Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Coffee is love. Coffee is life!

It has been ludicrously hot of late in WNY. As a result, I've been drag-ass tired. (It is a technical term, I assure you.) So, I have been on a cold coffee kick. The various sites that give you instructions on how to cold brew coffee are pretty awesome. I am also happy to say that I can buy cold brewed coffee at the store now too. When I was grocery shopping on Saturday, I picked up this stuff called Stok at Walmart. (They're more economical than Wegmans for my budget and the veggies are fresher than Aldi's right now. Don't judge me.)

It is a cold brewed coffee that is actually pretty good. I had been making cold brewed Folger's Chocolate Silk coffee in quart sized glass jars. When I saw that there was a big jug of cold brewed coffee, I decided that I had to get it. If it was good, then it was a delightful addition to the choice of cold beverages in the fridge. If it was just meh, I had the large bottle to recycle for use holding iced tea. I think this was a good decision.

Honestly, it was a better decision than getting the Starbucks instant cold coffee. Stok is a lot better with out the bitterness. It is not quite as good as the homemade cold brewed coffee, but I think I like it.

Saturday, May 21, 2016


So, I have had a real eventful couple of days on the being a 'real' author front. Yesterday, I made my first sale of the first volume of the fantasy series I'm writing. I was all kinds of excited and happy with that. The gal that I sold it to has been chatting with me about writing stuff and books for a few months now. She kept asking me every few times I saw her when she could buy my book. When I walked into the bbq place with that book in hand, I didn't exactly know what to expect. She lit up with excitement when I held up the book, which in turn had some of the customers looking to see what was up. I tried to give it to her at a discount but she insisted on paying me more.

Today, I went to spinning guild. I really thought that there wasn't going to be a whole lot of interest because it isn't a book about spinning. (Though spinning and fiber arts do get a solid mention in it, because reasons.) When the time came for people to stand up in front of the group and show the things that they had been working on, I held up my book and gave my elevator pitch. Next thing I know, I have sold all of my copies (at a profit), directed people to where they can order it online, and had a few inquiries if I was going to be bringing more copies to next month's guild meeting.

I am sitting here somewhat amazed and delighted. I suppose I really should learn to have a bit more faith in myself. I knew that I was going to make a couple sales but I didn't think that there was going to be so much interest after just giving a quick rundown over what it was all about. I honestly never thought that I was going to use the expression 'I have sold out of my available copies.' and I wound up using it several times this afternoon. I am directing people to Amazon and I find myself wondering if my blog is going to have an uptick in readership now. (It doesn't have the heavily laden sarcasm posts like I do here once in a while, but I might just throw that out there for fun in the future. I try to keep my snark about the world here and that one for my writing.)

But, holy gods, this is actually happening. I am amazed.

Dreading the dentist.

I have some dental issues. They're a result of poor dental hygiene that arose from depression brain fog. I tend to forget things when I am depressed. I wish it was something that had me forgetting inconsequential things. I think it would be easier that way. But, life is not easy. Thus, my self-care skills take a complete nosedive when I am depressed. This leads to my developing problems with my teeth.

I have several visits lined up with the Eastman Dental Clinic over the next few weeks. I am torn between irritation that I have to do this, again, and anger at myself over the fact that I am in this situation. On top of all that, I find myself getting anxious over the idea that the dentist or the staff are going to shame me for the state of my teeth. That last point is really bothering me because these people are absolute professionals and have excellent bedside manner. Seriously, they are the least judgmental people I have encountered and have been nothing but professional and helpful.

My therapist says that my anxiety is most likely due to my social phobia. It is funny to think that. Most people, when they dread the dentist, they dread the dental work. I don't like getting work done on my teeth. It is uncomfortable, awkward, and expensive. But I don't get in a tizzy over it. It's all this fear over what they might be thinking about me or how they're going to treat me. I wish that I didn't get all twisted up over this.

My therapist says that this anxiety will improve over time. I hope so, because this is really crappy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Getting by.

I am slowly working away at all the things I need to be doing right now. I suppose I am making progress. Earlier this week, I went to the Committee on Special Education meetings to plan for next year's Individual Education Plan for each of the boys. I was anxious about going to the meetings but they went as I had hoped they would. The boys are about where I estimated they would be with respect to the progress they had made on their present IEP goals. I am pleased that Cuddle Bear has tested out of needing occupational therapy. It is a big gain and I'm proud of him.

