Me - with new hair. By the way - this wig HURTS to wear. It fits better than the other one, but gives me a flipping headache. Won't be wearing it all the time is all I am sayin'

I guess Todd took this last night with my phone when Roark and I fell asleep. I found it on there this morning. Cute.


Hair No More

I wear a lot of hats now. I have a wig too - but I am having trouble getting used to it. It seems so...bushy. I prefer the bald head I think. The only reason for the wigs is to avoid staring strangers and business meeting freak-outs. My husband thinks formal presentations require hair. At least he thinks it will make people less uncomfortable. I suppose he has a point...however I tend to think "screw all people" so it is hard for me to cave to that. Regardless I have decided to wear 'hair' for meetings. Am weak and self conscious. I am also drawing eyebrows on my face. So stupid...so very stupid.

The boys are great:

Todd is great (and my wig looks better on him than me:

And the girls will be home for Christmas soon:



I was diagnosed with SLE Lupus a while back. It was a suspected diagnosis for years, although anyone with Lupus will tell you that an official diagnosis takes a long time to get. I have no idea why... I think it has to do with sunspots or alien life on earth. Just my guess...

I have been on high doses of prednisone along with a cocktail of other drugs for the past 4 months to combat all of the havoc SLE throws at my body. The goal has always been to reduce the prednisone or stop it completely, letting the other drugs control things. However that wasn't happening with me, and apparently long term prednisone at those doses is not very easy on the body. So the recommendation was to begin chemo - medium dosage, long term. Many different drugs were discussed, however my doctor decided to start with Methotrexate. I will be taking it weekly - forever, or until we find something better / with less side effects, that works for me.

I am thankful that there are options for treatment, unlike 50 years ago - however I am not thrilled with THIS treatment option. I started taking it during the week (Tuesday) and quickly learned that weekday dosing is not a good option for me. I spend at least a day or two sick, sick, sick, followed by a day or two of being so tired I cannot get enough sleep. This is followed by a day or two of normalcy - and then, back to chemo again. I did the second round of chemo on Friday, and felt ok all evening. Saturday was a mess. Sunday was better. Monday and Tuesday were DRAINING. Today I feel human again. This Friday I have to take it again. I hope this gets easier. The doctor added compazine for this round - which is supposed to help with the nausea. Although, initial research lists nausea and vomiting as a side effect of compazine - I have my doubts about its usefulness.

I am very lucky that what I have is treatable, that I am not facing a death sentence. I am glad that there are medicines available to treat SLE, and that I was able to get a diagnosis before my body was worn out and unable to recover. I am thankful for good doctors that know how to treat this disease, and I am so so grateful for my family and friends for being supportive while I whine and complain about the insignificant things going on with me. I promise to keep the whining down to a soft drone.

So - what does this mean in terms of me, what I do, how I live, etc? Apparently it doesn't really affect it much. I am still working full time, I am slacking at home, but luckily Todd is tolerant of my lack of energy and has been picking up the slack. I don't think I can take advantage of that forever though. I drink a little (although the medication doesn't really support that), and am starting to run again, although exercise has been difficult the past few weeks. I feel flabby and need to at least pick yoga back up again to have some sense of well being. I would ideally like to continue running and maybe get back into swimming - but finding the time is HARD. We are trying to eat well and keep life low maintenance, which is perfect for me. My biggest worry is work...how to spend the time needed on it to be successful without sacrificing my health and sanity. But - this is an issue we ALL face, isn't it?


The Locker Room

I work with a group of frat house boys. Not literally, but certainly figuratively. Every conversation is speckled with expletives and raunchy stories of days gone by. There is an abundance of booze and drunkenness and unbelievably uncomfortable conversations in the evenings. There seem to be no boundaries when they are together. But, it is different for me. I am criticized for either being too engaged, or not engaged enough. It is perplexing.

I spent a few days out of town recently at a team meeting, and ended up sick, as happens when you have no immune system. I didn’t want to go out and play the last two nights and was criticized immensely for it. “Be a team player” “Your co-workers feel like you are distant” “The team dinners and off-time are critical to forge a bond that is needed in this job” and yet told “Be careful what you say” “Don’t get too personal with your co-workers” “keep your distance”. I don’t know what to do with this advice except laugh and call it a double standard, and little bit of bullshit.

