Anxiety

Side effects

I went to see the brain doctor today. Before I say anything else, I want to tell you how much I LIKE my brain doctor. With the exception of my beloved but not entirely effective naturopath, she's the only medical person I've seen about anxiety who trusts my reporting of my own symptoms. Does that make sense? I felt like every other doctor was either comparing me to the last anxious/depressed person they saw and copying their prescription OR filtering everything I told them through a Can't Trust A Half Crazy SAHM With An English Degree filter. This doctor BELIEVES ME. 

So going in today to talk about WEIGHT GAIN was not as painful as it could have been (and HAS been in the past. Previous Brain Doctor: "You're probably just eating more." YA THINK?) Well, it was just a checking in appointment, but since weight gain is basically my only side effect, that ended up being the topic of conversation. FUN TIMES. 

The bad part is that I've gained a lot of weight. Sometimes I feel okay about it. Most of the time I don't. And then there are days when I feel horribly ashamed and hate myself. Like, more than the average lady is ashamed of and hates her body. 

The good part is that my doctor agrees that the meds have played a large part in my extra padding (even when I told her how much cake I eat - she said, "I don't know, this is more weight than just CAKE") and she suggested a few options. The one I'm going with is lowering my dose for a while and combining that, when school starts again, with the Taking Care Of Myself routine I used to have before meds made eating well and exercising feel totally pointless. I was going to the gym pretty regularly before school got out and even though I wasn't losing weight, being active made me not hate myself as much. You know? And it was SO GOOD to have a regular schedule for exercise. Sometimes I beat myself up for not being able to lose weight when I was able to lose so much weight after having Molly, when I had TWO BABIES. But I remind myself that they were BABIES and had nowhere to go and were nice long nappers in the afternoons. I DID have more "me" time then! Believe it or not. 

ANYWAY. We'll see if that makes any difference. I don't feel particularly hopeful, but I do like having a PLAN. Or something to TRY. It will require me stepping on scale, something I haven't done in a few months, and I am horrrrrrrrified at the prospect. But my doctor doesn't trust me so much that "just going by how my pants feel" will be enough data for her. Unfortch. If it works and I'm still feeling like a normal person, then yay! If I get anxious, I'll go back up to my current dose. WE SHALL SEE.

In the meantime I remind myself over and over and over that I would rather struggle with how clothes look on my body than be anxious. THAT IS HOW MUCH I DO NOT WANT TO BE ANXIOUS. I would rather stress about what shirts hide my muffin top and if they go with these pants or that skirt or maybe I should just give up and wear that maxi dress for the nineteenth day in a row. I would rather not be able to wear most of whatever they're selling at the Loft than be anxious. (Not that I like anything at the Loft these days. Hit or miss, that place.)

Phillip completely wholeheartedly agrees and does not seem to mind my expanding size at all. He says so often and I almost believe him. I really really wish that made me feel okay about myself, but guess what! It doesn't really help! Is that a women-in-general thing or is that just ME? It seems like it should help. It helps right when he says it, and then I go back to wondering how to cut my hair because I think my neck is too fat for a pixie.

Anyway, this was not meant to be a Woe Is Me post or a I'm Doing So Poorly post... I just really wanted to write about What It's Like and be honest, for my experience anyway. I don't want to blame it all on the meds, I mean, I eat a LOT of cake, especially when NOT eating cake doesn't appear to have any benefits. I think the truest way to say it would be that meds have made it next to impossible for me to LOSE weight. I am a responsibility taker! I take responsibility for the cake!

But my doctor, who has DEGREES and an OFFICE and a PRESCRIPTION PAD thinks it's a bit more than that and it is VALIDATING. She had ideas and that is HELPFUL. And when I told her that I've been chubby my whole life and that my two sisters are cute and thin and so much smaller than me, but *I* have a SCINTILLATING PERSONALITY, she laughed. Does it sound like I think she's a fantastic doctor because she likes me? YOU'RE RIGHT AND I'M KEEPING HER. 

I am not my pants size. And even if I could fit into the size 8 jeans I keep stashed in the back of my closet, I would not be a better person. I might even still not like the way I look. I would probably still take issue with many parts of me, just like every other woman I know, of every size. The "celebrating the body that produced three amazing humans!" perspective doesn't completely speak to me, but I do think the person INSIDE my body is pretty awesome. I like me. It's been nearly a year since I started this new med and it's been a good one. Lots of great stuff happening, new stuff, fun stuff. It's a near-daily struggle not to let a year of weight gain cancel out all that great stuff, but it's a struggle I generally near-daily win. 


Macarons and fat pants

Got an email today that made me panic for a second. It contained this sentence:

You must complete the permit process prior to operating a cottage food operation. 

But then I saw that it was addressed to a "Michael McKinsey" and it was from a guy purporting to be from the Fresno County Department of Public Health. So. I'm guessing it's kind of spammy? But still? Weird? There was an attachment that obvs I am not clicking on, but now I'm like even the spammers now how to give me anxiety attacks. Of course I am all ready to hit back with, "THIS IS WHY WE RENT SPACE IN A LICENSED KITCHEN, [INSERT FAMILY UNFRIENDLY TERM]", but I think I'll just ignore for now. Or furiously google the guy who supposedly sent it. 

