Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Beware Apathy

I've been feeling down lately, centered around two specific things: my work and my weight.

I love my employer.  I love that they treat me well, care that I have the resources to do my job, provide me excellent medical, dental and vision benefits, and generally make me feel like I'm a valued person, not just a peon.
But it's not the first time I've felt burned out with my particular role.  What I do isn't hard, not anymore.  It used to be, when I first learned it.  Isn't that what we like?  We do something for a while, get into the groove, and then it's cake.  Sometimes I run into a challenge, something that stimulates my brain to think a little outside the box, and when I successfully solve the problem, I feel like I've accomplished something.
I haven't felt that for a while, and now I find that I have a hard time focusing on my work.  I want to do things that fully occupy my attention, like reading or cleaning or writing or even some other part of what my company does.
Sometimes I think it would be nice to work for the same company, but in a different capacity.
I could be bored.  I could be lazy.  I could be un-actualized (going with a psychological concept).  I could even have some weird imbalance in my body chemistry that hinders me being able to focus - my mother's side of the family has a history of thyroid disease.
In any case, I've often felt like calling in "sick" rather than trying to finish my assignments.  Of course, that's not honest, and they'd catch me and probably fire me.
I guess my main motivation right now is keeping my house, cus without my job, we wouldn't be able to afford the mortgage payments.

My weight and I are at odds once again.  A few years ago, I was happily sitting at 160 pounds (I'm 6'), I could fit into practically every clothing item in my size, and I felt GOOD.  I felt I was right where I should be, a nice average, and I liked it.
Then I started eating more and more food I had denied myself for a long while, and I discovered I REALLY liked beer and thus drank much of it, and I felt the pounds add on one by one, until I hit 175, and then I jumped to 180 within a couple of months, and I suddenly realized that I, once again, had to give up the stuff I liked so I could fit into my clothes.
I did really well with the whole working out and eating lite thing for about two weeks.  Then I got sick, didn't work out for four days, and I stopped altogether.  I'm lucky if I work out once a week.  And I still eat junk food and drink beer, albeit one beer every couple of days as opposed to every day.
This afternoon, while I cooked seasoned french fries for lunch, my husband said to me, "Hon?  I thought you were going to try and eat healthy again."  He said it very nicely.
I replied, "What's the point?"
He just kinda looked at me.  "What do you mean?"
All I could do was shrug.  I'm not even sure what I meant.  I feel like giving up and just accepting the inevitable that around 35 my thyroid will go on the fritz and I won't be able to lose any weight no matter how hard I try.  Why not just accept it now?  Why fight it?  I'm the same weight I was in high school, which isn't that bad - I'm still technically average, just on the high end.
Still... I don't like how I FEEL.  I feel heavier than I should be.  I have extra padding in a few places I now know doesn't belong there.  Even losing ten or fifteen pounds would let me fit comfortably into my work slacks again.
And yet the effort required to lose the weight seems overwhelming, so I shut down and try not to care.

Guess I'm just having a crappy day.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Little Rant

I'm going to bear my soul a bit here... *deep breath.

My parents sent me a birthday card over the weekend.  The following excerpt made me sob uncontrollably for a couple of minutes:

"You are amazing -
stepping out every day
with the grace and love
to do what needs doing.
Even when life asks so much,
you respond with the patience
to see things through."

Their praise means the world to me, and often I feel incredibly humbled, in the good and bad way, when they tell me I'm "delightful."

But that isn't the main reason I cried.

How many of us, as some point or many points, when bitterness and resentment rear their ugly heads, want to throw down the proverbial towel and say, "I'm done.  I refuse.  I won't do it anymore."  We ask ourselves or God or others why should we be held to a certain standard when someone else (usually someone who has wronged us) isn't?  Why should I behave maturely when this person refuses to do so?  Why should I be the responsible, reasonable, peacemaking one when all it gets me is treatment akin to that of a doormat?  What is the point?

What I'm about to say I sometimes don't want to believe, especially at my worst moments.  I want my pity party, I want my way, and I want them NOW.

But the point isn't about catering to my whims.

