Tag Archives: mood swings

Poof! Anxiety is Gone… or something… And I do not have ADHD… Yet

I have spent the last week with an old acquaintance named anxiety.

What a jerk.

He comes over uninvited, makes himself at home, doesn’t explain the reason for the visit and commences to wreak havoc. I did what I could on my own then threw up my hands and called my good buddy, tequila. We sipped a shot together and my stomach untwisted enough for me to get my shit together and show anxiety the door. The problem is, anxiety has his own key.

And we all know tequila can’t stay forever or he turns from the solution into the problem.

Like I always, eventually do, I started the backtracking inventory, researching and figuring out why my head seems to be so far up my – uh – why I’m anxious. Is it psychological, physiological, work-related, stress-related? Am I not getting to the gym? Am I not saying no enough?

For me, anxiety is almost always self-induced by the mythological I-can-do-it-all syndrome that affects women from 9 to 90. I work full time and have a lot of obligations, just like millions of my sisters around the globe. Is it menopause related? I don’t know. I can’t tell you what point of menopause I’m in because there’s no map supplied by life – thanks God – and we will be discussing this later….. I have a mental picture of me saying these things to God and God sitting at his laptop reading them, eyes going wide, clapping his (we’re going with ‘him’ as no woman would ever do to herself or another female what menopause does) hand over his mouth to smother naughty giggles…….

Yes, I personify The Almighty as a 13-year-old nerd, pranking womankind.

Sometimes.

In this case.

It’s a testament to how close to the edge I can get when desperate for answers. I mean, come on. I can’t walk around with my heart in my throat all the time. It makes me grouchy as hell. Neither do I want to be zonked on Benadryl constantly. That stuff makes me cantankerous after a while too.

<sigh>

……….I went to have my hair colored yesterday.

Not cut. Just colored.

I’ve never split my appointments up before, but because I waited until the last minute (read three inches of roots) to schedule them, my colorist and stylist couldn’t be booked on the same day for a month out. I took what I could get, which was a color appointment right before Mr. Smooshy Kissy Cheek’s Kindergarten Moo-sical. I was sure I’d have at least 45 minutes between completion of the appointment and the start of the barn show. Plenty of time.

And I don’t know what my colorist was doing with her time but I felt neglected. She put the foils in my hair, had someone else wash the color out (which is normal). She put toner in, plopped me in a chair and I never saw her again.

I sat, waiting, for long enough that I wondered what the hell was happening. There was a brief moment of fear in which I remembered the girl who does my color was a classmate of one of my daughters and said daughter told me they did not get along – in fact the words “can’t stand,” “mean as hell” and “such a b!#ch” might have been thrown around. However, as that was 10 years past and the “mean as hell” girl is nice to me, does fabulous color, and it’s my hair, #1 agreed sucking it up was in order. But – had my colorist suddenly remembered the animosity between them and decided to take it out on my hair?

I tried not to panic. It wasn’t as if I could just leave. There were mysterious chemicals on my head, of which I was (and am) completely ignorant.

I took deep breaths and watched a girl sweep the hair from three different stations, empty it into the garbage and take the garbage outside. She then came back, introduced herself as Maddy and said she’d been sent to wash and blow dry my hair.

Okay.

Everything was good. Normal.

The speed at which Maddy moved was neither. It took her five actual minutes to comb out my hair and 32 actual minutes to attempt a blow dry. I knew she was a student and learning and was fine with that – unlike the student in the teaching hospital where Kimberly was born…… I made it clear, at that time, to my doctor that I wanted no residents anywhere near me. Brandon’s birth had been a horrible ordeal, during which we both could have died and I wanted nothing but seasoned professionals around for the birth of my second child. So, when the unfamiliar doctor came in to check my progress during labor I asked if he was a resident. He said yes. I said how happy I was to meet him and that he should take the goddamned glove off because that hand was going nowhere near my cervix…….. But this was just hair.

“Just hair.”

Seriously. 32 minutes.

At minute 20 I told Maddy how much I appreciated her efforts but was in quite a time crunch.

“Oh, of course,” she said. “I understand schedules.”

At minute 30 I released a sigh that sounded more like a growl. Maddy just continued on with the little, tiny section of hair she was drying.

