Posts Tagged ‘stress’

A Monday morning list.

April 9, 2012

I am feeling rather odd this morning. I think it’s called…relaxed. It was a good, good weekend.

  • I picked up my new glasses on Thursday afternoon. I’ve almost gotten used to the hundreds and hundreds of new things I see reflected in them and havealmoststopped startling 10,000 times a day because I think something is sneaking up on my periphery.
  • I ran for a mile and a half Thursday night. Nothing clears the stress away from a long week like a good run. After that, I was all Bring It On: Weekend Edition. No work stress for me – I left it all on the treadmill. (And boy was that thing soggy.)
  • I went shopping with Jo and picked up two new shirts, a hoodie, a necklace, and three pairs of earrings – for $100 and $30 cash rewards. I also walked out of Charming Charlies without a single purchase. I am the master.
  • We went to see Hunger Games and while it wasn’t a waste of money, I sat there slack-jawed wondering how in the world everyone could say it was a good adaptation. It was like watching a Cliff Notes version where they get some of the salient details wrong. And since I could read the book in just 20 minutes longer than it took to watch the movie, I’ll take the book and all its extra details every time, please. Plus, it totally threw me every time I heard the “new” Mr. Bennett being all evil. Extra creeeepy, baby.
  • I accomplished every single item on my To Do list, including clearing the kitchen counters of all their clutter, and finished in time to spend Saturday afternoon outside in my lounge chair, where I finished a good book. Reading an entire book outdoors, when it’s 81° with just enough of a breeze to keep you from boiling over? Relaxation itself. I think that scrubbed away weeks’ worth of stress residue. So what if I happened to burn a bit on my arms and chest (and maybe more than a lil bit on my legs). If I happen to peel, we’ll consider it a bonus.
  • Yesterday I managed to squeeze in a two-mile run after sleeping in until the whopping hour of 9:30 a.m. I haven’t slept that late in years! Even better: I accidentally timed my run so I got back just before a wicked line of thunderstorms and flooding rains moved through. The skies didn’t look stormy while I was out, although it was overcast. But as I turned the shower off, I started hearing the thunder roll in, one after the other. We even lost electricity for a few minutes! There’s no way I would have gone out if I knew storms were that close, so it’s like I got an extra two-miles in. Yay me!

And that is how it came to be Monday morning and I arrived completely at work stress-free (if still a bit exhausted, but I think that’s a permanent condition). I don’t think the stress-free part will last very long, but that’s okay. I brought Cadbury Mini-Eggs.

 

She’s my cherry pie.

June 28, 2010

No, I did not bake an itty bitty person into my cherry pie. But, great scot, that would be creative. I did, however, bake cherry pies today. Why? Because it’s 99°F outside (without the heat index), I’m keeping my central air at 84°, and I’ve gone mad! Mad, I tell you! Ahem. There might have been a bit of sugar in the pie.

About a month ago, my dear friend John had a birthday. And what do I do when it’s someone’s birthday? I bake! And since we all know that baked goods=power, I discovered a few years ago via super-stealth methods that John’s favorite pie happens to be cherry, and so now I bake cherry pie for him for his birthdays. (Some day I am going to cash in on all of those favors. Knowing me it will be because I’m on the side of the road with a flat when the IO is out of town.) Anyway…this weekend the grocery store had cherries on sale for $1.99/lb and so I bought myself 4lbs of cherries because I am crazy can never remember how many pounds of fresh cherries it takes to make a pie. (For everyone else’s benefit, it takes 2lbs. You’re welcome.)

While I was putting away the groceries and de-pitifying my fresh cherries, I called my mom to see how she was doing. That went well for about ten minutes and then I talked to my baby sister and she got mad at me and then my mom got back on the phone and was upset at me because Rhi was upset and then my mom started to cry. So that made me feel like I was accomplishing some good in the world. I tell ya, it was a good thing I was already baking because it IS the only coping mechanism in this house. (Well, that and drinking, but it was only 11 a.m. and a girl’s gotta have some standards, yo.) See what a good friend John is? He has birthdays so I can bake and de-stress before I’m even aware I needed to de-stress.

