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Monday, December 31, 2012

When everything is quiet, who do you think about?

I think about MS.  I think about what it's done to me and how much I dislike it.

I think about work.  I think about sites that I have a problem at, or sites that need some help.  I think about the staff struggling at the moment, or the kids that are struggling.  I think about everything I have to do on my to-do list.

I wonder if I'm destined to be lonely.

I think about my mom.  I think about the regrets I have, my last times with her, my favorite times I've spent with her, the things she has taught me.

I think about my dad.  I think about his health failing him and how I'm very scared I will one day have to think of him like my mom.

I think about my brother and how responsible and compassionate he has grown to be.  He amazes me frequently.

I think about my sister and her pregnancy.  I worry about her and the baby and I'm sad to be so far away from her during the time.

I think about finances and what bills are coming up. I try to figure out how I'm going to pay them all.

I think about personal things in my life that I need to get done.  Generally, it's cleaning, sending mail, getting an oil change, putting laundry away, taking clothes to Goodwill.

I think about therapy.  I think about the topics that I need to address and I figure out how to bring them up.  I think about how often I think about death in that particular day, week or month.  Then I think about how pessimistic I'm being, and try to put a positive spin on it.

Then I think that I hate quiet time and stop it.  That might be turning on the TV, radio, going online, something, because when everything is quiet, my mind always goes a bad way.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

I'm not one to make New Year's Resolutions, but I've decided to try and come up with some (realistic) ones to see what I can do in a year.

1. Quit Smoking
2. Take 3 classes at the Y a week (water aerobics, Zumba, etc.)
3. Quit drinking Coke in my home, by June
4. Quit drinking Coke forever by the end of the year.
5. Read one book a month.
6. Finish my sister's scrapbook.
7. Not eat out once during the month of Feb.
8. Pay 50% of the car loan during 2013.
9. Pay off 2 student loans during 2013.
10.  Cook one new recipe every month.
11. Drink 3 bottles of water daily.


If there was ever a time in your life when you wished for a very extended vacation, it's 2013, Sag. The longing for a break from the rat race and constant hustle has never been so overwhelming. You started having fantasies of what it would be like to live your life totally surrounded by tranquility, nature or, better yet, 24-hour room service in a posh hotel. The idea of being taken care of is ridiculously enticing as Saturn and the North Node of the Moon take root in your retreat zone this year. If you can't totally break away from the responsibilities of life, at least plan to book as many moments in solitude as possible. You'll need regular getaways to cope.
Jupiter continues to bless your relationship and social sector this year until June. This brings wonderful luck and benefits through your close associations with others and will also bless partnerships. If you're in a long-term relationship you may experience incredible breakthroughs and wisdom during the first half of the year. If you're single, this could be an incredible opportunity to meet someone you can finally look up to. In any case, you'll not find yourself lonely or wanting for company under Jupiter's abundant influence in your partner zone.
The second half of the year brings tremendous resourcefulness as Jupiter moves into your sector of other peoples' money, sexuality and transformation. Change feels better than ever, so be willing to let go of all that no longer serves your highest. You're simply making way for the new. The more you let go, the more new channels of abundance can flow to you. The universe wants to help you, so don't be afraid to ask for what you need. You'll be utterly amazed at the earth angels that step forward to help you this year. You may come into some unexpected money through an inheritance or a gift before the end of 2103. This is an excellent year to get out of any lingering debt. You'll have the means to dig yourself out and make all-things financial right again.

I love this baby!

I couldn't reach a blanket, but wanted him to be warmed.  So I put him in my hat :)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

snow is falling

I hate snow still, buts its a Saturday.  And it's flu day.  I timed that one so that I would just sleep though the snow.  Tomorrow, the snow ends, and I will go out and about again.

I feel surprisingly good today.  It's flu day, so I have all that going on, but otherwise good.  I guess the lovely lesions aren't doing much trouble now.  My mental space is good.  I can't complain, but I can go back to sleep while watching TIVOed NCIS.  Life is good!

When you are 80-years-old, what will matter to you the most?

80 years old.  Wow.  I can't even imagine that.  What will I be like when I'm 80.  I'm hoping I'm pleasant.  I don't want to be one of those cranky 80 year olds.  That would stink.

When I am 80, I imagine family will be important to me.  Perhaps I will have a partner by then.  Perhaps not.  Either way, I will have nieces and nephews.   Of that, I am sure.  When I am 80, they will be grown, and maybe even have children of their own.  I will love them too.

When I am 80, I hope to be involved with politics and be working to making a difference in this world.  By then, I hope, gay marriage will be legal.  I am sure there will be lots of more things that need working on.  I hope when I am 80, I am still working to making things better, not backwards.  Older people seem to always be more conservative than the younger generations.  I hope I remain liberal.

When I am 80, I hope to be financially secure.  I want to be able to travel if I want.  I want to not have to worry about making it month to month.  If I want to do something, I want to be able to do it.

I hope to still be involved with children.  Perhaps I won't be working anymore, but I'd like to be one of those cute 80 year olds that volunteer reading to children, or doing something special with them.

I want to be actively involved with MS organizations.  I hope I can volunteer time helping others diagnosed with MS and help them move past the shock of the diagnosis.

Scratch that.  By time I'm 80, I hope there is a cure for MS and I don't have it anymore.  I can just tell people stories about how horrible it was when it was around.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Absolutely Disguisted

This article has made me super cranky.

Claim seeks $100 million for Sandy Hook school shooting survivor

Are you kidding me?

Two weeks after this happens, some family is looking to make a buck off of it?  I'm very certain you're child is suffering following this.  I imagine mental health professionals in Newtown CT have lots of new clients.  Get your child some serious therapy.  Get some for yourselves while you are at it.  Move to another town if you need.

But trying to make money because you say the school board was negligent?  Seriously?  This man broke into the school.  It was locked.  He was not let in, he broke in.  Teachers lost their lives trying to save students, perhaps even your child.  Everyone involved was hurt by the tragedy.

Instead of trying to make some money from it, be grateful your child is alive and you can hug and kiss them goodnight.  You can comfort them when they are scared.  You can seek out help for them.  100 million dollars is ridiculous.  I'm sure the parents of the 20 children that lost their lives would gladly give you that much money if it meant they could have their own child back.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

long overdue post about Adam Lanza and mental health

I am Adam Lanza's mother

I think the horrible day at Sandy Brook Elementary School was one of the worst mass shootings in history.  The entire thing, from beginning to end, is not understandable.

What has come out of it, has been an increased debate in gun control and mumblings about access to mental health care being easier.

I am in support of both those things.  I don't believe guns should be as accessible as they are.  There is certainly no reason for a regular person to own an automatic or semi-automatic weapon.

And mental health.  I'm still seeing a therapist.  I'm lucky, I guess.  I have health insurance and they cover me to see her.  Not everyone is that lucky.  I know if it wasn't covered, I could probably look up to find therapists that were low cost, or no cost, but really, that would be a lot of work.  I've started to look before, and the process was so time consuming that I gave up.

Now that I have health insurance, I looked at their website for therapists, found one, called her, and got an appointment.  I feel like I mesh with her, so I keep going.

I struggle, frequently with MS, my mother's death and general feeling poorly about myself.  She would tell you depression, but after working with teenage girls, that word just annoys me now.  I feel like its overused by society, but her use of it is clinical, so I guess it's ok.

Anyway, the thought of people talking about therapy, and making it less taboo, well, I think that's great.  Very few people know I go to therapy.   I worry about what they would think of it - some would be ok with it, others might judge me for it.  With the topic of mental health making headlines is good - to get the topic out there, it always worries me.

