Depression

No, I’m not manic depressive….just feeling a little down in the dumps as the crushing weight of these last few weeks of the term rob me of any semblance of rest.  I am sleep deprived, overworked, tired…exhausted, really, and my head is asunder with the multiple tasks that lie before me.  I know the signs of depression, and I know what triggers them, so I also know what to do.

Be Gentle

I know, when I feel this coming on, that I must be gentle with myself.  This involves avoiding stressful situations, television programs, films, books, people and places.  I don’t really drive downtown, for instance, when I feel this coming on.

Exercise

I have doubled my exercise routine.  I am walking my puppy more and more and more, drinking in the beauty of this city, even when the weather has become wet and gray.  It is still beautiful here, and I still stop to smell the ever-blooming roses.

Love

When I’m feeling down, I turn to those who I know love me….my daughter, my husband, my best friend, my parents.  I am a strong woman, but I let them hold me up with their kindness and I lean on them a little bit when I feel depressed.  Of course, I’m there for them, too, when they need it, so it all evens out in the end.  I think about the people that I love…Maya and Ingrid and Harrison, Katherine and John and Sarah…Nate and the Renz and my other friends…my little puppy, Beatrix……and somehow, this makes me feel better.

Vitamin D.

I up my dosage of Vitamin D and take it with Vitamin C.  My doctor recommended I do this and it really works!

Creation

I create something….anything…I bake a cake, create a piece of art…take a photograph…MAKE something creative and constructive.

 

Staying on Task

There is nothing that can cheer me up more than accomplishing a task.  So…I just try to keep my nose to the grindstone and do what needs to be done, chipping away at this work a little bit at a time. When I get to the end of that last paragraph….that last equation….that last problem, I might be wiped out….but magically, I feel much better.

so……..back to work for me!

Smiles for a Rainy Day

harrison Oct 22

Just when I thought I was going to feel blue on this dark, rainy day, my sweet daughter-in-law sent me smiles from our sweet little Harrison, who never fails to cheer me up.  He is a happy little fellow and Katherine frequently gifts me with videos that document his squeals of delight.  I watch them over and again, and get such pleasure out of them.  He is growing so fast, and learning so much.  I love this stage in a baby’s life.

I was missing my husband earlier this morning.  We had a nice talk on the phone.  He sounded as busy as I, but happier than I feel today, as he still has sunshine there in Cali, and I think he got more sleep than I did. I had spent the day with Ingrid yesterday and was over-tired last night, so didn’t sleep well.  Got up very early this morning to finish up some work before I started in on my classwork.

Going into the home stretch with this school term.  This week, I’m studying regression analysis and writing a ton of papers.  A nice pot of potato leek soup simmers away on the stove right now,  filling the house with the aroma of rosemary and garlic. That will be my dinner tonight.  I am going to walk over to the boulangerie in a bit to grab a nice piece of bread to go with.   Running a slight fever and feeling a cold coming on, but I am mega-dosing Vitamin C and trying to ignore it.  So much work to do!  Spoke briefly with my best friend last night who said he was also feeling crummy.

One good thing about owning a dog again, is that I have to get out and walk her, regardless of the weather. Mind you, she is completely potty trained to pads inside the house, but she still needs her exercise, so I take her out, rain or shine.   I think that if not for Beatrix, I wouldn’t have bundled up and ventured out into the rain, but I did, and was glad.  We had a great walk, and she is now wrapped in her blanket and sleeping in her bed in front of the fireplace as I write this.  The only other person I encountered on my walk was the postman, and we both smiled.  It’s pretty out there, despite the rain.  A funny thing about Portland.  You can tell the locals from the tourists because locals tend not to carry umbrellas….and the locals tend to smile, as though we are enjoying a delicious secret.  Have I mentioned that Portland is a great place to live?  Well, it is…!

Anyway….back to work for me…I hope all of you are having a lovely day.

Ain’t It The Truth?!

