Wednesday, March 31, 2004

I researched my rage problem last night, and found out that most Wellbutrin people get it after six weeks of starting it and it lasts for a few weeks. I think I am exactly at the six week mark, so that makes sense. I'll ride it out for awhile and try not to obliterate anyone. After reading some of the comments that the other Wellbutrin ragers had, I actually feel a little lucky. Some of them were moms, and they said they would have to go lock themselves in a bathroom to keep from screaming at their kids. I am getting upset at the thermostat! I can't imagine dealing with this while having a hyper three year-old running around.

I also apologized to my co-worker and she said she hadn't even noticed my outburst! So either I am very calm when I am furious, or I'm just always a bitch. I figured I'd better smooth it out fast because we're spending four days together in May at the New York stationery show.

Besides, Jason said that there was no way in hell he was letting me go off of it. He's enjoying some of the other side effects of Wellbutrin, if you know what I mean. Wink wink.

In other news, Larry the Possum has been eradicated from our garage. For several mornings, when we entered our garage, it was like a war zone. Something had pooped on the floor, eaten an entire bag of dog food, knocked over paint cans, scratched up the door trying to get out and had made a general mess. Then on Monday night, coming back from our movie, we opened the garage door and I saw something run from under my car to our pile of junk in the corner. I kept praying, "Please don't be a rat. Please don't be a rat."

Yesterday after lunch, Jason got the nerve up to investigate. Well, inside a doggie carrier shoved in the corner of the garage, was a sleeping possum. Jason shook the cage a little and it hissed but obviously had no intention of leaving. He picked up the cage and put it out in front of the house. When I came home at five, that dude was still in the cage! Sound asleep. We left him there, but he's gone this morning.

Possums have really creepy eyes.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

I think I might need to go off of my Wellbutrin. I am having some serious rage problems, which a known side effect of it. I almost bit a girl's head off here at work because she had me recreate some UPCs. This is just not me. I am not an angry person. I can usually deal with alot of crap, but in the past couple of weeks, I have been absolutely on the edge. The edge of screaming or crying or kicking in a window. Over really stupid stuff too. The thermostat. UPC stickers. The dishwasher.

I am thinking that I should just take an anti-depressant vacation and see what happens. I am a huge proponent of anti-depressants, but I haven't been drug-free for years. I've been on anti-depressants, the pill, Clomid, progesterone. I think my body might be a little wacked out. I think I need a break. Honestly, if I stay on Wellbutrin much longer, I am going to start drinking heavily. In the afternoons. At my desk at work. In front of my boss.

I know that my husband, reading this, is now saying, "Lord help us all."

Monday, March 29, 2004

I have started a new blog: "Sugar's Reviews". In case you wanted to know my opinions on, you know, stuff.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

I am glad this last week is finished. It was not one of my finest.

On Thursday, I got in a huge fight over the thermostat with my cubicle-mate, Kyle, and we said some pretty mean things to each other. I was pretty embarrassed at my behavior. We made up by the end of the day, but I guess I didn't know that I had such nastiness in me. I hadn't forgiven myself for that when yesterday, Jason and I got in a fight right before work. Granted, the whole thing was his problem because he was stressed at work and decided to spew it all out on me. He called me about three times that day to apologize, but I just didn't feel like forgiving him yet. So I stewed in my juices all day instead of just letting it go and being able to have a good day. The truth is, I was taking all the anger I had for myself out on him. By the time I got home, I was in such a spiral that I just crawled in bed. I laid there praying, "God, please pull me out of this." Finally, Jason came home from Walmart with "atonement" presents and forced me to get out of bed and eat supper. That was all it took; I felt ten times better. I just needed someone to intervene and it was over.

One thing about depression that people don't seem to know about is the self-hate. Or maybe it's just me. All it takes is one sin, one mistake, and I am taking an emotional baseball bat to my head. Jason asked me one time what my worst fear was and I said, "That I will get to heaven and God will say, 'Well, you can come in, but you have to stay way over there on the far side, because you were only a mediocre Christian.'" He said, "You know, the opposite will probably happen. He'll probably say, "Honey, you've beaten yourself up enough for one lifetime; come sit on my lap for awhile.'" That made me feel a little better.

Well, enough about that. I refuse to let last week affect my weekend.

