Monday, February 27, 2012


It was like the song of the whos in How The Grinch Stole Christmas, "it started in low, then it started to grow."  A visit from my father-in-law interrupted our usual Sunday routine of going out for breakfast (and chai) before starting the day.  Instead, we all ate some kind of snack at home while my husband did his best to facilitate my actually putting away the pile of Christmas decorations that were heaped upon the table-like top of our piano.  For some reason, instead of being pleased with his help and getting those finally put away, I was more annoyed at his father for coming down and making me deal with the fact that it was nearly March and I hadn't gotten them put away yet.  Don't even ask about the tree.  It's still in the basement.  Every week I say, maybe this week we'll get that down, and then we (I) don't.  We decided Pop-pop was just not going to be allowed down in there.

Friday, February 24, 2012

No blog tonight

I've been fighting with my laptop all day and we are not on speaking terms. Will try again tomorrow. Slow, deep breaths...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Power

Photo from

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Lizard Brain Loves Chic-fil-A Sauce and Naps

First, let us establish that both Chic-fil-A sauce and Dr. Pepper are made with crack.  (No, this is not a comment about Whitney Houston.)  I am just so terribly hooked on having waffle fries with Chic-fil-A sauce that I think it is going to be a real problem with regard to weight loss.  I had a large fry with sauce for breakfast/lunch and a medium Dr. Pepper.  Then my daughter insisted that what she wanted most in the world for her "girl time" after school snack (my son was in daycare) was to go to Chic-fil-A.  Being the ever-dutiful mother, after some grousing about not spending more money there (I am such a hypocrite), we went and sat in the two-person table just like she wanted.  And I had another small fry with sauce and a medium Dr. Pepper.

Monday, February 20, 2012

LEED Let-down

Today I stepped on the scale and saw that I've gained 10lbs since before the Holidays.  So instead of the pancakes that I wanted for breakfast, I ordered eggs instead.  I shouldn't have eaten my toast but I did (my husband's regimen that I try to follow loosely has him eating no non-vegetable carbs during the week except on Saturdays, when he can have whatever he wants.  Trying to do it strictly stressed me out, which I don't need, so I've been more lenient.  Since the Holidays though, I've been exhibiting no control over eating whatsoever and there's been a lot of ice cream and soda.)

After breakfast we and the kids visited a nature center near where my husband works.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Too Sensitive on Saturday

Found at
It is Saturday.  I usually sleep in and my husband and kids bring me breakfast.  Today I slept, woke, meditated a bit on who I am, who I was, who I've become.  Then they came home and I enjoyed my donuts and chai.  I checked Facebook and the stats for this blog and listened to the end of Metro Connection on WAMU (NPR).  My husband informs me that he isn't going to tell me what to do, but that sitting in bed on a day like this was stupid.  My daughter says, "I wouldn't want to sit around like you, Mom."  I can see the strangely warm February sunshine lighting the trunks of the trees in the wooded common area that fills my window.  The Splendid Table has begun.  They are talking about oysters.  Husband is driving the kids out to Bell Branch Park.  Do I want them to return to take me to lunch, er, dinner?  Yes, please.

Date Night: Gluttony & Levity

Short and sweet tonight.  My son's preschool had "Parents' Night Out," when some of the teachers babysit kids for the evening en masse.  My husband and I use these as our date nights.  There's maybe one a month or so.  We usually go see a movie, but there was nothing we really wanted to see tonight, so we had dinner at The Cheesecake Factory at the Annapolis (MD) Mall.  For the most part, the food was OK, but worth neither the price nor the 50 minute wait.  Our two person table was crammed into an row filled with as many tables as possible, which was not even remotely romantic.

The one thing that was worth the rest of the inconvenience was my desert.My husband stuck to his diet and did not eat the bread at the table or have desert.  He's such a good boy.  I ate the bread AND had desert: a butter pecan milkshake made with vanilla ice cream, caramel, and pecans.  It was amazing.  I also laughed more tonight than I had in a really long time, which I think was pretty good therapy.  Unfortunately, I probably consumed enough calories to last the whole weekend. 

At some point soon I am going to have to bite the bullet and get back to eating sensibly and exercising, about which I am decidedly unenthusiastic.  I'm fine  once I get started, but I have the worst problem committing to giving up the carbs I love: soda, ice cream, Chic-fil-A sauce, bread and butter.  Pasta I'm over.  Conquered that one since my husband gave it up.   Oh, and pancakes.  And donuts.  I love me a glazed donut or three.  Especially on Saturday mornings.  On Saturday mornings I get to sleep in and my husband and kids bring me some glazed donuts and a tall, no water, 4-pump, Starbucks Chai Tea Latte.  They open my door, leave their offering, and retreat before I eat them as well.  If they do, all is well.  If they do not, there is suffering.  I love Saturdays.  I live for Saturdays.  Tomorrow is Saturday.  It is good to be the Mommy.  At least, it has its moments.

