Friday, February 26, 2010

Happy Friday, bring on the weekend!


I don't know about you, but I don't want to work. I'm TIRED!! I need a break. I need to play.

I think I need a night of Karoke, some warm weather and a day at the beach. Who's with me? Come on, let's go!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Tender Madness

That old bugaboo snuck up on me again today. I should have known it was coming from the lack of sleep and the feelings of being overwhelmed. In my defense, it was easy to miss, because I actually am overwhelmed with work and have every reason to feel that way. My sinuses were acting up as well, so it was easy to explain away my insomnia to trouble breathing at night.

However, when I was sitting at my desk eating lunch today, I could feel it dripping from my head, into my veins and snake its way throughout my body. I'm enjoying my lunch, reading e-mails and blogs and suddenly have this overwhelming urge to cry. I immediately wonder what I'm upset about as the frustration and sadness rear up and become stronger.

It's then that I recognize the insidious progression, like ice water on a hot day, you can feel it run down your throat and through your chest. Well, I could feel the toxic chemicals creeping through my body, causing me to feel things that were out of place. I wasn't sad. I didn't need to cry, yet I was on the verge of it anyway. Some people, when they think of depression, they think of the outer image of depression, hunched over, sad, crying, etc.

For me, ever since my early 20s, when that outer image starts to form, I pull back, deep inside myself and examine what I'm feeling. I sit still, deep inside myself and examine the progression of the toxic chemicals and wait for their effect.

It starts in the brain. I feel sad, want to cry, feel overwhelmed, forgetful. Then it melts out of the brain and progresses down the spine. My shoulders feel tired, achy, then I take a deep breath and sigh. I feel so tired. It's an effort to breath, to stay awake. Then it progresses to the gut, sometimes I'm hungry, I have to eat, eat to feel better, feel full, feel like I matter. Other times its a feeling of inadequacy, of panic, of not being good enough. I need to hide, to take flight. Then it's down to the legs, sometimes they're heavy, it's an effort just to sit, maybe I should lie down. Maybe I should sleep. Other times, they're antsy, panicked almost. I need to run, hide, something's after me, I'm going toward manic. There's so much to do, not enough time to do it and everyone will be judging me. I need to move.

After sitting inside and feeling the changes in my body as the toxic brain chemicals work their way through, then I go back to my brain and try to re-program the message. I'm not really sad, that's the brain chemicals talking. It's like being on a bad drug, a bad trip. If I just keep breathing and don't do anything stupid, I will get through this.

I tell myself it's okay to take a nap when this happens, if I feel tired and think I might actually sleep. I also tell myself, it's okay to run, to get that manic energy out and do something productive with it, because if I exercise, that changes the brain chemicals too, changes the message I'm receiving and helps put me on the new track emotionally.

So this is what I've been doing for years when the depression hits. My own internal psychotherapy and talking myself past what I feel. I tell myself, none of these feelings are real, and with time, they will pass. I used to be at the mercy of these brain chemicals, I'm not anymore. It's gotten to be so second nature to me to automatically reprogram the message when the depression hits, that sometimes I don't notice when it starts and when I'm reprogramming.

Today I noticed because I was sitting still, my mind was clear and I was able to focus on the feelings as they progressed through my body with the brain chemicals. I think I'm posting this, not because I'm depressed. No, I'm fine and dealing with it has become old hat. I'm posting this to see if anyone else recognizes this when it happens to them and if they deal with it in the same way. I know it's much worse for some people and medication is the only way they can function when it happens, but for me, luckily, I'm managing to control it through willpower and self-examination. How do you deal with it?

What depression feels like

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

We're "this" close...

Today's CNN website reports that thanks to a
Facebook Petition we're "this" close to getting Betty White to host SNL. (full story) They're working on getting other women in comedy to help her host, so that the whole 90 minute show won't rest on her being in most skits. Okay, she is 88 years old and I'm willing to give a little to get a little. GO BETTY!!

(previous Betty White blog post)

Betty White Super Bowl Commercial:

Embrace Life Seatbelt Ad

I just saw this Story on CNN and was impressed by the video. Would this move you to wear a seatbelt?

