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Update on the birdies

Monday, June 21, 2010

Got up this morning around 4:45 (I dunno - I just can't sleep later in the summer. I make up for it in the winter, though), went downstairs about 40 minutes later and peeked in on the nest on my way past the door. No birdies!? Fearing the worst, I investigated a little. One birdie, obviously one of the fledglings, remained in the nest and as soon as s/he saw me peering in, s/he took off. too. That explains why the parents were so omnipresent and fussy the last two or three days - babies learning to fly.

So, that's that. On the one hand, I can now use that door again (we've been using the kitchen door only), weed the gardens there, hang up the Wave petunia baskets. On the other hand, I'll miss their crabby little faces. It's always bittersweet when your babies leave the nest. *sniff* emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HIPPICHICK1 6/21/2010 9:17AM

    I know what you mean. I've watched ducklings and goslings over the years grow up. Once they learn to fly you hardly ever see them again. Sort of like when teenagers learn how to drive.

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PUDLECRAZY 6/21/2010 8:15AM

    Oh, it is a sad and joyous occasion when the babies fledge!

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CMKARLS 6/21/2010 8:14AM


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Honesty is the best policy. (The depression story)

Friday, June 18, 2010

This started out as a memo to myself, but it grew too long for the secret Journal place on SP so I figured, what the hell? may as well share. Maybe someone can gain something from my ramblings.

- I've cut walking paths on the farm twice now, and both times it made me feel so much better - just to be out, riding around on the tractor.
- I planted a dozen tomatoes today, and just puttering around in the soil made me want a salad for lunch instead of something heavy.
- There's no water that is filtered, cold and easy to get to. I need to fix this.
- I need to exercise, preferably outside.
- I need to cut back on my drinking - a single cocktail at cocktail time, then nothing after dinner ought to do it. If not, stop altogether (and if that's an issue, fix it.)
- I need to plan my meals so I can shop, and therefore have on hand what I need to make healthy meals.
- I keep forgetting to meditate and stretch - I need a schedule.
- I feel SO MUCH BETTER when I do something - ANYTHING - rather than sitting around feeling frantic/frustrated/crazy. The only way out of these various dilemmas is to walk out of them one step at a time. The House Dilemma. The Farm Dilemma. The Weight Dilemma. The Writing Dilemma. Walk out. One. Step. At. A. Time.
- I have to remember what used to make me happy, and the little things that used to, I believe, keep my weight in check - getting out on the farm for "fun walks" (as opposed to "boundary patrols") with the dogs, taking the stairs (always) instead of the lift, all those things that added up to a quality of life that Im missing right now.

(I feel like I've written this blog a hundred times... when am I going to put it into motion? When, oh when, am I going to learn? Even my kids are better at deferred gratification than I am, and I have so little self-discipline (and that's been the case ...God, I remember my mother telling me to "Learn self-discipline!" when I was just a kid.)

- I need to remember that I honestly do feel better when I eat right, drink enough water, get some exercise. And I need to care about feeling better. Maybe that's the crux of the matter.

I have been depressed - clinically, for real, chemically imbalanced depressed - for nearly forty years. I've never admitted that in a public forum before, because the way I was raised, depression was a character flaw - anyone with any backbone whatsoever rose above it. I first started to be depressed - for no reason, nothing to cause the fear, guilt, and unrelenting sorrow - at about fifteen. That influenced a lot of the choices I'd make in the next decades in ways I'm just now beginning to piece together.

I had severe postpartum depression after my first child was born, and my mother told me I'd get over it - I never told my doctor. And I did get over it... after convincing myself that my delusions were indeed delusions and no good would come of harming the baby or myself.

When the kids were growing up, I remember several incidents of them coming home to find me sitting on the kitchen floor sobbing, and they'd pat me on the head, ask me what was wrong, and I'd answer them honestly: nothing. There was nothing wrong in my world, except that, inexplicably, I was miserable. Then I'd pull myself together and make supper. I didn't have a choice - my husband was on the road three weeks out of four and I had no family nearby and too much pride to ask for help (and no money to buy any) so I just did what I felt I had to do to take care of the children. I thank God daily that they both turned out to be wonderful, whole, healthy individuals.

