The times, they are a changin'

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

In less than 2 hours, January will be over. Then comes February, the biggest month of my life. I'm nervous. There's a lot on my plate right now. I'm finishing 500 little tiny wedding details. I'm training my growing puppy Moby- who in 3 weeks has surpassed Stella (my lab) in height. I'm getting married. After the wedding I'm starting the very controversial Acutane... hopefully to rid my face of the acne I hate so much forever. I'm changing my last name after the wedding. I'm moving out of my parents house (which I still feel rather in the middle of, boxes everywhere). I'll be living in a new county with a new husband and just a few weeks after that, we're going to find out if we'll be moving in April or staying in Charleston for another two years. A lot is going to happen in February and March. I'm really excited, but really nervous too.

I'm ready to find a job. I want to find something I like doing and contribute. I'm continually inspired by art that I find out and about and see online, and I keep thinking "I can do that!" So I want to try something creative in the weeks where I won't know where I'll be living. I also want to try and write more. So the question to you is: what do you want to read about? You provide the fuel for me to keep writing, and I want to know what you want to read. What do you most hope to see when you pick this out of your bookmarks, Google it, or type in this address? Do you want to read about bipolar issues? Political issues? A craft that I did? Wedding details? Moby? What makes you escape your life, assist your life, or just enjoy time spent here? Let me know and I'll work on it!

Dear So and So- please and thanks

Thursday, January 26, 2012

All great ideas are stolen. Here are my letters- thanks and for the inspiration.

Dear Sugar Cookies-
Thanks for being so delightfully more sugary when there is sugar sprinkled on top!! BONUS!!!

Dear Wedding-
Will you please hurry up? When I got engaged I decided to get married, not spend my life planning it. And why are you so freaking expensive??

Dear Pinterest-
Thank you for being the hands-down, balls-to-the-wall most awesome time suck ever. It allows me to steal other people's creative ideas for weddings, pass them off as my own, look at cuddly pictures of animals, and allow a visual memory of what I find on the internet for a girl who seems to be loosing hers.

Dear People Who Read This Blog-
I thoroughly enjoy seeing what countries you read from and what you like to read. You have made this blog so much more meaningful than when I started it. I do a happy dance every single time I get a comment or a referral. You have made me realize I can make a difference.

Dear Brain-
Thank you for being so delightfully weird. You are creative, funky, and insane. You make me laugh by the memories you choose to bring up and are oddly in sync with Thomas's brain and the brains of my friends. That also brings me joy.

Dear CBS-
Thank you for bringing me all the tv shows that are awesome (Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, CSI:NY, Unforgettable, and The Mentalist). As an aside- can you fix your site so I can watch all the shows that I miss whenever I want? No fair that I can't watch certain ones, but can watch others. That'd be nice. Thanks.

Dear God-
It is very awesome how you rule the entire universe and yet manage to make each person's life fascinating, complex, and perfect in the oddest and unlikeliest of ways. Thanks also for free will.

Dear Books-
Thank you for proving that people are completely brilliant. Thank you for smelling oh so fresh when you are new, all library-ie when I check you out, and musty as you grow old. I plan on having many of you in a paneled room lined with shelves, and a giant comfy chair.

Dear Friends-
Thank you for being AWESOME. I am so lucky.

Dear Menstruation-
I do not like you. It's like having a crime scene in my pants and it's amazing it doesn't freak me out more. Men just do not understand you. I do not like the feeling of having my fallopian tubes squeezed or my uterus being punched. Cramps hurt. I do not like the strange sadness I get from the what-would-have-been-a-baby coming out of me. I also do not like the PMS you bring. Seriously? I'm already Bipolar, I don't need that mess too.

Dear Being A Girl-
While the thought of pushing a huge live human being out through my vagina is not particularly appealing, I do like the perks. I have an excuse to buy a bag, clothes, or shoes because it is a valuable sexism that I hold dear. Plus, my butt looks better in jeans than Thomas's butt.

Dear Toms-
Thank you for being a "winter shoe" in Charleston. You keep my feet warm and you are much comfier than ballet flats with my shorter jeans.

