Monday, March 13, 2017

Someday, I Will Tell You All About It

When I wrote about my nervous breakdown, I mentioned how each of my kids had had at least one life event that contributed to my mostly toxic 2016. For a couple of them, it may be a while before I can share them; either they are still too fresh, or they just aren't my stories to tell. At least, not yet. Somethings, though, I will be writing about; because I think my/our experience and survival could be benificial to others.

One main point that I want to share (and I know that this is going to be a no-brainer for some) is that it is perfectly ok to ask for help when you need it. EVERYONE needs helps, sometimes (*not* a no-brainer for everyone) and that is OKAY. If there is something that needs to be done and you just can't get to it, ask for help. Even Jesus delegated tasks to His disciples. I mean, seriously; He had 12 men at His beck and call, who were ready to do what He asked at the drop of a hat! Just let that sink in. ;-)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

I know I gave up Facebook for Lent, but...

...but just sharing or publishing doesn't count if I am doing it remotely and not actually logging in. At least that is the excuse I am going with in order to share my awesome Friday night.

It wasn't anything fancy, although the wine was excellent. It wasn't a raucous party, although I don't think there was more than a minute of quiet the entire evening. It wasn't even planned, but I think that is part of what made it great. I got to go hang out with a girlfriend and what I had originally thought might be an hour or two of chatting turned into about 6 hours of just talking and drinking wine and doing nails and just hanging out. It was awesome.

Thanks, Lynda!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Ash Wednesday blessings

I imagine that not many people who work in any kind of public school are able to say that they received ashes at work, but today, I did just that. I love our charter school. I love that there is "Catholic Club" on Wednesdays at lunch and that there are a good number of students who actually attend. I love that the priest who comes to run the club came prepared to distribute ashes and have a liturgical reading. I love that he let me crash the party today, since I was unsure if I would make it to Mass, tonight.

I also love this meme. (I was a "one-stroke-reload-toner, btw.)

Monday, February 27, 2017

So I had a bit of a breakdown...

*deep through the nose...out through the mouth*

You know,  it's kind of funny how some of us humans will know something is good for us and even admit to wanting that good something, yearning for it, even; yet, we can be so reluctant to actually grasp it or take ownership of it. For me, that tantalizing good, that healthful habit, has been to get back to writing.

This blog started out as a place for me to put into words the thoughts that tumble around in my head, and believe head is a jumbled mess. There is so much in there that needs to get out, but I am a firm believer in "first things first", and I very strongly felt that this post needed to happen before any other new posts. Why? I don't rightly know. I suppose it is because I feel the need to give anyone who might stumble across it some background information for what may or may not come out next. Context can be vital to understanding, and I sincerely hate being misunderstood. The problem is, I have been known to misunderstand myself.

Those close to me know that I have battled depression for decades, now. Like anyone else with any kind of mental illness, my symptoms wax and wane; sometimes with no obvious trigger, but at least with obvious indicators, so that I can say "I am feeling down today" if it isn't a good day. But sometimes it is more than just a day. Or a month. 2016 was just a cruddy year. There were a couple of wonderful highlights that surely helped me make it to this year, but when all was said and done, 2016 sucked.

My hubby and I filed for bankruptcy late in 2015, so 2016 started of with that reality. Each of our four children had at least one major episode of negative/hyper-emotional impact during the year; the first of which occurred in March 2016. And, actually, that same child had had an event right at the tail end of 2015, so that also helped start of the year with a bang. I don't even remember exactly when the next offspring episode occurred, although it was technically a continuation and heightening of a "preexisting condition", but it was sometime during Spring or Summer.

During the Summer, we grieved with my brother and his family as they buried a child. Toward the end of Summer, we nearly lost my mother to a heart attack. Not long after school started, the next offspring episode erupted, followed a few weeks later by the next, and quite possibly biggest of them all.

I think it should be no wonder, then, that I had a nervous breakdown at the end of October. I am extremely fortunate that the second charge of those explosives were discharged in front of some of my adult family members, as we discussed the  consequences of the then most recent life event of one of my offspring. I was made to promise that I would go to my doctor, which I did, just a few days later. Which was a good thing, because my kids weren't done making 2016 interesting.

At some point, I intend to write more about what my depression was like for me this last year, because I want others to be able read and understand that they are not alone when they go through these things. I also want to help make those without this kind of mental illness aware of what we sometimes go through and how bad things can get without some people even being aware. Many of us are very good at hiding our mental illness from the world and that really isn't a good thing. Except for those who witnessed it,  most people in my life would never have known about my breakdown if I had not told them.

With all of this finally said, I will call it a night; a night in which I expect I will get decent sleep, since I won't have this oversized jumble of thoughts tumbling around in my head. Which also means that the other jumbled up thoughts will likely start pouring out more rapidly. If you are still reading, thank you, and know that I appreciate you and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Birthday, USA!

Every year on the 4th of July, we make the trek down to the end of our block to watch the annual American Canyon parade. I love that our little city has such pride for her nation! Many of the city trees have yellow ribbons, there is a permanent sign outside of city hall that states "American Canyon supports our troops", and in addition to the parade there is always a big festival at the park right down the street. Our fireworks display is, in my opinion, better than the one our neighbors to the north (Napa, CA) have from their city, too.

It may be because I am a "76er", it may be the example of my parents, but I love our nation. No, we aren't perfect, but we are Americans, and as messed up as our country can seem to be, it is a heck of a lot better than most of the world. So, happy birthday, USA!