What if now, after this conversation, it becomes the norm to think of therapy as for people who will become potential shooters.  What if it seems like it's not just for the normal person who is struggling with something, but for people who are about to go off the deep end?  In my thinking, Adam Lanza must have been stable at some point.  What was it that made it do what he did?  Could therapy and/or medication have prevented it?

I don't know.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves. ~Eric Sevareid

Merry Christmas to any blog readers out that that celebrate the holiday.

I have to say, this is the first Christmas in a while that I have not seen the big debate on facebook over the name of the holiday.  Some say, "Happy Holidays," to in inclusive, others demand they are only wished a "Merry Christmas" and abhor the phrase Xmas, because it takes Christ out of Christmas.

Me, I don't care so much either way.  I say Merry Christmas, because that's what my family has always celebrated, but I am also appreciative of a Happy Holidays or even Happy Hanukah.  Whatever.  If you wish me one of those, I'll wish the same back to you.

So I wish everyone a happy whatever they celebrate and hope the new years brings peace, love, kindness, and a cure for MS!  :)

Multiple Sclerosis - about as cool as a honeymoon handjob.

That was a new t-shirt I saw today.  I haven't seen that one yet.  It's kind of funny.

I'm feeling very annoyed about MS today, and then I'm annoyed that I'm annoyed.  The only real thing going on is that my left hand is numb.  That's really not so bad in the grande scheme of things.  I guess I'm a bit forgetful too, but that may or may not be MS.

Either way, today is the sort of day where I hate MS.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for."

On Tuesday, December 18, 2012 Jayce Quinn made his way into the world.

He is the baby of my very best friend in the whole wide world.  I was given the privilege of getting to be in the delivery room.  I guess this is odd in some ways, but not for us.  

I feel like the entire experience has changed me.  I'm a different person today than I was 3 days ago.  I am amazed at how strong she is and how difficult the whole process is.  She was in labor for 36 hours.  They were the 36 longest hours of my life and the only thing I wanted was to take her pain away.  

During it all, I thought the whole thing was totally not worth it.  And then he was born.  It was magical.  It was amazing.  I cried and cried as soon as he came out.  He is the most beautiful baby ever.

I had therapy today.  At the end of last week, I was pretty sure we'd talk a lot about Newtown, CT.  I'm still struggling with my feelings about everything, but it didn't matter.  All we talked about was the birth.  The entire experience was so amazing and full of hope, life, love and the power of the human spirit.

 I love you Jayce Quinn, already and more than you'll ever know.  You make life worth living.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Why is mental health so taboo?

As is everyone, I am thinking about the shooting at Sandy Hook.  I have more questions then answers, and I really wish I could understand why.

Lots of conversation has been going on about gun control, god in school, and mental health resources.

I understand the rational behind "guns don't kill people, people kill people," but I also think guns make the killings much worse.  Imagine what war would be if both sides only used pea-shooters.  There'd be a lot less death in the final number.  I'm in support of tougher gun laws.  I don't believe every person needs to own a gun.  If they do, they certainly do not need automatic weapons or other similar instruments.

God - I saw a post on facebook that said, "Dear God,  Why do you allow such things to happen in my school?  Sincerely, a concerned student.  Dear concerned student, I'm not allowed in your school.  Sincerely God."

I don't know how I feel about that.  I wouldn't want any one telling my child which God they had to pray to or what they had to call him.  I do believe though, that children who wish to have a God to talk to and pray to should be allowed, even in public school.  I wish I had a God I could turn to during times like these.  Seeking comfort in a God would be nice.  I'd like that.

And mental health.  That's a whole different topic all together.  I haven't firmly decided what I think or feel about that.

I do feel that a lot of people died on Friday.  A lot of people that did not have to die.  And I include the shooter in that total.  He did a horrible thing, but hopefully, we can use the knowledge we will learn to prevent something as horrific as this from ever happening again.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Flu day

Ugh....I feel very yucky today.  I think MS is just making me nuts.   I'm having trouble seeing today...even the words on my TV are hard to make out.  Looking around just gives me a headache.  As soon as I keep my eyes forward, I'm good, but I'm super sensitive to any movement.

I think this is a combination of flu day, post steroids, and MS.  Blech blech blech.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Another day of terror

There was a big school shooting today.  At an elementary school no less.  Although not all the details are out yet, the suspected shooter is the son of a Kindergarten teacher at the school.  He killed her, her classroom and another near by.

How tragic is that?  It's horrible.  All those parents who won't have their children home with them tonight.  I'm sure they've already got Christmas presents at home for them.  Life is going to be so difficult for so many people forever more.

The entire thing breaks my heart.   I'm anxious and petrified to continue hearing the news about everything that went on in this man's life to make him kill his mother (possibly father at another location - that's been reported multiple ways) and almost 20 little innocent children.  Absolutely horrible.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Please won't you catch...

I thought I saw a UFO outside.  It was too bright and fast to be a lightening bug.  It was too quiet and low to be a plane.  Next logical step, UFO.

I posted this on facebook.  Turns out there is a meteor shower tonight and tomorrow.  I saw a shooting star.  Then when outside to find another to wish on.  I did.  You have to keep your wish a secret, but I had a very logical wish.

It makes me think of my favorite camp song ever.

An exceptionally well timed letter

I received this in the mail today from a former camper, staff member and the daughter of a friend of mine.  I've known her since she was 10 years old.  We met at camp, but then I became good friends of her family and so I have known her in and out of camp.

As a camper, she was "Suzy Camper."  She was all about camp.  As a staff member, she was kind, compassionate, and then had one major foul up, in which I had to fire her.  She knew it was inevitable and the whole thing sucked, but she bounced back and has since gone to work there successfully.  She's had a rough time of things as she has entered into adulthood, but she had a good head on her shoulders, and I am eager to see what becomes of her.

Anyway, I got this letter from her today.  She's in job corps, which is kind of part job training, but also for kids who've had some trouble in their lives.  It's a little boot camp-ish, but very good for her.

"Dear Heidi,

My teacher gave us an assignment to write a letter to someone in our lives that we see as a leader.  I thought of you immediately because you were the person who taught me leadership in and out of camp.

In my opinion, you were the best director I saw in my time at camp.  You set the rules, made sure everyone was doing what they were suppose to do and ensured every one's safety, but still managed to be someone we could come to, if we had a problem, someone who could always make me laugh.  From the very first memory I have of you, when you took me to Friendly's for my birthday, I have known that there is someone that cares for me outside of my family.

Whenever I fought with my mom, or needed something she couldn't provide, be it a ride to dance or someone to talk to, you have been there for me.  Mom and I frequently wonder where we would be without you.  You have been so many things in my life, camp director, babysitter, mentor and friend.

Most of all, you are are someone I can look up to, someone who inspires me.  You are one of the best, most wonderful people I have ever met, and seeing you struggling with MS is hard for everyone, but you accept the cards that you were dealt, and you haven't lost your smile.  You are someone I admire more than anyone else, and I am so grateful for everything you have done for me.  I would not be where I am without your support and love.

Love you,"

*Name omitted to protect her identity *

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I am slowly going crazy, 1-2-3-4-5; crazy slowing going am I, 5-4-3-2-1.

I wonder if I'm going nuts right now.  I'm pretty sure its the steroids, but I am on such an emotional roller coaster.  EVERYTHING is getting under my skin.  I'm ridiculously happy one moment, and blubbering like an idiot the next.

I'm feeling sick to my stomach.  I'm seeing things that aren't really there.  I can't focus.  It's ridiculous.