Scorpio (Oct 23 23 – Nov 21)
October 21, 2014
“Your weariness could catch up with you today…..”
retired
This has been one of the busiest, most exhausting periods of time in my entire life!  I have taken to turning my phone off for days at a time, burying my head in my books and doing little else except walking my puppy, cleaning my house and cooking food.  Last night, my husband asked me if I would go see a movie that he is considering centering a play around.  I had to laugh.  The mountain of school work that grows higher by the minute will not topple for another two weeks after this one.  Right now, it seems endless.  I just have to keep chipping away at it…..two papers this week, more statistics, data analysis, discussion questions….sigh….Indeed, my weariness just MIGHT catch up with me today!
Going back to bed for an hour….

Doctors Without Borders Auction Preview!

https://www.biddingforgood.com/auction/auctionhome.action?auctionId=208357702  <——-click here!

Here is your chance to preview all 141 STUNNING pieces of mosaic art created by artists from all over the world in the Doctor’s Without Border’s Charity Auction that will be coming up in November.  There are SO many beautiful choices!  Proceeds go toward a most excellent cause, so make your selections and get ready to place your bids!  dwb mosaic 2014Four René

by Stacy Alexander

© Stacy Alexander – 2014 – All Rights Reserved

Jon Gomm….now THIS is a GUITARIST!! (WOW!)

I have an old friend in Houston that plays in this style.  This is Jon Gomm, a REAL guitarist.   The first time I ever saw anyone play in a style close to this, it was when Kaki King played at the TED talks.  Here are videos of both of them, and both are well worth a look-see.  I adore this kind of playing.  It is innovative, and not just the same ‘ol..same ‘ol, overworked, overused crap that 50 million other guitarists are playing.

I love a musician that thinks outside the box and carves new paths into the music world.  These two do that.  Jack White is another. Chris Whitley was another.

I’m really digging this new wave of talent.    It is fresh, interesting, intelligent sounding.  Pure.

To Shine Like a Bright Star

Scorpio (Oct 23 23 – Nov 21)
October 18, 2014
You have all the right stuff to shine like a bright star today. The unflappable Leo Moon is highlighting your 10th House of Status, but you might not be ready to assume your new responsibilities. Nevertheless, you feel exceedingly hopeful about your future, but it still could take time before you are able to realize your dreams. Your smartest strategy now is to talk less and do more.
Positive action lights the way for you and those who follow.    :-)
double scorpio
Double Scorpio
© Stacy Alexander – 2014

‘Tie your heart at night to mine, love,’

rowlett lake

(Lake Ray Hubbard – Photograph © Stacy Alexander 2014)

LXXIX From: ‘Cien sonetos de amor’

Tie your heart at night to mine, love,

and both will defeat the darkness

like twin drums beating in the forest

against the heavy wall of wet leaves.

Night crossing: black coal of dream

that cuts the thread of earthly orbs

with the punctuality of a headlong train

that pulls cold stone and shadow endlessly.

Love, because of it, tie me to a purer movement,

to the grip on life that beats in your breast,

with the wings of a submerged swan,

So that our dream might reply

to the sky’s questioning stars

with one key, one door closed to shadow.


The Joys of Abnormal Psych!

When I chose Psychology as a major for graduate school, I discovered a plethora of different aspects that are useful to my career as a  writer.   One of them that ESPECIALLY appeals to me as a writer, is the study of abnormal psych.   It is a blast to go down the list of personality disorders and find traits around which to come up with character sketches.  The possibilities are endless!  One woman that I am writing about currently has Borderline Personality Disorder ….and is also an alcoholic.  This is a mixture for nonstop fun and drama.

Imagine doing a character sketch based on the following  traits, oh…and couple that with being a redneck, alcoholism and a wacky fundie fanaticism!   Interesting character, right?  Just think of all the adventures! Trowing plates!  Smashing guitars!  Sending drunken text messages…facing the  challenge of going an entire day without claiming to be a victim or without telling a lie!  Making threats….Screeeeeeching!  Cursing!                 Rene Best musician                               Rene Best guitarist

The list is ENDLESS!  Oh, the fun!


Here are some of her characteristics and traits:

(Same woman  put up a selfie elsewhere…Same scene.. different pose…)

Rene Best guitarist               Rene Best musicianbpdRene Best musician

Alienation – The act of cutting off or interfering with an individual’s relationships with others.