It did make me remember the cottage food process we DID undergo and how I was going to write a Sternly Worded Letter to send to allll my representatives.... yeah. I AM still frustrated and irritated and a tiny bit super angry defensive about that, but I don't have TIME to take that on. I AM VERY BUSY BLOGGING OKAY? And other things. 

Tonight the "other things" began to take on a distinctively egg whitey glow... MACARONS. So Katie's husband is a manager for a catering company with a big time corporate client. And because 1) we have a connection and 2) Katie makes awesome treats, we ended up on the official Holiday Menu that all the corporate clients (who pay for things with corporate credit cards, ahem) see when they are choosing their Holiday Soirees. Or Holiday-Themed Meetings. Or what-have-you. Although it was kind of a bumpy start (FOOD BUSINESS PEOPLE. ALL NUTJOBS.) (DOES THIS NOW INCLUDE ME?) we already have 6 orders for December. Kind of a big deal for a teeny tiny upstart baking company who celebrates 6 orders in a month. Except, it's only mid-November. And these are for a Major Local Corporate Behemoth. And now we are freaked out about HOW ARE WE GOING TO MAKE ALL THE MACARONS OMGGGGGG. 

(Do you like how I always say "we"? Like I have ANYTHING to do with making macarons? I WILL, for your information, be making a bunch of things for the "assorted cookie platters" which are also on the official menu, but macarons? HA HA HA NO.)

On the other hand! WE MIGHT MAKE MONEY IN DECEMBER! THAT WOULD BE SO NOVEL! (No really, that would be... amazing.) 

The only thing I don't like about this deal is that they aren't advertised as THUMBPRINTS macarons/assorted cookie platters, we're just contracted through BIL's Catering Company and so no single person is going to look us up later and order her own macarons. But whatever. I'm not COMPLAINING or anything. 

I've also finished all the listings for our online store AND figured out the shipping questions. I'm not sure I answered those questions WELL, but I did my best, and we will see how it goes. IF anyone buys anything through our online store. Which I haven't put up yet. Because Katie still has to go through it and say things like, "Um, no, I'm not doing that." But soon! (I hope. All I really feel like doing is sleeping. But. Sigh.)

The sleeping? I am just going to hope that this is because I have not been religiously taking my iron pills. Back in August when my mental health had gone seriously south and I was Distraught and Desperate and DONE, when I started the new SSRI I stopped taking all the [expensive] [gigantic] vitamins and supplements my naturopath had me taking. I mean, they obviously weren't HELPING, right? And no medical insurance was paying for THOSE pills [lots and lots and lots of them] so I just stopped. I WAS ANGRY, OKAY? But I also stopped taking the iron (I wasn't in the best head space, you understand) and now I'm wondering if the iron actually WAS helping me or I'm in an especially tired place right now or WHAT IS WRONG JEEZ. I wake up exhausted. I spend my whole day wondering when I can sit down and conk out for a minute. And Sunday morning at the retreat I went to last weekend I woke up with this super weird back pain thing and now I'm Fatigued AND Falling Apart. IT'S TERRIBLE. 

And it's just making me aware (as opposed to deliberately choosing NOT to be aware) of how poorly I am treating my body these days. After not eating + nervous tummy during the Worst Week Ever (August 2014), I'd 1) lost quite a bit of weight (silver lining!) and then 2) began to SERIOUSLY make up for it. I mean, after that I was all, "You eat whatevvvvver you want, Body. You just do what feels good." And I did! I don't think I was eating my feelings so much as eating was something I COULD enjoy. So I was gonna ENJOY IT. Bring on the Nutella! 

But now... hrrmmm. My fat pants are too tight. You see? And while I am in a much better headspace this year re: How I Look, I have enough sense to know that I am not taking care of myself. I am not eating ANYTHING that's good for me. I am not getting outside. I am not getting any exercise. I am sleeping terribly. And even though I KNOW that the longer I keep up this "lifestyle", the harder it is to change, I'm finding it hard to care. My anxiety stuff is not totally figured out. My work/parenting balance is not at all figured out. I sort of feel like... well not that I'm doing the best I can, but that any sort of check on what I eat or how much I move is alREADY setting myself up for failure. You all know how much I love to fail!

When I mentioned how much I despair over pants, a good friend said, "I don't feel like you should be worrying about that right now." Which is so nice! But the rest of the world says, "If you don't start NOW, you never will!" I feel like the rest of the world is right, and also totally has me nailed. I'm waving at them while I eat another leftover toffee bar from the subscription boxes we sent this weekend. HEY THERE, WORLD!


Why don't you all come over and we'll eat our way through the bakery leftovers

I thought the anxiety was getting better, and I think it WAS, for a while, but not so much anymore, and I don't really know what to do about it. I mean, eventually I will call my doctor and she will probably put me on something else because I'm at the max dose of this one, but I sort of dread making that call and it will take a few days for me to actually do it. That call means the thing I was most nervous about is the thing that happened - that the meds wouldn't work, that I would still be anxious months out, that I have to start over on something else, that maybe NOTHING works - and I haven't wrapped my brain around it yet. 

