Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Visiting Yorktown was a lot of fun, from the battlefield to the quaint little village town I learned a lot in a few short hours.

We all know about Yorktown and the great battle that was fought there, but to actually see the battlefield, see the earthen burrs and 11 actual cannons that were on the battlefield is when you truly get a look at Yorktown.

My day in Yorktown started at the Yorktown History Center. Like Jamestown Settlement it's a living museum with a re-created farm and Continental Army Encampment. The farm probably would be fun and interesting to most people, but I've been to many places like that in the past and so I pretty much knew about that time period and how the people lived. The fun part of this day was the re-created Continental Army Camp. This is how an Army camp would of looked like and operated in the civil war.

This picture shows what an enlisted men's tent would look like. One tent would house 6 men. Usually they would sleep on the open dirt, rarely they had straw to buffer the rocks. The men would lay horizontally so they all would fit into this very tiny tent. In one company there would be 48 enlisted men, so there would be 8 tents. The other tents were for ammunition, captains, commanders, physicians and officer's tents. There was also a warehouse type tent.

Left: This tent is the weapon tent. Each tent had one weapon tent.

Right: Captain's tent. Captain's were promoted from the enlisted men and had a tad larger tent than the enlisted men.

This is inside the Commander's tent. This tent very large. It had the bed area, dining room table area and in the middle was the desk. The Commander's were usually men who were wealthy and paid to be a commander. Rarely were they enlisted men who went up the ranks to be promoted. It was a very prestigious thing to be a "Commander" of the Continental Army and only the rich could afford it. They had there own chamberpot (bathroom) and a small heater that was heated by hot coals. Fire's were not permitted within the tents as they were highly flammable.

This is the medical tent. Like the Commander's the doctor paid for the right to be the "Camp's" doctor. Why anyone would want to do that is beyond me, but anyway. To be deemed a physician all you needed was a signed piece of paper saying that you were of sound mind. There was no particular institution or person you needed to get this from either. It could have been your neighbor verifying you were of sound mind. They did very little amputations as that would increase the likelihood of death and infection. If they did do the amputations they would bite on a small piece of wood. After the surgery they gave them laudanum, but only afterwards. I asked if they had it, why not give it to them during the procedure. Apparently laudanum is a type of blood thinner, so they would of bled to death.

Now, to my favorite part in the camp. The Women's Tent. If I hadn't seen it for myself I would not have believed it. Women were common amongst the troops. They were often women who had no home or place to go, so they joined there enlisted men. Women were expected to earn there keep and so did so my cooking, cleaning, sewing and laundry. They would charge a very small fee for those duties. Because all the tents were for enlisted men, the women had to live in makeshift lean-tos.

The cooking was primarily done by the enlisted men. They made these earthen ovens, which were actually very ingenious. There would be this large mound of soil compacted hard to form a semi-circle. Then there would be 8 "ovens" around the circle. One for each tent. They would build the fire in the "oven" and the heat and smoke would come out the hole on top (where the pots are) and cook there food. Only things that could be cooked in a pot were made, such as soup and stew. The women would do the cooking for the Commander's.

The entire camp shows organization and order. Every tent has it's designated spot and each time the camp would move and set up someplace new, the same layout was used. This created some type of consistency amongst the men and maintained order. You have to remember that these men who fought during the civil war were mostly volunteers and I was reminded of that when I saw this re-creation. To volunteer for something in such deplorable conditions took someone who was steadfast in their conviction for the cause in which they were fighting for. There was the aspect that the men were paid, so a lot of them also joined to be able to feed there families, but they endeavored such hardships it again confirmed in me what the backbone of this nation was founded on. Strong, committed, God fearing men and women who were willing to lose it all for the cause they so freely believed in. It matters not if they believed in slavery or not, what matters is that solid men and women who did not waiver in their convictions. I wonder if we were put into the same situation and conditions now, would we be as resilient and unwavering. I wonder.


My visit to Jamestown, Virginia will be one that I won’t forget. I started my day heading towards Jamestown from Richmond, VA. I left the hotel about 10am and got to Jamestown at 11am. This was my first drive south of Richmond and I was struck with the beautiful scenery all around. Even though all the leaves were off of the trees, it was still a gorgeous drive. The weather was clear, but very windy.

I first stopped at the Jamestown Settlement. Here they have a large exhibit hall to walk through and interact with the displays. A wealth of information on the Powhatan Indians that the Jamestown settlers came across. They had beautiful displays and information about what it was like living here in 1607, such hardships.

Most of the historical and museums I’ve been touring while here in Richmond are during the off season. Jamestown Settlement is a living museum where they have people dressed in character and work and do things that the early settlers did. They don’t talk in today’s time and only can answer questions pertaining to those early times. However, because it is the off season, none of that was going on. That was a little bit of a letdown, but the good side was they still had tour guides and I got them all to myself.

