Saturday, July 24, 2010

Smile of the Day

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot

Man is it hot here. H.O.T. Two pieces of proof:
1. Me suffering in the heat

2. The car tempature at 7pm at night.
 For the none Europeans out there, 35 degrees celsius is over 95 degrees fahrenheit.

Anyways, the real news is that Germany has again placed 3rd in the world at the World Cup! Yeah! Together we watched the game at the Mr.'s parents home. Good times had by all.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Writing Project

This blog is inspired by a group writing project called "Can Writing Keep Us Well?" over at Confident Writing. Its a major departure from the usual blog set-up. If you like it, let me know.

I don't remember a time in my life before my diagnosis with clinical depression. From medical records I understand that the first tests were done around the time of my Little One's birth in 1988. Since that means I was a grand old age of 8, I don't remember a time when I wasn't speaking to medical professionals - doctors, nurses, specialists, and therapists - about depression in all of its many names: sad belly; the illness; the hormone imbalance; the situational sickness, or (my personal, all-time, I-can't-believe-this-guy-in-a-white-coat-just-said-this-to-me favorite) 'the darkness'.

The last one led to great amusement at the time as well as when the band, The Darkness, arrived with their camp rock on the scene years later.

But, I digress.

I also don't recall how many depressive episodes or, more specifically, "significant" episodes I have personally had throughout my life. I have much nicer things to do- like cleaning the bathroom, flossing my teeth, and paying bills - than trying to revisit them all and come back with a count. Because regardless of how many, the illness that is depression, one that I inherited as well as earned, has, is, and will continue to be a part of my life. Sometimes greater; sometimes smaller, but always somewhere there.

What I do know is that I have never gone into or come out of a significant episode during a time that I was regularly writing from my inner dialogue, that special voice that only I alone have. I have never tumbled or slid or fell or crashed into an episode nor have I dragged along the base of living for weeks or even months when I was writing. Never. Ever. Instead when I'm writing I see the warning signs and react: the sleepiness, the spiked anger, the strange patterns of hunger, or, the worst for me, the missing words. Depending on the symptoms, I take action. Maybe I cut out all alcohol; maybe I sleep more; maybe I chat more frequently with my dear friends in the US; maybe I have my medicine reevaluated; and maybe I have walk and then ice cream with a friend here in Germany.

As the one year anniversary of my Papa's death approaches, this is another time in my life when writing is especially important for me and my well being. Although we never discussed our shared illness in length while he was alive, I know from the sparse conversations we did have that we shared this path and that he wanted something much better for me. We both experienced 'the darkness' and we both didn't give up.

Instead, sitting on a strange balcony in Las Vegas, he told me that I was either going to be part of me, or just me, and I got to make that choice. So, I have. My depression, my 'darkness' is one part of me along with the crazy humor, the passion for excellent books and red wine, the untidiness that drives the Mr. crazy, the deep loyalty for my two siblings (who are among the greatest people in the world), the natural desire for girl time with dear friends, and so much more. And writing helps keep it where it belongs, one part that helps creates the kaleidoscope that is me.

So, yes Confident Writing, writing can and does keep me well. Thanks for the reminder.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Towel Chaos Conquered!

The shelf is up and the towel chaos is conquered. We now have our towels avaialble for easy use, all in the same location, and we gained two sections of our closet. Which led to less chaos in the bedsheets and blankets department. Excellent.

Huge thanks to the Mr.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July 4th

We were invited to Professor Lambert's place for whiskey chicken and adorable children.

The boys taking care of the whiskey chicken.

The mini Prof.

Friday, July 2, 2010

My Good Life

For a variety of reasons* I have been spending a good amount of time thinking about life and how to live a good life over the past few months. I'm not talking here about The Good Life - you can watch MTV Cribs for some of that. I'm talking about a good life, and more specifically my good life.

In reflection on my good life I've covered a lot of ground over the past few months, including: what's worked for me and what hasn't; people I miss from my life and people who I treasure each time I think about them being in my life; chances that were grabbed and chances that were missed; and all of the "me" I've been over the course of my almost 3 decades.

Note to audience: This marks the first time in history a woman claimed 30 in writing before it happened. Savor the moment.

Back to the point of this blog entry: With all of these thoughts in mind it has been quite fitting that over the past few weeks PostSecret has had postcards that spoke, no, screamed to me: "Here, I'm for you! This right here, this is your way to your good life."

Together these two postcards, created by two individual people who most likely have no idea of each other, have become two sides of my good life coin these days.

Side A

Side B

Lets start with side A first: mistakes. Man, have I got a list of mistakes I've made throughout my (here it is again) almost 30 years. Tons and tons, some significant, some not. Yes, what I don't have is many regrets. In fact, my regrets list is short , with a few "I wish I would have..." and "I really should have..." but I have only one "I should not have..."  on that list. I'd be pretty happy to add as few additional regrets to the list as humanly possible.

And move to side B: the how-to book. The majority of my life - when I was controlling it! - was scheduled, controlled, and planned. I was ambitious and knew I wanted a different life. So I made it possible through hard work and a whole lot of winging it. And I'm rather proud to say, its worked out rather well.

And now, both, in a real-life example: moving to Germany was one of the biggest mistakes I've ever made. I usually call it the "worst decision of my life" and I stand by that. Yes, yes, I know, it worked out extremely well - I met the Mr. which would never have happened in Pittsburgh. Yet the decision itself was a really bad one for me.

However, with all of that said, written, and stood by, on my short list of regrets "move to Germany" is no where to be seen. I didn't and don't regret that decision; I'm more wildly happy that a crappy decision has been going so well. I'm glad I made it, followed it through based on pure lack-of-a-handbook winging it, and never completely gave up (because you guys know me and if I wrote 'never gave up', you'd laugh me out of my own blog).

If I had had a handbook for my life - or at least the life I had back then in 2002 - it would have read "Don't Move to Germany" or, maybe, "Stay in Pittsburgh". And, it being the handbook of life, I would have most likely not moved to Germany and stayed in Pittsburgh. And I would have missed what I thought was a short side adventure with a tall, sweet German blond that turned out being the real Love of My Life adventure.

In fact I would have missed a whole lot more, including a blond flouncing into a photography course that become one of the most treasured people in my life; a trip to Norway that made little sense but tons of fun; a career path that was against everything I planned but has given me riches I couldn't have imagined; a maths course that taught me mathematicians are awesome people too; and so much more. Sure, if I had been given this handbook of life, my list of regrets would be shorter. Maybe I would have cried less. I certainly would have studied less in college and dated fewer not-the-right-guys. My life might have been easier but it would have also been a whole lot less colorful and significantly less fun.

And it certainly wouldn't have brought me here. And here is my good life, here is where I want to be.

*one of those reasons is the competition that Little One and I have going on to see who exercises more per week - that's giving me plenty of time to think. Another reason is the upcoming 1 year anniversary of my papa's death. Life, even a good life, is too short.

Patchwork Project #1

I've started patchworking finally, after at least 10 years of talking about it. Last week I started a short patchworking course and my first project is a lap blanket in fabulous colors. Here is a taste of the project in process.

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