bipolar mom shares her insights on everyday life

Archive for October, 2008

Peer Pressure is Alive and Well

Yesterday I had two of my dear friends over to play the game Harry Potter Scene It.  The three of us have been huge HP fans for many years.  We had a book discussion after the final book as soon as we had all read it.  We’ve played the game before and are very evenly matched.  We have been trying to get together to do this for over a year, but with my bipolar diagnosis and treatment followed by one of the other friend’s diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer, we obviously had other things going on that took precedence.  (I’m pleased to announce that my friend is doing very, very well!  And, the other friend is afraid to hang around with us since she’s afraid she’s next.)

So, we all finallygot together.  I had given this a lot of thought months ago, and so I had some stuff put away for the occasion.  I made a trophy of Lucius Malfoy as a Death Eater, a sign for Thestral Parking, and a large sign that said, “Welcome to the Triwizard Tournament.”  Now, realizing that this may as well have been written in a foreign language to some of you, bear with me.  Another item I bought for the theme was a box of Bertie Bott’s Beans, which are Jelly Bellys, but have some really disgusting flavors along with normal ones.  (This is a product is featured in all the HP books, and was created for real after the popularity of the books.)

Yesterday my rule was “If you lose the game, you have to eat a Bertie Bott’s bean.  Whatever comes out of the box, you have to eat it.”  Unfortunately, I lost the first game, but luck was with me and my flavored bean was toasted marshmallow.  My friend, Karen had a green one that was grass-flavored.  She said it tasted just like grass, but it wasn’t a bad taste.

We played one more game.  My friend who won the first game was quickly falling behind this round.  (I was at the back again.)  She started telling us how worried she was.  We kept giving her a hard time about being a sore loser.  She said, “You guys, I have a really bad gag reflex.  I’m getting sick just thinking about it.”  Well, she lost the game, and so did I.  She got a light-colored one.  She said, “I will get sick, seriously, guys.”  I got her a large margarine-like tub.  She put the bean in her mouth.  “UGH!  IT’S SARDINE!”  And she spit it out.  And then started to throw up.  Uh-oh.  I truly didn’t realize that she would actually throw up.  I thought she would gag a little. 

By the way, my bean was brownish.  It was dirt.  Yuck.  I kept chewing, sure that I would be able to just chew and swallow.  Nope.  I did the best I could.  I spit it out into the napkin.  I tasted dirt for the next twenty minutes.  Nasty. 

But, it wasn’t sardine.  AND, I don’t have a gag reflex like my friend does.  Just to rest your minds, dear readers, she was back to laughing within an hour or so.  No, I’m kidding.  She was fine within a few minutes.  Truly, I’ve never seen anyone laugh and gag at the same time, but she was.  And, she was quite a trooper.

I did get me to thinking.  Even though all three of us are in our forties, we were doing some major peer pressure on each other.  Sure, this time it wasn’t drinking or drugs, but it was peer pressure all the same.  I really did feel guilty later on in the day.  I also found out later that the poor thing saw Planes, Trains, and Automobilesand a guy made this disgusting sound while clearing his throat.  When he did that, she threw up right into the bucket of popcorn.  If she’d shared that story with us, we would have let her off the hook.  I think.

So, children and adults alike, when it comes to peer pressure…JUST SAY NO!

Box or Homemade?

I took the time to make my kids actual hot cocoa with milk, cocoa, sugar, etc.  My son took one sip and said he really liked the packet kind better.  I said that was okay, that I liked mashed potatoes from a box better than homemade.  (Sorry, Mom.)  I’m waiting for my daughter to drink hers, and am completely expecting her to turn her nose up at it.

It did make me start to think about other things that are quick and easy that people like better than the homemade (and usually more time-consuming) kind.

One thing my family (minus me) likes better is the Hamburger Helper Beef Stroganoff versus the one that seemed to take half a day to make.  I was actually happy about that one, since the HH is much much quicker and doesn’t have to be planned well in advanced.

Cake comes to mind.  I’m not a real fan of cake in general, so I don’t really have a preference.  However, my mom’s side of the family makes some great cakes from scratch, but they also can do wonders with a cake mix and caramel, and pecans.  OIY&^R  Oops, got a little drool on the keyboard there.  Sorry.

My aunt prefers instant coffee to brewed.  I know.  She’s probably the only one in the entire world other than those actually working for Taster’s Choice.  But, I think they probably sneak in the brewed stuff while they are at home behind closed doors. 

What do you like better boxed than homemade?  Oh, and, by the way, my daughter has abandoned the hot cocoa all together.

Is it November 4th Yet?

Holy cow!  I am starting to go nuts.  I am not going to talk about the actual views of each side or even which side I am on.  Those of you that know me, know what where I lean.  Those of you that don’t, I realize that my viewpoint isn’t going to make any difference to you, so I’m skipping that.  Besides, once I get started, I can’t stop.