I tried everything known to man or woman to help my depression - everything from vitamin supplements to wearing a special hat that had a full-spectrum lightbulb in it. Yoga. Talk therapy. Special diets. Blue-green algae. You name it, I tried it. But not pharmaceuticals. I still believed that only the weak resorted to Drugs. (Never mind that in my wildly misspent youth I'd had as my motto, "Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess!" and that included any drug that made me feel better, however briefly. [No, my children do not know this.])

The only thing that ever made a difference was a supplement called Sam-E, but it was - and is - so expensive that I couldn't afford to take the amount that I needed daily (it would have been roughly $5/day.) Naturally, health insurance wouldn't cover it.

So finally, at about age 45, I leveled with my family doctor and she sent me to see a psychiatrist. I was ready to try anything - the constant, unrelenting undertone of grief, what John Irving referred to as The Undertow, was just getting to be too much, and I dreaded going into menopause, the children leaving home, and my mother (who by now was over 80) declining, without some sort of relief. I knew I'd wind up shooting myself. For real.

So the shrink was of no use, really, except that he finally made a diagnosis. After so many years of being told I was selfish and weak (and totally believing that), being told to "Snap out of it!", that it was "All in [my] head", he put a label on it. He determined that I'd had no traumatic events that were causing the depression externally - that it was all consistently and wholly internally generated and a textbook case of what has become known as endogenous depression. He strongly suggested that I try pharmaceuticals.

After another six months of back-and-forthing, I agreed. The very first dose made a remarkable difference - something, apparently, that is typical with my type of depression (the kind caused by events or failure to cope typically takes a few weeks to respond to medication.) As is my way, I was in for a penny, in for a pound, and wound up taking two separate medications at moderately high doses - and I feel like a normal human, as nearly as I can tell.

The next couple years were spent trying to figure out who I actually was - often, we think we know a person, but all we really know is their depression. Was I really anti-social, or was that the depression? Was I honestly a procrastinator and a slob around the house, or was that due to the fatigue the depression caused? (It takes a huge amount of energy to keep dark things at bay, leaving little for other endeavors.) I'm still sorting it out.

One thing I know, and if you're still reading, this is the thing to take away: people who are depressed can no more "snap out of it" or "pull themselves together" than someone else can snap out of diabetes. You wouldn't dream of telling someone with hypertension to "Get over it!". Believe me, if depression could be cured by an act of will, I'd have done it. It takes work, self-examination, and, sometimes, drugs to reestablish balance.

And that's where I am today. Still sorting, still learning. Still un-learning four decades of wrong assumptions and false beliefs. Still mostly just putting one foot in front of the other.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HIPPICHICK1 6/20/2010 10:35AM

    Thanks for sharing your story.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 6/19/2010 10:40PM

    Fantastic blog. I loved your "ramblings" and your story. It may give hope to many others in similar situations.

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CHISKA 6/19/2010 12:31PM

    Thank you so much for writing this.

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MOMMA_GRIZZ 6/18/2010 11:57PM

    That was a beautiful post - keep on keeping it honest and real. Sort and learn - reinventing yourself with joy :D

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SEANSAUNT 6/18/2010 10:02PM

    I'm still trying to decide if my laziness and messiness are related to the depression. I think maybe they started out that way, and now it's just a habit. One I'm going to have to work really hard at changing.

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NORASPAT 6/18/2010 9:23PM

    It seems you have been better at understanding yourself than the trained professional did.

I have been there done a lot of it except the drinking i must say I have never done that, never do it if you are taking supplements either-bad idea in my mind.
I grew up homeless and lived with many people over the young years.

I am lucky to have a great DH Our sons are all miles away and rarely communicate they have their own problems.
I guess the best i can say is i found myself through honesty, being able to talk to a therapist i was able to talk to others about the rough times.

I have more self esteem and self worth but i had to work on myself. Setting small goals and being proud I got to them. I guess that has helped me the most.
Writing always helps, put it on paper and read it back, it is amazing how sometimes it explains things to you even though you actually wrote it youself.

Do nice things for yourself and always acknowledge your accomplishments no matter how small.
Talk to yourself and be honest with yourself.
BUT, everything you write must be HONEST. Pat in Maine.