They had a re-created Powhatan Indian village which was interesting. The most interesting pieces for me were how they made fish nets, canoes and cleaned the fur to make leather. You can see from the picture how the fish nets were made. The canoes were made by using rocks, seashells, tree branches and burning out the center of cut logs. They, of course, had no tools so they used the resources from the land. The furs were strung up like the picture shows and dried. Once dried then the women would then take seashells to scrap the fur off and eventually all that was left was the hide. I can’t remember how long they said it would take them, but it was a long time.

The next stop was the replicas of the three ships that came to Jamestown. Those were the Susan Constant, Discovery and Godspeed. Out of the three they had on the Susan Constant and Discovery. The Godspeed was out for repair as these are actual functional ships. The Susan Constant, which was the largest of the three, was a cargo ship. It only carried 54 or 64 (I don’t remember) actual settlers and they were all men. The rest were crewmen and the captain’s crew. The quarters were so very tight that it was unbelievable that the settlers suffered 3 months on this ship. For some reason, I have no pictures of the inside. I have video, but not still pictures. The only bed (if you want to call them that) was in the Captains quarters. Men must have been small then, because I couldn’t even fit on them length wise and I’m 5’2.

The next stop at this museum was a re-creation of the Jamestown Fort. Once I went to the actual fort, this was nothing like it. There really isn’t anything to report on this.

After I was done with Jamestown Settlement, I drove next door to Historic Jamestown. This is where the actual fort existed and where the current archaeology dig is in progress and has been done. This stop in my visits around Richmond is my favorite. Actually after I visited this site, I would have never bothered with Jamestown Settlement which was next door.

To give you a picture, the fort is surrounded on the south and east by the James River. On the north it is surrounded by tar and pitch swamps. The land stretching towards the west is bordered by the James River and the tar and pitch swamps.

The pictures show bricks; these are obviously not from 1607. After the sites were excavated they were recovered with a foot of earth to protect the site. The bricks were placed to outline the site and buildings that were found. The original buildings that were built in 1607 were made out of “mud and stud” which consisted of saplings filled in with a mud and straw mixture. They had thatched roofs, dirt floors and open windows, but wooden shutters for protection.

For several years after landing in Jamestown the settlers were not very adventuresome and you immediately get that picture when you step outside the fort and see a small trail that they called the Greate Road. Journal entries tell that they found this path and thought it to be a road. In actuality it was a path used by the Powhatan Indians to their fishing grounds.

The fort sits immediately off of the James River. This really surprised me and struck me at how they were so exposed to the elements and the forces of this large river. I was there on a windy day and it was really rocking. They couldn’t have been in a worse location. They had no good water supply and the James River feed from the Chesapeake and is salt water. When the settlers arrived at Jamestown there hope was to trade with the Indians for food, however, that year there was a large drought and food sources were not as plentiful as first thought.

1609-1610 was devastating times for the colonists as the Indians attacked the fort and imprisoned the colonists inside the fort with contaminated water and low food reserved. At the end of this period only 60 settlers survived.

It wasn’t until around 1623 where the settlers expanded outside the fort. I was so amazed at the colonist’s tenacity and commitment to this new land. While I was there I felt a sense of love that these people had, a sense of their loyalty to sacrifice their lives to start a new great nation that we are today. I was humbled by the sacredness of this site as I seemed to be able to hear the silent whispers of days gone by.

As I stood in silence outside the fort and looked at it, I was overcome with emotion of the impact this visit made in my soul. I was able to have clarity of an early settlement of strong people who preserved in insurmountable odds. They lived in deplorable conditions, had very little resources and many, many people lost their lives in the quest of a new land. Jamestown gave me a glimpse of human suffering not known to many people in our times. It gave me a glimpse of hard working people willing to risk it all for their King. Remember they did not come here for religious freedom, that was many years later by different colonists.

Jamestown means different things to different people. Jamestown is the birthplace of this great nation, however it’s development was the direct impact of the Virginian Indians living here at that time. Jamestown was also the incubator for the start of slavery as they needed labor to harvest there tobacco.

For me, Jamestown represents love, hard work and sacrifice beyond one’s imagination. All my trials and challenges seemed to be somewhat insignificant when I stepped onto the sacred land of Jamestown.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Capitol Building

The weather here in Richmond, VA has been gorgeous and today was no exception. Today, I ventured to downtown Richmond to tour the state capitol building and some other sites. Legislation is in session, so I had a hard time finding a parking spot, but I found one and my companion (camera) and I were off to a great start. My first stop was the capitol grounds. Richmond is the secondest oldest state capitol in the United States, so I was anxious to see and hear all the history.

This picture shows the main front of the Capitol building. The lawn infront of the building goes about 1/2 block towards the street. Queen Elizabeth was set to visit in 2007 and so the State of Virginia went through a massive overhaul of the capitol building. To maintain it's integrity the expansion was all done underground. So when you see the lawn infront of the building there is offices and such underground.

