Happy Birthday to Me

Yep, it’s my birthday. Usually I look forward to it, but this year, I just kind of want it to be over. I couldn’t even tell you exactly why.

I’ve turned 37. I feel old until I remember how young I’ll be when my kids graduate high school, and that helps. I didn’t do much today, just slept in and played Minecraft with the kids. Now everyone’s asleep and I’m watching some of the movies I had purchased on Black Friday. A pretty quiet day. Not at all celebratory, and that’s okay.

I had a moment today with Goodreads, and I’m not even certain why. I felt like deleting my account and starting from scratch, so I did. It probably is going to play havoc with my author profile, but I guess I’ll deal with that. I look forward to the day when you can have all your pseudonyms attached to one account. Not that I have very many right now – just two – but I do have another one planned.

And I need to get back to updating my publishing website. I’m not very good at interacting with people, I’m afraid, and so that’s difficult for me. I still try pretty hard to separate work from life, and I probably shouldn’t so much. Well, this is what works for me so far, I suppose.

It’s been an okay 2015 so far. I look forward to going back to work, and hope my son gets over his cold soon. I just remembered I didn’t make the kids practice today, and tomorrow it’s laundry so they probably won’t get it done then, either. I did try pretty hard to make sure it was a daily event over break, but not quite hard enough. Hopefully I did more good than bad.

Well, I suppose it’s not much of an update, but it’s a little one at least. Small updates to get me back in the habit.

Happy Birthday to me.

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Everything is “last year” today

Happy New Year!

I’m so glad it’s 2015. I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to it, and it didn’t sneak up on me too badly, but still – I’m glad it’s here.

In 2015 I am going to try to keep track of quite a few things. I made a list, even, and I’m going to transform that list into a flyer and hopefully booklet. I want to polish the booklet so that by the end of the year I have the best version of it so I can publish it and have an actual, physical book to hold in my hand. I think monthly might be best, since I do have a couple months of the year dedicated to specific activities (*cough*November*cough*).

I have set resolutions for the year, sort of. It seems that resolutions these days are things to be mocked, that the people making them are favored targets for cynics. There have been quite a few jokes on Facebook, and for a while I thought I’d better not mention that I look forward to them every year. Because yeah, I fit the joke. I do it for a week or a day, and then drop off the wagon. Life gets in the way, and I don’t go to the gym every day, and I don’t watch what I eat, and I don’t <insert whatever it is I said I would do here>.

Oh well! I’m still setting resolutions, so I’m going to shrug off the negativity and plow forward.

I have “A” goals and “B” goals this year, and a series of four related words (because I couldn’t decide which of the four I liked best) to drive everything forward. It’s sort of like what Chris at The Art of Non-Conformity does with his Annual Review (which I highly recommend). I have chosen a theme and the things that are most important to me, and I will act with my theme to benefit my goals.

I haven’t decided whether to share the theme or the goals yet, though. Maybe when it’s a little more polished.

Part of my resolutions wasn’t to necessarily write more here, though. I didn’t tear it down, and that’s a positive step. (Tearing the blog down and starting fresh is usually my first inclination when I’ve been gone for a while.) I hope to be using more of what I have, and bringing fewer new things into my home. (Not exactly part of my resolution, but definitely something to remember.)

Well, at any rate. That’s the plan. So if you’re reading and were thinking of making resolutions for the new year but were getting dragged down by negative comments around you, hey. Join me! We can be the cool reject kids who dance to the beat of a poorly trained drummer.

Love, Nicki

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Dental Anxiety

I dislike having dental work; so much so that I haven’t had an appointment in 16 years. Admittedly, I did try about halfway through, I think. I called to make an appointment, may have actually set it, but there were a lot of tears involved and I didn’t go. I know that every time I’ve given serious thought to going in for any work at all I’ve had lovely panic attack-like episodes.

Three weeks ago, though, I lost a bit of tooth. I didn’t realize it until last week, when I found the edge on a tooth that shouldn’t have had one. And that sent me into a new sort of panic. My mom has had root canals before, and they never go well, always getting infected. Surely a hole in a tooth is the next step to one of those!

Pain from the dentist, or pain from not the dentist…

I called the dentist.

