Tuesday, October 30, 2012

should I rename my blog?

I'm considering changing the name of my blog.

"The Socially Awkward Therapist"

Cause really, that's what I am.

When out of the realm of "I have known you for a long time" or am playing my introductory professional role, I often have no idea what to say to you. None. Overthinking your potential judgement of me.

Sometimes I wonder what the heck I am doing as a therapist. Trying to help others be better, more confidant, more ok with themselves, when I am so desperately trying to figure so much of that out for myself.

Recently I volunteered at a Fundraiser for the domestic violence shelter I work for. It was a high priced event, needless to say, none of my peers would be there as anything but other volunteers. And I was a casino dealer. Really? me? I've never gambled in my life, much less stepped foot in a casino (outside of it being the only air-conditioned building within 10 miles while in the south for a bit of relief) nor am I very flirty or outgoing. I just am what I am. Somehow I was able to make it work. I mean, its just passing out cards and counting, right?

The problem is, I don't have anything to add to normal conversations with those of the upper eshalon that are at an event such as this. Even those in my somewhat newer middle-class surroundings, I find it difficult to fit in. I generally have nothing to say. Nothing.

Conversations sometimes go like this...

Them: "blah blah blah, the country club I belong to..."
What I want to say: " my first job was as a caddy at 12 at a country club"
What I actually say:  "...     "

Them: " oh I can't wait to be done paying for all of my kids educations/student loans/weddings..."
What I want to say: either "that's awesome that you did that or" "wow, I paid for all that myself"
What I actually say:: "...    "

Them:  "My parents have been married for 50 years!"
What I want to say "my mom's been dead for 3 years and my dad is a douschbag"
What I say: "...     "
(however my in-laws have been married for at least this long and don't feel awkward there at all)

Them: "That backpacking trip through Europe during/right after college was the greatest experience of my life"
What I want to say : "lucky bastard"
What I actually say: "...   "

My contributions sound like a pity party or are accomplishments that I am really proud of that people just don't get. (or I assume they just don't get)

In all actuality, I'm jealous. I feel less than and probably therefore act like I am less than. It is the CBT way, right? We act what we believe?

And yes, I know, I am not "less than"
(disconnect between heart and brain?)
We have all been created to be unique , yet equal in value.

Its just that growing and learning and becoming more confidant stuff. Why does it have to be so uncomfortable?

Thats why i guess I am still a work in progress.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

baby weight, part deaux

I have been so anticipating writing this post.

Since I have decided to publicly acknowledge that I am working on baby weight, a few great things have happened.

1. A friend called me and asked if we could work on this together. Nothing like a little bit of accountability and friendship. Makes everything a little bit more worthwhile. We check in about every week and a half, 2 weeks. If only we lived closer I would love some nice walks/hikes in a forest preserve!

2. its really heightened my connection to the food I am making from scratch. I work hard on it, I know what exactly is going into my body and I am super proud of it. Every single ingredient

3. I am down 10 pounds!

I think the thing that has helped me the most is the idea of small goals. While I tend to be a big idea person, I can get very lost in the details and the how to get to something big. It helps to break it down. So each goal is not necessarily based on a number, but a place, a mental place if that makes sense. For example, goal one was to get into the next decade of numbers below what I was. Which was only like 4 pounds, but 4 pounds feels more reasonable to get to  than like 20. My brain can get lost in the overwhelming idea or number of "20". Then the next goal was to get into my normal happy weight range. that was another 5. and then it was only 1 more until I hit 10 total.

And going on from here I can see its only another 2 pounds till pre-baby and 4 pounds till the next "decade" of numbers.    It'll be a little bit harder after that because its more like another 8 till my wedding weight. But I'm sure I can throw another mini=goal in there.

And this weekend I had a few acknowledgements of my progress. One client and one family member noticed, which feels nice. And certainly helps with motivation.