“Always” and “Never” Statements – “Always” and “Never” Statements are declarations containing the words “always” or “never”. They are commonly used but rarely true.

Anger – People who suffer from BPD often feel a sense of unresolved anger and a heightened or exaggerated perception that they have been wronged, invalidated, neglected or abused. Always the victim!

Baiting – A provocative act used to solicit an angry, aggressive or emotional response from another individual.

Blaming – The practice of identifying a person or people responsible for creating a problem, rather than identifying ways of dealing with the problem.

Bullying – Any systematic action of hurting a person from a position of relative physical, social, economic or emotional strength.

Catastrophizing – The habit of automatically assuming a “worst case scenario” and inappropriately characterizing minor or moderate problems or issues as catastrophic events.

Chaos Manufacture – Unnecessarily creating or maintaining an environment of risk, destruction, confusion or mess.                          Rene Best musicia

Circular Conversations – Arguments which go on almost endlessly, repeating the same patterns with no resolution.

Cognitive Dissonance – A psychological term for the discomfort that most people feel when they encounter information which contradicts their existing set of beliefs or values. People who suffer from personality disorders often experience cognitive dissonance when they are confronted with evidence that their actions have hurt others or have contradicted their stated morals.                  Rene Best musician

“Control-Me” Syndrome – This describes a tendency which some people have to foster relationships with people who have a controlling narcissistic, antisocial or “acting-out” nature.

Denial – Believing or imagining that some painful or traumatic circumstance, event or memory does not exist or did not happen. For instance,refusing to believe that a spouse or significant other that is unfaithful.

Dependency – An inappropriate and chronic reliance by one adult upon another.

Depression – When you feel sadder than you think you should, for longer than you think you should – but still can’t seem to break out of it – that’s depression. People who suffer from personality disorders are often also diagnosed with depression resulting from mistreatment at the hands of others, low self-worth and the results of their own poor choices.

Dissociation- Dissociation is a psychological term used to describe a mental departure from reality.

Domestic Theft – Consuming or taking control of a resource or asset belonging to (or shared with) a family member, partner or spouse without first obtaining their approval.

Emotional Blackmail – A system of threats and punishments used in an attempt to control someone’s behaviors.

Engulfment – An unhealthy and overwhelming level of attention and dependency on another person, which comes from imagining or believing one exists only within the context of that relationship.

Sense of Entitlement – An unrealistic, unmerited or inappropriate expectation of favorable living conditions and favorable treatment at the hands of others.

False Accusations – Patterns of unwarranted or exaggerated criticism directed towards someone else. For instance, accusing someone else of being a stalker when the BPD person is actually the stalker.

Favoritism – Favoritism is the practice of systematically giving positive, preferential treatment to one child, subordinate or associate among a family or group of peers.

Fear of Abandonment – An irrational belief that one is imminent danger of being personally rejected, discarded or replaced.

Frivolous Litigation – The use of unmerited legal proceedings to hurt, harass or gain an economic advantage over an individual or organization.

Gaslighting – The practice of brainwashing or convincing a mentally healthy individual that they are going insane or that their understanding of reality is mistaken or false. The term “Gaslighting” is based on the 1944 MGM movie “Gaslight”.

Harassment – Any sustained or chronic pattern of unwelcome behavior by one individual towards another.

High and Low-Functioning – A High-Functioning Personality-Disordered Individual is one who is able to conceal their dysfunctional behavior in certain public settings and maintain a positive public or professional profile while exposing their negative traits to family members behind closed doors. A Low-Functioning Personality-Disordered Individual is one who is unable to conceal their dysfunctional behavior from public view or maintain a positive public or professional profile.

Hoovers & Hoovering – A Hoover is a metaphor taken from the popular brand of vacuum cleaners, to describe how an abuse victim trying to assert their own rights by leaving or limiting contact in a dysfunctional relationship, gets “sucked back in” when the perpetrator temporarily exhibits improved or desirable behavior.

Hysteria – An inappropriate over-reaction to bad news or disappointments, which diverts attention away from the real problem and towards the person who is having the reaction.

Identity Disturbance – A psychological term used to describe a distorted or inconsistent self-view

Impulsiveness – The tendency to act or speak based on current feelings rather than logical reasoning.

