Category Archives: blogging

Good-Bye 2011

2011 is almost over, so time for me to assess the good and the bad of the year.

Bad:

1: continued depression

2: back and hernia surgery

3: worrying about things that I cannot control

Good:

1: surgeries have and mental treatment have helped my well being

2: Growth of my family relationships: working through “for worse” and “in sickness” with my wife; watching my children grow; new honesty and openness with my parents and sister; meeting my brother and continued growth and reconnection with my biological family

3: blogging as a tool to help organize my thoughts and feelings.

Thank you all for reading and commenting.  Tomorrow: looking forward to 2012

 

 

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Filed under adoption, blogging, depression, family, life, personal, siblings, surgery, writing

I may have over-promised

I have learned that a crucial element of my depression is my energy level.  The less energy that I have, the more down I get and the more anxiety that I have.  Sometimes I try to combat this with coffee or SodaStream Energy, but ingesting large amounts of caffeine is not so good with somebody with high blood pressure.

Which brought me to Sunday night.  With two little ones and Christmas coming up, our house looks like it has been hit with several tornadoes.  Having a lot of energy, but wanting to just have fun on the weekend, I told Lovely Wife that I would clean the entire house in the next few days.  My exact words, in fact, were “If I’m not done by Wednesday night, you can literally flog me with a wooden spoon.”  She seemed pretty accepting and excited about this.  Whether that was due to a clean house or the anticipation of a flogging, I do not know.

Unfortunately, Sunday night into Monday morning I just could not get to sleep.  It was like my body was playing a cruel trick on me.   I told Lovely Wife as much yesterday morning.  She didn’t seem all that concerned, as I still had two days to make good on my pledge.  I laid low yesterday, my mood wasn’t too shabby.  I went to bed early.

Then I woke up today.  Let me just say that housework is high on my list of Things I Do Not Like To Do.  I honestly don’t mind the cleaning part.  I can spray, scrub, vacuum, whatever.  Even toilets.  But clutter just turns my anxiety knob to 11.  I hate picking things up, because I don’t know what to do with them!  If I didn’t have this problem, there wouldn’t be toys and clothes and papers and all manner of other things strewn about.  And dishes!  Argh!  When I said that I don’t mind cleaning things, I meant I don’t mind cleaning things other than dishes! And this is even despite the fact we have a dishwasher!  ARGH!

Mello, mellow, mellow.

Wooden Spoon 1909, University of Cambridge

Image via Wikipedia

Even with an early bed time last night, I woke up this morning with not a lot of energy.  Mood: down.  Anxiety: up.  So here I am on the Tuesday downhill, and I am still just looking at things and fretting.  I was hoping that blogging my conundrum would help me get motivated.

Please pray for my posterior.  It may have an appointment with a wooden spoon tomorrow.

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Filed under anxiety, blogging, coffee, depression

My Top 5 Christmas Songs

Merry Christmas (Bing Crosby album)

Image via Wikipedia

OK, I am sure that every one falls into either one (or both) groups when it comes to Christmas songs:  you either hate Christmas songs or (and?) you have already read about a hundred of these posts.  But for some reason I just cannot help myself.  Typical of a blogger, I guess: “You MUST know all the minutiae of my thoughts!

But I digress.  Before I start, I have to point out that I just cannot get into Christmas music that is just about being in love, or with family, or Santa, or you know–anything that doesn’t have to do with the birth of Christ.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a religious prude or a Scrooge.  Many are even pretty good music, or at least very catchy.  I defy you to hear “Sleigh Ride” or “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and not be humming them for the rest of the day.  It’s just that most of them are extremely heavy on the schmaltz with an extra helping of cheese.  But there is one notable exception for me.  A song that I love so much I will make it my

Honorable Mention

“Blue Christmas”  Elvis wasn’t just the King of Rock and Roll, for me he is the King of Non-Christmas Christmas songs.

With that, on to the list:

5) Joseph’s Song

By Tonic Sof-Fa.  Although there are a few written from Joseph’s perspective (including a different one with the same title) there aren’t many.  Why do I love this song?  Parents, consider this: remember holding your child and having the gut feeling that he or she was going to change your life forever?  Consider holding that child and having the gut feeling that he was going to change history forever.   No video, but give it a click.  You won’t be sorry.

Joseph’s Song

4) Hallelujah

Probably the most famous choral movement of all time, there is just so much that I love about this song.  It is so quintessentially Handel.  I love hearing it performed live, and nearly jumping to my feet at the first couple of notes, as per tradition.  I have performed it so many times with various choirs that I can sing the bass part in my sleep.

3) Silent Night

So simple and elegant.  Wunderschöne, Franz Gruber.  Performed here by Bing Crosby, because you can’t have Christmas songs without Bing in there somewhere.

2) O Come, O Come   Veni Veni Emmanuel

Although I was born post Vatican II and never had to sit through a Latin Mass, none-the-less I have sung in enough Catholic choirs to have become aquainted with the Latin version, and I must say there is just something to it that burrows itself a little deeper into my soul.

1) O Holy Night 

Not much else to say here.

Some others’ (some serious, some humorous) takes on Christmas music:

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Filed under blogging, Christmas, music

Confession of a Book Lover

I felt a little dirty after doing something the other day.  How could I stoop to this level?  What on earth am I talking about?  Let me explain.

Lovely Wife joined me for a counseling session on Monday.  By all accounts it went well.  LW and I came away feeling like we understood and communicated with each other a little better.  She also now understands why I like “my” guy so much.  He isn’t a miracle worker (if he was, he could just wave a magic wand and rid me of depression), but has certainly been a trusted ear and a thought-provoking advocate for me.  Near the end, she asked him if there were any books that he could recommend for me.  He suggested two titles.  LW had to split to go get the kiddos, but I stayed and chatted a little while longer.  The first suggestion he gave me he assured that I could find at Barnes & Noble.  The second one was trickier.  He advised me to go to a little local place, where the proprietor likes to keep this particular author in stock. 