My "atonement presents" (which he really didn't need to get me, but I appreciated all the same) were the Law and Order:Special Victims Unit Season One DVDs (which was secretly also a present for him because we are both addicted), the new J.C. Chasez CD "Schizophrenic" (ironic, eh?) and a hands-free ear thingie for my cell phone. J.C. Chasez was the lesser-known lead singer of N'Sync, and in my opinion, the most talented one. (Yes, I like N'Sync. Alot. Guilty.) His solo album got really great reviews so I was curious. It is really good, but it is also, let's just say, a far cry from the innocence of N'Sync. One of the song titles is "All Day Long I Dream About Sex" and it just goes on from there. Another song is about the joys of a one night stand, and another describes the 100 things that he'd like to do to a certain female. I'm really surprised at ole' J.C.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Well, last night was an interesting night. It was good for me, but a tough night for introverted Ellen. I ended up going out of town to a "Get Together" that my sister's boyfriend had set up to meet a new girl that he knows who will be working at my office soon. All these people were invited, but every single one of them bailed, except Stephanie and I. Including the new chick! Totally didn't show up. Oh well. Stephanie and I got free Thai food out of the situation, since Bill felt so bad. Ha ha.

Then, on the way home, I decided to call my "best friend" who I haven't talked to since last August at her wedding. She lives thirty minutes away from me, and we just never see or talk to each other. I felt like a louse about it for a long time, but I finally caved last night and just called. We ending up talking for an hour and a half. She's having a hard time adjusting to being the stepmom of two teenagers. Sometimes she drives me completely crazy, but we click so well. I realized that I really missed her. We always laugh so much and have really deep discussions. We actually like to listen to each other describe movie plots. I never watched the movie, "Titanic" because she described it to me so well after she saw it. I felt like I didn't really need to spend the money. We drove to Wyoming one summer and described about five movies that the other hadn't seen. I also don't need to see "The Color Purple" or "Schindler's List."

Maybe we could be real friends now that we aren't co-dependent with each other like we were seven years ago.

By the time I got off the phone, it was 9:30 and time to go to bed. As I was getting into bed, I realized that I hadn't had one minute to myself the entire day. Even though I had a good time that night, I felt a little cheated, even though I was happy. As I was falling asleep, I asked Jason, "Is it normal to be frightened of being happy?" He said, "No, I don't think that's normal." Whenever I feel lighthearted or happy, it comes with a feeling of being out of control. Of impending doom. I get so scared that what goes up must come down....and way way way down. It's always been easier for me to be melancholy, because I know melancholy. Melancholy and his brother, Depression, are good friends of mine. Well, not "friends," but they've lived with me for so long, I know their habits. I know when they go to bed at night and what they eat and what television programs they watch.

Happiness is a stranger to me, and it's very scary. Mainly, because I like Happiness so much, that I fear it's going to leave me forever, and it will make living with Melancholy and Depression all the more excruciating.

Also, I'm too well read on depression, so whenever I feel happy and up, I fear that I am tumbling into mania and I'm turning into a bipolar person. Which is really stupid, because I have absolutely no history of that. The truth is, joy and happiness scare the pants off me, even though they are the things I want most.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

I think that yoga is a drug. I used to make fun of all those yoga freaks who got up at four in the morning and did it until their arms fell off. But if I weren't so lazy, I could seriously see myself becoming one of them. Last night's session was so hard. At one point, I almost started cursing Lori for making me stay in downdog for about five minutes. And this takes place in an Episcopal church, mind you. But at the end, when you are laying there on the floor, completely stretched out and exhausted, the whole world seems right.

Too right, in fact, because last week when I was driving home, I got stopped by a cop. I was all "La la la, aren't the stars lovely tonight!"...driving 47 in a 30. But then, I was still in such a good mood, that the cop just gave me a warning. He actually said, "This will just be between you and me. But please stop speeding." No kidding. Like Cannonball Run or something.

I had to go get two birthday balloons this morning for two coworkers (Passive Aggressive Priss and Miss Pushy Pushy.) Well, apparently I didn't actually read the balloons at Walmart, because I got out to the car and noticed that one said, "Happy Healing." So at work, I crossed out "Healing" and wrote in "Birthday" with a sharpie. Very classy, I know. It was my one task. "Ellen, pick up two birthday balloons." I'm just not very aware sometimes.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

My friend, John, at work just told me that I was starting to have "biker chick" hair. How cool is that!
I hope I didn't offend any parents out there with my post yesterday. It's probably just a phase that I am going through, anyway.

It's really good for my self-esteem to take Mondays off. Three people told me today that it wasn't any fun around here yesterday without me. Of course, it was Life of the Party Ellen that they were missing and not Bitch Ellen or Recluse Ellen.

And shouts out to my friend Erin who popped out a seven-pounder named Oliver this weekend!

