30 Days of Thanks: Day 2

Maybe I should have written this sooner, or as part of my post on the phone interview, but I am very thankful for the opportunity.  I did write to the department chair and thank him for the interview.  (I think he was there, and even if he wasn’t, it seemed to be the most appropriate way to proceed.)  Having been invited to do a phone interview was a great boost to my self-esteem.  I’ve reviewed it and reviewed it in my head, and can’t recall any major mistakes.  Part of me wants to run ahead and start making plans, but another part of me knows that I’ve only done the phone interview and can’t count on anything.  But it’s nice to dream, right?  This would be a good job and hopefully (if I get it) I won’t screw it up like the other ones I’ve had.

But enough negative talk!  This is about thanks and I am very thankful for this opportunity.  So thanks to the search committee, thanks to God or the Fates or whoever is in control, and thanks to me for keeping my head during the interview! 😉

Let’s hope I reach the next stage of the job process!

 
© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

30 Days of Creativity: Day 13

Birthday Card!

Mice and images (c) House Mouse Designs.
Card creation by ManicMonday.

I spent another evening with my card-making friend and this is what I came up with.  It is a birthday card for my niece and her favorite color is pink.  I used a House Mouse Designs® stamp with black ink for the design, then used colored pencils to color in the mice and cupcake.  I used yellow markers for the candle flame, which actually had to be drawn in, but I tried to shade them slightly. I mounted the white cardstock with the image on to a slightly larger light pink piece of cardstock, which was then mounted onto the dark pink card.  Inside is a simple Happy Birthday multi-colored (pink and purple) stamp.

You can see the envelope beneath the card.  In the lower left hand corner I stamped another celebrating mouse.  It’s a grey envelope because I didn’t have a white one available.  As a result, I elected not to color him.  Believe it or not, this card took me 1&1/2 to 2 hours to complete.  So if anyone ever gives you a hand-made card, keep in mind that it was not a trivial endeavor to make it! 🙂


© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Phone Interview in Review

OK, this post is two days in the making. I’m still having trouble with focus.

This isn’t the school, it’s actually a picture of Victoria College in Toronto, but I thought the image would brighten up my post for today.
Image (c)ManicMonday

Yesterday:

Hot off the presses… I just had a telephone interview for a teaching job (a long distance away). I think it went well. I’m still processing it all. At least I went in prepared with what I was going to say although I got a few curve balls. I think I did pretty well. I can’t think of anything major that I screwed up. We will see how it goes. Now I wait to hear word back from them, but I should know something within the next couple of weeks. My references fell a little short, i.e. some of them didn’t make it, so I have to followup on those.

I wish I was more organized! I can’t keep things in my head straight. 😦 I think I am slightly hypomanic. I need to get focused. The school is actually hiring for three positions, so if I got one, I could be starting as early as August!

Today:

I’ve had a some time to process the interview. I still feel confident about the interview, although I probably could have handled a couple of things better than I did. I’m trying to figure out how to send a thank you note since the entire committee wasn’t there and also because I missed the name of one of the committee members. I could send one directly to the chair and ask him to pass along my thanks. That’s about the best I can think of. If anyone else has any ideas, please share! 🙂

I started on the higher dose of Geodon last night, and already I feel my hypomania fading away. It appears that I react very well to antipsychotics. Either that or it’s just a new episode, this time of stability. Wait, scratch that – I’m distracted today. Maybe it’s ADD. During this post (today) so far, I’ve talked with DH, checked facebook, mail, and texted.

I’m trying not to think of the “what ifs” – what if I get this job? How will we move? DH is committed to the fall semester here so that means time apart. We’ve done it before, but we really don’t do well apart. And we’d have to sell the house, which we may have to do anyway, so we better get cleaning. We have so much junk to sort through! But how to clean when you keep getting distracted?

I am getting a head of myself. There’s no guarantee that I will even get this job.  I’d like to ask if you, dear reader, would please cross your fingers, think good thoughts, or say a prayer for me.  I need to get out of the rut that I am in and I think that getting this job would do that for me.  Thanks!

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mixed Up Again?