The main building was built in 1788 and that is the section that stands out from the other insets. The side insets you see in this picture were added to the buildingin 1904.

This statue is of George Washington and is the only statue that is an near-identical replication of George Washington himself. Even down to the veins in his hands. The sculpture was placed in the capitol building directly under the rotunda. George Washington never saw the completed statue, but did pose for this and had his measurements take and re-taken so it was a complete life-like statue. The artist also smeared an oil substance on George's face and did a plaster type mold on his face, so to get the most accurate depiction of his face. Down to his shoe size is accurate. During the remodel and expansion before 2007 all other statues and busts were removed from the building, except this one. It still stands where it was placed in 1788.
Oh, how I wish this picture of the rotunda turned out. It was so beautiful with rich craftsmanship. It was truly spectacular.

This is another life-size statue, but his is of Robert E. Lee. Kind of a weird place for a statue, but this was placed in this spot because Robert E. Lee entered this doorway, took 6 steps when he stood before the assembly and accepted the command of the Confederate forces in Virginia.

Here is the front.

This is from the side.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Dawson, West Virginia

On my way to Richmond, Virginia we needed to make a potty break. The first thing that came up was Dawson, West Virginia. The signs said that there was a gas station and a Hotel, so didn't sound bad at all. So, we took the exit and there was nothing there but a gas station and hotel. The hotel acutally was something that looked like it came out of Psycho. Before we pulled into the gas station our GPS lady said (literally) "Please get back on your route". Hmmm, should of listened to her. The gas station had a cute outside and didn't look all that bad. I even told Victor that it was a cute little place. Once we got inside I thought I had stepped into the twilight zone. The cute outside and changed drastically to something you would see in Deliverance.

Victor made a comment that I should hurry up and so I did what I needed to do. I asked him if he was going to go and he said that he was going to keep an eye on the women's bathroom door until I came out. So, mine and his business done I wanted to get a pop and some chocolate. Did that, they had normal food. There was another obvious traveler that was asking some older gentlemen (I'm being nice) for directions and she was polite enough to say thank you even though she couldn't understand a single word they said. A pair of teeth would have helped!

So, against Victor's better judgement I went outside to get some fresh air. He stayed inside checking out their little deli section where they looked like they served fried chicken. Victor always taste stuff from the deli before he buys it, so he tasted the fried chicken. At least that's what it looked like. Now, you have to know that Victor is a human garbage disposal, he will eat anything. He tasted the "chicken" and it did not taste like chicken, so he politely asked and the lady (with no teeth, another one) told him it was "possum". He nearly threw up and ran outside to find me.

I was sitting a little bit away from the door, so while he was leaving the quaint store on the outside, but Deliverance on the inside a man passed him by. Being nice like he is, he said "howdy". This gentleman with no teeth turned and spit chewing tobacco right at Victor's feet. Victor ran to get me and we got in the truck so fast.

The other great thing about Dawson, West Virginia was that it was full of trucks. Trucks of all shapes, sizes and condition. That was the only thing that made us fit in, we were driving my truck. Back on the road to Richmond, Virginia it didn't take long to pass a policeman. It was acutally a 4x4 police truck that had a K-9 unit. I mentioned to Victor that it was a K-9 unit and he first told me that he should go back to Dawson and check out the aliens that were there. He then said that they had to have a dog, first for protection and the other to check out the "herbs" that people were using. Cracked me up!

Anyway, we left Dawson so fast we didn't get gas, so the next stop had a McDonalds so decided to take that exit. Finally, civilization even in West Virginia. By the way, Dawson, West Virginia is on the map and does have signs posted on the freeway. My advice, keep going!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Medication Madness

It all started with a little pill called Prozac,
way, way back in 1991.
I liked it so much I thought I had won.

In 2001 a sleeping pill,
O what a thrill.

Along came Celexa, I wasn’t on it long,
Until a new one came on.

Next came Trileptal which is terrific,
But gives me bad breath something horrific.

Prozac came back,
Welcome back!

A move to a new state,
Made me feel like I was on rollerskates.
Prozac, Trileptal and Trazadone were my constant friends,
Until I started to ache.

Trileptal no more, Seroquel on board,
I don’t want to take meds anymore.

Seroquel off, Depakote on,
I wish I didn’t have to play this song.

A new doctor I saw,
And she changed them all.

Abilify came and went,
But now, my heart needed fixed.

Zoloft she said,
Why not, let’s try.
Who does she think I am…a robot in disguise.

Next she added lamictal,
It’s ok, I take it still.

Gained to much weight,
So Depakote off and Trileptal back on.

Now let’s take cymbalta she said,
I just sit and shake my head.

Moved to Ohio in 2006,
I wonder what doctor will be next.