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KRICKETTWO 6/18/2010 9:19PM

    Your blog is beautiful and beautifully written because it is real; it is from the heart and it is from the crux of your very being. It sounds like you are finally finding answers...... what a shame that you had to suffer for so long in silence. Bless you on your journey to healing.


k emoticon

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KAYE454 6/18/2010 8:37PM

  Honesty is the only way in my way of life and gods way

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We wondered why the hanging basket wasn't doing well...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

... and now we know.

Little cranky-looking baby finches(?)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    what are their names?

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HIPPICHICK1 6/20/2010 10:36AM

    Aaaaawww! CUTE!!

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MOMMA_GRIZZ 6/18/2010 11:49PM

    LOL just look at their itty bitty faces - aw! Sweet! :D

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PAULA3420 6/18/2010 9:10PM

    HOW FUN!! Don't you just love watching nature give birth and then be witness to it's blossom. FUN Hoping you will give us updates emoticon

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SCOOTER4263 6/18/2010 8:38PM

    Well, whoever they are, they're being fed by either house finches or purple finches (I can't quite tell the difference, but I'm guessing house finches.) The mama and the papa both bring food and keep watch. We have starling nests here and there, and I recognize starling adults - although I don't know, I just realized, if starlings put their eggs in other birds' nests. I guess we'll see soon enough - they're growing like the proverbial weeds!

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ANEVAYTALA 6/18/2010 6:35PM

    Looks like starlings actually. Cute!

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FLAME42 6/14/2010 10:21PM

    A robin made a nest in one of my hanging baskets this spring. It was so much fun to watch the babies (4) grow, interesting to see feeding time. Last week they all flew off from the nest, hope they all survived.
I replanted part of that basket & then put some artificial eggs in it to deter any more guests.

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SCOOTER4263 6/14/2010 6:50PM

    As far as I can tell, there are five. At first we thought three, but now that they're a day bigger, it looks like five. They are absolutely the cutest darned things I've ever seen!

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SHERYLDS 6/14/2010 5:39PM

    cute ....

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NORASPAT 6/14/2010 3:58PM

    Really cool.

How many are there?.
Pat in Maine

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MORTICIAADDAMS 6/13/2010 10:44PM


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LINDAPRET 6/13/2010 10:35PM


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NPR story on vegetables for breakfast (with recipes!)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I love National Public Radio. In my car, almost every button is programmed to one of the local NPR stations, and I can tell what time it is by whose program is on. I thought this was worth sharing (and the recipes look great!)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NORASPAT 5/27/2010 9:24PM

    Scooter I apologise for the confusion I caused . I went back to copy the NPR Link after responding to another person about her husband and daughter not getting along at the weekend and she said one of them would be Mad with the other,

Then i was referring to the daily newspapers. We do not have a good daily newspaper in our city.

I do apoplogise. Pat in Maine.

Comment edited on: 5/28/2010 12:40:47 PM

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FLORIDASUN 5/24/2010 9:04AM

    I too, love NPR...when we had the cabin I refused to let a t.v. desecrate the serenity of the we listened to NPR all the time...I learned some of the neatest stuff from that program...I'm going to start listening again! Thanks for the link...I'll check it out..and thanks for the reminder about good listening and good learning! emoticon

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NORASPAT 5/23/2010 3:31PM

    I too am an NPR listener. I prefer to hear people talking about interesting topics to listening to music and advertisements.

I had noticed your owl and profile name before. We have asanctuary in Ellsworth and I like to go to see the animals they try to return to the wild after they recover from sickness or in jury. Some will remin there. They are taken to schools -kids love them.

Scooter, I am still hoping to buy another. I had one at 16 in England and rode it to school and all over the place. Just lately they are everywhere even in Maine.

And so are the moose we saw them but only the one perfect photo op this time. I think maybe the bird attracted me to your page so i could find the Link. Thanks for posting it Pat in Maine.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 5/23/2010 10:28AM


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HIPPICHICK1 5/23/2010 10:17AM

    Thanks! I'm going to check it out.

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BUTRFNGRZ 5/23/2010 9:27AM

    Yum! What great recipes! Thanks for the link! emoticon

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SNORRIS40 5/23/2010 8:28AM

    One way I get veggies in for breakfast is a glass of low sodium V8. Also chopped veggies in a small omelet.
Thanks for sharing the link.

