Wednesday, February 27, 2013

caffeine-free

As a part of my year of discipline, I decided to give up caffeine. Cold turkey. Please keep in mind that I have been known to hit up Scooter's every day of the week. Additionally, I love to wash down lunch and/or dinner with an ice cold Pepsi. I mean, I fucking love caffeine. It recently came to my attention that caffeine is my only addiction. I hate being dependent on anything - it's in my nature (Steve is the only exception). I like to be in control of my own life. So I thought I would feel empowered, defeating caffeine.

I was wrong. I felt weak and dizzy and tired all the fucking time. I fell asleep at 8 last night, completely unaware that it was coming on. My body was hooked. They should have rehab centers for caffeine addicts - a place chock full of other vices we could pollute our bodies with: a transferring of addictions. The problem with my own personal rehab was that I didn't have any other vice to transfer my old one to. So I was just miserable. Irritable, bitchy. Over the weekend, Steve kept offering my caffeine to get me to shut up about how miserable I was. I didn't cave because I was too bitchy and annoyed to give in and admit defeat.

So I googled caffeine addiction. I wanted to know how long my misery would last.Wikipedia, as always, held my answer:


Physical and psychological addiction can result from excessive caffeine intake. In an interview, Roland Griffiths, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, said that studies had demonstrated that people who take in a minimum of one hundred milligrams of caffeine per day (about the amount in one cup of coffee) can acquire a physical dependence that would trigger withdrawal symptoms that include headaches, muscle pain and stiffness, lethargy, nausea, vomiting, depressed mood, and marked irritability.Griffiths strongly believes that caffeine withdrawal should be classified as a psychological disorder.Through his research, withdrawals occurred within 12 to 24 hours after stopping caffeine intake and could last as long as nine days. Caffeine consumers are often more apt to consume to waive off the withdrawal symptoms than to enjoy the product. 

Since I was already a couple days in, I decided to wait it out rather than caving just to start over again. Today is day six. I should get a little poker chip marking my sixth day of sobriety. Only now, nearly a week caffeine-free, has my headache subsided. Hopefully my jimmy legs are gone, too. My mood has brightened slightly. I am on the road to recovery. Who knew caffeine had such a massive effect on a body? I know there are true drug addicts out there who might not chuckle at my comparison of  caffeine to crack, but for me, let's hope this is the only drug detox I ever experience.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Baby toys worth buying

Being someone who very recently raised a baby, I thought I have a little expertise on the subject of baby crap. Babies require so much crap. But not as much as the Babies R Us registry guidebook would lead you to believe. Here are the products that we loved and loathed this past year:

Big Toys: 


0-3 months
Brandon loved this piano gym his Uncle Matt and Aunt Emily got him. I highly recommend this if you have a boy. They have a lot of energy and those dangling toys alone don't seem to do too much to keep a baby's attention. Having the piano keys to kick was what excited Brandon.






3-6 months
A big ass mat. Those tiny little ones are pointless. If your child is big enough to need a mat, he's a big enough to need a large one. They roll over like crazy and one roll would land them off of a little one. We keep our mat in our living roomTacky? Yes. But useful? Yes.






6-9 months
At this point he was too big for the piano gym, but still needed to get his energy out. A bouncer is perfect for this. We got him the Little Einstein one because we are brand loyal, but he loved the Jumparoo at daycare even more. 

9-12 months
Brandon loves to pull himself up and bang on shit. So his new obsession is his activity table. I got this at a consignment sale when he was just two weeks old, never thinking he would play on it this early. But he crawls to it from another room.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

accept what we deserve

Today we were quarantined inside the house. Brandon has pink eye (and an ear infection, and four erupting teeth). The poor baby has had better days. We took it easy and watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower. In it, Paul Rudd tells his student, "we accept the love we think we deserve." (I don't know why it is that Paul Rudd is the only actor whose lines ever make it onto my blog). In the movie, the main character struggles watching everyone around him in a relationship where one person is getting hurt and his teacher explains to him why it is people stay in those relationships.

I thought it was poetic. I said it to myself over and over again throughout the movie so I wouldn't forget it. And I thought about the people I know who are in relationships where they are punished for being themselves. I have thought of them many times. I have wondered who they would be if they were with someone else. At work, the owner recently made a management change which directly effected me. He told me he was doing it because he has noticed that certain people will bloom when given more freedom.

There are people who think they are worthless, or stupid or slutty. So they become those things. They let what people define them as define them, rather than rebutting it. They wallow in the life that has happened to them thus far, rather than creating a better life despite all of the bad. Potential success stories become casualties of self-fulfilling prophecies.
 