And I feel really good. Less tired. More energy. More positive. I feel like I get more accomplished when I feel good.

And I feel more ready to start to think about taking on my next big goal. The half. My younger sister and I have committed to run a half marathon together in April (meaning we've paid the entrance fee, and cheapo me won't waste that money). I'm sure I will write more about that eventually. We've given ourselves plenty of time to prepare. But again, it will be small goals. We will also be raising money for a cause (not yet determined), and will probably solicit you. You've been warned.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

pink and purple

October is obviously breast cancer awareness month. You see it everywhere from the pink bats in baseball to pink shoes in football to increases in Susan Komen fundraising commercials and lots of Facebook posts. And I am glad that people are raising money and  awareness because cancer sucks. And I really hope someday there is a cure.

What you do not often hear about is that October is also Domestic Violence Awareness month. And as someone who works in the field and has had it affect people I love, it is important to be aware of. Because domestic violence feeds and festers in darkness and silence.

So if you already know a ton about this, please discontinue reading. Many of my friends also work in the field. And if you do, please add to my commentary and/or correct anything I may say that is incorrect or not updated. I am going to try to keep this pretty simple.

Last week there was a huge domestic violence incident that made the news outside of Milwaukee. Where a man walked into the salon that his ex-wife worked at and shot her, some co-workers and eventually himself. She had an order of protection against him. This is a super tragic and extreme case. I pray for comfort and healing for all affected by this.

However this is the picture that most people have about domestic violence. These overtly psychotic acts. But it starts so much earlier. So much simpler. Depending on your source, the stats are that 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 women have experienced domestic violence in some form. Think about it. Look around at co-workers or moms in your neighborhood or family members. You know someone who has been in an abusive relationship of some kind. Whether you know about it or not. (and yes, men can be victims too. however a significant minority)

It usually starts with small things. Emotional or verbal abuse of somesort. Questioning. Needing to know whereabouts on a regular basis (like hourly). jealousy. manipulation. talking in circles. "king of the castle" mentality. making you feel guilty. it moves to put downs, humiliation, intimidation, threats, isolation. a victim feels like they are walking on eggshells and fears what to do or say next.  THere are so many examples. THis stuff can go on for years before it ever gets physical. A way of wearing someone down. When these tools no longer work, the ante goes up. Its all about controlling someone in a relationship. Rather than seeing your partner as your equal, they are subordinate, less than, which then makes the abuser feel more powerful.better about themselves. (and there is a psychology in the batterer. with some exceptions. I work with them. They are not "EVIL". But broken humans.Usually having grown up witnessing dv or some trauma)

The belief out there in the past (and sadly is still out there) has been that it is a private issue. A family issue. But it is not. It is a social issue. It is a legal issue. It is illegal to physically hurt or threaten another person in any way. Even if you are married to them. Its sad that there are people who do not know this.

it does not discriminate on race or socioeconomic status. rich and poor alike have domestic violence.

And when no one says "boo" about it or "its not my problem", in a way it says "its okay". Its like not standing up against racism. Not speaking up about persecution of gays or lesbians. And if hatred and violence in our world is "not your problem" then I would like to know what world you live in and plan on having your children grow up in. Because all things start at home and in ourselves. Peace. Hate. Love. War. If we cannot love ourselves, then we cannot love others. If we have violence at home, we will show violence in other ways in the world. Family is our first social system. What we learn there, we project onto the rest of the world and act upon it. i.e if home if not safe and trustworthy, than neither is anything else in the world.

My son will grow up in that world.

My hope is that he grows up in a world of people who are at peace with themselves. Who hate violence. Who stand up for what is right. A world where all people are seen as equal in importance and value, regardless of what gender they are or color they are or orientation they are.