And it all boils down to the fact that I hate Multiple Sclerosis.  I try to down play it.  When folks at work ask how I am, or why I'm at work when I was just in the hospital yesterday, I shrug it off.  I say it's just MS, not a big deal.

I texted my therapist tonight to let her know I might be late for my appointment tomorrow - because infusion took FOREVER today.  Then, before she answered, I was able to move the infusion appointment earlier so it wouldn't matter.  She responded and said she was sorry to hear I wasn't feeling well.

I couldn't even answer that.  My gut instinct was to just shrug it off, but with her, I really shouldn't.  If anyone gets the real feelings I am having, it should be her.  Although, I know I don't even want to share that, but certainly not via text.  It can wait until tomorrow.

I just hate MS.  I think I'd rather have about any other disease, or even better - none at all.  But a disease that predictable, that would be so nice.  One that I would know what to expect, and when - that would be so nice.

Instead, I have this disease that things seem to hit me out of no where.  It effects EVERYTHING, and I even wonder if its making my mood this bad.  I've never felt so discouraged before.  My thinking is slow, my reactions are slow.  My mood is so blessed down, and that I don't even know if its the MS or just the dealing with MS that makes it so.  Either way, MS is the problem, and I really need to find a way to deal with it before it consumes me.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

You always pass failure on your way to success. – Mickey Rooney

I had a doctor say to me today that I was an Avonex failure.  I don't like being called a failure, even if it has absolutely nothing to do with me.  I also don't necessarily agree with him.  I was sick - really sick a few weeks ago.  The fact that a relapse has started is probably from that.

Maybe he is right (which PS, his name is Dr. House), but I'd rather wait for Dr. Dayaw to say it.  If Dr. Dayaw thinks it, then I'll assume its right.  If not, then I'll keep on the Avonex.

Which of course, is a long winded way of saying that I'm admitted in the hospital.  I'm having a flare.  I have a really old roommate, who is scared to go home after what happened to her.  I don't actually know what happened to her, but she's kind of cute.  It's sad, but the nurses and doctors are super nice to her.

And now I'm getting a dose of steroids, and then I get to go home.  I'm not scared of going home.  I'm looking forward to going home.  I have to come back for 3 more days, as an outpatient, to finish the round, but that's ok.  It's SOOOOO much better than actually being here.

Friday, December 7, 2012


I've been feeling very mentally healthy lately.  It's even surprised me, but its great.

So this week, I decided to stop taking the antidepressant meds.  I didn't stop taking them because of how good I've been feeling - its more that I keep having lots of bathroom problems.  It started when I was sick and taking a lot of Vitamin C.  So naturally, when the problems started, I ceased the Vit C.

That didn't work.  So then I stopped the Vit D as well.  Doc wouldn't approve of that, cause she doubled my dose because my levels were so low last time I saw her.

That didn't work either.  So, just in case, I stopped the happy pills.  I did this without talking to my doctor or therapist though.  I figured it would be ok though.

Then today happened.  Its been 4 days without the pills.  I've felt so crazy.  Little things are driving me batty and I feel like everyone I'm dealing with is an absolute moron.  That, and I've had a killer headache all day.  I have no idea if all this is related to stopping the pills or just the day, but I think I shall resume the meds tonight.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Irony - or something like it

There is a half day in the schools I work with tomorrow.  That means around 11:30, I generally have to run around a bring some lunches to children who forgot them.  I also scheduled therapy for 11am tomorrow.  

And then, I am meant to go to this time management training from 10-noon.  I can't go to time management due to the fact that I can't manage my time and am already over booked.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What do you usually think about on your drive home from work?

I'm feeling well again.  Last night, I slept the entire night without waking up once to cough.  It was SOOO nice.  I feel that within 48 hours I will be perfectly back.

So, I'm back to my regularly scheduled blogging.  In the absence of anything real to write about, I've picked a boundary breaker to answer.

On my way home from work, I think about the day I've had.  Sometimes, I can be proud of what I have accomplished, other times, I think of what I didn't actually get done.  I think about whether or not I brought home what I need in order to get that thing done.

I usually think about my mom at some point during the drive.  I wonder what she would say about some news story (like the royal pregnancy) or odd weather patterns.  I'm pretty good at guessing what she would say, or at least I think I am.

I think about what I am going to make for dinner.

I am usually exhausted and calculate the number of hours until it reaches an acceptable time to go to bed.

I imagine I'm a famous singer, singing my favorite songs in the car.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

sick sick sick

I've been ridiculously sick, since Thanksgiving.  It's going on 11 days now, although to be fair, I was only horrible for like 6 days.  Still, 6 days is a long time and day 11 is about over, and I'm still not feeling 100% well yet.

I went to the doctor last Monday.  She said it was a viral flu and I'd just have to let it run its course.  I had a flipping flu shot, so that makes me extra cranky about it.

While all this is going on, I can feel the MS buzzing around, ready to pounce.  I'm hoping and praying that I don't end up with a big flare.  For now, its just some numbness in my hands.  There's some potential pooping problems going on, but I hope that is because of an increase in vitamin C and not MS.  So far, all related to peeing is going fine.

For now, I shall go to bed, before 7pm in order to get up for 7am.  Geez, I hate MS and illness.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving sickness

I've been sick all day.  I've felt feverish, dizzy, sore throat, upset stomach, and generally bad.  I've had nothing to eat today except crackers and ginger ale.  Blech.  It was quite a yucky Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

oh voters in MA

Some days, I love my job, love the staff, love the kids...

Today was one of those days.  EVERYTHING just seemed to go right.  It was quite nice, I have to admit.  Things just seemed to go well.

My middle schoolers did play a prank on me.  They told me that their counselor, who is also my bff, her water broke (she's obviously pregnant and due in 3 weeks).  This was plausible and made me rather excited.  The thought of her giving birth in my program, was not appealing, but the excitement of a new baby, is wonderful.

As soon as I got to their school, the kids all yelled, "Happy Pranksgiving"  Her water did not break and there was no labor.  I was sad, but rather amused they could get me so easily.

The staff meeting tonight, was also wonderful.  I feel that things are going well and we have a great rapport with each other.  I saw a lot of value in each and every one of them.  I'm happy.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Turkey Day is coming

So, I'm feeling better.  Really, I am.  I can't give any specific example, but that overwhelming black cloud that has been hanging over me for the better part of a year, seems to have lifted.  Living, just living, seems a bit easier.  I still have my bad thoughts and what not, but in general, thinks just feel so much better.

That said, Thanksgiving is coming up.  Despite feeling better, I don't actually want to do anything or go anywhere that day.  I'm just in the mindset where I want to be on my own.  I might be lonely, but that's ok.  The thought of staying in my PJs and not having to make small talk, is really exciting to me.  I can make exactly what I want to eat, and nap, and just enjoy the day.

I think that I shall tell each of my friends that has invited me somewhere that I am going somewhere else.  And none of them are really friends with each other, so I'm pretty sure I'll get away with it.  I will enjoy the solitude on Thursday.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

House vs. God

I'm watching House.  I had never seen before being diagnosed with MS, but all my friends loved it.  When I was in the hospital and the doctors kept being painful, my friends would joke that we needed Dr. House.  Funny enough, there was a Dr. House that was a neurologist in the hospital.  I never saw him though.

Anyway, today's episode of House is called House vs. God.  The funniest part is that white board in House's office that is tallying points.

Friday, November 16, 2012

RIP Twinkies

I saw this on facebook.  I often chuckle at these things, but rarely share.  This one though, I had to share.  It's kinda funny.