Laugh Why Don't You?

My sister, B, sent me this video clip. It made me laugh out loud. Wouldn't you want to do this too?
<a href="http://www.cmt.com/video/" target="_blank">Tom Mabe: Eavesdropping</a>

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Taylor Swift Music Review

So if you haven't been living under a rock, you've probably heard of Taylor Swift and seen that she's been having an amazing year professionally. For those of you who have heard her sing live or with someone (Stevie Nicks, Miley Cyrus, etc.) you might have asked yourself, "how the heck did she get a record deal? The girl can't sing!" Well, yes and no.

The girl can sing, though she doesn't have a strong voice, and when they clean up her voice in the studio, she sounds SO much better. She's much better at harmonizing with people than singing live, alone. Now, with all that said, yes there are better singers out there, but we should all know by now that with the exception of a fluke like Susan Boyle it takes more than talent to be in show business.

You have to be a total package, looks, talent, marketability, versatility, etc. This is why Taylor Swift is currently so successful. She is unquestionably beautiful, she writes or co-writes all of her songs, and they are definitely good, catchy tunes with universal themes we can relate to. If you caught her on Saturday Night Live you will have noted some impressive comedic ability, and on top of all that, she's got this contagious, quirky sense of humor where she doesn't take herself or her boyfriends too seriously. Here are 3 clips from when she hosted SNL not too long ago:

Monologue

The View skit

Twilight skit

So now on to the music. Her mega hit album this past year was called Fearless, and not only did it make a lot of music critics' best of 2009 lists, to their great surprise, I've been listening to it and have been very impressed that this kind of music and lyric writing have come from someone so young.

A good example of one of her more bubblegum pop efforts is "You belong with me." Take a look at the music video:

You will have noticed she played both the girlfriend and the neighbor girl. It's a universal theme for teenagers, and some adults. You want someone who's already taken, but you just know you're better for that person than who they are currently with. It also has the fairytale happy ending to go with the catchy tune.

Then she has songs that are so observant, self-aware, that you're taken aback and for myself personally, I wonder why it took me until my 30s to achieve selflessness, and awareness of others around me. Two of her songs from Fearless demonstrate this well. The first is a tribute to her mom, in "Best Day," and the other is "At 15."





I like "15" because she covers all the stuff we remember from the early teens, the pain, the worry, and is close enough to remember it all afresh, yet at the same time, she is just far enough past it and has the maturity to realize the choices that are made, are carried with you and really, those early experiences help form the adult you will become, so good or bad, take them with you on your journey, learn from them and hey, maybe write a song for other teens to help them make it through.

All in all, I _really_ like this album. Most of the music is simple and catchy, the lyrics range from simple to deep to really smart ass. There's a lot of good in this album and I highly recommend it. Also, for some added entertainment, if you get the album, take note of all the odd capitalized letters, some say there's a hidden message in there, not to mention the smart ass message to all her former boyfriends, that she did warn them...

Taylor Swift YouTube Channel

Betty White on Saturday Night Live


Betty White

So hopefully you saw my recent post about my favorite Super Bowl Commercial featuring Betty White. Blog Post

Apparently that commercial sparked a lovefest for Betty. People were reminded that she is such an enduring and endearing character and has been a part of the American cultural scene for so long, that we cherish her and want to see more of her.


Following on that thought, someone thought about other jobs or roles Betty could fill. One was as a Host for the NBC series "Saturday Night Live." Well, that sparked a lot of discussion. CNN Story

It also sparked a movement to get Betty a host job at SNL. Now there's a Facebook "friending"/petition afoot in an attempt to get Lorne Michaels attention and get Betty on SNL. Facebook Petition

Reports are that Betty isn't taking it seriously, but that Lorne Michaels is keeping track of the numbers on Facebook to see how many people want to see Betty on SNL. Well I for one want to see Betty on SNL. If you do too, please add your name to the Facebook list or send Lorne Michaels an e-mail (below) and ask him to put her on as Host. Who knows how much longer she'll be around, and she has such great comedic timing and willingness to do just about anything, that I think she'd be a massive hit for the show and get viewers to tune in again. I'd stay up late to see Betty on SNL. Huffington Post article

Contact NBC SNL

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Sharona

Doug Fieger, lead singer of The Knack died yesterday. Story

The Knack did "My Sharona," "Good Girls Don't," among many other hits. M's band does "My Sharona" and I think it's such a cool, timeless song. Here's a clip from the movie, _Reality Bites_:




Here's the band doing it for a show.