In the meantime I am making lunches and going shopping and shipping cookies and writing emails and having friends for dinner. I can do my life. It's just in the quiet alone moments my body is on big time high alert and the rest of me is totally stymied as to why. As long as I don't think about it too much, it's only a massive drag. If I think about it too much, it becomes something a lot worse. 

I feel like... well, if I'm going to feel like I'm about to go on stage at any moment or give a very important speech, I would like to, you know, ACTUALLY GO ON STAGE. Because 1. there would be a reason and 2. I've always wanted to be a Broadway star. 

That said, anxiety has rarely stopped me from doing the stuff I want to do. There was that one time where I didn't quit a job I knew I should quit, because I needed that safe, predictable, known place to be every day. But that was a million years ago and now I just DO stuff because no way is anxiety going to shut me down. I mean, it might, maybe, but this is why I carry a bottle of Klonopin everywhere I go, right? HA. 

So I am looking at invitations for the Christmas party we throw every year, even though 1. I will probably still be anxious come Christmas party time and 2. isn't the holiday season a manic time for bakery owners? I've heard this is the case! Perhaps I should not block out an entire week in December for decorating my house! But I think I would be tremendously SAD if we canceled the party this year, even if we just turned it into a, I don't know, an Ides of March party or whatever. This probably means that I will for SURE bust the party budget because dudes, we ARE going to be bakery busy and in order to pull off a party I must HIRE OUT. (Not that I have a REAL problem with this. It just looks bad on the Excel spreadsheet.) 

And also I continue to book social occasions for myself, along with Asking Random People To Do Them With Me. The great testimony of my life, as I see it, is that once I was a desperately lonely and unhappy 15-year-old, crying in her closet from the shame of eating lunch by herself every day, praying for just one single friend, and now I am abundantly miraculously blessed with the most amazing friends I could ever hope to have. Ever. I swear it. Plural! MANY. And where it seems many women my age are despairing about making new friends with other adult women, I am supernaturally driven to seek out Potential Friends and pester them until they break down and hang out with me (out of exhaustion? perhaps.) I say "supernaturally" because OH MY am I NOT AT ALL "naturally" outgoing or extroverted or brave or confident in knowing other people want to get to know ME. I think better of myself than I used to - I suspect this is a product of getting older and I enthusiastically welcome it - but I am still wracked with insecurity when I meet someone new. ...it's just that I then invite them to a party. HEY. PARTIES ARE FUN.

I say that I fake extroversion well? But really I just honestly do like KNOWING people and I very much enjoy GATHERING them, especially if wine and snacks are involved, and when it seems like someone should enjoy something I enjoy, I compulsively invite them along. Sometimes this doesn't have the desired results. See: my OB and my hairstylist are not my best friends. I've had to get over that, alas. And sometimes it does. See: I agonized over how to invite my kid's teacher to a thing and then I just finally DID it and she immediately and excitedly said yes and omg we are totally going to be besties. 

ANYWAY. Sometimes the anxiety makes me MORE like that. Because the more time I spend with Other People, the less time I have to sit alone in my house and wonder why I am anxious, which then makes me more anxious. 

Blargh. I just don't know what the next steps are. Try another med? What if that one doesn't work? I know it's bad news to start thinking too far out, but it's HAAAAAARD to keep yourself in check all the time. I am asking for help when I think I need help, I am seeing the appropriate professionals, I make sure I don't spend EVERY day at home with only children for company, I keep myself busy with household stuff and bakery stuff. But I don't feel like I'm getting better. I've always, eventually, felt better. But then I've always, eventually, felt anxious again. And at this point it just sounds EXHAUSTING. And I'm already exhausted. I'm being challenged to look at this as a chronic thing, accept it even, and I'm trying and finding that to be a better perspective than my usual Fight Fight Fight stance. That IS helpful. But I think right now I feel sad about it too. Maybe the other part of that testimony is that God knew what a rough time my brain chemistry was going to be and gave me the people I needed when I really needed them. And they include you guys, too. xo

 

 


Dinner/Bakery/Books/Decrepit Mental Health Update

Dinner Update

Dinner 1: chicken schnitzel type thingies, quinoa/brown rice from Costco (and a nice microwaveable bag), spinach sauteed with bacon and mushrooms. Everyone ate the chicken, no one ate the quinoa/rice except for me, grown ups ate the spinach while the children choked down one bit after considerable wailing and rending of garments. 

Dinner 2: I made a soup with shredded chicken and wild rice. I put heavy cream in it to increase the chances of people under the age of 30 giving it a chance. Nobody wanted to eat it, but I stopped caring since Family Dinner was preempted by my BIL surprise in town for business and stealing Phillip for dinner out. Pretty sure kids ate saltines for dinner. I ate the soup for lunch today, though, and *I* liked it, so there. 

Dinner 3 (tonight): cheese and spinach tortellini with a creamy tomato sauce (basically diced tomatoes, onion, herbs, and cream cooked down and immersion blended into Tasty Sauce of Indeterminate Origin) and sauteed grean beans. Big kids had fourteen servings of pasta, little kid kept shouting, "MORE BEANS! MORE BEANS!" We ate together, we took turns sharing the Good Thing about our day and the Bad Thing, and I felt like I won a peace prize. 

