Not So Pretty in Peach (NSPIP) 4–or Thereabouts

Posted April 23, 2014 by paralaxvu
Categories: Depression, Health, Memoir

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That title is way too long, and I keep getting it wrong anyway, so from now on posts about this particular topic will be named NSPIP and, hopefully, the correct continuation.  And, unless something really different happens, these posts are going to be just snippets to inform you about how I’m doing.  So don’t expect anything creative here.   And I’ve disabled the “like” button.  You can still comment if you want but there’s no need to “like” a fact.

Today will be the fourth in a row that I didn’t feel dizzy upon awakening.  It’s nice to be able to roll over and not feel like I’m going to fall on the floor even though I’m in the middle of the bed.  And, now that I think of it, I’ve been up for two-and-a-half hours, having completely forgotten to take my morning half-tab, and have had no zaps, ghosts, or dizzy spells.

That’s it.  No dizzy spells, no zaps, no ghosts.  No news is good news, eh?



Where Is Peter Walsh When You Need Him?

Posted April 6, 2014 by paralaxvu
Categories: Hobbies, Home Decorating, Humor, Lists, Memoir, Small Town Life

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It’s 2:30 a.m. and I can’t sleep. Earlier in the evening, R asked me if I was ready to give up living in one place in order to buy an RV and see the world. I said sure. Then he asked me if I was ready to give up all my “stuff” in order to fit me and him and the two dogs in the RV.  Ever since then, I’ve been going from one stuff to another, asking myself, “OK, can I let go of this?” *sigh*

There are at least 50 amazing miniature houses and castles I collected in the 90s when they were worth anywhere from $29 to $225.  Now the going rate on the secondary market is $throw-it-away to $25.  I didn’t buy them initially because I thought they would make a good investment, I just thought they were well made and, well, cute.  But I’ve enjoyed them for a couple of decades now, and it’s time to let them go, right? *sigh*

Then there are the baskets.  The tops of all my kitchen cabinets are adorned with picnic baskets and bread baskets and Indian baskets and pie baskets and Easter baskets and home-made baskets and lobster-trap baskets and …  You see where this is going.  Some of the picnic baskets have sets of dishes and cutlery and glasses and cups and napkins and …  You see where this is going.  There are leather handles and handles with feathers and handles entwined with leaves and no handles at all and… You see where this is going.  *sigh*

I was “into” rubber stamping some 20 years ago.  The stamps and embossing powders and colored pens and papers and card-making tools have followed me from Brea to Anaheim to Orange to San Diego to Chula Vista and back to San Diego, then to Mount Laguna and to three different places in Baja. I may have used one stamp, without the embossing powder, in all that time.  But each stamp is a miniature work of art.  *sigh*

We won’t even talk about the books.

Shall I tell you about my dolls and stuffed animals?  There are dolls from my childhood and dolls my brother got me when he was in the Navy.  Bonnie Braids.  Ginny and her many outfits.  A Toni doll.  Dolls my sister made me.   Teddy bears my sister made me, one with costumes to wear on holidays through the year.  Bunnies my sister made me–beautiful, elaborately dressed rabbits in satin and ribbons, larger-than-life rabbits in felt and crochet.  A velvet cat.  A cow couple in Western dress.  *sigh*

A wall cabinet full of tiny chotchkes.  Train sets.  A rock collection.  A shell collection.  The zillion Christmas decorations of which I’ve spoken in earlier posts.  Tubs of decorations for Easter, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, the Fourth of July.  *sigh*

Did I mention the books?

Or the CDs?  The DVDs?  The music cassettes and the movies on VHS which I don’t even have the means to play, for God’s sake?

Sure, I could probably take pictures of everything and sell them on eBay or Craigslist, but that would mean taking pictures of everything and wrapping them and mailing them.  Which would mean… Letting. Them. Go. *sigh*

I am not a hoarder.  My entire house is tastefully decorated with the stuff I’ve collected.  Except for the stuff I’ve collected that is in tubs because there isn’t enough room in my entire house to display it all.

And what’s so great about buying an RV and seeing the world, anyway, huh?  *sigh*


P.S.  Any reasonable suggestions would be gratefully accepted.  Perhaps not implemented, but accepted nonetheless.