“May I ask a favor,” I said at minute 32. “Give me the dryer. Just hand me the dryer.”

I grabbed it, flipped my head over and had the top of my head, which was literally still wet, dry in about 30 seconds. I mean, Jesus, it’s the desert and I have fine hair. Unless I’m standing out in the 100 degree sun and am in the middle of a frigging hot flash, it takes me, at the very most, 10 minutes to dry and style my locks.

Finally all was well.

Then I saw it.

In the middle of my head there was basically a big blonde mass. A forelock so brightly colored it looked like a bald spot.

“Is everything okay,” Maddy asked nervously. She reached toward my hair.
“Don’t touch me,” I said. “I’m going to use the restroom, then pay and I have to go. I’m late.”

I walked away and reached the bathroom right before I burst into tears because damn it, now I’d have to think about my hair and that’s my one rule. I don’t want to have to think about it. I get it cut and colored three or four times a year and I don’t have to think about it otherwise. But now I would because there’s a big blonde bald-looking spot right in the middle of my face…………

………And it’s a couple of days later…….. I’ve calmed down and had my hair washed and cut and the “spot” is blended and makes sense with the style……. Sort of……..

Maybe I’m just too picky. Maybe it’s wrong of me to insist that my hair look more like my natural color from 25 years ago and less like a photo of Bonnie Raitt.

Does anyone get that reference?

If you want to feel old, make jokes around people in their twenties. One of the guys at work started complaining about his hair the other day. Because it resembled Greg Brady’s from The Brady Bunch I said, “Oh calm down Greg. You’re getting it cut this afternoon, right?” His face was completely blank.

“What? Why’d you call me Greg?”

I had to explain the joke and show him a clip from The Brady Bunch. He’d never heard of it.

And just in case anyone wonders, google photos of Bonnie Raitt.

Later I was on break and scrolling my Facebook feed. Sean Hayes had posted one of his lip sync videos and I was watching it and laughing. Another of the babies who works for me asked what was so funny and I said I was watching a Sean Hayes lip sync video.

He gave me a blank stare.

“Sean Hayes,” I repeated. “You know, Jack, from Will and Grace.”

Same stare.

From somewhere in my brain I heard the words, fire him.  Instead I threw him a nasty look and told him to go back to work.

Almost everyone with whom I work is younger than I.

And it’s okay. I don’t mind. Most of the time.

It’s just…… Well, if there’s any levity it almost has to be on their level because it’s one thing for me to stay current but if we have to go back in time, I have to give history lessons and we all know I have no patience for that crap. I mean, I know Will and Grace has been off the air for a while but….

Oh God. I am a dinosaur.

Seriously. I just looked up when Will and Grace was on the air and I can’t believe it’s been OFF longer than it was on.

What about Friends? BRB

12 years off the air!

<sigh>

So my humor, my newest humor, is at least ten years old because, seriously, I don’t think much of what’s on now is funny. I like The Big Bang Theory and Amy Schumer, but Vine and Snapchat? Ugh. Olivia will, every now and then, find me in a weak moment – I’ve just gotten out of bed or the shower and can’t move quickly enough to avoid what I know is coming – and force-feed me six and a half second videos that she swears will simply tear me up with laughter.

They don’t.

I’m sure some are funny. I just haven’t seen those. Yet. Because my daughter insists we keep on trying. And because it puts me in close proximity with my youngest, I agree.

But they’re not funny.

Karen Walker is funny. Lucy and Ethel are still funny. Barney Fife is still funny. That big, dorky guy who does the Chrysler Pacifica commercials – Jim Gaffigan – is hilarious. So I guess, if you count him and Amy Schumer, I like current stuff.

Over 30 stuff.

To each generation their own.

I remember when Mark showed a clip of Robin Williams Live On Broadway to his father and Pops very calmly told us exactly how unfunny Mr. Williams and his crass, profane brand of humor was. Pops hates swear words. Robin Williams used them liberally. Mark and I use them liberally – unless Pops is around. I tone it down then. Mark, not so much.

I’m a lady.

See. That, right there, is funny. If you know me.

And the kids at work are getting there.

