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Checking in

Wow, it’s been how long since I’ve blogged?

Anyway, I’m still alive, at the moment anyway.  I’m drowning in a sea of stress an integers, and quite honestly don’t see myself blogging again until after the end of the semester.

So…yeah.  I’m still here.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to my homework.

Exhaustion

I am so tired.

I’m tired of the stress.  I’m tired of the headaches that seem to merely take breaks rather than completely go away.  I’m tired of being cold.  I’m tired of being scared, what’s more, I’m tired of having to grit my teeth every day and face those fears.  I’m tired of feeling twenty years older than I actually am.

I’m tired of being at the beck and call of others, while feeling like I have to muddle through my problems by myself.  I’m tired of other people trying to live my life for me, and the guilt that comes when I don’t follow unwanted advice.  I’m tired of the guilt that runs my life.

I’m tired of being.

I’m scared of doing anything about it.

 

Update

So, I’m not dead.  I feel dead, but I’m not dead.

I’ve been hit hard by a stomach bug with a terrible sense of timing.  I start my math class tomorrow, and I’m just praying that I’ll feel good enough to make it to school tomorrow.  And, you know, not have to sit by the door.   I’m to the point now where I’m hungry, but am afraid to eat.

The worst part is I can’t really complain about a night spent in the bathroom, because Mom had a trip to the emergency room yesterday.   She’s okay, they got things taken care of, and she was able to make the two-hour trip back to her house after all was said and done.

So…I’m still here.

Conference, Pt 1

LDS General Conference Crowd Photography

Image by JeremyHall via Flickr

Well, it’s the first weekend of October, which, for Latter-day Saints around the world means only one thing:  It’s time for General Conference!

Conference happens twice a year; the first weekend in April and the first weekend in October.  For the general membership, it’s divided into four session, two on Saturday, and two on Sunday, with each session lasting 2 hours.  With a two hour break between sessions.  There’s also the General Priesthood session for the men and youths, with a session for the Young Women in April, and a session for the Relief Society (adult women) in October, usually a week or two before the big weekend.

I wonder if I could shove the word “session” in the last paragraph one more time…

I made a point to pay special attention to this conference, partly because with April’s conference falling on the same weekend as Easter, I didn’t receive as much instruction as was given, and partly because I’m taking a teachings of the living prophets Institute class.

I consider myself blessed, or lucky, or both to have been able to watch the entirety of conference this year–it starts at 10, and I have my Art History classes Saturday Mornings from 8-10:30.  But, luck or providence or a professor who graduated from BYU not to long ago and constantly talks about her time there, let us out an hour early.  She even mentioned that she wouldn’t be able to watch conference because she has another class.

And I have to say, it’s a little surreal to go and hear the words of the Lord after spending an hour and a half studying sculpture from a time when, apparently, nobody wore pants.

So, my impressions of conference:  I’m not going to copy my notes, because if you really want to know what was said, you can go find out for yourself.

I was fully expecting to miss the first talk, so I’m especially grateful to have heard the words of Jeffery R. Holland.  He talked about how each of us is loved individually by our Heavenly Father, and how we are important in the church as individuals.  He talked about service and sacrifice, and specifically mentioned the strength and faith of the women of the church.  If that was the only talk I heard this weekend, it would have been enough.

I should probably mention that topics are not assigned, each speaker is only given a time.  Even within the scope of the Gospel, it’s interesting to see what themes come out.

Today, there seemed to be three:  Faith, family and prophets.  There were two mentions of a devotional given by Ezra Taft Benson in 1980, called “14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet“.  We were told repeatedly that our actions today can affect generations.

This afternoon Elder Neal L. Anderson talked about faith–another talk that seemed to be aimed specifically at me.  He specifically mentioned a trial of faith that I’ve been wrestling with lately.  He talked about how, when our faith is tried, we have a greater opportunity to learn of God’s will, if we turn to Him with our questions and concerns.

Today was an excellent day, and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds.

Fighting Perfection

Last week, Dan Pearce from over at Single Dad Laughing posted an amazing entry called “The Disease Called Perfection“.  I came across both his post, and subsequently his blog yesterday after one of my friends posted a link to it on Facebook.

Today, Dan followed it up with a post titled “The Cure for Perfection“.  In it, he begins what he calls “The Perfection Project” where he encourages his readers to share the biggest mistake, trial or struggle they’ve ever survived, and how it changed them.

It struck me that I’ve turned into a terrible hypocrite.  When I started this blog, I told myself that having major depressive disorder is nothing to be ashamed of, and, maybe if I’m completely honest with what I’m experiencing on a daily basis, as well as what I’ve gone through in the approximately 20 years since I was diagnosed, then maybe I can help someone else.   True, there are things, like the Experiment, that are still too painful to talk about, but on the whole, I planned to be completely honest.

Then, being completely honest, life happened.  I got concerned about appearing perfect.  Certain family members kept telling me that “it’s not very nice to read” when I write about being depressed.  Well, no, it’s not.  It’s not very nice to be me when I’m in a low point.  I write about it because it’s a) therapeutic, and b) because if nothing else, maybe I can let someone else who’s brain doesn’t work right know that they are not alone in their suffering.

I wish I had someone let me know that I wasn’t alone in my suffering years before it actually happened.

A good part of my anxiety is, I think, linked to the ideal of perfection.  I was talking to a psychologist recently, and mentioned my anxiety and agoraphobia.

“What are you afraid of?” she asked me.

“People”  I said.  “There might be people [at church/in the movie theater/at Wal-Mart]”

“What is it about being around people that makes you anxious?”

