Archive for December, 2005

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Annus Mirabilis

December 28, 2005

Mood: Changeable

Song: “Turning” (a Starbucks poison of choice for the individual who can identify the
origin of this song :))

“Look in thy heart and write” –Sir Philip Sidney

****Warning***

This post contains no lighthearted ramblings, and it is the author’s firm contention that your time would be better served by enjoying any one of a thousand holiday pleasures instead of rambling with me through this dark night.

In the deep midwinter of 2005, the days fly apace, and their swift passing is in time with the shifting I feel in my own heart. Nothing stays the same; the world itself is in flux. Thanks be to our Lord that he has given us the perfect mix of change and stability. After all, it is always winter again, yet always THIS winter. To have it always winter and never Christmas is the sign of a society in decay (and parallels to our own beloved nation are sadly merited).

I must confess, however, that in memory’s vault this year has contained transition without much rest. In my own life, 2005 has included:

*the passing of two essential men in my life: my beloved stepfather and my grandfather
*the passing of my old life as I entered into marriage: the two shall become one flesh
*the passing of my family home to another owner
*the passing from school to work marked by my completion of student teaching in May
*the passing into silence of several friendships, some expected, some surprises
*the passing of the hospitality torch from my mother to me as I hosted my first married Christmas

Such changes are not all negative; some are to be eagerly embraced, and I do not regret the steps I have taken into adulthood this past year. I stand amazed at the road I traverse, and with the Florentine I am unsure of the way. Is it any wonder that I have experienced a sense of isolation? There are days I feel like I am starring in the Lifetime movie of the week, watching events unfold but not directly acting upon them. Each and every relationship I cherished has altered, and I consider myself alone and apart. I know there are those who care for me, whose lives are inextricably linked to mine, yet they seem distant. By the way, if you’re out there reading this, please let me know ;). Sometimes the words matter more than you realize.

Do not think my life alone has been impacted.

One amazing friend has finally discovered marital peace. Her honesty is an inspiration to me; dear one, know that your experience has encouraged me to press forward through the deepest darkness. I cannot appropriately express my appreciation for your willingness to let me see you as you are. What they don’t tell you is that the first year of marriage is both more challenging and more rewarding than anyone who remains single can envision. I long for the day when we will have physical proximity to match the closeness of our souls.

Another friend has been dealt heartache on the very eve of bliss. She compares herself to a phoenix, and this is apt. Now it seems she has learned to trust again; I am unsure about my own ability to rebuild so quickly. Though we have lost touch, and I believe my friendship was never as vital to her as hers to me, I think of her often. Her name, appropriately enough, encompasses the strife (even against heaven) that she has endured and the princess she is and will continue to become.

For those who don’t know, this year has also forced Charles and me to consider the possibility (always looming in the background) that we may not be able to have children. Why should this matter? I do not trust easily, as previous posts indicate, and my Heavenly Father is calling me into deeper waters, since waiting may not be an option, yet it is our only choice at this point. This is pertinent, since I have recently discovered that a bacchant friend of mine is expecting her first child. While I rejoice for and with her, I am also struck by how much she has matured in the past few years. Again, though I don’t speak to her often, she is in my heart. So many of my acquaintances have morphed into rabbits, and I am both anxious and terrified to discover parenthood.

One of the tragedies of post-modernity is that we have utterly eradicated all signposts towards maturity. Do we become adults at 13, as Jews do when they are called to the Torah as a bar or bat mitzvah? Is adulthood gained when we graduate from high school or perhaps college? What about marriage? Giving birth? For those who remain single or decline to become parents, when are they grown-up? Age 25? 30? We live in the age of “Peter Pan”, with many Americans simply deciding not to reach adulthood. If nothing else, 2005 has convinced me that I have indeed crossed that gap.

Thoughts?

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Christmas Dreams…

December 24, 2005

The house smells of my freshly baked maple-pumpkin pie and hot shortbread cookies (thanks to Barbara Bush's secret recipe 😉 ), all the presents are neatly wrapped in sparkly paper, as is our front door (starry paper, of course), and my husband and mother are nestled snug in their beds.

Oh, did I mention the weather prediction: 80 degrees tomorrow!

It's definitely Christmas in Phoenix.