They laugh. At me. When I dance. And trip. And am myself. And I laugh back because – because it’s just the best thing and –

Then.

Poof……….

……..Anxiety is gone.

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50+ Shades of Gray Steel Wool

I found two serious gray hairs on the same day I used my AARP discount card for the first time.

How did that make me feel?

Well, I won’t go right to “good.” But I did okay. I plucked the hairs, of course. More because of their location than anything else. I mean, they were the wiry, iron gray, steel wool variety and in the temple area, so even had I wanted to leave them, they were impractical as they stood straight out to the side while everything else was gathered back in a pony tail.

Bitches had to go.

And where do they come from? I mean, hand to God, they were five inches long and of a texture and variety that has never graced the head of a person without at least some Mediterranean or Eastern European heritage. Had they been my color hairs I’d have happily welcomed a head full. However, they were loners and literally appeared overnight. Overnight, people.

I had a talk with myself, reminding us both that we are of an age where gray hair is likely to appear on a regular basis, so it’s time to get ourselves A. Used to it or B. To the salon.

My appointment is next Wednesday with my regular colorist at Toni & Guy.

All of this took place while I was getting ready to take Mark out for his birthday supper. He loves Outback, so that’s where we were going. As we were walking up to the restaurant, funny man grinned at me.

“You’re buying, right?”
I nodded – obviously I was buying, though it’s completely symbolic because we have a joint account where our paychecks are deposited and our money mingles for the 13 or so seconds it lives with us before being called upon to pay a bill. Still, it’s the thought that counts.

“So,” Mark continued. “You brought your wallet?”
                                                                “Of course.”
“Sooooo, you brought your AARP card?”
                                                                                        “I suppose,” I answered, not following him at all. “I’m sure it’s in there. Why?”
“Well, we get a 15% discount here with our cards.”
“Oh. No. I’m not doing that.”
“We get a discount.”
“I don’t do that.”
“Get a discount?”
“Use that card.”
“That’s stupid.”
“You’re stupid.”
“Lorie.”
“Mark.”
“Listen, you’re kidding right? It’s fifteen percent. That’s considerable.”
“I agree. You use your card.”
“It’s my birthday.”
                                                                                                                        “Okay.”
“I’m not paying.”
<sigh>
“I found two real life gray hairs today.”
“Perfect way to celebrate.”
“I was kidding when I said you’re stupid, but just keep going in that direction. You may change my mind.”
“I didn’t bring my wallet.”
<sigh>

I paid. And used the stupid AARP card. I’m pretty sure the 15% wasn’t worth my last youthful illusion. Between you and me, I took it out of my wallet. Mark can sacrifice the last vestiges of his belief that it’s still 1978, but I’m not down with that. I’m still a kid.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s 4:00 p.m. and you know what that means.

Yep.

Party time.

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Random Hump-Day Thoughts……

It’s Wednesday.

Glenn Frey is still dead. It wasn’t some big, nasty, stupid joke. I’m still sad. He was the third thing I thought of this morning at 3:30 when I woke up and my brain kicked in. I’d have given him more thought but it was 3:30 and I knew that if I didn’t shut things down I would be up for the day. So I drifted back to sleep with the tune of Tequila Sunrise playing in my head.

Someone posted a picture of the Kardashians on Facebook the day after Glenn died with a caption that said something like, Dear Universe: Stop taking the musicians from my youth. Take these instead. Not funny, but I get it. You always wonder why the good ones are taken and the – well – you know….. are left. But really, if you don’t like them, just change the channel, don’t wish them dead. Even the Kardashians serve a purpose.

I don’t know what it is, so don’t ask me……

Who else thinks wearing colored contacts is like wearing butt enhancing jeans or guys wearing heels? The truth is gonna come out – or off – eventually. It changes who you are – which is a person’s prerogative but it’s your eyes. Am I overreacting?

I’m a week and three days into a six week training period for a half marathon I’ve (sort of) committed to running with Kimmy and Matti (Bodington). The first week everything hurt in a way I didn’t know existed. I truly thought my joints would just crumble into dust. I took the first three days off into the second week because my body said so.

I started whining at one point.

