Depression, Robin Williams, Suicide, & Parkinson’s Disease

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This week NPR played an interview with Robin Williams from 2006.  He stated that he had never suffered from depression but had felt deep sadness.  As a person who’s had depression multiple times since my late teens, I had a difficult time understanding how someone who lived almost 60 years without depression could become so depressed that he could take his own life.

Then his wife announced today that Williams was in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease. With my experience in the Parkinson’s community, both as a family member, advocate, and outreach coordinator for the NPF, I’ve seen and heard many stories about the depression that accompanies the diagnosis. Williams was such an physical performer.  He had such impressive vocal skills.  He was so animated.  Unfortunately, Parkinson’s slow takes away those talents by inhibiting moving from reduced dopamine production.  It takes away your voice with dysphonia.   It reduces your ability to express yourself through facial expressions.

It easy to say that I know that living with Parkinson’s is not a death sentence.  I know that life with PD is worth living.  But I also can say that I understand just a little bit better.  It’s hard to see which way is up when you’re sink down, down, down. We’ve all lost a great friend.  The world was a better place when Robin Williams was in it. I hope he finds peace and his body renewed in the afterlife.

Single Stall of Paranoia

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This may only apply to women.  There’s probably a small percentage of men that poop in public with a slight bit of shame.  (Though I’ve never met a dude that feels shame about the excessive amount of time they spend stinking up the place, but I digress.)

I havea hierarchy of desirable public restrooms. Starting from the top: 1. Small, clean single holers. 2. Large, clean multi-stalls (often with automated awesomeness found in airports). 3. Medium sized with several stalls.  (These usually have a weird metallic smell and are found in craft stores or home improvement stores.) 4. Large single holers. 5. Any disgusting bathrooms, especially those that look like the inside of a hookers vagina.

Why the hate for large single stations? The space between the door and the toilet.  They always have locks on the door.  Not the awesome, reassuring latch.  Door locks.  I lock the door, huff the distance to the toilet, lower my pants, start to sit, and then feel paranoid that it’s not really locked.  I proceed to do the pants penguin shuffle back to the door.  Unlock it and lock to reassure myself that it is locked.  Shuffle back, sit down, and then have to convince my bladder to release it’s liquids.  Ugh…. pause…. Dammit bladder. Don’t be shy!  When I finally get things started, I try to push that pee out as fast as possible. So fast.  Like I turned the faucet on full blast.  Oh God, Oh God, Oh God. This is my longest pee ever.  What are you doing, bladder? Emptying the entire Route 44 Diet Cherry Coke Zero that we drank 20 minutes ago? HURRY the F up!

Speaking of push pee out fast - did you know that can cause you a UTI? Well, I read that once, but now I can’t find any information so maybe it’s bullshit.  But I think about that every time I’m in a single bathroom, and I’m peeing like I’m trying to put out a fire.

If you’re a restaurant owner (they’re always in restaurants, aren’t they), please put a latch on your single toilet potty room.  You can probably skip it in the men’s though.  They’re proud of their stink.

Spring Time

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It’s that time of year again when I get to play a nightly game of “Is that a mole, or is that a tick?” I would like to apologize to all the beauty marks that have been harmed.

Randomness

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Obviously I’m struggling to write a blog post.  Instead of trying to muster up the mental energy to compose a long, humorous story, I’d thought I’d give you some random little blog vignettes.

Cecilia recently discovered the Elmo Potty DVD.  I’m not sure what it is about that movie that fascinates diaper-wearing toddlers, but I managed to flush my nose with a neti pot, take a shower, and shave my legs without Cecilia ever moving an inch.  Part of me feelings guilty for letting her watch so much TV.  Then again, she’s happy and safe and my legs no longer revival Chris’s beard.

Speaking of shaving, why can’t I shave my legs without cutting myself?  I’ve been doing it nearly 20 years.  You’d think I would have mastered it by now.

A blind albino kid grabbed me at Panera today while I was filing my glass with ice.  I know I shouldn’t laugh, but how random is that?

I read my hometown paper every morning to see if anyone I went to high school with got arrested for making meth.  It gives me a boost when I’m feeling down.

Chris is intimated by laundry.  When he was single, he was great about doing it regularly, but I completely understand his fear now.  It’s confusing.  For Cecilia’s clothes, I use a Tide Stain Lifter packet with Seventh Generation Free & Clear detergent.  For ours, I use OxyClean and Arm & Hammer detergent.  I never use fabric softener on the towels because it ruins the microfiber dish towels.  Diapers get two cycles - one in cold, one in hot - and the second load gets half a table spoon of Charley’s soap. Oh, and if any load is particularly dirty, I might add some borax or washing soda.  Pretty much the only job I assign him is moving clothes from the washer to the dryer or folding.

