Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

A Solstice Story

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

As i mentioned briefly in another post, I have been a little stressed out. A little anxious. Todd and I decided to go to the lake this weekend to blow off some steam and relax. And by relax, I mean relaxing in the time-honored Palmer way, which is to work your ass off to near-exhaustion performing manual labor.

We went down Saturday afternoon and got there in time to warm the place up. (It was 40-something degrees when we walked in.) Todd started some yard work, the kids ran around like wild animals (a good thing), and I started some John Maghetti for dinner. After it was on, the sun was setting, so I grabbed a couple of beers for Todd and I, and went outside to play with the kids, watch Rollie hit the tennis ball with Todd (no we don’t have a tennis court), and shoot some pictures and enjoy my favorite time of day at the lake.

We took photos and ran around, then went inside and ate dinner while watching Elf. You can’t beat John Maghetti, and the fire going, and belly-laughing at Elf with your husband and kids for stress relief. Honest to God, I just about bust a gut when Buddy says to Jovi, “It’s just nice to meet another human that shares my affinity for elf culture.” That is some good stuff. Just kills me. I also love that Rollie would laugh along with me and think it was hysterical just because we thought it was hysterical.

So, we got up yesterday and had breakfast and then Todd and I worked in the yard all day long, cutting shrubbery back to tame the wilds and pulling vines out of high pine trees, and tearing mistletoe from dogwood. And the kids played. Now, usually they play and then fight for a while, then play some more. This was almost pure playing. Almost zero fighting. Just running around, and rosy cheeks, and noses running and then wiping their snot on their sleeves, and yelling to hear their echoes across the lake, and tiller being the master of all the dogs in the area – Choco, and Josie, and Quint all a swirling mass of furriness following her around. They threw rocks and earned two dollars hauling clippings up to the burn pile. We were all cold when we started, and then warmed up with play and work.

I felt tired but good. We worked til we just about fell out and it started getting dark. We made two absolutely huge piles of limbs and vines and leaves to be burned. We had windburn on our cheeks and blisters on our feet, and scrapes and sappy fingers.

And I had no anxiety.

We cleaned up and took showers and had a couple of beers. We warmed by the fire. We went to town with the kids and had pizza and then to WalMart to let them spend their two dollars. We went home and tucked in two tired kids and Todd let me watch four episodes of Friday Night Lights.

And I had no anxiety.

Todd went to bed during the last episode of FNL. I guess he just couldn’t take the mental turmoil of Saracen and Riggins, and Coach and Tami, and the rigors of living the west Texas high school football life. Or maybe he was just tired. I was fifteen minutes from midnight. I had places to be.

I opened a last beer and made that “let’s go outside to pee” sound that I make to the dog at night. I think i got that one from my Daddy. Some of you know the sound. Quint struggled to his feet (he is old and has arthritis), while I put on a hat and a sweatshirt and my old wool plaid barn jacket that I leave at the lake because it is ugly, but I love it and still like to wear it.

I went down to the lake, and purposely left the lights out so that I could see the stars. I debated getting a ladder out and trying to disable the damn security light, but a) I had consumed at least six beers at that point, and I’d probably fall off the ladder and b) Dad would see the light was out and I’d end up back up the ladder fixing the damn thing within weeks.

It was clear. I thought to myself, “Which way is East?

Easy. I had seen so many sunrises over that side of the lake, mornings fishing with Pop and Dad, up before dark, Grandma making me a thermos of hot sugar and milk with a drop of coffee, that I knew it by heart. I sat down on the far side of the dock, back to the pontoon and the power plant, on the narrow walk. I sat cross-legged, Indian style, criss-cross applesauce. I tucked a hand in my wool plaid pocket. Occasionally, I switched off hands in the pocket and hands on the beer. Mostly, I gazed up at a clear winter sky, and looked for meteors.

Quint came to sit near me. He wouldn’t lie down. He stared at me. He wondered what the fuck we were doing out in the cold midnight, when we could be on the couch near the fire. I saw it in his eye and the attention and cock of his ears.

