Monthly Archives: September, 2012

Sleepless Nights

It has been a rough couple of weeks.  One of the main reasons for that is because I have insomnia.  I also have a circadian rhythm sleep disorder- delayed sleep phase disorder.  Basically, what that means is that I have a really hard time sleeping, and when I do get sleep, it is usually when “normal” people are up and about their day.  The older I get, the worse it seems to get.  I have tried many things over my lifetime to fix my sleep issues, but it is a constant struggle.  I occasionally can fall asleep around 4 or 5, though usually it is closer to 8 or 9 and sometimes even around noon.  I get anywhere from 3 to 6 hours of sleep a night (day), but I try to get 5 or 6 hours when I can.  Most of my sleep issues are genetic.  I get it from my father’s side.  He had insomnia, as well as his father and his two sisters.  Exercise helps, and so does taking Melatonin, but there is no real “cure”.

One of the side effects of insomnia is depression.  Funnily enough, one of the side effects of depression is insomnia.  It’s no surprise that I also struggle with depression.  It’s one of those chicken and egg scenarios, as I’m not sure which came first.  I certainly have always had a delayed sleep phase, and I feel like I have always had to combat depression, but that last is more a case of alternate causality.  At any rate, the last few weeks have been hard on me with both my sleep and my moods.  My body is in transition at the moment, and it is rebelling.  It has been six months since my grandmother died, and I am still very much dealing with the grief and loss.  Though there are perfectly reasonable explanations for everything going on physically and mentally with me right now, it doesn’t make it any easier to get through it.  I feel like I am on one big wheel of suck, everything feeding into itself.  I’m hormonal, and emotional, and more than anything else, I am exhausted.

I find this state of being extremely frustrating.  I had major struggles with my mental health for years and years, but had reached a place of balance and happiness.  I dealt with all my demons and felt healed and whole.  Even though I still had sleep issues, I was able to manage the negative emotional side effects through certain lifestyle choices that allowed me some leeway in my sleep schedule.  But when I lost my grandmother, I lost control of everything.  She was the most important person in my life, aside from my husband.  She had a big hand in raising me, so it was like losing a mother.  My entire world came crashing down around me.  I know that grief takes time, and that it has only been six months.  I think that I have handled things as well as can be expected, and there is no one keeping score, anyway.  And I am certainly doing better than I was in the first few months.  But it is still a struggle for me every day.  It is infuriating, chasing sleep every night, often falling short.  I am trying to take control of my life.  I’m trying to get fit and healthy physically and emotionally.  I feel like I was doing so well a few years ago, but I’ve lost my way and need to find it again.

But good lord, am I tired.

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Words- Know How to Use Them

I need to learn not to go to Facebook before bed because, boy howdy, it’s like a mine field these days.  I get all worked up and then I can’t sleep.  It’s an election year and, for me, it’s the worst one that I can remember.  The climate in America is super-charged with hate.  It feels like everyone took their crazy pills, and it’s getting worse.  There is so much hate and rage and ignorance just flung about, especially on social networking sites.

Here’s the thing, I’m fine with my friends and relations having a different opinion than I do, as long as they have come to that opinion rationally.  Even if I think that they are wrong, if they gave the issue some thought and came to their own conclusion, so be it.  What I can’t stand is when I see people blindly following and, even worse, spreading propaganda out of ignorance because they are following the herd.  I have a very diverse group of “friends” on Facebook, ranging from devout conservative Christians to gay liberal atheists and I try to see both sides of the debates that I am coming across.  But I keep seeing all of these extremist posts show up in my feed that often don’t even make sense.

For example, here is an excerpt from an even larger post that was attached to a picture that was “shared” by someone I know.  (Curse the share button!)  “This Is The Most Important Election Of Our Lifetime! It Is A Very Clear Choice Between GOOD And EVIL. Your FREEDOM Is At Stake!  This Election Is About ONE NATION UNDER GOD vs One Nation Under Allah.”

What exactly is that supposed to mean?  Look at the word choice.  How are “Good” and “Evil” supposed to be defined here, and who decides those things?  I mean, really, “evil”?  We are seriously labeling one of the candidates as evil?  Words have meaning, people.  Words have weight and consequence.  (And for the love of god, please stop comparing everyone and everything to Hitler and the nazis!)