Up and down and all around,
My new doctor was not real sound.
Clonazepam is addictive,
Yes it’s true.
But let’s try it and see just how well you do.

I had enough of all this mess,
So I took my case to who I thought was best.

A Director they say,
Will he save my day?

$300 an hour,
You must be crazy,
10 minutes I see him,
And you think I’m crazy

He said no more cymbalta,
So Zoloft I gotta.

Sonata came too,
Heck, why not add two.

If you kept up you will now see,
Trileptal, Trazadone, Lamictal, Zoloft and Sonata
Are all for me.

Do they work you ask,
I don’t know, why not ask the quack.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Little Debbie

The world of a bi-polar person is a lonely one, especially when they have a dissociative disorder. The definition of Dissociative Identity Disorder is when “…A dissociative disorder occurs when traumatic material is split-off or dissociated from the remainder of consciousness.” In layman’s term…Dissociative disorders are usually caused by abuse or severe trauma in early childhood. It is not PTSD, but is a relative of PTSD. I happen to have both.

During a traumatic event the dissociative person will dissociate to get away from the trauma. They may black-out, daydream or completely split off into a different person all together. It has been established that the memory of traumatic events is sometimes dissociated or repressed and recovered at a later time. You can completely forget the experience or you can split your personality into different parts to cope. Each personality takes control over the body and mind. This part of dissociative is very extreme. The lesser condition involves internal parts that “talk” to each other, but don’t take control.

If you dissociate during a trauma in your childhood you could do the same thing as an adult to block out the pain of the circumstance you are in. Dissociating is protective and is the primary coping skill you learned as a child; therefore you use it as an adult as well. Having this disorder does not make you a freak; it is a well documented condition that comes from severe abuse as a child.

In my case, my “little Debbie” comes out when I am very stressed or tired. I do not remember any events that happen while I am “little Debbie”. It’s like I check out and while doing this I am actually 10. I relive the traumas in my life to the minute detail. When I “wake” up, I usually have an extreme headache and I am very fatigued. Then I get to learn about either the funny things I did or the horrific.

I seclude myself from others and usually don’t go out unless Victor is with me. He is the only one who knows how to handle me when I “switch”. Very, very few people know this about me until tonight.

I was feeling pretty tired all day. I didn’t sleep well last night and so I was tired and just kind of out of it. My friend called and asked me if I wanted to go to the Book Club at church tonight and I turned her down and told her that I was feeling pretty tired. After I hung up with her I talked myself into going. MISTAKE!

She came and picked me up and we had a good conversation to the sister’s house where the club was meeting. I hadn’t been going to book club, so I hadn’t read the book so I was feeling a little left out. I don’t know how long I was there until my sweet “little Debbie” came out. I don’t know what I did or said, but the horror I feel is unbearable. Here I was in a sister’s home that I didn’t know very well with 8 other sister’s from my ward. When I came back I was surrounded by these loving sisters and I was crying. When I realized what had happened I asked someone to call Victor for me.

All I wanted to do was vanish and remove that experience from these sister’s minds, but the experience was over and they witnessed it. The only other person, who has witnessed this other than Victor, is my mother and she was terrified. I can’t imagine what these sisters were thinking. They didn’t have a clue what was happening, they didn’t know what to do and I suspect several were just staring at me like a freak. I saw the look of shock, fright and blank stares as I came back to the world. I didn’t see My Victor and I so desperately wanted to get out of there. I was at the mercy of the sister to take me home and I felt choked with heavy chains that I couldn’t shed. The state of my mind and trauma in my past finally came out for the entire world to see. I suppose it was going to happen sooner or later.

Do I regret going? Yes, a large part of me does. But, Victor pointed out to me that maybe this will educate people on such mental illness cases and be less ignorant and more compassionate. All I keep thinking is that half the ward already knows and it’s 11:00pm here. I live in the lonely places in my mind and I protect myself from being hurt, but maybe this was a blessing from God. Maybe I shouldn’t hide my challenges as much, maybe I shouldn’t worry about the telephone lines blazing red, maybe I should give my burdens to the Lord instead of trying to conquer them on my own. Maybe the Lord is showing me that I can trust others and that there are good people in the world. And just maybe in my darkest hours He sends me someone to comfort me.

I don’t know why this happened this evening, but I do know that I was in good hands by loving sisters who were a beacon of light for me and shared my burden, if just for a moment. I know for sure, that they were there for a reason. I am grateful that I wasn’t alone at home and that the Lord put me into the hands of sisters.

The Lord's Tender Mercies

Elder David A. Bednar stated in his general conference talk given at the April 2005 that "Through personal study, observation, pondering, and prayer, I believe I have come to better understand that the Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ."

