Holidailies 2008

So, everyone around here has been getting sick.  The weather has been bizarre — freezing cold one minute and practically balmy the next.  The mad rush towards year end has put everyone in high gear, high stress mode and I guess it’s sort of inevitable that the germs would be having a heyday.  And yet, I thought I’d manage to remain unscathed.  I guess I figured that the illness that ate my life a year ago this time was enough sick for a long long time.  Apparently, I was wrong.

Not that I’m an alarmist or anything, but this vaguely unwell feeling is coming on as a slow burn and that doesn’t bode well.  Last night I had a teeny tiny shallow cough.  Today, I felt achy and tired and tonight it feels like a mack truck is sitting on my chest.  It’s been a really long time since I’ve had a good solid case of bronchitis, and I’m afraid that’s where all this is heading.  The timing could not be worse.  Tons of work stuff to do, holiday shopping, and getting ready to go down to Florida for the holidays.  Ugh…I need to be well.

I hate being sick.  I know that’s not unusual.  Who does like being sick?  However, I’m a big freaking baby and living alone when I feel like this makes me want my mommy to come take care of me.  And no offense to my mom, because that would be ideal, but really, almost anyone would do.  Anyone who could wait on me hand and foot, feed me soup and toast, serve me ginger ale, throw away my bag of dirty tissues, tuck me in and take my temperature by kissing my forehead.  Okay, so I guess that would have to be my mom…

What was my point?  Oh, I don’t really have one.  Just that my head is fuzzy, I’m overtired, achy and can’t get comfortable.  And I do want my mommy.  I need to take another Zicam and go to sleep.  Maybe the zinc will push this crap through my system quickly, so I can stop feeling like crap.  In the meantime, whining is my only recourse…

How the $700 Billion Bailout Helps Me…

Holidailies 2008

I’m not entirely sure that it helps me at all.  However, you know how Congress is notorious for adding on a bunch of other stuff that’s not necessarily directly related when they are passing bills?  Well, the economic stabilization bill also included the Wellstone-Domenici Mental Health Parity Act of 2008.  And yes, I was up at 5:30am today reading online info about the inclusion of this provision in the passage of the bailout.  Not that I have any anxiety around my health coverage or anything…  As someone who has suffered from depression, has been in therapy,  and is currently struggling to manage an attention deficit issue, this has long been a concern and the passage of this law is really good news.

Although I am fortunate to have mental health coverage in my group insurance plan, I have always found it frustrating that there are arbitrary limits put on this coverage.  Why is it that 20 or 30 outpatient visits makes any sense at all?  If I were suffering from a physical condition that required ongoing care, it would be ludicrous if my doctor could no longer treat me after a certain number of visits, whether or not I was cured.  The net result of these limits has always put mental health firmly in the 2nd class category of care.  It’s reinforced the idea that maybe these ailments just don’t exist at all.

Though advances have been made over the years and the stigma attached to mental illness is no longer what it once was, there’s still a long way to go. When celebrities like Tom Cruise (who could use some serious therapy himself),  propose vitamins and exercise as a cure for postpartum depression, and Kirsty Alley testifies in front of a State legislature to keep children from being “smeared” with a mental illness diagnosis, they give credence to the notion that millions of people with issues ranging from schizophrenia to ADHD are just faking it.  While a “religious” belief against treatment is one thing, keeping others from being treated for serious, legitimate medical conditions is unconscionable.  For years, the stigma of mental illness and lobbying by groups like the Citizens Campaign for Human Rights (a Scientology-backed lobbying organization) have allowed for this inequity of care to continue.  Combined with the insurance industry’s behemoth lobbying machinery against anything that would require them to fork out more money, the battle to create equity in care has raged on for years.