Sh*t

I admit it. I made a mistake.  I was waffling back and forth.  “Should it stay?” “Should it go?” And I let myself down.  I knew better.  I think my March 1st tweet says it all:

The stray cat that I’d been feeding had kittens in my mudroom last night. Shiiiiit!

It’s totally my fault.  I should have paid to get her fixed or taken her to the pound.  It’s just that it costs so much for a procedure for a cat that isn’t mine.  But I’m the one who’s fed her all these months and opened up my mudroom as shelter from the cold nights.   Alas, she is my cat, and I should have done better.  Damn.  Now I either need to find homes for four adorable kittens and get the cat fixed or take her to the pound.

Bob Barker raised me better.

065

“It didn’t have to be this way.”

067

“I wish I could go to prom with my friends…”

Peace

I’m sitting in my driveway with a sleeping baby in my backseat and listening to a woodpecker attack one of the neighborhood trees.  My laptop is picking up the house’s wifi and playing my favorite type of music on Pandora.  It’s a sunny day, and the car is blocking us from the chilly wind.  It’ so incredibly peaceful.  I know a lot of folks would criticize me because I haven’t been able to master my child’s sleeping habits and the fear of an overly tired, hyper toddler is enough to keep me from moving her out of her carseat, but I don’t care.  For me, the chaos and stress of a forced nap (and usually resulting in an unsuccessful attempt of said nap) is not worth it.  She’s small.  She won’t sleep in the car for every nap.  Life is good.  Besides, if she napped inside, I couldn’t watch the wind pick up leaves, twirl them around, and place them back on the ground.  I couldn’t enjoy the winter sun on my skin.  I would feel obligated to do laundry, make beds, and put away toys.  When everything is said and done, a moments peace and balance is more enjoyable than an empty kitchen sink.

Minty

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There’s a phenomenon that happens when you have toddlers called the common cold.  I know that’s not particularly unusual, but once children become part of your household, a cold can really cramp your style.  You see, it’s not just a cold; it’s multiple colds that are passed back and forth between all members of your family.  Each person mutates it just a little bit, thus making everyone’s newly created immunities worthless.

I have to admit that our most recent bout started with me, which I passed on to Cecilia, who passed it on to Chris.  (We also passed it to Chris’s parents, and they passed it on to his brother.)  However, there has been one bright spot in it all.  You see, a couple of weeks ago, I sent Chris to the store to get tissues with lotion because my nose had gotten raw from blowing it into toilet paper.  He’s pretty good at following directions, but he came home with this:

Usually when I send Chris to the store with a specific request, I really want him to stick to it, but this time, I was happy he took a gamble.  Opening the box of Puffs Plus Lotion with Vicks Scent was like stepping into a menthol scented room.  It wasn’t just a hint of Vicks; it was a wafting cloud of Vicks.  They’re awesome.  I even slept with one shoved into my bra so that Cecilia, who was sleeping next to me, could get the benefit of VapoRub without all the sticky goo.  Every single member of Chris’s extended family loved them.  His mom bought 6 boxes at the store.  His cousin taped one to her face.  His dad put a piece of one inside his CPAP machine at night.

It’s my hope that these things really catch on.  I would be really disappointed if they were discontinued.  They’re not an every day tissue.   It’s definitely not a box that I’d put on the back of the toilet.  That location is reserved for plain tissues - ones that I can grab if I run out of toilet paper.  (I don’t think I need menthol down there.)  However, they’re awesome for stuffy noses!

Cheerio, mate.

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We have two new addictions in our house, and it’s starting to infect my brain.  Cecilia has recently fallen in love with the Wiggles, and, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that they’re an Australian musical group with a television show for children.  Cecilia is completely mesmerized by them and often brings me the television remote with a sad look on her face in a desperate attempt to get more Wiggle time.  I’m embarrassed to admit the amount of Wiggles I let her watch.  At first, it was just a morning thing - a way to entertain her at her  5:30am wake up time while I drag my sleep-deprived ass to the coffee pot and zone out as it drips into the carafe.  But then she started dancing and singing along with the songs, and oh my gosh.  How do you resist a year and half year old’s desire to sing and dance?

