If the House is Quiet and the Brit-coms Aren’t On, Then…..

It’s Saturday night.  The house is finally quiet.  I went in search of my Brit-coms on PBS, but instead a concert was playing.  Missing the Brit-coms made me think about my favorites– “Keeping Up Appearances” and “As Time Goes By” among others.  Thinking about “As Time Goes By” made me think about their brilliant cast, which then made me think about Dame Judi Dench. (I’m living out my own version of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” here.)   I remembered a quote I’d read from her several months ago:

The more I do,

the more

frightened I get.

But that is

essential.

Otherwise why

would I go on

doing it?

–Dame Judi Dench

Not only is she a talented actress, she is also a very wise woman.

So I decided to look up more words from this woman who seems so familiar to me, after years of spending Saturday nights together.

And I found this one.

20140322-221851.jpg

Wow.

Be careful what you seek.  You just might find it.

She shot that arrow right through my heart.  As though she’d been reading my mind.

Because, you see, I do this.  I build bridges left and right in my mind and cross all of them, testing them for security and comfort and safety, not trusting what they will be like on the other side unless I check them out.  Way in advance.  Well before I reach the bridges.  And most of those bridges are only in my mind.  I will never have to cross them in “real life.”  This is how I know Anxiety Girl* is back for a visit–you know, my friend who is able to leap to the worst conclusions in a single bound?  Yeah, her.

What would it look like if I didn’t cross any bridges until I came up on them?  There’s a fine line between being carefree and careless, between being over-prepared and without a clue…..these fine lines elude me.  I usually wind up over-prepared (for things that don’t happen), over-stressed (over things I am anticipating will happen), and over-worked mentally (trying to get all my plans together–plans I NEVER HAVE TO USE).  I wish I could no kidding (and sorry if you start hearing the Frozen theme song here) “let it go.”  All of it.  And try taking life–the joys and heartaches and adventures and rainy, sleepy afternoons–as it comes.  Whenever and however it comes.

Unfortunately, I learned the fine art of script-writing my life many moons ago, and it is a hard thing to stop.  But I’m trying.  I wish there were a twelve step group for those of us addicted to being prepared.  I’m not meaning to be facetious here, and I don’t mean to offend those with more serious life-threatening addictions.  I recognize it’s a minor one in the whole scheme of things, but it can be somewhat debilitating.  I feel like a catcher always in position who doesn’t know which way the ball is coming from, so I’m constantly spinning and watching for it from all directions.

Which isn’t really possible.

And now that I’ve exhausted and mixed metaphors like I do, I want you to know–if you struggle with the “what if’s” and “I’ve got to be ready for anything” and “what is coming next?,”  you are not alone.  There are several of us.  And one moment at a time, maybe we can overcome.  Being prepared is not a bad thing.  It’s just the being prepared for anything and everything that could potentially, might possibly happen–that, not so much.

I’m going to try to let go and only worry about bridges that I can actually see up ahead.  It’s a waste of time and energy to do otherwise, right?

*sigh*

I really wish the Brit-coms had been on tonight.  Would have made for a less exhausting evening.

Love to all.

*created by artist Natalie Dee of www.nataliedee.com

I Want the Caramel Flavored Fluoride Too!

Whoo.  What a day.

We worked hard to get in as much of our studies as we could before heading out for dentist appointments.  Me and the littles.

I used to love going to the dentist.

That ceased two and a half years ago.

I got my first cavity. Ever.

I was so mad.  I figured it was the fault of the new mouthpiece I wore for TMJ.  I blamed it so hard that I quit wearing it then and there.  And after getting the filling, I definitely was NOT happy.  I remember going back to Mama’s to pick up my littles and almost drooling on Daddy in his hospital bed as we talked.  I felt sure my mouth was sliding off my face.  It took forever to regain feeling.  Have I mentioned that I was NOT happy?  Not one bit.

I tend to stress before the appointments now.  Yeah, Anxiety Girl shows up in all her glory.  Even more so when it’s my children’s appointments.  What they don’t tell you as folks are congratulating you and oohing and ahhing over your sweet new baby is this:  “Congratulations, you have now become responsible for someone else’s teeth.”

Whaaaaaa?

It is hard enough to obsess over my own, but now, I stress over what the dentist or hygienist will tell me about my children’s teeth, which of course is ALL MY FAULT.  It’s enough to make me lose sleep and gain weight.  (Oh if only I could switch those around!)

So of course, it makes sense to schedule all three of us together at the same time in rooms next door to each other just so I can have all the stress and anxiety and worry hit me in the head all at once.  Might as well.