I've spent some time looking at my old recipe book, adding recipes from Pinterest, and planning out meals for the rest of the week. (I know. It's Wednesday. We are starting small.) I am feeling good, but I tend to feel good at the beginning stages of Attempting Success At Something, and we shall have to see how long I am motivated to, you know, keep planning ahead. 

Also, I've read a few responses to Virginia Heffernan's article which 1) take things ENTIRLEY too seriously and 2) do NOT get the "not big on cooking" point of view. But whatever. *I* have a sense of humor even if I am seriously lacking in the ability to roast a chicken department. 

I KNOW ROASTING A CHICKEN IS SUPPOSED TO BE THE EASIEST THING EVER. BUT FIRST YOU HAVE TO TOUCH A WHOLE RAW CHICKEN. NOPE!

Bakery Update

We have a thing or two going on, including a whole big discussion about an Actual Wedding in June, complete with cake and favors ETCETERA. Most of our orders lately have been from (gasp) strangers! And I would like to say that we are getting these orders without me having done a single stupid marketing thing. That said, we would like MORE orders which means I should probably DO some marketing things. So while Katie was doing the wedding discussing and pricing out, I was doing some, shall we say, Market Research. And looking for opportunities to get our stuff out there and after about 20 minutes I just got SUPER intimdated. I was super intimidated by the wedding industry when I was GETTING married, and now it is just as intimidating (if not more so) now that I'm thinking of possibly joining it. I keep telling myself that the four or five dessert vendors that pop up on all the sites are not the only people in the world doing cakes or desserts and there IS a place for us. I keep telling myself that not everyone WANTS a to-scale model of the Eiffel Tower for a party cake and there is a place for our very simple, very clean, very delicious cakes. I also keep telling myself that everyone loves a teeny tiny sister act when it comes to small business and we're nice and fun and cute and willing to do whatever and WE CAN MAKE THIS HAPPEN. But sheesh, there's stuff out there that really makes you feel like we'll never belong and shouldn't bother trying. 

The idea of opening a shop, at this point, and with everything we've learned so far, is pretty pie in the sky. It would take a lot of money, we'd go into a lot of debt, and even if we were willing to do that, we have NO EXTRA TIME. Our husbands have jobs that make actual money so those come first, and we take care of kids and do everything on the side. From what I know now, there's just NO WAY we could open a shop on our own. That sounds kind of defeatist or down on women or whatever, but it's just truth. But I think... not necessarily the shop itself, but what we would SELL in a shop is what we'd still like to do. We still both really love the idea of having a case of little cookies that people could pick and choose, we'd arrange them on a platter, wrap it in our logo-printed wrapping paper, and they'd take it to the family gathering. Do people do this in the states? I don't know. And God knows if that's an idea that would ever make any money! That's why I feel like we need to explore this wedding and catering stuff. Maybe I need to just make a date with the chamber of commerce folks and let them give me the terrible news so we know once and for all. 

Dudes, who ever thought I'd be all entrepreneuring on my BLOG. 

Book Update

Finished The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes. Loved it. World War 1, love stories, art, mystery, England, intrigue, did I mention WAR? 

Now I'm reading Zoo Station by somebody Downing... David? Anyway. Just before WWII begins in Berlin. English/American reporter with a German ex-wife and a son. Contacted by the NKVD, the Germans, AND the Brits about spying. It feels a little slow, but I expect greatness. And it's a SERIES. I LOVE SERIES.

Anxiety Update

I am nearing the end of my three-month "your meds should start to work within this timeframe" trial period and I'm feeling a little nervous because I don't feel ALL better. I feel MUCH better, but I feel enough bad for it to be noticeable and something I probably have to talk about with the brain doctor, even though I don't have another appointment scheduled until January. (Because, me, at the last appointment: I'm doing so well! I'm sure I'm on the upswing! I don't need to come back any time soon! HA HA HAAAAsob) That said I've been trying VERY HARD to change my general outlook on Having Anxiety. Like... instead of viewing it as Me Vs. Anxiety, I'm trying to think of it more as Regular Me Attempting To Better Tolerate And/Or Have More Compassion For The Anxious Me, which I'm hoping will create less of the anxiety about anxiety. Which sounds crazy, I know, but sometimes I think the having anxiety about having anxiety is the absolute worst part. 

THE END. (FOR TODAY.)

 

 

 


Keep on keeping on

Yesterday was rough. The day before that was rough. Today is rough. I THINK things are getting better? On the whole? But yesterday and today instead of getting on the stupid treadmill (and just WALKING FTLOG) I crawled into my bed and slept. I just wanted to escape. Naps don't make me FEEL better. I feel terrible, all groggy and out of sorts when I wake up. But I can disappear for that half hour or hour... 

We are trying to figure out our trip to Italy and perhaps other parts European this May and June. Phillip is working things out with his job and I won't really know what our options are until November, but every time I scout plane fare, each ticket is as much as our mortgage payment. All my Alaska miles (and the $750 in vouchers I received from that disaster trip to Colorado) are not going to help me on an international flight booked through Alaska mileage plan partners. So I'm feeling stupid about trying to go that route in the first place and just defeated in general. We will make it work (I am nothing if not a We Will Make It Work kinda person), but [shakes fist at Expedia.com].