I think about football. I would love to see those guys adorned in purple. socks, gloves, helmet straps. Standing up against domestic violence. I know that football is a very rough sport (and I admit that I love it). There is a "tough guy" image. So many pro-athletes we hear about getting involved in "domestic disputes" i.e. domestic violence. What if men and pro athletes told each other "hey man, that isn't cool" and kicked a guy off of a team for that.  Sending a message that violence at home is not acceptable, that treating your family, your partner with respect and dignity is one of the most important things that there is. More than money. fame. power. control.

I leave you with this. My favorite quote. Its hanging in our abuser group room, my office and is on my fb page. I work on this every day. Because I want a more peaceful world. And I know it begins with me.


(if you think you are in an abusive relationship and need help or do not know where to start, please call the national domestic violence help line and start to talk through it with a professional. its free!  1−800−799−SAFE(7233)   )

nap time

My sweet boy is currently upstairs napping peacefully. There are few things more beautiful than watching him sleep.

For some parents, nap time is also a peaceful and restful time for them. I envy those who can nap. However this is not the case for me.

During wake time Ben and I play and sing and read and learn and he also helps me with chores and errands. I carry him in his Ergo through the grocery store or while I'm putting away dishes. He'll sit next to me in a stroller if I am starting dinner or working on my latest homegrown cooking project. And it all takes just a little bit longer with a baby on your hip. And that is okay.

its when nap time hits that I fall into a frantic mode, of "what can I get done quickly in the shortest amount of time that I can't get done with Ben on my hip". There are so many things that I want to do that it can become almost paralyzing where to start, especially when you do not know how much time we are working with...20 minutes to 3 hours: fix lunch, work on laundry, write blog, make appointments, check on whatever else was cooking, check e-mail, work on music for ICA conference, work out, do eval write up for work, look up this thing for youth ministry, clean up the play mess we made earlier, wipe down counters, clean bathrooms with bleach products, cut back bushes, plant bulbs...and the list goes on and on. A list of "should"s

I do that a lot. You know, "should" all over myself.

I get caught up in all of the things I should do rather than just lower the anxiety and enjoy the moment. Enjoy the quiet. Be okay with getting maybe 2 things accomplished rather than 15. As if not doing 15 things makes me less of a person. Its just never enough.

I can blame my upbringing a little bit. I mean my mom raised 3 kids while maintaining a small farm and working anywhere between 1-3 jobs and keeping house and trying to enjoy her hobbies and pay bills and all the other things that working single moms do. I wonder if I ever saw her rest.

And I have been used to the working, going to school, planning a wedding, taking care of mom, doing homework, volunteering, etc all at the same time. Perhaps all of these experiences have prepared me for parenthood.

But even so when I look at those years, they all passed by so darn fast. those working college years. the years with mom. Can you believe I've been married for 7 years? These upcoming years will not pass any slower. And if I don't slow down, I will miss them.

And I want to maintain my home and goals. Its a balancing act for sure.

And with whatever time I have left of naptime today, I shall head to the basement and work out on the elliptical with my kindle. and the tv on. and my ipod. Cause thats just how I roll.

Have I really learned a thing?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pork, its whats for dinner

In addition to all of my weird homemade everyday foods, I am also just working on keeping my food/dinners more local, and interesting.

I have been a huge proponent of the farmers market. I'm going to struggle through the winter significantly, however I have 3 things going for me.

1. Grayslake has a Saturday market that goes until December
2. Farmer Nick's winter CSA
3. my hope of ACTUALLY canning stuff next year, now that I find it not so scary.

Saturday I worked on a Pork Roast. In the last few months I started eating pork again, as long as I approve of its beginnings. We did some pretty wicked pork chops the other week. Pan barbecued. so good.

My bff lately has been America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Country. Its a PBS tv show and I love it. They thoroughly test recipes, cooking utensils, ingredients, and tell you what is the best according to their chefs and testers and panel based on tons of trials. (I would love to figure out how to get on THAT panel). I have been using their recipes for everything and have a little subscription to their e-mail/website.