Besides de-pitifying (oh, it is too a word) the fresh cherries, cherry pies are just about the easiest pies in the whole world to make. You slice (and de-pitify) 5 1/4 cups of cherries and dump them into a bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups of sugar and 3 tablespoons of cornstarch. Mix that all together so the cherries will get sort of syrupy. You’ll need a top and bottom crust (I use a deep 9″ pie pan). After about 15 minutes, dump the cherry mixture into the pie crust, add the cover, crimp the edges and add three slits to the top crust. Wrap the edges of the crust with tin foil so it doesn’t burn and put the pie on a lipped cookie sheet to bake. Trust me – no matter what you do, the pie is gonna esplode into a cherry volcano. The cookie sheet will catch the run-off and prevent a giant mess in your oven. Bake the pie for 45 minutes at 375°. Remove the tin foil and continue baking for 15 more minutes.

Voila! Cherry pie! (Results for ridding yourself of stress may vary.)

Love teaches you perspective.

March 11, 2010

It has been a crazy sort of week. The kind of crazy that is Highly Unbloggable, not the “fun kind” of crazy. But you know what’s weird? That same catalyst that started the crazy to begin with made for very sweet undertones to my week. The huge amount of stress that was pressing down on me is what gave me a fresh perspective for gratitude and appreciation, which in turn made me love my girls and our family all the more. If I’m gonna have to deal with that kind of stress, I would say that’s a pretty cool side effect.
 
Because of the stress, I stopped and thought about a measured response when Gracie came home from school with a blue and then a yellow. I took a moment to figure out the real cause behind their meltdowns. I didn’t snap when Bee got up out of bed for the 63rd time to ask for another hug and kiss. I was a much better mom this week.
 
I think part of the reason is because when I am this stressed out, it takes me a minute to process things. I feel a little bit like I’m living under a heavy layer of wet cotton batting, or something. The small delay for things to work through the cotton fuzz is all my inner mom needs to dole out much better parenting advice. The noise of parenting is dimmed and easier to deal with. Whatever the reason is, I’ll take the silver lining if I have to put up with the rain cloud.
 
And I was a much better person, too. I appreciated the little thing so much more. I heard Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” – my favorite song of all time – on the radio three times this week. It made me smile a real smile every single time. Every time the girls listened and did what I asked of them the first time I asked, it felt like the best part of my day, when before it might have gone unnoticed. The lunch hour I spent in the park with the windows rolled down, reading my book and enjoying the sunshine and 75 degree weather was perhaps the most relaxing hour of my life. All very, very good things.
 
No, things might not be good right now, but at least I have my head screwed on straight. I’m still seeing the love in everyday moments. I’m okay.  Happy Love Thursday, everyone. I hope you are all feeling okay down deep where it matters.

My Parenting 101 handbook doesn’t cover alien infestations.

February 26, 2010

This is only about the millionth time this has happened so far in my parenting career: I’m not exactly sure what to do. Gracie may – or may not – be suffering from some medical mystery, nervous condition, stomach bug, dislike for school, or alien lifeform. Or perhaps karmic coincidence; you know, being my child and all.

Here’s the deal: at the beginning of the month, the school nurse called and said that Gracie had been sick all over the place (ewwwww) and would need to be picked up from school. I was getting ready for a huge meeting at ThePlaceThatShallNotBeNamed and I had just spent a day home with Bee. So I impulsively called the Ex (who had visitation that night anyway) and asked him if he could get her from school. When he dropped the girls off that night, he said that Gracie had just picked at her food, but other than that she had been fine. She was in good spirits, didn’t act sick, and – more importantly – didn’t get sick the rest of the day.