Well, I had to find a new one, as my last one is a 2,000+ mile commute. Searching for “sedation dentistry” on Google and then comparing to my insurance, I found someone. It was pretty awesome, actually, because I didn’t have to call a single person. No pre-call anxiety, just a web form, an email, a text, and bam. Appointment made.

Fast-forward from last Wednesday to today, and I actually went to the appointment. My poor kids suffered from my nerves this morning when they got in a fight and I wasn’t prepared to put up with any crap, but I reigned it in for the receptionist. I’m sure everyone was lovely. There were a lot of smiles, just not mine.

I don’t remember ever sitting so stiffly in a waiting room. I’ve learned I can grit my teeth without my top jaw touching my bottom one. I felt guilty for smiling at Kelly and Michael (a show I think I’d rather enjoy–those two are funny!) but did anyway. A little. Then I stopped. (Guilt.)

They finally called me in. I didn’t get any guilt from the hygienist, just an awful lot of x-rays. Last time I went in, you sat still and the x-ray machine moved–one shot. This time there were 18 different pictures and a whole lot of sharp things I had to bite down on. Still, x-rays don’t bother me. Sharp pointy things in my teeth with dentists that don’t believe my protestations of pain, on the other hand, bothers me.

The dentist, a lovely man about my parent’s age, finally arrived. I got to watch lots of HGTV during my wait, so I honestly didn’t mind. The part where I laid back and he went in with the pointy thing and the mirror was the worst. I kept expecting him to poke at things, to test the fillings (as dentists have done), but three cheers–no poking! He even complimented my current fillings, saying he puts in 100-year fillings, and mine look just like ones he would have put in. Um…yay? But then he lowered the boom.

All five of them.

There are four places that need filling, one of them that’s almost down to the nerve. Thank goodness I floss, apparently, because it could have been much worse after 16 years. I think I started that habit after a previously attempted appointment, under the assumption that if I couldn’t get to the dentist, at least I was going to do my best to take care of things myself. I got the guilt trip that the hygienist left out from him as well. Don’t think I can go another 16 years without an appointment just because I was so lucky this time, all my teeth could have fallen out at my age, blah, blah, blah.*

When I could finally get a word in edgewise I pointed out that the reason I didn’t go back was the aforementioned distrust of people working on my teeth not believing my pain levels. He was very reassuring, politely ignoring the tears that finally came, confessing a similar sensitivity. Since I’ve told him, they’ll give me additional numbing meds, and let me sit as long as I want until I’m as numb as I want.

Then, and this is my favorite part, I asked (still sobbing) that if there was anything we could do to reduce my anxiety of the actual appointment. And that was the million-dollar question. I left my appointment with reassurances and an Rx for Valium to take before the appointment.

Oh, and two more appointments. Three fillings on Thursday, one and a cleaning two weeks later. I’ve got a ride lined up to get me to the appointment, and fingers crossed that the Rx work as promised.

I’ve got to say, I am almost kind of happy I finally have the appointment. I’m definitely glad I’ve been flossing as much as I have, and I’m even more hopeful about my kid’s dental habits. (Overall, they’re pretty good. I think we need to work on technique, but the twice a day plus floss habit is there.)

That’s not to say that I’m looking forward to Thursday. I’m looking forward to Thursday being over. But I have plenty of time to worry about that tomorrow.


*Yes, I am over-dramatizing. But there was rotting teeth in the conversation with people in their 30’s.


I’m going to be a runner

But that has nothing to do with this post.

Last month at this time I stopped drinking caffeine. Cold turkey, which I’ve done before, but it usually doesn’t stick for long. This time it’s stuck for a month, and while I’m under no illusions that this means it’s for good, it’s progress.

A coworker whom I mentioned my quest to immediately corrected me. “There’s nothing wrong with caffeine,” he said, among other things I don’t exactly recall. Yeah, I’ll give you that. There’s nothing wrong with it. It helps keep you awake, it can help your metabolism, give you energy. Heck, I love caffeine. That jolt in the morning: it’s bliss. When you’re exhausted and have to stay up just another fifty miles or another two hours, it can pry your eyes open like you have toothpicks propping up your lids.

And it can make stress harder to deal with. And it can make PMS symptoms worse. This is why I gave up caffeine.