Mark said, “Maybe try some glucosamine and condroitin.” I said, “How about I try tequila and beer.” Mark said, “No. You decided to lay off the liquor to do this. You can have your five ounces of Cabernet with dinner, though.” I said, “Well, isn’t that just fine for you to say, missy boy, lucky duck, with your hurt back and dumb injured heel.” Mark said, “That and my lack of stupid.” I said, “What’s that supposed to mean?” Mark said, “It means I’d have told Kimmy no a year ago when, at the end of the last race she asked you if you wanted to do the race with them this year.” I said, “I totally thought she’d forget.” Mark, looking at me with pity, said, “Honey. This is one of our offspring. How many times do they forget anything we want them to forget?” “Never,” I whispered. Mark patted my shoulder softly, so as not to hurt me further because I tend to forget he’s my friend when the pain is too much. “Come on,” he said. “I’ll run you a hot tubby.” “That’s right you will,” I told him. “And next time shut me up.” He rolled his eyes and muttered something that sounded like, “cause that’ll ever happen.”

Hot flash update. Still having them. Hate everyone from God on down during certain ones. I have a sugar low during some and still others bring on a brief panic attack that literally stops any forward movement. I was freezing all day long last Friday. Decided about four o’clock to take a nice warm bath with lavender oil. Put my icy toe in the water and the rest of me went up in flames so hot I had to lay face down, naked as the day I was born, on the bathroom tile and pant till the steam went away.

Mark put the winter, flannel sheets on the bed because he thought they’d “be a better option” for the woman who sweats then freezes then sweats then freezes.

“You can just sleep naked on these, hon,” he said. “You’ll be cooler that way.”

It’s not that he doesn’t understand that this is a from the inside out heating issue. He’s been trying to get me to sleep naked for 30 years, saw an opportunity and took a chance. I walked out of the room at that point in our discussion because I felt my vagina start to heat up and not in a good way. In case it was one of the “hate everything that lives” flashes I didn’t want to be in arms reach of anyone I actually care about. After it was over I stomped back.

“I will never sleep naked so stop asking,” I said. “It’s a texture thing for me and you know it! I dress in layers for everything!”
“Yes I do know,” Mark said. “Now, so do the neighbors.”
Whatever. And wipe that smirk off your face. You are not the sane one in this relationship. I am calm. I am pragmatic. I am no nonsense. I am down to earth.”
“Yes, all of you are.”
Do not make fun of me.
“I swear I’m not,” he said. “It’s just the hormones – ”
“Or fucking lack thereof! Whose idea was this? What kind of sick joke is it that women go through this? And do you know what else? I bought a frigging Vogue the other day expressly to read an article about a so called “female viagra.” Wow, I thought. It’s about time. I waded through all the 12-year-olds wearing incredibly ugly clothes, found the article on page 1080, got two sentences in and you know what? It’s for pre-menopausal women. Seriously? What the hell do they need it for? Till I hit the big M, sex was always on my mind. I still think about it if someone reminds me! I mean, you – when you remind me, I think of sex but I got all excited thinking there was something that would restore that all the damn time thing! Not that I don’t love it. I still do. I love sex. You know that. We have sex all the time and I like it. Super a lot! I just, you know, think – female viagra – a good thing……..” <sigh>

God is not a woman.

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I’m (still) Not Complaining (much)

It’s been a month, tomorrow, since I decided to stop complaining. It would be easy to say I suck at it, but that sounds kind of like a complaint, and I don’t do those. Or I do, but now that I’m aware, I try to keep the complaining (out loud) to a minimum. Well, and God knows I try not to think, so even silent complaints have decreased.

Really it’s been all about redefining what complaining is.

At first I thought it would sound like, “Ohhhh gawd it’s hooooooottttterrrrrr than hellllllll,” or, “can’t you people eeeeevvvvvverrrrrrr put the toilet seat dowwwwwnnnnn?” Or that it came in the form of the stupid cartoon posts on Facebook that say things like, “I have been kicked and punched and held underwater for long periods of time by horrible awful people, disguised as friends and family. Still I’ve triumphed and am better than all of you now.”

That sort of thing.

Not my complaints. I live in the desert. It’s hot in the summer. Period. Suck it up or move north. Tried that. I’m back in the desert. And the toilet seat thing? Mark and I use separate bathrooms. Problem solved. As for the Facebook posts, WhinersRUs much?