Monday, March 22, 2004

I'm discovering that it sometimes helps to deal with your problems by trying to go the opposite direction. I'm not sure if it's healthy, but it seems to be working for me presently.

I think that I am currently dealing with baby situation (or lack-thereof) by thinking to myself "Phooey. Who needs children, anyway?" For the past several years, I have been baby crazy. Everywhere I went, I noticed the babies, the baby whatnots, the baby toe lint, etc. The rose-colored glasses were on, and I couldn't get enough of them. Where's that baby? Gimme that baby!

But lately, all I seem to be noticing is how ANNOYING children are. It's not that I am trying to convince myself of this as a defense mechanism. I am genuinely annoyed and/or apathetic. I just think that I am seriously considering how my life would be without children, and I am realizing that, hey, it would be okay.

On Friday night, Jason and I attended an extended family get-together. There were not one, but two brand-spanking newborns there. Usually in this situation, I would be all goofy over the babies or in deep pain because of my baby draught. But this time, I felt....I don't know....nothing. The two moms spent the whole time feeding, fixing diapers or chasing their other kids around. I spent the whole time talking about dogs with my dad, eating my gumbo uninterrupted. I don't think any of the parents there actually got to eat a thing. (Of course, the old me would have whisked the babies away so that the parents could have a free moment, but I decided to ignore the old Ellen for the evening.) Then Jason and I went home and stayed up late watching his new "Law and Order:Criminal Intent" DVDs, eating chocolate chip cookies.

Then on Sunday, I spent the day by myself, eating Chinese food at the mall (full of screaming children), browsing Target (whining children) and seeing a movie (I saw 50 First Dates again because there was nothing else out that looked good. Well, except Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind but Jason wanted to see that one with me.) While watching the movie, I thought, "Hey, Jason and I could just up and move to Hawaii if we wanted to." (the movie takes place in Hawaii. It wasn't just a random thought.)

I'm feeling relief at my lack of responsibility right now. Am I in denial? I honestly don't think so. I'm suddenly remembering all sorts of things that I wanted to accomplish in my life. I want to write a comic book, visit Scotland, New Zealand and Hawaii, learn to play the bass guitar, buy Season 4 of "The Simpsons" on DVD and dye my hair with blue streaks. Not that you can't do those things with children, but let's be real--everything becomes alot more complicated with children.

So that's what I am it worth it? Is it worth it to have kids? Of course, you can ask parents this question until your face turns blue and nobody is going to say, "No. We shouldn't have had little Rufus." But I wonder what they secretly think. I bet that there are a couple of moms out there, with their little deep dark secret that they wish they hadn't had them. That they wish they were living in Hawaii with blue streaky hair and a bass guitar.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Inspired by The Litter Box, here is the cast of my worklife:

Anal Retentive Chinese Man (see recent review below)
The Grand Manipulator (has been reviewed in past posts)
Infeminate Yet Straight Highly Capable Boss
Butt-kissing Hypocritical Hypochondriac
The Weeping Scatterbrain
Miss Pushy Pushy
Mr. Sarcasm
The Opinionated Burn Out
The Touchy-Feely Trouble-Maker
Passive Aggressive Priss

which leads to me...

I realized that I am the Loose Cannon. Some days I am The Bitch. Some days, I am The Life of the Party. Some days, I am the Recluse. I might be the most dangerous of all, because I am unpredictable and I am highly combustible.


Friday, March 19, 2004

Anal Retentive Chinese Man is driving me crazy today. For some reason, Fridays are the worst anal days for him. I think it's because he's trying to get all his work out before the weekend.

Speaking of the Anal Retentive Chinese Man, yesterday he did the weirdest thing. He has a new cell phone, which he keeps attached to his belt. Kyle noticed and said, "Hey! New cell phone! Can I see it?" Anal Retentive Chinese Man freaks out and says, "No No No" and flees. Kyle, interest peaked, follows him. Conversation, as follows:

Kyle: Why? Let me just see it.
Anal: No! No no no no.
Kyle: Why? All I want to do is look at it.
Anal: No no no no.
Kyle: I'm not going to call anyone!
Anal: No, it's my phone. No no no no.
Kyle: Let me see your phone!
Anal: No.
Kyle: What's the matter with you?!

By this time, five of us have gathered around his desk, all interests quite peaked. Anal is clutching his phone and shoos us away.

So today, I told Rebekah about it, so when we were in the parking lot at lunch, she saw him and said, "Hey Anal! (she used his real name) Can I look at your phone?" Just to tweak him. Anal grabbed his phone and said, "No no no no!" and ran away.

Maybe he has porn on it?