Not So Pretty in Peach, Continuation 2

Posted April 2, 2014 by paralaxvu
Categories: Depression, Health, Memoir

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The vertigo came back again yesterday morning and stayed with me all day.  Not really enough to cause immobility, just enough to make me slightly discombobulated and a little sick to my stomach.  Still didn’t tell R because he would worry too much.

I did send an email to my MD, though, who answered pretty quickly and said to just ride it through, it was exactly what I thought and would go away.  He also advised me not to lower my dosage any more until the vertigo was gone.   Hey, Doc–you can bet I’m not lowering my dosage for several months, at least.  With R in Asia soon, I’ll be alone with the two schnauzers.  Although they provide company, they aren’t big enough, even side-by-side, to help hold me up if I stumble.

I find I have an imagination that must be kept at bay when the panic starts to set in.  This is why I’ve learned deep breathing.  While meditation would probably be better, I’ve never been able to do that.  Minutes of mindfulness are all I can attain, but these help to calm the spirit.

This morning, I awoke with the hope that the dizziness had gone–which it had, so I’m more peaceful today.  After checking CNN for any real news of flight 370 and finding Wolf in a round-table discussion with three experts who were answering tweets–I kid you not!–I put on the coffee and came to my laptop.  Now I’m going out onto the patio with my cuppa to watch the mourning doves fly against a backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, wisps of clouds in the blue sky, and a gentle breeze.

Not So Pretty in Peach, Continuation 1

Posted March 28, 2014 by paralaxvu
Categories: Depression, Health, Memoir

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Warning:  This is not one of my better-written posts.  If I took the time to make it so, I wouldn’t have written it.

Well, R has to go back to Asia sooner than we thought so I’ve decided to hold at 1/2 tab a.m. and 1/2 tab p.m.  Have had only two migraines and nothing lately until the last few days.  For three days in a row, I wake up and turn my eyes to the side and suddenly the room spins.  I close my eyes quickly and the spinning goes away, not to return.  It’s a bit scary, because I don’t want anything to happen while R is out of the country.  I’m not telling him because I don’t want him to worry while he’s gone, or–worse yet–not go because of this.  Had I known what would happen if I ever tried to stop taking this medication, I might have declined.  But of course, that’s easy to say on the back end of the story, isn’t it?

Depression is a funny thing, at least mine is.  I can go to Facebook and joke around and share lots of things, many of them funny.  I can read other folks’ WordPress blogs and laugh and even reply to them.  I can interact with R and J easily, even wittily at times.  Yet I stay in bed ten, 11, even 12 hours in the morning because, hey, what’s the reason for getting up?  I can carry on long conversations in my head about what’s happening with me but can’t write about it or talk about it.  I spend most days watching Bones and NCIS reruns.

I used to picture depressed people as being sad and alone all the time.  That’s not me.  In fact, I would venture to say that most people would never know I was depressed.  What’s that all about?  One thing I do really laugh at–those Abilify commercials–you know, the antidepressant that is supposed to help your other antidepressant?  Hey, if one isn’t working, just add another.  And stay hooked on meds even longer.

“They” say I should go out and exercise because exercise has been proven to help get one out of depression.  Great idea, if I could get un-depressed enough to force myself to exercise.  These days, the only thing I’ve been able to force myself to do that’s good for me is take my cup of coffee out on the patio and soak up the sun for 15-20 minutes.  So, now that I’ve tapered myself off almost all of my meds, am I going right back to where I was in the beginning?  Or is this just part of the side effects of going off the meds?

The funny thing is, I seem to have inherited my mother’s outlook on life, because the little angel on my shoulder always keeps whispering, “Things will get better, if not tomorrow then the day after.”

Yep, there’s always hope.

Not So Pretty in Peach

Posted March 9, 2014 by paralaxvu
Categories: Depression, Health, Memoir

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Depression and I have been companions for years.  Ever since Prozac was introduced, I’ve been on many different meds in search of that one perfect elixir which would finally cure me.   The last daily cocktail consisted of venlafaxine/buspirone/nefazadone for years. But because I live in California, and because I’m a worry wart at heart, I decided I’d like to try tapering off all meds because I didn’t want to get caught after an earthquake without the meds and no place to get more. When it comes to depression versus trying to contend with sudden withdrawal and its attendant probable side effects following an earthquake, what can I say?