Infantilization – Treating a child as if they are much younger than their actual age. For instance, the mother that pampers the adult son and allows him to live at home long after he should have stood on his own two feet.

Invalidation – The creation or promotion of an environment which encourages an individual to believe that their thoughts, beliefs, values or physical presence are inferior, flawed, problematic or worthless.

Learned Helplessness- Learned helplessness is when a person begins to believe that they have no control over a situation, even when they do.

Magical Thinking – Looking for supernatural connections between external events and one’s own thoughts, words and actions.

Moments of Clarity – Spontaneous periods when a person with a Personality Disorder becomes more objective and tries to make amends.

Mood Swings – Unpredictable, rapid, dramatic emotional cycles which cannot be readily explained by changes in external circumstances.

Neglect – A passive form of abuse in which the physical or emotional needs of a dependent are disregarded or ignored by the person responsible for them.

Normalizing – Normalizing is a tactic used to desensitize an individual to abusive, coercive or inappropriate behaviors. In essence, normalizing is the manipulation of another human being to get them to agree to, or accept something that is in conflict with the law, social norms or their own basic code of behavior.

No-Win Scenarios – When you are manipulated into choosing between two bad options

Panic Attacks – Short intense episodes of fear or anxiety, often accompanied by physical symptoms, such as hyperventilating, shaking, sweating and chills.

Parentification – A form of role reversal, in which a child is inappropriately given the role of meeting the emotional or physical needs of the parent or of the family’s other children.

Passive-Aggressive Behavior – Expressing negative feelings in an unassertive, passive way.

Pathological Lying – Persistent deception by an individual to serve their own interests and needs with little or no regard to the needs and concerns of others. A pathological liar is a person who habitually lies to serve their own needs.

Projection – The act of attributing one’s own feelings or traits to another person and imagining or believing that the other person has those same feelings or traits, or even assuming that person’s identity.

Proxy Recruitment – A way of controlling or abusing another person by manipulating other people into unwittingly backing “doing the dirty work”.  Assuming partner’s identity online to attack others or compliment self.

Push-Pull – A chronic pattern of sabotaging and re-establishing closeness in a relationship without appropriate cause or reason.

Raging, Violence and Impulsive Aggression – Explosive verbal, physical or emotional elevations of a dispute. Rages threaten the security or safety of another individual and violate their personal boundaries.

Sabotage – The spontaneous disruption of calm or status quo in order to serve a personal interest, provoke a conflict or draw attention.

Scapegoating – Singling out one child, employee or member of a group of peers for unmerited negative treatment or blame.

Selective Competence – Demonstrating different levels of intelligence, memory, resourcefulness, strength or competence depending on the situation or environment.

Selective Memory and Selective Amnesia – The use of memory, or a lack of memory, which is selective to the point of reinforcing a bias, belief or desired outcome.

Self-Harm – Any form of deliberate, premeditated injury, such as threats of suicide, cutting, poisoning or overdosing, inflicted or threatened to inflict upon oneself.

Self-Loathing – An extreme hatred of one’s own self, actions or one’s ethnic or demographic background.

Self-Victimization – Continually casting oneself in the role of a victim.

Situational Ethics – A philosophy which promotes the idea that, when dealing with a crisis, the end justifies the means and that a rigid interpretation of rules and laws can be set aside if a greater good or lesser evil is served by doing so. Fanatical religious people often do this.

Splitting – The practice of regarding people and situations as either completely “good” or completely “bad”.

Thought Policing – A process of interrogation or attempt to control another individual’s thoughts or feelings. In this process, they curse, raise their voices, threaten, chide, etc.

Threats – Inappropriate, intentional warnings of destructive actions or consequences.

Triangulation – Gaining an advantage over perceived rivals by manipulating them into conflicts with each other.

Triggering -Small, insignificant or minor actions, statements or events that produce a dramatic or inappropriate response.

Tunnel Vision – A tendency to focus on a single concern, while neglecting or ignoring other important priorities.  Refusal to let go.

 

Spruce Up Your Pumpkins, Bro!

 

This is a cool way to create some outdoor decor for the fall season.  These are easy-to-make decoupage pumpkins that are great to set out on the porch or to even embellish Thanksgiving indoor decorations and tablescapes.

