Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Little Dose of Schadenfreude (for everyone else)


My last week has been, by every measurement, terrible.

It all started last Thursday when I went over to my brother's house to hang out with my parents and my nieces and nephews. Which started out pretty normal. Arguing over ordering Chinese food, watching movies full of adorably annoying characters that happen to speak the same language as my nephew (primarily consisting of fruit names, colors, and Bob), and keeping the baby out of the dog's food and water, this despite the fact that the only time he wasn't completely put out was when he was happily munching and splashing away.

Shortly after we had sat down to a nice plate of lo mein and bbq pork my mom got a call to pick up the kids from piano lessons because they were sick. Long story short, less than an hour later found me wiping vomit off the bathroom wall and floor. I'd like to say I'm long suffering and unfailingly kind, but anyone who reads this most likely know me so they'd see through the BS. I did it because my mom just had surgery and my dad has bad knees and I didn't know how long until my brother would get home and the only thing worse than wiping someone else's cookies off the wall is having to scrub off dried-on hurl.

Friday was uneventful. I worked from home (from my parent's home actually since I was visiting), went shoe shopping with my mom, and then ordered pizza and root beer and ate that while watching The Decoy Bride with my grandma. Which seems unimportant but is key to the following paragraphs.

Saturday morning started off normally. I was up early, ate pizza for breakfast, and headed over to the church building to help clean with my parents. Yeah, that's right. I'm never around to clean the building I go to, but I helped clean theirs. There could be a problem here but with my impending move I've lost the ability to care. During all this I felt . . . off. Shortly thereafter I was lying on the couch reliving all the times I've ever thrown up in an effort to stave off the inevitable. Some part of me, a virus addled part, thought that maybe I could talk myself out of it. There was a lot of material to work through. With a stomach issue through high school and college that's a lot of chunks to analyze. Many, many episodes of the worst show ever written. With some particularly memorable times. Like the time I realized my shirt was on inside out when I was throwing up before early morning seminary. Or that one time on the bus. Or experiences that aren't even my own but are so hysterically terrible that I hear it vividly in the original tellers voice, "and then I lost control of my bowels". This is probably the real reason I cleaned up the children's barf. Throwing up is awful and you already feel like absolute poop without having to feel guilty that someone else had to clean up your sick. It's really no big deal. Except throwing up is awful and I didn't want to do it. Besides that, all I had eaten was pizza and I like pizza and I want to continued liking pizza because pizza is bae.

Hoping that my sick body's inability to control my internal temperature might allow me to trade hurling for hypothermia, I attempted to delay the ultimate outcome by resting on the cold bathroom floor. I eventually succumbed to the inevitable. That is, after carefully wiping down the porcelain idol I was doomed to worship. I've learned over the years that it really does matter what you are throwing up because somethings are just worse than others. Pizza is not good. Well, nothing is good to throw up because it's freaking vomiting and it sucks majorly, but some things are definitely worse than others. Also, pizza with extra sauce is initially terrifying because you start to wonder if there is something much more seriously wrong with you and you are gagging and shaking already and now you are also worried that you might be bleeding internally.

Not long after I started losing my lunch, my mom started feeling sick as well. She ended up as bad off as I was and we commiserated in our illness as my dad waited on us. This continued off and on all afternoon. I managed to eat something and went to bed. Sunday basically consisted of sleeping and reading and watching TV. But that's boring. On with the show!

Monday I called out of work because no. Just no. I still felt queasy, and I had a blood draw later that afternoon. So again, mostly just resting and doing nothing and me following my mom around like a lonely little puppy. Adding to the suckiness of the weekend, I went to the doctor and was officially diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Because my body apparently hates me. Or at least it hates my thyroid gland and that basically adds up to the same thing because it spends it's time attacking my thyroid and making me feel like crap. While I'm glad to know what is actually going on, and it seems like I have a doctor that knows what he's doing, I'd much rather not have an autoimmune disorder. Especially since much of what you do to manage Hashi's is diet based and I really like food. Gluten tends to be a major issue for Hashi's sufferers and what did I just say about pizza?