It is so easy to share every ridiculous thought in our heads, and thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. we live in a culture that encourages sharing.  There is such a sense of entitlement.  We are taught that we deserve to have our opinions heard, no matter how mundane.  The problem is that we are so inundated with words that we get numb to them.  There are so many words surrounding us that they get drowned out and lose their meaning.  But that is wrong.  Words should mean even more because they are all around us.  When you throw out words like “hate” and “evil” they should feel as extreme to use as they were intended to mean.  In an age where our only connection in most cases are simply words on a screen, those words mean everything.

Especially in this super-charged election climate where so many voices are screaming, we need to be all the more careful about what we choose to release into the world.  We need to be responsible for the words we use because they are going to reach somebody.  Now is not the time to spread hate mongering and rage.  Now is the time for diplomacy and tact.  And most of all, now is the time for reason.  Think before you speak.  Re-read your statement before you sit send.  Stop using words as a weapon and start using them as a tool.  Please understand that every time you hit “share” you are responsible for spreading that message, so you better be certain that it is a message worth spreading.

I am Addicted to Chinese Food

I love Chinese food.  I would eat it almost every day if I had unlimited funds and it didn’t effect my waistline.  I literally crave Chinese food daily.  I’ve been thinking a lot about how much I love Chinese food and about my level of self-control and will power lately.  You see I am trying to diet, and my Chinese food habit is not helping.  Yes, I’m going to talk about food and weight loss, and all that diet crap.  It’s a sensitive subject for a lot of us, so read with caution and tread lightly in the comments.

Here’s the deal, I went on a post-Christmas diet last year, and was totally kicking butt in the beginning of 2012.  I was exercising, eating really well, and I saw some fantastic results.  I lost 15 lbs. and was in a groove until my grandmother got seriously ill at the very beginning of March.  She spent two weeks in the hospital, was moved to hospice, and passed toward the end of the month, a couple weeks before Easter.  I tried to hang on to my healthy eating habits, but I couldn’t.  I was spending so much time at the hospital/hospice, that I had to eat out for a lot of meals and didn’t have a chance to exercise.  My grandmother was the most important person in my life, with the possible exception of my husband.  It was like losing a mother.  I completely shut down, and I couldn’t be bothered with healthy eating or working out.  I gave myself permission to indulge.  I was so depressed and miserable that I was willing to do anything that made me feel a little better, even if just for a few minutes. I didn’t gain all of the weight back, but I did gain back most of it.  I tell you all of this so that you have a frame of reference for where I am at mentally.

Over the last few months I’ve been wanting to start my diet again, but I just can’t seem to get in the groove.  I’ve yo-yoed within the same five pound range since late June because I keep staring and stopping.  I keep telling myself that it’s time to get healthy, and I do want that, but I can’t seem to get my ass in gear.  I keep coming up with excuses, like it being my birthday, or it being too hot to exercise.  And I keep caving and ordering Chinese food burgers instead of eating healthy.  I am so frustrated by my lack of will power.  Every week I am determined to start anew.  I do well for the first few days, but by the end of the week it’s French fries or sesame chicken and to hell with it.  I realize that I am still grieving and mildly depressed, so it makes sense that I am not as gung-ho as I was before.  And truth be told, I was a little obsessed at the beginning of the year, which is it’s own kind if unhealthy.  But I am determined to turn this around.

I have lived many self-indulgent years and have paid the consequences.  As I’ve aged, learned, and grown I have become a strong believer in personal responsibility and self-control.  I have made a lot of changes in my life, and my health is something that I want to take control of.  No one can do it for me, and I need to move through the pain of the present to reach my goals.  I need to stop making excuses.  I need to stop eating Chinese food (at least not so frequently).

I’m writing all of this out as a reminder to myself that I am done being weak.  I am tired of disappointing myself and letting myself down.  I need a sassy gay friend to yell at me “Look at your life, look at your choices!”  I hope that when I’m feeling weak or discouraged in the future, this post can provide me the kick in that pants I need to get moving.  It’s time to get strong and healthy, so let it be written, so let it be done.