My therapist and I were talking about the end of the world.  I couldn't remember the exact date, but we were both kind of laughing at how ridiculous it was.  She said the receptionist was joking about it, and she shhhhhhed her.  She had clients who had real worries about this.

I didn't share with her, but I'm kind of the opposite.  Or at least I was (still having good days!).  I hoped it would happen.  The end of the world would be a great alternative to living.  I'm not dreading it.  I'd welcome it.

I don't know if I still feel that way - guess a few more weeks to figure that out.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Success is the best revenge....

I found another good blog post today.

I used to feel this way.  When someone wronged me, either really, or just in my head, I felt like my own success was the best thing I could do.

I don't feel like that anymore.  For better, or worse, I just can't seem to muster the strength to even "fake it" for them.  I just don't care.  Perhaps I should.  Perhaps working on my own success, just of itself, will make me feel better.  It doesn't matter who I am upset with, or trying to get revenge on, just my own success.  What do I need to do to feel successful?

The answer always comes back to camp.

I miss camp.  I miss camp a lot.  I need to find a way to get more camp in my life.  It doesn't matter if I have MS.  Camp is where I want to be and camp is what I want to be doing.   

I'm doing it.  I'm going to find something camp related that I can do.

Monday, November 12, 2012


"Many older people seem to take unmerited pride in the mere 'fact that they are adults. When youth comes crashing in on them with enthusiasms and ideals, they put on their most patronizing smiles, and pat the young man or the young woman on the shoulder, and in a worldly wise sort of way send them out with what they call their blessing. But—as every young person knows-that is not a blessing; it is a cold shower. What they have really said to you is this: "You're young. Enjoy your enthusiasms and your ideals while you can. For when you grow up and get out in the world you will know better." And the tragedy is that so many young people do just that: they do grow up and, growing up, they grow away from their enthusiasms and from their ideals. That is one reason why the world into which they go gets better so slowly." Eleanor Roosevelt

I just read this news article about people being so upset over the election (even some states that went blue), that they have filed a petition to secede from the union.

Are you kidding me?  Good gravy train.  Granted, if Romney won, I would have been in the crowd to joke about moving to Canada and the like, but really, a petition?

I dealt with the election fiasco in which George W lost the popular vote, and the entire thing was decided by "hanging chads" and that sort of thing.  I get the feeling of disappointment, but geez.  It's over.  Move on.

On another note though, somewhat serious.  I do believe Western Massachusetts should secede from Mass and make our own state.  Boston just doesn't get us.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

What is the worst crime a person can commit against another person?

Well, of course there's murder, rape, etc, and obviously those are bad.

But, I think what's worse is not even really a crime - at least not on the book of adulthood.   It's the stuff that is "not tolerated" in school yards and the classroom.  It still happens though, and is very hard to prove or see.

It's bullying, teasing, putting others down to make yourself feel better.  In the adult world, it takes the form of talking behind someone's back, CCing people on emails that don't need to be in the conversation, going out of your way to make that person miserable.

Don't get me wrong - I've been on both sides of this.  I know I've done my share of making other's lives miserable - as ashamed as I am to admit, as an adult and not just the kiddie version.  I've done it when I know better.  Here's hoping I've learned, but the truth is, we all have these moments where we do it.

I do think though, for the betterment of humanity, we just need to try and be nicer to everyone.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


I saw the play Proof tonight.  It was put on by my old college.  When I had taken a theater class, I actually did a project from this play.  It was pretty cool getting to actually see it on stage.  It was made into a movie, but I didn't think the movie was as good as the play.

In the very beginning, the lead character is taking to her dad.  At the end of the scene (SPOILER), it is revealed that he is actually dead.

I thought a lot about my mom.  I would love to talk to her, even if it was in a dream.  Catherine spoke to her dad - unclear whether it was a dream, or she was going crazy.  Her and her dad were talking about being crazy.  Her dad said since she was able to ask the question, "Am I crazy?" so therefore, she was not.  A crazy person wouldn't ask that, so it was a good sign she was asking.

Then, he pointed out he was dead.  He told her it was a bad sign that she was talking to a dead person.

I'd be ok, even if it was a bad sign, to get to talk to my mom.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dreams are free therapy, consult your inner Freud.

I haven't updated much about therapy lately.  I still struggle with it.  In many ways, I still feel like I hold back and censor myself, which then, of course leads me to believe that it isn't working and it just becomes a vicious cycle.

However, last week in therapy, I talked about how I've been feeling so stagnant lately.  I've just felt nothing - good or bad.  I also mentioned that I don't think I dream - or at least don't remember the dreams.

This leads me to, a long time ago, I read a blog by someone that was in therapy.  She was talking about the homework her therapist gave her.  It sounded interesting.  Ok, I can be the true dork I am here.  It sounded cool.  When I read about it, I kind of wished my therapist gave me homework.

She never has, not even mentioned it.  But the inner dork in me would actually like it.

Back to my story - that night, after therapy last week, I had a dream, that I remembered in the morning (!) that my therapist gave me homework and I was doing it.  One assignment had to do with drawing with my eyes closed.  I was brilliantly talented in artwork with my eyes closed.

I woke up rather happy.  From the homework and from the art.  It was cool and quite a feeling.

Anyway, I mentioned it today, although I didn't quite explain how great it made me feel.  I don't want to be the dork that points out how much I'd enjoy homework.  But, I would.  So, I found some myself.  Some are even too dorky for me (the one that tells you to print positive messages out and hang them on your mirror to read daily) but others I found, I think will be kind of helpful.

Perhaps, I'll even mention to her that I found them.

What one thing makes you humble?

I feel humble when I see love.  Sometimes its romantic love between two people.  Other times its the kind of love you see between a parent and a child.  Other times is love, not in the romantic sense, between people.  No matter how you look at it, it's love, and it's grand.  There's nothing going on around them that can stop what you see.  This picture shows exactly what I mean.

I am also humbled by people who are "sicker" than me, but have a much stronger mental attitude.  I watched a documentary on PBS tonight about people who were going through organ transplants.  It was meant to gain awareness of organ donation, but some of the people were so sick.  Yet, they were so strong and full of life.  I feel lifeless, but the reality is that I should be full of life.  Those people, are my inspiration.

A day at the zoo

Having MS is kind of kind of a like a day at the zoo.

I hate the zoo.  I find it boring and I'm much rather be at an amusement park.

You get tired of seeing the same things.  You get hot from just walking around.  You have to pretend to be interested in what you are looking at, but really it's just boring.  As you're going around, you are desperately looking for something fun, but there's just more of the same old stuff.

Every once in a while, something good comes along, but its quickly over and then you're back to the same old same old.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

celebrate the arrival of Santa?

I just saw a commerical to celebrate the arrival of Santa this weekend.  Are you kidding me?  It's barely the beginning of November!

The Results

Obama is president for 4 more years.  Scott Brown was ousted and Elizabeth Warren is in.  Medical marijuana is now real in Massachusetts.  Assisted suicide, however, failed by a very narrow margin.

You can't win them all.

Monday, November 5, 2012

election, chicken pox and life

I'm far more excited for the election tomorrow then I thought I'd be.

President is always fun, even if its the election you vote in where your vote matters the least.  It will be interesting to see if Romney wins, here in Massachusetts.  Normally, a candidate wins where ever they are from.  That makes sense.  But, democrats always win Mass.  I had a religion professor in college who said, "God himself could come down and run for office in Mass, and if he ran as a republican, he'd loose."

I predict Obama will win Mass.  That's who I will be voting for.