The next morning I woke her up and got her ready for school along with her sister. Gracie complained bitterly about how much her tummy hurt. She produced tears and warned that she was going to throw up. I didn’t know what to do; she certainly had thrown up all over the place the previous day, and I didn’t want the school to think I was one of those parents. On the other hand, she had raved about how much fun she had spending the day alone with her dad, so I was a little suspicious of her complaints. I decided to send her school. Big mistake. The school nurse called me less than an hour after Gracie had been dropped off and said she had been sick all over the hallway. That’s when I decided that the janitors and the nurse were getting giant gifts at the end of the year. I left work and collected my child. Gracie’s teacher suggested taking her to the doctor, but I could only imagine the scorn that would be rained down upon us: An upset tummy and no other symptoms? It’s just a stomach bug, stop bugging us with the easy stuff that even silly parents should know! The stomach bug was going around; I’d just keep her home unless and until a third round hit. Of course, Gracie was fine the rest of the day.

Two Thursdays ago, the day that Sars and Auntie Kim were supposed to arrive, the school nurse called me yet again. Gracie had been sick – yet again. And so I left work – yet again – to go collect her. Since it was practically blizzarding outside, I didn’t call her pediatrician, although I would have if the roads were drivable. She was fine the rest of the day (predictably) and that’s when I started wondering what sort of alien was living in her stomach. I also started thinking about less likely causes – food allergies, for one. Gracie said she had a hot dog for dinner, and I vaguely remembered serving hot dogs sometime around the first time she was sick, although I couldn’t be sure. I asked the Ex to hold off on any other hot dog dinners to see if that stopped the attacks. That’s when I found out that Gracie had been sick both nights that past weekend when she was at her dad’s – something he hadn’t bothered telling me. She hadn’t had hot dogs then. Or on Tuesday when she was sick at daycare right after I dropped her off (thankfully, this round she skipped being sick at school).

It did mean there was a pattern, though: Gracie seemed to be getting sick first thing in the morning. Sometimes just once, sometimes twice. It always seemed to end when she was picked up from school, but that could be coincidental if she just needed to get whatever it was out of her system.

It could be stress. I feel all of my stress through my stomach; during times of high stress, I pop Tums like candy. (Mmmm….wintergreen Tums.) Adding plausibility to this theory is the fact that Gracie asks to stay home from school on the days of the attacks and mentions that the boys – who are all on blue and red – tease her for being on green. It’s not the only time that story has surfaced, so I reiterate what we’ve discussed: that people get jealous and she is doing a great job to do what she knows is right and I ask her how proud she is of herself. She almost always smiles. Nevertheless, I emailed her teacher and asked if she knew of any reasons that Gracie could be stressed at school. Gracie is doing well academically and likes her teacher enough, so I didn’t think it was pressure in either of those general areas. Her teacher said nothing came to mind but that she would talk to her privately and see if Gracie mentioned anything.

It could be a food allergy that we haven’t uncovered yet. I started keeping a food log of what she’s eaten the 24-hours prior to all attacks. If things speed up, I’ll elevate it to a 24-7 food log, but that is a lot of work that might turn out to be unnecessary. She’s worth it, but have you seen my To-Do list?!

The theory I’m leaning towards is this one: it could be because of her allergies and head colds. Gracie is congested a lot of the time. It’s winter-cold season and the child unfortunately has inherited her mama’s wicked seasonal year-long allergies. Dr. Google and many others have advised that it’s not uncommon for young children to experience post-nasal drip all night, and then for their delicate little stomachs to violently evict all of that gunk when they wake up in the morning. I’ve heard this happens more frequently if the child drinks milk right after waking; Gracie usually rejects anything to eat or drink of she’s feeling icky, but the rest of the theory seems to fit. Once she’s sick, she’s fine. That lines up perfectly with this diagnosis.

Of course, it could still be an alien lifeform trying to make some room for itself. I haven’t quite ruled that out.

It could be worse.

July 26, 2009

Bleh. I’m pretty nauseous right now and I’m hoping it’s not a bug. I mean, it could be stress. The rip-roaring headache that sent me to bed at 8:30 p.m. last night could have been from missing my afternoon caffeine yesterday, and the nausea that started last night could have been from bad meat. Still. Bleh.