The committee all were impressed with the vast amount of progress that Snuggle Bug has made with his writing. He still has some work to go before he is at grade level. At the same time, however, he has gone from writing only a single word (which was barely legible) to writing a full sentence. This is a first grade skill and I am really pleased that he's developed it. Both Cuddle Bear and Snuggle Bug need to build their writing skill set. The therapists have recommended giving them coloring pages to do and working on some writing at home. As the boys have expressed some passing interest in writing like I do, I am going to get them each a notebook and we're going to do weekly pages in it.

I know that they struggle with being motivated to write for school. I'm going to attempt to tailor writing stuff at home towards their interests. It appears that when work is geared towards their strong interests, they are motivated to do more and pay better attention. So, I'm going to try out writing stories with them about the things they enjoy. I envision we're going to be writing a great deal about garbage trucks and trains. At the same time, however, I am also going to work on getting them those special notebooks that leave a blank space at the head of the page for illustration. This way they can illustrate their stories.

Who knows, maybe by the end of the summer they'll have their own storybooks to read to each other and their father. The school has noticed that when the boys get a moment of free time, they have gravitated towards books. I laughed when Cuddle Bear's teacher mentioned that there has been more than a few times where she caught him attempting to read a book instead of doing his math work. (This was something that I did at his age, as did his father.) Because they love books, I think I may have some success here with this. Who knows, maybe it will become a habit for them. It would be kinda awesome if they took up the practice of journaling at this age.

I wanted to but life circumstances encouraged me not to do it until I was much older. Now, I am struggling to tell myself that it is ok to write in my journals again. I know that my anxiety is the culprit here. Perhaps working with the boys on this journal writing stuff, I will get back into the habit of writing daily in my journal and not be so critical of it all.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Scrambled Brainz.

Behold, I sit before the computer with all my faculties ready to do something. If I could muster enough fucks up to do it. I'm probably going to try to do some writing a bit later. But, it's a fairly accurate shot of the expression I've had most of the day.

I'm not depressed per se. I feel cranky. Minor irritations frustrate me to the point where I start to stammer. (And that is something that only happens when I am really upset.) I almost titled this post 'scream, break shit, and sleep.' That's because that is a partial list of what is going through my brain right now.

Beloved postulated that my problem is I am in a mixed episode right now. I kinda see his point and I am not pleased with this. I feel stressed out and anxious. I am struggling not to start being a shrieking harpy to the kids as they run around the apartment. It has been a difficult struggle. I am trying to look at it all and see 'positives' here. And that is just making me angrier. There is no reason for me to be so angry with everything. No one has shat in my proverbial corn flakes. But, I kinda want to scream and break shit right now.

I was feeling run down over the last week. I think a big part of the problem was my allergies, which have been particularly difficult between the pollen and the down stairs neighbor's smoking. I also have had a slow, but steady increase in my feelings of anxiety (and correlating internal hyper critical commentary). I took some Ativan earlier this evening. It makes me feel less like I'm going to explode and less like the solution to my frustration is doing something like throwing heavy objects out windows or something. I did not have a good time when I was grocery shopping. All the noise and all the people just made me really want to verbally shred the people who were moving too slowly for me and throw stuff at the heads of the people who annoyed me. Namely that one stock person who wouldn't LEAVE ME ALONE to do my shopping. They just kept turning up in every aisle I went in to get things and stopping in the middle of the aisle in my way. I was good, I didn't say anything sharp. I didn't say a word to them. But I was not a happy camper.

Just to take a brief aside, for a moment, I have to say that who ever it was at corporate that decided that having a stock person roaming the aisles with a cart full of random crap and signs taped all over it for 'free' goods that would come with signing up for a credit card, that person who came up with this idea needs to sit on a rusty rail road spike. They have advertisements about the promotion at every register (even the self-check out) and the cashiers are all told to pitch this thing. They've put some pressure on the people in customer service to promote the credit card. And we've got the greeters who promote it even as they are welcoming you to the store. Now, that was all irritating as fuck but I kinda understand that is how the business does things. I am sincerely hoping that no one's paycheck is tied in any fashion to how successful they are in getting people to sign up for the damn credit card. But, to have someone wander through out the store with a cart full of crap you could 'get for free' and harry customers is just crossing a line.

I would have objected to this if I wasn't the person that was getting followed through the store by this person. I especially object to it now because of the fact that I had someone follow me through 95% of my shopping time trying to convince me to get a damn Walmart credit card and looking pathetic when I said no. I am trying to cut the employee some slack and assume that they were following me around because I looked less intimidating than the 458 other people in the store. But this shit has me seriously questioning if I want to go back and deal with it again. Even if I didn't have social phobia and I was in a better headspace, I would not have been comfortable with this. It is harassment. And it has to fucking stop. You don't sell product harassing your clientele. You lose customers doing that shit.