WARNING: Possible triggers (suicide)

I wanted to get back to my mental health posting, as that is what this blog was originally about, but I’m not sure where to go with it. I posted the gory view of my inner soul on Friday. But Friday was some sort of ‘episode’ (mixed episode maybe?) that I should discuss with my therapist & pdoc.

Friday didn’t end with my post. It was a long, dull evening and even DH was quiet around me. Finally, I couldn’t take the silence anymore and I put on my shoes and stormed out of the house. I didn’t even bother with my phone so I would be on my own if someone or something attacked me. But I didn’t care. I was too wrapped up in pain and fury to worry about it. I walked over two miles before I made it back home. The whole time, I was trying to rationalize suicide and develop a plan. Don’t worry, I haven’t come up with one that I like so I’m not in trouble yet.

But there is so much anger in me right now, which makes me think I may be going through a mixed state. The past two days have been better, but I am still quick to temper, as I’m sure DH has noticed. I feel like I am never going to work again and I don’t know what we will do. I’m angry about losing my job, about the abuse I put up with, about everything. I am especially angry that they questioned my scientific integrity and called me a liar. All when I wasn’t there to defend myself. I needed to be out on mental health leave long before they ever put me out for physical reasons. And for that, I am angry at myself. I had the tools, I just didn’t use them. I didn’t seek professional medical health when I needed it most.

Depression and anger. They say that depression is anger turned inwards. I have to accept responsibility for not doing something when I needed it most. For allowing them to get inside my head. Now I have to work through the rubble that is the aftermath. Lesson learned – don’t trust your coworkers and seek professional help. DH says I need to learn to let go of the guilt because guilt is a useless emotion. He’s probably right. He usually is about these things.

Now I have to decide (and quickly) if I want to go to this conference. Pros: it may lead to job contacts and there will definitely be networking opportunities. Cons: It will be expensive (probably close to $1000) and I will run into Dr. B and his protege. I don’t know if I can handle the latter and still act professionally. Or handle it emotionally. There is also no guarantee that the networking will lead to anything. It’s a very small conference (only a few hundred attendees) and last time I was there (2 years ago) there was only one job posted that I would qualify for. So this is a topic for this week’s therapy session.

Anyway, I just wanted to fill you all in on what’s happened since Friday.

 

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Wild Ride Inside

It’s been a wild ride this week.  I’d been consistently and stably depressed for several weeks now, but on Monday I woke up early with my husband and we went for a walk.  I felt pretty good that day.  Tuesday was not a great day until I went to see the transit.  Then I got excited and hardly slept that night. I felt just a little bit manic, but I don’t think it was that.  However, I had leftover energy when I saw my pdoc on Wed, so we decided not to change my meds, except to add Strattera.  (More on that later.)  Yesterday was a down day because I hurt all over.  I little bit of a fever in the morning, with a sore throat and earache.  I was better by late afternoon and back to my normal level of depression.  Then there was today.

I don’t know what is going on with me emotionally today.  I am all over the place – on the wrong side of town.  I didn’t want to get up this morning.  I was dreaming about shooting bad guys (like in Halo) with Batman.  I couldn’t find ammunition for the guns.  I had 3 guns and no ammo.  Batman, myself, and another superhero who I can’t remember, were in this house plotting how to take down the bad guys.  We needed weapons and ammo.  A group of kids came by the house selling firecrackers, bullets, and laser weapons.  Batman bought a laser weapon that shot yellow “pellets” (bursts) of light.  He was very enamored of it.  He bought me some ammo but when we went out to get the bad guys, it turned out to be light ammo – both laser like and far less powerful than real bullets.  So here I am, stuck in a war zone between good and evil, with 3 different guns (rifle, shotgun and pistol) and four bullets that don’t fit any of these guns.  Halo was far easier than this.  I woke up at some point.  I might have been shot or captured by the bad guys – I don’t know.  It was a really whacked out dream.  I’m sure it means something.  Maybe I’m struggling to fight my demons but running out of energy.  That still doesn’t explain Batman.