The other big race is between Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown for senate.  Brown is the incumbent and republication.  This race is big and close in our state, but also could decide which party gets control of the senate.  It's a big deal.  I'm a Warren fan all the way.  Scott Brown is a douche anyway, but caused a lot of camps a lot of trouble last year.

He wrote a book that talked about the fact that he was sexually abused at a summer camp.  I believe it happened, but it caused a big commotion for camps.  Granted, it was a good reality check for camps, and myself, but it was a pain in the ass.

The story just got worse from there.  The camp in question was called Camp Good News.  The story broke that there was a pedophile working there, in somewhat of a high position.  Lots of kids came forward saying he abused them (current kids, as well as adults who were abused as children).  Well, this man ended up killing himself pretty early on in the story.

Come to find out, other staff expressed concern over things they saw or heard.  Children being alone with him, seeing kiddie porn on his computer, etc.  This was a religious camp and the director decided the administrative team should pray about the situation, rather than doing actually actual.  Firing him would have been a great idea, alerting DCF or the authorities would have been good.  But no, she just prayed about it.  And kids continued to get abused.

That isn't Scott Brown's fault, but it still all started with him.  I dislike him.

Next up, there are three ballot questions in MA.  Two of which, I am excited about and hope to see them pass.

First, has to do with automotive information and who is allowed to have it.  I don't really care.

Second, is the use of medical marijuana.  I personally, do not smoke it, nor do I enjoy it, but I hope it passes for the sake of sick people who benefit from it.

Finally, the assisted suicide question.  I really hope this passes.  I know, my own condition does not fit within the scope of the proposed legislation, but still, I think people will benefit from it being possible.  This law says that a person who has 6 months or less to live can be given a prescription by two doctors (must be two) for a lethal dose of medication.

I know there are a lot of people opposed to this, but I'm in support of it, and I really hope it passes in the state.

Last up, I've had this rash for a while.  Word on the street is that it's chicken pox.  I had chicken pox as a child, so I thought this was impossible, but apparently, it's a new strain of it, that you can get even if you've had it before and even if you've had the vaccine.  That SUCKS.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

If you are yourself 1 year from the future, how would you advise the you now?

One year from now, I hope to be in an entirely different place, mentally, at least.  I'd like to be living in the same area, maybe still at my job, but definitely want to feel a lot different than I do today.

So, in one year, I'd like to remind myself that in order to move past this funk, I've got to just to open and honest about how I'm feeling.  I can't be afraid to show emotion and if I can deal with everything, instead of just hiding from it, I'll feel so much better.

I'd like to tell myself to stop procrastinating.  I procrastinate all the time and it really doesn't get me very far.  Just do it, even the unpleasant things.  Once they are done, I always feel so much better about whatever it is.

In one year, I will have two babies in my life that I am super excited about.  My best friend's and my sister's. I think I can't even imagine yet how much I am going to love them.  I'd tell myself to be getting ready for them and cherish every moment I have with them.

I'd tell myself that I will feel heaps better if I am healthier.  That means regularly going to work out classes at work and eating better.  It also includes drinking more water and less coke.  It really does make me feel better and I have to remember that.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Where are you living right now – the past, future or present?

I think I spend 1/3 of my time living in the past, 1/3 living in the present and 1/3 in the future.  One would think that's well rounded, but its probably actually very unhealthy.

I live in the past when I think of all things I used to be able to do and can't do anymore.  I wish I could and sometimes imagine and try, but fail miserably.

I live in the present, but not thinking about the future.  I can't imagine or see a future.  That's also not good.

I live in the future when I think about all the things that can wrong with my life.  It's not a hopeful future, its a scary future and one I dread.

So, none of those times are particularly effective.  I need to find an effective spin to put on it.

I want to remember the good times of the past, but not be sad they are not here now.  I need to remember my past made me who I am today.  I need to focus on the current moment.  I need to accept what I can and cannot do, and be comfortable with it.  I need to see a positive future.  Lots of great things can happen.  Heck, they could find a cure for MS.  That would be the most amazing future, but even without, I can do great things.  I can live a happy life.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What advice would you give to yourself three years ago?

Live.  Really live. Take advantage of EVERYTHING.  Yes, the kids at work might make you crazy, and your family may drive you nuts, but it's so worth it.

Life is good.  You are on the verge of greatness.  Enjoy this time.  Take every advantage you can.  Good things can happen if you seek them out.

When you start to feel weird - numb as the case may be - get it looked it right away.  I know you'd rather ignore it and hope it goes away, but it won't.   The quicker you can catch it, the better off you'll be.

You have some really great friends.  Cherish them.  Take advantage of their wonderfulness.  They are the kind of folks who will be with you forever.  They love you and you love them.

Know that you are about to face a few challenges.  It's not going to be easy, but you can totally do it.  Keep your mind in the right place and anything is possible.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Geez.  Maybe it really is the end of times.  Last year at this time, we had a snowstorm which caused major havoc for a week or more.  It was unprecedented early for a snowstorm in these parts.

This year, we have Hurricane Sandy.  Unprecedented late and not at all normal for these parts.

First, the school's announced they would be closed.  That was fine.  In that case, we run a snow day program and I was gearing up for that.

Now, my Y has decided they were going to close.  That's definitely not normal, but means a day off for me.  Unfortunately that day off is also the anniversary of mom's death.  Hopefully we'll loose power, and I can just sleep through it.  That would be ideal!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

circle of people

When I worked at a camp that had an inclusion program, we had a lot of ways to train the staff in working with children with disabilities.  All staff needed to know general things about working with all children.  The specific counselors working with the children with disabilities needed to know more, but everyone needed to know about inclusion and how to include everyone.

To teach this, we used the people chart.  There were three circles.  On the inside circle, there was a person's family.  The middle circle was comprised of friends.  The outside circle was professional people.  They were people that were involved with a child's life, but paid to do so.

The family circle looked the same for both typically developing children and those with disabilities.  It was the other two that showed a drastic difference.  Children with disabilities had few friends, but lots of professional folks.  The opposite was true for the typical kids.

My circle:

The professional circle has gotten much larger since getting MS.  I guess that is to be expected.  The family circle is the same as its always been, except since my mom's passing.  The friend circle is relatively the same. I'm not one of who has millions of friends, but I have close ones that matter to me.

The professional circle starts to bother me.  Before MS, I rarely saw a doctor.  I wouldn't even include them in my circle I saw them so infrequently.  Now, I see my neurologist every 4 months, a therapist weekly and the others as I need to.

Friday, October 26, 2012

I almost forgot to look at Postsecret this week.

I go to therapy on Thursdays.  It would be pretty cool if this was from my therapist, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't apply.  Still fun to imagine.

This was the most shared secret this week, and its beautiful.

Preparing for Sandy

Last year, at this time, it was the October snowstorm.  Power was out for a week.  There wasn't a ton of snow, but all the leaves were still on the trees, and the snow made trees fall EVERYWHERE.

This year, we have Hurricane Sandy heading our way.  It's not suppose to be as bad at the snowstorm last year, but still a likelihood to loose power and what not.

In preparation, I've filled my gas tank, and am baking all sorts of goodies to eat if I can't actually cook.  I also postponed a shipment of medication in case the power goes out. There's no point in getting it if I don't have power to refrigerate it.  I have tonight's dose, and then they'll call me back on Tuesday to schedule the rest.

It's also been a year since my mom died.  The technical anniversary is Monday.  I miss her, a lot.  I guess I always will.

This past week, I went to one of those MS presentations.  This one had my doctor as the guest speaker though.  That was wicked cool.  My doctor really is amazing.  I'm really glad she's mine.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Baby Shower

I've been baking, wrapping, planning all day long for my best friend's surprise baby shower tomorrow!  I can't wait....its going to be ridiculously fun.

