Monday, December 24, 2012

you should read this. yes - YOU.

I never really know what exactly may come out of my fingers when I sit down to blog. 

Most bloggers have a plan, they have notes or thoughts already formed for their posts before they even sit down. They have lists... I rarely do that. If I do have a plan or a thought - I forget it by the time I sit down to type it up. Or I forget where I put the list...

But sometimes when I sit down to post, something inspires me & the blogging part of my brain works with my fingers and types out a beautiful, sorrowful, depressing or joyous post. Or maybe my posts are entirely incoherent and it's just that none of you are telling me... But until you tell me differently, I'll say each post is a work of art. It flows like a river and I sit here and watch it unfold on my screen. Almost like a part of me disconnects and I'm on the outside watching.

It may touch someone with my words. Or maybe nobody even reads them anyway...

As I sat down to begin this particular post, it started out a little something like this: 

"I'm working throughout the holidays this year - with only a brief 4 days off for a quick trip to California for some Niece Time before heading back to work on New Year's Eve. I get to ring in the new year at the Behavioral Health hospital - since I work the overnight shift... Should be good times! It feels weird having to work through the holidays, even though I've worked most of the holidays for years - I usually don't have to be away from my family for both Christmas and New Years. 

I just don't feel very Christmas-y this year. 

Maybe one day I'll have a normal job with normal hours. But I doubt it... 

So in an attempt to conger up some Christmas Spirit..."

And then I was going to give you a joyous Christmas song. But instead I ran into this one. It's a favorite of mine. But I'd never really listened to it. I mean, listen - listened to it.

I never read the comments on YouTube videos either. They typically consist of things like "OMG!!!! I AM SO IN LOVE WITH JUSTIN BIEBER!!!" or some other completely ridiculous nonsense I don't care anything about...

But this morning - as I gnawed on a chicken wing for breakfast, unable to get a greasy finger free to click away from YouTube - my eyes fell upon this comment & it stopped me dead in my tracks:

And right at that moment I was overcome by emotions - both good and bad. Good emotions - as I remember how much I cherish being with my loved ones on Christmas.

The past few years I have spent Christmas Eve at my sister's house so that I can be there to see my niece's face when she first sees the presents stacked under the Christmas tree.

Bad emotions: I won't be there tomorrow morning and it feels absolutely terrible. I will be driving home from work - to a house full of sleeping dogs and a sleeping Senior Citizen as most families are sitting down to Christmas breakfast. 

Lake is frozen over
Trees are white with snow
And all around 
Reminders of you
Are everywhere I go

Before my family departed from our South Georgia home - a move that inadvertently changed our lives forever (how could it not?) - I'd spent the past few Christmas Eves at my best friend's house with her & her family. I have no children, Niece wasn't born yet and Christmas tends to lose a bit of it's magic when children aren't around.

It's been over 6 years since I've seen my best friends. The people I love and cherish the most are far away from me - and from each other. Which means I'll never be able to spend my holidays with all of them - together - again. I have my hockey friends here - but we have no hockey. We always celebrate the holidays together now - with hockey.

It's late and morning's in no hurry
But sleep won't set me free
I lie awake and try to recall
How your body felt beside me

Life changes, circumstances change, you have to leave behind people who are important to you. Sometimes the unimaginable happens - you lose a loved one, your parents split up, your world gets flipped over when you least expect it. Lock-outs cancel partial or entire hockey seasons.

When silence gets too hard to handle
And the night too long

And this is how I see you
In the snow on Christmas morning
Love and happiness surround you
As you throw your arms up to the sky
I keep this moment by and by

I cherish those Christmas mornings of the past. Christmas mornings that weren't lacking one of my parents, Christmas mornings when I was able to hug my niece or stay up late watching movies with my best friends. Holiday Hockey. There will be more memories...

Oh, how I miss you now, my love
Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas, my love

But today I find it difficult to shake the sadness. I have no kids, no husband, no family of my own. 99.9% of the time that doesn't really bother me too much - to be entirely honest. But at Christmas... My niece is typically a pleasant distraction. I don't have time to think about it, dwell on it, mention it in blog posts... 

I feel stranded sometimes - out here in this desert - not really here but definitely not gone. I may not be able to shake this funk today - or tomorrow. I may just be sad this Christmas. 

But I suppose that's OK. 

Sense of joy fills the air
And I daydream and I stare
Up at the tree and I see
You're a star up there

I have my memories - and my future. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Shock & Horror.

I started my 12 Days of Christmas Music postings... but now I don't feel much like posting Christmas music. The news of another mass shooting - this one in an Elementary school in a quiet Connecticut town that hadn't even seen a homicide in 10 years - has drained the Christmas spirit right out of my body. Which is nothing compared to what happened to those children and their teachers, principal & school psychologist. It's nothing compared to what their families will forever be reminded of every time the holiday season rolls around. The senseless loss of a daughter, a son, a wife, sister, brother, mother...

And for what - everyone keeps asking? Why did this young man kill his mother, take her guns & then take to a local elementary school & open fire? Shooting his victims several times each? That's not just murder - that's viscous intent. Viscous, malicious & every other word one could use to describe the unspeakable. Then to escape the consequences of his malicious attack, he turned the gun on himself. Leaving no chance for justice or closure for his victims' families. Everyone has started to point fingers - in search of an explanation:

"He was autistic. That must have caused him to lose it..." It's not likely. Violence isn't a side effect of his particular condition.