It's about God displaying His sovereignty in my life.  It's about faith and trust and hope.  It's about me seeing Him do what I think is impossible, despite me or the people around me, and in recognizing it, giving credit to Whom credit is due, and then living with a mindset of gratitude and humility that the Creator of the universe would notice me, let alone love me.

It's about me and my relationship with Christ and not getting distracted by concerning myself with how God chooses to deal with other people.

As a Christian (yep, I said it), I'm called to a higher standard of living - showing compassion, not hate; spreading peace, not strife; praying for my enemy, not plotting against her or him.  Sadly, I epically fail at all of it, most of the time.  *sadface.

Take, for instance, when my husband came home from a five-day trip.  When he walked in the door, one of the first things I said (half kidding) was, "Uh-oh, now my house will get messy again."  I said it three times within five minutes.
Was that really necessary?  No.  Was it kind?  Definitely not.  Yes, I wanted to be praised for my hard work in sweeping, dusting, mopping, and organizing (poor way to express it, right?), but I also wanted to keep it that way, which doesn't happen when you live with someone, married or not.  Regardless, I let it be known in a very pointed and uncharitable way.

As a consequence, my husband felt the barbs and responded in kind, which led to a spat, and then led to anger, despair, and tears (on my part).

Where the hell was the peacekeeping in that?  Where was the love in that?  Where was the "stepping out with grace" and the "responding with patience?"

That is why I cried when I read my card.  I felt ashamed for my failings, for entertaining the bitterness and resentment trying to take root.  But I also felt happy that when I needed it, God provided a message telling me WHY - why I keep acting maturely; why I keep being responsible and reasonable and peace keeping.

Because that is how I want my life characterized; because that is how He wants my life characterized.  Any reaction I have based on love, hope, and faith points to a dependency not on myself (because Carol without God is a very nasty, manipulative person), but on One greater than I.  It keeps in check the behaviors I don't actually want to exhibit, and yet allows me to be me in the best way possible.

So while Carol's nastiness wants to come out and play, especially when I feel the injustice of an action or situation, it doesn't get to, at least not for long.  Part of the challenge of the Christian life is trusting that God has my best interest at heart when no one else does, and especially when I don't (that would be during pity parties when I want to hate people).

Besides, nastiness makes my life more stressful, and we all know stress is BAD. :)


Scientific Nerdiness

I have recently noticed that specific things related to science, or sometimes just plain 80's throwback, make me very happy.

For example, my favorite old-school accessory is a glow-stick bracelet or necklace - I have a small stash in my dresser drawer for special occasions.  Consequently, anything that glows puts a smile on my face.  A recent purchase from one of my fave websites,, included the Fire Jewel necklace (which has an LED inside to make it extra sparkly, and could be used in case of a power outage) and a green mushroom USB push lamp (which has two LED lights inside and can be powered by my computer or 4 AA batteries).  Science, technology, AND glowiness?  Oh, heck yeah.
Epic win for 80's related science nerdiness.

I also love things that magnify.  When I was a kid, my dad showed me how to properly use those big circular magnifying lenses, a la Sherlock Holmes, and I was hooked.  I wanted to see EVERYTHING up close.
Then I discovered my dad not only had a detective-like magnifying lens, but a MICROSCOPIC lens!  Now, I'm not talking the kind you see in your university lab class.  This was hand-held, and couldn't view at the cellular level, but it did make everything extra, extra detailed.  I was fascinated by yarn and carpet and printed ink on paper, my skin... even scabbed over scratches.  Dried blood looks really cool that close up.

Closely related to magnifying tiny things is magnifying far away things, and thus I took an interest in binoculars and telescopes.  In my child mind, they weren't quite as fun as magnifying glasses because while they gave me the ability to see things at a distance I normally couldn't, they didn't let me see what the individual hairs of a doe's fur looked like from 100 yards away.

That would have been AWESOME.

Still, when Dad introduced me to viewing the moon and planets, I took a keen interest because of all the detail I could see compared to the glowy orb I normally observed in our clear night sky.

Oh, hey, there's that glowy theme again. :)

Amusingly, I remembered this because ThinkGeek recently added an awesome looking mini spyglass necklace to their collection of geek accessories.