Thursday, March 18, 2004

It's weird when God convicts you to do something. You put it off and put it off until you finally do it. But after you do it, you feel a huge weight lifted off of your shoulders.

I have been collecting baby items for about two years now. Ebay, garage sales, Target (CUTE stuff), Gap Baby....I had about four big tubs full of stuff. Little booties, a baby bouncer, onesies, teddy bears, a Baby Bjorn, even future scrapbooking stuff. It's been sitting in the back of my closet for a long time. Recently, God told me to give it away. I haven't wanted to because I guess it represented "my plan." But the truth is, I want God's plan for my life, not mine. Today at lunch, I went home and went through it all. I kept a few things for myself, just in case, but the rest I decided to give to my friends, Sunny and Stephanie, who are both due in May. I gave all the pink stuff to Stephanie (she's having a girl), the blue stuff to Sunny (boy) and then decided to give all of the neutral stuff to Sunny also, because her husband is a youth minister and they are poor poor poor.

It was hard bringing it in to give to Steph, and I almost started crying several times (I didn't though. I'm very good at sucking things in. Maybe it's a talent of mine. Lately anything "baby" makes me tear up.) But I feel so much better. It's going to be used, instead of stuck in tubs in the back of a closet. I kept the little things that meant something to me, and a couple of little toys that my friend Mindy's baby likes to play with when he comes over.

So I feel better.
My boss took myself and two of my co-workers out yesterday, to show his appreciation for our hard work. I felt a little guilty because I don't work hard at all. But I didn't tell him that.

We had a lot of fun. We went to eat really good barbeque, hung out at Barnes and Nobles and saw "50 First Dates." I know that Stacey hated this movie, but....I really liked it. But as I was informed by Rebekah yesterday, sometimes my movie tastes are to be trusted and sometimes not. I didn't like the gross-out Adam Sandler humor (walrus barf, wet dream discussions, Rob Schneider's nasty character) but I really liked the storyline. I liked that it showed that when you love someone, you are willing to work at it every single day. And I loved the chemistry between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore in "The Wedding Singer." I thought that it really showed in this movie also. He's got this angry soul and she's a flower child. It's a good mix.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

I am feeling better today. Some days, I just feel like I am under attack. But only in my own mind. It's like I have voices in my head (not really-- don't worry, I'm not crazy) that just tell me how awful I am. It's hard to break out of. Now my mind is on to torment me in a different way, by having this one particular song run through my head that myself and a bunch of male engineers sang all the way to California one summer. It's called "The Quartermaster's Store" and one part of it goes, "There are ______ (fill in your word here), _______ (same word), enough to ________ _________ _________ (this part has to rhyme with the first part) the QuarterMaster's Stooooooooore!" Example: "There are bears, bears, enough to brush their hairs." Anyway, we'd go around the car making up a different verse every time. The engineers were somehow great at this, and I somehow sucked. I couldn't think up rhymes that quickly. Even now, with that stupid ditty running through my head, I still can't think of words to put in the blanks. So in my head I'm hearing, "There are blanks, blanks, enough to blank blank blank." It's very very annoying.

One thing that made me feel better last night was Jason gave me some new insights....from his patients! After we talked the other night, he kept thinking about me and my ongoing depression struggles. So when he was doing group sessions the next day with his bipolar and schizophrenic patients, he used me as an example. He disguised my identity, but described me to his patients and asked them what advice they would give a patient like me. They all got really excited and gave Jason all these really good insights. He said it was one of the best group sessions he'd ever had. They all said that I needed to stop being so hard on myself and learn to like myself. Also, they said that I need to get out and be with other people. One man came up to Jason afterwards and said, "When I get depressed, I stop and think about everything that I have." This coming from a man who truly has nothing but a bed, food and cigarettes. It really humbled me. They gave alot of good advice.

And these are people who have been in the utter pits of despair and mental illness, yet they still keep trucking and trying. It's hard to get out of your mind when you are sunk into hopelessness, one of my main struggles when I am depressed. Yet, you must. I've got to keep looking around me and remembering everything God has given me and how good he is to me. He doesn't give me everything that I want, but he gives me everything that I need. And yes, I struggle with depression, but I always manage to pull out of it somehow--truly by the grace of God. If I didn't have God in my life, I probably would have killed myself years ago. But I never even consider that. Even when I feel hopeless, there is still a little hope left.

Nobody's life is perfect and ideal--I also struggle with seeing that. When I am depressed, all I can see is everyone is happy except me.