This company is male abundant. Most technology companies are. This isn’t surprising. What is surprising is that this is one of the few times I feel a different set of rules apply because I am a woman and not a man. It makes me feel vulnerable and lacking control – something I have tried very much to avoid in my career.

Admittedly I do not currently have much of a filter when it comes to sharing. I tend to just be me. It is uncomfortable for some people, and I suppose I “get” that. But I do understand politics and business how to behave around customers.

What escapes me is a solution. I can get very good at what I do so that the other stuff doesn’t matter, grow some tougher skin, keep my mouth shut, or move on. Money is such a little whore though – and I really like having it so moving on isn’t all that appealing. That makes other fun options less intriguing (like becoming a writer or construction worker).


Sleepless Nights

I lie awake in bed, waiting for the cellophane haze of the Ambien to surround me. I notice that I am always tense; my shoulders, back, neck, hands. My attempts to relax are useless, as if my mind and body have no real connection. I remember a period of time when my brother and I were much, much younger and he was faced with sleeping issues. He would try tensing every muscle and then relaxing them each one by one, trying to teach his body to relax. I have tried this. I have tried meditation. I have tried baths, candlelight, exercise, chamomile tea, reading, television, sticking to a schedule, complete silence and darkness, wine, Benadryl, Trazadone, Tylenol PM, Unisom, ditching all caffeine. And yet, sleep eludes me.

The rare times I am able to fall asleep unaided by medical intervention, I am awake after only a few hours as if I have been asleep all night. This of course leads to three o’clock death march later that afternoon. I am constantly thinking about how to get more sleep. I Google insomnia and read about how it is all psychological, all the while wishing my head were screwed on right. The same advice is everywhere – follow a schedule, get up if you cannot sleep, try not to worry about things before bed, keep a journal, do not drink alcohol or caffeine, get exercise and eat well, stop worrying about not sleeping because it won’t kill you – unless it does.


Because I Told My Therapist I Would Write More...

I wish I knew then what I know now – knew the things I would encounter, the emotions I wouldn’t understand, the advice I would CRAVE. I wish I had queued up a million questions for my mother and forbade her to die until she answered every single last one of them. I wish I had listened to the stories of what I said when I was three, five, eight. I don’t remember those things…the ones that seemed insignificant to me – I was trying so desperately to grow up, not to relish each painful, demoralizing moment.

I see the other side of the coin now. My kids will ask a question, display a behavior, act out in some way, and it makes me pause. I wonder what that means in the grand scheme of their character. I wonder if it is learned, experimental, natural… Did I do that? Was I like that? Were my brother and I like that? How did our mom LET US LIVE PAST 5?

In the car today, after picking up the boys, we were inundated with non-stop noise from both Roark and Cole. They were not saying anything – just trying to get a moment’s notice – some validation that we missed them, cared about them, cared about one of them more than the other one…something. And they clearly were not getting what they wanted. It escalated quickly, causing me to go crazy for 5 minutes of silence which was never to be experienced. It was almost as if they were feeding off of the frenzy of mind-madness I had brought home from work with me. They saw a weakness and went for it. The torture implement was their non-stop noise and poking at each other. All through dinner, all through errands, all the way to an hour early bedtime because I may have killed them if they were awake for one more minute.

I sit here now thinking about what happened… about the testing and trying that the boys put us through and I wonder where I will ever get a leg up. At what point do they decide it isn’t fun to mess with parents anymore? At this point, it is 9:30pm and I am just diving back into hours of work, and by now, I have no patience to think clearly through anything. I just want to veg, go to sleep and not dread tomorrow.


They Just Don't Care

I find myself annoyed with the boys more than I think I should be. They fight, they test me, they complain constantly, they know no other volume than AS LOUD AS THEY CAN TALK/YELL. I don't know if it is that they are five, that there are two of them, that they are boys, a combination of those, or if it's me. God, don't let it be me...