Friday, March 7, 2014

My Weekend Away

I struggled with what I should title this post. Weekend of Freedom? Two Days in Paradise? Mommy Who? The Two Best Days I Have Had In Like...Almost Forever?!? Since some of my children, and maybe even my spouse might ready this, I figured I shouldn't rejoice too much over my time away from them, but the truth of the matter is, I think it was probably as much for their good as for my own. The irony is, none of it was supposed to be about me.

A couple of years ago, my friend Nicola asked me if I could recommend any Catholic schools in the area, since she was considering pulling her kids out of public school. She researched and I asked around, and she settled on St. Dominic's in Benicia, CA. Several months ago, she asked me if my parish had an RCIA program, because she was thinking about becoming Catholic and she hadn't yet heard back from the program director at her kids' school. By the time I got her the information, she had heard back and was under way in her classes. A few months ago I got a text that read "So, I guess we are supposed to have a sponsor. Would you consider being mine?" (Or something very close to that.) My answer was, of course, YES!

I was so honored. Really, truly, touched. I have God children that were entrusted to me as infants. I have a God daughter who requested me to be her Confirmation sponsor as a teenager. I have a full-grown, made-the-decision-to-do-this-all-by-herself adult who has asked me to be with her on her spiritual journey. I am so incredibly blessed.

When Nicola first told me that there was going to be a retreat for the RCIA candidates and their sponsors, I got the impression that she was worried that I wouldn't want or be able to come. (I keep forgetting to ask you, Nic, if this is true.) She mentioned it a few times after that first invitation, each time making sure to say that she would take care of every needed for the retreat, and each time I got the mental image of a girl slightly bouncing on the balls of her feet as she waited for an answer to a question that she really wasn't sure what the answer would be. This could very well have all been in my head, but I did my best to make sure she knew I would be there for her. She was eventually reassured, and even sent me a text the day before we left that said "17 hours until freedom!!!" because at this point we had already had the conversation that no, it is not a bad thing that we were looking forward to getting away from our kids.

Nicola has been away from her kids before, but it is usually for work. The last time I was away from my kids was for my grandmother's funeral, nearly 4 years ago. So excited about the prospect was I, that I willingly got up at the crack of dawn. Granted, I had been promised Starbucks, so it wasn't totally selfless.

I learned my first lesson of the weekend from that cup of coffee...don't hold the cup between your knees to adjust your coat or seat-belt. Fortunately my wool coat was on my lap and took most of the mess (which magically rolled off and didn't leave a mark) and for the rest, it was dry by the time we got there. Poor Nicola. It was totally not her fault but she was so worried!

The rest of the drive down to Menlo Park was less eventful, at least until we passed the entrance for the Facebook headquarters.
Yes, I took a picture. Yes, I found it hilarious that the address is "1 Hacker way".

We were soon in the neighborhood of the Vallombrosa Center, where the retreat was held. We got a little lost. BUT, in this day and age of GPS and smart phones, it didn't last long. While we were figuring out where we needed to be, we decided to take a look at the nearby homes for sale app that Nic has on her phone, because every single property we passed was just beautiful and enormous. We did find a single property for under $1,000,000...a cozy 700 sq ft apartment. Yeah.

(Okay, I have been meaning to finish this post for over a year...bad blogger, I know. Part of the reason it has been so long is the fact that the login for this blog platform is a pain in the tuckus. I primarily use Gmail and it won't let you log in with a Gmail account. Which means using the Yahoo address that I haven't used in years. Anyway, I will do what I can to remember all the thoughts that were in my head when I started.)

One thing we did on day one was take some time to wander the grounds. I have a few pictures that I will add on, of some amazing fungi. 

Another activity was to take an oversized piece of paper and write down anything and everything that was weighing on our hearts. At first I wasn't sure what I would write down, but I finally found something. Then I found another, and another, and soon my page was full of things thay I had long forgotten but that had always been an irritation on my subconscious. You know the kinds of things I am talking about; memories that will float to your mind on nights when you can't sleep or thoughts that will seep in when you are dealing with some other grief. These and other things that were too present in my mind, all found way to that paper. 

Later that night, we had a ceremony where each of the candidates and sponsors stood in a circle and added our papers to a bier. The priest who was guiding our retreat said some prayers and then we all watched in silence as they burned down to ashes. It was the most cleasning and freeing experience I have ever had. 

There were so many other wonderful moments that weekend and a few weeks later when my friend and all of her fellow candidates were initiated at the Easter Vigil Mass, which is probably my favorite ceremony of the Church calendar; I love the symbolism of all the candles lighting up the night, and so much more. 

So now that I have finally added to this post that was begun so many months ago, I think it is time to wrap it up. I know that this was long, so if you are still here...yay!

Monday, February 3, 2014

I think I need to go buy some Coca Cola

You know what? Americans can be pretty stupid. Not only did a lot of people "tweet" saying the Coca Cola ad featured our national anthem, but even those who recognize the difference between "America the Beautiful" and "The Star Spangled Banner" were going off about parts of the song being sung in different languages. Wow. I guess America should no longer be a beacon of shining light that people from all over the world will look to for safety and sanctuary. I get that English is our language (though how many citizens are aware that when our founding fathers voted, we were only a small handful of votes shy of being a German-speaking nation?) but does that mean that people of other backgrounds can't use their native tongue to express how beautiful our country is??? I guess that beauty is only topographical, right now. 

It's funny, when you think about it. A lot of my ancestry is Irish, and they spoke English when they came to America, but people who had already been here were very much anti-Irish because they were coming here and "taking all the jobs". People would refuse to hire "micks", telling them to go back to Ireland. (Sound familiar, my Latino friends?) We have become too greedy a people; we are no longer willing to share our "American dream" with others.

My ideas about immigration have certainly changed over the years, I would like to think for the better, and that could be a whole new rant. I think I had better save that for another post, though, since I do have to get to work.