I finally convinced myself to go home and the next morning, Tuesday, I got up and went to work, although someone sluggishly because I still felt woozy and was so tired it was nearly impossible to keep my eyes open. Three hours into work I had to duck out for the rest of the day because it was constant gaggy blechness and an overpowering desire to crawl under my desk and sleep. I got home and puttered about because moving around made my stomach feel somewhat better.

Here's the thing you have to understand. I live in the basement of my brother's house. It's like living in a cave. I don't know what the weather is like until I'm leaving the house. A need for something that resides upstairs is weighed carefully against having to go up and down the steep, narrow, wooden stairs. The thermostat is connected to my brother's phone so when he's gone it goes into "away" mode and stops heating or cooling.

On this particular occasion I finally settled down to rest and was so dang cold. So I lumbered up the stairs to tell the thermostat that the house wasn't empty. On the way back down, tragedy struck. About a third of the way down the stairs my feet slipped forward and with my right hand clutching the rail I bounced down the stairs hard on my left elbow and butt cheek. At the bottom of the stairs I bounced up, yelled "F@#$!" very loudly and ran into my room, flung myself on my bed and screamed/sobbed out a litany of grievances that life had recently left on my doorstep intermingled with graphic curses. Horrible, wracking sobs. It was all very unattractive. Luckily however, I had managed to escape with only minor damage and renewed hatred of this particular staircase.

I came home from work today (Wednesday) and decided to take a bath and it was at this point that I saw the actual damage done by the treads yesterday as I bounced/slid ungracefully down the wicked, conniving steps. My elbow was rug-burned from my sweater and bruised. And on my left butt-cheek is a massive, dark purple bruise. It's the size of my fist! And it hurts.

It's this color. I was going to include a picture but even though it's a zoomed in picture of only skin I felt weird putting a picture of any part of my butt on a blog post.
I guess I should be counting my blessings or blessing my lucky stars or whatever it is kids do these days that I didn't break my neck. But the stairs are still there. No one is safe.

PS: Also today, rather unexpectedly, I received a visit from Jolly Ol' Saint Nicholas of the Underworld dressed in red and bringing presents to the good children, namely not babies. Jerk.

Friday, August 14, 2015

A Need to Read

The truth is I have this need to read books. I'm floundering pretty hard here with looking for a job, and filling my days in ways that don't take money and also make me feel like I'm living a meaningful life and being productive. One of those ways would be reading. The problem is that reading is something I do when I'm content. When life is going well I read voraciously. New book every other day at work or school. Getting stuff done while also having time to devour new ideas, new worlds, new characters or simply revisiting old ones.

But instead of reading the hundreds of books I own, tens of which I've never read, or tracking down any number of others on my "to read" list, I find myself in a Netflix spiral. I'm watching The X-files and playing Candy Crush or Sudoku on my phone. Never devoting my full attention to either, perhaps with a crappy magazine open as well. Anything to avoid thinking about what I should really be doing. The mattress pad is falling off my bed (it's a queen sized pad living on a twin sized bed so it slides off periodically) but do I fix it? No. My hair is a mess from the last time I washed it but do I fix it? No. There's infinite ways to spend my time that would be more productive than what I'm doing. But it's so hard to do anything.

It sounds dire, I know. I'm depressed. I'm anxious. I'm not at risk.

It's unpleasant. It's demoralizing. It's frustrating. It's not the end of my world. I just know that the longer I remain un-useful, un-contributory, un-living, the worse this is going to press on me. Already I'm feeling aches and pains that remind me of how motionless I am. My sciatica or psuedo-sciatica (I don't really care, both suck) is here. It makes it hard to sit, hard to stand, hard to recline, hard to move. I want to stretch, doesn't help. I want to sleep, doesn't help.

"Give me an occupation, Miss Dashwood, or I shall run mad."

Truer words were never spoken.

But back to my original point. I feel like maybe if I can pull myself into reading something I can draw myself out of this funk. Do I read because I'm happy? Or am I happy because I read? I've got book club in a week and a half and I haven't finished the book from last month. I did read Ella Enchanted last month. That's something.

I don't know if I should even publish this.

While I have every reason to be feeling this way with where I am in my life, I'm also exploring the possibility that my thyroid may be out of whack and could be a major contributing factor. It feels weird to say that I hope I have hypothyroidism. But it would explain so much of my life. I don't know which to hope for. Normal? Low? Preferably not Hashimoto's, that much I know.