Dear Being Tall-
I can get things off the top shelf. People finally make clothes in long lengths and when all else fails with shirts, I put a camisole underneath you and hike up my sleeve to 3/4 length. Plus, I hear that long limbs are sexy- and it's always nice to have something going for you.

Dear Firemen Down the Road-
Thank you for stopping and letting me out of the gas station parking lot the other day. As you were not in a hurry to save someone, it was so kind of you. And you all smiled at me. I knew there was a reason women liked y'all.

Dear Moby-
Thank you for being a barking, leaping, and boundless source of joy in my life. You make me believe the world is full of possibilities and is as curious as you think it is. On the other hand, could you bark less? My family is harassing me about you. They do stop when they see your cute face and glossy coat though, so you might win them over one day. You won me the moment I got you.

Dear Scotland-
Thank you for having so many awesome citizens. You are one of the most beautiful places on the planet and also having excellent food, Scotch, hiking, freedom, and adventures.

Dear Thomas-
I love so many things about you. Thank you for never letting my sarcasm get to you. Right now I am so proud that you are the furthest ahead in your class and -as a bonus- one of the kindest people I've ever met. I can't wait to get our marriage license tomorrow.

Dear Clock-
Thank you for reminding me it's time to sleep.

SOPA and PIPA (might) rock the web (in a bad way)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sooo, anyone hear about SOPA? How about PIPA? No, Not Pippa Middleton. This PIPA is in Congress. In the States. And it's gonna tear the hell out of the web if it passes. I know I have readers from all over the world, but take note of this regardless of your country. I could write something to explain it, but I would be severely plagiarizing this article from ABC News (and that would be ironic):

Check out that article. And then see if it doesn't scare you. If that passes- and there is a possibility that it might, then the internet as we know it, especially in America, will be a thing of the past. Wikipedia is shutting down tomorrow (January 18), in strike of these bills to "protect intellectual property." I know the article is 3 pages, but READ IT please. It's a succinct way to figure this out. If these bills become laws, freedom of speech will be severely hampered, possibly bringing down sites like YouTube, Wikipedia, even portions of Google. There's a lot of heavily-funded backing to these bills, but there is a movement in the web. Try going to the English Wikipedia tomorrow- try going in 4 minutes. Wikipedia is blacking out in protest. I'm protesting too. I'm not blacking out, I'm encouraging you to read that article and then dig deeper into SOPA and PIPA and find out how it could effect you. They could shut down sites as tiny as this blog. They could tie up all kinds of things. Due process and freedom of speech would be hampered, to say the least. So speak up and speak out against SOPA and PIPA.

I don't want to shut up. Do you?

In news: Wikipedia is BLACK. Black as my puppy Moby, who, as I looked up minutes before Wikipedia went dark, is most likely half pointer. Thanks Wikipedia. May you forever be online and uncensored (come midnight tomorrow).

The life and times of Moby

Sunday, January 15, 2012

These are mostly from my Facebook page and posted here with a few additions.

Day 1 with Moby- See blog post below.

Day 2 with Moby- does not like to be left alone. Rephrase: does not like to be left alone in the crate. Left to his own devices= Moby's idea of AWESOMEICANCHEWONEVERYTHINGNOMNOMNOM!!! No way that's gonna happen. Vet tomorrow.

Day 3 with Moby- Went to the vet and he said that Moby would be 60 pounds. HA! I laughed to his face and showed him Moby's ginormous paws. He changed his mind and went up to 80+. Closer. Also said Moby was super healthy and I was doing everything right! Peed on the floor, destroyed toy duck, tried to play bite everything in sight- including Stella's head (that didn't go over well), was complimented by three people, and totally stole my heart again. I swear, if a human ever did those things, I would have them committed.