Oh boy.

So today Cooter sat in with me while his sister had her teeth cleaned.  While I was having an x-ray done, he slipped into the other room for his cleaning.  Our Australian dentist came in to check my teeth and gave me the report on the littles.  I held my breath.  Which isn’t easy to do when someone has their hand in your mouth.  Seriously.  Try it.

“No cavities.”  The whoosh of relief might have fogged up his glasses just a little.  “However, you need to help Cooter just a little bit with his flossing maybe if that’s possible.  He has some spots where cavities could develop.”  I sighed.  Yeah, I figured.  Okay, we can do that.

Bad news sounds so much better when delivered with an accent, you know?

I love my hygienist.  We have known each other for years.  And for two people who only see each other about twice a year usually, we keep up with the important stuff in each other’s lives.  No small feat considering I’m rendered unable to speak legibly during much of our time together.

Today we talked about weddings and death, stress, yeast, grandchildren, and the holidays.  When my little guy came in–the same one she guessed the gender of when I was pregnant with him–she smiled.  Since she was giving me my fluoride treatment, the two of them talked.

“Did you get your fluoride treatment?” she asked him.

He nodded.  (Boy, speak up, she can’t hear the rocks in your head.  But I was unable to get the words out.)

“What flavor did you choose?  Strawberry, bubble gum, mint, or our new one–orange crush?”

He looked around for a minute, thinking.  “Ummm, caramel.”

She and I both burst out laughing.  (Mine was through my nose–very attractive.)  “Really?” she asked.  “Are you sure?  Caramel?”

He nodded again.  “Yes.  It was caramel.”

I reached over and mock-punched my hygienist.  “Girl, you been holding out on me?” I said.  Only I’m pretty sure it came out, “Durrr, uuu biii ooin ow a e?”  Which of course she interpreted (she’s just that good), and she started laughing too, pretending to fend off my blows.  She called out to her friend and co-worker next door and asked.  Turns out he’d had the new one.  (Yeah, there was no caramel.  But what a concept!)

So of course, after my treatment was over, we all taste tested it to see if it did indeed taste like caramel.

I couldn’t tell, I was jazzed up on the mint.  (Never choose anything other than mint.  It just doesn’t feel clean otherwise.  I know this from experience.  Trust me.)

When we left with our “supply” bags in tow, my two proudly showed me their “treats.”  I love this dentist.  They used to give out “toys” from the treasure box.  Now they give out Chick-Fil-A coupons.  THANK YOU, DR. K!   As we left with smiles and good reports and hugs with my friend and hygienist, we all felt pretty good about ourselves.  We were cavity clear, headed to CFA for free food, and full of relief that we’d eked by one more time.

It’s a good feeling.  I intend to enjoy it.  At least for the next five months and twenty-nine days.

Happy Brushing, y’all!

In honor of my hygienist/friend whom I love, here’s a little giggle and a shout out to those great people who help us keep our mouths clean.  😉  Thank you all. 

Anxiety Girl and the Hemp Seed Yogurt

Y'all remember my superhero?  I mentioned her here.

Y’all remember my superhero?  Anxiety Girl by artist Natalie Dee www.nataliedee.com

I got an e-mail in the past couple of weeks warning of the contents in Chobani Greek Yogurt.  This triggered my superhero within, Anxiety Girl, whom I’ve introduced to you before. Her superpower is quite accurate—”Able to jump to the worst conclusion in a single bound.”

Ahem.

The problem is my children LOVE Chobani Greek Yogurt.  We only buy it when it is on sale.  When it is, we stock up.  They are great for snacks or with a meal.  And yummy.  (No, not getting reimbursed here—just wanting you to know how much this e-mail stressed me out.)  I’m a label reader from way back.  I have to be.  I have a child with severe food allergies.  It is my job to be vigilant.

So this e-mail suggested that the folks addressed in it should cease and desist from eating Chobani as it contained hemp seeds, which could trigger a positive result on a drug test.

Say what?

Now I know about hemp and marijuana—same species, different set of dogs.  But to think that I might possibly have been feeding this to my children?  Without realizing it?  No. Way.

I found myself doubting me.  And my abilities to feed my children.  I panicked.  I HAVE to be a good label reader. There is no other option. My child’s life depends on it.  Wouldn’t I have seen that?  Wouldn’t they have to label it properly?  I hoped for a snopes.com story about this rumor but no.  So I did what has come naturally in recent years.  I looked it up on the internet.

My friends and I were talking about this yogurt yesterday--and then I found it in our local grocery store right after that.  Yes, the "hemp seed" yogurt has made it to middle Georgia!