Good Girls Don't

Thanks for the music Doug.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you are spending it with someone you love and that they treat you really well, not just on this day, but everyday. M surprised me, which is not that easy. First, I don't really care for the whole candy and flowers thing. It's okay, but I'm not a big candy eater and most candy for me for any holiday goes to waste. So I told M that the Taylor Swift CD would be a good substitute for me. Well, she goes off to go shopping and is gone for hours and I can't figure out where she's gone. When she eventually returns and we exchange Valentine's cards and gifts, I open the CD and it has a remote control sitting on top of it. I knew immediately what it was. See, the place where I do all my singing like a rock star is in the car. I LOVE my 6 CD system in there, but sadly, it broke a few weeks back and I've been without singing music since then. She went out and had a new CD player installed in the car. Woo-hoo! It's got great volume too, so I can sing at the top of my lungs. The only thing that spoiled it was when she said, "we're all going to have to suffer for this gift." What?! ;-)

Happy Birthday to my now 18 year old son. *sigh* This was the only non-blurry picture I could get of him. He didn't want me to take his picture.




His sister made him a really tasty chocolate cake with an ice cream and crushed oreo cookie center. She also made him a birthday card, the front was her rendition of one of his game controllers.

The inside was a list of all the things he could do now that he's 18, a lot of which I'd just as soon not have him do. *sigh again* So we're coming down the home stretch. He's been accepted to a couple of colleges, already been offered a small scholarship to one. The fates be willing, he will be out of the house at the end of the summer and then I can examine this whole "empty nest syndrome" that others have lamented. So wish me luck in getting the last one out of the house and off to start his own life.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Digging Out

So our community continues the daunting task of digging out after two snow storms one week apart. All this, while a new storm heads our way calling for 4-8 more inches of wet heavy stuff. *sigh* We began shoveling off our porch roof from the second floor windows today, fearful that the weight of all this snow could bring the roof down. M and I estimate we removed about 100 pounds of ice and snow and really only got about 1/4 of it off.

This place is a mess! We live in a flat, coastal area that _never_ gets more than a dusting to an inch of snow. I think we have 18-26 inches piled up in our yard now. We don't have enough plows to clear all of this snow. Our City is now hiring individuals to begin plowing. We and our neighbors paid an individual to plow our side street this weekend because its been snowed and iced in for 2 weeks and the City couldn't get to it. If not for our 4-wheel drive, we wouldn't have been able to get off our street. We never could have envisioned that our beach buggy would be used so much for snow! Right at the end of our power outage this past weekend, we ran really long extension cords to a neighbor's house (who had power) to plug in our refrigerator. I spoke to her today and she said in light of the coming storm, let's leave the cord in place so whoever still has power can help out the other one and we won't have to be climbing through snow drifts in the dark again to get it hooked up. Good neighbors can be life savers and we've got some great ones. Hope you all are fairing better this winter.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

OMG People, OMG

First, I would like to thank Tweety and Tshsmom for all those nice thoughts, wishing I would get snow, because we never get any here, and I do love a good snow. So, thank you. Now cut it out! We've got 8 plus inches of very wet, heavy snow. It's still snowing right now and we're supposed to get another 10-12 inches.

We lost power last night when the tree branches, weighed down by snow, fell across the power lines, causing a transformer to explode and darkening our street. Other power lines are down, power is out all over the city. There are no plows on the streets clearing them at all. I don't know why. Thank goodness for our 4-wheel drive, we made a run to Wal-Mart to get batteries and non-perishable food stuff.