Day 4 with Moby- He learned that if I throw something and he retrieves it but doesn't bring it back, I cannot throw it again. I learned that toddlers topple with leaping labradors (non-alliteration: child that is Moby-sized does not want to be jumped on by my child-sized Moby). Lesson learned.
On Facebook to Thomas: I think if you come over, Moby might not remember you. I warned you at the SPCA that it might happen. It did. Moby loves me best. Just giving you a head's up that even though we're getting married a month from today, another male is trying to woo me. Even if he did pee on the floor, he's still kinda cute.

Day 5 with Moby- He cannot bark himself hoarse. He can however, bark himself into a state of exhaustion and I am enjoying the silence immensely.

Day 6 with Moby- Was in Kamikazi fighter pilot mode all day- never stopped until he crashed into something, like the wall, the bookcase, people, and Stella.

Day 7 with Moby- I got a bad cold and was exhausted all day. Thankfully Thomas, Benjamin, my dad, and Hannah were all there to rescue me and play with Moby for hours on end, wearing him out and letting me get some much needed rest.

So the first week with Moby was certainly interesting. For being five months old, he's a very good dog. He just needs a lot of time spent with him to wear himself out. He makes me laugh and makes me furious all in the same day. He peed on the rug this morning- THAT was fun. But no one is downstairs now and he's not barking. That's a lot to learn in 7 days. I have complete faith that Moby will turn out to be an awesome dog- with lots of training and love.

Reasons my Bipolar Disorder rules my life

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

1. With every medical change, I have to ask "And how will this effect my Bipolar Disorder or disrupt my medications?" This is annoying. Bipolar Disorder is not the only problem I have. I also have persistent acne that is now requiring the use of something much stronger than what I have been on. My dermatologist wants to put me on Acutane. I want to get rid of my acne forever. It is annoying, constant, painful, unsightly, and the scarring it has done to my body makes me hate my skin. This is only one example. There are more: birth control, antibiotics, nutrition, etc.

2. I live in an endless parade of side effects. I got the comment the other day that I was "so lucky to have lost weight" on my meds. Do you know what it's like to lose 30 or 40 pounds in a few months without even trying? It's scary as hell. I could also gain it back just as easily. That's not healthy. It's exhausting. And I would like to sleep normally for once.

3. I am losing my memory. My short-term memory is extremely effected. Even a planner, sticky notes, and a pad by my bed when I think of things to do often isn't enough. I'm not saying I'm going to completely lose my identity in a few years time, but I am saying that it's much harder. It can be as mundane as forgetting what I'm saying (I lose my train of thought often) and harder as I forget people. Which brings me to the next thing: I am also losing my long-term memory as well.

4. I know that bipolar disorder not only affects my mood, but also changes the way that my brain processes and perceives things. In planning a wedding and raising a puppy, the stress is getting to me. I take it harder than most. These are things that I love- my best friend, my first puppy that is truly mine- I love that responsibility, but keeping things straight all the time is hard.

5. I cry or tear up at almost everything. Especially anything to do with military members and their spouses/families/significant others being separated or reunited. It's so unfair to do that to a person with Bipolar Disorder! Don't they know I can't control myself?? I cry at tv shows, commercials, stress, being tired, movies, and life events that are overly frustrating. The worst is crying for no reason- just when all of my emotions that I didn't express through writing or crying spill over. That makes other people frustrated because they can't understand that I'm not like everyone else. My crying isn't always because of some unresolved issue. Sometimes I just cry.

6. I am afraid to tell people about it. I know, I've been telling you about it for two years on this blog and I've had it for five years, but I still hate telling people because I am terrified that they are going to judge me. I hate judgement.

This isn't a list of complaints; it's just a list of facts. A list of things that make me tired. Notice that I did not title it "Reasons my Bipolar Disorder ruins my life." Just "rules." It's not quite as bad. Bipolar disorder doesn't ruin everything, certainly not my entire life. It makes things more difficult but it makes the times I succeed more rewarding. I know that sounds stupid, but it's true.

Convincing Someone

Sunday, January 8, 2012

How do you go about convincing someone they're not abandoned? How do you convince a four month-old puppy? I got a puppy today. His name is Moby.