I went to Barnes & Noble to pick up the first title.  I don’t know about any other of B&N’s stores, but at our location, it seems as if the main aisle as you walk in has been taken over by a giant kiosk selling the nook.  As I tried to scurry past, the nice lady behind the counter made some sort of inquiry of whether I would be interested in hearing about the nook.  “No thanks,” I muttered, without breaking stride.

My love of reading and writing goes beyond words.  I love books.  Newspapers.  Magazines.  I’m not a luddite.  I am a blogger after all.  There is just something romantic about a book.  Something about the tangible document brings the words to life better than words on a screen. Words that can be erased with a click, disappearing into the ether.  Having a book is like a declaration of the knowledge or entertainment that you have transcribed into your brain.  I look forward to the day when my kiddos will ask me for a good book to read and I can hand them the copy of To Kill a Mockingbird that I read for my High School American Lit class.  How much more satisfying will that be than saying, “Here.  Download this file.”

I have already surrendered to progress when it comes to music.  I remember being a little kid, putting the Beach Boys’ Endless Summer  on the turn table, lowering the needle, and being engulfed in the music as I stared at the large, amazing artwork.  Soon, though, I graduated to cassettes that I could listen to in my Walkman.  Then came CDs.  “Side B” means absolutely nothing to today’s generation.  And while I still own and buy CDs, I will admit that I have purchased individual songs on iTunes.  In my mind I imagine a revision to the drawing on Endless Summer–in this one, the Beach Boys all have tears in their eyes.

I bought my book and was on my way to the next book store to purchase the other recommendation.  The woman helped me look for it, reiterating to me how much she liked the author.  No dice, though.  She didn’t have a copy.  In fact it may be out of print, she informed me.  She suggested I check at a second-hand store, and if they didn’t have it to give her a call and she would look into ordering it for me.

I went home and looked for it on Amazon.  They had several copies at decent prices.  I could order one.  I could call the nice lady back and have her order it for me.  But that would probably take at least a week in each case.  Then I saw that I could purchase a Kindle version.  I don’t have a kindle.  No worries.  I could download Kindle for PC.  So I did.  I stopped to consider that I could still order the book for cheaper.   But I wanted it now.  I bowed to my own pressure.

So now I own a book that exists as nothing more that a grouping of 1s and 0s.  Time marches on.  I resolve not to march with it.  I mean it this time.  For now.

THURSDAY FUN: Book Recommendation

Since we are talking about books today, how about a recommendation?  A couple of years ago there was a book fair at work, and I came across On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  Sitting there on the stand, it almost seemed as if was placed there for me.  A book about history, literature, music, and sports.  Not to mention that I have always admired Kareem as person and an intellectual in addition to his athletic exploits. 

What I found was even more than I expected.  Kareem traces the history of the Harlem Renaissance through his love for literature, jazz, and basketball, and how these connected to a larger movement.  It opened my eyes to the writers of the era.  For example, I had heard of Langston Hughes, but I didn’t know much about him.  I love jazz, but didn’t connect its history through ragtime, minstrel shows, and the blues.  I had never heard of the all-black Harlem Rens, nor their friendly rivalry with the all-white Original Celtics.  I found the book entertaining, but more importantly I found it informative.  I am still not an expert on African-American culture, but it opened my eyes–and my mind.  I highly recommend you pick it up.  In book form.

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Filed under blogging, books, music, technology

An old fashioned blog tool

Part of the reason that I decided to blog about my journey through depression is that it would serve as a way of expressing the creative side of my personality.  The only problem is that it seems like the good ideas come at the most inopportune times.  I can’t tell you how many times a twist of phrase, or an idea for a photo, or a song melody has popped into my head in the middle of the work day, or while I’m lying in bed or even sitting in the “oval office”.

I needed to get out of the house yesterday, so I made my way to the local Barnes and Noble.  There I found the perfect tool:  a pocket-sized journal.

Remember Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade?  Indy and his dad were looking for the Holy Grail.  When I watch that movie, I can’t help but think that although the Grail served as a good McGuffin, it wasn’t the most interesting treasure of the movie.  Sure, it would be a find of enormous historical and religious significance.  But if you did find it, who would really believe you?  No, the coolest (albeit fictional) artifact of the movie was Henry Jones Sr’s Grail Diary.  Here was a journal of history, legend, faith, art, and adventure. 

So when I saw the little pocket-sized journal at B&N, I couldn’t resist.  It was manufactured by ecosystem out of recycled materials.  While I can’t say that I am a true environmentalist, I do try my best to at least honor the idea of conservationism.  Ecosystem also puts a serial number in the back of their journals, which serves a cool double purpose: you can enter it in on their website to learn the origin of your humble tome, and also register it for lost and found. 

I hope to be able to use mine for drawings, musings, blog ideas, and notes on photos that I have taken.  Hopefully it will help my creativity as much as I think it will.

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MONDAY FUN: The World According to Little Guy

We generally have the radio on in the car while we are driving.  I tend to listen to either country or the local blues/oldies station, while Lovely Wife favors the local Christian music station.  The other day I was driving the kids to meet Lovely Wife somewhere.  The radio was off and both of the kiddos were pretty cranky.  I asked them if they wanted to listen to some tunes, to which Little Guy emphatically answered “Yeah!”.  So I turned on the radio.  He listened for a few seconds before saying, “No, Daddy!  I want the Jesus one!”

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