Monday, June 8, 2015

What it feels like to have anxiety

Basically, having anxiety is like you go to work like normal and you know your job really well and some days it goes smoothly and other times things are a little weird, like you can't find your stapler and you really need to staple some stuff. That's normal anxiety that everyone has sometimes. But then there are days when you walk into your office and instead of your desk and computer and phone all being where you left them you've somehow walked into an operating room. You're not a flipping surgeon so you turn around to leave and the door is gone. Everyone else is there acting like this is no big deal, this is just life and apparently it's normal. Maybe you even have a vague feeling like it should be normal but really you are just frustrated that people are putting you in scrubs and an apron and handing you a scalpel as if you are a person that should ever be given a scalpel for any reason whatsoever because you can't even use an exacto knife to cut paper properly let alone use a scalpel to cut people. And everyone is very insistent that you need to operate on this person now. No one else understands why you are getting so upset because this isn't a big deal. What you really want to do is sit down and cry, but you've also somehow convinced yourself that you are in fact a surgeon and this person needs your help and you feel guilty for not wanting to operate. Everyone else knows you are a surgeon and this is normal. On a "good" bad day you feel sick or angry/annoyed but you operate and maybe it's fine and you finally get out of the operating room but you're still irritable for the rest of the day. Or week. On a really bad day you look down at the person you are supposed to operate on and it's you.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Why people are difficult for me

Something I've thought a lot about lately is why people and relationships/friendships/working relationships are so frustrating to me. And the conclusion I've come to is that I don't know what I think or how I feel about people or stuff probably about 95% of the time. Especially new people.

Basically if I don't outright hate you then there's probably going to be a period of time in which I'm trying to sort out exactly which box(es) in my brain you belong in. For this reason I think other people have a hard time figuring out me as well. People like to know where they stand and I'm sure it's difficult when I'm cycling through warmth and indifference (hopefully I'm never outright cold unless I hate you and that's probably not going to change).

I'm very much a typical introvert in that I loathe small talk so I dread situations where that's the expectation. Like on break at work when I coworker tells me, "I don't bite" and all I want to say is "I know, but I do." Maybe I don't like people at all today. Maybe I'm hating that everyone took their break at the same time as me and I wish I had gone to the other breakroom because I really wanted to be alone. Maybe I'm having some really complex feelings and thoughts about you in particular and being in close proximity is very much not helping me decide what it means. Maybe I'm relieved I don't work with you on a regular basis anymore because my stress levels have dropped significantly since you switched shifts.  Maybe I think you're too cool to be my friend. Maybe I forgot your name *again* and I'm super crazy embarrassed that you've never forgotten mine and you can remember the name of my cat and where I went to school and how long I lived in Oregon.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Attacks on Supernatural Fans

This summer in Seattle I sat on a bus next to a girl that told me Misha Collins saved her life. At the time I rolled my eyes at the apparent hyperbole. But in light of the hateful attacks directed towards depressed members of the Supernatural Fandom, and the responses from Misha Collins and Mark Sheppard, I see now how true it could have been. The Supernatural Fandom is not just about being fans of a goofy, loveable, and downright creepy at times fantasy television show; it's about reaching out and finding connection, not only with other fans, but with the characters in the show, and the actors as real people who are striving to do good. Hats off to you, gentlemen. You make the world a better place. I'm proud to be in your fandom.

To the victims of the recent vicious and evil attacks I say this: You are better than your attackers by an infinite amount. You are a far more worthwhile individual than anyone that could spew such poison. You have more friends than you know,  and they vastly outnumber your enemies. Demons come in many forms: depression, anxiety, physical illness, and in this case some cowardly jerk hiding behind his anonymity.  We've been to heaven, hell, and purgatory together. We've been to the conventions, or at least memorized the YouTube videos of the panels.  Family is more than blood. We have a .gif for that.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Confessions of an LDS Biology Student

I spent years of trying to figure out what I wanted to do as far as school goes. I started as a Chemical Engineering major because in High School Chemistry was fun and my dad is an engineer and it just sounded cool. But when I got into college Chemistry was NOT fun. I scraped a C in my first and only Chemical Engineering class and decided I didn't want to do that at all. So I switched to Audiology and Speech Language Pathology. The intro class was great and I enjoyed it but it still wasn't quite right and in conjunction with health problems I decided I was done with school for a while and went home.  If you look at my grades from that time you can see a pretty direct correlation between my grades and which classes I enjoyed or hated, which is actually pretty terrifying to think that I would let myself suck something up so badly just because I didn't enjoy the class.