He goes on to recount several experiences by families and people that had experienced the "tender mercies of the Lord". One family had lost there husband and father in the Iraq war. It was Christmas time and their loss was fresh when they received a Christmas card from there dear one. He went on to say how the Christmas card sent loving wishes and a reminder that families are forever. This father's message was meant to mean that they were apart this Christmas, but be cheerful and remember that even though the miles separate them, they are together forever. This grieving widow clearly knew that this was a tender mercy from the Lord strengthening her testimony of the love of Father in Heaven and for the unity of forever.

Elder Bednar further goes on to say "the Lord’s tender mercies do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Faithfulness, obedience, and humility invite tender mercies into our lives, and it is often the Lord’s timing that enables us to recognize and treasure these important blessings."

I receive tender mercies all the time, but yet I do not recognize them as coming from a loving Father in Heaven. The latest tender mercy I got was from my sister-in-law who is a strong christian in a non-denominational church. She had written on her facebook that she "....was praising His mercies which are new every morning, especially this morning when the sunlight lays golden on the ice and snow!" This was a powerful reminder to me about the Lord's tender mercies he gives to us and I took that comment on her facebook to be my tender mercy of the day. It was a profound thing for me to be reminded of those tender mercies that I often times neglect to recognize.

I strive to see the mercies of the Lord each and every day. I invite you to do the same.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

February 4, 2009 Dr. Visit

Mallory had her doctor's appointment today and the scoop today is the following...

She had her glucose checked, it's about time...I remembering having mine done much earlier than this.

She has already had two ultrasounds, but they are scheduling the third one because her doctor said her uterus was a bit bigger than it should be at this stage of her pregnancy. Sophie's heart beat is strong, I just hope she isn't farther along then we thought because Victor bought my ticket today to fly home the 18th of April. Her due date is the 21st. She should have her next ultrasound within 3 weeks, so we will know then.

Her baby shower date has been set for March 28th. Chris's family is giving it to her, which I thought was really nice.

That's the scoop for today.

The Bed Monster

We all know that the dryer eats socks, but have you ever wondered where your socks go if they are not in the dryer? In my house we have "The Bed Monster".

I never wore socks to bed until I hit 40 (if your 39, your time is fast approaching) and now I can't go to bed without socks on. When Victor and I were first together I would always wear my socks to bed and when I got up in the morning only one sock would be on. He thought this was the most funniest thing he had ever seen. So just like the dryer they disappeared in that vast unknown between the sheet's and mattress.

I caught "The Bed Monster" one time when taking my sheets off the bed to wash. Ah ha, a ton of socks that I had lost in my slumber. Not just on my side of the bed, but on Victor's side and trapped at the base of the bed between the fitted sheet and top sheet. Amazing! How did my little socks (I wear a size 6 shoe) travel so far in the night? Well, for several years I thought I had "The Bed Monster" under control and he wasn't eating my socks anymore, until recently. I have been missing socks again and nope they weren't in the dryer. So, up to the bed I went. I just couldn't believe that "The Bed Monster" had reappeared. I should of known better, that sneaky monster. So I marched upstairs in full body armor and carefully pulled the covers off, hoping to catch him in the act. I couldn't believe my eyes a mass quantity of socks appeared at the farthest end of the bed you can imagine, but not yet hitting the floor. I really didn't think the monster had come back because I knew his hiding places and my socks were never there, but I kept waking up with only one sock. He found a new spot!

The stash of socks that he must of fed off of were about 5 pair in total, apparently he was very hungry. I caught him again, but I am afraid of where he will put my socks next time. Maybe I'll find them between the two mattresses, I wouldn't put it past him. So, if your dryer monster is clean you might want to check the new monster on the block "The Bed Monster".

p.s. Yes, I still go to bed wearing my socks. I'll never learn!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Burgundy Notebook II

Well, I just got an e-mail from Victor saying that the notebook is BLACK. Duh!

The Burgundy Notebook

Victor called this morning from Virginia where he is working at contract job for awhile. We had our normal morning conversation and then he asked me to find The Burgundy Notebook.

He told me that it was in the office in one of the piles on the floor. To give you an idea of this picture. We have an office that was once a bedroom, but converted into an office from the previous owner. It has a "L" shape counter top on two of the walls. There is no bottom to the countertop. I have the short section of the countertop and Victor has the long side. Well, my sweet husband doesn't throw anything away. He must have business cards from everyone he ever met for the last 15 years. He keeps every single scrap of paper for the day he just might need it, even if the paper is 10 years old, no joking!

Well, his piles were out of control and so was his side of the office. Piles and piles of folders, notebooks, books and paper. A ton of paper. He also has his own two-drawer console filing cabinet filled with piles of "stuff" on it.

So, off he went to Virginia and the very next day, boxes in tow, I set out to clean this mess. I had myself a little "ditching" party and it felt so good. I was cautious of what I was throwing away and every pile and little scraps of paper went into two boxes. One box was for the piles on the countertop and the other box was for the piles on the floor. He likes to save empty boxes, like software boxes, his GPS box, his blackberry box, etc. I took what was left in those boxes and saved them and ditched the boxes. I threw away calenders from 2007 with nothing ever written on them. I threw awaya brochure that had to be 10-15 years old about a boat he once wanted to buy. I threw away similiar brochures about those dreamy BMW's he will never have.