When Jason talked to me for two hours the other night, I realized that it was like being given a big glass of Koolaid in the desert. That's my love language. I would rather have him sit and talk to me than anything else he could do. Wash the car. Buy me a diamond ring. Nah. I'd rather have a conversation.

And everyone is different in their love language. Rebekah longs for the days when Chad buys her flowers. Shelley loves when Dan gives her an hour off to go write in a cafe. Stephanie just wants Kyle to drive her to work. I desire a real live conversation. And it's so funny, because I think that God puts us with people who have a tough time fulfilling those desires. I'm married to a workaholic--two hours from his time is a true sacrifice for him. Jason loves a clean house and dinner waiting for him when he gets home. That is a tall order for me. So I guess that it makes it more special when we do those things.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

One more thing about today. (I know that this is three posts in one day, but oh well.)

My boss announced to my entire category on Friday (while I was out) that the reason that I was cutting back to four days a week was that I couldn't get pregnant. I know that he needed to give a reason, because people were asking, but I just feel so embarrassed.

Of course, I didn't know that he did this until today. All day yesterday and today, I've had a parade of co-workers (who I know mean well) giving me sympathy and advice. Lots of advice. One girl (who has a baby, therefore she is an expert) gave me a list of herbs that I should take, including cramp bark and false unicorn root. Apparently it worked for someone she knows. One person, who is pregnant with twins, told me that I just needed to relax and to "keep her posted." One lady ambushed me at the copier machine and started asking me really personal questions. I felt tears welling up in my eyes, and tried to get away before I started crying.

I just feel so embarrassed and vulnerable.
Ugh. I am just a nasty specimen inside my brain. All day long I am pummeled with mean thoughts. Hateful thoughts. Jealous thoughts. I get so overwhelmed with it all. I just want to bury my head in the sand.

Maybe God can love a wretch like me, but why can't I?

When do I become a nice person? A loving person? And if I can't, then when do I forgive myself and move on? I'm not perfect and it makes me miserable. Everyone else who is happy, content with their little lives and selves, I envy. I know that it's all in my head. God is so good to me. He is so gracious to me. But I just can't let go, for some reason. Whenever good befalls another, I seethe inside. Jealousy is a demon that I must battle....or maybe it's about simply releasing it. I don't even know how. I don't know how to let go. I don't know how to jump out of the imaginary competitive race. How do you STOP something that is so engrained into your psyche?

If there were a picture of me, it would be a hissing cat, spraying it's vile everywhere. Even at the people who somehow love it.
Jason and I were talking about "Hidalgo" again yesterday. He said, "You know, I've picked out maybe two whole movies in the past year that we've seen and I think both of them stunk." The more we thought about "Hidalgo," the more we've decided that it sucked. Sucked sucked sucked. We wanted another "Seabiscuit" but it was no "Seabiscuit."

In another completely unrelated topic, my chihuahua loves underwear. Dirty, clean, briefs, boxers...doesn't matter. Loves that underwear. Especially mine. Last night I was trying to fold clean clothes and I had all of my panties in a big pile. I started noticing that the pile was getting smaller. That darn dog was sneaking up behind me, nipping my undies and carrying them away like trophies. They were all in a pile in front of his space heater that he likes to curl up next to. He had his ears folded back penitantly. He knows it's bad, but it's like cocaine to him. He just can't help it.

Last night, Jason asked me what I thought I was truly good at. (I was having another Anti-Ellen day that he was attempting to extract me from--I have been feeling pretty useless and unimportant lately.) I thought about it and said, "Celebrity trivia." That is honestly the only thing that I am better at than anyone else I know. That was all I could come up with last night.

So I've been thinking about it today and I guess I have a couple more:
-Picking fleas and ticks off of animals
-Organizing our CD collection
-Cutting out paper dolls
-Making wontons

Yes, you are all thinking, it's a little sad.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Jason and I went and saw "Hidalgo" this afternoon. Viggo and Hidalgo were good, but the movie was too long. The movie could have been half as long and twice as good. I would have left out the whole "Sheik's daughter gets kidnapped" subplot, too. BORING. But Viggo was good. He's a good actor. Actually, I think that's the sign of a truly good actor, when you find yourself saying, "That movie sucked, but ________ was good!" Like Johnny Depp in "Ed Wood." I really wanted to like that movie, but didn't. But Johnny was good!

One part that was funny (and shouldn't have been) was when Frank Hopkins has to sauter Hidalgo's flesh wound with a red hot knife. Jason turned to me and said, "You think that Squirrel would ever let us do that?" I can't even trim that damn chihuahua's toenails. He throws an absolute fit and starts crying. It struck me as funny.

