Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I will not think that, Sam I am

Trying for a Dr. Seuss spin on my title here. 'Cause feeling kinda Dr. Seuss-ish.

Spoke with friend. She unloaded. I tried to help. I think I did help. Wasn't too bad, felt like she felt better from relieving emotional pressure, I felt better for having been there for her, and I also got that wonderful and stupid self-inflated ego from feeling like maybe I gave her good advice and an objective opinion.

[Yeah, right. And for my next trick...]

That wasn't so bad. I think it wasn't so bad because, although I felt for her, I wasn't so close to the problem that I started to feel it WITH her. I have to be careful of that, 'cause it's really easy for me to stress myself out over other people's problems.

Then I talked to Mom. She did some unloading. Nothing I can really effect change upon. I'm not sure she really de-stressed. And for some reason, family unloading doesn't seem as synergistic as friend unloading. Or at least, mother-daughter unloading seems merely to pass the load. One party may feel better, the "recipient" is however ready to pull hair out.

It may be in part that my empathy circuits were already starting to tap out. Not sure. Or that I simply worry too much about my elderly parents.

Trying not to OCD over Mom's stuff. Trying to do the whole wise serenity thing:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference."

Trying not to let Mom's feelings become my feelings. Well, that's not the right way to say it: I agree with Mom's feelings. Trying not to let myself over-feel them, and then carry them around with me as burdens. It won't help Mom. Yes, be empathic. No, do not allow Mom's feelings to stress me out such that I give Mom a new loved-one to worry about! :)

Trying also to be mindful of my thoughts. "Be mindful of your feelings, young padawan." Heh.

My husband told me about the plight of a friend of his. This friend is trapped by an uncaring bureaucratic part of the government. Yeah, I know: that's most of the government! But I want to protect the innocent, and not piss off the guilty here. :) Anyway, I got all worked up about it. The story was supposed to be funny, because the whole situation is thick with irony. But it's meaning this guy has about 6 months of jumping through hoops, and forced travel every week. It's not clear how much of this he will have to pay for. And no, it's not something that he deserves... it's not something he's at fault for!

I totally got worked up about it. Wanted to go call people, yell at people, do whatever I could to somehow ease his burden. I totally ran with the ball. It's not necessarily my fight, and although I consider it (and I believe my husband's friend considers it) a hardship, it's one of those things that is probably better left alone. Is fighting it going to improve things in the long run? Is not fighting it going to mean my husband's friend gets run over worse? Can I even help out? And should I really be allowing myself to become stressed out over it in the first place? [Calm blue ocean... calm blue ocean... ]

I mean, my husband's friend has decided to see the humor in it. It's basically either that or cry.

And truly, if I asked him if he wanted my help, (a) would he really want me involved, and (b) what could I actually do??

I need to live in the moment, and not in my mentally manufactured sense of powerless indignation. I need to remind myself that there are some things that my OCD is good for, like pursuing software bugs or ensuring I've covered all the bases when making software changes. But my OCD is not good when it's becomes involved in my empathetic nature. Because when it gets involved there, if I am not careful, it goes destructive on me and not constructive. I run with the ball. And I never really make a touch-down... I just keep running. :P

For example, my OCD will have me live out arguments in advance of them even happening. The argument may never even happen in the first place, but I will project and worry ahead, and literally stress myself out to the point that it's as if I had the actual confrontation or argument.

And my OCD will make me second guess what I've said. Did that person take what I said the right way? Do those people over there now think I'm crazy 'cause I made that weird comment? Must remember to apologize to so-and-so since I now think what I said came out too harshly.

OCD is great for regurgitating the past, and finding real or imagined mistakes. OCD is also great for projecting yourself into an imagined, worst-case-scenario future. OCD is not great for serenity.

But, OCD is great for writing software, as I've said, as long as you know when to draw the line, when to keep it in check. And I'm sure there are other career fields where OCD is a good thing.

Just got to keep the beasty in it's place, where it is helpful and not hurtful. Heel! Heel, I say!