So we have no power. That's okay, this is when my collection of oil lamps comes in handy. We still have running and hot water because that's on gas, not electric. The university, a block away, has emergency power, thus this post and an opportunity to recharge the cell phones, because the land line phones are out too. Well, I need to get back home and start pulling wood out of the shed, since we'll be using our fireplace to heat the house when the temps drop later tonight and the high winds pay us a visit. It's supposed to freeze tonight and we expect the remaining tree limbs and power lines to come down next. We lost some branches on our Holly tree in the side yard and our neighbor lost almost one entire side of his pine tree. I think we're going to be setting a record here for snowfall. We just don't get stuff like this here. Good thing M and I are both northerners and had the foresight to keep our ski pants, big boots, etc. We're going to be fine. Later!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Snowman Drummer

The teenage boy next door is an avid drummer. I walked by his house yesterday afternoon and saw that he stepped away from his drums long enough to build a snowman. It made me smile.

Film Meme

Naomi over at Old Lady of the Hills has done a film meme that I thought I'd try. You're supposed to name three classic moments in films that made you buy something or think something or do something that maybe you shouldn't have.

I don't know if I'll follow this exactly, or just focus on 3 films that impacted me in some way.

As a child, I loved Saturday and Sunday either really early in the morning or late afternoons if I could get in front of the t.v. set to watch old black and white movies. Anything that included any of the Barrymore siblings (Ethel, Lionel, John) was perfect for me.

Portrait of Jenny(1948) starring Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotton, and Ethel Barrymore.


I came across a film with Ethel Barrymore in it one day and sat down to watch. Now, not only was this a good movie, it "spoke" to me. I completely identified with the storyline and the main character, "Jenny." As a young child, I felt out of place, in my family, in my town, my time. I don't know why, but I always felt like I was born too soon or too late. I didn't fit in my time period. So when I saw Portrait of Jenny and the little girl recites the lines: "Where I came from, nobody knows, and where I am going everyone goes." I was hooked, because even as a child, I felt like, I was somewhere special before I was born, but nobody knew it, and that I held some secret about life, death, time, and knew where we'd all be going eventually. Yes, I was an odd child, very odd child. Anyway, I digress.

So Portrait of Jenny is a David O. Selznick movie about a little girl (Jenny) and a starving artist (Eben). When Eben first meets Jenny, she's a little girl. Each subsequent time he runs into Jenny, she appears to have grown up more quickly than is normal. Jenny asks Eben to wait for her while she grows up. What Eben doesn't discover until the end of the movie is that Jenny is from another time and has already lived and died before his lifetime. Jenny keeps coming to him through time. This spoke to my out of place and time feelings. It also spoke to the hopeless romantic in me that true love transcended time and space. Which also triggered my thirst for reading fantasy and time travel literature, which really didn't need much prodding but this movie helped it just the same. For me as a child, to know that some adult wrote this story, made me know I wasn't alone. Someone else thought this, believed this, maybe even experienced it. Maybe there was something to it.

Brigadoon (1954) with Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, and Van Johnson also had this "love transcending space and time" theme to it and is another of my favorite movies.

Okay, onto the second movie that impacted me (not necessarily in any chronological order)

Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

This movie is a life saver for a young child growing up in a difficult home who not only felt out of place and time, but at times wished she'd never been born. The message of this movie was important to me as a child, and even more so as a young adult when I faced a number of my own George Bailey moments. Each life is important, and each one of us, no matter how insignificant we believe we are, we matter to the people and the community around us.

Now, just to show you I'm not all serious and in my head, and as nod to Naomi's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" sunglasses, when I saw this next movie, I had to have the red shoes!

Candies brand made the shoes, but of course there were no red shoes at any stores near me, so I had to settle for the sedate tan shoes.












How are you supposed to be a teenaged sexpot and drive a particular HS Quarterback to distraction in tan shoes I ask you?! Ugh! I survived and the shoes eventually broke. Oh well, at least for a little while I pulled off the Olivia Newton-John look PG-13 style. :-)

'Tis the season

My grading stress is currently somewhere between these two places.