Thomas and I have been talking about getting a dog for a while. I really wanted one because when Thomas is deployed (in 3 months or 2 years), I don't want to live by myself. It's a safety thing and a companionship thing as well. Today we found Moby. He's wonderful. The shelter said he's a purebred Labrador Retriever. He's almost five months old and black as ink. He's skinny, but has crazy long legs, huge paws, a tail that's two feet long, and giant ears that flop all over the place. You look at him and fall in love.

For a puppy, he's remarkably calm. He loves to crawl in your lap (see above) and lick your face off. He's getting better at knowing the boundaries of the house, where his mat is inside, and how many of Stella's toys he can steal and get away with. Stella is our very calm 12 year-old yellow lab. They're about the same height, she just weighs twice as much. Until Thomas and I get married and subsequently move in together, Moby lives with me and my family. My parents were kind enough to offer that up for us.

Herein lies the problem. Moby has to sleep in the garage, where we have set up a crate for him. He's a puppy, so wandering about a strange new garage is not an option for so many reasons. But though I've been with him this entire day- from meeting, greeting, returning, adopting, riding home in the car, almost all night, I cannot sleep in the garage. And so Moby whines. And barks. A lot. So option one was to let him bark it out. But it's exam week for Madison and as delighted as she is with her new running partner, him barking was not an option. The second was for me to dart upstairs and take my meds and try to sleep in the garage. I did, for a while. But that grew old. I don't sleep well in my bed. A chair in the garage was not an improvement. So I moved like a cat, softly out of the garage, hovering at the door to ensure there was no whining after I left. And I've been in my room ever since. Not a peep yet.

But getting Moby to even stay in the crate without whining for me to try to sleep in the chair right next to him was difficult. So I talked to him. I'm not going to pretend like I'm Dr. Dolittle. Moby did not talk back. I crouched in front of his crate for some one-on-one with my new confidant. And I tried to convince him that unlike the shelter, unlike his last owner, I wasn't going to leave. He looked at me with huge eyes and since he didn't bark, I went on. I told him that he was perfect for the family, that the crate was only for a few hours at a time and soon he would need a place to hide from the world (or at least get some shut eye) and once he proved he wouldn't pee everywhere, we would put a nice blanket in there. I talked to this dog for a good 30 minutes. Then he got up, curled in the back of the crate and slept.

I don't know if I convinced him, but I'll be there to administer tapeworm meds and puppy chow that smells terrible in the morning, take him out to pee (hopefully in the grass this time), walk him, Madison will go on a run with him, talk to him about world events, feed him at night, more walks, more time spent inside during the day, trips in the car and everything else to prove to Moby that I am his #1. That he won't live at a shelter, but wherever I am. That I will feed him when he turns out to be HUGE. And that generally, I'll be his best friend. I guess that's how to convince Moby.

With a face and disposition that lovable, he totally deserves it.

I'm having one of those moments

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I'm having one of those moments where I just can't put this book down. I started it today and I just can't stop reading it. I read it before and after my dress fitting. I read it while waiting to meet the photographer and as soon as I got home. I. JUST. CAN'T. STOP. I don't know how many hours I've read today, but I have to stop soon, I have to sleep. Remember that list I published just 24 hours ago? I started The Freedom Writers Diary and all I have to say is that WOW. Any teacher should read this. Any person should read this. Any student should read this. Sure, I was a good kid. I didn't drink until I turned 21. I have never tried drugs. I did my homework 99% of the time. Never missed curfew. I always tried to be a good friend. I'm still honest and sincere. But did I ever do what these kids did? Not until I started this blog. Not until I started being honest with everyone and really having conviction for my beliefs as a Christian and tolerance and acceptance for those with beliefs different than mine. Not until I started writing honestly about Bipolar Disorder. I think I'm starting to make a difference- or at least I'm giving it my best shot. This book will inspire you. On page 177. Will probably finish this tonight, no lie. I think there's a movie too...