I haven't seen my friends in forever. I miss Liz. I take kids to school. I go to Target. I have conversations with my sister about bakery work. I watch a lot of cable news. I fold laundry (sometimes). I clean up the kitchen (sometimes). I think about planning a date with Phillip or meeting friends for happy hour and then I worry that doing something out of the ordinary in the evening will mess with how I get ready to go to sleep, a very important part of Anxiety Management. And then I get mad about that. 

I've been on this weird tear to BUY stuff. I keep going to my usual clothing store websites, piling things in carts, being shocked by the total, not entering my credit card info, moseying over to another site. I've bought a few oversized sweaters at TJ Maxx. I bought Emma a whole bunch of cute stuff at Old Navy yesterday. Navy sweater with white stripes and red heart-shaped elbow patches SWOON. But the hole I am attempting to fill is not filled. Maybe if I splurge on a gorgeous pair of boots? But boots never fit around my wide [AVERAGE SIZED, FTLOG] calves and whenever I wear them I look in the mirror and suspect tall boots aren't the best look on my stubby legs anyway. So maybe not. 

The best part of my day is reading books to my kids before they go to bed. I KNOW. Phillip used to do all of that. I used to get away with not doing bedtime at ALL. Then we had Emma and I would usually put Emma to bed (easier/quicker) than putting big kids to bed. But this summer it started to be the time that I would sort of "make up for" being a distant crappy mom during the daytime [read: anxious] and for whatever reason it was calming and comforting to be with them. Just in general my kids have been a huge consolation to me during this latest episode. But I've read two Narnia books to them, that they really loved (me: ugh) and Jack and I tore through a Jack-appropriate book on the Revolutionary War the last two nights and I just feel like YEAH! I love reading, even though I haven't done much of it lately (everything I read stresses me out somehow and I don't need more of that) and my kids haven't been super excited about reading, but we finally found a book they WANTED to keep reading and it made me SO EXCITED. And Jack wanting to keep reading about Paul Revere and George Washington: YES. Weird, maybe, but these times at night and the looking for books they'd like has been a balm to my soul the last couple of months. 

Usually I'm pretty upbeat, Internet, but tonight I just want to cry it out. God I'm tired. 


Three months later...

Even though today is turning out to be not that awesome, in the last week and a half I've had more good days than bad, and yesterday was practically normal. We were driving somewhere yesterday and I realized that I had not been "managing" myself all morning and I was suddenly heartened and exhausted. I told Phillip that feeling better somehow made me tired, like now I had time or energy to realize how hard I've been working and now I have the time and energy to feel the fatigue. Early last week, when I was exhausted from bakery stuff and irritated with my kids, was when I realized I was feeling better - I had the time and energy to have awareness of a feeling that wasn't anxiety. 

I'm at the full dose of my new medication now (it's been about a month) and I am EXTREMELY SUPER HOPEFUL that I continue to feel better and more normal. I am fighting the voice in my head that says having to try another SSRI - my third - is a failure of some sort, that the naturopathic route did not work, that I maybe "made" this happen. My new Professional Talking About Things person is helpful on that front, pointing out that all the "anxiety roads" are well worn in my brain, and going down them doesn't mean that I've failed or fell prey to something I know to stay away from, only that those roads are THERE and it makes SENSE that I would go down them and maybe I can just say to myself, "Self? You are going down a Road. Let's go back." 

I think I've missed writing here, although the longer I stay away, the more I wonder what to say! Emma turns THREE tomorrow, which is horrifying (and amazing - we are, like, full on potty training and it's going well and we're entering this world where we don't have babies and baby schedules and baby stuff - also horrifying and amazing). Molly is having a rockstar kickoff to first grade. Jack is doing well, but also saying he's bored all the time and I'm conflicted about how much of it is Jack being a twerp and how much of it is me needing to have a chat with his teacher to find out more (ugh, that feels potentially icky.) Everyone is all settled in their new rooms and I am wandering around in the evenings constantly remembering that all the kids are on a different floor and I can holler at my husband on his fourth Daily Show in the living room. 

The bakery continues to be nutballs. Last week was cookie box week and then suddenly 12 dozen macarons by Friday morning AND 250 cookies next day for BIL's catering company who didn't order enough from their usual supplier. So it was a PROFITABLE week, if not particularly conducive to mental health. I just got a call from a lady who wants a two tier jungle-theme cake for a baby shower and I had to pull a price out of the air because WE ARE NEW and I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU PRICE ANYTHING and I had to call Katie in a panic to ask if I'd just promised a cake for basically free. (I did not.) And it was only after all of that that I realized it was an order from a stranger and YOU GUYS we now get orders from STRANGERS. We continue to not do things the Right Way, by which I mean the Smart Savvy Business Owner Way, but we continue to CONTINUE. I know at some point that won't be good enough, but HEY, the other day I got a letter in the mail reminding me it's time to renew my business license. WHAT THE WHAT! It's been that long already?!

Anyway, that is all what has been Up around here. I want to feel better and then I want to sleep for about a week, although I'm told there is no sleep during the autumn season when you own a bakery, SO. But I think I might get the 'feel better' part, so things are looking good. At some point we will need to discuss the Blond and where I am going with this whole look, but I'll have pity on you, Poor Reader, and save that for another post. 