Friday, February 17, 2012

An Unexpected Day of Crisis

Valery Milovic, Grief  (
This is going to be a little rough because I am going to edit it as little as possible.  I'm only skimming it over once because I don't want to get back into feeling that way by pouring over this.  So this is basically how I felt on Wednesday.  It rambles a little, but might help you feel like you're not the only crazy mom in the gym at your kid's school function.  We're hiding...some less effectively than others.

I had the worst day yesterday that I've had for a long time.  Why is it that the terrible days are the ones that never seem to end?  As you might have guessed from Tuesday's post, I was sick to my stomach all that day and into the night.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How sick is sick enough?
I wish it would just happen.  I wish I could simply face the porcelain god and give my offering.

Instead, I have spent the majority of today lying on my left side and feeling progressively less well.  I don't know if I ate something that disagreed with me for lunch, or if the drainage from the cold that just will not release its grip on my sinuses has finally gotten to my stomach, or if I have picked up the stomach flu  that made my son's Sunday night so miserable.  In any case, I pretty much bailed on the entire day today.

Monday, February 13, 2012

"We are, each of us, a multitude."

I had my Women's Cognitive Therapy Group tonight.  We listened to a pretty standard type of guided meditation used in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy that had us check in with all the different parts of our body to see where we were holding any anxiety or stress.  If you have not tried one of these, they can be very relaxing... they can also be difficult to do because it requires you to slow down and methodically check in on each area of your body.  I find it difficult and often inconvenient to do this I'm upset about something or feeling anxious.  Sometimes as I try to do it, I feel like a car with it's wheels spinning, trying to go 80mph, with the brakes on.  It's hard to slow your mind when it wants to race around.  But with practice, this becomes a skill that you can eventually use to invoke calmness almost instantly, at any time.

I didn't have trouble easing into this one tonight though, because I had one of those "lost" days today,

Sunday, February 12, 2012

TOOLBOX: Seeing a Psychiatrist or Psychologist is No Big Deal.

Now for the 2nd in our "No Big Deal" series:  What is it like to see to a psychiatrist or go to psychotherapy/"talk" therapy/"counseling" appointment?  

All together now, "It's No Big Deal."

I am trying to remember my first counseling appointment.  I think I actually saw a psychiatrist (a psychologist with a M.D. who can prescribe medication) first, back in 1997.  Then I saw a University-employed psychologist for talk therapy.  Additionally, I did group therapy at the University (usually a small group that meets with a psychologist-leader all together).  After that I graduated and wasn't seeing anyone for a while, then I went back to seeing a (new) psychologist.  Then I moved here, got off medication and was on my  own for several years.  I saw a psychologist while I was pregnant just in case I got post-partum depression, which I did.  I then came to be a patient of my current psychiatrist (a M.D. and Ph.D. who specializes in women's mental health).  I switched to a new psychologist and also joined a women's Cognitive Therapy group that meets twice a month.  So my experience with this adds up to: two psychiatrists and five psychologists.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

TOOLBOX: Psychological Counseling, YES please.

Image from Psychology Today
I wish I had known when I was in crisis in 1997 or so that seeking psychological counseling and even care from a psychiatrist is really just not that big of a deal.  I was all wracked with guilt and shame at concept of not being able to cope well enough with my life,  of needing help.  I saw it as an admission of failure and inadequacy of the mind, of weakness.  I have a friend I am leaning on to seek counseling right now and I'm pretty sure she is viewing the prospect in the same light.  So I thought, maybe others might need to know what I was telling her.  Now, not every person who seeks counseling is in crisis and not every person is in the grips of major depression or anxiety, but I am going mainly from my own experience, and I was a mess.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