My complaining is a little different. It’s all in my head. I’ll take you through a day, quickly.

Waking up: Fuuuuuuuu#$.
Watching Good Morning America while I’m brushing my teeth: Seriously? Is Robin gone again? I hate it when Robin’s gone. What the hell kind of name is Lara (Spencer)? It’s like someone just forgot the, ‘u.’ Ugh – God! No! Don’t go to the local crap. Jeez. Weather? What. Ever. It’s hot – woah, and that is one oogley outfit, Weather Lady. Who dresses these people?
Driving to work – on surface streets (sing/song voice): I’m in a time crunch here, people. Move your ass. What the hell are you waiting for?
On the freeway (no more sing/song, just conversational): Get. The f%#$. Out of my way. You moron. Shit! Get over getovergetovergetoooooover. Damn! Thank you for screwing up my rhythm here, ass hat. Maybe you have no place to be but I have to work for an almost living.
In line at Starbucks: Seriously? I’m ten minutes early, so there’s a 20 minute wait. It’s frigging Wednesday. Who goes to Starbucks at ten after nine on effing Wednesday? There aren’t this many people who shop in the g.d. mall all day on Wednesday and they just decide to congregate with dumb-stupid coffee requests right before I have to go to work and – oh holy shit – the girl with the barely decipherable Eastern European accent is at the register. Great. Oh, and super. Gretchen from Pottery Barn is here getting coffee for the entire staff and would you look at that, they all sent their little cards so she can pay separately for each of eight cups of Americano (really, you couldn’t get that at McDonald’s), an extra caramel caramel frappuccino and a green tea with vanilla (yuck). Why is there not an extra register for people with dumb ass shit?
The first five minutes at work: Can’t believe I actually made it on time. Thank God I’m opening with X instead of Boss. X will let me wake up. I’m pretty sure Boss wakes up happy and insists on talking the minute she sees me. Something I just don’t understand. Finally get a sip of my coffee. Tried as I was running here from Starbucks and almost fell down the escalator because it goes like a son-of-a-bitch. I swear to God it’s going to happen one of these days and – slurrrrrrrrp – ahhhhhh………..

Though I might fall into a complaint state of mind here and there after that, once I’ve had my coffee, the rest of the day is cool. To clarify, while I’m in the midst of the above, I’m not unhappy. It’s just habit and lack of caffeine. I actually enjoy my mornings for the most part. I work retail. I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn. What is there to complain about?

In this moment. Not a thing. So, I don’t. I’m learning to choose not to.

Oh, I know there are big problems, world issues, personal issues and very real dilemmas on every level in between that must be solved. Guess what? Complaining about them endlessly does not help. As a bonus, one tends to be on the receiving end of fewer punches in the mouth, extended middle fingers and, “your mother,” jokes when the kvetching is limited.

I think, in all seriousness, chronic complaining stems from fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the known (which is much scarier, if you think about it – but don’t because you’ll just get afraid). I mean, as silly as it is, my morning whine-fest is inspired by the fear of being so late I’ll have to go to work latte-less. It is not a groundless fear. It’s happened, resulting in complaints so severe that my co-workers set up a somewhat comprehensive plan, ensuring that, no matter what time I arrive at work, there will be a way to get me that double shot. Orally or intravenously – I’m pretty sure they don’t care.

My point? I (and when I say, “I,” I mean the collective, “you,” as in all y’all who can see themselves in the above illustrated mind-mess to any degree) must get to Starbucks with plenty of time to spare, of course. And have a contingency plan (or three) in place. Take responsibility for what I can control, let go of what I can’t and then move on. Stop being afraid. Once I have, I will find it’s easier to stop complaining about pretty much everything.

I mean, Robin Roberts deserves vacation time and Lara is as good a name as any.  It almost falls into the Lorie category, which makes it a conversation piece (more on that another time).  The guy who was going 10 mph slower than me on the freeway didn’t get out of bed this morning with a plan to tick me off. The Starbucks barista with the European accent is actually multi-lingual and I could be more patient and supportive if I gave it just half a shot(Ha!), while she’s perfecting her third or fourth language (especially considering my English could best be described as passable). The escalator goes exactly the same speed it always has – I just need to be where I’m going five minutes earlier so that I don’t have to hurry and won’t trip over my size 9’s (shut up).

