Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Eyelashes, dieting, and dogs

Ok, strange title…I know they are not related. However, this is what I want to talk about today.

Eyelashes: Last time I talked about my eyelashes. Well, I decided I would try to get some fake eyelashes to wear to boost what I have.

Well, that was fun. Have any of you tried to wear these things?! I swear, it took me an half an hour to get the things placed correctly and to stick on right. The ends kept coming off. Then, I decided to wear them to McDonalds (since I was going there with the kids). Oh. My. God. I was so self-conscious. I was constantly checking the eyelashes b/c I was afraid they would come off and I would be talking to someone and not know my eyelash had traveled up to my eyebrow!

Well, it seems my fears were well-founded. By the time I got home a few hours later, one eyelash was 3/4s of the way unglued and the ends were coming up on the other one (though, fortunately neither had worked up to my eyebrow).

I am now a little gun-shy when it comes to fake eyelashes. I decided my lashes aren’t so bad after all :-)

I did, however, find this great video on videojug: How to use and apply fake eyelashes

Dieting: Here is what I have realized about me (perhaps this is true for others as well): I am motivated to lose weight when I am unhappy: unhappy about my looks, with my sex-life, with my life in general. Probably because I think losing weight will make me happy. So, I lose weight better when I feel a bit shitty about everything. I guess it is my way to fix everything. However, when I am happy I am more accepting of my weight and am not really motivated to lose.

Unfortunately, I eventually become unhappy about just my weight and then I feel bad again. It is a crazy cycle!

While I am not necessary terribly overweight in my community (many of us wear size 16 or 18 jeans – as I do right now), I desperately need to lose weight. I know that eating right and exercising are one of the main ways I will get better.

Dogs: We are considering getting an autism service dog for our son. There is a breeder/trainer organization close to our home. It all seems like a pretty good idea. However, after he is approved it takes a year to get the dog AND during that year we have to raise almost $14,000. Apparently people are able to do this; it seems a bit daunting to me. I guess I will eventually add "fundraising" to one of my many trades now. It seems I might need to know a lot about it soon.

I am actually pretty excited about this opportunity, even though it is another major project. Our other son is getting ready to have surgery in September; a limb lengthening procedure. He is somewhat young to have this done (five), but it is necessary with his condition and how it is progressing.

This year looks to be as busy and crazy as the last.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

They were right, getting old really does suck!

I looked in the mirror this morning and I hardly had any eyelashes left! And, the ones I do have are short, little stubby things. AGH! What happened to me?!

Having struggled with a condition that I can only label as chronic fatigue (though I have not been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), it seems that I have grown old rather quickly. However, it is not just CFS that makes me feel old. I feel like I have gotten old so fast (and at such a young age) but perhaps that is what most middle-aged women feel???

I suffer from a hearing loss and must wear hearing aids. While I can hear without them, I miss a lot of things. My audiologist tells me that my loss is pretty significant for my age. However, hearing loss is occurring at younger and younger ages. In fact, people in their 50s and even in their 40s are now being seen with hearing loss that often didn’t occur until much later in life (such as 60s and 70s). Some of the reasons for this are occupational noise, loud music (you know, that guy on the bus with his headphone blaring so loud that you can clearly hear the music!) and even loud movies and TV (Hearing Loss Web; healthscout.com). In my case, the first two items on that list would be a big part of the problem. I don’t get to see movies much, however, I probably should consider that blaring TV my husband is watching.

Then there is the wonderful world of perimenopause. Don’t even get me started on that one!

Most recently, I got to experience several cardiac stress tests, nuclear scans, and an angiogram (now, remember, I am in my mid-forties). Fortunately, the heart disease that the cardiologist suspected turned out to be a false positive stress test. However, I still suffer from angina like pains and carry nitroglycerine in my purse.

Perhaps what gets to me is the “symbolism” of old age: hearing aids, nitroglycerine…these are things that “old” people have/need. Now all I need is a lovely pair of dentures and I will be set! And, my hair has gotten a whole lot thinner…Gawd, I am turning into Fred Mertz!

Moreover, because of the chronic fatigue, I do not have the energy to live the life I led only a few years ago. I forget things, I cannot concentrate, I cannot get organized, etc etc. Doctors (and I say “doctors” because I have a few) struggle with trying to figure out what is “wrong with me.” ADD (probably fits), heart disease (fortunately not), diabetes (nope, all those tests are fine), thyroid (medication has kept my TSH fairly stable for years now), depression (OK, taking anti-depressants and I am not currently “depressed” – but I am discouraged!)…This just names a few.