Anyway, I started with the buspirone, then went to the nefazadone. I took two years doing this because of my fear of a bad reaction. Had no problems. Then one day I forgot completely to take my nighttime venlafaxine cap (at the time, I was on two 75-mg caps a day). The next morning I experienced vertigo so bad that I couldn’t even get out of bed. Really scared me, since I was alone at the time, so I  asked my psych about tapering the venlafaxine until I was completely off. He changed my RX from 75 mg caps to 37.5 mg pills.

Doc’s instructions were to take 1 pill a.m. and 1 pill p.m. for 2 weeks, then reduce to 1 pill a.m. and 1/2 pill p.m. for a month, then 1/2 pill a.m. and 1/2 pill p.m. for a month, then 1/2 pill a.m. for a month, then nothing. I’m now 2 weeks into the 1/2 a.m. and 1/2 p.m. stage. At each change I’ve suffered a horrible migraine for the first 2 days, which I can only manage with hydrocodone. Shortly before it’s time for me to take the next half-pill, I experience the well-known brain zaps (which I refer to as cartoon ghosts–you know, that sort-of “phhsssht” sound the ghost always makes as it scoots around in the background scaring cartoon characters).

R is headed on a business trip to Asia in a month, and I’d like to be completely off the stuff before he leaves so I know I’ll be all right on my own. I was thinking of speeding up the process but have decided to at least notify my doc of this decision before doing so. It’s a lousy choice between tapering off too early and experiencing worse headaches and ghosts and possibly other side effects and going slowly but alone with the worry that I might have vertigo with no one around to help.  Completely crappy conundrum.

In the interests of adding further experiences to that large body of OMG-I-gotta-get-off-this-drug-but-am-scared-shitless-about-the-ensuing-side-effects literature, I thought it might help me and others to set this down and share what happens.  Barring a devastating earthquake in the next few months, I’ll try to come by often (or whenever the side effects appear) to keep everyone informed.


Posted July 16, 2013 by paralaxvu
Categories: Humor, Small Town Life, Writing

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I love catalogs.  All kinds of catalogs.  Seed and plant catalogs.  Everything-under-$14.95 catalogs.  Pet supplies catalogs.  Kitchen equipment catalogs.  Car parts catalogs.  Harbor Freight catalogs.

J. Peterman catalogs. (Especially J. Peterman catalogs–I don’t buy a lot of stuff from him because I think he’s a tad too costly, but his descriptions of the items are almost better than the Reader’s Digest for bathroom reading.)

Christmas catalogs.  Ornament catalogs.  Christmas ornament catalogs.  Book catalogs.  Music catalogs.  Music-related item catalogs.  Jewelry catalogs.    The Whole Earth Catalog.

OMG! The Whole Earth Catalog!  Who wouldn’t want a catalog of everything on the entire earth, for pete’s sake?

Oh. I know they’re all–most, anyway–online somewhere, but it’s not the same.  You can’t take them in your two hands and savor the feel of the paper.  You can’t turn down the corners on the pages that have exactly what you need absolutely have to have want.  You can’t draw little arrows from the item to the margin where you can write a note to your significant other why you would die not be able to function probably save a lot of money if s/he didn’t get it for you.

I love catalogs even though I keep them too long and the stuff isn’t available anymore.  Even though the livingroom/bedroom/kitchen/bathroom/office table/floor/ottoman/counter is covered with them.  Even though I couldn’t possibly afford all the stuff in them that I want and don’t have enough space to store them in if I could.

I know that catalogs aren’t as good as books because you can also smell books and usually catalogs are odor free.  Probably because their pages are stapled and not glued, and the glue is made from horses’ hooves, or something else equally smelly.  I once read a book that smelled like raisins.  Besides thoroughly enjoying the writing in the book, I also enjoyed thinking about horses dipping their hooves into little red Sunmaid boxes.

But back to catalogs.  My letter carrier does not like catalogs.  The pages get wrinkled and tear in the mailbag, and they can get wet in the transfer from bag to addressee mailbox.  Not to mention that catalog lovers such as myself do get miffed when the mail carrier hands them a wet, wrinkled catalog with torn pages and even–goddess forbid–missing covers.   Plus, a mail bag full of catalogs is heavy.  And a bag full of wet catalogs?  Traipsing upstairs in an apartment building? A Sisyphusian nightmare.