Of course I didn’t think I was going crazy when I started noticing I was unable to function in the days leading up to the start of my cycle. I knew it was PMS. But it had never been so bad before, and it was starting earlier and hanging on through longer. It felt a bit like crazy, and a lot like depression, and more than once I was just helpless beyond crawling into bed and drowning my emotions in sleep. It took me a while to make the connection to caffeine and my issues, but once I did, however tentative that connection may have been (everyone works differently, so there’s not a lot of definitive “this is what your problem is” out there on this), I jumped on it.

And so. Nicki, one; caffeine, zip. I kicked it to the curb, although not absolutely. It’s out of my daily drink habit, and not my first choice, but I’m not going to say, “Nicki, you must absolutely never, ever have caffeine again,” because that’s unrealistic. I am going to say, though, that I am never, ever going to start depending on it to keep me awake on a daily basis. And I am never, ever going to drink so much that the half-life of it keeps me running for a week. I don’t want any more caffeine withdrawal headaches.

Oh, yeah, and I’m going to be a runner. Because I want to like running. Which has nothing to do with this post. (Except when it has everything to do with it.) ;)

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Tiny reasons for excitement.

1.4 pounds of weight loss took me from one 10lb range to another I haven’t seen on my scale in a while, and further from the Number of Doom, and that makes me happy. I don’t doubt that since I’m weighing every day that there’s a chance it’ll bounce back up there, but I saw it, and I’m going to look forward to seeing it again in the future!

That is all. :D

The Rules of Lawn Mowing (Ivey Edition)

My son is reaching the age where he is able to start taking more responsibilities around the house. Namely, mowing the lawn. So I’ve started making a list of rules for lawn mowing, so he can be steeped in these rules before he ever gets near the mower.

Rule #1: Daddy hates mowing the lawn.

Simple enough–my son must learn to mow because my husband hates doing it. I’m not sure why, but there you go. It’s as good a first rule as any.

Rule #2: You must always wear shoes when mowing the lawn.

Not sandals, not flip flops, not bare feet. Shoes. A lawnmower is mainly an engine turning spinning blades of death, designed to cut arbitrarily through whatever is too tall. Could be grass, could be toes. Let’s slow the blades down a bit with shoes.

Rule #3: You must never, ever pull anything away from the blades.

Because Spinning Blades of Death. Even if the lawnmower is off, it’s a job for Mom and Dad. Best to just turn it off and come running in the house for someone to help.

Rule #4: You must never, ever run over the extension cord.

Again, Spinning Blades of Death. Dad’s more worried about this than losing a toe to the mower. It’s a unique worry to our electric mower, but until we sort out how to affix a charger and battery to the thing, it’s how it goes.

I’m sure those won’t be all the rules, but they’re getting us started. We aren’t particularly fussy when it comes to patterns, as our yard is postage-stamp sized, and too small to bother with the elaborate horizontal, vertical, square, or diagonal patterns that happen more frequently with larger yards (from my experience at my parent’s house).

Does anyone else have any rules for me that fit this particular chore? I can start naming them after people. That’ll really give him something to study this summer. :)


Jon’s Rule: Lawn mowing is not a game!

This would actually be the rule for my daughter to learn (see Jon’s comment below). Goofing off, surprises, not paying attention to your surroundings–not the things to go on while running an electric mower. Because Spinning Blades of Death.

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I’m feeling good…

Which of course makes me suspect I’m not actually feeling good, but thinking I should feel good, so I have that thought misleading me. But, assuming that’s not the case and perhaps I’m just looking for conspiracies against myself, here’s what I’ve been doing differently for the past four days.

I gave up caffeine.


This isn’t the first time, and probably won’t be the last. And I absolutely love caffeine. Not coffee, but Mtn Dew, Amp, Green Tea (caffeine content, not taste), they’re all wonderful and I love them. But quite honestly, I’m fucking sick of these mad mood swings just before my period starts. (TMI? Sorry.) And if caffeine is what’s doing it to me, then by all means, I’m skipping the damn caffeine.

It sucked, and I had a headache all Tuesday and Wednesday, but even though I took a preventative Tylenol this morning, I think I’m over that particular hurdle. Which is sweet, because that’s the first thing that usually drives me back to the ‘Dew.

