On Finding a Good Chair

September 4, 2018

Most days, I don’t think about it. I just plop down in whatever chair is closest, just sit down and resign myself to whatever level of comfort a chair gives me.

When quietly left to my own devices though, I am extremely picky about sitting spaces. I use one of the cushions provided at church, against the hard pews, even though I know they’re meant for elderly folks, hoping nobody else notices. If I don’t, there’s an uncomfortable gap between my back and the pew.

It’s been this way since I was 13 years old, when the curvature of my back was so bad that my spine was going to crush my heart. As a result, my spine is fused from my shoulder blades all the way down, fused to my hip bones. There is no give, no molding myself to the fit of a chair. I have feeling in the muscles in my back but my back behaves as though it is solid bone, because at this point it is just that. And there is certainly no forgiving chairs that don’t have lumbar support.

Which brings me to the chair in the photo above. It’s new to us, but not new to my family. It originally belonged to my grandmother’s first cousin Minnie, I would guess over a hundred years ago now. Yesterday, it found a spot in our family room.

This chair is Heaven-sent for me. Hands down, it is wonderful. It has become “Mom’s chair,” for sure, for when we are all crowded around the TV. Or like right now, when I am by myself at home and just sitting, with my laptop in my lap. To now, I’ve made do with the recliners in the room, or with a cushion behind me on the couch. This chair needs nothing. It is perfect as it is.

So grateful to my Mama, who gave it to us yesterday. I wanted the chair based on how pretty it is. But it will never leave our house in my lifetime based on how comfortable it is.

Depression: What Helps

August 21, 2018

As I have said in multiple spaces including here, I am depressed at the moment. There are several things keeping me afloat during this time and I am thankful for each one:

  • A wonderful partner is integral to my being able to take care of myself. When I get like this, I am not the most attentive parent and Jared is fantastic to pick up the slack, particularly with early mornings and getting the kids ready for school when I am feeling draggy.
  • A good relationship with my psychiatrist is of utmost importance. I am so grateful that I have a good working relationship with my current psychiatrist and I feel comfortable speaking up when things don’t feel quite right.
  • I am not regularly on an antidepressant (though I have been prescribed one now). I am thankful for the medication journey I have been on over the years. It would have been easy to throw my hands up and give up when the first two or three antidepressants didn’t work. As it turns out, my particular antidepressant is a fourth-line antidepressant and it works well enough when it is necessary.
  • I have wonderful friends I can turn to when needed.
  • My morning coffee grounds me in times like this. It’s not just the act of drinking the coffee. There is something about the tactile routine of my pour-over system and the anticipation of that fresh coffee.
  • I am so grateful for my paper journal. As much as I like to write here, there is no substitute for my private journaling journey.
  • My yoga mat is serving as a gentle place to stretch when I feel up to it.

I don’t know how long this depressive episode will last, of course. I’m thankful the depression isn’t as severe as it has been in previous seasons. For now, I’m just hanging on for the ride and fighting it as best I can.

Full Speed Ahead

August 17, 2018

We have a full schedule of activities this Fall. Porter is in seventh grade, Liam is in fifth grade, and Oliver is in Pre-K.

Porter has band (he plays saxophone) and he also has soccer through the city rec. department. He has also applied for the school VEX team. Porter also wants to do an additional band program where they play at eighth grade football games. ┬áPorter is in all honors classes including Advanced Math. His elective this semester is STEM. He is currently signed up for PE second semester as his elective but we may ask to change that due to Porter’s unique struggles that I didn’t take into consideration when I selected PE as an option last Spring.

In addition to school and extracurriculars, Porter will participate in confirmation classes at church.

Liam will play trombone in band. He has applied to be part of the Lego Robotics team. He was an alternate on last year’s Lego Robotics team but he was very loyal, going to every meeting and even tagging along to the competitions. He’s also signed up for Science and Art clubs. Outside school, Liam has signed up for Fall Baseball through the city rec. department. We have yet to decide whether we will send him on the school trip to Savannah this year, though we will have to decide that in the next week.

Oliver did soccer through the city rec. department last year, but with him starting school and riding the bus to and from school, I thought that was enough change for him for one year. He wasn’t really interested in soccer and was one of those kids that was much more comfortable sitting on the sidelines and would have picked dandelions if there were any to be had.

Will be a busy Fall!