Spend an hour in my home and you will definitely hear one (or all) of the following):
  • Take that back in the kitchen
  • Cole, CUT THAT OUT
  • Roark, we don't use bathroom words when talking about people
  • Quit kicking your brother
  • Don't tell me NO!
  • Go to your room.
  • I will NOT ask you again.
  • Use your inside voice please.
  • If you don't use your inside voice, I will put you outside.
  • No - You cannot go outside.
  • Dude, stop yelling. I am right here.
  • What did you JUST SAY????
  • Leave that alone.
  • Put that back.
  • That is not yours.
  • Go to the bathroom before you wet yourself. Good grief!
I have a sticker system (bribery) that I use when they are respectful and kind all day. They are not getting very many stickers lately. They also don't appear to care. I am beginning to think that five year old boys have a type of dementia that renders them unable to associate behavior with punishment/rewards. They also seem unable to remember ANYTHING I tell them for any length of time. Or...they just don't give a damn. How do I make them give a damn?



5 year olds argue a lot. With each other. With their parents - namely me. Yesterday Cole actually told us that he thinks we don't know anything and his friend Caden in Kindergarten knows EVERYTHING. I didn't remember these things starting so young. I remember thinking my mother knew nothing...but I really thought that started later. With the girls, they hit that mark around 11 and never really grew out of it.

I have also found that school has an additional, yet related "benefit" - the boys will believe ANYTHING their friends tell them. "Montana said his dad stabbed his mom", "Caden said he pulled out someone's eyeballs". They all have a morbid, ridiculous theme, and I kind of hate public school now. Also other kids. Sometimes even mine.


Heavy Drinking

Question posed during a routine health questionnaire: How many drinks per week on the average do you consume?

Outcome: You may have an problem with alcohol. More than 1 drink a day on average could indicate alcoholism.

Thoughts: What happened to one glass of wine a night is a good thing? ONE MORE drink than that and you are an alcoholic?

Todd found an article on CNN.com that supported heavy drinkers - apparently stating that they are healthier than light drinkers. I don't know the context, but the overall I believe his point was that we can find a study to support any lifestyle people want.


Lucky to Have

Depression and anxiety is a funny thing. Not as in "haha" - more like "wow, so everyone doesn't feel like this?"

I have had a lot of life changes lately. SLE / Lupus diagnosis. Mother in law with Alzheimer's LIVING WITH US. Me taking care of mother in law. A new job. A lot of travel. All of this led to some decisions that I regret and behavior I was not very proud of. I don't blame depression, yet it made it hard to come out of all of this unscathed.

I am a social misfit. I don't mind putting on a "work" personality when needed, however it is more of a protective coating, to keep me from harm. I don't like to get close to people, and as a result, I do not have many close friends. I have some - and I love all of you dearly. However I am so very careful to share intimate details of my life for fear of being judged. On the other hand, I will listen to your life stories and hold them near to my heart. I am a great listener...it is sharing that I find difficult.

The previous conversation took place with my therapist. Todd and I began seeing a marriage counselor and I am also seeing him individually. Apparently I have a lot things to talk about... he wants to see me weekly. This is good and bad. Good because I think it is healing. Bad because it takes me to a very uncomfortable place and turns my anxiety up to 12.

About 2 weeks ago I hit what I imagine is rock bottom. I took a handful of pills and hoped to never wake up. I totally failed, because it only resulted in a good night's sleep...however I knew that I need help. I had felt like that before, yet had managed to pull out of it - had somehow been able to find my way out of the abyss. Not this time.

You see - I am a very successful, self-sufficient person. I can take care of my children. I took care of my mother when she was sick. I took care of myself when I was a kid and my mom worked all the time. I don't need help. EVER. This dark depression...this hole in my soul - it was hard to deal with and even harder to admit I couldn't handle on my own. It made me feel weak.

I started on Lexapro and Xanax - in fairly high doses. I have moved to Zoloft and Xanax and think I am starting to climb out of the fog, the confusion, the lack of will to just exist. And while I hate the medication, I feel more protected. I feel more equipped to deal with the curves life is throwing at me.

My husband and my friends have been wonderful - and I couldn't thank any of you enough. Just know that I am ok. I am getting better. I will learn to be more open. And I will learn to love this life I am so lucky to have.


What it feels like

"So tell me what depression feels like, how do you know you are not just sad?"

"I feel lonely, and sad...but there is more. I feel like I am all alone, in this deep dark hole, and there is no way out. There is no way out and I don't want to be here. I don't want to be anywhere. And when I feel like that...I don't want to be alive."