My problem with this time of year is the tension.  I have already decided how I am going to vote, so all these commercials are not going to make one iota’s bit of difference.  Other than the fact that I’m getting way too worked up. 

I do have some friends that are on the “other side of the aisle” and I don’t even want to talk to them about this.  It’s like the elephant in the room when we get together.  Or at least I feel that way.  Now, yesterday, I spent the morning with a dear friend from the other camp, and we had a great time.  We had plenty of other stuff to talk about, thank goodness.  But, she’s the exception to the rule, I think.  Since this is at the forefront of my mind, I want to scream, “HOW CAN YOU VOTE FOR HIM?!?!?!?”  when I am with other people.  I’ve had to call my friend in Texas so that I can vent.  She calls me to do the same.  It’s crazy. 

So, I’m just using this venue to vent my frustration and release the tension.  Thanks.  Trust me, the world is better off now that I got that out.  😉

I am praying.  I’m voting.  That’s about all I can do.

Yes, I’m Still Here

I forget that some people come here to find out how I am doing.  Just remember, friends, that usually “no news is good news.”  It usually means I am too busy to write, or just can’t think of anything to write.  I realize that I am rarely at a loss for words, but it is harder to blog than it looks sometimes.

Actually, there have been some things going on in my life that were a little too personal to write about.  Plus, I have made a promise to myself to not write about other people in my life, especially those that read this.  🙂  But, things are just fine and I’m not on the edge of some cliff somewhere.  I promise.

I love fall and so the good moods abound!  Two weekends ago it was so warm, it bummed me out a little.  We had friends in town that wanted to go to the pumpkin patch while they were here.  It was about 80 degrees, I think, so the bees were all over the lemonade stand.  YIKES!  So, our pumpkin patch pictures show us all in shorts.  I will say, though, that my godson, William who is only 4 months old enjoyed the warmer weather, I’m sure.  We had fun propping him up against pumpkins.

But, regardless of the weather, we had a great time with our friends.  And, isn’t that what life is all about?

Break 1-9

I think you have to be over 40 to even guess what that title means.  It was from the 1970s when CB (Citizen Band) radios were the hot trend.  Truckers still use them to communicate with one another.  So, sit back and get ready for a little history lesson, or a time to reminisce.

We had a CB radio in our station wagon.  We originally bought it because we were going on a camping trip with my aunts and uncles and we were all driving our campers to Gatlinburg, TN, I think.  This was a way to keep in touch.  (Think of it as a conference call on your cell phone, kiddies.)

To use the CB radio, you were supposed to have a “handle” which was basically a nickname.  I still remember most of our nicknames:  Early Riser, Double Bogey, Fly Rod, Patchwork, and Rhubarb.  (Those belonged to my aunts, uncles, and cousin.)  Then there was my family:  Grey Spot (my dad, who actually had jet black hair and a grey spot on the side of his head about the size of a half-dollar), Migraine (my mom.  You can figure out why.), Curious George (my brother still loves that little monkey), and me–Flapper.  Okay, I talked a lot.  And my fifth grade teacher called me “Flapper.”  I was the only one who didn’t get to choose her own handle.  My family said that it just had to be “Flapper” because someone had actually given me the name, and it was so funny.  ha.  ha.  I know.  I know.  Bitterman, party of one?  Let it go, Michelle.

We had such a good time on those trips.  We talked back and forth the whole way.  I think we even played a game like Trivial Pursuit together.

You had to say, “Break 1-9” to start your conversation.  So, if 19 was your channel, then you said “Break 1-9.”  If your channel was 14, then you said, “Break 1-4.” However, channel 9 was reserved for emergencies.  When my uncle was a postal carrier, he and my aunt would communicate using the CB.  (I think their channel was 14.)  She had one at home and he had one in his mail car.  It was a really clever idea, I think.  Again, just a precursor to cell phones, if you think about it.

Some of you may have heard the song “Convoy.”  It is filled with handle names and codes.  In fact, “Convoy” means a group of 3 or more cars/trucks travelling together.  “What’s your 10-20?” means “Where are you?”, “10-4” means “okay,” and my brother’s and my favorite was “I need a 10-100.”  (“I have to go to the bathroom.”  I can’t imagine why a 7-year-old and an 11-year-old thought that was funny.)  A “bear” was a police car, a “chicken coop” was a weigh station, and a ” pregnant roller skate” was a Volkswagen Beetle.  When our families went on vacation we called ourselves “The Cock-eyed Convoy.”  The movie “Smokey and the Bandit” with Burt Reynolds, was called that because a “Smokey” was a cop.  The nickname was given because Smokey the Bear wore a hat similar to the hat worn by state troopers.  (And, by the way, the CB radio played a significant role in the movie.)

Why bring this up now?  Well, I saw an ad on line for cbuilder.com (career builder), and the two letters together made me remember all these things that had been tucked away in my brain.  It’s funny what triggers such great memories.