"He was withdrawn & strange as a teen. He didn't talk much... Those are the ones you have to worry about..." No - they're not. I'm quiet & withdrawn - always have been. But I have trouble killing a bug. I could never open fire on children. Or adults. Or even animals.

As a professional in the field of behavioral health I want to pull these grieving families aside & tell them to stop looking for the killer's motive. It won't help, it won't bring back their babies, wives or other loved ones lost in this tragedy. Furthermore - there's simply no excuse for it. There's no mental disorder, no past childhood experience, no abuse or neglect that should give a person reason enough to commit so heinous a crime. I want to tell them that I'm deeply sorry - because no one should have to deal with such a horrifying situation. I feel myself absorbing their grief - a side effect of my highly sensitive personality. Tragedies such as these cripple me - however far removed from the situation I may be.

I never want to see another professional football player jumping around after a Superbowl win screaming "WE SHOCKED THE WORLD, BABY!" No. You didn't. You're a professional football player playing on a major league team. Your goal is to win the Superbowl. You train for it relentlessly - day in & day out. Save that phrase for things like this. Things that don't - and hopefully won't - happen every year & be trained for & set as a goal far in advance. Superbowl wins don't shock me. Opening fire on classrooms of 6 year olds shocks me & the entire world.

My niece is 6 years old. I thank my lucky stars, or God, or the Universe - whatever entity controls us all - that she doesn't live in Newtown, Connecticut. I'm grateful that my sister has the ability to keep her home & homeschool her. I'm terrified of sending my future children to school at the risk of this happening again. I'm grateful to my brother-in-law - who is ambitious & hard-working, making it financially possible for my sister to be able to do that. I hope I am as lucky when I have my children.

I'm grateful for the simple fact that today my niece is still alive & well. Because there are aunts today who cannot say the same of their 6 & 7 year old nieces & nephews in Newtown, Connecticut.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Music 2012

Day 1 - December 14th 2012

Welcome to my 2nd annual 12 Days of Christmas Music!

Music for the Morning

This year, let's start Christmas with Dino... Here are 16 of his greatest - turn it on and let it play. A wonderful way to start your day!

Friday, December 7, 2012

let's get up to speed...

My life - SURPRISE - has been a mixture of strange and crazy lately.


The biggest news right now is that I've stopped taking my anti-depressants. I've been on Zoloft or some form thereof for the better part of 12 years. I can't really explain why I stopped taking them - because I don't really know. It felt like the right decision. They were clearly not helping - my depression and anxiety have been in a steady upwards climb for the better part of 4 years - with the medication.

I'm struggling at work because being on my feet 8 hours a day is causing far more pain than I can manage. I have to push though it though - because I need to work. When I get home from work I can barely move. My back, hips, feet and every muscle in my body are screaming at me in violent protest.

And exercise - are you kidding me??? There is no exercising. There is just eating, sleeping and working. And binge eating... I've recently realized that I am quite the binge eater and my triggers are numerous and daily. Stress, depression, working, coming home, being at home, being at work, being alone, being with others, etc, etc... All of the above and then some. I'm a nearly 365 day a year binger. There aren't many things that don't make me binge eat. And there are few things in life that make me happy other than sleeping and eating. Everything else causes pain. The food does too ultimately - but not nearly as much as the other parts of life. I feel no shame about it - though I should.

I'm struggling. Just writing this makes me want to go back to bed. With a nice big bowl of Cocoa Pebbles. Believe it or not though, I am better than I was on anti-depressants. I can feel things again - but I'm overly emotional. I think that's because I have 12 years of missed emotions to catch up on. My mood swings are rather violent and unpredictable but I'm learning to control them on my own. I get panicky about things that are small potatoes in the grand scheme of things - but that doesn't make them any less panic-inducing.

How do you handle your stressors? Have you taken anti-depressants in the past or are you currently? 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

2012 Hollywood Dance Recital

For those of you that follow me on Instagram - and/or are on my personal Facebook page - you've probably already seen all these photos from last weekend. If you haven't - you fail as a stalker. 

For the select few of you who haven't seen them yet, this is my photographic memoir of my niece's annual Dance Recital with Hollywood Dance - which was this past weekend in Lake Elsinore, CA. 


My niece performed in 5 numbers this year. I only managed to get good pictures of 4 of the outfits - and a really bad on-stage picture of her outfit for her duet. We were a bit pressed for time during a costume change or two...

(Niece is on the left) They did an adorable little tap dance to "I Want Candy".

Here are their "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" outfits. 


And an on-stage shot of their dance:

For ballet, Niece and her class danced to an acoustic version of "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid

Below is probably my favorite photo from the entire weekend. It was taken during dress rehearsal - and from the looks of it, Niece (left) is helping Carly (right) with her stage fright. In reality, she had her held down so she could get her attention and ask her a question. HA! 


The cheer routine to "Girlfriend" was the only one Niece (second from the left) was nervous about. The Kid doesn't know the meaning of the word "stage fright" - but she was nervous about the lift she had to do in this routine. She had to hold Brooke (far right) up for about 5 seconds and she was scared to death she was going to drop her. 

Note: she did not drop her. She held her steady through-out both performances and a dress rehearsal. 

This was my favorite number of the entire show. They danced to "Tea Party" from the new Alice in Wonderland movie in the most adorable costumes EVER! 

Here's a few miscellaneous candid shots from the weekend...

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