5 Year Olds

The boys turned 5 last week...two weeks ago...I don't even remember anymore. Let's just say a while ago. And those first two sentences are exactly what is wrong with me these days. I am ridiculously busy and losing my damn mind.

I have a new job, which I love. I am learning a lot of new things, and applying a lot of things I already know quite easily. I am traveling and commuting and telecommuting. I am single-parenting and sharing the travel times. I am dual parenting and trying to find time with my family. I am struggling with the boys and trying to find free moments to spend with the girls.

I am reaching out to old friends and working on making new ones.

I am working out and eating well. I am also drinking more than I should, but loving it in a sad, needful way.

I love this time in my life, and yet...and yet...it is kicking my ass.


Continual Brain Damage

I have embarked on a new fitness fiasco: Strength and Muscle Training. I am not sure who to blame, perhaps my damaged brain. I want muscles. And not tiny little girl muscles - but hardcore (smallish) back, arm, calf, ab muscles. I don't want to look like a skinny, no-muscle, girl. And so I have adopted The 4 Day Power Muscle Burn Workout Split. If for no other reason than the kick-ass name. Seriously - who doesn't look good doing something titled The 4 Day Power Muscle Burn Workout Split? That's what I thought!

4 days a week you hit about 2 muscle groups. I am going to mix in some running and possibly swimming or biking as well, keeping cardio in the mix. The swimming and biking cause some knee dislocation these days, so we will see how that goes. I really have no desire to keep dislocating my knee after all.

Yesterday was running. Today was Chest and Biceps. Tomorrow is Quads and Hamstrings. Thursday brings another run followed by Shoulders and Triceps on Friday. Saturday is supposed to be Back, Calves and Abs, although I am not sure I can manage that because we have a hell of a busy weekend. Sunday is another run. I may have to double up on Sunday or scrap the weekend altogether.

I think the big push is the fact that I head back to work on the 24th of May and I really want to start a routine I can stick to moving forward. I need to see if there is a participating health club near the office so that I can work out at lunch or in the morning - otherwise it is going to be difficult to get these workouts in. I would have to resort to working out after the boys go to bed, and honestly - I don't know that the gym is opened that late. If only we had weights at the house...

So - the brain damage continues...

Brain Damage

I have sort of turned into a running fool. People who know me would argue that I am already a fool. I don't listen to those people anymore.

I started running 2-3 miles one or two days a week and it was not very motivating. I extended it to 4 miles and realized that it wasn't any more difficult than the shorter runs. Apparently the first few miles are horrible no matter how far I am going. My knee held up, so I increased mileage. I have run a few long runs, and seem to really love the 6-8 mile range. It is difficult enough to make me feel good about what I am doing, yet not so long that I am hurting too much the next day.

Then there is the knee. My left knee is a rebel. I need to get it fixed (or removed for bad behavior...whatever) yet I don't want to deal with that right now. So I continue to abuse it and hope they can repair the damage when I give in and go back to the doctor. For now, I find it quite useful to medicate before and after a run with copious amounts of advil and the occasional vicodin - the latter only after a run and typically at night to sleep after a long run. I feel 80 years old on the days that it hurts, and yet I keep running.

I think I have brain damage.

I have been looking into half marathons and marathons again. I have run a few in the past and I cannot quiet the voice that wants to do it again.

See? Brain damage.

I have my eye on a marathon this December in Dallas.


Tents and Time

The little Vegas vacation didn't happen. The whole losing-the-job activity sort of put a damper on many plans. Instead - we went camping for a night. Mother in law has not exactly been anything close to self-sufficient so it was pretty much all we could manage without putting her in respite care, which is quite expensive.

We chose a primitive camping area that required a fairly good hike out, leaving civilization behind. It seemed like a good idea at the time. However we failed to check the weather report and ended up in a tornado. That was an experience I do not soon want to relive. I would be fairly happy never having lived it the first time around.

It was nice to spend time alone - no kids, no mother in law (yet another kid really), no pets, no work, no computer, no cell phone. Just us, wine and conversation and it was wonderful (all the way up to the part where the wind split a tree, it fell on the tent, and broke the tent poles - resulting in a flood in our beds).

