Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Thoughts on a Dining Room Change, Rachel Ashwell, Hotel California, and Spiders with Fur

My formerly powder blue dining room (seen here) got a mini-overhaul. It's now Alabaster thanks to the local Sherwin Williams store. I love that place. They really do have great paint. If they ever want a southern, slightly hyper, pear-shaped spokeswoman, they know where to find me.

The funny thing is, I really like the blue color upstairs in the dressing room and bathroom, but somehow it irritated the phooey out of me in the dining room. So, Alabaster it is. It's a really great white, warm and creamy without looking dirty. And yes, I realize my love of white walls is a little bit of a sickness. My friends think me very strange. I blame Rachel Ashwell and all her Shabby Chicness that blew my mind in college. I've never quite recovered.

I also rearranged the plates in the kitchen on either side of the doorway, and there are officially five thousand nail holes in the walls. But the important thing is you can't actually see the holes, and since we all know that's what really matters, it's all good.

A couple of interesting things happened during this little re-do.

1. I found what I can only assume was a miniature tarantula in the corner of the dining room. He had weird legs and fur. I trapped him under a glass, and when I removed it, he jumped to nearly eye level with me. At this juncture I stepped backwards, into the paint pan, screaming, flailing, clearly not a match for a spider measuring no more than a centimeter. What can I say. He had fur. He wins.

2. No matter how many times I pressed "dislike" Pandora felt sure that I needed to listen to Sympathy for the Devil and Hotel California. Those two songs. They wear on my last nerve and I have no idea why.

So to wrap things up, here's the thing I'm learning about decorating: it just takes time. You have to live in a place for a while. You have to see what times of day the light changes, or which windows always face the direction storms move in. You have to watch tv at night, and fold laundry during the day. You have to cook on Saturday afternoons, and sit on the patio at night. Eventually, the house will tell you what it wants. Rushing it only leads to powder blue dining rooms and badly hung art. I'm a case in point.

Just a side note: I have Alabaster paint in my hair, still, two days later. I've washed my hair three times and it's still there. I've decided to just own it. Like I did it on purpose.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Three Day Vacation at Home

Have you ever noticed that a three day weekend is sometimes better than a whole week's vacation? Maybe it's just me. But either way, it is, and it was.

We went to the farmer's market. Matt smoked ribs. Jane watered plants on the patio. She also picked and smelled at least 40 basil leaves. Whatever floats your boat, girl.

There were fresh flowers on the table. The house smelled like laundry. I rearranged plates on the wall. Matt took a nap. The dining room went from powder blue to alabaster white (more on that later). I drank a decaf vanilla latte and ate a cheese danish on Monday morning, in my pajamas, watching Good Morning America. That's just straight luxury.

Jane drew her first legible drawing, a "wainbow." She was so proud.

I found a thrift painting and added it the wall in the living room.

Mabel stayed at command central (on a quilt, on the couch, with a full view of the front window in case ninjas or pirates decided to invade).

This was my three day weekend.

I'd like a repeat, please.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I Will Not Be A Hoarder, I Will Not Be A Hoarder...

I'm selling an Anthropologie tablecloth and a set of vintage turquoise kitchen canisters over here if anyone is interested! If not, that's cool too. I completely understand if you don't want to be a hoarder either.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summery Fog

This summer is a fog. It's gone so fast. The autumnal solstice is less than two months away. Somebody pinch me. No really, pinch me, because I love fall so much.

But I'm loving this summer too. It's our first summer in this house, and with every season we discover something new and different. The Rose of Sharon bushes behind the patio, for instance. They've been blooming for weeks. I've never seen these flowers before, but they're just magical.

Here are some of my favorite things this summer.

1. The BBC show Sherlock. Past seasons are on Netflix and it is really good.

2. Watching Jane eat biscuits with jelly. Beyond cute.

3. Hard boiled eggs.

4. Rain. Glorious thunder and rain.

5. Watching Sherlock while its raining. That's redundant, but it bears mentioning.

6. Stephen King. I haven't read his books since I was in my early 20's and I'd forgotten how fantastic he is.

7. The Conjuring. JUST KIDDING. Ya'll know I'm not going to see that. As I told Matt, "I can freak myself out all on my own, I don't need help." No Paxil jokes, please.

8. Cleaning the kitchen with candles on the window sill and Pandora on my phone.

9. Curly hair. I haven't straightened my hair in over a month.

10. Maxi dresses. Not because I think they're particularly flattering, but I don't have to shave my legs for days. In the middle of July. That's a true miracle.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fatty Fatty Two By Four

 That's the rhyme my sisters and I used to sing to each other as we dished up a second gigantic helping of ice cream for ourselves. We were kidding of course, none of us even knew what BMI was at the time, but the rhyme was crude and funny and we thought it was fitting.

And no I won't type out the rhyme here. Google it yourself and then don't be mad. I told you so.

But it's always what springs to mind when I can't button a pair of pants, or God forbid, wear a pair of last year's panty hose (somehow that smarts even worse).

"Fatty fatty two by four..."