Finally, finally, wiser heads have prevailed.  Even though it seems odd that this provision would be attached to the bailout bill, I, for one, am quite happy to know that something good may actually come from this economic crisis. Unfortunately, the law doesn’t go into effect until January 2010.  This means that until then, treatment limits are still in effect. Oh well, I know I’m very lucky to have a job that includes health coverage. period.  And until parity is in effect, I’ll just be thankful for the upcoming change.  I’ll also look closely to see what unrelated measures might be added to the impending auto industry bailout.  Marriage equality?  I know, wishful thinking, but you have to admit, it would make yet another corporate bailout easier to swallow…


Holidailies 2008

Not even a week in, and I’ve missed a day already.  It was unintentional, really.  I ran around all day yesterday.  Got cookies, went to the Clay Festival and then to the Handmade Cavalcade for holiday shopping.  It was freezing outside and I walked a lot and caught up with a bunch of people.  Also met some really cool crafty types who I intend to connect with again.  It was a good day.  But, by the time I got home it was after 7pm.  I ate dinner, sat down on my bed to watch some TV and promptly fell asleep.  It was way earlier than I’d intended and it was way earlier than I should have fallen asleep.  But, I was apparently exhausted.  I woke up at about 1am.  I was half awake for a while longer and then fell back to sleep.  And then I actually slept in this morning until 9:30.  So, clearly, I was tired.  But, I realized that I not only slept through the creative energy that I generated while out and about yesterday, but also my Holidailies posting.  So, oops.

And not really much to post about today.  I was waffling about going to the LeSportsac sample sale and feel a tiny little triumph that I resisted the temptation to go, because the last thing I really need is another LeSportsac (much as I love them.)  However, truth be told, it wasn’t completely a triumph of will that kept me away.  It had more to do with the fact that it was ridiculously cold outside (it was even cold in my apartment) and I was more  than happy to be a couch potato.

I did start working on some jewelry, but didn’t get anywhere near as much as I wanted to get done. Especially not in comparison to the mess I created, pulling out every last bead, wire, and supply that I could find.  So, now here it is, close to 11pm.  I haven’t much to show for the day, but a lot of lounging, DVR watching, and hey, I did finish another entry.

And back to work tomorrow.  Isn’t my life thrilling?

Not Jean Valjean…

Holidailies 2008

Confronted with the fear of a blank page (or screen, as the case may be), I turned to the Holidailies Writing Prompts to start this month-long exercise in trying to get back into a regular habit.  The prompt for the first entry is “Introduce Yourself.” Does that instruction lead me to write an abbreviated biography like a normal person?  No.  Instead it triggers within me a sometimes maddening, sometimes entertaining trail of words and music.

I’m so easily suggestible that even the slightest of connections can force a phrase or even a whole song from the recesses of my mental filing cabinet (you might call it my brain).  For whatever reason, I have a savant-like knack for song lyrics.  This includes pop, rock, jazz standards, folk, some country and anything by Rick Astley that my roommates chose to play incessantly my sophomore year of college. However, most often, the presence of the Showtune Gene in my DNA* leads the way and my “gift” manifests through songs from the musical theater canon.

Which takes me back to the writing prompt for this entry…”Introduce Yourself.” Which led me to ask, “Who am I?” which then led me to sing “Who am I….who am I….I’m Jean Valjean…”  from Les Miserables.  The logic might seem lacking to the casual observer, but I feel certain that my fellow theater geeks, can see the the connection, however flimsy.

As if that weren’t enough, I also suffer from a constant, nagging earworm affliction.  Which means, not only do I find myself at the obscure Les Miz reference, but, until some other tune replaces it, Jean Valjean is the only song in town. So, I guess, in a way, the Holidailies prompt worked.  I’ve now introduced myself as a musical theater geek who can’t stop quoting showtunes and has them on a loop inside her head.  Welcome to my brain.  Aren’t you glad you don’t live here?

Happy Holidailies, Day 1!

*presence of said gene also proving that I am indeed a gay man, trapped in a straight woman’s body.