(For the record, any cookbook or supplies by ATK makes an excellent Christmas gift for me this year)

So I figure whatever recipe I use is going to be good. Here is todays recipe: Slow roasted POrk shoulder with peach sauce 

here is how it looked before it goes into the oven...

One problem I still have is lack of supplies and lack of ability to read the recipe before I decide to work on it. That came to a head here as its supposed to go on a "v rack". so the juices drain under it. um, what? So in my McGuyver style back pocket, I found my mixer beaters and a mini cooling rack. that is under my roast. I have a few things to pick up later a Bed Bath and Beyond (who I did notice is carrying a line of made in the USA bakeware)

So it'll be in for 5-6 hours.
Here is the end result.

Add reduced peach sauce over top. Mmmm
served with sides of baked apples and acorn squash.

Did I mention that my brother in law is was for his military drill this weekend. We only serve our military the best here.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

say what...

Children. They make you do things you never thought possible.

Its funny cause I really dislike over the top cheesy kinds of things. And that is EXACTLY what they love. Over the top expressions, reactions, tones, music, etc/

I thought I would struggle with it more, but it is what it is.

I never thought I would hear myself say:

- "poop!" "did you fart!?" "thats a good spit up!" and so excitedly. ok, so this really isn't that far out of my box. My sense of humor is like a 12 year old boy.  Even my conservative husband can't get mad in this context.

-"no, you may not bite my  nipple". and he just smiles and thinks its hilarious. It kind of is. but it kind of is not.

- "don't eat your diaper. don't eat my face. don't eat ...___" he shoves everything in his mouth. What to do instead, find something to replace it with.

-"yay!!" I celebrate internally usually. but he needs to hear me celebrate.

Ways I never thought I would talk:

- yep, baby talk. I never thought I would. That sing songy voice. I don't even cringe when I hear it recorded. Which I have to show off some of his little feats.

- repeating. I hate hraving to repeat myself. However, that is how he learns. Say words or phrases over and over


- I will nurse wherever. If he's hungry, then he needs to eat. I always cover up though. I've even nursed him while holding him and trying to gather things around the house for work. I'm otherwise usually pretty conservative and self-conscious about the body.

- cleaning up poop: the kitties poop grosses me out more now. I mean, now that baby's eating solids, its way more gross that before, but its no big deal anymore. I've done it hundreds of times and will do it thousands more.

-laundry. once one of my most despised chores is welcomed. I need clean diapers, clothes, bibs and it is something I can actually do while holding him.

what I've learned the most here is that it is not about me. You just do what you have to do for him. Which often means coming out of your own comfort zone. And as a therapist, that place outside of your comfort zone is where the best most life changing stuff happens.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sissy, come home!!!

So this is what I have been thinking about all day. At home and while driving about on errands.

I have 2 sisters. My older will probably never consider moving back to Chicago. Stupid Seattle. However, my younger one is just out of the reach of Chicago. And I believe that it continues to beckon her to return. I shall help that cause with the following top ten list:


10. Clearly the dating pool in Champaign has dried up. whatever there was of one

9. So much closer to fun and cultural events. great concert venues. Wrigley field. the Mag Mile. O'Hare. Shopping!! 

8. Don't your besties live up here? Hello Laura and Jenny. Help me out here.

7.  Family!! Cousins. Sisters.  babies. Bill's fam. kitties. This little one has yet to meet her adopted kitty cousins...

6. Milwaukee and all its breweries and distilleries a short drive away. so many to explore. Where else can you find cornhole games that say "bunghole?"

5. Sister date  nights. Chatty drunk sisters. fun times.  Mmm wine bar.

4.  Food. Hello Oberweis, Portillos, Chicago-style pizza, (your sisters homemade delights)...

3. You can only call people out on cheating at games if you are there. live. or at least its more fun to do so. 

2. The Cubs desperately need a lucky charm

1. This guy:

Enough said???

pet peeves

We all have them. Those little stupid insignificant things that probably shouldn't bother us, but do.

