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    Monday, October 26, 2009

    As We GO Into Halloweek

    Some updates from FMFO.

    Item 1: Greg bought a used laptop off of CL. It has no battery so it has to be plugged in to use it. Which makes it more of a portable PC than a laptop. It also has about 2 megabytes of memory and almost that much RAM. That is only a slight minimization of the truth. And top that with the fact that when he updated the OS tonight he found out that the prick who sold it to him put on a pirated copy of said OS, and I'd say Greg got hosed on CL. We may issue a commemorative coin, it's our first truly rotten experience on CL that I can remember. Asshat. (The CL guy, not Greg.)

    Item 2: Greg is not allowed to buy any more electronic crap for the rest of the year. It's not his first purchase of unneeded items this month, but I have shared with him that it should probably be his last. So sayeth she who pays the bills.

    Item 3: Samantha is joining Girl Scouts, they start out as "Daisies". We attended the Halloween party tonight, big fun. She was a hit in her Cinderella costume, people loved her hair and some even thought it was a wig! So proud of my pretty girl, and that she is so well-adjusted in groups and feels confident and well-liked going into new situations. She'll do well in Scouts, and I'm glad she chose something that enriches her as a young lady who can go on to do anything.

    Item 4: Girl Scouts eat too much crap at Halloween parties.

    Item 5: This year is probably my favorite Halloween costumes for the kids in all their years. They are fracking adorable, and I love that they wanted to be Cinderella and the Prince, and that he loves to be "the prince of missy".

    Item 6: Maybe it's just the wine talking, but Arbor Mist "Island Fruits Pinot Grigio" is, quite possibly, the best I've ever had. No joke. I'm a cheap wine kinda girl - I like my wine fruity, and with no hint of dryness, with no year on the bottle, and at $3.99 a bottle.

    Item 7: There's a reason I never drink wine during the week. The dishes don't get done, and neither does the laundry, and I can't seem to find the ambition to care about what she's wearing to school tomorrow. There are clean clothes up there, that's what's important, right?

    Item 8: It may not, in fact, be the wine, since this is the first night I can EVER remember drinking on a weeknight, and there are still nights when none of that other shit gets done anyway. Hmm. But for now, I'm blaming it on the wine.

    Item 9: Halloween isn't even here yet, and we already have more "treats" than any family needs. Insanity.

    Item 10: I have to sleep now. I should watch Biggest Loser from last week, still haven't watched it (and it wasn't on instant play on NBC when I tried), and the new one is on tonight. But I won't, most likely. Time to sleeeeeeep.

    Good night all.

    UPDATE from Item 7: The OTHER reason I do not drink during the week (or on the weekends, either, generally) is because I tend to ignore my alarms the next morning and make the whole household get up late. Whoops.

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    Old Words That Still Mean So Much

    When I attended Emporia State University in 1992, I found this. It moved me profoundly, and sent me into a period of self-examination that was unparalleled to that point in my life.

    As I approach another point in my life where I need to examine myself in a real, true, and maybe painful way, I have had these words ringing in my head. I am sharing them with you because they, as my friend Cory used to say "...changed my life". Hope they are meaningful for you. I have more, the next one is one I wrote. That's to come. Don't miss it.

    Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes.
    Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it,
    than to accept life unquestioningly.
    Everything we shut our eyes to,
    everything we run away from,
    everything we deny, denigrate or despise,
    serves to defeat us in the end.
    What seems nasty, painful, evil,
    can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength
    if faced with an open mind.
    Every moment is a golden one
    for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.”

    - Henry Miller

    Sunday, October 18, 2009


    That's what I need. Physically, spiritually, mentally, organizationally (is that a word?), all of it. I'm due for a change, and I need to start outlining exactly what I want. I know how to do that, I think. It's just a matter of doing it.

    The road is long, and the journey arduous, I already know that. I don't anticipate overnight change, and I don't expect perfection in the steps I want to take. What I do expect is what I expect from my kids when they undertake something - I expect 100% effort.

    Lifelong change will take a lifetime. I get that. But I have to start somewhere and someplace. And it's time. Who I am, where I have been, and what I have done do NOT have to define the rest of my life. Change is choice. It's a hard truth to learn and live, but it's true.

    Change really is rooted 100% in choice.

    Stay tuned for the tearing down and rebuilding of,

    Thursday, October 8, 2009

    Well, Adli Darned

    I really do know that Aldi is the best. grocery. store. E.V.E.R. Truly. No joke. Aldi rocks my socks. And in this sucktastic craphole economic climate (yes, that's the official term, thankyouverymuch), anywhere I can save a buck is always on my list of stops when I shop for the fam.

    This week, Aldi outdid themselves. Or maybe I outdid myself, I'm not sure. Either way, the fact of the matter is this:

    I bought 85% of my family's groceries for the week yesterday...for just over THIRTY-NINE BUCKS.

    True story.

    What did I get for under forty bucks? Well, lemme just tell you.