Lastly – and maybe this should have come first – when I open my mouth to complain, I shut it.

Just – shut it.

I practice not complaining. It has helped me see which issues are important and which are not, “issues,” at all.

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The Annals of Duh: Medications can produce side effects?

To be included in the annals of Duh:

When you go on a prescription medicine, read the ten page listing of side effects and pay attention lest some of them actually happen.

Over the past year, year and a half, Number One Son has gained a substantial amount of weight – at least 25 pounds.  He’s also been testier than hell.  This happened gradually and, though noticeable, not so much so that we questioned the changes.  Around Christmas, however, Mark and I had a chat with him regarding his burgeoning Santa belly.  Needless to say, though we tried to frame it in a, ha ha, this is funny isn’t it, kind of way, the discussion did not go over well.

I told you.  He was grouchy as ass.

We had to ask questions about the amounts of food he might be ingesting while not at home or possibly hoarding and consuming late at night, because Aspies have a tendency to run on the Obsessive/Compulsive side of life and impulse control can be a problem.  We talked about the dangers of belly rotundity – especially for him because of the prevalence of diabetes on his paternal (biological) side of the family.  There were suggestions made about ways to incorporate more exercise into Bran’s day.  He rides his bike everywhere for transportation, but, at that point, it didn’t seem to be making much of a difference.  We discussed cutting down on sugary/caffeinated drinks and how to incorporate more water and healthful (but tasty) foods into his daily routine.

It wasn’t the worst time I’ve ever had.

I’d rank it up there with having that impacted wisdom tooth removed that time – except they gave me good drugs.  I didn’t even get a beer this time.

You just don’t know stubborn unless you’ve dealt with someone with Asperger’s.

Have you ever seen one of those old westerns where someone is trying to get a mule off its ass by pulling on the reins and harness, but no matter how hard they pull the mule does – not – move?

With an Aspie it’s like pulling on 20 of those mules at the same time…with one hand…..that’s broken……….and in a cast.

By the time we were done talking with Brandon that day, I was sweating, had a headache and wanted nothing more than to take a couple Advil and hit the sack, but it was 9:00 a.m.

Mark just stared off into space and shook his head for so long I thought he’d developed a twitch.

In spite of his initial resistance, Bran made significant efforts to change his habits.  Even he was becoming alarmed by his waistline and the extra chin he’d sprouted.  We monitored the sodas and sweets and he tried to make sure he ate meals instead of potato chip and jelly sandwiches at midnight.  He started walking the familial dog twice a week, continued to ride his bike and even upped the daily mileage.

It made very little difference.

In February, Bran’s new neurologist wanted to switch Bran’s seizure meds, (seizures can be another byproduct of Asperger’s).  He went from Divalproax (generic form of Depakote) to Keppra.  When we asked why, the doctor said that Divalproax can cause hair loss, weight gain and diabetes.

DingDingDing!!!

Yes, you’d think a bell would have gone off in my head – and it did – it was just the wrong one.  I heard diabetes and had a little panic attack, thinking of the previously spoken of family history.  The hair loss thing didn’t worry me at all.  Bran could donate hair monthly and still have a full head.  I had already decided from whence the weight gain came and it didn’t dawn on me to put it down to a little tiny pill Bran took a couple of times a day.

The transition to Keppra was done over a period of about 5 weeks and it went smoothly.  I noticed that Bran was slimming down and congratulated him on his restraint.  He shrugged.

“Not really doing anything different than what you and Dad drilled into my head at Christmas,” he said.

Well, glad I could be of service, son………

A couple of weeks ago, I walked by Bran as he was hiking up his pants.

“Stupid things won’t stay up anymore,” he said.

Hey……..  Now that he mentioned it, the jeans were hanging on his hips in a bit of a gangsta way.  Bran does not do low slung.  Back when son #2 was wearing his jeans around his knees, held up only by his boxers and the Grace of God, I begged Brandon to take about half a page from his brother’s book.