Supplies:
-Pumpkins in a variety of shapes and sizes
-Tape, such as masking tape
-White Acrylic Paint. (Spray paint works well.)
-Assorted Foliage
-White Glue
-Disposable Paint Brush

 

How to :
-Cover the pumpkin’s stem with tape. Press it tightly around the base to seal it well.
-Paint pumpkin and allow to dry.
-Paint white glue or Mod-Podge on the leaves. Press onto pumpkin. Allow to dry slightly and then press down again gently along the sides.
-Go over with Mod Podge or white glue again to seal in place. Repeat for 2 or 3  coats, but be sure to allow it to dry in between coats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

dog treats

Treats for the Beebs

Today marks the second of two grueling days of non-stop work…but I got up early this morning, because I wanted to make some natural dog greats for Beatrix.  The Internet has a plethora of recipes, so it was a little difficult to decide which ones to try.  Chihuahuas can be more susceptible to allergies than other dogs, so I had to be careful about the ingredients, and I will watch her diligently to make sure she doesn’t have a bad reaction.

My neighbors are meat eaters, and I asked them if they would give me a little chicken broth in exchange for a batch of my macadamia nut/white chocolate chip cookies.  They thought it was a fair trade.  :-)  So this morning, I concocted some dog biscuits.  I like the idea of being able to control the ingredients that go into what my puppy eats.  That way, I can keep her safe and make sure she gets solid nutrition without preservatives and harmful additives.  One never knows what is really in store bought dog treats.

I chose a very simple recipe that the “dog whisperer” had on his website, but modified it a little.

I used:

2-1/2 C. oat flour <–I chose oat flour because this is supposed to be good for dogs/people with allergies

3/4 tsp finely ground sea salt <–finely ground for better distribution

2 egg whites <–whites are less likely to stir up allergies than yolks

1 TSP. chicken broth <–farm raised/local, cage-free chickens/ no GMOs/grain fed

1/2 C. hot water

Mix everything together and form into shapes.  Some people make bone shapes.  For lack of time, I just made little circles.  I don’t think Beatrix cared one way or the other. :-)   bake in a 350 degree oven for half an hour.

So….the big question was…would her picky self turn up her nose…or would she actually take the treat and eat it?  See for yourself…

SCORE!!!!

Now…back to DAY #2. of hell.  SO much work to do!  ugh.

 

 

Day One of…..

2 days

Soooooo…..Over the next two days, I must reread the literature review that I wrote last week, and turn the information into a 15 page paper that outlines my own leadership theory.  AND….I have to figure out how to do advanced ANOVA research designs, write a paper about that, analyze a data set and explain how the results make sense.  ugh.  Hard work!    This is going to be two sure days in hell….but once I emerge, I shall never look back…and  I will have learned something new….so here I go!

scallion pancakes

Another Monday?

Ugh.  I don’t even want to think about this being Monday.  Haven’t had my coffee yet.  Therefore, I will write about the lovely weekend I had…without homework!

Cleaned my house until it sparkled, which is a pleasure for me.  (Do you know anyone else who actually LIKES to clean house?!)  I harvested some figs….so now, I have more figs….and I prepared a nice meal for friends.

We had scallion pancakes, miso soup, a Japanese salad and stuffed vegetable dumplings. (steamed).  The food was good, the conversation was stimulating, and the music that followed was even better!  It was a great evening.  Before it was all over, Sarah dropped Ingrid off for her sleepover, which is always delightful.

Sunday morning, we had a beautiful morning together…a slow breakfast, played a game, read some books and went for a puppy walk with her friend, “Piggy”.  (Her sleep/snuggle toy.)

ings on wall

Very nice.  Her parents stopped by to pick her up and I spent a good deal of the day cooking.  Trying to come up with a recipe for lentil loaf like the kind we had back in the 70’s, but I have yet to perfect it.  Mine was good…but not great.  I did concoct a very nice mushroom sauce, however.  Still working on it.  Overall, had a very good day.  Stopped by to see a couple of friends, had a laugh or two….and now…well….it’s Monday.