A remote control for my life…

It happens like this every year.  Things are going along at a pretty good clip.  The pace is manageable.  And then November hits and life becomes insane.  Before I blink, it’s Thanksgiving.  I’m suddenly scrambling to find gifts, send out cards, work, sleep, eat, and keep up with what feels like a year’s worth of stuff to do, crammed into just a few weeks time.  This year it seems even worse.

I seem to have been neglecting the vast majority of my friends.  I forget to return phone calls.  I have literally hundreds of unopened emails and every time I check one thing off of my to do list, it feels like three more things replace it.  How is it that I’ve already started receiving holiday cards, when I’ve barely even thought about sending them out?  I wanted to make most of my holiday gifts this year, and yet I haven’t started a single one.  All the best intentions and it feels like I’m barely keeping pace.

Sometimes I wish I could control my life like I can control my DVR.  Fast forward through the boring moments, rewind and repeat the good moments or the one I’ve missed, or just slow things down a little bit.  The slowing things down might help right now.

Wishful thinking, I know.  It will go by in a flash and then I’ll be in Florida for ten days.  I’ll be able to relax, see friends and family, eat good food, sleep as much as I want and maybe slow down my life just a little bit.  But for now, I take a deep breath and try to manage as many details as I can at a time.  Take it easy on myself when I’m not able to juggle everything at once and know that being perfect, dotting every last I and crossing every last T isn’t what it’s about.  I have to remind myself to savor every crazy day.  I do love New York City in December.  I love the twinkling lights, the cold weather, the holiday markets, the parties, the shopping, the gifts, and the manic energy in the air.  And I don’t actually mind the pace.  But, I’d enjoy it even more if I could just hit pause, rewind or slow a few more times before the year is out.

Holidailies 2008

So, I’ve been lazier than I could possibly imagine about writing here.  Life always seems to get in the way, whether things have been going well (and they have been) or not.  A couple weeks ago, my friend Josh was talking about his web site and that he hadn’t updated in a long time, and that we’d been having cool conversations about stuff.  He suggested that we both start updating regularly.  This led me to thinking about actually doing Holidailies, especially since December was fast approaching (It’s here!  I can’t believe it).  So, I sucked it up and signed up for it and so did Josh.  I’m trying to get Gen to do it too, but so far, no such luck.

Holidailies is running a little late this year, so the commitment is to update daily from December 5 through January 6.  Despite that, I’m beginning today.  I’m gonna try my hardest to keep up with it.  Not sure I’ll have much of interest to say, so, we’ll see how it goes.

Meanwhile, I’ve also made the commitment to myself to start updating my other site, Girl in Gotham Designs.  I created the site on Labor Day weekend and also created an Etsy store.  However, I’ve not put anything in the store, or added anything to the site.  I need to take some photos and put some stuff up for sale.  It’s December!  Now is the time people are buying gifts and it would make sense that I had some things available for sale…at least a few pins and stuff that I’ve already made and are just waiting to be purchased, if only people knew they existed!

I’m doing this all to give myself the kick in the ass I need to start being more creative and productive and doing the things I’ve set out for myself.  But, still, right now it’s all a big…we’ll see. Meanwhile, you can keep track of me here, or on the Holidailies web portal.

Holidailies 2008

Blog by Request…

So, a short entry this morning, as I lie in bed, procrastinating getting ready for work.  Fortunately, the lack of commute allows me to not get up until the last possible second if I’m really feeling lazy.

 I haven’t written here in ages.  And yesterday, Nic sent me an email telling me to write something, so here I am.  I’m not sure what there is to say, so a quick update on my life…

I’m close to seven months into my “new” job and still really happy there.  I’ve been taking two pottery classes all summer and I’m being relatively productive.  My apartment has improved in some ways (new furniture, gotten rid of some stuff that was crowding my life) but pretty stagnant in others (still too crap-filled and messy). 