What's been up

SO YEAH. Lots and lots has been happening over here - nothing especially blogworthy, but that's never really kept me from writing it all out before. Basically I am Beyond Anxious and 99% of my energy goes towards Keeping On Keeping On. Writing about it hasn't felt like something that would help, so I haven't. It just sucks and it still sucks and it's never going to stop sucking, except if I think that way then it quickly spirals into All Is Lost territory and that's just the worst. Keeping On Keeping On is all about steering clear of that mindset. 

I am doing all the right things. I have started a new medication, which actually might be the problem, you know, that pesky "oh, at first you might get MORE anxious!" side effect. I am seeing a Professional Talking About Things person. I have all the right people checking in on me, offering to bring dinner, coming over at a moment's notice, OFFERING TO VISIT ME OVER THE WEEKEND FROM A DIFFERENT CITY YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. If I wasn't absolutely determined not to get into a shaky emotional state, I might sob over the amazing friends and family who are taking care of me and making sure I don't fall over. 

But I can't do that because I have to do laundry and make lunches in the morning and we have a pretty big bakery thing going on tomorrow - a vendor open house at a catering company! I made sample party favor boxes! Katie is making cake bites with PASSIONFRUIT CURD OMG - and you know, STUFF TO DO! People to take care of! I can't go around breathing into paper bags every ten seconds! 

It was a particularly nasty weekend, in spite of it being our annual couples' weekend. Or maybe I should say, "Thank God it was our couples' weekend" because my friends rallied around me in a way I haven't needed... ever. Really. One emergency horse tranquilizer prescription later and I'm cautiously hopeful. I mean, it's always gotten better before, it has to get better this time too. Right? 

Think good thoughts for Phillip, who is having a stressful time at work and doesn't need the Crazy Wife on top of it all. Think good thoughts for my kids, who don't seem to realize how much I neglected them this summer. Think good thoughts for me, that this mess works itself out soon. I feel like I can't keep this up much longer. Except, I mean, I can. I have before. 

At some point I will show you pictures of my daughters' absofreakinglutely adorable new room. Hopefully soon.


No one should care this much about bedroom rearranging

The Bedroom Indecision of 2014 has CONCLUDED. Boom! Feels good. After many minutes standing in the middle of the room hemming and hawing, saying, "What do YOU think, Emma?", and emergency-texting Emily who knows about these things, I finally decided on what to do about beds. The arrangement is as follows:

JACK'S ROOM: He will keep his overpriced twin bunk beds. Maybe one day we'll get him a full size loft and put a teenager-worthy desk setup underneath, but for now the seven-year-old has a COUCH in his room, HE IS FINE. 

MOLLY & EMMA'S NEW ROOM: I just placed an order for a spiffy white twin-over-full bunk bed from Walmart. It will be delivered to my house by Monday for FIVE DOLLARS. I measured and taped out lines on the bedroom floor to see how the Ikea daybed-that-pulls-into-a-King-bed AND another twin bed would work in that room. And while there were two arrangements that would WORK, both would require one of my kids sleeping against the wall of windows in that room - maybe not the most terrible thing, but the windows are BIG and one of them is a DOOR, and this just bugs me, perhaps irrationally, whatever. Also, even though that room is BIG, two twin beds were going to eat up a lot of space and I haaaaaate giving up space. I could have put Jack's bunk beds in there, but leaving the full (which the sellers left when we bought the house - WIN) would mean I could still use it as a guest room. Also, the twin-over-full bunk was cheaper than the daybed/trundle I wanted to buy when we factored in having to ALSO buy new mattresses.

NEW GUEST ROOM UPSTAIRS: No bed for now. Eventually I WILL want to buy the Ikea daybed so we can use it as a guest room, and since that room is the smallest, it makes sense to put a daybed/trundle in there instead of a bigger bed. I will probably need every inch for bakery stuff! 

So now there are NEW THINGS TO CONSIDER, those being: we have our regular guests coming to stay at the end of August. I'd planned to give them the option of staying up or downstairs (privacy vs. not so much), but now they'll just stay in the girls' new bunk since we won't have anything else. OH WELL! I am shockingly fine with this. I am embarrassed by how much I care about what my [infrequent!] guests think, so I'm feeling proud about feeling fine this time! ALSO THEY TOTALLY DON'T CARE. I could probably put these people on an air mattress in the living room and give them a timetable for when they're allowed to use the bathroom and they would be fiiiiiine. Best guests ever. All the more reason to leave chocolates on their pillows. (Oh, and I won't need to figure out what to do with the girls since they'll be with grandparents that weekend. Excellent plan.) 

The other thing is that the two sets of girly matching twin bedding - that I've been SAVING! - suddenly won't do! OH DARN. A stronger more well balanced person would just put one set on the twin bed and use the bedding I already have for the full bunk but NOOOOO THEY NEED TO MATCH OR AT LEAST COLOR COORDINATE AM I RIGHT?! I will probably have to sit on this for a while as we have A Budget, but that just means more time to fill up a Pinterest board. 

One other thing might be that Molly would sleep on the top bunk and Emma would be swimming in a full. The part of me that wants everything to be as it should be for all time is annoyed by that, but this weekend the girls stayed with my parents and I learned they slept in the same bed because they WANTED TO and I am CHARMED by this development and now envision them sharing the full bed and having lots of good sister time. Until Molly comes to her senses and climbs into the top bunk. 