When I came home I took a short term certification course to become a Pharmacy Technician, which was actually pretty pointless really, except to show me that I could do well in classes even if I really didn't like them. I was a pharmacy tech for 3 years before the work environment became way too stressful for the return. There is nowhere to go as a pharmacy technician. That’s just all you are, all you have the credentials to be. Being a trainer is the highest up you can go unless you want to go back to school for 7 years and become a pharmacist. I decided early on I wouldn't ever want to be a pharmacist. So few people I worked with actually enjoyed their job. It entails working a retail job with extra laws and ridiculous expectations and having everyone mad at you because those expectations just simply cannot be met with the staff they allow you to have. Long hours with no appreciation.  I still have nightmares about this job.

So I went back to school. I had been talking to my sister about what I should do as far as school goes, and she said I should “feed the penguins.” It’s strange to think that such an idea would spur me on to investigating what that would take and I headed off towards a wildlife biology degree. That goal has since changed slightly, but I've realized that there is little in the field of biology that I would hate doing, and much that I would enjoy. So here I am, a biology major, a chemistry minor, a possible genetics option.

Which brings me to the title of this post. Being a Christian and a Biology major places me in an awkward position which if it is understood it is not widely discussed. As my cousin put it, “it is a hard lot in life.” It seems like everyone I come in contact with is one of two extremes: Evolutionist or Creationist. Evolutionists seem to think that because my passion is science and biology that I must agree with them on everyone count (else they think that they must convert me to their ideas because I ‘m a Christian) and Creationists seem to think that because I’m a Christian that I must share their beliefs. So I’m here to set the record straight. I see no reason why my religious beliefs and my scientific beliefs have to contradict. They are not even two separate entities to me, they are 2 sides of the same coin, or parts of the same big picture which still has many sections left to be painted. Everything I learn strengthens rather that weakens my testimony of a loving God who created this beautiful universe full of diversity and knowledge to be gleaned. Old school scientists understood this. They wanted to pull of the mask of the universe to stare at the face of God. But nowadays it seems like people want to pull of the mask of the universe to prove there is nothing behind it.

I believe that God created the Earth, and the heavens and the galaxies. But created is a confusing word when we talk about God. It seems to call to mind the idea of him snapping his fingers and worlds appearing. But that’s not how I see it. An artist creates beautiful works of art. A musician creates music. My mom and I create quilts. Does an artist snap his fingers and a sculpture or a fresco appears? Do musicians snap their fingers and cause music to be heard? Do I snap my fingers and suddenly a quilt is done? Of course not. There would be no point to this, no accomplishment if that were how it was done. Creation refers to organization. An artist organizes his materials until it is the form he desires. A musician organizes their movements and/or breath to create sound which has been organized by a composer to be music. I organize my fabric pieces into a design to make a quilt. The difference here is that as humans we sometimes make mistakes. Because we don’t always know how to do everything perfectly. We are still learning and growing. God knows how to do everything perfectly. I don’t believe that God did this marvelous thing in seven 24 hour days as we know them. The scriptures use symbols and allusions to convey their meaning. Christ was well known for teaching with parables and symbols. Why would the scriptures be different?

OK, so this next part will probably get me some flak from people. God is omnipotent or all powerful. Does that mean he can do anything we can think of? Or does it mean he can do anything that is possible? Our sense of possible vs impossible could be very different from one another and from God’s, because as I said before God knows how to do things perfectly. He has a perfect knowledge of things. I believe that God once went through a mortal experience such as the one we are currently experiencing. I believe that many of the natural laws have been around since before then. I believe that God currently operates within natural laws. This may seem ridiculous. But remember, we don’t currently have a perfect understanding of how the natural laws actually work. God does. It stands to reason that he would be able to do things we cannot currently fathom because our understanding of the world is not a perfect one. Things in science change all the time. We must admit we don’t know everything because new developments happen every day. So I am left with this. Either God operates within the natural laws because they have been around longer than him, OR God created the natural laws and therefore operates within them. I am inclined to belief the former, but really I must admit that as far as this goes I do not KNOW. And that’s OK, because it really doesn't change anything whether one is true vs the other.