There’s a Reason for Limits

Don’t worry.  The tote board is still moving along.  Day 5.  Woo hoo!

However, (and as one of my favorite comedians says, “Nothing good comes after ‘however.'”) this weekend I pushed it to the limit.  And, now I know why I have put these limits on myself. 

I was Sunday School Superintendent before the Loony Bin.  I, obviously, had to give that up afterward.  I spent the first five months of the year attending the adult classes and having no responsibility.  I enjoyed that quite a bit, but I missed the kids.  I missed teaching.  Before motherhood, I was a 2nd grade teacher, and I just loved it.  I’m glad I quit to stay home and raise my own kids, but I love interacting with other children and teaching them.  So, Sunday School filled that need/desire in my life.  Then, this summer, I told the current superintendent that I would be glad to help plan VBS, and take a turn teaching Sunday School this summer.  That worked out great.  I really enjoyed it.  I then helped plan the fall classes and have been able to teach with one of my best friends.  Even more fun than the summer! 

Then, this Sunday, the superintendent was going to be gone, and asked me if I thought I could handle being in charge.  I thought, “Sure.  Why not?  We already know what we are going to do, and even though we will have all the classes together, it surely isn’t a big deal.”  BUZZZZZZZ.  Unfortunately, one of the games we were going to play was a much bigger deal than I expected.  My mindcould NOT figure out how to make it work.  (It was kind of like a cross between Pictionary and Telephone.)  My parents tried to help me, and we came up with a plan.  Then, last night I worked until midnight cutting paper, trying to come up with ideas for drawing, etc. 

My daughter and I got to church in plenty of time for me to explain to the assistants what we would be doing and how they could help.  I started the class by conducting a review of the past lessons.  That went pretty well.  Then, I passed off the class to another teacher who summarized her lessons as well.  So far so good.  Next, came “THE GAME.”  It became a MUCH bigger deal than I even expected.  Kids not listening.  Adults becoming confused, even though I thought I had explained it to them.  Wow.  The part that my parents and I had figured out, totally went haywire.  Completely failed.  Mayhem ensued.  My brain was going nuts!  We had ten minutes left of class and absolute chaos. 

Finally, the adults helped and we got it all figured out.  The game ended as it was supposed to.  (Thank you, Lord Jesus!)  The kids thought it was fantastic, and one boy even understood why we played it in the first place.  HALLELUJAH!!!!  Anyone who doesn’t believe God exists, wasn’t in this class to see the miracle take place. 

That kind of thing could have happened to anyone, and I realize that.  The way I could tell I had taken it too far was at church, following Sunday School.  I play the drums for our service.  It is truly one of the highlights of my week.  I feel uplifted and that lasts well into the middle of the week.  Today, I just wasn’t feeling it.  I played just fine.  My heart and body just weren’t into it.    A couple of songs lifted me up, but then, I felt my insides just droop.  I started singing along (which I don’t normally do.  I am not miked, so it really doesn’t matter whether I do or not) and that helped a little.  I tried to focus, but I just couldn’t.  I was completely exhausted.  Inside and out.

Karen and I were driving home, and she, of course, asked about eating out, and suggested McDonald’s drive-thru.  I told her I was hungrier than that and would prefer a place that served breakfast.  She’s not a big fan of breakfasts (gets that from her dad), so she was out of ideas.  I just didn’t feel like trying to come up with a place, so I told her we’d just drive through McDonald’s andI didn’t get anything.  Just too tired.  (Don’t worry.  I ate when I got home.  I know that eating is only second to sleeping as far as triggers go.)

I’m not down or anything now.  And, I was never down today.  Just tired.  Very tired.  I am really looking forward to tomorrow when I get my day off.  And, actually, I don’t have any real responsibilities this week, so I am looking forward to that as well.

I think it is time to go and order a pizza.  Delivered.

Much Better, Thanks

Oh, yes!  Yesterday was officially the Day One on the tote board.  Welcome to day two!!!

So, today I’m just going break away from the bipolar/depression blog and try another bit of observation.

Strip Malls.

They are everywhere.  As they are being constructed, you wonder, “Oooh!  I wonder what is going to go in there?”  Well, let me take a little of the guessing out of it.

Places of business that occur in most strip malls are:

  • Edward Jones – this one for some reason really irks my son.  He is actually the first one to notice how these offices seem to be everywhere!
  • A Nail Salon – no excuses for nasty looking nails.  Just find a strip mall.  Chances are, there is a nail salon.
  • Dentist/Orthodontist – There is one at a strip mall near you!
  • Dry Cleaners – no matter what the name, strange or not-so-strange, you can usually drop your shirts off before getting your nails done.

Once you start looking, you’d be surprised at how many of these are actually in each strip mall.  Keep in mind, I’m not saying every strip mall has all of these, but usually at least two or three, if not all four!

So, while you are hoping to see a fabulous bakery, high-end shoe store, or a place that sells nothing but pink flamingos, just know there aren’t many spaces available.

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