I was diagnosed with ADHD and have been working on making changes in my life to improve that.  It’s a struggle and I waffle between feeling good about taking care of myself and permanently damaged.  Like I said, it’s a struggle.  I’m still carrying too much weight and have lost a lot of the progress I made by not working out anymore.  In the process, I’ve damaged my back and given myself sciatica.  It’s kind of daunting, and that has kept me from calling the physical therapy place and making an appointment.  It’s also a good excuse to not go to the gym.  I’m nothing if not self-aware…

Over all, though, life is not bad these days.  Summer Fridays and working across the street make life feel a little luxurious at the moment.  I need to take advantage of the last few half days of the Summer, since all too soon it will be over and back to working full days on Fridays.

 What else?  Some travel planned for the fall, New Hampshire and Canada and I have to start looking seriously at travel home to Florida for the holidays.  Flights have become ridiculous.

Okay, I think that’s a sufficient enough update for now.  I need to write more often.  It’s good to clear my head…

The Start of New Things…

So, tomorrow I start my new job.  I’m excited and freaked out and I’m not sure what else I’m feeling right now.  I have to say that looking back at the last few months, things have been good.  Being “laid off” was actually the best thing that could have possibly happened. 

I had the month of November to relax and get back to myself, while getting back in the groove of the job search.  I also had the opportunity to spend more time in the pottery studio and to take a really cool workshop at Materials for the Arts, where I made a pretty cool fabric book:

Fabric Book

I was also able to spend Thanksgiving in New Hampshire with my sister and her family, as well as my cousin Kate.  As I related in a previous post, December found me pretty sick, suffering from a mystery virus of the liver, that basically knocked me out of commission for the better part of the month.

However, I was able to drag my sorry behind down to Florida, where a combination of homecooking, sunshine, swimming, and time with my nieces and nephew brought me back to New York feeling almost like myself again.  When I returned, I had a second interview for an amazing job and two weeks ago I was given the good news that I had gotten the job.  That meant I had two weeks of true vacation.  It gave me the ability to relax and get my life in order (somewhat) before I begin.

I know that this job is going to be challenging and a lot of work, but I also feel confident that this situation is a far better one than the last one in which I survived for a year.  So, here’s to the start of a job where I can do good and feel good about what I’m doing.

I’ll keep you posted…

Mystery Illness…

There’s so much that’s gone on since the last time I wrote that it would take far too long to even begin.  I’ll sum it up by saying that I lost my job at the end of October and I’ve never been so relieved about anything in my life.  Good riddance is really the best way to describe it.  Amazingly, unemployment is a far better feeling than walking on egg shells every day to avoid offending an unpredictable, unstable personality.  Having to go there and swallow my pride, my intellect and a lot of bile that was boiling to the surface was soul sucking and detrimental to my health and well-being. 

The loss of the job was also kind of fortuitous.  I’ve been sick in bed for more than two weeks and if I still had that job, the stress of not being there would have been added to my current sorry state and probably would have just been another excuse to get rid of me.  This way, the only thing I have to focus on is getting well.  It’s been the weirdest illness I think I’ve ever had.

It started the day after Thanksgiving with odd muscle pain in my arms and legs.  By that Sunday, I was feeling fatigued and just vaguely under the weather.  By Monday, I knew there was something really wrong.  I had no respiritory symptoms, which is strange for me, since when I get sick it usually manifests in a stuffed nose, sore throat, bronchitis, sinus infection sort of combination.  This time, I had none of those symptoms at all.  I’ve been weak, fatigued and in a great deal of muscle pain.  I’ve been running a low-grade fever for the better part of two weeks and basically the doctor is stumped.  I’ve had two rounds of blood work.  The first ruled out Mono, Lyme disease and a bunch of other fun ailments, but my white blood cell count was suppressed and my liver enzymes were elevated.  The doctor thought I might have hepatitis. 

The second round of blood work ruled that out too.  As scary as that diagnosis is, it was almost better to have a name for what’s wrong.  But, no such luck.  The second set of blood tests showed that my liver enzymes are still elevated.  Still no answer, no name for what’s going on inside my body.  So, tomorrow I’m going for an ultrasound of my liver and gallbladder.  I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’m a little nervous.  Not for the ultrasound itself, but for what might be found.  I’m hopeful that it’s just a weird virus of some sort that there’s no name for.  That’s kind of where the doctor has been headed.  However, just the fact that he wanted me to have an ultrasound at all is making my mind race.  What could they possibly be looking for?