Despite this exciting dream, I woke up lethargic and depressed.  I almost forgot my hair appt.  I called my hairdresser to ask her what time it was and she called me back when I had 20min to get ready.  I hadn’t even had a shower yet.  But I had to take one because my last shower was Monday (I think).  I don’t go out so unless my husband thinks I smell, what’s the point?  (Depression talking, I know.)  So I went to my appt (late) feeling completely numb.  I didn’t talk much – I let her do most of the talking.  (When she gets going, it’s hard to get a word in edgewise anyway.)  So I just let her ramble on about how great her life is and everything.  Inside my head, I’m screaming: I don’t care! I just wanted my hair to be done and to get out of there.  I didn’t want to hear how wonderful someone else’s life is.  I had her flatiron my hair.  Appropriate.  My emotions were as flat as my hair.

Fast forward to this afternoon.  I’ve been procrastinating on making this phone call about a reduced conference registration for the unemployed.  I know the lady and she is very nice, but apparently hard to get a hold of.  I went through the operator, who made me explain why I wanted to talk to this specific person, and I swear my cheeks were burning as I stumbled over my words.  Finally, I got put through to her voicemail and left a message.  It’s Friday, she didn’t call me back, no surprise.

But then I went to the conference website and looked at the program for the conference.  And then I saw it.  The work that I started with Dr. B (history of this story in 15 minutes of fury) was being presented at this conference.  Just him and the new girl.  My contributions gone.  I don’t think I ever wrote about this part before, but I informed my supervisor of my involvement in the project. I found out later that management claimed to have investigated my work and determined that I had no involvement.  So not only was my work STOLEN, my integrity was QUESTIONED.  I was furious when I found that out.  I had research journals as proof and they basically called me liar.  Backstabbing, hypocritical, lying, cheating, narcissistic bastard (literally).  And there it is – to be presented to the public at this conference as their work alone.  Just as it was presented to the company as their work alone.  Dr. Bastard always gets what he wants no matter what he has to do to get it.  Entitled, selfish, retirement-aged, spoiled brat.

When I saw that, I was angry.  Who wouldn’t be in my situation?  But it’s nothing new, so I set it aside.  Then I decided to go make myself a second cup of decaf coffee to help relax.  While setting it up, I dropped the filter and the holder (I have a Keurig) on the floor.  I snapped.  Like a dry twig. The filter and holder were on the floor and coffee was everywhere.  I stormed into the bedroom and slammed the door hard enough to rattle the mirror on the dresser.  The cat scattered as my feet heralded fury and pain pounding across the floor.  I fell face-first on the bed.  And couldn’t cry.  The emotions were there but I couldn’t access them.  It’s like they were trapped in a type of glue of indifference.  A few tears came eventually, but not a hard rain, like the kind that dries you out.  No, the pain is just reabsorbed and dulled into nothing.  I am trapped in my own mind.  Sucked into a hole of non-existence.

Another part of me feels like there is a mini-me running around inside my head, pounding on my skull (maybe that’s where the headaches are coming from), bored, tired, counting the days until nothing.  Wanting out, an escape, anything.  Maybe I should be afraid of that mini-me.

My life as of late is not just full of pretty pictures.  I put that out there for you to see without becoming tired of my inner monologue.  My life is boring but depressing, and full of frustration.  I feel like I am desperately trying to climb a hill on a stationary bike.

And if you have made it this far, then thank you for reading.  I really had to get this off my chest.
 

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

30 Days of Creativity: Day 12

The Joust

Today’s lesson is about cropping. I was at the Rennassiance Faire and took some pictures of the joust. I sat near the fence and because the action covers the length of the field,  I decided to forgo zooming and take the image at 18mm. (With a 16Mp camera I can take this risk without worrying too much about pixelation.) I also used continuous shooting mode so that I could catch as many shots as possible. (I was hoping for a splintered lance, but no luck that day.) I believe I was also using aperture mode allowing me to obtain reasonably fast shutter speeds.

ISO 200, 18mm, f 4.5, 1/2000 s

I made all my edits in Adobe’s Lightroom® version 4.1.  Most of the edits I made were basic: white balance, contrast, color clarity & vibrance.  I raised the exposure a little for more punch. I’ve noticed that my old SONY Alpha ran about .2 to .3 of an f-stop too low on exposure but I’m still not sure about this one.  I’ve been very frustrated with my shoots so far and wish I hadn’t spent the money on the camera.  One of these days I will get it right.  It’s not the camera, it’s the photographer anyway.