So, I spent probably 4 hours cleaning the office and it was a lot of work, but it felt so good and it looks so nice now. The one box that was from the piles on the floor is the size of a medium moving box and must weigh literally 75 pounds. I filled it up and then pushed it into its position in the office. So, office all done and WOW it looks great.

Well, the other day he called because he wanted to go to the Washington D.C. temple and he wanted me to get the GPS box and get the manual out and tell him how to change something on his GPS. I, of course, had already threw away the box but kept the insides. I went to the filing cabinet and there was no manual. I don't believe there ever was one, but that's beside the point. So, I went online and found his manual and got him what he wanted. No harm done and he didn't know I had thrown away the box.

So, this morning he said he needed the Burgundy Notebook and that it was in one of the piles on the floor. I laughed like, you got to be this really happening. I was afraid of this! He caught on really quickly and asked me what I did to the office and I said "Nothing sweetheart, tell me what you need." A little white lie, but if he knew what I had done it would of ruined his whole day. So, he told me he needed his Burgundy Notebook and preceeded to describe it to me. It, of course, was burgundy and was hard. I thought, hard what do you mean. He said it wasn't a notebook with coil spines on it like kids use in school and it had a hard cover like a notebook. Hmmm, ok, next. He then told me for 5 minutes that it was burgundy, on the floor and not like a notebook. He said that it was like those portfolio pads with a hard cover and DID not have a spiral binding. He said that the inside the front cover was red with a bunch of phone numbers on. He then told me what he needed out of this notebook and all the while I kept looking at the 75 pound box saying "Why me?"

I got off the phone with my task at hand and kept a positive attitude that indeed I can find this burgundy notebook. Really, I didn't throw away any notebooks, so it had to be in one of those boxes filled with enough scrap paper to fill a landfill. So, out can the little box that was ontop of the counter, it weighed less. Took everything out, no burgundy notebook. No red or burgundy at all.

With a heavy sigh, I started pulling the BIG box from it's hiding spot. Ripped the side of it, broke 3 fingernails, got two rug burns on both of my shins and scratched my wrist. I went through that entire box and still no burgundy notebook that was hard, but not like a notebook.

Feeling determined went back to the little box, this time looking for any color of any notebook, that was hard with no spiral spine. Like I suspected, I found the burgundy notebook, but it was black, had a red spiral coil spine and had red lettering on it. It was true, it was hard. It did have the red inside with a bunch of phone number on it, so I knew I found the right notebook. Never seen a notebook like it and must be ancient.

Feeling I conquered the pile monster, I put everything back and the once burgundy notebook with no coil spine is now BLACK with red coil spine safely on my side of the office. I will call him later to find what he was needing. You just wait, it won't be in this notebook.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Victor's Baptism

This is my wonderful husband on his baptism day (April 7, 2007), which turned out to be Easter weekend. One of the things that attracted me to Victor was his love for the Savior. He puts nobody (not even me) above the Savior. I had been missing church in my life since I went inactive in 1989, granted I went to church here and there but it wasn't supported in my household and that made it very difficult to go. I wish now that I had a stronger testimony at that time so maybe my life would of gone more gentler than it did.

Anyway, Victor had been raised Muslim and when he came to the States he was put in Catholic school where he stayed until he graduated from High School. When he came to the States he converted to christianity and never went back to being a Muslim, although, he still respects that religion and some of it's principles. After he was out of the rule of the nuns (he didn't have good times with the nuns :0) he went from one religion to another, except LDS. When we met he had never known of Mormons and that was the beginning to it all.

We have been told many times how nobody has ever seen anyone so ready for baptism, like Victor. His baptism has been one of my greatest joys and his. We were sealed together on this past November in the Columbus Ohio temple. He is one of the ward missionaries and my life has been so enriched by his living testimony of the Savior. I love My Victor.

Brian the Marine

This is Brian's Marine picture in his dress blues. He has been in the Marines a few years now and he is stationed at Camp Pendleton in California. His wife, Cameron, is also a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton.
This was the picture of Brian while he was in Iraq. He was there about 10 months and got home the week before Christmas. Two months early! I kept this picture as my wallpaper on my laptop and once he got home I changed it to something else. When I changed the picture Victor made a comment how wonderful it was that the picture was changed. I very nicely told him that since Brian is home, the picture went away. I had a hard time trying to figure out what picture to put in it's place, but I found found I liked.

This was taken shortly after arriving in Iraq in his full combat gear. The months he was away were long and hard, but e-mail saved my life while he was away. He was so diligent about writing to me and I usually heard from him a couple times a week. I can't imagine what it was like for families back in WWI and II and even Vietnam who had to wait weeks or months before hearing from their soldiers. I am so thankful he is home safe and sound.