I've got a very sweet little white kitty laying beside me with her furry tummy in the air, purring. It's very nice.

"Entertainment Tonight" is on right now. They are showing a piece about J.Lo and Ben Affleck. They've been broken up for several months now and the media is still reporting on them. Now it's "What's going to happen to the pink diamond ring? We can't go on without knowing WHAT is going to happen to the pink diamond ring!!!!" Bizarre.

I hung out with Shelley for awhile last Friday, on my first Friday off (hoorah!). We ended up talking about our spiritual lives (as usual--actually, our favorite topics are sucky churches, our own human failings, crazy and/or abandoning mothers, writing, and our spiritual lives....not necessarily in that order.) So anyway, all weekend, I have been feeling emotionally and spiritually funky. That's the only way to describe it. Spiritually funky. I started thinking about my spiritual life...which is actually kind of a funny way to put it. I don't have spirituality sectioned off away from other parts of my life. I should just say my life. It's all wrapped up in there together. So far, though, my spiritual life (i.e. life) has had three phases. The first is the period from when I accepted Jesus at camp right before high school. I had grown up knowing all about Jesus and his life, but it finally clicked at camp that summer. My life and my heart changed from that point on. But then I went back to the real world, where I had very few friends who were "there" with me. I didn't have any guidance. The churches that I had grown up in had never mentioned salvation. I sort of swam upstream silently, through high school and college....being a Christian, but not really knowing what to do with it.

Then, right before I went to Italy for my Junior year, my friend Khrisslyn gave me the book, "My Upmost For His Highest" (this was way before it was so popular and translated into modern English.) I read that book every day that next year, the hardest year of my life. Then I read the book "Mere Christianity" by C.S.Lewis. Those two books prepared me for the turning point in my life...working as a camp counselor at the same camp that I got saved at. Suddenly, for the first time in my entire life, my life was filled with the evangelical world. Christian friends who showed me new music, books, songs that I never even knew existed. It was a whole new world that I dove straight was like a draught was over and I was flooded. Enter Phase Two.

When you are a new Christian (and I wasn't exactly new, but it felt like it), sometimes you can be a bit overzealous. As I stated before, I got rid of all my "harmful" music, I went to church every single Sunday, I sang those Praise and Worship songs at the top of my little lungs, I probably offended some of my non-Christian friends back at college. I remember this one time, I was with my friend Mindy in the car, listening to Newsboys loudly. One song, "Breakfast" has the chorus "They don't serve breakfast in hell." Stupid Ellen. Of course she was offended at that. But I was new and I was probably more insensitive than I care to recount.

So Phase Two lasted quite awhile. I went back after college and became the full-time registrar at the camp, then quit and did several other things--tanning bed operator, video clerk, preschool teacher, medical records person at an OBGYN. I even worked at the Walmart home office for two days. (Don't even get me started with that.) Then I started working at my current company, which makes Christian cards. Enter Phase Three.

I don't know if it was the constant Christian evangelical culture or just that I was already burnt out, but I dropped off the team. I found myself getting angry at the evangelical culture to the point where I couldn't go to church anymore. I couldn't even sit through a prayer meeting at our work. I stopped being a team player. I was irritated with the same worship songs played over and over and over. (Everyone here knows my feelings on "Standing Up" to sing.) I was overwhelmed by the hypocriticalness of it all. The same people that I was thanking God for bringing into my life, suddenly grated on me. I stopped listening to the music, reading the Max Lucado books and hurling Veggie Tales stuffed cucumbers at passing trucks. I found myself hanging with the "fringers." Those of us who cling to what/who we love--Jesus--but can't seem to stomach the rest of it. You will see us on the back pew, rolling our eyes, scoffing at the jubulent. "What fakers," we say. Even as we are secretly longing to still have what they have. That fire. That passion. My passion just burned out for the Christian culture, not my passion and love for Jesus.

But I'm changing again. I'm entering Phase Four, I guess. The truth is, I need these people. They are imperfect, rotten sinners, but they are MY imperfect rotten sinners. I want to join the team, again, I think. Hesitantly, yes. Humbly, yes. But I want to join. And I want to start reading my Bible again. And most of all, I want to grow up. Stop stamping my feet saying, "It's not fair!" and "Why can't everyone be like me?!" I've done it for long enough. I think it was my rebellious teenager phase.

Wow. I totally didn't mean for this to be this long. Jason is looking at me, worried, that I am writing mean things about him.

Monday, March 08, 2004

I've been downloading new ringtones for my cell phone. I just got "Cannonball" by the Breeders. Does anyone remember them? Around 1993. I think they had like two hits. I wonder what happened to them. The band included two sisters, I remember. I think one of them was arrested on drug possession at some point.