Also, if you really wanted me to sign up for a credit card you'd make the 'free' products worth my time. Saving five dollars on average on a purchase that I'm generally not going to need (because I honestly don't need a goddamn frisbee and the stupid things cost less than $5, for example) is not going to persuade me. Make it something more useful like a case of motor oil, a large roast, a set of cleaning goods for the kitchen, or something, and you may have my attention. Because who the fuck is going to get a credit card to get a free frisbee on the spur of a moment? Are they going to stand there at the check out look at that 'free' 12 pack of generic soda and say 'oh, hot damn, I could really use that.' and subject themselves to a credit check to see if they could get it? Because that's kinda part of the whole 'sign up for a credit card' thing.

TL:DR - Argh. Mixed episodes suck. Shady business practices piss me off. I want to burn it all down right now. Fire cures everything.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Houston, we have a problem.

Star chart from an Apollo mission, courtesy of NASA!

Scene: Bridge of a space ship. Crew engaged in tasks. Captain looks on with concerned expression. His second in command reviewing report from instruments.

2nd in Command: I'm sorry, Sir, but I can not locate one in this sector.

Captain: Try again. We must find at least one. We need it!

2nd: Sir, we've run the scan multiple times. We've scanned all sectors with a null result. It is not out there.

Captain sweats and looks increasingly distraught. 

Captain: The equipment, it must be malfunctioning. (Said with increasingly hysterical tone.)

2nd: No, I personally inspected the equipment. It is all running at optimum efficiency. They are not there.

Captain slaps the console before him, narrowly missing buttons and levers. He turns to a Crewman.

Captain: Are you sure there is not at least one in reserve? Even in the emergency capsule?

Crewman looks from Captain to 2nd in Command, clearly uncomfortable. 

Crewman: No, Sir. The supply is exhausted. We have no reserves.

Captain exits his seat, grapples Crewman, and pulls the man so that they're face to face.

Captain: FIND ONE! (Screamed like a madman.)

2nd in Command: Sir! SIR! (Called out with an authoritative tone as he pulls Captain and Crewman apart.)

Captain turns on 2nd in Command, seems ready to fight. Two crewmen come to restrain the Captain.

2nd in Command: I am relieving you of duty, Captain. Report to your quarters.

Crewmen strong arm Captain off the bridge. Captain struggles.

Captain: You can't do this! It's mutiny! (Hysterical screaming)

2nd in Command assumes Captain's position on bridge. He looks grimly ahead.

2nd in Command: And that is it.

2nd in Command sighs and looks down in a brief expression of defeat, looking almost harrowed by it all.

2nd in Command: No more fucks. We're doomed. (Said in a whisper.)

~ END ~

Friday, May 06, 2016

Sigmund Freud's Doodle.

I don't know how to do a screen capture. I kinda fail at technology, to be honest. But, as I was going to say, Google has a doodle for Sigmund Freud's birthday. His face is represented as part of an iceberg in the image with a little steamer ship to the right heading towards another iceberg.

All day, when I saw that little image, all I could think was that the ship was the Titanic.

Take from this idea what you will.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Functioning Adult? Maaybe.

I have been struggling to get stuff I need to do done. I have piles of laundry waiting to be folded up and put away. I have piles of laundry that are waiting to be washed (but that is not as big of a deal because it is more or less par for the course). My kitchen has dishes waiting to be put away, dishes waiting to be washed, and a coffee maker that desperately need to be scrubbed. There are piles of papers everywhere. And I know that each one has several things that are important buried in them.

I am just overwhelmed by it all. It's made me a bit snappish. I have been trying not to be cranky and bitchy but it has been pretty hard. I am a bit better than I was earlier this evening. The kids picking up their toys and the books that were scattered around the house helped with that. (A chaotic and cluttered space contributes to sensory overload and anxiety for me.) I still am not at a very good place mentally right now.

I feel like I am an enormous fraud. I look at the writing stuff that I have been wanting to do and I feel badly that I'm not doing it. I look at the handcraft stuff that I was planning on doing. I feel guilty that I don't have pretty much any of it done yet. I feel like there are a thousand things that I should do and that I'm not getting done. I feel like I am not at *baseline* for competence, despite the fact that I have managed to keep the kids fed, prevented the household from collapsing into a black hole, and got the kids to do their homework.

My therapist tells me not to think so much about stuff. It is really hard to not do that. I look at everything and I find myself compulsively turning stuff over in my head trying to figure things out, assess if I am doing enough, and generally gauge my progress towards my goals. Fuck anxiety with a rusty chainsaw.