Books to read (and finish) this year

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Across Many Mountains- Yangzom Brauen
The Wilder Life- Wendy McClure
The Freedom Writer's Diary- Erin Gruwell
Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obession- Julie Powell
Simple Gifts: A Memoir of a Shaker Village- June Sprigg

Bonhoeffer and King: Their Legacies and Import for Christian Social Thought- Jenkins and McBride
Moses: A Life- Jonathan Kirsch
The Essential Dalai Lama- His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Love Wins- Rob Bell
Islam- Karen Armstrong
Words to Live By- C.S. Lewis

The Piano Tuner- Daniel Mason
The Poisonwood Bible- Barbara Kingsolver
The Kitchen House- Kathleen Grissom
Suite Française- Irène Némirovsky
The Pillars of the Earth- Ken Follett
London- Edward Rutherford
Names on a Map- Benjamin Alire Sánez

Emma- Jane Austen
1984- George Orwell (Nope, I never read it in high school)
Their Eyes Were Watching God- Zora Neale Hurston
Portrait of a Lady- Henry James
The Grapes of Wrath- John Steinbeck
Corelli's Mandolin- Louis de Bernières

Perhaps I'll try to read one of these books a month and let you know, briefly, how it goes. I've got a good selection and as a bonus- I already have all of these! i'm trying to read what I already have. If you have further suggestions for the unofficial 2012 reading list, leave a comment. 

New Year, Newish Thoughts

Monday, January 2, 2012

Let's get this out of the way first: sorry about the promise of the 12 days of Christmas. It was rather silly of me to think I could post something every day with Christmas itself, a trip, planning a wedding, and, in general, being a very forgetful person. I will say that I have been celebrating Christmas every day as I promised. I've just also been very busy. I shall keep celebrating until Epiphany. Hope you do the same.

So I'm up at 4:12 am. Weird meds have me on a very odd sleep cycle, much to the dismay of all around me. They think it would be better if I slept whist it was still dark outside, rather than do all the the things I do (email, blogging, reading, crafting, etc) at night. So I sleep when it's light outside, I'm okay with that. Mostly okay with that because at the moment I am unemployed and planning a wedding. No, that's not the reason. I'm okay with that because I feel relatively healthy and if the only side effect that shows I'm not completely normal is being awake at hours where it feels the whole world is asleep, then I'm down with that. I actually feel safer. I also feel more protective- I like being awake when I know my dog is asleep in the garage beneath me, that my sister softly (well, sometimes loudly) talks in her sleep, that if I'm really quiet, I can hear my dad snore and my mom turn off the lights. It makes me feel at peace, and that is when I am most calm.

I am quite excited to be marrying my best friend in 40 days. I was at his apartment today and when I needed to take a nap, he turned out the lights, tucked me in his bed and let me sleep for almost two hours. No pestering to do something. Just let me sleep and woke me up when it was time for dinner. We've been slowly moving things from my room to his house. Boxes of books, clothes, artwork, small pieces of furniture have come to make what was something distinctly his into something that feels more like home to me. Art is hanging on the walls (do you know how satisfying it is to bang a nail into a wall and hang something on it??? I had no idea.) and furniture is being assembled. I have a dresser. We have a file cabinet for important papers now- how grown up! But with every picture I hang, every book I leave, it feels more like home and harder for me to leave each time. Yes, we are that gooey couple who never wants to leave the other's side. Other than nap time. And sometimes we take naps together. I wake up and HE'S THERE!! I hope those of you who are married/in a long term relationship still remember from time to time the wonder that is having your partner in life next to you when you wake up.

I worry occasionally (who am I kidding, we both know I worry all the time) about marriage. Not Thomas, but the marriage part of it. I've never been married. I've never lived with a guy. I won't live with a guy until I get married next month. Seems a bit intense to pack that much pressure into one day. Does everyone who is at this point in an engagement feel this way? And don't worry, Thomas knows all of the stuff I am about to list. Things I worry about, but really shouldn't, and why:

1. I worry that he will think I have too much stuff. I have hundreds of books, clothes ranging 4 sizes because of weight gain and loss that I can't get rid of because I will gain/lose again one day, lots of makeup for a girl who doesn't wear that much, craft stuff, fabric, medicine bottles. I am afraid this will sprawl everywhere and he will wonder why I have all this crap I call necessary. Reason I should not worry: he buzzes his hair and then leaves it all over the bathroom and he has a lot of guy stuff- aka movies, games, gadgety things I don't know the purpose of. So we each have our stuff.
2. I worry that being married to someone with Bipolar Disorder will cause resentment or something like it on his part. It's a lot to handle. In that department I am far from being low-maintenance. Reason I should not worry: DUH. It's THOMAS. The one guy who has never cared, selflessly provided, and always loved me. He makes me smile when I cry and always says "Don't cry" which always makes me cry more. And love him more too. If anyone is equipped to handle this, it's him.
3. I do not like cleaning up the kitchen and I am afraid that one day playing housewife will bore me. Reason I should not worry: Because I will get a job I like and we will do the best we can. Cleaning the kitchen is not a big deal. We will be living in a two bedroom apartment. It's not that big and we're not that messy. And I think we'll both live if I don't scour the bathroom every day.
4. That I won't be a good wife. Not supportive enough, not nice enough, not able to cook as well as my mother, a million other possible shortcomings. Reason I should not worry: because I am who I am. I am honest, loving, kind, sarcastic and I try my best to be all of those things. Except for the sarcasm. That one comes naturally. And Thomas picked me. We picked each other, knowing the other's limits, shortcomings, failings, and strengths. We are a team, a pair, best friends- we know all of these things work, that we work together.
5. I don't know how to be a wife because I've never been one before. Reason I should not worry: Because he's never been a husband before either.

It will work. We know it will. We are ready for this.

Interesting thing in the world and small commentary:

The PostSecret app is down. I love the PostSecret blog. It is awesome. Apparently there was a lot of controversy around the app and misuse of it. The FBI was involved. Woah. I don't know the whole story, but it is fascinating that something so small could cause such a ruckus! I have been internet searching to find out exactly why (other than the post on the site itself), but no such luck. Long and short of it: people can no longer instantly publish their thoughts and secrets. Hummmm. I did not have the app, but I am fascinated with PostSecret. I have one of the books and I check the blog every week. If you've never looked at it, you should definitely find it. Of course, this blog is pretty much a very long secret. But PostSecret is different. When I wrote earlier that I was worried about Thomas being married to someone with Bipolar Disorder, it was in part because of a secret posted a while ago. It said "When you're in a relationship with a person who has a mental illness, you have a relationship with the mental illness, not the person." It's a terrible thing to read, as a person with a mental illness. I mean, I know that's how some people think through personal experience, but it's awful just the same. I can't speak for everyone with a mental illness but I think a lot of us are secretly terrified that that is how everyone else thinks, or will think, about us. That our disease overshadows our personhood. So no matter how much we trust someone, we don't ever want to feel like a burden. Horrid feeling, feeling like a burden. I read these secrets, mailed in on postcards, typed and sent on iPhones, and I wonder at the people who wrote them. Where are they in life? How old are they? Are they relieved to have sent their secret out to be read by millions? Does that satisfy them? I wish I could read every secret. Some make me laugh out loud, some make me want to cry. Others make me think that there is someone else out there who shares my same feelings or thoughts- and that's pretty cool. Yes, I also wish I had come up with it. The vast number of secrets makes me think of the quote by Plato: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." It's true. We don't know the secrets of people. I have plenty! Bipolar disorder is a secret sometimes. It makes sense on this blog, but there's not really any need to tell everyone. My caterer doesn't need to know. That'd just be weird. Yes, shrimp and grits would be great and by the way, I'm bipolar! Just weird. PostSecret lets you tell things like that to a million people out of the blue. It's a way to rant sometimes, a way to tell weird habits, to profess love and hate, to be honest without the fear of judgement from people you know. I don't really know why I wrote this, I have no endorsement deal with the site. I just think it's interesting to share and gain perspective. Not always good (the relationship with mental illness secret, confirming your worst fears), but sometimes good in discovering hope and random acts of kindness. Maybe the app will one day run again. I'd buy it for sure. Until then, I'll read the blog.