On Faith

August 16, 2018

This is a photo of Oliver in his christening gown. This gown originally belonged to Inez, my grandmother’s first cousin who was born in the late 1800’s. I took this photo at my Mom and Dad’s house with my old Sony Alpha NEX-5N and a Holga lens. Oliver is laying on one of Nannie’s mother’s old chairs here.

I’ve been kind of conflicted about faith issues recently. It’s kind of bad timing because Porter is supposed to start confirmation classes this Fall and I know he’s overheard some of what I’ve said to Jared recently. I need to be more careful to guard my words around the kids, I guess, though I don’t like hiding things from them.

Jared says it’s okay that my faith is on the downturn, that his is not. I don’t want my family to be without that church community, but for now I have to stay away, for a variety of reasons but mostly to take care of my own mental health. I know that sounds strange to say, but it’s true.

So for now, I will create rituals at home on Sunday mornings that feed my soul in a good way.

How My Camera Saves My Life

August 15, 2018

I’ve been depressed the past few days.

This is how my unique brand of disability works. I was in the bed for three days straight this week over the particular situation that has me upset. I realize that isn’t normal—- but that is the reason it is a disability– my body and brain don’t respond normally to situations like this.

So, I got the camera out for an afternoon. I am slowly getting back to the place where I really feel like the camera is a tool for dealing with my condition, rather than feeling like I have to push to be more or make more of my photography. I am taking more pictures for me, and it feels great.

spindles on steps
Yesterday was a better day and I am firmly convinced that part of that reason it was a better day is because I had used my camera the day before. It is hard to describe but visually seeing the photographs I take and the reality I am surrounded by in pictures that I have taken does something to flip a switch in my brain. It really does change the way I view my reality.

Yes, I happen to think that the pictures I take are not bad pictures. But that idea is separate from what this exercise does for my brain. The art itself is a separate issue from the therapeutic value of the camera. A photo doesn’t have to be anything to write home about in order to have a positive effect on my mental state.

My camera is a great tool for fighting my depression. When I look out at my surroundings, all the information my brain receives directly from my eyes is colored with whatever feelings I am consumed by as a result of my emotional state of the time. As a result, my feelings about my reality end up colored by mental illness at times. However, something about the act of taking a picture and looking at the photograph after the fact disconnects the first-hand emotion behind what my eyes saw when I took the photograph. It allows me to remember the beautiful around me without the lingering emotional residue of mental illness. Photography allows me to see what my eyes see without the emotional attachment of things that often have little to do with my direct reality.

I can’t explain why photography works this way but it’s magic and it has literally saved my life more than once. It’s miraculous. It’s why regardless of whatever I ever decide about photography as a business, I will always have a camera.

Making Our House Our Own

August 11, 2018

I love our house. It’s far more grand than I ever expected to own.

However… the previous owners definitely had different tastes than my own in paint colors. The paint was tasteful but bold. Our kitchen gets a lot of light, but it was painted a shade of medium green. It was beautiful with the previous owner’s decor and it was servicable with our own. However, it wasn’t what I would have chosen myself.

I started the process of painting our kitchen this week. I chose Behr’s “Moth Gray.” I started with the laundry room area:

laundry area

This photo was after one coat of paint.

laundry area 2


one coat on big wall

This is with one coat of new paint

original green

after paint

one coat on everything

one coat on everything

finished wall by fridge

finished side of kitchen

finished side of kitchen

I can’t describe the sense of relief having this job done gives me. Besides the obvious benefits of having the paint color changed and the ongoing satisfaction the change in decor will bring….it has been nearly 10 years since I have successfully completed a painting project. For a while, I got in the habit of starting something and having a very specific timeline in which I felt like I had to finish, which set myself up for failure immediately. With this project, I honestly intended to take a wall by wall a day approach. If the project took three weeks or a month, so be it. And it may still be a month before the other side of the kitchen is finished. I will have to arrange getting the fridge and the stove moved to finish the job.

However, for now, I feel a great sense of accomplishment and relief.

Hair Update

August 6, 2018

It’s vanity but I just realized I never posted an update after my haircut a week or so ago. Here’s the after:

after hair cut back
It’s a fine haircut– my friend did a great job– but it doesn’t excite me. I just want longer hair. The bangs have gotten long enough that most days after this cut I have pinned my bangs back at least a portion of the day. I cannot wait for them to be long enough to just shove behind my ears.

Rainbow Tulip
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