Merry Christmas to all 🙂

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Prufrock Blues…

December 17, 2005

Mood: Distracted

Song: "Don't Worry"

What I SHOULD be doing:

1) walking her majesty, the Sheltie

2) reading through 150 seventh grade essays (if I can stay awake, that is 🙂 )

3) calling friends

4) writing thank-you notes

5) beginning to make my dinner (Charles is working tonight)

6) preparing for classes Monday and Tuesday

7) e-mailing my dad

8) making my Christmas list

9) writing Christmas cards

10) baking batches and batches of Christmas cookies

11) balancing the checkbook

What I AM actually doing:

1) taking ridiculous online quizzes

2) watching a Christmas movie

3) thinking about getting up 😉

4) downloading i-Tunes music

5) finally editing my mypace profile

6) looking at Herman, our beautiful first Christmas tree

7) lighting my yummy cinnamon candles

8) blogging (obviously)

9) searching for new glitter graphics

10) exploring recipes for gingerbread ice-cream on foodnetwork.com

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Bah, Humbug!

December 14, 2005

Mood: Amused
Song: "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"

I found this online and was quite amused-a pretty amazing feat considering that it's almost the end of the semester and I have 150 seventh-grade essays to plow through before grades are due (next Wednesday).

Imagine the following – you have a very crabby and very wealthy uncle. One day he says he saw ghosts. Not one ghost, but three ghosts. Now he's a changed man. What would you do?You might very well take your uncle to a psychologist.

The following psychological analysis was done in November of 2005 by Karen Eveland, a student at Texas A&M University Kingsville for an abnormal psychology class. Her professor is Dr. William E. Kelly.

Psychological EvaluationDate: January 15, 1844
Patient: Ebenezer Scrooge
Tests Administered: Clinical Interview
Psychologist: Karen Eveland

Personal Data: Ebenezer Scrooge is an approximately 50-year-old Caucasian male. He is single and has never been married. Mr. Scrooge lives alone. He owns his own business. Mr. Scrooge’s closest living relative is his nephew, Fred.

Presenting Problems: Mr. Scrooge states that he has no complaints, however he has agreed to meet today in order to satisfy the concerns of his nephew Fred.
Fred states that he is concerned about Mr. Scrooge’s mental state. He claims Mr. Scrooge has been unusually active and emotional, and that he has been giving away his money in large sums. Although Fred admits that Mr. Scrooge’s heightened generosity is somewhat of a pleasant change; he is concerned that Mr. Scrooge may not be mentally competent. At this time, Fred is requesting that Mr. Scrooge be evaluated for mental competency to determine if he is in need of a guardian.

History: Mr. Scrooge and his nephew participated in providing details about Mr. Scrooge’s life history.

Mr. Scrooge reports that he spent most of his childhood in boarding school. He was often isolated and forgotten by his family. He felt and still believes that his father did not care much for him. He states the only relative that paid much attention to him was his sister, Fan. She was the mother of Fred, and is now deceased. Mr. Scrooge states that he had few close friends during his childhood. During young adulthood, Mr. Scrooge was engaged to be married. However, when his bride-to-be expressed concerns about Mr. Scrooge’s obsession with money, the wedding was called off. After the wedding was called off, Mr. Scrooge, states he turned his focus completely to his business and did not attempt to make any friends or to maintain any other relationships. He does state that he had one friend, Jacob Marley, who was also his business partner. Jacob Marley is now deceased and Mr. Scrooge reports having no other close friends until very recently.

Fred states that in the past he has attempted to visit Mr. Scrooge frequently, but that he generally found him inhospitable. Further Fred, states that the last seven years or so, Mr. Scrooge has worked late on a daily basis, isolating, and depriving himself and his sole employee of even adequate heating at his place of business.