The Wiggles songs are catchy and really easy to learn, which is fantastic for Cecilia.  Again, super cute to see your baby throw her arms up and yell, “Go! Go! Go!” Unfortunately, it’s not so great for Momma.  I find myself with a constant loop of Wiggles running through my head.  I fall asleep to songs about Dorothy the Dinosaur and wake up to songs about Wags the Dog, all in my head.

My personal latest obsession is the BBC’s Radio 1.  I have access to it through my satellite radio in my car and my kitchen.  I really, really enjoy listening to British music and news.  It’s interesting to hear another perspective on war, pop culture, and other newsworthy events.  I’m also really digging Brit pop.  I’ve grown weary of American stations constant need to play vomit-inducing Nickleback and American Idol contestants.  (Don’t get me wrong. I do like a couple of them, like Carrie Underwood, but the rest? Um, they’re game show losers. Why do they deserve record albums and air time?)  I’ve been exposed to some great British bands, like Chase & Status and Mumford & Sons.

Needless to say, it’s been a bit of a cultural experience around here, and Cecilia and I are having a great time.  However, it’s really starting to get to my brain.  Part of me wants to start calling college “uni” (short for university) and pronounce tomato “ta-mah-to”.  Oh? And my personal inner dialog? She has a British accent now.

RCA Dog

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If you’re my friend on Facebook, you know that I’ve been stalking a purchase on UPS.com.  I usually do this with any package that’s coming my way, but this one was particularly special.  It’s Chris and my Christmas gift to each other - a new 40″ flatscreen HD tv (1090p 120hz, if you care).  Beyond my need to know the whereabouts of my shit, I needed to plan to be home because it required a signature for delivery.

Last night, Chris got a call from UPS stating that it would be delivered today between 8am and 7pm.  (Way to be specific, UPS.) I guess that can’t assume everyone keeps their tracking site up on their laptops and hits refresh every hour or so.  After that call, I promptly cleared my schedule for today.  We were supposed to go to the Science museum and run a few errands, but now my only task was to wait for the TV.  Simple enough, right?

Well, around 9am, I realized that my hair was really skanky and that I needed a shower.  I figured it was okay.  After all, UPS usually delivers to businesses in the morning.  Just to be on the safe side, I put a note on the door that said, “UPS, Please knock loud,” and I hopped in the shower.  Apparently, UPS Freight doesn’t deliver to just businesses in the morning because as soon as I got my hair suds up, I heard Lucy barking.

You see, I didn’t ask the delivery man to knock loud so I would hear him.  I asked him to knock loud so the dog would hear him.  I knew that she would go absolutely bat shit if there was a man knocking on the front door, and I was right.

I jumped out of the shower, dried off as best as I could, wrapped my soapy hair in a towel, threw on a robe, tossed the dog in the bedroom, and answered the door.   The UPS man wasn’t sure what to make of it.  Cecilia thought it was hilarious.  It took him a moment, but offered to scoot the TV inside the front door and quickly scurried off (very quickly).

Needless to say, Lucy earned her keep today. It was really windy today, and I’m just thankful that we didn’t get a big gust of air while I was standing on the front porch in my robe.  The UPS guy would have gotten more than just a signature. (Eek!)

Bling Bling

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This weekend I washed my car.  That’s something I rarely do, partially to save on water but mostly because I’m lazy.  Since we’ve owned the car for 10 months now, I figured it was time.  Unfortunately, while shining up my blackened-with-soot tires, I noticed that someone had stolen all the lug nut caps on my passenger side.  Normally, I would assume that they had fallen off when I hit a curb, (Embarrassingly, that happens every time I go to our neighborhood Walgreens.) but all ten were missing on the same side so that tells me it wasn’t my fault.

On Tuesday, I checked eBay to see the going rate for Audi lug nut covers.  I was surprised that they were only $16.99, which included free shipping.  Considering an additional car key is $400, I thought $17 was a real steal!  I promptly ordered them (though in my mind, I wondered, “Am I just paying to buy back my stolen ones?”)  I was so happy when they arrived in the mail today. I would no longer be driving a ghetto fabulous car! At least that’s what I thought.

My car is a different kind of ghetto fab now - the chrome variety.  When I ordered the caps on eBay, I made sure to order the chrome colored ones as opposed to the red or blue variety that were also offered.  It didn’t cross my mind that they were chrome not basic silver colored.  Thankfully they mostly blend in with the car, or at least I hope they do.  And they do look nice.  actually, they put the rest of my wheels to shame.  Maybe I need to buy some spinners to match.

CHROME lug nut covers