Other scientific nerdy tendencies involve chemistry, my favorite science class in high school and college.  It involved algebra, and I liked algebra, so there's a happy connection there, but I was also fascinated with how one could combine two different things (elements) with completely different properties and make a substance unlike either.
EG: Sodium and Chlorine to make salt.

And there was the explosive potential of some mixtures, like potassium and water.  Thanks to Mr. Shelton for fanning the flames of chemical pyromania at an early age. :)

Ergo, whenever I see a periodic table of elements shirt on, I get a good chuckle because I GET THE JOKE.  Such as their Element of Surprise shirt.  *giggle

I'm also a nerd about literature and geek pop culture, so shirts or jewelry or plushies relating to Lord of the Rings or Star Wars or Star Trek or Firefly, etc. are a must have.  I have a Legolas mini plush sitting on my desk next to a Spock plush, and I'm saving up for a pair of Mjolnir dangle earrings that just came back in stock.
Y'all have at least seen The Avengers, right?  Right?  Thor's mine, just so you know.
Ooo, Batman earrings...

Anyway, I've realized ThinkGeek helps bring back a lot of memories for me, and they make my geek self smile a lot.  I think that's why I shop there so often.

And because I can get gift cards for their site from my employer.  HUZZAH!!

Images are not owned by me.  Credit to

Monday, July 23, 2012


I had a root canal today.  If you've read my prior posts, or my FB, you know I have a phobia of root canals because of a traumatic experience in my teens.  I won't go into that here.

What I will go into is how, I think, I digressed from root canal phobia to root canal general nervousness.

First and foremost, I have a beloved God that cares for me and works all things for my good.  He had a purpose for this experience, and now I know it was to help get me over my paralyzing fear.  If events hadn't happened the way they did, I wouldn't have won over the fear - I'd still be terrified of root canals.

Second, I had prayer warriors seeking peace for me, including my mother and mother-in-law, and some wonderful friends on Facebook.  My thanks to y'all.  I'm thoroughly convinced that this appointment would have turned out different than it did without you.

Taking those into account...

Needles make me nervous, so you can imagine every time I have to have one stuck inside my gums, I get rather anxious, gripping the chair arm and such.  However, when the initial pinch and feeling of something stuck where it shouldn't be have faded, I'm cool with the poking and drilling and trimming.  Mostly.  I'm always on the lookout for pain, in case I need to ask for more Novocaine.

Today, I got not one, not two, but FOUR different injections.

First one was like a normal filling injection.  No real problem there, except I anticipated the pain, and could feel myself shaking slightly as he pulled the needle out.  For some reason, I thought it was a reaction to the Novocaine.

Second one went right next to the affected tooth.  Not too bad there; t'was a bit uncomfortable for a second or two, but we moved past it.

Third one went all the way back, pretty near the first, and I didn't feel a thing for the initial few seconds, but then all of a sudden I felt a HUGE owwie twinge, short-lived, but that sucker triggered a nasty jolt of adrenaline.  My neck and shoulders seized up into a big ball of knotted muscle, my jaw started twitching, much akin to chattering, and I hyperventilated.  The endodontist and his assistant were very nice, very kind, coaching me through breathing, and gently telling me to "relax my shoulders" every ten seconds.  The pain was gone by that point, but I was still in the middle of a panic attack.

Between a couple of, "You're okay.  Relax your shoulders,"  I heard Dr. Pena quietly ask his assistant why I didn't go with the nitrous oxide.  I didn't hear her response.  I started asking myself if it was too late to request it.

They gave me about twenty minutes to "numb up" completely, during which time I cowered in the bathroom silently sobbing my little eyes out.  There's something about terror that dominates everything, making encouraging self-talk nearly impossible.  I could only manage, "Oh God, I'm so scared," over and over.

A few times, I thought I had gotten control of myself, but then I turned toward the door, toward everything that lay beyond it, and I started crying again.  If I sat down, my leg would start doing that rapid nervous bobbing all on its own.

A knock at the door prompted me to clean myself up in a hurry.  Other folks needed a place to hide.