Friday, October 19, 2012

New favorite show - Emily Owens MD

The thing about being an adult, that no one tells you growing up, is that you don't feel like an adult.  All your stupid insecurities and anxieties are still there, only you feel even more stupid and insecure about being stupid and insecure because you're not suppose to be stupid and insecure anymore.  You're suppose to have the answers.  You are suppose to know.  But we don't always know.  And those answers, they're not always easy to come by.

Well, you know what.  I'm done feeling stupid and insecure about feeling stupid and insecure.

The truth is, I think part of being an adult is that you stop waiting for yourself to change and you start accept who you are.  Come on, it's gotta get better than this, right?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Life is interesting

I saw that someone found by blog by searching for the phrase "gf diagnosed with ms and freaked out."

That was very weird.  Mostly, people come here from MS bloggers, direct links or some random search phrase that got them here.  Postsecret posts and To Kill and Mockingbird quotes have generated lots of traffic.  Even, a picture I put up with some quote made it to Pininterest.

But its pretty random that I have a hit that stems from actual worry about MS.  This, for some reason, really impacted me.  It makes me think of that video on the National MS Society website I saw a long time ago.

This search term made me think of that video - and spoiler alert - the girl who was diagnosed 7 days ago.  I remember when that was me.  I felt like I didn't even know which way was up.  I was scared and confused and no idea what was happening to me.  7 days into diagnosis I didn't even have my eyesight back yet.  It was a horrible time!

Now, today, it's not so bad.  It annoys the crap out of me and gets in the way, but I'm not so scared.  It's not as horrible as I feared it was going to be.  I can live with MS.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Zombie Run

I'm volunteering at a Zombie run this weekend.  It's a traditional 5K run, except there are obstacles you have to go through and Zombies chase you.  If you finish the run with at least one flag, you can boast that you survived the Zombie apocalypse.  It's pretty cool.  I'm going to be a zombie!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

World Mental Health Day

I blog for World Mental Health Day 

It's Thursday.  Thursday means I'm visiting my therapist.

I often think about what we will talk about Wednesday night.  Sometimes, I forgot I'm going and then stress about what to think of.  I usually have an idea, but often try to avoid talking about that as long as I can.

I enjoy hearing about her.  She's starting her own private practice, and I find it fascinating.  Eventually, when it gets big, I imagine I won't see her anymore.  That thought kind of makes me sad, but for now, I'm not worried about it.  With some luck, I won't need to see her anymore by then anyway.

Tomorrow is my next visit.  I haven't been feeling physically well lately, MS related and most likely a kidney infection.  I'm choosing not to treat it.  That's totally a mental health issue and while I'd be content to bring it up, I know I really should.

I don't know what she is going to say.  I'm quite positive she will want me to call my doctor.  I know she won't understand why I don't want to, and if I try to explain it, I'm going to end up crying.  I realize therapy is a great place to cry and yadda yadda yadda, but I HATE crying in there.   She doesn't judge or anything if I do, just offers some Kleenex, but still, I HATE it.  It feels awkward and ridiculous.

I'm going to have to find the courage to bring this up tomorrow - and then hope for the best. I can't even predict where or how the conversation will go.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

pumpkin picking field trip!

What a day - it was long, but wonderful.

And what full day program is not complete without a 5 year old running out of the locker room into the hallway stark naked because she forgot her bathing suit in the gym.

Best part of today - hearing a parent who usually complains about EVERYTHING that she loved the staff at her son's site and how well her son was doing in school because of the staff.  Excellent.

Monday, October 8, 2012

My favorite season

Fall is my favorite season.  I love the brisk, cool, nights.  I love wearing hoodies, sweat pants and sweaters.  It feels so refreshing.

I only begrudge fall because it precedes winter.  That's my least favorite season.

But for now, having the window open, and having it be chilly inside.  I LOVE it.  I will try very hard to not turn on my heat until November 1st.  For now, I'm cozy in my hoodie, sweat pants and blanket wrapped around me.  I have my fuzzy socks on and I'm happy as a clam.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

If you can find a path without obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere.

I don't know what the hell is wrong with me.

That's not true, actually, I do.  I have MS.  That's what is wrong with me.  I'm not positive if that is what is going on, but it probably is.

The thing is, my thinking, my logic is so skewed about it right now.  My lower back hurts.  A lot.  It's probably my kidneys and its probably cause I'm having issues peeing again.  That's all a guess, but a fairly educated one.

My left arm is numb too.  Both of these things are a pretty good sign a relapse is in my future.  I'm flipping pissed.  I can't deal with that.  I don't want to deal with that.  I'm on this stupid medication to avoid this from happening.

THIS SHOULD NOT BE HAPPENING.  Hell, I'm doing a job that isn't my love, because of stupid MS.  It's not that hard.  I want to be doing the harder job.  I can't do an easy job and have this MS crap going on.

And I forgot to bring my happy pills while I'm dog sitting, so I haven't taken them in the last 3 days.  I don't know how long it takes to experience withdrawal, but it may be a contributing factor to my mood.

Here's my thoughts.  Let's say its a kidney infection again.  I'm ignoring it.  That will lead to kidney failure.  I'll ignore that too.  Eventually, I'd die.  It's like the easy way to end my life.  I'm ok with that.  In fact, I'd welcome it.

And thinking that scares the bejesus out of me.  Not enough to do anything about it, but enough.  I suppose this is something I should discuss in therapy this week, but I'm very confident my therapist will disagree with me.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

whoa is me

I'm in a great deal of pain, and I'm pretty certain its my kidneys.  I feel like there must be something wrong with that whole system and thus its caused a kidney infection.  I'm cranky and really don't want to deal with it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

tomorrow is going to be another LONG day

1.  I hate management sometimes, and I really hate stupid employees who exist to make my job harder.  The thing is, I can deal with a lack of knowledge or incompetence.  But this person does what I expect when I'm around, then the minute I leave, goes back to their old ways.  That just pisses me off.

2. Square dancing starts one week from tomorrow.  I'm excited!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

flu day sucks

This is the second week in a row now that I haven't been able to sleep through flu day.  I can't sleep, yet I feel ridiculously awful.

I've taken some left over pain medication from when I had my wisdom teeth out.  Here's hoping it produces sleep tonight.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The hand...

There is a tradition we used to do at camp.  Each night, its nice for groups to reflect on the day.  At summer camp, we called it a "cabin chat."

On the first night, my favorite activity was the hand introduction.  Each person talked about 5 parts of themselves, all related to fingers.

The thumb - what makes you human.
The pointer finger - what guides you.
The middle finger - what annoys you.
The ring finger - what you are committed to.
The pinky - something random about you.

I was thinking about this tonight - I don't really know why.  My answers always change, often based on the group of people I am with.  I share different things with children, with my staff, with my peers.  It also depends on my life situation.

Today, my thumb - I experience emotions.  Every emotion, and sometimes every possible emotion in an hour time period.  I'm happy, sad, angry, scared, confident, excited and more.  It's all me, and its all very human.

My pointer finger - I struggle with this one lately.  If I was sharing this with a group, I wouldn't have anything right now.  I'm looking for something to guide me.  I need to find something that is worth it these days.

My middle finger - I'm annoyed when I'm misunderstood, or just blatenly ignored.

My ring finger - I'm committed to finding my way again.  I seem to have lost it recently, but I'm going to find it again.