I was diagnosed Bi-Polar I back in September 2002. This blog will be about my struggles with a mental illness that leaves me feeling vulnerable and depressed. My up's and down's and my daily life as having such a horrible disease. It is my hope to educate those less informed as they have daily access into a Bi-Polar person's life. This is a huge undertaking for me because it totally puts me out there sharing my most deepest and darkest moments. This will surely make me vulnerable to criticism or worse yet, ignorance. However, I am willing to make the journey and maybe a long the way I'll find some peace in my raging soul.

Like many Bi-Polar patients they feel they had the disease for most of their life. This was true with myself. The earliest memories of my mental health began at the age of 13. A shy, homely looking waif was what stared at me in the mirror each morning. Years of sexual/physical abuse were finally beginning to show in my face, posture and grooming. After a horrible violent act of abuse, I spent the night pulling out all of my eyelashes. An outwardly sign for help, but met with disgust as people saw me as a "freak". I wasn't able to grow my eyelashes out until I was 14, a whole year pulling my once beautiful eyelashes out.

My 14th year was one of the best years during my school days. My eyelashes were back and I seemed to gain some self-confidence. The abuse had all but stopped, only because I stabbed the offender with a pair of scissors. This was the only year in school that I had good grades and the only school year where I actually felt happy.

As I entered high school it seemed my attention went from good grades and girlfriends to boys. Girlfriends and grades were discarded and boys were now my primary focus in life. I was a tease and a flirt and possibly from my abuse felt comfortable around them. They too were user's and only cared about one thing. I did manage to maintain my virginity until the age of 16 when I gave it over to the father of my three children.

Home life was like a warzone for me and when I reached 16 I was ready to get out. My only way out was to get pregnant and start a family, so that is exactly what I did. I had my first baby, Meagan, at the age of 17. I could of made better choices, but during those dark days in my life it was the only light I could see.

My life as an young mother was difficult and I didn't do a really good job most of the time. I tried and I did (and still do) love my two little ones. But, being a parent so young is hard and I was so uneducated. That is one reason why I am so proud of Mallory, because she reads everything she can to help her and to make sure that Sophie is healthy and happy. I was never like that.

As a young family we struggled with unemployment, separation while Ken was in the military, and low paying jobs. So, along with all those "life" struggles I was depressed and moody. Things that were attributed to PMS or just stress. Which didn't help that's for sure! However, those times for me were more dramatic and severe than what other people went through. Usually PMS goes by and your feeling "normal" again. For me it wasn't like that. It seemed my PMS would last 2-3 weeks. I would have 1 week off, then it was back at the cycle again. I started anti-depressants in 1989 after the sudden death of my adoptive mother, Pat. Her death brought to the surface many painful childhood trauma so into therapy for the first time I went. I was involved with this round of therapy for 2 years with 1 year in group therapy. The Prozac seemed to be helping and the therapy for helping me clean away all the ghosts from my past.

Many more years followed and my moods continued to rise and fall like the ocean waves. I stayed on Prozac, but never had a dose adjustment and after those 2 years in therapy stopped going, thinking I was "cured".

My bi-polar decided to show up a dark Tuesday morning in September of 2001. My husband of 20 years had just announced he had been having an affair and he moved out of our home. My world not just fell apart, it shattered into tiny little pieces. There were so many pieces I didn't know which one to pick up first. He had been my rescuer and now was leaving me behind for some new thing. I didn't know how to breathe anymore and each step I took was so painful. I had never lived alone, nor had I been with any other man. My future seemed distant and dark. After trying to cope with life I was ready to give it all up. The pain engulfed me and I could no longer breathe. That Tuesday morning after the kids went to school I decided my fate and took a massive overdose. I nearly succeeded and I sometimes wonder why I was spared, but I did survive and thus started my full-blown bi-polar days.

During this first attempt I was not diagnosed with bi-polar until the year later when another suicide attempt failed. A second hospitalization came with that dreaded name "Bi-Polar". For me, it was like music to my ears. Finally, there was a reason why I felt the way I felt, why I did and said things I wish I could take back. Why getting through a "normal" day for most, was for me walking with a ton of weight on my back. New medications were given and I felt a new lease on life was beginning.

Many, many horrible mistakes had been made, but I was determined to make them alright. I fail most of the time, but I get up and tackle it again. I have had full blown bi-polar since 2001 and I struggle with it every single day of my life. For along time I would tell select people that "I am bi-polar". Now, I say "I have" bi-polar. My bi-polar doesn't define me as a person, but it's hard to find the line between Me and the bi-polar Me. There have been many dark days and more suicide attempts, but I am grateful to be alive and I'm trying to enjoy the journey. I couldn't do it without my wonderful husband, Victor, who came into my life at the right time. He literally has the patience of Job and he is able to determine between the bi-polar person and Me. He loves me for me and is unconditional and unwavering in his support. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for him.