But, hey, if it weren’t for my love for catalogs, many of my friends would not get some of the very strange cool gifts they get from me because you just can’t find that weird cool a gift in the store.  Besides, if it weren’t for that particular kind of junk mail, my mail carrier might not be working on Monday, either.  Which he could probably use off, anyway, to give his back a rest.  And read a couple of tool catalogs.


Posted May 14, 2013 by paralaxvu
Categories: Advertising, Celebrities, Companies and Corporations, Pets, Rants, Small Town Life, Women

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

At 68, I don’t wear a lot of makeup any more, and I haven’t used hair coloring in years.  (I kind of like the silvery grey-blonde it is now).  But L’Oreal has always been one of my go-to companies.  Was it the exotic French name?  Oh, probably a little bit, yes.  Not too different from a lot of others, I would guess, for whom France tantalizes from afar and somehow using a cosmetic with such a name makes one feel more feminine.  More important, though, is the fact that L’Oreal has always been in my price range.  I don’t shop at Nordstrom’s or Saks, hardly ever even go to Macy’s.  But L’Oreal has been a dependable brand whose products did what they were supposed to do.  Their commercials might have promised more, but at least they didn’t deliver less than I expected.

So imagine my disgust when I went to my Facebook page (yeah, I have a Facebook page, but that will be the topic of another blog, another day) and was confronted with this tidbit:

Rabbits in a Cage

(Sponsored by: The Animal Rescue Site)

“Isn’t it time that cosmetic testing on animals be a thing of the past? Evidently L’Oreal Paris doesn’t think so.

L’Oreal continues to use rabbits as test subjects for their beauty products. These tests involve extremely painful procedures that can severely injure or kill the animals. Substances are dropped into their eyes, skin is shaved down in order to test chemicals, and poisons are force-fed. Most of the animals are then euthanized after they have served L’Oreal’s purpose.

You, as the consumer, have an opportunity to call L’Oreal out on its disgusting methods. Sign the pledge declaring a boycott of all L’Oreal products until the company ceases to use animals in testing of any kind!”

Here’s the petition:

Dear Chairman and CEO Jean-Paul Agon:

I am writing to let you know that until your company stops using animals in cosmetic testing, I will not buy any L’Oreal product.

L’Oreal continues to use rabbits in tests for beauty products, and the processes aren’t pretty. Substances are dropped into their eyes, skin is shaved down in order to test chemicals, and poisons are force-fed. The animals are then euthanized when they are no longer needed.

And all to meet China’s requirements to sell in their markets. This financially motivated decision to test on animals suggests your company’s ethics are for sell.

Your actions are nothing more than animal cruelty and need to stop now. Please resort to non-animal testing if you would like to keep me as a customer.


So, Msr. Jean-Paul Agon, if L’Oreal can’t make enough money from its loyal customers outside China, you should go into another business.  Because you’re certainly not going to get mine anymore.

Now, read this and weep:

French cosmetics giant L’Oréal is aiming for 250 million new customers in China as a newly-affluent middle class spends its increasing wealth on the group’s stable of luxury skincare brands like Lancôme, chief executive Jean-Paul Agon said today.

The company’s Luxe luxury division, which also plans to launch its Yves Saint Laurent fragrances in China next month, has enlisted celebrities including Julia Roberts and Emma Watson to appeal to Chinese consumers in a market for luxury goods that has doubled in the past five years. New markets including China accounted for almost half of the division’s €5.56 billion (£4.7 billion) sales last year.The world’s second biggest economy is set to create 260 million more middle class consumers by 2020 as city dwellers account for the majority of the population for the first time.  Agon, speaking in Shanghai, said the cosmetics firm would be extending its reach beyond major centres like Shanghai to smaller cities and added:  “A potential 250 million new customers will be using our products in the next 10-15 years, making China the number one contributor to our ambition of winning one billion new customers.”
Accompanying the article was a photo of lovely Chinese models applying L’Oreal’s makeup in front of mirrors.  No rabbit pictures were included.
Here’s where you can sign & SHARE the petition:
While you’re at it, send copies to Julia Roberts and Emma Watson, too!


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