birthdays. She is two after all, it isn't like she needs all that much.

School has been valuable in teaching about Santa. and helping us figure out what she wants. Of course, part of what she has asked for hasn't been made in thirty years. It has required searching, and asking people to return gifts they had bought because now it needs to come from Santa. It has consumed me. It has stressed me out. It has made me forget other things I needed to get done, like oh, shop for my niece's birthday present.

In the end, I think it will be worth it. I don't know if every Christmas will be this crazy, if we'll do this much to make sure Santa delivers, but this year, I've done everything I can to make sure that she believes. (please let her believe)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Santa Came Early

So, awhile back, like over a year ago, I won a 250 buck Visa gift card from the lovely women at Parent Blogger's Network, and this major name company. Who shall remain nameless lest I have to associate their name with their PR firm trying to welch on the GC, ahem! PBN of course, loveliest women ever.

So, after a Christmas, a birthday, and some other stuff, along with the GC, I finally had enough money to get my DSLR. Except... I couldn't do it. It just seemed like if I got it, it would be like a gateway. I would need at least two or three more lenses, some of them more expensive than the camera itself. So, I went searching for an upgrade to my current Canon A540 (free won at holiday party three years ago). I finally settled on the Canon SX 20 IS. I ordered it Tuesday, and it came today.

It is everything I hoped for and more. While my old camera could do great macro and decent distance shots, it sucked in low light. It also wasn't the best at dealing with a complex depth of field.

Here are some lovely examples, unedited, and before I managed to read the manual (I know, being a geek I should totally RTFM, but it was a new toy).

Flash off again, using pretty much just light from the LED's on the tree.

Christmas tree, flash off, in my not terribly well lit living room.

Dog pictures are so much easier with this camera. This one is a bit fuzzy, but I would have never gotten anything close to this before.

Disclaimer: Canon didn't pay me, or even know about me writing this. I'm just a Canon girl from way back. They made my first SLR camera that I loved.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Amelia Sprout's Rules for Winter in Minnesota

1. It happens. It really shouldn't be a surprise since it has been happening relatively like this since, oh, the Ice Age. Quit your whining or move to Texas.

2. Fashion doesn't count when the wind chill is below zero. Quit acting like it does.

3. Own the following items and use them often when it is cold.
  • A parka. As in a warm coat the goes at least to your ass.
  • A pair of proper boots. Carry your shoes for indoors with you, but wear the boots. Your frost bitten toes will thank you. My personal favorite, Sorel Pacs. Mine are retro black and purple and I love them. They make cool looking ones that keep your feet warm too though.
  • A hat. Seriously, own a hat. If you're like my husband, wear the earmuffs in the morning when you care about your hair, but a hat when it is really cold. Everyone else will have hat hair so it won't matter. My hat, totally goofy elfin looking one I knit myself. It is warm though, so I don't care how silly I look.

4. Mittens are better than gloves. Fingers stay warmer when together.

5. If it is icy, four wheel drive doesn't do you much better than two wheel drive. Drive accordingly. That being said, if the roads are dry, chill already. It is winter, not the end of the world.

6. If you are a parent of a child, please for the love of pete, dress them accordingly. Dress yourself accordingly and set a good example too.

7. Bake cookies. Warms the house and yummy too.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Love The Pretty

First, special thanks to Aisha for dying the amazing yarn that is now in my header. Her stuff is gorgeous, and on top of it, she is incredibly nice. Now what to do with the great yarn that I got from her...

The show is done, I am very tired, but it went incredibly well. I got to meet a blog reader (which made my day) and unfortunately missed seeing another blogger. (damn) I even got help from the incredibly energetic Robin. Bloggers for the win!

Perhaps my favorite thing, well, besides getting the next size up in Harrilu shirts for M and scoring my very own PINK! Yeti from Jessica at Plushroom Soup, was getting my birthday present finally.

I had picked out something else from Etsy back in August, but just never got around to buying it. Perhaps because I was supposed to do it myself, ahem. So today I found something I had to have, and let's just call it my birthday present, OK?

She calls this line of stuff, Sprout. Isn't that awesome? BMF Jewelry. She's local, and hint to my husband, there are matching earrings and larger necklaces...

Friday, December 4, 2009

For a Saturday in Minneapolis

I've written about it a bit, and I've professed my love for some of the places to eat at Midtown Global Market, but in case you missed it, and you're local, tomorrow is the last day of the No Coast Craft-o-Rama.

I got to walk through (quickly) and this year I think is one of the best yet. The advent of Etsy and the awesome handmade movement means craft shows all of the place have experienced a bit of a rebirth as places for hipsters and artists. Your mom's church basement this is not.

Some of my favorites, Plushroom Soup, Harrilu, Pink Sparrow (all got some business from me already), as well as Jennie the Potter , and more I can't find links to tonight.

The point is, you should go. It really is a great time. It can be crowded, but there is something for everyone. Prints, original art, things for people with kids, with dogs, with too much time on their hands.

And, if you're really curious about what my name is, I'll be there too. At the Information Desk most of the day. Directing traffic.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I finally caved and went to see my Dr. about my nagging sore throat. Except this time I didn't go to urgent care, or the random doc that the clinic I went to assigned me, I went to my allergy doc. He gets these things.

My toncils, infected, though not with Strep. My lungs, could be better. So, over the course of the next 20 days (he gave me a refill on the Zpak) you little buggers are on notice. Out! Out! (you that are supposed to be there, say in my tummy, stick around, I swear I will make it up to you)

In other completely not related to my health news, we have a winner of the book.

Ms. Andrea. Who needs to email me with a way to reach her. Perhaps we can meet over coffee or something fun like that.