So, a not so brief history of me and bi-polar. If you can't read these posts with an open mind and heart, then please avoid reading these posts. My intention is to be as honest as I can and that level of honesty is hard for people to read let alone not judge. I love the attitude of one of my friends who says that I must be looking forward to living on the other side of the veil where my imperfections in my brain will be made whole. I always thought of people succombed by horrible diseases and missing limbs to receive those beautiful blessings of there bodies becoming whole again. It was a great day for me to realize that my own disability and missing pieces in my head will return to it's normal state.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Scoop on Sophie

Yep, I'm going to be a grandma. After bugging the kids for a long time now, Mallory is having her first child, Sophie Elisabeth, due the end of April. There are no words to describe the joy and excitement I feel about being a grandma. I never grew up with grandparents, so when the kids were growing up we always made sure they were around there grandparents. I think being a grandparent is God's way of finally blessing parents with a newborn in the family without all the stress. A grandchild is a special thing and I hope that I will be able to be that grandma for Sophie that I never had. This blog will be about Sophie and me being a grandma.

To catch you up to the current with Sophie here are a few milestones that Mallory has loved (me too!). Mallory is due April 21st, she just reached her 7th month. Other than Sophie's father, I was the first person Mallory told. My first reaction was reserved, since Mallory had already had a hard year with difficult challenges and from her sisters behavior with her pregnancies I really was reserved. But, once she told me their plans I was able to feel the excitement in the whole thing.

It wasn't long after I found out that I made a trip to Babies R Us for my first Grandma shopping trip. I remember sitting in the car in the parking lot just bawling. I had been wanting to have a grandchild very badly. I went into the store and must of been in there for over an hour looking at every little thing. I was amazed at all the wonderful things they have now for new parents and wish they had such cool things when I had my babies. I bought a few small things and since she was just pregnant had to buy neutral, but not yellow because Chris doesn't want Sophie to wear yellow. It was so hard to find cute little baby clothes that were neutral and not yellow. I did succeed and left the store happy.

Over the last several months I have enjoyed traveling this path with Mallory. As she calls me with stupid questions and then serious questions. She calls when her moods are clouding her judgement and she calls every time she has a doctor's appointment to give me the status. Some of my favorite things that she has said is about nipple confusion and hearing, but not together. First, nipple confusion wasn't even a term when I had my kids. Now, it's a big huge thing in the breastfeeding world and Mallory is educated in all of it. I got a big kick out of her teaching me about it and why it's so important not to confuse the baby with certain bottle nipples or pacifiers. Before I mention the hearing part, let me say that she has been a bit over the top on some of her thinking, but I love every minute of it and proves to me how mature and responsible she is being.

She had told me that Chris liked to talk to Sophie and that little Sophie responds to him when he talks to her. I had mentioned to Mallory that they say that if you put headphones on your stomach and play music that the baby will hear it and then when they are born they will respond to that noise. She clearly told me no, she could not do that because she doesn't want Sophie to go deaf. I just laughed. She preceeded to tell me that in the movie Mr. Holland's Opus that baby was born deaf because they put headphones on the stomach before he was born. She also told me that she speaks softly so she won't go deaf by loud talking also. This was one of those things I smiled about and said "Ok".

So, this is the place to get the "Scoop on Sophie" now and all the fun I will have when she is born.

A new thing

Wow! What happened to writing with paper and pens? This blog thing about had me done in, but I perserved and here we go. I don't think I have it perfect, but it's a start and that's half the battle.

I am a big fan of journaling and have kept a journal since I was 13. The first journal I ever got was from a YW teacher at church who taught us a lesson on journals and gave each one of us girls a blank journal to start in. I still have that very journal and some of the most stupid things are written it, but isn't that what part of jounaling is; Stupid, random stuff!

As you can see in my blog description I really love fireflys. The first time I saw a firefly (some of you may call them lightning bugs) was in Kentucky when I went for the 4th of July to visit my birthfamily. I had never seen one before this and I found myself captivated by these little creatures. I sat frozen as I watched them bop around in the night sky blinking on and off. I must of sat there for an hour just watching them dance and reflected on a metaphor that I try to use in my daily life.

Usually in the darkest of times I hide somewhere safe and hope that the storm will pass me by quickly. My hard times usually like to stick around, so I'm usually hiding somewhere safe. I am scared, lonely and tired. I'm quiet and still. However, with my firefly friends I have started to learn to be unafraid of the dark and unknown. Like the firefly, I don't know how long I will have to live, but I need to spread my wings and fly in the night sky showing my light to everyone who sees me. Leaving my dark, quiet spot is hard and leaving it leaves me vulnerable to the night sky, but if a little bug can do it, so can I.