I walked back to my operating station (as they call it now), but I couldn't sit down again.  I kept pacing and pacing, full of nervous energy, mentally muttering things like, "I'l be fine.  I'll be fine.  I'm good.  It's like a filling.  Yeah, it's like a filling; I'm good with fillings.  I'm good.  This'll be fine.  I'm okay.  Get it together, Carol.  Fight or flight - change it to fight.  Bring it.  Bring it!  Oh God..."
Somewhere in there I managed to sit down, and I started reminding myself that I had so many people praying for me right then, and that God would protect me from evil, that this doctor wasn't the evil one from thirteen years ago.  It's a different doctor, different office, different place.  IT'S NOT THE SAME, CAROL!

It's not the same, honey.  Breathe.  Deep breath in, relax your shoulders, exhale.  Deep breath in...

By the time Dr. Pena and his assistant got back, I had composed myself; I could even say I was tolerably cheerful.  I did, however, hold on to a wad of facial tissue, just in case I needed something to grip uncontrollably.

Dr. Pena gave me the fourth numbing injection at that point, which I didn't feel.

I'm happy to say he numbed me up really, really well.  There was one time I felt a twinge.  It didn't hurt, really, but I still felt it, and I told him.
You know the first thing he did?  He put his drilling tool down and said, "Okay, let's give you a bit more."
"Thowwy," I sighed (which is "Sorry" with a mouth full of protective layer).
"Don't you worry about it," he replied.  "We want to make sure you're feeling fine."  And he gave me a short injection right inside my tooth.  Buh-bye twinge.

It was like my entire body lost tension.  I felt like I could breathe, that the knotted muscles in my neck let go, and even my legs and arms relaxed to their natural position.  I also felt very sorry for that wad of facial tissue...

And let me tell you, holding that much tension for so long is EXHAUSTING.  I wanted to take a nap for a few minutes.  The muscle constriction came and went, but for a majority of the time, I just laid there, staring up at the TV on the ceiling, mostly focused on the movie I picked out to watch (Star Trek, of course).  I would occasionally take a deep breathe and just sigh from relief.

And I'm pretty sure Dr. Pena noticed the difference, too.  He had to tell me to open wider a few times, when my jaw slacked a little too much.

Thinking back, I didn't calm down so much because I didn't feel any pain (after the injections), but because Dr. Pena stopped immediately what he was doing to give me more Novocaine, or whatever it was.  It was that moment that snapped the terror for me.  I realized that my fear wasn't of the root canal procedure itself, but of being at the mercy of a tyrant, and Dr. Pena's simple response reassured me more than if I had used Nitrous oxide to ensure I didn't care if it hurt.  This man was NOT the same wacko that tortured me in my teens.  This was not the same office, not the same location, and not the same situation.  I didn't have to be afraid.

Thank God.

I'm sure that if I have to have this procedure done again, I'll get nervous - really nervous.  But if I can go to Dr. Pena again, I'm confident I won't have nearly the reaction I did today.  Knowing how a root canal is supposed to feel (ie: nothing), and knowing my endodontist is a kind man who wants to help me, will greatly reduce my stress level.

So, as I said on FB:  Dr. Pena = Best.  Endodontist.  Ever.


Monday, July 16, 2012


It's a sad thing when one mistake can taint your whole day, and you didn't even mean to be an ass.

That happened to me yesterday.  Folks were having a conversation on FB, and in my excitement over the topic, I shared something I assumed to be general knowledge.  Shortly thereafter, I receive a private message from one of my friends saying it wasn't my place to share that and to remove the post.  I did, of course, and I apologized, but now I feel like the biggest jerk on the planet and I wasn't even trying to hurt anyone.  I was happy about the news I shared - if I hadn't been, I wouldn't have shared it.  But apparently, it's "not my place."

I suppose, had I been in that person's shoes, I'd be irritated that someone else told people something concerning me that I wanted to tell them myself.  But it wasn't a case of stealing thunder, not this time, which is why I didn't think it would be a big deal.

I guess I was wrong.

I still wasn't trying to be an ass.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I have a secret.  Most people do.  But sometimes I get really angry about particular things, and then this secret squirms and wriggles and squeezes out of the crevice into which I've stuffed it, and it taints my entire mindset for days.

When I've got it mastered, I feel badly about having it.  I want it gone; I try my best to kill it.

Oh, but when it comes out and flexes its claws, and clamps them firmly in my emotions, I wish I could set it free, stop sugar-coating things and tell people how I REALLY feel, assert myself and do what my secret tells me I should have done a long time ago.