I'll never forget the day (over twelve years ago now) when I was at a friend's house. She had a little girl, no older than three, and the little girl was adorable. She was running around the house showing me her Halloween costume (there were butterfly wings involved), and then she stopped, pinched her little chicken bone leg and said, "I'm fat."

Her mom was coincidentally on a very visible, loud, and complain-worthy diet at the time. The week before she'd tried on bathing suits with me, her daughter in tow, and stood in the three way mirror, appalled.

"When did I get so fat? I've got to lose some weight."

In fact, I'd said similar things about myself as I tried on two pieces. We said all of these things within earshot of that tiny three year old, who still wore butterfly wings for fun, and who was digesting every word we said.

I've heard similar things in the years since. Small girls. Tiny girls. Young girls. All pinching at skin and saying, "I'm fat."

I made a vow when I found out I was having a daughter that I would never say "I'm fat" in front of her. I would not talk about my weight. I wouldn't bemoan, or pinch my leg fat, or obsess visibly over the cellulite on the back of my legs. OK fine. There's cellulite on the fronts of my legs too but let's not open up THAT wound.

But up until my pregnancy I'd never known what real weight problems were. I'd never really had a good reason to diet, or obsess, or complain.

Six months ago I stepped on the scale and nearly passed out.

It was more than I'd ever weighed in my entire life.

It was more than I'd ever imagined weighing in my entire life.

So I started making changes.

Matt and I changed the way we eat.

I started exercising for an hour, five days a week.

So far I've lost almost 20 pounds.

It's coming off slowly, but surely. I feel better than I have in months.

But none of that is really the point of this post. The point is, I did it all without discussing it. I didn't talk about what I weighed every week. I didn't count my calories out loud at the dinner table. I didn't  do any of that because I have a very verbal two year old daughter. I didn't talk about it because I never want her to pinch her little baby leg and say those dreaded words.

"I'm fat."

Yesterday I went to the gym on my lunch break. I put in my headphones, grabbed my 2.5 pound arm weights, and started walking. Yes. I'm that woman. I'm the woman who power walks with arm weights. There was a cheer leading competition going on in the gym floor below (I walk in a second story indoor track). A group of cheerleaders walked ahead of me on the track, checking out the lay of the land. They were tiny, and bouncy, and had big ribbons in their pony tails.

And yes, I totally mentally made fun of their ribbons but that is neither here or there.

They looked back at me, and turned to each other and giggled. Then they started pretend power walking.

Now, pre-Paxil I might have hurled one of my 2.5 pound arm weights at their heads. Let's face it. They might be young and skinny, but they are no match for a 30-something woman's premenstrual rage.

But luckily, I'm post-Paxil. So I smirked and kept power walking, just to spite them.

They eventually exited by the elevator, and just before they walked (bounced) out of sight, I heard one of them say, "But seriously you guys. I probably need to start working out more. I'm getting fat."

"Fatty fatty two by four..."

It's the rhyme, or a version of the rhyme, that we tell ourselves from a very young age.

I know Jane will probably do the same.

But I take comfort in the fact that I won't teach it to her.

I hope she sees me healthy.

I hope she sees me eating the right foods.

I hope she sees me leading by example.

Because I never want her to hear me utter the words, "I'm fat..."

Monday, July 22, 2013

Normal Liz

*Side note: I pulled the old wiring out of these sconces and put in some electric candles. Yes, I realize this lends a certain "cheesy Italian restaurant" vibe to the dining room, but trust me, it's fun at nighttime. 

Four months ago I stopped taking my antidepressant. If you're new to the blog, I was on it because of postpartum depression. After two years my doctor gave me the green light to wean off. So I did (slowly, because doing it cold turkey is insanity at its most basic level). I was drug free.


In the past few non-antidepressant months I've felt myself wind up like a clock.

I was totally fine for a while. Then came the insomnia. I had several major freak outs over insignificant things like dirty dishes and an excess of Matt's socks tucked into the couch cushions. Day to day normal tasks suddenly seemed insurmountable. I started to have obsessive worrying thoughts that I couldn't control. Then one day I almost had a panic attack.

I went to my doctor in tears.

Why was I feeling this way? What was happening to me?

She asked me one simple question.

"When you started taking your antidepressant, did you notice any change in your personality other than not being depressed anymore?"

I thought long and hard and realized that I had. I was a far less stressed out person. I was at ease with my life. I was at ease with chaos, and deadlines, and things that normally would have put me over the edge.

I told her this and she asked, "Were you a high strung, stressed out person before you had a baby?"

And since it's just not smart to say "WELL DUH" to your physician, I didn't. I just nodded my head.

Then I went to my therapist.

Long story short, I have an anxiety disorder with a smidgen of OCD. Being on an antidepressant (that coincidentally doubles as anxiety treatment) showed me what normal really is. It also showed me what abnormal really is. I've lived an abnormal, stressed out existence for most of my adult life, but I didn't know there was any other way to be.

But I do now. And abnormal is just not acceptable to me anymore. I don't want to white-knuckle my life. I want to enjoy my days on this earth, even the crappy ones where I wake up late or I burn breakfast or Jane is in a bad mood or Mabel bites my finger.

So I'm taking my own advice.

I'm listening to the lessons I've preached to other people.