I will not think that, Sam I am.
I will not think that in my car, I will not think that near or far.
I will not think that in a bus. I will not think to make a fuss.

I will not... great, now I'm OCD'ing about Dr. Seuss related OCD rhymes! ;)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Do what now?

There's this one cartoon show that took me a while to warm up to, but once I did, I was gangbusters for it. It's called "Aqua Team Hunger Force". The characters include Master Shake, Frylock, and Meatwad.

In one episode, Frylock asks Meatwad to roll around in some broken glass, then go out into the ocean and poke a hole in this giant balloon animal that has sorta become alive, and is shocking/destroying stuff through it's huge static electric charge. In order to ensure that Meatwad is buoyant, Frylock removes Meatwad's brain. This sounds horrendous, but Meatwad has simply enveloped a toy, plastic brain that he's glued pieces of macaroni to, and has convinced himself that this brain is really his own brain. [Meatwad, btw, is a big wad of hamburger meat, if you hadn't figured it out already. Although, he also has two eyes, a single tooth, and a perpetual smile, unlike most wad's of hamburger meat. :) ]

After removing Meatwad's brain, I think Frylock throws Meatwad into the ocean to a location just a little bit away from the balloon monster.

Come to find out, this plastic brain apparently does somehow hold Meatwad's intelligence. In spite of Frylocks explaining the task several times, and Meatwad subsequently yelling back that he understands, about a few seconds after this interchange, Meatwad yells back "do what now?"

I had a very "Do what now?" moment today. And it's reminded me of several other days with very high quantities of "Do what now?"

Let's start chronologically.

(1) 11 years old, 6th grade Halloween. I wear a costume to school... a dragon mask I've made, a purple cape from some other costume, white top, white gloves, and white legitards. I think I was going as the dragon "Ruth" from Anne McAfrey's "The White Dragon", one of her Pern books.

My Mom was too tired to properly see me off before I went to school. It was only once I was in school that the other children made sure to inform me of my tragic mistake: I should have worn shorts over the legitards. The little flowers in my panties were visible!

That evening, the situation was rectified. But my ego would never be the same! :)

Skipping forward MANY years... not because there weren't other mindblowingly stupid incidents, but more that I seem to have blocked out everything else from my childhood. I wonder why....

(2) 28 or so years old At my Boyfriend's Sister's wedding. Someone asked me to help out by filming the ceremony while he/she took pictures and/or was in the ceremony themselves. I couldn't get the whole scene into frame nicely. I actually rotated the video camera 90 degrees, the way you would a regular camera, for several minutes during the ceremony... until my Boyfriend's urgent (and recorded) whispers broke through the fog that is my brain!

Sometime later that year, we're all (recently married Sister included) sitting at my Boyfriend's parents house, watching the wedding video... and leaning our heads to the left in order to watch the tilted part! [Have yet to live THAT one down...]

(3) 37 years old Between 15 and 16 hours ago. My Husband's Aunt's Husband's funeral. :( I hug my Aunt-in-law, crying in spite of my attempt to remain strong. The funeral hasn't started yet. I walk back to find my Husband a few pews back, then realize I'd totally spaced on hugging my Husband's Mom. I turn around, walk back, and in the course of navigating back to my Mother-in-law, I manage to swing a leg under one of the tripod's legs... the tripod that is holding a poster picture of my recently deceased Uncle-in-Law!

One of his Son's picked up the poster-picture while I reset the tripod and apologized profusely and with great embarrassment.

Made my way over to my Mother-in-Law, who was gently teasing me about it by saying stuff I was within earshot to hear. :) I hug her and say "I'm just the plucky, comic relief". :)

At least I'm learning better come-back lines when I do stuff like that!

FYI, in spite of what a goofball I can be, the boyfriend during the second to last incident is now my husband. Yes, he's still speaking to me in spite of the most recent incident. ;)

Really. I swear... my roots are NOT blond!