I couldn’t answer that, but upon reading Dan’s post, it hit me–it all has to do with the fear that I might say or do something that will reveal to the world that I’m not perfect.

Logically, I know how stupid that is.  Just looking at me–I’m more than 100 lbs overweight, I rarely do my hair and almost never wear makeup, people can tell that I’m not perfect.   And besides that, perfection is boring. Perfect is annoying. Think about fiction–books or movies or TV shows.  Think of a character who always says and does the right thing at the right time.  You hate that guy, right?   I do.

Our flaws are what make us real.  Being less than perfect is what makes us human.

I guess we all need to be reminded of that.

I know I do.

Wry Bread

White rye-type bread

Image via Wikipedia

A very odd thing has happened.  Upon going back to school, and being asked to think all day long, I all of a sudden don’t have anything on my mind worth blogging about.  Unless, you know, y’all want to hear how I applied what I learned in my art history class this week to the little toy my nephew brought home from a friend’s birthday party.

So, I’m sorry I’ve been slacking on my blogging duties.  I will do better, I promise.

And now, on to the post.

If you ever find yourself in the Prairie Provences of Canada, first of all, I’m deeply sorry. (I say this as someone who loves the cities of Winnipeg and Saskatoon, and would move to either place in a heartbeat.  I just don’t particularly want to vacation there.)   Secondly, get yourself to a local bakery that sells a delectable treat known as Winnipeg rye bread.

Winnipeg rye is lighter than regular rye bread, and doesn’t contain the spicy caraway seeds, but it’s still hardier and tastier than white bread.

Once I set my mind to finding a recipe for Winnipeg rye, it didn’t take long (like this one, posted at food.com).  I didn’t take the time to compare the half-dozen or so recipes that I’ve found online, but I did think it was interesting that they were all “converted for bread-maker use”.

Having found a recipe, I began my search for ingredients–namely cracked rye and gluten.  Granted, this wasn’t a very active search, more of looking for specialty flours whenever I was at a new grocery store.

Last week, while doing my grocery shopping, I discovered rye flour in the bulk bins of a newish store that I’m still trying to decide if I like.  Because it had been a while since I had last looked at the recipe, I figured rye bread needs rye flour.  After working myself into a tizzy at the prospect of making my favorite bread, I pulled up the recipe to discover–no, not rye flour, cracked rye.

Crap.

So, never mind the past six years that I’ve been without Winnipeg rye, I decided that I MUST find cracked rye as soon as possible.

In talking to my sister earlier this week, she commented that it had been too long since we had seen each other (a whole week and a half!) and she thought I needed to come up.  I agreed, and headed up to her house after school this morning.   After abandoning G to the care of the Brother-in-law, (alas, he didn’t think that he could take both boys and still help his father with the project they were working on) we loaded the baby in the car and went on a wild goose chase across the Salt Lake Valley to find cracked rye.

Long story short–we didn’t find the cracked variety, but I did manage to get whole rye berries.  I also discovered that ‘miller‘ is not a viable career option for me.

Especially, you know, when trying to mill the seeds of my biggest allergenic foe.  It’s been two hours since we put away Sis’s wheat grinder, and the tightness in my lungs is just beginning to loosen up.

And I still didn’t manage to crack the rye.  So, I’m going to try it with my non-cracked but slightly scratched rye.

After church tomorrow, I’m going back to Sis’s house, mostly because she wanted to be involved in my bread project.  Which is fine, because it means that I’m not the one who has to clean the kitchen in preparation–although I better mention that I’m planning on cleaning up afterwards, if for no other reason than to keep Mom from getting mad at me.

I really do intend to do the clean-up tomorrow.  Really.

So, if things turn out, expect to see the un-converted bread maker recipe tomorrow.  And, if it doesn’t turn out, I’m sure I’ll have a good story then, too.

Seth and Penny

This is a Plinky post answering the question “What is your earliest memory?”

My earliest memories come courtesy of the teenagers who lived kitty-corner to my family when I was a small child. At the time, my family lived in a community too small to be called a town–perhaps even, too small to be called a village.

There was a post office, but the nearest place to buy gas or groceries was a half hour away. Rather than load a three and four year old into the car to go shopping, Seth and Penny from across the street would watch us when Mom needed to go to town to run errands.

Honestly, I don’t remember which of these two memories happened first, so I’m going to include them both.

One, Penny, my sister and I were in the front yard of our house. Penny and my sister were talking about dreams, and, being three, I didn’t know what a dream was, so I asked.

Penny answered “A dream is what you see when you close your eyes.” So I closed my eyes. I didn’t see anything, so I made something up. I said that I dreamed I was a dancer.

The other memory comes from Seth. Our house was built in the 1940s, and had been added on at least once by the time my family lived there (it had, incidentally, been built by my Grandfather, and it was the house my Mom grew up in too. My sister and I used to fight over who was going to live in the house when we grew up.) As part of the add-ons, there was a rather awkward basement, where the TV would go to live during summer months. Once, when Seth was watching us, he told us “There’s a ghost in the basement, and if you go downstairs, it’s going to get you!”

Now, I don’t know if Seth didn’t want to go in the basement, or if he was just messing with us, or if he really believed that our basement was haunted. What I do know, is for a long time after we were told that, my sister and I were both afraid to go downstairs by ourselves. Even after the TV moved downstairs for the summer, we were afraid to go in one of the two basement bedrooms–because it had hunting bows hanging on the wall, and we thought the ghost would shoot us.

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