NUTSHELL: NPR Fresh AIr Interview: Risks & Rewards of Yoga

Have you ever done yoga?  A few years ago I started out doing "Gentle Yoga" at my gym and found it to be really relaxing and a nice refuge, especially since my gym had free childcare for two hours.  There was a very interesting interview on Fresh Air (NPR: WHYY Philadelphia) today with the author of a book on what research has been able to find out about what yoga does to your body and how it affects your mood.  It's definitely worth a listen if you have about 40 minutes.  If not, you can check the link above to read more about what was said, or here is what stuck with me:
  • There are many flavors of yoga.  Find out exactly what kind of class you are joining.
  • Start slow.  Don't think that after six weeks you should be able to do every pose.  Don't let your instructor tell you otherwise.
  • Avoid poses that put extra strain on your neck, like the "plow" and others that bend your head far forward.  You can rupture or damage the little blood vessels in the topmost vertebrae and then pop a clot to your brain, which can be devastating or fatal.
  • Yoga relaxes your body, especially if you do the proper breathing (slow) with it.  This can lower your metabolism.  BUT, since you get so much more relaxed, you may find yourself able to avoid giving into cravings and this is the reason you might lose weight, not cardio calorie burn.
  • Little to no certification is required to teach yoga.  This can be abused, so you might want to ask what your teacher's background is. 
  • There are many yoga instructors that are doing good work in trying to make yoga safer for all practitioners.  For example, by placing supports behind the shoulders or neck to make the more difficult/dangerous positions safer.
  • Yoga is most beneficial when done daily, even for as little as 10 minutes a day.  The working of the muscles and increase in blood flow to the spine helps reduce dessication of your vertebral disks, which is what leads to a lot of back problems as you age, and is also the reason people seem to shrink with age.
  • Yoga can increase sexual response and satisfaction.  Who knew?!
  • Because yoga relaxes the body, it works on the parasympathetic nervous system (As he described it, the sympathetic nervous system revs you up for fight or flight, the parasympathetic system is like the "brake" and pulls you back into a relaxed state.).  Because of this, it can really affect your mood and bring you into a calmer, more relaxed and present state, which is great for counteracting stress and anxiety.
  • Anything, taken to extreme, can be dangerous.  Use common sense.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Monday Is Whiny Blog Day

Sorry,  folks, I'm feeling pretty whiny today.  I read the 2/2/12 Momastery post tonight and it was of her usual high caliber, and it just put me out of sorts.  She's always so damn inspired!  And it was Monday.  My husband has warned me against writing whiny posts but that's really all I've got today.  So I whine about my little life,  then I fret about world peace and my lack of contribution to it.
Do you ever feel this way?

Well, it was a Monday.  I only did really one of the things I was supposed to get done today:  I got my butt to the gym.  Even that would not have happened if I hadn't asked my daughter on Friday to remind me by saying, "Mom, ya big fat cow, get your butt to the gym!"

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Letter To My Body

Lizzie Miller
So here I am sitting in my comfy chair at starbucks, looking out the window and into the mall at the people walking past.  I judge each woman that passes on how beautiful, healthy, and fit she looks.  Is this normal?  They fall into two categories:  "better than me" and "be sure I don't let myself go there."  Most are in the "better than me" category.  I've always assumed every woman did this.  But my husband thinks I'm over-competitive and  weird.

How are you feeling about your post-partum body (if you're a mom)? I am still rejecting mine, and it's been 6 years since I was OK with myself.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

TOOLBOX: Recognize Cognitive Distortions

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty much never alone, even when mine is the only body in the room.  I'm not talking about God, but of the voices I carry with me everywhere.  No, I do not have multiple personality disorder.  I'm talking about what some might refer to as  your conscience, although mine seems to be more divided.  I want to introduce you to them because they will come up in future posts.

These components of the constant chatter in my head are all me, of course, just different aspects of myself, different flavors of Julie.  I have "The Critic," who is constantly examining every aspect of my thoughts and behavior, looking for a mistake

Thursday, February 2, 2012

From String Cheese to Surfer Girl: Baggage
My daughter and I had it out today over a moist stick of string cheese.  She had dropped it on our dirty foyer, floor so I rinsed it off.  Then she whined and complained about it being wet so I went to get a paper towel.  When I returned she was drying it with the hand towel from the powder room (yuck!).  Then she complained that it was now crumbly and she wanted another one and I had messed it up and on and on.  After a moment I said, "Fine.  You don't want it?  Give it to me." and I grabbed her hand as she pulled it away, anticipating my move, and I tried to take it from her.  She clenched down, rubbery cream-colored masses welling up between her fingers.


Psyche's Dream by Josephine Wall
FYI: Sleep and Depression Article

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

TOOLBOX: Light box therapy

Sun. Photo courtesy of gr33n3gg, Flickr.
What's in your "toolbox" for coping with the symptoms and stresses of living with anxiety and/or depression?  I will be going through various tools one by one, so if you see a post labeled with "Toolbox" you'll know it's one of these.  

Sometimes it is a good idea to have a note to yourself listing all the tools (physical and mental) that you have at your disposal when you find yourself in the middle of a panic attack or depressive episode so you don't have to think about what to do.  You can just go down the list.

Perhaps you are familiar with the term S.A.D. or Seasonal Affective Disorder?  It is a type of depression that occurs mainly in the fall and winter (in the Northern hemisphere, opposite for you all down South) when days get shorter and nights get longer.  This might be your entire problem or it could be an aspect of a larger depressive disorder or accompanied by anxiety or other issues.  One way S.A.D. is treated is by using light box therapy,