“Just let your pants sit on your hip bones,” I said.  “That’s why God created them, so your jeans would have a place to rest.”

“It’s not comfortable,” he said.

“Well tell me how it’s comfortable having your pants cinched up under your arm pits.”

They weren’t, of course, up under his arm pits, but they were too high to be fashionable.  It’s an argument Bran and I have been having since he was old enough to put his clothes on himself.  When his sisters were old enough, they started arguing with him too.

“Come on Bran,” they’d beg.  “Just wear what we tell you, how we tell you.  You’re tall and skinny and stuff looks great on you.  Then you hike it up.  You look like Steve Erkel.”

Nothing we said ever convinced him to go all male model.  I stood there looking at him this latest time and thought, crap, all I ever had to do was buy his pants a size too big.  Then it hit me.

“You’ve lost a lot of weight,” I said.

“Yeah,” Bran said.  “Just like the doctor said.”

“He told you you’d lose weight?”

“He thought I looked bloated and that the Divalproax was probably the reason.”

“I didn’t know that.”

“He told you.”

“When?”

“When he told me.”

Ding!

(Other bell)

Divalproax can cause weight gain!  Ohhhhhhhhhhhh!

Yes!  Yes it can!

I was so excited to talk to Mark about my scientific discovery.

“Well, yeah,” he said, when I reported my findings.  “He told me about that.”

“Who?”

“Bran.”

“When?”

“When the doctor switched him and I asked why.”

“Was I there?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“Huh.”

“He’s easier to get along with too,” Mark went on.

“Who?”

“Our son.” He gave me a look.  “Haven’t you noticed.”

“Well yeah, but I kind of put that down to the volunteer job and getting out of the house and walking Lily.”

“I’m sure that helps,” Mark said.  “But Bran has been really, really cooperative and – and nice.

He was right.  Bran had been funny, pleasant – lighthearted even, of late.  His AH moments (to give a clue, AH does not stand for, “ah ha.”  Think about it) had been much fewer and way further between.  It was almost creepy, how nice he’d been.

“Did the doctor say this would happen,” I asked – like I hadn’t been the one at the appointment.  It wasn’t as if I’d remembered much to this point.

“No, but I looked it up on line.”

Of course he did.

“Turns out the stuff Bran was on before can cause moodiness, mood swings and just generally disagreeable behavior.”

This I should have known.

Years ago, when daughter #2 was about 10, she was having migraine headaches.  The pediatrician started her on Depakote.  About three days in, she went from sweet little girl to mini-bitch from hell’s bad side of town.  In a panic, I stopped giving the meds (which I never should have done cold turkey), and within a couple of days she was back to normal.

I just never made the connection between that and the way Brandon behaved.

But I might have – had I what?

That’s right.  Read the list of possible side effects enclosed with the Divalproax.

That piece of paper is not just a bag stuffer.  It’s an important piece of medical information that we, as consumers, patients, parents and advocates need to take seriously.

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Conan O’Brien: Prophet

Yesterday I had a mood swing.  As I hung in the air, floating, in turn, over sadness, terror and desperation, I searched frantically for an epiphany.  Something that would, once again, and quickly, put solid ground back under my quivering legs and shaky feet.

I got Conan O’Brien.

Never let anyone tell you the guy is not prophetic.

Okay, it was the two day old entertainment section of the Arizona Republic I found on the bathroom floor when I went in to brush my teeth – an activity I was forcing myself to perform in spite of my, what’s the frigging point, state of mind.

Conan said he, “acts as if.”

I don’t know what the context was.  I don’t know who was doing the interview.  I just saw those three words and they changed my direction.

I grabbed hold of that rope from which I was suspended, landed on a high branch and swung back through the jungle like I owned it, giving the finger to the muck and mire of negative emotions lying in ugly anticipation below me.

I’ve heard the words before, of course, but they never meant to me, what they did yesterday.

I’m always touting my, I could give a shit less attitude.  It’s not just something I profess to have.  It’s something I believe in.  It’s, some days, my mantra as I attempt to navigate the current state of volatile being.

But it’s not always true.

I let people get to me.  I let things and lack thereof get to me – to the point where I lose what is most important at each and every moment of each and every day.