"Regrets collect like old friends, here to reveal your darkest moments." - Florence + The Machine

Sunday, July 8, 2012


There are many things that make me nervous.  Being on a ladder more than six feet above the ground makes me nervous (this is why I'm no longer a lighting technician).  Irons and sewing machines make me nervous (they're out to get me, I just know it).  Electric saws make me nervous.  Needles make me nervous.  Drilling apparatus make me nervous (getting a filling at the dentist is a stressful event for me).

However, I didn't realize I had an outright phobia until five minutes ago.

Let me tell you a little story about Carol in her youth.  In high school, junior year, I had an accident and got whiplash.  My doctor and chiropractor both informed my parents that it would behoove them to not allow me to play sports in school for the next few months to ensure proper healing.
I didn't properly heal until after college anyway, when I went to another chiropractor who gave me exercises to correct my spinal curvature.  But that's a different story.

The one thing I wanted to play during that period was softball.  I actually didn't care much for the game itself, but I had loyalty to my coach at the time, so when he asked if I would play, I said yes.  The car accident changed everything, but one day after school, he said I could shag (fetch) the softballs that went helter-skelter.  During the course of practice, one girl tossed a softball to me to help in my collection.  It hit a tuft of grass and smacked me right in the face, snapping a front tooth in half.

Did I mention I had braces?
Yes, I had braces, so that little piece of tooth could flip around on the wire and gross out the girls, and all the guys thought it was so cool. :)
Point being, the root was exposed.

My dentist was flabbergasted when she found out I wasn't in excruciating pain.  For a whole weekend.  "Oh, it's a little temperature sensitive," I said.

My dentist insisted I get a root canal ASAP.  My parents agreed.  But wait.  There was a hitch.  "I'm on vacation," my dentist said.  "Go to the dentist on call."

Sounded easy enough.

Until this joyous event, I'd never been exposed to Novocaine.  I had only had one cavity, which was so shallow, they drilled and filled it while I sat happily under the influence of Nitrous Oxide.

Now, little Carol had a potentially fatal heart disease until she was ten, and apparently, there was a component of Novocaine that could possibly maybe trigger it to come back, so my mom asked the on-call dentist to remove that element.  He said, "Sure."

Worst.  Request.  Ever.

Root canals are very nasty.  They require drilling through the hard outer shell of the tooth, into the soft sensitive innards of the tooth, all the way to the root, AN ACTUAL NERVE.  And then it requires them REMOVING THE NERVE.

Very ouchy business, that.

Now, what we didn't know at the time was that Novocaine without the element that could potentially maybe trigger my heart disease again lasts a much shorter time than normal.  Regular Novocaine, in my experience, takes about ten to twenty minutes to fully numb, can affect the entire lower half of my face, depending on injection site, and last for up to half a day.

This lasted freaking thirty minutes.
And the bastard didn't believe me when I said I could FEEL HIM DRILLING.

Mom attests that she could hear my crying and pleading all the way out in the lobby, and when she tried to get in to tell him I was telling the truth, he ignored her.

Needless to say, I remember the incident up to a certain point, and then remember waking up in the car.  I firmly believe I passed out from the pain.

This is my phobia.  This is what terrorizes me at the mere thought.  The idea that I might potentially possibly have a cavity so bad that I need a root canal makes me sob uncontrollably.

Cus you know what?  I just might have that cavity.  Right now.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Letting Go

Many of my FB friends will remember two posts I made, some weeks back.  The first talked about having something important being taken away, and the second talked about regardless whether a certain person abandoned me or not, they would still have to live with themselves.
Most folks will recognized these as my initial stages of loss - sadness, and anger.

I've run into this person twice since those posts (and I don't think this person has seen them).  The first time seemed optimistic.  Olive branches were offered, sympathies exchanged, distresses confided.
The second time turned out downright poor.  When the olive branch was offered again, by me, it was refused.  Conversation felt strained; my presence, avoided.

And you know what?  I'm okay with that.  I woke up the next morning wondering why I try to offer platonic affection to someone who clearly does not reciprocate.

Not to say I'm an unfeeling bitch with a stone heart.  Ask my husband - this has bothered me for some time.  Any discord with my friends bothers me.