Favorite Things: August 2012

Over at my beauty blog I do a series of posts called “Monthly Favorites” where I share the beauty products that I’ve been especially loving over the course of the month.  I’d like to do a similar thing over here, where I share my favorite non-beauty items of the month.  This can include food, clothing, entertainment… you name it.  So, here are my favorite things for this past month.

Kashi Honey Almond Flax bars

Kashi Honey Almond Flax bars are my favorite snack.  They taste great, are really healthy for you, and are super easy to grab and go if you are on your way out the door.  They are actually pretty filling, not like normal chewey granola bars that don’t dent hunger.  The kashi bars provide a good pick-me-up that gets me through the time between lunch and dinner.  If I’m in a hurry, I can grab one of these bars and a low fat yogurt for a quick breakfast that lasts.

Peach Tea

I have been loving iced tea this month.  My favorite flavor of iced tea is peach black tea.  I used to drink Republic of Tea Ginger Peach iced tea, which was fantastic, but this Stash brand peach black tea is really good and much more convenient.  I’m trying to limit my soda intake and, although I drink a ton of water, sometimes I want a break from plain water.  I don’t need to sweeten my tea, the subtle peach flavor is delicious.

The Hunger Games

My husband, who was counting down the days until it was released, rushed out and got The Hunger Games 3-disc Deluxe Edition blue ray the day it came out.  I really enjoyed the movie.  I usually hate movie adaptations of stories I already know the first several times that I see them.  It usually takes me a few viewings to be able to stop making comparisons and really enjoy the movie for what it is.  I did not experience that with The Hunger Games.  Yes, there are obviously differences between the book and the movie, but I actually really liked the movie from the first time I saw it back when it was in theaters.  I thought that it was a really good adaptation and I look forward to seeing the next two books adapted to film.  The deluxe edition has hours of bonus materials (though no commentary, which makes no sense to me and is a serious oversight) that are informative and fun to watch.  Since I am living in NC right now, it was cool to see footage of them shooting in North Carolina locations.  If you are a fan of bonus materials, this is a good one to get.  The director really explained his vision and there are tons of interviews.

Adele Live at the Royal Albert Hall

I’ve been a fan of Adele for a while now, but recently I saw Adele Live at the Royal Albert Hall through Netflix.  She is so charming and beautiful and talented that I fell in love with her all over again.  I really love her music and have been listening to her constantly this month.  One thing that really stuck out to me while watching the DVD is how comfortable and easy going she comes off on stage.  She could be absolutely terrified, but it feels like she’s just chatting in her living room.  I would love to be that easy (seeming) in front of a crowd.  It’s been awhile since I was performing regularly, and my stage fright seems to have returned in the last few years.  These days when I’m up for a solo or have to talk in front of an audience I’m filled with anxiety for weeks ahead of time.  I’d love to be confident enough to just blather to an audience and let my natural charm take over like Adele does in this show.  I really enjoyed it, and her music is absolutely fabulous.

Grimm

After seeing the twentieth commercial for it during the Olympics, I finally broke down and gave Grimm a try.  We got the first season through Netflix and my husband and I both really enjoyed it.  The basic premise is that Nick, a detective with the Portland PD, is a descendant of the Grimms.   All of the fairytales are real, and the monsters do exist as a separate species of beings that walk among humans.  They look like us until they get overly emotional, and then their true form comes out.  Only the Grimm can see them for what they truly are and it’s his job to help the good ones and stop the bad ones, though the line between good and bad is often a gray area.  The show is part Law and Order, part Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is really entertaining.  The special effects and makeup departments do an excellent job at creating the creatures, both friend and foe.  Season two is about four episodes in now on NBC, and we are hooked.  Grimm is dark and suspenseful and magical, all rolled into one.  I like it a lot.

Those are my favorite things for the month of August.  For those who follow both my beauty blog and this blog, I’ll be posting my monthly favorites soon over there.  I’m always behind with these things.  😉  I hope that you found something that you like.  Let me know if you try any of my suggestions and tell me what you think.