Approximately two weeks ago, on Christmas Eve, Mr. Scrooge claims that he was visited by his deceased friend, Mr. Marley as well as by three other spirits. Mr. Scrooge states that initially he thought his vision of Mr. Marley was a hallucination brought on by indigestion, however, he now believes the event to be have been real. He states that Mr. Marley warned him about being punished in the after life and told him to change his ways before it was too late. Mr. Scrooge states that after Mr. Marley departed, he saw three other spirits who transported him through time and space to view Christmases in the past, present and future. He says two of the spirits actually spoke with him and warned him about living his life selfishly. Mr. Scrooge says that the last spirit did not speak but did take him to visit his own grave. Mr. Scrooge states that upon awakening Christmas morning and finding himself still alive, he determined to change his ways. He says that his sudden generosity is a result of this determination. He also claims that he is happier then he has ever been in his life, and that each new day brings him more joy. Mr. Scrooge is insistent that the experiences with his deceased friend and the three spirits were real.
Mr. Scrooge states that he has never used any drugs and that he drinks alcoholic beverages rarely. Fred, Mr. Scrooge’s nephew, confirms this information.
Current Status: Mr. Scrooge appears to be coherent. He is able to identify place, time, and people. He reports no other delusions or hallucinations, with the exception of the events he reports took place on Christmas Eve.

Diagnostic Considerations: Mr. Scrooge appears to be coherent and stable. Initial impressions of Mr. Scrooge’s symptoms indicate a possibility of Bipolar disorder. These symptoms include sudden onset of extreme mood fluctuations, racing thoughts, increased social activity, and a decreased need for sleep. However, these symptoms are balanced with intermittent periods of deep thought and reflection occurring several times within the same day. Mr. Scrooge is able to remain calm and collected for long periods of time. He also reports no symptoms of depression. Therefore, he does not meet the criteria for Bipolar, hypomania, or cyclothymia.
Due to the sudden onset of Mr. Scrooge’s psychotic like symptoms (hallucinations and delusions) and the extremely short duration of these symptoms (one night), Mr. Scrooge does not meet criteria for Schizophrenia or Schizophreniform. Although Mr. Scrooge’s thinking is somewhat symptomatic of delusional thinking, in that he maintains that the hallucinations he experienced on Christmas eve were real, he otherwise displays no other indications of irrational thought.
Mr. Scrooge appears to have suffered from Brief Psychotic Disorder, without marked stressors. The hallucinations and delusions he experienced two weeks ago evidence this. The fact that he maintains the reality of the events does not necessarily indicate deluded thinking, since the trauma from experiencing delusions and hallucinations of the magnitude reported by Mr. Scrooge could be enough to convince him of their reality. It is common for people to believe such hallucinations are real when the only alternative explanation is for them to accept that they were temporarily psychotic. To accept the notion of psychosis is extremely frightening and it is sometimes easier for some to believe the event really happened.
It is quite possible that Mr. Scrooge did suffer from some type of food poisoning, which in turn caused him to hallucinate. However, after this much time has elapsed it would be very difficult to investigate this hypothesis.

It seems more likely that Mr. Scrooge experienced a brief psychotic episode. Although undiagnosed, Mr. Scrooge appears to have suffered from obsessive-compulsive personality disorder in the past, as evidenced by his hoarding money and extreme work history. People who suffer from personality disorders are more at risk to experience a brief psychotic disorder than the general population. It is impossible to diagnose Mr. Scrooge with this disorder however, since he has no current symptoms.

As for Mr. Scrooge’s current mental state, he appears to be competent. Although he is giving away large sums of his money and is very emotional, he is able to mentally assess the risks of his behavior. Mr. Scrooge does not appear to be a danger to himself or others.Notes:Axis I – Clinical

Disorders: Brief Psychotic Episode (December 24, 1843)Axis II – Personality Disorders: Possible history obsessive compulsive personality disorder (rule out)Axis III – General Medical

Condition: DeferredAxis IV – Psychosocial and Environmental Problems: Stress related to holidays, lack of friends and family support system, and what appears to have been a brief psychotic episode.Axis V – Global Assessment of Functioning: Highest level of functioning in past year: 75; present functioning: 75

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*Still in a Shock-Induced Swoon*

December 7, 2005

Mood: Totally Surprised
Song: London Calling

You Belong in London

A little old fashioned, and a little modern.
A little traditional, and a little bit punk rock.
A unique woman like you needs a city that offers everything.
No wonder you and London will get along so well.

What City Do You Belong In?

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O Holy Night!

December 6, 2005

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Darling, You’ll Need a Bigger Box…

December 3, 2005