I shouldn’t complain. The stresses from this weekend were mostly short-lived – and how often do I get to write that? I never get to write about the crises that weren’t. Like the washing-machine fake-drama. I had washed a load of sheets this past week. I never do laundry mid-week unless the girls come home with super-stained clothes or Bee has an accident. But for whatever reason, I had decided to wash the pile of sheets instead of trip over the dirty mountain o’ sheets one more night. Of course, then I forgot about them and they never made it into the dryer. I finally remembered them when the laundry room started smelling a little musty two days later. Ewwww is right. So I ran them through the washer again with twice as much detergent and the water as hot as it would go. And right about the time when the spin cycle should have kicked in, I heard this god-awful churning and whining sound from across the house. You know – almost like the last time it happened. This could not be happening, right? I mean, I just bought the washer back in March! It’s not even five months old! I started thinking about who I would have to call and whether I’d have to let them fix it or if I could demand a refund and just buy a (better) new machine. I tossed the sopping wet sheets into the dryer and ran another test load the next day. I guess the sheets were just too heavy from not having dried the first time because it ran fine. Crises averted.

Then, on Saturday morning, I packed up the girls and hit Wally-world early enough to miss most of the crazy shoppers. I was juggling an armful of yogurt and noticed some of them were wet from condensation dripping from the top of the refrigerated section. I checked my shirt to make sure the wet splotches weren’t too bad – and noticed a perfect circle that was not only wet but discolored. On my bright red, favorite Patriots’ t-shirt. No. Oh no. Please oh please don’t let my shirt be ruined. It still looked discolored while it was drying, but thirty minutes later it was back to normal. Phew.

And then, before my tshirt crisis was even resolved, I had the biggest scare of them all. I went to pay for the cart-load of groceries…and couldn’t find my wallet. At first I thought I was just missing it somehow: my purse is rather cavernous and it often takes me a while to find what I’m looking for. The cashier watched me freak out and then all-out panic when I realized it was missing. I keep my purse on my shoulder at all times, and I didn’t think anyone could have picked it out…but you never know. The cashier suspended my transaction while I took the girls and walked out to the car to check for it. My heart was beating out of my chest and I promised not to care about any of the other (nearly) averted catastrophes as long as I pulled through this one. There was hope – I remembered throwing my wallet just inside my purse the day before as I pulled out of the Starbucks drive-through. It was possible it had fallen out and was still in the car. And thankfully, it was.

That almost makes the reappearance of the ants after a three-day absence pale in comparison, doesn’t it? Yes, I’ve had my fair share of scares this weekend. Not to mention that my Insignificant Other is leaving today to travel in and out of the country for two weeks of vacation, which wouldn’t be a big deal except he’s stopping to visit an old family friend whomheusedtodate. Yeah. It will all be fine, I’m sure, but it’s going to be a looooong two weeks. When I thought about the ways in which I could distract myself, stress and nausea really didn’t make the list. Bleh.

My kind of luck.

July 28, 2008

When I get super-stressed – and I mean really, really stressed – usually one of three things happens.

The most common is that I’ll clench my jaw while I’m sleeping. I don’t grind my teeth, I just clench, so that when I wake up in the morning, the back molars on the left side of my jaw are killing me.

Another less frequent scenario is that I break out in hives. Teeny, tiny hives, usually on my fingers and my legs. Sometimes on my arms, too. I’ve been to all sorts of allergists, dermatologists, and general practitioners. No one knows what the deal is with these little hivey-guys. So we chalked it up to stress. Thankfully, that usually only happens once a year, twice tops.

Even less frequent than that are my migraines. I’m not really sold on the fact that they are migraines, but that’s what the neurologist said. (Pffft. What does he know?) Really, it’s like a lightning bolt of pain erupts from the very center of my brain and strikes outwards to the skull. The thin stripe of pain seems that controlled and directed, and is usually over that quickly. Sometimes I’ll have a few lightning bolts in a row, but largely it’s a pattern of bolts over the course of a few hours. The first time I had one of these episodes was my senior year of high school, as I was prepping for AP tests and applying to colleges. I’ve had a few more episodes over the course of several years. Yesterday was the first time it happened while I was driving, thankfully, because it is literally impossible to keep your eyes open when one of these bolts hits. Yes, we’re all fine. Yes, it was scary.

In fact, guess who had all three symptoms at once this weekend?

Stressed? Me? Why do you ask?