 I'm back on medication.

I probably always will be.

For a few days this felt like defeat to me. It felt like I was admitting, "I'm not strong enough to handle my own life." But that's not true. I can't change the chemistry in my brain any more than a diabetic can change their own insulin levels.

It really is just as simple as that.

In my journey to mental health I've found two things to be true.

1. You either deal with your own mental health...

2. Or you don't and make everyone around you deal with it instead.

It's not Matt's responsibility. It's certainly not Jane's. It's mine. So that's where I'm at, and this is what I'm doing. I've been back on medication for over three weeks and the difference is staggering. No, I don't feel drugged. No, antidepressants don't "make you happy." If they're working correctly, they just make you feel normal. And I feel blessedly normal. No uncontrollable fit throwing. No panic attacks. No general feeling of dissatisfaction and gloominess. I just feel normal. Just call me Normal Liz.

It's a gift from God.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thoughts on World War Z and Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse With a Toddler

*Warning: spoilers ahead. Also irrefutable proof that something's wrong with me and I spend my time thinking about ridiculous things. Also, extra irrefutable proof that Matt has really earned the title "Poor Matt" because he lives with me and puts up with stuff like this in everyday conversation.

Last week I went to see World War Z with my sister. It's no secret that zombies scare the absolute dickens out of me. Yes, I know they're not real. No, that doesn't help. They're still the scariest thing I can think of.

I always watch these kinds of movies while running an ongoing escape plan in the back of my head.

"I would never run around in the streets with zombies. I would take cover. That's how I would survive."

"I would never stop my car when there are zombies, I would run everyone over. That's how I would survive."

"I would head for the hills where my parents live because it's a low population, plus rednecks with guns are handy. That's how I would survive."

But as I watched Brad Pitt fight for survival with a wife and two kids, I was hit with a startling realization.

I have a child now.

I would totally not survive the zombie apocalypse.

The only reason Brad saves his family is because he's some retired big wig with the United Nations and they send a FREAKING HELICOPTER to rescue him. Let's get real. None of us have that kind of pull. Heck, I can't even get the garbage men to stop throwing our bins over sideways in the yard. I have no pull. I have no helicopters. All I have is a small can of dog mace and let's face it, that's not going to make a zombie so much as pause before biting me. 

I think that's why World War Z stressed me out so badly. It wasn't the zombies, necessarily, it was the thought of running through the streets in a panic, trying to survive with a toddler in tow. Can you imagine?

"Shhhh... Jane be very quiet. They'll hear us."


"No, shhhhh. Don't talk. The zombies will hear us."


Jane also doesn't cotton well to running, or screaming. Yesterday she and I were sitting on the stairwell while I took off her shoes, and a spider ran across my leg. I jumped up, with her, and started screaming and trying to kill said spider with one of her tiny shoes. 

Instead of running away , she got all up in the middle of my chaos, patted me and said, "MOMMY, IT'S OK. BE NICE."

And that's how things would end for us.

She would no doubt tell zombies it was OK, and to be nice.

It would so happen. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

It's Always About the Mother

Yesterday a  man kidnapped his mother and led police on a high speed chase, which ended in a neighborhood not far from here. I'm assuming there was mental instability at play, or drug issues, but the thought that sprung to mind when I read about it was, "Why is it always the mother?"

Whether it's wearing them as a hat, or blaming them, or going all Norman Bates taxedermy-rocking-chair-I-love-you-forever-mommy... it's always about the mother.

In our house, thanks to my darling toddler, it's all about me. In the past this would have seemed like heaven.  I won't lie, I like the spotlight. But now the spotlight is hot. It makes me sweat and chew my fingernails. It's all about me. I got my wish.

It's all about me when I go to the bathroom and she lies outside on the floor, one intense eye peering under the door while she wails, "Mommmmeeeeee."

It's all about me at 2 in the morning when she wakes up without covers and screams, "Mommmeeee."

It's all about me when I get ready in the morning and Jane rips the mascara tube out of my hands mid brush stroke and stripes underneath my eye with an ink black line, but I somehow don't notice it until I get to work and a coworker mentions it, and it looks like I'm poking fun at Native American face painting, or worse, trying to be a football player.

When her food is too hot.

When she falls down and stubs her toe.

When she needs someone to make her dolls stand up and talk to each other.

When she wants someone to drink the imaginary tea she made.

When she needs to jump out and yell "boo."

When she wants to pet Mabel, and Mabel won't let her, and they chase each other around the living room, disgruntled, mad, hurt feelings on both sides...

It's all about me.

It's always about the mother.

Last night I was worn out, so Matt took over the bedtime routine. He brushed her teeth, combed her hair, read to her, and settled her in bed with her favorite pillows and bunny rabbit. An hour later, she was screaming.

"WHY IS IT ALWAYS ME!" I complained, standing up, ready to go soothe and rock and console.

And then I realized she wasn't yelling my name at all.


Matt sprung to his feet and raced down the hall. Seriously. You've never seen a big man move so fast.

I love my child. I'm glad she's attached to me.But hearing her call his name was music to both our ears. For once, it wasn't all about the mother. It was all about the daddy.