In other news I bought three pale pink paint samples this afternoon and all of them are terrible. One is too dark, one is too PINK, and one is basically white. I actually really like the pink one, but Phillip and I looked at it and we both had the same reaction - in that room, with all of that wall space, that is a LOT of pink. I'm going back for a pink in between the PINK and the basically white. The new bunk bed is white and most of their furniture is white with hot pink accents... BUT I LIKE PINK, OKAY. So do my girls. If you can't have a pink room when you're practically 6 and 3 years old, when can you?! 

BORINGEST POST EVER I'M SORRY JEEZ. Did you want to know about MIss Julie? Miss Julie was a beautiful wonder floating on a cloud made of spun sugar, around whom we all hovered worshipfully. Also, Miss Julie drives an aqua Mini Cooper. I MEAN COME ON. THAT CAN'T EVEN BE REAL. 

It was a lovely morning and then, out of nowhere, my body cranked back into Super Anxious Mode and I'm back to being upset about it. No bakery stress, no hormones, nothing on my calendar, no relationship strife, nothing! Being mad is not helpful, but I am, which is all the worse because there is no one to be mad AT. 

Tomorrow we're going to the summer dollar movie at 10am and then they've all decided they want to watch me paint. Should be an exciting day, don't you think? Three more weeks until school starts and I sincerely hope we make it that far. 


Being an anxious and blond small business owner

This has been a REALLY weird week. And I think we should, in part, blame it on the weather. For two days now it's been pouring like it's November or something and it's VERY disorienting. More disconcerting than the rain is the DARK. It's DARK and I don't LIKE IT. 

But also this has been a hard MONTH and I am feeling it. I'm not sure if you're allowed to say you've had a hard month if part of your hard month was a week-long expenses-paid cruise to Alaska. Still, it's been a month (more like six weeks) of tough conversations, lots of business decisions, hard work to keep that business going, no routine, and lots of things keeping me and distracting me from things I want to focus on. It's no big shocker that my kids are pretty awesome at Minecraft at this point. 

AND I'm anxious again. Super! I am disappointed - I was hoping more than I wanted to hope that the supplements I'm taking for the MTHFR mutation were the Magic Cure. Then again, the anxiety I'm experiencing this month is so fantastically different than the anxiety I experienced even two or three years ago, that I can't sit here and say Oh Woe Is Me, Everything Is Back To Horrible. Because it's not. Even the handful of days of spectacularly bad anxiety this month have only been a handful - it used to be weeks upon months of this. But today I feel SO much better than I did yesterday, so much so that when I'm anxious now I have to say to myself, "Self? Don't decide anything today, wait until tomorrow." And it won't be just something I say to keep going, but something that is truthful. Yesterday I wanted to call the nearest quickest easiest doctor and beg for horse tranquilizers. Today I think, "Eh! See how it goes!

The way my body does this anxiety nonsense is SO much clearer to me now. I feel confident explaining how it works - IN ME. When you're in the middle of it rational thinking kind of disappears and I rely on my people to cheerlead me through it. But today I can look at yesterday and go, "Okay, so this is what was happening: X, Y, Z." And know that if the conditions are right, it can and will happen again, but that those conditions tend to improve and dissipate. 

It kicked in the night I bleached my hair. That night my hair - and I know this is stupid, but it's true - came to represent the stress of things that happened in the days before. I went to sleep feeling off and uncertain and woke up a few hours later, drenched in fear. It's so chemical! And fueled by circumstance! It's just awful. And the next day I could barely function, knowing that I had to go on a cruise in a few days, I had to pack, I had to take care of my kids, I HAD TO DYE MY HAIR BACK because every time I looked in the mirror I saw shame, guilt, irresponsibility, all sorts of terrible things. Everything except HAIR.

My friends prayed for me, that all the stuff that wasn't biochemistry would just leave me alone. And also that my biochemistry would start behaving. And it did. But this month has been so crazy that The Conditions are still "right" and there's been a low anxiety buzz in the background for weeks now. It kicked in again yesterday, and I think I know why, but it doesn't really matter, and I can't really control that anyway - what I can control is putting myself in places where managing it is easier. So I've been doing that. I've been a little bit worried about traveling to Austin tomorrow for the Edel Gathering (the gathering of Catholic lady bloggers, and while I am all those things, I have never been in a Just Catholic Lady Blogger setting, eep) but you know what? Today I feel fine about going to Edel. I am armed with sleeping pills, two different herbal remedies for anxiety that don't work but make me feel like I can take something to help, and also roommates who will take care of me if everything goes wrong. Except nothing has ever gone so wrong that I can't hang out with my friends and drink a glass or four of wine. 

This weekend is Edel. Next weekend is the street fair. The next weekend is the baking of 700 some cookies for our second subscription box mailing. I am OVERWHELMED. Katie is too. This is so so much for two moms of young children who have a million other responsibilities. Today we sketched out what we want to sell at the street fair and the menu is SO different than what I thought we'd do, but the reality of time and storage space and capability and heat etc. compelled us to choose items that would be gentle on our souls, instead of Presenting A Picture Of What We Can Really Do. 