That is, of course, each and every moment.

When I reached for, and located, that sudden realization of the meaning of life, I didn’t actually expect I’d find it.  And maybe I didn’t.

But I decided to act as if I did.  And that, yesterday and more importantly today, in this very moment, has made all the difference.

Thanks Conan.

Or, you know, Whoever.

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It’s puberty, only backwards…….

Soothing the savage beast….

PMS is behind me for – today.  I think.  I’m not completely sure, because my period hasn’t started, but I believe I heard the entire male population of Gilbert, Arizona breath a collective sigh of relief.  That’s always a good sign.

It was bad this time.  My brain was pulled to places with thoughts so dark, watching a Criminal Minds marathon provided inspirational viewing.  I lay awake, two nights ago, truly believing I was alone in the universe while whining to myself that there were so goddamn many people in the house I couldn’t walk a foot without tripping over one of their asses.

Notice the dazed look behind the glasses……,

I’m not sure PMS is worse now than it was when I was younger.  I’ve had mood swings since child number three.  With the onset of peri-menopause, however, things are no longer scheduled.

There was a time I could, for all intents and purposes, divide my months into thirds.  Ten, “happy,” as in, Oh baby, I’m 50 Shades of happy that you’re home, days.  Ten PMS and cycle days, during which, alcohol and chocolate were procured in bulk and handed carefully to me, or left on trays outside my door by the ones who were terrified of love me most.  The ten regular days, of course, speak for themselves.

My new life is one much harder to predict.  While I am going through puberty backward, it’s anybody’s guess what each day will bring.  One time – fine, last Saturday – I was on the downward swing and didn’t even realize it till I saw Mark staring at a calendar, wringing his hands and muttering something about how it’s only the first week of the month, so why has the crazy woman appeared without warning?  When it dawned on me, who he was talking about, I let my, “swing,” scrape ass on the bottom and reminded him about how helpless I always am in the throes of the, “physiology I sure as hell didn’t invent – which is the one, simple reason I am positive God is not a woman because no woman would ever allow something so shitty to happen to her own sex month after month, year after year.  And as if this is hard on you!  At least you can walk away from me – go ahead I dare you – you don’t have to live in my head.  This crap makes me want to crawl out of my own body just so I can stop listening to what’s rattling around in there.  Things would change if MEN had to ride the goddamned Sybil Train, I can tell you that.  There would be drugs lining the frigging walls of every pharmacy if you bastards had to deal with the uncontrollable emotional side-show a woman becomes at the drop of Mother Nature’s hat!  Viagra, my ass!  And SCREW MOTHER NATURE!”

            Mark’s face was a carefully constructed mask of just enough empathy to seem genuine, enough shock to let me know that I had, indeed, spoken out loud and enough nonchalance to allow me to believe that the rant was reasonable and he agreed with every word.  He looked like he wanted to give me a hug but wasn’t sure he should.

“Could you just hold me,” I said.

He did, patting my shoulder and running his hand up and down my back in a soothing man –

“Did you just touch my ass?”

“What?  No.”

“You touched my ass.”  I pushed out of his embrace and stalked toward the bedroom.  “Just once it would be nice if you could put your arms around me without the thought of how you can get laid uppermost in your mind!”

I slammed our bedroom door and settled in for more criminal profiling with Joe Montagna, the cute as pie geeky kid and the guy who used to be Greg on Dharma and Greg.  An hour later I heard a small commotion outside the door and opened it up to find a pile of chocolate sitting there.

His hand is not on my ass…….

My husband is a survivalist ….  a mind reader …… a smart aleck……  so stinking sweet.

And today I’m better.  Not perfect, but calm enough to do normal things.  I can be trusted to go to the gym and not scream at sweaty guy who, though he carries a towel with him, sees no need to actually use it on the equipment he’s just defiled.  I’ll make it through inventory tonight at work without hurling piles of clothing across the room because the monotony of what we’re doing is slowly rotting my gray matter.  I’ll even stay away from Ion Television and the Criminal Minds reruns I’m addicted to.

I guess this rollercoaster cycle is simply another aspect of life, reminding me to take things on a moment by moment basis.  Give up control.  It is what it is……..

Till, of course, next time.

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