My friends and I were talking about this yogurt yesterday–and right after that I found it in our local grocery store. Yes, the “hemp seed” yogurt has made it to middle Georgia!

It was on the Chobani website itself that I found the story about their new flip style yogurt being released.  These are square-shaped containers that have yogurt on one side and granola or fruit or hemp and chia seeds on the other.  You literally flip them over into the yogurt, stir, and enjoy.  One of the new ones is called “Blueberry Power” with chia and yes, you got it, hemp seeds ready to be mixed in.

Relief.  I can laugh about it.  Now.

No surprise ingredients--I had been reading it correctly. Thanks for that scare, Anxiety Girl!

No surprise ingredients–I had been reading it correctly. Thanks for that scare, Anxiety Girl!

Just to be sure, I re-read  for probably the 100th time the label on the Chobani we had at home.  (OCD much?)  We were okay.

That’s good.  Because I don’t know if my family could handle me if I didn’t get to have my little cup of Chobani Bites Coffee Yogurt with Dark Chocolate Chips.  Every day.  (but who’s counting?)

Anxiety Girl shows up at the oddest times.   Sometimes I hear a noise I’m not sure about, and I will be fine.  Then I’ll hear the story about the international young people going around selling books and trying to get in people’s houses for nefarious reasons, and I’m all about not unlocking the door for anyone.  There’s not really a rhyme or reason to what my anxiety locks in on and obsesses over–it just happens.  I can worry over something one day and then the next day it’s on to something else.

Ours is a society that feeds on anxiety, isn’t it?  Some people seem to love fear mongering.  The news folks like to share these stories that have us all convinced the next “bad thing” is going to walk right in our front door and settle in for a good long time.  And hog the remote.  Nothing you can do but prepare the guest room and sit and wait.  Which isn’t stressful at all. *sigh* The anticipating all the bad than can happen–seriously, that’s really exhausting.  Some call it hypervigilance, I just call it survival–it’s how I roll.

This way of thinking, this pattern of worrying over that which hasn’t happened yet and might not ever–it’s something I have got to break.  It’s a struggle.  I have my good days and I have my bad.  I have tried to pinpoint triggers, and I think I’ve found a couple.  1.  Sleep.  When I don’t get enough sleep, it’s easier to be irrational in my fears.  2.  Change.  When life delivers a big old bowl of change or loss or disruption to what might look like normal, I get all discombobulated and the stress is there to make sure things stay that way.  It’s hard to fight the waves of panic and be rational when things are uncertain and hard to deal with anyway.

I saw this quote the other day.  I smiled, but the truth in it resonated with me and has hung around in my head for days.

picture courtesy of GypsyNester.com

picture courtesy of GypsyNester.com

I do love my rocking chairs.  Inside, outside, in between.  But to give the time I could be sitting, rocking, and listening over to stress, worry, and anxiety?  I’d rather not.  I’d prefer to sit and rock and listen to the sounds of the hummingbirds zipping around (sounds just like the light sabers in Star Wars–sorry we’re a little obsessed over here–still), or the delighted squeals of the littles as they catch another frog or “Hoppin’ Joe.”  Just sit and soak in life rather than let it be chipped away and cracked by the anxiety and worry of what might could happen.

But please hear me say this.  There are some forms of anxiety and panic that are NOT a case of mind over matter or changing patterns of thinking.  There are legitimate chemical imbalances that can cause these attacks which require professional treatment and possibly medication.  And I’m one who believes in therapy.  With a good therapist.  Please don’t let anyone make you feel like you are weak or a failure if you can’t fight it alone.  It’s okay to ask for and seek help. *steps off soapbox* Thanks.

In the end I think the yogurt e-mail was a result of someone else jumping to conclusions.  Rather than realize that it was just this one yogurt, they were all prepared to not have any.  I think anxiety can cause us to do that–we miss out on so much because of one fear or past experience.  Instead, if we can and will do our research and not automatically jump to those worst case scenarios, we will begin to live and enjoy life a little more.  And hopefully one day a lot more.

After all, Anxiety Girl’s a cutie, but she’s a real drag to have around.

 

***In researching tonight I found out that Chobani will be removing the hemp seeds from their Blueberry Power in the future.  So if you’re wanting to try it, you need to put it on your list and head on out to your grocery store.  Let me know how you like it.

Also if you are interested, my friend Baddest Mother Ever and some new blogger friends are linking up to share responses to the question, “What’s a Challenge You Are Facing?”  If you are interested in reading more takes on this question, please visit Flotsam of the Mind and find other links at the bottom of her post.  Thanks!