I really think conversation is one of the first things to go in marriage when there is an abundance of things going on all around. Soccer and baseball and bills and baseball and work and school and a million other things flying around making it hard to dedicate time to working on a relationship. And the funny thing is that you don't always realize it until you have time to spend together and suddenly WHAM! It hits you right smack in the face - you have not really completed a full sentence without being interrupted by a 4 year old in MONTHS. How does that slip by without being noticed?

Parenting is work. So is marriage. Both are totally worth the work mind you. But damn, are they work. Even when they are great, they take care and commitment and sometimes it is hard to find time to feed that part of our lives...don't you think?


How it feels

I have been emotional lately. Almost like a real girl. It is like PMS 24x7...I think. I don't really ever get PMS. Please stop giving me the evil eye - it isn't my fault. However lately, since "the job incident", I have been just on the edge of, oh - I don't know... losing my shit? I am touchy. I am on edge. I am ever-so-slightly-unstable way down at the inner core of my being. I don't even know that anyone else notices it - but I do. I don't feel the same cocky confidence that I seem to achieve so easily. My "work personality" is a bit shattered and I am left with the insecure INTJ type of person that I am inside, just oozing out of my seams. And you know what? I am not fond of this situation.

I feel for all of the people out of jobs in the country, in the world. I hope I have been helpful when people have needed me, because there are some very gracious, wonderful people helping me, and if it were not for them, I would lose my patience, and possibly my mind. Dan, Susan, Dennis, Mike, Davey, Laurie, Terry, Bebe, Rey, Roseanne, Janna, Kate, Erin, Dennis, Marietta, Chris, Aine, Pam, Jason and Lauren - and those I have forgotten - thank you, all of you for being my friend and just being there. It means a lot.

However...it only does so much, and I have to admit I didn't understand what people were going through in the past when they were let go (when I LET THEM GO... OH GOD), when they were without jobs. It is so taxing, and your ego takes a hit. Mine did anyway. I am a strong, successful business person. I make (made) an insane amount of money. I really thought I was invincible, and well, look at this - not so true. Now, just like all of those other people I have known, I have to get up, find a job, and heal myself.


We register the boys for Kindergarten tomorrow.

I have been looking at that first line for about 30 minutes now in utter horror. My last two children are starting kindergarten, and it is truly blowing my mind. I can remember Cassie and Brittany both entering school like it was yesterday. It feels like the boys were born merely a year or two ago. How do the months fly by so fast? Where do the years go?

I don't write here much anymore. I think there are several reasons - the main one being time. I had been buried in a new job for the past 6 months and have tried to spend as much time on it as I could. I have also been trying to spend more time with Todd and the boys. On some level, I must realize where the time goes and I want to savor the time and not miss so much. And of course, Facebook is much easier to update than having to plan what to write and then be able to articulate in a fashion that doesn't make me sound like an uneducated sloth. On Facebook - one-liners are fine. Sloth writing abounds.

I would like to write about the loss of above mentioned job, however I am not ready to go there yet. So for now I will simply try to write - maybe just a few slothful sentences every day. Perhaps I will begin to share more...perhaps not.



At first you don't even notice anything is different. Things float along like they always have with an occasional hiccup, which you dismiss as a normal annoying occurrence of life. After all, things go wonky for all of us every now and then, right?

Then the annoying occurrences seem to increase, or they annoy you more - you are not sure which. You begin blaming yourself. You feel like your expectations are too high. Perhaps you are stressed out. Maybe things have always been like this and only now they are starting to bother you.

You finally accept that the person has a problem. They are forgetting things, making bad decisions, taking longer to do absolutely everything. While you suspect Alzheimer's, you keep telling yourself you are over-reacting.

Eventually you get the official diagnosis - Alzheimer's it is. And at that point things seem to take a dramatic turn for the worse. Their behavior gets markedly worse. They forget the strangest things (where they live, how to get to the store, where the pharmacy is). You spend every moment they are gone wondering if they will make it back. You spend hours looking for them, guiding them back home. You all try not to mention the actual word, yet you all know what is happening.

We are now in stage...Next. The diagnosis is in. We understand what we are dealing with. We have taken away her car. We help her get dressed, make sure she eats, buy everything for her, give her all medication, make sure her dog gets fed. We have to give her 2 hours to get ready to go pretty much anywhere, and assume we will be late anyway. It is still manageable...but we are approaching the end of being able to do this ourselves.