My pinky - I miss my Subaru.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


I usually do my Avonex shot at night, and then take some Nyquil and sleep through the worst of the side effects.  I'll take it either Friday or Saturday night, depending on my weekend plans.

This weekend I went car shopping Saturday morning.  (I got a Focus, which is not anything that I am happy with, but it was cheap and I'm desperate).

Then my best friend in the world was moving today (Sunday), so I didn't want the flu then.  So I did my shot at noon time on Saturday.  This was the first time I had done it at a time other than bedtime.

It SUCKED.  I felt miserable all day and could not fall asleep for the life of me.  Then, today my back was so sore, I wasn't all that helpful moving.  I didn't even have my subaru to fit lots of stuff in.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

“A boss creates fear, a leader confidence. A boss fixes blame, a leader corrects mistakes. A boss knows all, a leader asks questions. A boss makes work drudgery, a leader makes it interesting.”

I've had a hell of a week, namely with the highest sort of management at my job.  Fortunately for me, my supervisor, and her supervisor, agreed with me.

It all boils down to the fact that I had to reprimand his son, who works for me.   I knew that wasn't a good idea to begin with.  And it got all blown up ridiculously.

Now, its over - and not resolved, but over.  I really was kind of wishing I'd get fired over the whole thing.  I'm not one to think, "oh, I'll just sue!" but really, this would have been the best wrongful termination suit ever.

And in the last 24 hours, I've really grown to like this boy with the incredibility annoying father.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I'm a quitter

I quit therapy today.  Well, sort of.

I didn't actually quit as much as just not make an appointment next week.  I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to make a follow up.  My reasons are very valid, but not entirely everything.

I think the whole process is so complicated.  I have MS.  I'm dealing with it.  That should be enough.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It's the kind of ngiht

I'm sad
I feel like all is hopeless
I just want to cry

To solve all this, I shall go to bed.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Thoughts for the night

If you want to feel rich, count all the great things you have that money can't buy

friends - really great friends, the kind that I know I can call on when I really need something.  The kind that can pull me up when I need it, and that I know will call on me when they need it.  The ones from long ago, the current ones, and the ones that I know are forever.

family - even if they can make me crazy, they are there.  In all sorts of weather, and they love me, unconditionally

knowledge - not just the book kind that came out of school, but the real life experience I have had.  The lessons I have learned, even if they came about the hard way, make me who I am.

children - there's been amazing children I've met in my life.  They've left a footprint on my soul and I really appreciate what they've done for me.

camp - as a child, this place defined me.  All I wanted to be when I grew up was my counselors.  This place molded me, and taught me about life.

love - it's cheesy, but those I've loved are worth it.  'Tis better to have loved and lost, then to never have loved at all - or something like that.

inspiration - those thoughts, ideas, things that keep me going.  It's those things I can turn to when I'm having a tough time.

health - eh, I can't count that anymore


I found my missing envelope of money!  Well, technically my assistant found it.  But either way, I didn't have to sell myself on the street corner to replace the $400.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

September 9, 2012

You're especially easy to please today, dear Sagittarius, but also very willing to do the pleasing. A general trend in your life recently is a larger focus on relationships and the joy you feel when you are with someone one on one. This is a good year for enhancing or attracting a partnership. Later today, you are especially in touch with your own motivations, as well as others. Trust your perception now.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Boundary Breakers

I'm a bit of a blogging fool today.  I guess that's cause work is finally not crazy and I'm enjoying the low key do-nothing day that is not flu day.

Another boundary breaker:

Is there anyone you trust so much that you wouldn't be afraid to have him or her know every single thought you have?

OMG, absolutely not.  I can't even imagine having someone in my life that I could trust that much.  I can't even fathom how anyone can feel like that about anyone else.  I don't even blog, on this anonymous blog, every single thought I have.  I mean, duh, there'd be 500 entries a day, but there's plenty of thoughts that I even censor on here.  Eek.  That's such a scary thought!

Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives; some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don't.

What do I want to be when I grow up?

That's easy.  It's always been easy.  Camp.  As soon as I worked out that one could make a professional life through camp, that's what I wanted to do.  I went back to school and got a degree in Camp Management.  Camp is was my life.

Now the possibility of camp, or least what I think of when I think of camp, is slipping away.  I feel that MS has made that all but impossible.

But, just because I can't do camp the way I've always done camp, doesn't mean camp has to be completely eliminated.  I just need to sort out what that means.  I'm pretty sure I can find something to get me excited again.

another day...

Just when I think things are settling down, something happens.  I can't find my petty cash envelope for the month.  This sucks.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Little nothing book

I found my little nothing book tonight.  There were a few things I had to add to it, and I'm pretty impressed with how long it is.

Every good camp director has a little nothing book.  It's filled with inspirational stories, quotes, pictures and general good mood things.  

I started this in 1995.  It's come a long way since then.  There's a lot of stories about Girl Scouts, camp, love, life. 

 I guess it's time to add Multiple Sclerosis to that list.  I'm quite sure there's good quotes I can add.  In the meantime, my favorite story (it's long, but well worth it).

Three Letters From Teddy

By Elizabeth Silance Baynard
Teddy's letter came today, and now that I've read it, I will place it in my cedar chest with the other things that are important to my life.
"I wanted you to be the first to know." I smiled as I read the words he had written and my heart swelled with a pride that I had no right to feel. I have not seen Teddy Stallard since he was a student in my fifth grade class, 15 years ago. It was early in my career, and I had only been teaching for two years. 

From the first day he stepped into my classroom, I disliked Teddy. Teachers (although everyone knows differently) are not supposed to have favorites in a class, but most especially are they not to show dislike for a child, any child.

Nevertheless, every year there are one or two children that one cannot help but become attached to, for teachers are human, and it is human nature to like bright, pretty, intelligent people, whether they are 10 years old or 25. And sometimes, not too often fortunately, there will be one or two students to whom the teacher just can't seem to relate.

I had thought myself quite capable of handling my personal feelings along that line until Teddy walked into my life. There wasn't a child I particularly liked that year, but Teddy was most assuredly one I disliked.

He was dirty. Not just occasionally, but all the time. His hair hung over his ears, and he actually had to hold it out of his eyes as he wrote his papers in class. (And this was before it was fashionable to do so!). Too, he had a peculiar odor about him which I could never identify. His physical faults were many, and his intellect left a lot to be desired, also. By the end of the first week, I knew he was hopelessly behind the others. Not only was he behind; he was just plain slow! I began to withdraw from him immediately.

Any teacher will tell you that it's more of a pleasure to teach a bright child. It is definitely more rewarding for one's ego. But any teacher worth her credentials can channel work to the bright child, keeping him challenged and learning, while she puts her major effort on the slower ones. Any teacher can do this. Most teachers do it, but I didn't, not that year. In fact, I concentrated on my best students and let the others follow along as best they could. Ashamed as I am to admit it, I took perverse pleasure in using my red pen, and each time I came to Teddy's papers, the cross marks (and there were many) were always a little redder than necessary.

"Poor work!" I would write with a flourish. While I did not actually ridicule the boy, my attitude was obviously quite apparent to the class; for he quickly became the class "goat," the outcast - the unlovable and the unloved. He knew I didn't like him, but he didn't know why. Nor did I know - then or now - why I felt such an intense dislike for him. All I know is that he was a little boy no one cared about, and I made no effort on his behalf.

The days rolled by. We made it through the Fall Festival and the Thanksgiving holidays, and I continued marking happily with my red pen.

As the Christmas holidays approached, I knew that Teddy would never catch up in time to be promoted to the sixth grade level. He would be a repeater.