To make this picture what it is, I had to crop it.  This is not always a trivial thing.  A hair to the left or right, up or down, can really change the whole balance of the shot.  I’m including the original image so that you can see the comparison yourself.

Original image

Yes, the original is a sloppy shot, but the point was to get a shot so that I could work with it.  Action shots are very difficult.  I’ve had a lot of “almosts” in my photographic journeys. I think part of the creative journey is to know what part of an image to use.  In this case, it is obvious: the jousters and the horses.  But if you think about your own photographs, is there some crop you could make that would completely change the feel of the photograph?

 
© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

June 6, 1944

D-Day. The day the Allies stormed the beaches of Normandy, France.

Normandy Invasion Beaches. Image from France-for-Visitors.com

We traveled to France a couple of years ago.  We had a convoluted trip, but when we finally reached the beaches, I was surprised.  There were long stretches of beach, but little to no sign of a battle ever have been fought there.  Kids playing on the beach, horse back riders, and fisherman in the water.  Beachfront property.  Graffiti on the retaining wall.  Remnants of piers, but not from WWII.

Graffiti at Juno Beach

Horseback riders along the sand. Fishermen in the background.

We visited Sword, Juno and Gold Beaches.  The pictures above were taken at Juno Beach, where the Canadians landed during the invasion.  Had we planned our trip a little better, we would have made it to the American beaches, Omaha and Utah, before sunset.

Gold beaches were very sobering.  There are remnants there of the Nazi fortifications and Mulberries in the ocean.  A Mulberry is an artificial harbor built for the invasion.

Mulberries for an artificial harbor near Arromanches

The beaches run into cliffs that the soldiers had to climb in order to breach the Nazi fortifications.  Gold Beach was part of the British invasion.  Can you imagine what it must have been like to try to climb those hills with bullets and bombs raining down upon you?

Gold Beach, Normandy

The terrain was progressively worse along the coastline to the west.  I can only imagine what Omaha and Utah must have been like, although I’ve been told that Saving Private Ryan is a good description.

Today marks another historic day in World War II history.  The Normandy beaches are really a humbling place to visit.  It’s another reminder of the price of freedom.


© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

30 Days of Thanks: Day 1

I saw this on Carla’s page and thought I would give it a go as well.  I have no plans to abandon 30 Days of Creativity, as I am having a lot of fun with that but events of yesterday have put into perspective how important it may be for me to run this project.  It may well also help with my depression.

So you may be wondering, what happened yesterday?  Well, I went and did my normal shopping run at Walmart.  I put my groceries in the car and returned the cart.  But my mind must have been elsewhere because I left my purse in the cart.  I didn’t discover this until I got home.  My purse, with my wallet, phone and spare meds… all missing.  I looked all over the car.  I drove back to Walmart.  It wasn’t in the cart return.  I went inside and waited in line at customer service.  It felt like it took forever!

I asked if anyone had turned in a black leather purse and they produced it immediately.  My iPhone was still there.  I opened my wallet to show them my ID.  All my cards were still there.  I didn’t have any cash, so there wasn’t any to lose.  (I am canceling my credit cards, just in case.)  Everyone around me was so happy for me.  The ladies behind the counter and the lady behind me in line.  I just kept saying thank you.  One of the employees told me she knew the customer who turned it in – a nice fellow with a baby.  No recrimination like you might find in some parts of the country.  I’ve been saying thank you all day.

The weirdest part was that even though I couldn’t find my purse when I got home, I didn’t panic.  Somehow I felt that it would be alright. And if it wasn’t, well, at least I could get a new driver’s license picture.  (How’s that for bizarre?)

Anyway, here’s a shout-out thanks to the man with the baby who found my purse! 🙂

 

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Venus Transit 2012

NOTE: NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN. YOU CAN NOT VIEW THE SUN WITHOUT SPECIAL FILTERS.

Today was a monumental day in astronomy history.  Venus crossed our Sun during the daylight hours and I was able to view it through telescopes, binoculars, and even my camera lens utilizing special filters.  The local astronomy club set up their telescopes in a bank parking lot, complete with filters so I went over there (camera in tow) and took pictures with both my iPhone and my SLR digital camera.  The image I have posted here was taken through a telescope with a filter.