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JAZZYJAS 5/23/2010 7:49AM

    Thanks for sharing -- I am going to read it now.

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ZZYYGGY 5/23/2010 7:48AM

    I love those stations too.

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A time for reflection ... and gentle, positive change.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Warning: lengthy. But (I hope) worthwhile.

I was whining to a dear friend a few days ago about how I just couldn't seem to get my mind right, to get in gear for sparking or cleaning or planting or anydamnthinging. This (edited for family viewing) is what she had to say:

"You've pretty much checked off every item on the Stress List in the past few years. You went through the bankruptcy and the enormous stress that the financial mess caused that year. You had to go back to work and work your ass off just to keep the house and live at a very basic level of survival. ... Kids left home and we both know what a mother hen you are and how strongly you react to kid things. Your lack of reaction on that is symptom enough that you're shutting down. Your mother died and you not only had a ton of emotions to weather in regard to that beyond the standard grief fare, but you had to deal with the ... mess of that estate PLUS Joe G's bulls***. On top of all of that, you had to get used to the idea of being a widow and nursing him through terminal illness, then after you'd grieved him, [he] is getting well. Now you're wondering why you don't feel up to the monumental tasks of losing weight and power cleaning your house? Jesus, Mary and Joseph C. Phillips, it's a wonder you can still walk upright! ... "

A few months ago, that felt like "reasons" - now it feels like "justifications" and "rationalizations"

She went on to suggest that I perhaps ought to take a year off to heal, to relax, to gather my strength and wits, and while that has a certain appeal, I think what I'm craving isn't more-of-the-same, self-indulgent slacking OR 800 calorie per day, exercise til you drop, FlyLady action but gentle, positive change.

I took a walk an hour ago. I have 200 acres of varied terrain and conditions in beautiful Central New York. WHile walking, I remembered that when we moved here 12 years ago, the children were elementary age, the collie (now a geriatric 12 1/2) a pup. We covered every inch of the farm, fields and woods, turning over rocks, harassing the wildlife and generally enjoying every minute. In recent years, though, the only time I go out is to walk for exercise, and that only if I feel particularly guilty.

I couldn't remember the last time I'd walked for pleasure, written or drawn something that wasn't for publication, made something that wasn't for sale or commission, or grown something that wasn't sold ahead of time. I quit planting flowers in favor of vegetables and gourds (for sale, naturally.) I was raised with a certain hard-core Scottish practicality and frugality, but hell, even the Scots have fun sometimes! Something is most certainly amiss.

So here's the new plan: Water. Salad. Meditation. Sleep. Walking - slowly, and with an ill-behaved dog or two so I remember to look around. Cozies (a mystery genre.) Yoga. More sleep. Petting cats and sitting in the sun. Ignoring - politely - my husband when he's racheted up about something, instead of immediately locking on Phasers.

Because what's the point of all this healthiness if it isn't any fun? If your whole life is to work, and to work hard, both professionally and personally, then what's left at the end of the day?

Do you really live longer, or does it just *seem* longer?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HIPPICHICK1 5/22/2010 10:56PM

    Since we are relatively new friends I had no idea of how much you have been through recently. I agree with your friend. I too am amazed that you are standing upright.

I like your new plan. It sounds like exactly what you need.

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    Great blog. You really have been through it and are doing remarkably well. You have a good plan. One that I try to follow.

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SHERYLDS 5/22/2010 4:38PM

    There are times I like the idea of life being one door closing and another one opening...but...My life feels more like a New York City Subway. The doors open and close; you only have so much time to get off at that opportunity; each stop has it's advantages and dangers; the conductor is making announcements but they're coming in garbled; and sometimes you end up on a local or express train, unexpectedly.

Yet one thing remains constant...taking care of your healthy should always be a priority, because without it, you are truly lost.

Comment edited on: 5/22/2010 4:39:08 PM

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A10TIVTRTL 5/22/2010 4:11PM

    Your place sounds like heaven. I'm glad you are again taking the time to enjoy it. Blessings.

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GRYFFINSONG 5/22/2010 4:02PM

    I love it. It sounds like you've broken through to a really good place about your health. I'm so sorry for all the crap you've been through, but glad that you've come to find the meaning again in the simple joys of living each day. Hugs to you, and best of luck in staying aware of what truly matters to you. You deserve it!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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