As far as evolution is concerned I have to say this: open your eyes people, evolution is obviously a real thing. There is so much evidence of this. Evolution is a dynamic process which I believe was put in place by God to allow everything on this planet to grow and change and become more suitable for life. Because isn't that the whole flipping point of being here anyway? To grow and change personally? To become something better that we were before? Why would this be different on a global scale? As far as human evolution goes I only have to say: I do not know HOW God ORGANIZED man to be in his image. And if the whole creation process took thousands to millions or billions of years who is to say that he didn't do it through evolution? Like I said, I expect flak for this. That’s cool. I don’t know how God did it. But the idea of not learning about the possibilities astounds me. We are supposed to be trying to be more like God, right? So if God is all-knowing then we need to learn about EVERYTHING. Because becoming all-knowing is part of become like God.

In closing I would like to say this: When we know everything there is to know about science and everything there is to know about God I fully believe that there will be NO contradiction between the two. I want to rip off the mask of the universe and stare at the face of God because I KNOW that he is there.

Friday, April 20, 2012

All the Hair Angst in the World . . .

I've been thinking about my hair lately. A lot. Because hair sucks. And the real problem isn't even that hair sucks it's that changing your haircut/style sucks. Because you aren't just making a decision that will affect your life right now, you have to live with what you do to it. Unless you are rich and can afford to have extensions put in if you chop all your hair off and you don't like it? Sucks for you. And you decide to grow it out for whatever reason you have to live with it in all it's awkward stages.

I love Facebook. But I hate it. Sometimes it's really useful and awesome and you can share exciting news with everyone at once and you can keep in touch with people that you might otherwise never talk to, but other times you want people's opinions and they don't take you seriously. Like today. When I wanted hair ideas. My uncle suggested a mohawk. Typical of him really. Actually that would probably be fairly typical of any of my uncles. They are just cool like that. Another friend gave me a one word suggestion, "bald." Really? My problem with these suggestions are such: 1) Am I that suggestible? Does it just take a one word suggestion of some outlandish idea for me to even consider? No reasoning? No "and here's why" ? Not that I have never considered the bald look, or even the mohawk. But I've ruled them out long ago because a mohawk is more work than I spend on my hair now, and I have a funny shaped head so if I were bald it would probably be all lumpy or something. And some people CAN pull off the bald look. Even some women. But it's not usually a look of choice. I'll wait until I have cancer for that one, thank you very much. 2) Sometimes, however small a percentage of the time, I want to be taken seriously. Considering how much I think about my hair, this is one of those times.

My biggest problem is that I think I should just be able to roll out of bed, throw on some clothes and just look fan-freakin'-tastic. I want hair that will let me do that. But I also want something ridiculously fun. The problem is that low maintenance haircuts tend to start getting boring after a while. At least, the ones I've had have.

I'm tired of hair angst. It just never goes away. Either it's there to tell me I need a change, or it's there to tell me I need a trim, or it's there to tell me that no matter what I do to my hair it's always gonna be blah (which isn't true, because I've had many a blah free hair day, but hair angst just gets you down).

I'd actually like to try a fauxhawk-able look, but I wonder if I can pull it off. Will it be too short? Will it draw attention to or away from my overweight figure? (Don't lie to me, I know it's there). Will Darrel sequester me to the closet to live the next year in shame while it grows out? (This is unlikely, he might pout though).

Right now I catch myself thinking about the scissors in the bathroom drawer. My bangs are too long and are irritating my eyes. I decided that if I keep my hair long my bangs need to grown out because they are all weird (from me trimming them myself and trimming more of my hair than are supposed to be bangs), but I can't stand the hair in my eyes on top of my allergies. It's just too much! But I know either I'll get the scissors and go to town and then realize what I've done, or Darrel will catch me in the act and I'll be in trouble (like a child). I've also thought about the hair clippers and how easy it would be to just make all the hair go away. See, I have thought about bald . . .