This week promises to be killer, in terms of school work.  3 papers and 2 discussion questions in one class, a data analysis, a paper and learning to do advanced ANOVA research designs…factorial, repeated measures, ANCOVA, in the other class….so I’d better knock down some coffee, take puppy for a walk and get crackin’.

I hope all of you have a glorious week!  xoxoings with uke

 

A Good Day

Feeling good about life….happy, contented…fulfilled….in love.  Smiling a lot.  Tired, because I really DO need this break…but not complaining.  I am quite grateful for the opportunities to do everything that I do in a given day.  I know I am lucky.  I am healthy.  I am strong.  I have a lot going in my favor.  I am at peace.

This is the first day I’ve had off in about two months.  It started off with a delicious phone call, and since,  I’ve not let a moment of the day go to waste, although I am trying to take it easy, as much as I can.  Being sedentary does not come easily to me.  Even when I have to sit at my computer all day working and doing my studies….I’m always hopping up to go for a puppy walk or to do some quick exercise reps or to dance.  Never have been one for sitting still for too long.  Pretty hyper.

So……today…..

I made pumpkin cinnamon rolls with crushed almonds.  They were delicious, but I am such a fan of the plain cinnamon roll.  Think I’ll stick to the old standard recipe next time.

pumpkin cinnamon rolls

I also went for a long walk around the neighborhood with my camera and took the following photos:

These leaves caught my eye.  Loved their contrast and graceful rolls.

striped leaves

The roses here just keep blooming and blooming.  It rained lightly this morning, so drops of moisture were still clinging to the petals of this one, near the end of its life.  They are just so fragrant this year!  Amazing!

last rose

Here is another one.

2last rose

This welcoming neighborhood scenario reminded me so much of my front porch in the Houston Heights.

chairporch

There was lush, beautiful color everywhere.  This is Portland!  I love my neighborhood.

yellow

Another end of season straggler…

straggler

Fruit on the tree…

fruit

I know this lily was grateful for the drink.

thirsty lily

More color…

color

I hope your day is as beautiful as my own.

xoxo

Stacy

meal

Cute Kids – Expensive Meal!

http://nyti.ms/1stkqAN   <——click this link to watch the adorable video.

From the New York Times:

One Saturday afternoon last month, six second graders from P.S. 295 in Brooklyn got a head start on the fine-dining life when they visited the acclaimed French restaurant Daniel. There, five waiters presented them with a seven-course tasting menu (after the trio of canapés and an amuse-bouche, naturellement). The meal was overseen by the star chef and eponym himself, Daniel Boulud, whose goal was, he says, “for the children to really discover a lot of flavor, a lot of layers, a lot of texture.” These discoveries included Smoked Paprika Cured Hamachi (the “most-foreign thing for them,” Boulud says), Crispy Japanese Snapper (“which they loved to see”) and Wagyu Beef Rib-Eye (“a big success”). To capture the children’s reactions, the magazine asked Jeffrey Blitz, the director of the Oscar-nominated documentary “Spellbound,” to make a video. The initiates seemed to enjoy the experience, but that isn’t to say they loved all those flavors and textures. At one point, after tasting a custom-made nonalcoholic cocktail, 7-year-old Chester Parish said: “This is, like, the only good course. It’s yummy.”

ingrid sunshine

Addressing the Rain

Rainin’ here

Rainin’ there

Doesn’t matter rainin’ where….

 

…because you ARE my sunshine!

 

Distance – In my sky at twilight

clouds 2

Our Twilight – Photograph by Stacy Alexander
©2013-14 all rights reserved

In my sky at twilight

You are like a cloud
and your form and color are the way I love them.
You are mine, mine with sweet lips
and in your life my infinite dreams live.

The lamp of my soul dyes your feet,
the sour wine is sweeter on your lips,
oh reaper of my evening song,
how solitary dreams believe you to be mine!

You are mine, mine, I go shouting it to the afternoon’s
wind, and the wind hauls on my widowed voice.
Hunter of the depth of my eyes, your plunder
stills your nocturnal regard as though it were water.

You are taken in the net of my music, my love,
and my nets of music are wide as the sky.
My soul is born on the shore of your eyes of mourning.
In your eyes of mourning the land of dreams begin.