    2 boxes fruit and grain bars - 1.89 each
    2 boxes cereal - 1.49 and 1.89 each
    2 boxes fiber bars - 1.99 each
    1 bottle ketchup - 1.19
    1 lg. can tomato juice - 1.19
    2 bags egg noodles - .99 each
    2 boxes whole wheat pasta - 1.09 each
    2 large bags whole corn tortilla chips - .99 each
    3lb bananas - .99 total (33 cents/lb)
    1 32 oz cottage cheese - 1.89
    1 32 oz plain ff yogurt - 1.59
    1 box frozen waffles - 1.19
    1 bag extra fine whole green beans - 1.49
    1 bag California medley - .95
    1 frozen orange juice concentrate - .99
    1 20 oz tomatoes (4) - .79 TOTAL
    1 5-lb bag yellow onion - .99
    1 protein bar (snack for me) - .95
    2 gallons milk - 1.69 each
    1 12 pack diet soda - 2.39
    2 heads lettuce - 1.09 each

    I'm tempted to, in a few weeks, take this list and go buy this stuff at Walmart, or the grocery store. Not THAT tempted since I KNOW it would be more than $39 bucks, but I am all about showing the world how sweet Aldi is.

    Haven't been to Aldi? Really? Hmmm. Clearly, you're either uninformed and don't know about Aldi, or you just don't like your money. Because there is no place in town that can beat their prices that I've found. They are the rockstars of saving money.

    I should do Aldi commercials, I really should.

    Questions? Thoughts? For more information about Aldi, visit them:

    Tuesday, October 6, 2009

    No Disco, Just Panic

    A few weekends ago, we had, well, a pretty typical weekend going on around here. Like to hear about it? Hear it goes.

    By Sunday afternoon, there are still things to do around here, as usual, and we are busy doing them. Installing a new front door, we've about finished that (and to be clear, when I say "we", you know that means "Greg did most of it while I stood around watching"), and I am thinking about getting things ready for the week to come. No big thing.

    In the morning my left foot feels rather sore, almost as if I had sprained it, which I find strange, but not entirely debilitating. As the afternoon goes on, at one point I notice that now my shoulder hurts the same way my foot did.


    A short while later, I get a little nervous, as the same kind of weird pain is now attacking my hip. On the same side as my foot and shoulder. All down my left side - acute, persistent pain.

    I get more than a little nervous, frankly.

    In retrospect, I remember having a pretty specific thought pattern, and the farther we get from that day, the more clearly I can remember it, ironically. I remember thinking Hmm. Pain all down my left side. Shit. What if I'm having a stroke or some shit?

    Anyway, as I'm processing this thought, my head starts buzzing.

    My ears start ringing.

    My chest gets heavy, and I feel like I can't get a good breath, no matter how deeply I breathe in.

    I am nauseous.

    And dizzy. I can't stand up without feeling like I'm going to fall over.

    I'm sure I'm going to faint.

    Oh - and that I'm going to die.

    Without exaggerating, at this point I am having an internal monologue in which I am telling myself, Oh my god - I am dying. I'm dying right here in front of my kids and my husband, right here on my fucking kitchen floor. This is it. I'm dying.

    While this thought is racing through my head, there is another running along beside of it, having a conversation with it, and his name was Logic. The whole exchange takes just seconds, but feels like eternity:

    Logic: Cathy, don't be stupid, you're not dying.
    Cathy: Fuck too, I am DYING. Just like Aimee. OhmygodOhmygodOhmygod.

    At this point, in the real world, I am crying now, panicking like never before, and asking Greg to get help. He is quite certain I have lost it, or (and he's trying to ignore this possibility) that I really am, as I assert, dying.

    Logic: Cathy, you are not dying, people don't just die on their kitchen floor at 36.
    Cathy: Really? Because they sure as fuck die at 30 in their own bed for no reason. I'm dying and if you are smart, you'll get our ass to a doctor, post-fucking haste.
    Logic: Cathy, you are not dying. Wait...shortness of breath, panicking, feeling ill - you must be having a panic attack.
    Cathy: Uh, hello? I don't have panic attacks.
    Logic: Uh hello yourself - remember the day they put your claustrophobic self in an MRI tube? You're saying THAT was not a panic attack?
    Cathy: Ok, fine sure I did have that one -but I know why that happened, that was because of the claustrophobia. Not because I just have panic attacks willy-nilly. Because I don't. Besides, there was no trigger here today even if I DID have panic attacks - which I don't. Nothing panic-attack-worthy. Jesus Christ, I really AM dying.

    This back-and-forth business continues in my head all the way to the Urgent Care Center. I get in, and get checked out.

    Blood pressure - normal.
    Pulse - normal.
    Temperature - normal.
    OxSats - normal.
    Pupil dilation - normal.
    Respiration and heartbeat - normal.

    "Everything looks really great, Mrs. C - why are you here? What is really going on?" the doctor questions. I assure him that nothing is really going on, except for the fact that I was sure ten minutes ago that I was DYING. D-Y-I-N-G. No abusive husband, no on-the-verge-of-foreclosure-money-stress, no deaths as of late, nothing. Just dying, thankyouverymuch.

    He's nodding at me. Nodding, and listening. Sort of.