Monday, April 03, 2006


Can't sleep. Got leg twitches. Am waiting for some Vitamin B to calm that. And took Advil PM to ensure would sleep at a semi-decent time tonight... the first official night of daylight savings time.

Last week, talked to my Mom. She told this very sweet tale about how Dad comforted her through a heart attack recently, by holding her close and telling her funny stories from his childhood. She and he laughed hysterically. Her chest pains went away.

She's done the emergency room thing a bit too much, I guess. She's been having chest pains that she just rides out instead of going to the hospital.

She has an appointment to see her pace-maker guy, and the nurse of her new cardiologist, on April 10th. Asked her to please be sure to bring up the recent incidents of chest pain. Would like her to know if she can safely take aspirin (she's on alot of meds as it is), or possibly have some other medication on hand for when she's having a chest pain incident. Thinking of those movies where the guy grabs his chest, asks for his meds, and some kind soul goes to grab the meds and water so he can take them. [Unless of course it's more of a murder-mystery situation, in which case the victim usually doesn't get his meds in time!]

Hoping she'll be given a prescription of nitro or whatever to have on hand for the next time she once again refused to go to the ER.

My husband is on travel all next week. He's bummed on that. And Sunday afternoon we found out his uncle passed away Friday evening.

I feel like shit about it. My husband and I took some awesome pictures of his uncle and aunt's 50th wedding anniversary, at which they renewed their vows. I think this was back in 2002. I put the pics up on one of our websites, and then tried to spread the word to our family about their location. When I went to talk to his aunt and uncle, found out that their internet connection was dialup, and that their computer was fairly ancient as well... so perhaps it would be the bottleneck instead of their internet connection! I don't think they even tried to look at the pics.

A friend of my Mom asked me early last week for some doggy pictures... she wanted to frame one and give it to my Mom for her birthday, which was last Wednesday. I went to Costco to get some printed up. And it occurred to me, while I was there, that I really should finally get those 50th anniversary pics printed out for my uncle and aunt in-laws. You know, it had been 4 years... it felt like it was definitely TIME!

Shit. Too damned late. This task basically got lost in my bottomless todo lists. And I let it go.

I had a chance to maybe get this to them in time before my uncle-in-law passed.


So, Monday am plotting the following tasks:
1. Finally get the 50th Wedding anniversary pics printed out, put in a nice album, and specially blowing one of them up and framing it. Delivering all, with a card, to my aunt-in-law, with flowers and heartfelt sympathy from me and from my husband.

2. Tattling on my Mom to the people in charge of her heart health. Maybe they will say that it will be ok, that it can wait until she goes to visit them on the 10th. And that they will be sure to bring it up if she doesn't, so they can suggest either medications she should have on hand... or slap her on the wrist for not going to the ER!

3. Taking funny movies over to my parent's place, and watching them with Mom, and hopefully also Dad if he isn't too tired. [He is 83 and still has to work in order to support the two of them! They've had terrible financial upheaval in their lives. :P]

Mom is 77. I know she's had a good run. But I'd really like to see both Mom and Dad stay on the planet for another 5 years at least!

Anyway, have been a little rattled of late. Done some bit of crying. Done some bit of regretful thinking. And worse: I keep running scenarios in my head where I've just heard that my Mom has died.

[No thanks to watching way too much Law and Order, at least one of those scenario's involves me finding out Mom just died because I'm being arrested for her murder! And no, I have no desire to kill my Mom. Throttle her senseless for not taking better care of herself and for ironically how she over-mothered me, but otherwise no desire to commit matricide, thanks.]

Is matricide the right word? I know patricide exists, and am 99.999% certain it means killing your Dad.

Thanks to my Sister's continual reminders, since 1990, that "this might be their last Christmas", I got to the point of finally ignoring my Sister's warnings. I just wasn't able to maintaining that high level of anxiety right around Christmas every year! Christmas has to be perfect each year because this one might be their last? Having that thought re-iterated for the past 16 years? No thanks. But this year, she might be right.

I am SO not ready.