Venus Transit 2012

Venus Transit 2012

Since not everyone had the chance to view this monumental event due either to timezone or weather, I thought I would post about my experience.

Nothing gets a bunch of science geeks together like an astronomical event.  The local astronomy club set up a half dozen telescopes with filters and invited the public to come and see the transit.  Either it wasn’t well advertised, or we don’t have as many science geeks in the area as I expected.  I thought there would be long lines, but there were only small crowds.  I had time to talk to the telescope owners, take pictures, and view the transit from different telescopes.  One of them had it set up so that the image was projected onto a piece of paper.  Another had it set up with a webcam, projecting it onto a computer screen in real time.  He also had a special telescope camera setup to take photographs every 30 seconds.  There was a young lady set up with her telescope and a hand-made filter using the appropriate filter material.  Another person had a pair of binoculars with the filter taped over the lenses. (Although this is not recommended by professionals.) There were even a few handheld viewfinders.  The last of which I used to take a shot through my own camera.  DH said he could see Venus through the handheld one, but I really had trouble.  Imagine looking at a tiny dot (circled above) on top of a small dot that is the sun.  Once you use the filter to block out the dangerous light, the Sun is only about the size of the moon, which is why we have solar eclipses.

The smaller smudges are not due to a dirty lens.  They are sunspots.  Sunspots occur in regions of high magnetic fields that creates a slighter cooler area (although still very hot!) so these areas appear dark.  I am fortunate to live in the central time zone where we had about 3-3.5hrs of sunlight.  Those who live west of me are even more fortunate, as they will see the beginning and middle of the transit.  Hawaii and Asia should have great views and early risers in Europe will get to see the end of it.  It’s a much slower transit than the 2006 Mercury transit.  The Mercury transit will be repeated in 2016.

As I mentioned, the original image I captured was through a telescope.  Specifically, a reflecting telescope, which means the image is upside down and backwards.  So when I edited this image, I flipped it both directions so you could see it as if you looked through the special filter with your eyes.

I hope some of you were able to see the Venus transit for yourself, or at least watch NASA’s video stream from Hawaii.  I’m sure there will be many images on the internet for you to enjoy.

 
© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Today

I decided to partake in this week’s photo challenge, which calls for a picture taken today.  It doesn’t have to be fancy but should represent some aspect of your life.  And, as things are going downhill again, I thought this photo would be an excellent example of the current state of my life.

Neglect

What you see here is the garden in the front of the house.  Notice how it is overgrown with weeds due to neglect.  Much like the rest of my life.  I’ve got no excuse; I have plenty of time these days, but I don’t do things.  You should see the massive pile of mail (junk & bills) accumulated on my dining room table.  If I wanted to cut myself some slack, as my therapist suggests, I could say that this garden mess is a result of 90 degree days. But why can’t I get up in the morning and do it before it gets hot?  Because I am depressed and sleep 10-11 hours a day.  You see, I have all these excuses.  I don’t know how my arms will react to weeding either — they are untried. (Obviously.)  But fear is just another excuse. I’m good with excuses and guilt.  I have all of these excuses and then make myself feel guilty for using them.  How’s that for a vicious cycle?

I neglect so many things in my life.  If it weren’t for DH, I wouldn’t have clean dishes or clean laundry.  As it is, I am neglecting some personal grooming (TMI coming up); I don’t take a shower every day, I don’t wash my hair every day, I don’t even brush my teeth every day.  I neglect tracking my blood sugar.  I haven’t filled my meds organizer in weeks and rely on this rusty memory of mine to keep track of the meds I take every day. I don’t even do things I like such as editing photos. (This is why I started the 30 days of Creativity project to force myself to do it.)  When I go to bed, I am either exhausted (from doing what?) or I can’t fall asleep. I just want to curl up and become invisible. I am neglecting myself  as well as the outside world.

I wish I knew what to do to kick myself out of this cycle.  A little hypomania would be good right about now. Although with my luck, it would be dysphoric. 😦

I need to work on my chore-reward system.  But how do you do that when everything is a chore and nothing is a reward?

 
© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.