I shushed him and rubbed his cold ears. I looked out across a glass-like lake, not a ripple on it, with no wind in the trees. i heard the plant occasionally, and wished I couldn’t hear it. I imagined what it would have sounded like on a lake with no power, what it would be like with nothing but natural light, the light of stars and moons. I couldn’t. There were Christmas lights across the lakes. I heard geese, and nothing else. I saw a couple of planes, the only other sign of life in this strange December 20th night. One day before Winter Solstice, ushered in by the Ursids.

The lake was so calm that I could see the reflection of the brightest stars on its surface. And oh, the stars!

A blanket of stars in a swath across the eastern sky, for me and me only, reflected on my lake. It was five after midnight. No meteors yet. And then there was one. And then it was gone.

I sat for almost an hour, sipping my beer slowly, staring at the sky until my eyes grew tired. I would see a shooting star and it would be gone, and I felt that familiar star-gazing feeling of relief that I was really seeing something, and awe that I knew to look that night, that man has learned so much about something so boundless.

I wondered about the other folks who might be out looking up that same night, the night before the Winter Solstice. And yet I was so alone, just me and my dog. I could slip into the lake and no one would ever find me. I stood and walked back to land. I stood there at the edge of the lake shivering, Quint sitting patiently at my side, and told myself I would go in when I saw the next meteor.

I saw it, streaking across the sky, and then it was gone. I went inside and crawled into bed with my husband and I was happy and satisfied and feeling small and big all at the same time.

And I had no anxiety.

Happy Place

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

I don’t mind the weather
I’ve got scarves and caps and sweaters
I’ve got long johns under slacks for blustery days

I think that it’s brainless to assume
That making changes to your window’s view
Will give a new perspective

dscn4111.jpg

So, yeah, the anxiety is getting me down, and I feel like I’m in a rut. So, we’re going to my happy place. I don’t care how cold it is. I think it just might actually give me new perspective.

Anxiety and Other Goings-On

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Things we’ve been up to. . .

Bad news first:
I think I am having anxiety problems. I have no idea what is causing it, other than that I haven’t been working out. This is a new one for me. I bet it will clear up when I get more exercise. Anyone else have this problem?

On to good stuff:

Seeing Santa at Joe’s Coffee Shop in East Atlanta, just like we have every year. Even though we don’t live there anymore, we still like to go back to our favorite coffee shop, and see people’s kids growing up and talk to old friends. And hey, where else can you go where you know Santa and the elves personally? It is a nice family tradition for us, even if Rollie was kind of an ass that day.

Mr. Grumpy face

Mr. Grumpy face


Tiller loves hot chocolate.

Tiller loves hot chocolate.

Mom and Dad might buy this house in the Atlanta area:

Keep your fingers crossed for them.

Keep your fingers crossed for them.


It would be nice to have them closer again.

We have elves. They showed up on the doorstep one morning with notes from Santa. They are full of mischief. As Rollie said the other day, “They did two mischievouses!” Or, as Tiller calls them: “Misfishes.”

The first night they were here they made a tower of presents and got into the wrapping ribbons!

The first night they were here they made a tower of presents and got into the wrapping ribbons!


The kids are wild for them. I am ready for them to go back to the North Pole.

Holiday Feast at Rollie’s school. We all went. They had turkey and dressing. Yes, school cafeteria turkey and dressing is just as terrible as you remember. THEY PUT MY ROLL SMACK DAB ON TOP OF MY TURKEY AND GRAVY; This is tantamount to holding me down and making me eat wet toilet paper.

Rollie and some classmates waiting in the lunchline.

Rollie and some classmates waiting in the lunchline.

It really captures the way that boys can’t stand still, and the kid with the shiner is really funny.

She is putting on a good face about the cafeteria lunch.

She is putting on a good face about the cafeteria lunch.

Rollie isn't bothering with putting a pretty face on it.

Rollie isn't bothering with putting a pretty face on it.

We made some Christmas cookies. I will never get the flour cleaned up. . . .

Rollie got a little on his face. And in his hair. And on the walls.

Rollie got a little on his face. And in his hair. And on the walls.

See that little container? She is about to take the whole container of sprinkles and dump it on one damn cookie.