    Look, I'm pretty perceptive, folks. I can tell when a guy is giving me the eye like he thinks I'm a whack job. I've gotten it before. And that's just the eye that Doogie Howser here is giving me. Logic taps me on the shoulder, smiles knowingly, and nudges me to speak. Begrudgingly, I do.

    "I had a panic attack, didn't I?"

    "Um, yes," he says. "I am almost positive that's what happened. There is just nothing wrong with your body right now, all of your numbers are perfect. It's like you walked out of a medical textbook on panic attacks and walked into my office."

    So despite having no single specific trigger, and no history of spontaneous panic attacks, it seems that's what happened to me. Doogie sent me home with instructions to take it easy, see a doctor and have tests done to be sure there was nothing else going on, and to go to the Emergency Room if it happened again. I spent the rest of that day and the next feeling mostly like I'd been hit by a truck, and unsure of how this could be happening to me.

    I saw my (new) general physician-slash-internist last week, and she, after running some tests and blood work, is convinced that Doogie was right. She said that stress is often cumulative, especially in our subconscious minds, and we can't always control how it deals with that stress. The last year has been stressful, as they all are, but Aimee's death (and the anniversary thereof) always weigh heavily on my mind, and the strange left-side pain apparently pushed my subconscious right over the edge.

    She also said that, often, having medication on-hand that has fast effects on panic attacks, can keep them from reoccurring, without ever having to take a pill. (That subconscious mind is a kooky one, and clearly one that is easily aggravated, and easily placated.)

    So that's what's I have now - medication I can take, should I ever start to feel that way again, that can help me get past it more quickly. I hope to never need it.

    If you've never had a panic attack, believe me when I say it's nothing like you think it is. It's not just a feeling that you can dismiss. I was rather dismissive of panic attacks in general before September 20th. I was sure one who had them should just be able to suck it up and get over it, right? It's not real, right?

    I have never been more wrong.

    Take the feeling you have at the instant that someone startles you - I mean really makes you jump out of your skin. That very acute, gasp-inspiring moment where you jump out of your seat and shriek "UUUUUUUGGGGHHHHHH!!!"". Got that in your head? Can you feel that instant? In a panic attack, you have that feeling - over and over and over. You need to get somewhere, but don't know where. You feel sick but can't find a way to feel better. You are scared despite having nothing tangible in front of you to be scared of. And to top it off, you feel like you are going to die.

    In short, it sucks. It sucks a lot. And at the risk of being melodramatic, I encourage you to, if you know someone who suffers from panic attacks, give them a hug and thank your lucky stars that you don't know what it's like.

    Saturday, October 3, 2009

    Farmtown: Memoir of A Junkie

    I ignored them forever, all of those applications that I already know are time sucks on Facebook. But one day last week, for some unknown reason, I clicked. Not even sure why.

    Let me just say this: if you do not have spare time in your day (or time you can allocate for something other than what it's intended), do not EVER...EVER...EVER click on "Farmtown" on Facebook. Just don't do it.

    Certainly don't do it if you have things, like, say dishes to do. Or laundry. Or if you'd like to see daylight much. You know, like that.

    Delightfully addictive, and fun in a simplistic and gratifying way, I was not surprised to whiz through the first 25 levels in 6 days. Some other players have told me that is, uh, fast for getting that far. I envisioned them turning to someone IRL and saying "This bitch cleared 25 levels in SIX DAYS!?!? Freakin' junkie."

    They'd be juuuuuust about right. If I know me...and I do...I'll most likely level out in the next week or so. And it's a good thing because I have stuff to do around here that does not involve virtually harvesting corn or pineapples or blueberries, or plowing, or moving apple trees around until they resemble the perfect orchard, or lining my long dirt driveway with marigolds and crown-of-thorns, and carefully placing white fence around my yard. (But what can I say, my farm is sweeeeet. No joke. Strangers tell me it rocks. Go check it out for yourself. No, wait. DON'T. See paragraph 2.) Anyway, when I've gone as high as I can go, I'm sure the appeal will wear off.

    Heck, I'll probably delete the application once I'm done, right? Surely that's what'll happen.

    Hmm. Wonder if FarmVILLE is anything like Farmtown?

    Thursday, October 1, 2009


    Jackson and I had just left the store, and walked to the van in the rain. The puddles made sure my sandals were a wet, sloppy mess in the short walk we took. We got in the van.

    Me: Whoa! My shoes are WET! I'm going to take them off!

    Jackson: Why you take your shoes (heard: suess) off, Mommy?

    M: Because my feet are wet and they'll slide around in my shoes while I drive if I don't.

    J: Oh. What shoes are, Mommy?

    M: Jackson, you know what shoes are, they're what we wear on our feet to keep them safe.

    J: Oh. What safe mean, Mommy?

    M: Safe means that nothing bad can happen. If you wear your shoes, it keeps your feet safe so nothing bad happens to them.

    J: {beat} ...

    I have all dese colors in my hands. I color wif dem. I color lots of colors wif dem. And I color wif my FEET! Silly Jackson.


    I couldn't make this stuff up, folks.