Sometimes I think that this is just the result of being a (middle-aged) woman. When you have a child is takes a lot out of you. If you have a whole passel of them, what does that do to you? Sometimes I think we give too much of ourselves away during the assimilation into motherhood. Especially, when we become mothers early in life; we often don’t have the opportunity to find out who we are, other than “mommy.” Then there is school/work (both of which I have given much too much of myself to as well). Wonderwoman syndrome has a price!

I look at young women today and am amazed at their capacity for 1) self-preservation, 2) assertion with men, and 3) their won’t-take-any-shit attitude. I have always secretly envied people – especially women – who were (what society would label as) selfish. To be selfish was never a value for women in my family. In fact it was almost a sin.

I wonder if I knew how to be more selfish if I would feel this damn old…

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The journey of the Jane

Well, I guess I should get this started. Too many times I have thought: "this would make a great blog entry," and haven't written it down or posted.

So, what is this about...I am not sure. A journey? Is a blog supposed to be about that?

I have heard of people writing blogs when they have started a life-changing journey, so I guess this is one.

I still have to write up and "about me" and fix this page up a bit...but all that has bogged me down from actually writing. So, I have decided to just start!

What is this journey? I don't think of it as a journey from (or out of) one thing - I am the "Jane of all trades" after all. Often people write up blogs when they are on a weight loss journey, or maybe about their kids, sometimes it is about an illness, other times it is about politics and (of course) their viewpoint on particular issues. I think within my nature I am not a "specialist" but a "big-picture" type of person (who is stuck in a world full of specialists!) so I look at my journey as more than my weight loss, children, illness, opinions about politics - etc etc. It is all interrelated.

I guess the best way to start to is to explore this meaning of Jack of all trades (master of none). In today's society of mono-skilled specialists, experts, masters, and gurus, it is a bad thing to know many trades/skills...because to learn many skills you don't have the time to become "the master of" one.

"A Jack of all trades may also be a master of integration, as the individual knows enough from many learned trades and skills to be able to bring their disciplines together in a practical manner" (Wikipedia).

It was not always bad to be a polymath. In fact, until recently, it was a positive circumstance. Hell, Leonardo da Vinci was known as such...Actually, Leo was often described as a Renaissance man; a term similar to, but slightly different than, the idea of polymath or "Jack of all trades."

The ideas of the Renaissance could be described in this context by the words Homo universalis (or universal man). The ideal of Renaissance humanism was for one to develop one's potential and acquire universal learning. The natural human instinct of curiosity was robustly encouraged. Today we use the term generalist (as opposed to specialist) when someone uses a general approach to gathering knowledge (rather than a focused, specialized approach, i.e., gathering knowledge about one thing and one thing only - my addition to the definition) (The History Guide: Renaissance Humanism; Wikipedia)

But we sure love our polymaths! Here are some beloved, fictional polymaths:

Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, Gregory House of House M.D, Buckaroo Banzai, Artemis Fowl, Grand Admiral Thrawn of Star Wars, Batman, Mr. Peabody, Gil Grissom of CSI: Las Vegas, Agent Pendergast, Hannibal Lecter, Doc Savage, Mr. Spock of Star Trek, James Bond, Jarod of The Pretender (TV series), Dess of Midnighter's Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld, Charlie of Heroes, and MacGyver (to name a few, I am sure you could think of more!) (Wikipedia)

So, what about us women???

Are we just all assumed to be polymaths? Are we naturally multitaskers and that makes us immune to both the positive and negative connotations about the "Jack of all trades" label?

Well, maybe most women are multitaskers. Maybe it is part of our instinctual nature around motherhood, home life, etc. But how does that fit into the career world of experts?

I would like to take a stand about this term and add "Jane of all trades" to the definition. Women suffer from and enjoy this term (or at least the spirit of it) as well.

I am so often told I know so much about so many things; that I have done so many things. People seem envious of me for having such a varied experience in life, education, and career. The problem that most of them don't see is that knowing a lot about a lot of things won't get you a career in this be-an-expert-at-what-you-do marketplace.

Maybe I was born out of my time; my kids think I am a relic from the past anyway =)

More next time...