Anyway, it got me to thinking about all that music that I used to listen to in college. Looking back, my college life had a definite soundtrack to it. Lots of "alternative" music: Liz Phair, the Sugarcubes, They Might Be Giants, Bjork, P.J. Harvey, Oasis, Garbage, Blur (I was in Europe during my Blur phase- they were huge over there and nobody here knows them), the Cranberries, Radiohead, Driven N Cryin', Sting and the Police (who I fell in love with in 1995--even now when I see him, I get all gooshy inside), Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Everything But the Girl....I can't even remember half of the stuff I used to listen to.

The point of this train of thought is that I gave all of that music up. I finally got my depression under control in 1998, when I finally went on Prozac, and decided that my music wasn't good for me. I thought that it was contributing to my depression (which it very well could have been) so I sold most of my CDs or gave them away. I set about listening to mainly Christian music and light pop. Which is all well and good, and for the time, it was good for me. But it didn't inspire me at all.

So I decided screw it. Lately, I've started listening to my angry rock again. I've decided that it doesn't depress me. It actually makes me feel better because I know that there are other people out there who are angry like me, or sad like me, or confused like me. So I'm glad it's back.

Friday, March 05, 2004

I am having a hard day. I have just felt like a stray cat hunched in a corner, hissing. I've been such a bitch today. I've lashed out at several unsuspecting (though, deserving, in my opinion) people. One is a Chinese anal retentive co-worker of mine that I find myself spewing bitch at on a fairly regular basis. I will admit, he drives me crazy. He drives ALOT of people crazy, but mostly me. It's like a test that I fail once a week. How am I going to respond to Anal Chinese Man? Always with a raised voice and an order to get out of my office. I actually say that. "Get out of my cubicle." I always feel bad about it, and I always sheepishly apologize. But a few days later, there I am. Failing the Bitch Test again.

My character is so shoddy sometimes. I wear myself down some days.

And then, this evening, I found out that a friend of mine is pregnant. I am genuinely happy for them. But it is always hard for me to hear, especially when it was an "Oops." She is still breastfeeding her one year old baby girl. On the way home, I was sullen and all "Why me? Wah wah." Jason blows me off usually and tells me that I am too obsessive and that I should be thankful that we don't have kids, because kids are hard work....and I truly believe that he doesn't think it's worth it. He would be perfectly fine if we never had kids. It's very difficult for me because I feel very alone in this struggle. And yes, whenever I am told "We're pregnant!", I get jealous. Even when I am happy for them, which I usually am, I am jealous and I hate it. But it just bubbles up in me whether I try to push it down or not.

So there I go...failing the Jealousy Test again.

And everything smells funny today. (And no, I don't think I'm pregnant.) My shirt smells musty, the office smelled like orange Lysol and the car smelled like old french fries. I hate it when you can't get away from an unpleasant smell. It's very disheartening.

So if there is a Smell Test from God, I probably failed that also today.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Stephanie, Rebekah and I went and ate Chinese for lunch. (Which I am probably going to get in trouble for with my husband, now that I think about it, because I wasn't supposed to spend any money this week.) For some unknown reason, Chinese sounded really good when Rebekah suggested it. So we went to Hunan Manor, one of our small town's two Chinese restaurants. The other one, New China, has always made all of us sick, so we thought, "Hey, we'll try the other one!"

When we first got there, as we were going through the buffet, I said, "Hey! Why haven't we done this before? This is great!" as I scooped up my wontons, chicken fried rice and egg drop soup. After we'd been eating for awhile, I realized that everything that I had eaten had been subpar, at best. I mean, the wontons were gummy. Stephanie liked it, but then, she's 7 months pregnant and she likes everything right now. And let me say, this place was a dive. Then, near the end, Stephanie started getting really anxious and claustrophobic. She suddenly started getting her things together whilst Rebekah and I were still trying to consume what we could stomach from our plates. We said, "Are you going somewhere?" and Stephanie said, "I got to leave!" Rebekah said, "Oh, aren't you enjoying the ceiling's decor?" Which struck me as particularily funny, since I don't normally even notice stuff like that. I looked up and every other tile had a nasty waterstain on it. We finally left and now I feel sick at my tummy. It's probably justice for disobeying my husband.