To justify myself, I went to his cumulative folder and from time to time looked it over. He had very low grades for the first four years, but not grade failure. How he had made it, I did not know. I closed my mind to the personal remarks.
First Grade: Teddy shows promise by work and attitude, but has a poor home situation. Second Grade: Teddy could do better. Mother terminally ill. He receives little help at home.
Third Grade: Teddy is a pleasant boy. Helpful, but too serious. Slow learner. Mother passed away end of the year.
Fourth Grade: Very slow, but well behaved. Father shows little or no interest.
Well, they passed him four times. But he will certainly repeat fifth grade! Do him good! I said to myself.
And then the last day before the Christmas holidays arrived. Our little tree on the reading table sported paper and popcorn chains. Many gifts were heaped underneath waiting for the big moment.  Teachers always get several gifts at Christmas, but mine that year seemed bigger and more elaborate than ever. There was not a student who had not brought me one. Each unwrapping brought squeals of delight, and the proud giver would receive effusive thank-yous.

Teddy's gift wasn't the last one I picked up, in fact it was the middle of the pile. Its wrapping was a brown paper bag, and he had colored Christmas trees and red bells all over it. It was stuck together with masking tape. "For Miss Thompson - From Teddy" it read.  The group was completely silent and for the first time I felt conspicuous, embarrassed because they all stood watching me unwrap that gift.
As I removed the last bit of masking tape, two items fell to my desk: a gaudy rhinestone bracelet with several stones missing and a small bottle of dime store cologne - half empty.

I could hear the snickers and whispers, and I wasn't sure I could look at Teddy. "Isn't it lovely?" I said, placing the bracelet on my wrist. "Teddy, would you help me fasten it?"

He smiled shyly as he fixed the clasp, and I held my wrist for all of them to admire. There were a few hesitant oohs and ahhs, but as I dabbed the cologne behind my ears, all the little girls lined up for a dab behind their ears.

I continued to open the gifts until I reached the bottom of the pile. We ate our refreshments and then the bell rang. The children filed out with shouts of "See you next year," and "Merry Christmas!" But Teddy waited at his desk.

When they had all left, he walked toward me, clutching his gift and books to his chest. "You smell just like Mom," he said softly. "Her bracelet looks real pretty on you too. I'm glad you liked it."  He left quickly. I locked the door, sat down at my desk and wept, resolving to make up to Teddy what I had deliberately deprived him of - a teacher who cared. I stayed every afternoon with Teddy from the end of the Christmas holiday until the last day of school. Sometimes we worked together. Sometimes he worked alone while I drew up lesson plans or graded papers.

Slowly but surely he caught up with the rest of the class. Gradually there was a definite upward curve in his grades. He did not have to repeat the fifth grade. In fact, his final averages were among the highest in the class, and although I knew he would be moving out of state when school was out, I was not worried for him. Teddy had reached a level that would stand him in good stead the following year no matter where he went. He had enjoyed a good measure of success and as we were taught in our teacher training course, SUCCESS BUILDS SUCCESS.

I did not hear from Teddy until seven years later when his first letter appeared in my mailbox.
Dear Miss Thompson, I just wanted you to be the first to know. I will be graduating second in my class next month.
Very truly yours,
Teddy Stallard
I sent him a card of congratulations and a small package, a pen and pencil gift set. I wondered what he would do after graduation. Four years later, Teddy's second letter came.
Dear Miss Thompson, I wanted you to be the first to know. I was just informed I'll be graduating first in my class. The University has not been easy, but I liked it.
Very truly yours,
Teddy Stallard
I sent him a good pair of sterling silver monogrammed cuff links and a card -- "so proud of you, I could burst." And now, today - Teddy's last letter.
Dear Miss Thompson, I wanted you to be the first to know. As of today, I am Theodore J. Stallard, M.D. How about that!!!???
I'm going to be married in July, the 22nd to be exact. I wanted to ask you if you would come and sit where Mom would sit if she were here. I will have no family there as Dad died last year.
Very Truly yours,
Teddy Stallard
I am not sure what kind of card one sends to a doctor on completion of medical school and professional boards. Maybe I'll just wait and take a wedding gift, but my congratulations can't wait.
Dear Ted, Congratulations! You made it and you did it yourself! In spite of those like me and because of us, the day has finally come for you.
God bless you. I'll be at that wedding with bells on!
Miss Thompson

In the book of life, the answers arn't in the back. -Charlie Brown

I've had MS almost 2 years now.  It'll be my two year anniversary on the one year anniversary of my mom's death.  That's gonna be kinda weird.  But, as far as MS is concerned, I've learned a lot.  I enjoy talking to folks who are newly diagnosed, or close to a diagnosis.

Since I got MS, I have learned that sometimes, I just have to suck it up and move along.  I can't expect to always feel good, but if I can keep my head on right, I feel better.

That's not always easy.  I catch myself feeling sorry for myself far more often than I would like to.  I catch myself using MS as an excuse when I'm tired or lazy.

But, things are getting better.  I would say I have more good days than bad days now.  I would say the biggest challenge for me with MS is my mental health, but I'm learning how to cope.  The physical symptoms are easier to deal with then the mental ones, but I'm learning.

I attribute a lot of that to my therapist.  She's pretty cool. 

Her name is Danielle - Danielle D'amato -  if anyone is looking for a great therapist in Massachusetts.  There's been quite a few times when I see something, and I can only see it in this tunnel vision mindset.  She calls it a black or white thinking, but then she brings up another side of it, or another way of looking at it, and I leave feeling shocked.  Except, she's right and its all in the way I am approaching something.  And all of a sudden things feel so much clearer and much more logical.

She has many locations, mine in Western MA and then another near where I used to live.  Then, she's opening her own place someplace completely different.  It's kind of impressive.  I personally would be terrified of all that, but it seems to suit her.

She's young.  I figure kind of idealistic.  The way I used to be - her about therapy, me about camping.  I miss that thought process.  When I thought anything was possible.  Then this whole MS thing hit, and all that idealism was shattered.  I feel like maybe, its coming back.  Perhaps with a bit more realism, but it's totally coming back.

Some days I feel broken.  Completely broken in spirit, mind and body.  When I tell her about it though, whatever it was seems ridiculous - and it really was.  I started thinking she should "fix" me, but really, it's about me changing my thinking.  She's not really fixing me, just adjusting how I process things. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

“Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us.” ― David Richo

I've still been going to therapy.  In many ways, its useful, just in the day to day, week to week stuff.  There's nothing she can say or do to make the bad feelings of MS go away, but I can think of it differently. 

Last week, we were talking about my life and what interests me.  I said my job was everything.  It is.  It's pretty much all I am, and all I identify with.  I feel life would be over if I didn't have it.

She started to brainstorm others things to do, that I could be engaged with.  She wanted ideas of other things to add to my life that would keep me excited - about living - I suppose.  I started to think of some things I have enjoyed previously, but nothing really made me excited.

Then I thought of square dancing.  I loved it when I did it.  I was probably 40 years younger than everyone else, but I had so much fun!  I said it.

I think, at first, she was trying to figure out if I was serious.  Then, when she concluded I was, I could almost see her thinking, "I will not judge my client, I will not just my client, I will not judge my client."

During the whole process, I was thinking she didn't get.  She didn't get the problem in the first place.  Coming up with this list was easier than trying to explain myself.  Except, when I got home, I thought about it. I thought a lot about it.  The thought of doing something else in life made me excited. 

I started to look up square dancing.  I found a club near me - for singles even.  I didn't have to have a partner to join.  I wrote to them.  I'm going to start square dance lessons in October.  I'm looking forward to it!