I try to be positive. I assure her that I enjoy helping her, that I want to make things easier for her. And while that is very true, because I love her dearly, part of me is fighting this new stage. I don't want to take care of a parent. I don't want to be caregiver to yet another person. I don't want everything to be put on hold while we deal with this latest crisis. I know it is selfish, and I try to push those thoughts out of my head...yet there they are.


So you hate your customers?

So your customer is driving you crazy. They keep changing their mind, demanding quick responses, asking for the impossible. "It is difficult to do business with them" you say. Well, how easy is it to do business without them? Do you know why the phrase The Customer is Always Right exists? It is really quite simple. If you don't have customers - you don't have a business. Are they always right? No, but their opinion certainly does matter. In fact, their opinion is EVERYTHING.

I don't care how smart you are, how organized your business is, how much market research you have conducted. If you have upset customers, and you are not doing anything to alleviate their concerns, they are going to leave. As a consumer, I know that if I do not like a particular business or product, that I have other options. And believe me - I am not afraid to exercise that right: the right to spend my money somewhere else.

I think most of us in business are familiar with this scenario: The customer is asking for something we don't offer, or is unhappy with the features of an existing offering or product. And we know that what they want either isn't what they need, or isn't in line with our current business plans. There are a few ways this can go. Either you convince your customer that they actually need something different than what they asked for via the "I am the expert and I know what you need, so shut up and listen to me" method, or they convince you that they need what they need and that is all they are paying you to do.

So what really should be happening here? Unless you are being hired as a neutral third party, to give your opinion on a particular subject, think long and hard about how you are going to message "you don't need what you think you need". There is a right way and a wrong way. And for the record, most ways you can think of are wrong.

The key in business is to have a product people need, message it affectively, and treat your customer's well. If you have what people need, and they can understand what you have - then you will begin collecting customer's. If you treat them well and listen to them, they will stay. If you cease listening to their requests, their perceived needs and their concerns? They will take their money somewhere else.



We have booked a little weekend vacation to Vegas - and I am as excited as a 12 year old boy with his father's playboy! I need a weekend away from the kids and responsibilities of normal life - and there is nowhere on earth that oozes irresponsibility like Vegas baby. Vegas.


Can you just imagine?

We have a word game I am sure I have written about before that we play at our house. More specifically that the boys like to play. I don't know how it started, however we end up listening to this on every car ride now:

Cole: Can you imagine if there were 400 of me?

Me: No.

Cole: Could you just imagine if there were a thousand of me?

Me: We would need more lunch boxes. And a bigger car.

Roark: Could you just imagine if there were 5 of me?

Me: We would need a bigger car.

Cole: Could you just imagine if there were... Is 1,000,000 bigger than 100?

Me: Yes.

Cole: Could you just imagine if there was 1,000,000 of me?

Me: We would totally need a bigger house. And a lot more jackets.

Roark: Can you imagine if there were 1 of me.

Me: Yes. And it is exhausting.


Proof that Snow Causes Brain Damage

My husband just came inside after walking the dog. I asked how it was out there. His response: Nice. I mean it's not that cold. It is something like 33 degrees.

Hello! We live in Texas. 33 degrees is effing FREEZING here.

All Hail the Purple License Plate!

I recently finished dealing with two speeding tickets that I received inside a two week period late last year. One resulting in defensive driving and a hefty fine. The other resulted in legal fees, a hefty fine, and a promise to behave for 60 days. The common denominator here was HEFTY FINES. And while I don't like parting with my hard-earned money, I have come to accept that I will be doing so, at least periodically, while I am continuing to drive. And because of this, I would like to make a plea to the government...

Let me buy a purple license plate every year. I will display it for all to see. I will pay a HEFTY FINE for said license plate UP FRONT. And in return? I want to be permitted to drive up to 25 miles an hour OVER the posted speed limit (barring school and work zones of course). You will be getting your fine up front, and I will be permitted to drive faster, because I like to. Apparently you are not really concerned about safety (YOU, being the government) because I can receive such penalties as deferred adjudication, where I simply pay you more money and am left alone.

By permitting such a thing, I am saved the hassle of dealing with the tickets (court, paperwork, etc) and the government is saved similar hassles. And? They still get money.

I think it is a fine solution. Please sign me up.


Multimedia message

Car broken. 22 degrees out.