But there's only so much I can do, yes?

I did an exercise the other day - a mental exercise.  I imagined what my life would be like if I kept trying to re-friend this person.  Having known this person for a few years, I believe I can reasonably predict what actions would be taken by this person in response to anything I said or did.
I felt myself getting more and more stressed the more I dwelled on that picture.
So then I imagined what my life would be like without this person.  It hurt at first.  We'd been close friends for many months, and I grew to depend on this person being there when I had emotional instability.  But then I realized I depended TOO MUCH on this person.  I have other friends I'd neglected, other friends that like me for who I am, other friends that, while different from the person in question, are no less important.  Those friends probably wondered where I disappeared to these last couple of years.
And I liked the thought that despite the disconnect with one person, I could take that unhappiness and flip it around, then turn it over on its head.  Without this person, I could do different and new things, reconcile with other friends, even make new ones, and I could entrust more of myself to my husband instead of pretending he wasn't up to the challenge. :)  Love you, honey!

I'm still letting go, though.  There's no cure for sadness, though it can be stifled or ignored for a while.  Every so often, I'll  see a picture of this person, or have a dream in which this person is included, and I'll wake up, and the disappointment will come crashing back, and I'll have to remind myself to breathe, and that my life will go on, and that I have other important people and activities.  It's not the end of the world, as my mother would say.

And I pray.  I pray that I would use this experience wisely, that God would continue to teach me how to grieve and how to move on and not feel entitled to revenge or retaliation, that this person would be healthy and happy, and that if I should meet this person again, we could behave civilly.

And you know what?  It's working.

Thus ends my morality lesson for today.  Hugs and kisses!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Academic Obsession

I realized the other day that I really don't have much drive to excel, and while wondering why that is, I remembered that I haven't actually had any type of goal since college.
My goal then?  To graduate suma cum laude, with was a 3.96 to 4.0 GPA.  I had a 3.97 by the end of my Senior year.
My goal during high school?  4.0 GPA, graduate valedictorian.  Met that goal.
My goal during junior high?  Nothing below an A-.  Met that goal.
My goal before junior high?  Survive.  Barely got that one.

This made me wonder.  Why would I suddenly decide to devote myself to this grades thing at the tender age of 12?  To tell the truth, I don't really remember.
I have a memory of my sixth grade teacher telling me how much she wanted to give me some version of an A in the one class where I had a B+.  I think she fudged the report card I took home to show an A-- rather than the B+ that went on my official record.  Mom and Dad knew what she was doing, but they praised me for "all A's" anyway.

Still doesn't answer why I became obsessed with academics.  I remember flunking a quiz in 5th grade and hating how that felt, and I remember having a B- in something during later elementary school.  Maybe that was 5th grade, too.  That was a hard year, 5th grade.

However, regardless of my motivation then, I look back on it and discover that I learned how to win following the rules.  These weren't expressed rules, but if you managed to learn them, like how to take a test, how to regurgitate the right answer on the homework, how to not be distracted by piddly things like a social life, then you'd get pretty far.
My sister and I seemed to be exceptionally good, I suppose.

The rules for excelling at school don't usually apply to real work, though, except maybe the social life part, which is why I had such a bad time of it for a while.  And the rules that do apply to a real job, I don't much like.
Oh, who am I kidding.  I don't much like the rules that apply to being an adult.

I might not be on the verge of being fired, but I still feel no compulsion to exceed beyond what I know I can do with minimal effort.  That's my general attitude about most things, now.
Maybe I should tell myself something like, "Let's get an A on today's assignment!"  Pffft.

So how does one come up with goals that motivate one to do more than what is required?  Do things like, "Replace my sink," or "paint the office," or "buy a new pair of shoes" really work as a motivation?  I know things like, "not losing my house" or "being able to feed my cats" are my reasons to HAVE a job, but to go above and beyond the call of duty?  Haven't found even one yet.

Not to say I don't do it sometimes.  Sure I do.  My employer gives us monetary incentives during certain parts of the year, and you betcha I'll work my little self into illness to get $50 or $100.  But not on a consistent basis.

I'm not sure I really have a point with all this.  I'm just putting it out there.