I’m drinking a shitload of water.

Now, I’ve heard that you don’t need as much water as women my age have grown up believing (eight 8-oz glasses per diem), and that mostly you get your water from other things you drink, like coffee and juices. But since I’m not drinking coffee…well, I’ve been regularly downing 60 to 100 ounces at work for the past four days. I’m always in the bathroom, but I’m drinking it. Mixed with Crystal Light Liquid, the little containers of concentrated juice. It’s good that way, because I’m drinking it like I usually drink soda–mechanically, maniacally, until it’s gone.

I’m not changing my evening schedule.

For the past two or three weeks I’ve kind of been in a depression. I hesitate to say “depressed” because that’s a serious term that shouldn’t be tossed around (like I did in my teens), but definitely sad, apathetic, and my eating/sleeping/regular habits were off. So I’ve amped up on the water and eliminated the caffeine, but I’ve not changed how late I stay up or how early I rise.

That said, last night I realized about 10pm I was as tired as I usually am around midnight. And this morning (even though I went to bed around 11:45pm) I thought I could have risen at 6:30 when my husband left for work and been OK. (I went ahead and snoozed through until 8am anyway. Whatever.) So even though I’m not purposely changing my nights and mornings, I feel them changing without my effort.

And generally, I’m just feeling good.

I’m not crashing in the afternoons. I have to pee a lot, but my pee is that “just a little bit of lemon juice” color I heard some crazy/enthusiastic woman on a talk show instruct the audience about when you’re drinking the right amount of water. (TMI again? Get used to it.) And my mood is good. Now that could simply be that I’m past the PMS, but we’ll see. I wrote it down so I could watch it happen.

Wanna watch with me? ;)

Facebook or Blog?

Sometimes I think all the little status updates I do on Facebook would be better off here. Then I start writing them, they end up horribly depressing, and they get (wisely) tucked away for no one to see but me. I’m really not that good at all this social media stuff, so I apologize for those times when I end up putting everything away instead of finding appropriate things to share. :)

Moving on…

I’m going to quietly ignore the fact that I missed my last writing challenge by a long shot and move on to the fact that I have a problem.

A $100 problem.

2014-05-05 08.08.01

And a AAA problem. Is there AAA Anonymous? For people who’ve maxed out their AAA visits, and called the service three times in five months? (Barely five, by the way.)

My tire is flat again. The same one as happened two weeks ago, that I took to the wheel collision repair place just up the road after I slammed into a pothole and bent my rim. This time I have two bends (not sure if that’s the proper plural) from driving around the block, apparently.

It’s obvious that it’s apparent to the repair shop that it was me, anyway, because I’m not getting any freebies on this repair. Which is fine – if it’s my fault, I don’t need a discount and won’t insist on one (although I probably would accept it if offered). But I can’t wrap my head around it, because it was fine Friday, my husband drove it Saturday with no problem (I think), and I only drove very slowly around one block in an attempt to get my kids to daycare so I could get to work early. Could I have really done that much damage in one block?

Probably. Lay it on me if it’s obvious to you that this is indeed the case – I need to hear it from someone I’m not paying to fix it, I think, to really shake all the doubt off.

I have my appointment for tomorrow morning to put the thing back on. And when I get back from Iowa I probably ought to arrange for someone to show me how to put on a spare myself, because this is getting a bit ridiculous.

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A through G

Okay, so it looks like maybe I gave up on you again this year, doesn’t it? Well, life is significantly busier than two years ago, that much is obvious. But aside from that, I have not given up. I have some other obligations (work related) that I need to wind up before I can continue down the A to Z trail. And in addition, I’m taking the trail more slowly. I suppose that means I’m not following the A to Z Blog Challenge properly at all, and I’m sorry for that, but it can’t be avoided. I may try to do it properly next year again, but it might just be more my speed to plod along on it. (I do realize had I been planning ahead, I could have pre-written and scheduled all the posts for release in a timely manner, and plodded all I wanted–before the month started. Oops.)

So if you’re here for the A to Z Challenge, I know. It looks like I gave up. But I didn’t. I have H is for House in my head and ready for the page, but it may be Saturday before it sees the light.

I’ll be over here, formatting a worksheet.

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