And this weekend while I'm gone I might send Phillip to Costco with the bakery debit card to buy a chest freezer, of all things, because there's no space in our rental kitchen freezer and not NEARLY enough space in our home freezers and when I started a bakery business this is not something I thought about. 

OH THE THINGS I SHOULD HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT!

Not that I am regretting anything. Not at all. I think what we are doing is NUTS and perhaps not good for my mental health or the cleanliness of our houses or having time for absolutely anything else (I MISS MY FRIENDS), but it's also been amazing. I mean, if we were to shut everything down today, it would still be amazing and one of the experiences I'm most proud of. I mean, WE KNOW NOTHING. But we've done THIS. And God knows what our street fair booth is going to look like, but dammit, WE ARE DOING A STREET FAIR BOOTH. 

Also? I freaking love my blond hair. I just do. It is not natural-looking, it will grow out, it has completely damaged the front chunk of my hair, but I REALLY LIKE IT so there. 

 


Spring Break meanderingness

Friday night we started driving to Montana to visit friends for a short Spring Break trip. We got there Saturday afternoon, spent a glorious two-and-a-half days never seeing our children because they were always exploring outside, and drove all the way home on Tuesday. We knew we'd have a good time, but we had SUCH a good time. I can be a huge downer about going places other than bright shiny cities (or beaches, obvs) and the drive through Eastern Washington gives me the shakes. Also, our friends live on 40 acres of empty fields (in a spectacular designed-by-them house, BUT STILL) and middle of nowhereish places are not my favorite. That said, when your children are out of your hair and having a blast AND you yourself are enjoying excellent company, a middle of nowhereish location is fantastic. There were hours and hours of Drinking Wine While Having Deep Meaningful Conversations, which is pretty much my favorite thing to do. My kids ran through alfalfa fields, burned sticks in the forest, petted dogs and horses, drove go carts, climbed trees, rode bikes a million times farther than they get to ride them at home. I'm still positive I couldn't live there, but I honestly do have an entirely new and delightful outlook on living in the middle of nowhere. Ish. 

I've been getting pretty lightheaded in the afternoons for about two weeks. Today I finally googled "lightheaded" and "Pr0zac withdrawal", as it's the only reason I can think of. It appears to be a definite possibility, but honestly, ANYTHING related to SSRIs look to be definite possibilities when you ask Dr. Google. The one recommendation I found that seemed reasonable is to start taking fish oil supplements (Omega 3). I can try that. 

I also googled "weight gain" and "Pr0zac"... because. I want to say that I'm still struggling with this, but I also struggle with whether I should write about it. Part of it is a legitimate thing I need to do and work on and figure out and come to terms with. Part of it is me looking at pictures of the summer I turned 30 and hating myself because I don't look like those pictures anymore - even though I have one more child, a wildly different schedule, way less time for myself, and a new business. (A BAKING BUSINESS.) While I suspect the meds have made it near-impossible for me to LOSE weight (I'm not sure if they made me gain) and I do think it's important that I find a way to shed some weight in the near future, I also need to find a way to let go of that almost-30 body. Most of all I need to reframe the narrative in my head that tells me I failed and disappointed myself and others. 

I rearranged my living room. It's kind of wild how something like rearranging one's living room can make the entire world brighter and happier. I am typing this from my "office" - a tiny console table I stole from the entry way and placed in the corner of the living room, on which I placed my laptop, a lamp, and my box of bakery files. I crammed the printer into the bookshelf next to me. It's not comfortable, but it's cute, and it will work until we kick EJ out of her room and create The Prettiest Office In The Universe [Even Though I'll Have To Share It With A Boy].

The bakery is going well! Sort of! We are almost finished with our new application, which is fantastic, and let's not think about the "4 to 6 weeks" it will take to even get looked at. Deep breath. I have also received heaps of marketing advice from Twitter, most notably Ginger from Ramble Ramble and ONCE AGAIN I am in awe of Thumbprints' supporters online. I am still completely freaked out that no one is ever going to order anything from us, but now I have things to DO while no one is ordering from us. Things to TRY! It appears I'm going to have to be way more present on Facebook than I am currently (boo), but on behalf of the bakery (yay). I apologize in advance to any locals who are innundated with FB posts from Thumbprints. And the rest of you - hardly any of you have tried our treats, maybe you think we're overpriced and our website sux and we're doing everything wrong, but even YOU, I thank you for keeping that to yourselves. Everyone has been SO GREAT. I LOVE YOU.

OH! I wanted to tell you that our Montana friends have a DOG. Okay, they actually have way more dogs than one family should own, but their INSIDE dog is a Maltese/Yorkie mix and I love her. And she's a needy, anxious, just-got-her-hair-cut-so-she's-not-even-that-cute dog. But I LOVED having this little warm body next to me on the couch or in my lap. I don't like cats. I have a thing about cat claws and I get super nervous and tense when a cat climbs into my lap wondering when it's going to dig in. It's terrible, because Phillip only likes cats and I only like dogs and no one would help me take care of a dog and what would we do when we go somewhere etc. etc., but MAN I really want a little doggie. At the very least I will demand my own little doggie when EJ goes off to college. Will Phillip deny his sobbing baby-less wife THEN? I THINK NOT.