There is a quote I that I kept on my closet in college: If someone says something unkind about you, you must live so that no one will believe it.  People will say unkind things about you. You can not prevent that. But you don't have to believe it. And if you rebut them, neither will anybody else.

People are willing to settle for less than what is best suited for them. What we deserve is what is best for us. What we accept isn't always.  

I didn't mean for this to sound preachy. I'm not perfect, I have a million flaws I need to work on. There are many things people have said about me that I haven't rebutted yet. I am a work in progress. But damn those people who try to make me think I deserve less than I do because of it. I don't. I deserve what's best for me. And nothing less will last too long. This is why I left my last job. This is why I have cut off friendships that brought me down. This is why I would have never married anyone before Steve. I deserve what's best for me. Sometimes, I don't have it yet. That is when it's time to edit and go in search of it.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Winter coat

Winter has been long, and I have worn it like a heavy coat. I have been only a sliver of my normal self - mostly covered in winter's gray. I have been exhausted and tired and grouchy and run down. I haven't been doing the things I love. I haven't been taking baths or doing puzzles, running or walking, reading or writing. I have been sleeping and sick and irritable and dull. I haven't been proud or accomplished anything. Life has continued but I have been lifeless.

But winter is leaving and I am shedding my heavy coat. I have resuscitated my old self. I am running or walking again. I'm writing and reading. I'm working less hours and with more purpose. My bathtub was occupied once more. And once I clean Brandon's shit off my puzzle table, I will be there, too. I have goals to accomplish and ideas to express.

I feel lighter already, dropping that despair. Tiny blooms are sprouting on this hardened brown twig.


Spring won't let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again. 
~Gustav Mahler

Monday, February 4, 2013

Beauty

Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, our society is manufacturing the glasses. The mass perception of beauty changes with styles and fads. Girls are straightening their curly hair, spray tanning their fair complexions, sewing silicone into their breasts all because that is what someone thinks beauty is. Someone's whose opinion matters to them. Maybe it's their own opinion. But many times, it's not. Many times, it's the opinion of men they haven't met that they want so badly to impress.

And it makes me sad. Of course, we all want to look our best. But sometimes, what is popular is not what makes you beautiful. Let's be honest - bangs look terrible on most people. Spray tans are sticky and disgusting. Leggings are stupid - wear pants or wear tights, for god's sake. But because so many other people do it, we believe it will work for us, too.

There are women that are beautiful without starving themselves, without coating their face in makeup each day, without growing out their hair, without wearing clothes that are too tight or shoes that are too tall or purses that are too big. There are women who don't need what everyone else does to look beautiful. Those are the ones that stand out. I always look for women on TV or in the airport or at work with their own style. You know who they are because even if everyone else started wearing silly royalty hats, they wouldn't dare. They know who they are and what works for them. Just because it's popular doesn't mean it's beautiful. 

I'm not going to win any beauty pageants in my life. I could lose thirty pounds, I've never had a manicure or a pedicure, I wear glasses, my skin is pasty and my hair is semi-wavy and dirty blonde. But I have long eyelashes and long legs and eyes that smile for me. I have a dimple sometimes and semi-straight teeth and mostly clear skin nowadays. And I know I'm not Hollywood's idea of gorgeous. I know in every room there are women most people would say are prettier than I am. But to Steve, I am the prettiest woman there is in any room. And to me, I am myself, and that makes me feel prettier than any amount of makeup or surgery or additional pigment ever could.

Beauty is fleeting. So is time. If you pursue beauty your whole life, when will you be yourself? To me, being yourself is what's beautiful. Some other people have the same opinion. Find those people - then you can be yourself without feeling ashamed. Forget about anyone who doesn't love you unconditionally and what they think. Then start over. Redefine beauty on your own terms. Maybe you're a whole lot closer to it than you ever thought you were.

Beauty is not caused. It is. ~Emily Dickinson

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Oh deer

Last night, when I returned home from work, I mindlessly let Tucker into the backyard as I always do. I unwrapped Brandon from all his winter gear and went about some quick chores. All the while, Tucker barked shrilly. This was not like him. "What?" I asked impatiently as I opened the backdoor. Then, I blanched. Starring back at me was this:
Now I don't live in the wilderness. I live smack in the middle of suburbia - we all have fenced backyards. The closest lake is a mile and a half away. So it's not every day you have a deer just hanging out in your backyard, wishing it was spring and the hammock was strung up.
The deer just hung out for awhile, peering in my windows like a Peeping Tom. Then, when it realized I wasn't exciting, it effortlessly hopped the fence into my neighbors backyard. They stared at it out the window as well - an endless cycle of new audiences for this people-loving deer.