I just got the news on my worklife. I am still getting my raise (yay!!!!) but not getting "promoted" (i.e. my job title isn't changing), and I am allowed to go down to 4 days a week. My boss said to keep it hush hush, because they aren't going through HR (the evil domain that it is). He also said that they were allowing it for the medical reasons that I gave (I will probably have to start seeing a RE (reproductive endocrinologist) pretty soon and the nearest one is an hour and a half away), not the personal reasons (I just don't feel like working, ha ha). Then he said that I might get another raise in six months or so, depending on "what happens." So basically, if I get pregnant, then I will probably have to go back to five days a week, which will lead to an official promotion/raise. Weird, huh? Get pregnant and start working harder. It's confusing, I know.

Rebekah did this same thing about a year and a half ago. She was having some med issues, so she went down to four days because the stress of the job wasn't helping her condition. It lasted about three months and she ended up having to go back to five days, because as she was told, "You were hired for 40 hours a week." Which I can understand, I guess. But she looks back on her four day work life with great fondness.

I don't know....things change. Life changes. You start putting your priorities in a different order. Some of the people here that are salary (I'm hourly) work 55 hours a week. I guess that they can handle that, but I am just discovering that other things in my life are becoming much more important. I want to be able to cook dinner every night, keep the house clean, take care of my husband, work on my cartooning....I'm really blessed that we are in a situation where I don't have to work as hard anymore. A lot of people aren't. Plus, I know some women here that thrive in the work world-- working 55 hours and going home to take care of family is no problem for them. I'm just not one of them.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

In my Purpose-Driven Life book this morning (which I recommend to everyone), it talked about temptation. It said something that really made me think. It said that in order to grow Godly character traits in us, God often lets us be put in circumstances where we are tempted to exhibit the opposite trait. Like if God wants me to become more accepting and loving, then He will plop me into conversations where it is very easy to be critical of someone (and this is a major temptation of mine.) I then have the choice of which way to go. Do I hold my tongue and grow as a person, or do I give in and stay petty?

It was just a really interesting thought.

I had some freaky tweaky dreams last night. I've got to stop watching Law and Order:Special Victims Unit so much.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Jason and I are going to ComicCon this summer in San Diego! I am so excited. I told him it's like my Mecca. It's beckoning me home. Ha ha. Just kidding. But I am excited! I might be the only girl there. My whole life, I don't think I've met another girl who liked comics, cartoons and sci-fi type things like I do. No, that's not true. I've met a couple. But they were usually really weird. They spoke Elvish and didn't bathe properly.

I consider myself a normal person who has an attraction to the geek side of life. I don't feel that I am a geek myself. My sister Karen has it, to a degree. She can identify any Star Trek:The Next Generation within the first ten seconds of the show, and what year it was by the style of the uniform. I know...scary. But I can do the same for The Simpsons, so I shouldn't talk.

I might take a portfolio of my artwork. I might. It is a very frightening idea to me. Kyle says that I should do it, since he is going to do it...but he is also a very gifted comic book illustrator. Whereas, I just make weird little cartoons for my own amusement.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Well, the dizziness is pretty much gone, the nausea only happens right after I've eaten and I'm getting used to the hot flashes, so I am doing good! Actually, I feel great. I haven't had so much energy and motivation in a long time. I think that Wellbutrin just might be the anti-depressant for me.

Watched the Oscars last night. I don't know why I always watch them, because I honestly don't care that much. My favorite movie of the year was "Pirates of the Caribbean," but it only had technical nominations and Best Actor nom for Johnny Depp. My favorite movies usually don't get nominated for the big awards. I used to like all those arty farty movies that Amy M likes (Life by Candlelight) but now I avoid them because they usually depress me. I remember going and seeing The English Patient years ago, and really hating it. Actually, I saw it with Amy M now that I think about it....

Sadly, I like movies with happy endings. I don't really care for the "deep" movies, which almost always end with someone killing themselves. Which is why I have not seen and have no desire to see: The Hours, Pieces of April, Titanic, House of Sand and Fog, 21 Grams, Cold Mountain and Mystic River. Actually, I might see Mystic River. It looks interesting. I really liked Big Fish and Seabiscuit this year, two happy ending movies. And ta da, they weren't nominated for much.

But then, I loved The Lord of the Rings movies...although, to be quite honest, I thought that The Two Towers was the best of the three, but I don't think it won much last year.

Back at work today. My beloved husband has decided that he will let me cut down to four days a week. I haven't gotten the final word back from my boss to see if it's okay, but I think it's going to happen. I am so so so so excited about this. I am going to work on my own art projects at home, and hopefully get something ready to send out. I have been working on a book about depression for a year now. I'm so close to finishing it, I can taste it. And it's actually good.

Well, a gal from my office just walked in and made the very loud announcement. It's twins.