 I comfort myself with the thought that I’m feeling a little bit better.  Though not back to health yet, I’m actually able to get up and feed myself without feeling completely fatigued and I haven’t had a fever in about 48 hours.  Maybe I’m almost through this thing.  Whatever it may be.

I guess I’ll know tomorrow…or I won’t.  All evidence to the contrary, have I mentioned that I’m not really good without concrete answers?  I guess we’ll just have to see what tomorrow brings…

One week into another…

Gen came into town last Friday night and on Saturday we hopped in the Zipcar and headed for New Haven.  After a couple of wrong turns and a little bit of driving in circles, we managed to meet Anita at Atticus Bookstore Cafe for lunch.  The food was delicious and the company was great.  After lunch, we finally got to see Richard II at Yale Rep.  It was a really wonderful production and Gen’s friend Jeffrey was phenomenal.  We then headed back to the city to go to the opera.  This is why we got the Zipcar in the first place, figuring that taking the train would be a gamble.  Of course, neither of us gave a thought to the fact that we were heading back into the city on Saturday night.  Which meant that we got stuck in heinous traffic and didn’t actually make it back in time for the opera.

We were both kind of bummed, because we really wanted to see it, but we made the most of the evening.  We ended up having a decadent dinner at Rosa Mexicano, where the guacamole (made to order at your table) is so addictive there might as well be crack cocaine in it.  The question we asked each other for the rest of the evening was, “How was the opera?”  And the answer?  “The guacamole was delicious!”  Since we couldn’t see Margaret Garner, that meal wasn’t a bad consolation prize.  After dinner, we went back to my apartment and watched a couple episodes of Flight of the Conchords and even that hilarity could not stave off the food induced narcolepsy that suddenly had overcome both of us.  I left Gen to her coma on the futon and dragged myself off to bed.  I think I was asleep before 11pm.  Crazy…

On Sunday, we met the boys for brunch at V*YNL.  Ah, my favorite brunch place ever, with my favorite people.  The best kind of way to spend a weekend day.  Afterwards, Gen and I took a little detour to the Drama Book Shop, where Gen had to buy “a couple” of things.  Which translates into a big honking pile of books.  It was amusing.  Mostly because I didn’t actually spend any money, which is quite unusual for me.  Once Gen left for home, I had the grandiose idea that I would get a ton of things done…cleaning, organizing.  Okay, so I’m delusional.  Instead I took a nap.  And then a new week began.

 Amazingly, it began with a lot less anxiety than I expected.  I actually had most of the details of the upcoming weeks under control.  And I’m not sure why that surprises me so much except for the fact that working for my boss for the past year and being told how useless I am and that I never have my job under control, somehow I started to believe it.  Thing is, I just work for someone who can only feel better about herself by making other people feel worse and in the end it has nothing to do with me.  That was quite the revelation. 

So, here I am, heading into another Friday.  I have to get all the final details under control tomorrow, since it’s my last day in the office for more than a week.  I leave on Monday for a week in Texas (Yippeeta!) and I have a gazillion things to get done in the office and at home before I go.  And as much as the anxiety of everything I need to get done and everything I have to do once I’m in Texas is looming, I guess I’m getting back to myself, because, different than six months ago, now I’m not letting the insidious external voices cloud what I know is true.  I’m competent and this is an event just like any other event that I’ve done.  Which means I can totally handle it.  So, I might actually enjoy this trip to Texas.  Even though I wish I were traveling to somewhere else.  Because Texas?  Hot and full of Republicans.  And me?  I don’t generally enjoy either.  Oh well, I’m sure it will be just fine.  Because a luxury hotel and room service and a week without having to get up to feed the cat isn’t such a bad thing…