See that little container? She is about to take the whole container of sprinkles and dump it on one damn cookie.

Not as much fun to clean up. That is a ton of flour. It gets in the cracks of the table and turns hard and grody.

Not as much fun to clean up. That is a ton of flour. It gets in the cracks of the table and turns hard and grody.

That’s about where I am. Stressed out about apparently nothing. Not feeling good. I have never really had problems with anxiety before. No clue what to do about it. Terrible feeling.

Going Gray

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

So, in the course of any given day, I have about five to ten main things I want to get done. I am terrible at completing tasks. TERRIBLE. I get very overwhelmed by a pile of tasks at hand, and if I don’t just concentrate on only my top priority, I will make myself crazy. Things that I stress about include:

Making doctor’s appointments for me, the kids.
I need to start taking a multivitamin.
I did not write a word today.
I have not been keeping up with my blog.
I feel like posting about anything on my blog other than the things I am REALLY preoccupied with is “false.”
I have not worked out today.
I have not called the doctor about my ankle, and if my ankle is going to get better, I need to do that.
If my ankle isn’t better, how will I run?
I am fat.
I need to eat better.
I need a new composting solution.
I need to check work email.
I need to do work.
Facebook is the devil.
I need to stop drinking so much during the week.
I need to clean litter box.
I need to trim shrubbery.
I need to work more in yard.
We never finished renovations on house.
There is cat puke on the bedspread and i haven’t cleaned it up yet.
I need to help my mom and dad.
I need to help my sister.
I haven’t worked on my family history files in ages. What if I die? They will never get done.
What if I die?
Do i have anxiety?
I have anxiety.
I have never had anxiety before.
I need to get the oil changed.
I wish I was more like Todd when it comes to laundry.
I hate laundry.
I hate putting away laundry.
I hate feeling guilty about doing laundry.
Do you think today is the day todd will divorce me over the laundry?
I need more large pots for my patio.
I should go to yard sales to find them for cheap.
Don’t forget to pick up a cushion for the lounge chair at the lake.
On clearance.
The kids need to turn off the tv and get more exercise.
I haven’t finished the dates for the damn school newsletter schedule yet, or i’d take them to the pool. No, I wouldn’t because I need to start dinner.
I am going to let down 500 elementary school kids who won’t have a newsletter.
I am going to let down my family
I am going to let down myself.

You get the idea. So, any time that I can take one thing off my plate, i am for it.

Which is why I have decided that I am going to stop dyeing my hair.

I have been going gray since college. I guess it is God’s way of punishing me for all the dyeing and crazy hair colors of my youth that now i am doomed to the albatross of dyeing my hair twice a month. As it is, I dye it at home. When I say, “I,” I mean Todd. Yes, Todd dons the plastic gloves, which are way too small for his manly hands, and he dyes my hair like a pro. Sort of. Having the salon dye my hair is not an option: It is too expensive and time-consuming to have it done, and at the rate that my hair grows out, and with the amount of gray that I have, it needs to be done about every two weeks.

Whatever. I am over it. I am chucking the outdated, Loving Care Loreal ideal of beauty in a box. I am embracing my gray. Now, you probably have some questions about this process. Hopefully, the following will help answer those:

    Yes, Todd has been notified. And by “notified,” I mean that I stared at him without a trace of a smile, and told him what I was going to do and he was too scared to laugh, show disbelief, or protest in any manner.
    Yes, when it all grows out, my head will probably look like I am wearing a hat made solely of gray pubic hair.
    Yes, I will probably be wearing a lot of hats and scarves this fall.
    Yes, I will probably break down and dye it again by this time next year. It’s nice to keep options open.
    Yes, I’m going to document this in photos and post them on my blog; Just think of the self-embarrassment potential! It’s, like, photojournalism. I’m pretty sure that Oprah will pick it up, or I will get book offers in the coming months.

Okay! Who’s with me? Hello? Hellooo! Whatever. Screw you fancy dye-job, black-rooted, broke-ass, slave-to-fashion bitches!

I already feel better about having one less damn thing to worry about. FTW!