Here is a sprinkling of mine

1. Someone chewing with their mouth open is there anything more to say about this?

2. When dads "babysit" . And maybe its because I hear this at work a lot. "I babysat my daughter..." But I'm sorry, you do not "babysit" your own kids. its called parenting. Spending quality time with your child. And no, you will not get a medal for doing your job.

3. Not using your blinker/turn signal until your already in the process. "oh, you want to turn? I couldn't figure that out from you cutting me off and your car was 3/4 of the way into my lane. I just thought maybe you were drunk.

4. When people are outraged at breastfeeding, but then go home to watch an r-rated movie
because God-forbid we use them for what they were made for.

5. political extremism. No so much that it exists, but the way that the extremes communicate their opinions/ideas. in such a condescending all or nothing manner and never even listen to the others pov without thinking of their retort in the meantime. as a moderate it makes for a political environment that is intolerable.

6. Glasses Everywhere. ok, this one is pinpointed towards my dear wonderful husband (he really is dear and wonderful). For some reason he cannot reuse glasses. He goes through maybe 10 a day and leaves them all over the house. (rarely the dishwasher) Usually with some amount of liquid in it. It reminds me of the little girl from the movie "Signs"... "its contaminated..." (please tell me someone gets the reference)

7. Spilled Milk.  Um ok, I don't drink milk cause I don't like the taste, so I'm not talking about cows milk. I'm talking my milk. After pumping. Anytime I spill any amount, especially if its more than 1/2 an ounce, I go completely ballistic. In my head anyway. I can usually control the outward swearing.  Its liquid gold I tell you, and I have just wasted precious currency.

8. Moist. its just the grossest word out there. worse than "panties". Everytime the word is said I get the heeby jeebies. I once met someone with that as their last name. I would rather die. Or change my name. One of the two.

Ok thats all for now.

If you come to my house, don't get outraged at my breastfeeding and leave glasses around while talking about your poitical extremism or how you babysit your kids and knock over my moist liquid gold.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

from scratch

So I found this book on Amazon. For my latest exploits, its the bomb-diggity.

It has every category of things I would like  to figure out how to make. Pastas, breads, preserving fruits and veggies, to many instant/prepackaged kinds of foods like crackers and poptarts, sauces, sweets, etc. So so so many things

I am really liking the challenge of this "make things myself" kick. It feels like a Rage against the Man. Or Rage against processed foods. Whatever we want to call it. It is slowly changing how I see food. significantly. That is another post for another day.

I really just wanted to share some of what I tried most recently:
Hummus with wheat crackers (both homemade)

cheese crackers. (the real cheese is not homemade-although Wisconsin made)

pop tarts


chocolates. truffles and bark- sorry no photo. I forgot to take a picture and they didn't last.

always with the granola

I also have lots of hamburger buns and loaves of bread in the freezer from my last baking kick
right next to Ben's frozen foods

Next things on the list to try in the upcoming weeks:

-roasted tomatoes. possibly to be canned most likely frozen
-another try at the pop tarts with lighter flour
-fish sticks

I have an easy recipe to make sauerkraut. However this requires fermenting. I am really really gun-shy of trying this. Fermenting intimidates me. It could go so horribly wrong.

Similar feelings about cheese. We've got all of the equipment now. Its just a matter of trying it.

Probably the most fun of all of this is sharing it. With Bill. With a few lucky neighborly friends. 

I am seriously considering this to be a theme for the annual "Burris Christmas Spectacular" This year. Why can't everything at my party be from scratch. I even found a place that will do in-home all natural cooking classes that could be fun for the party too. Would that be fun? Of course there would be the gift exchange too.
Maybe. Or an interactive mystery game.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ode to My Husband

A lot of people think I'm crazy for doing some of the work that I do. Heck, sometimes I think I'm crazy. I mean, who thinks "ya, counseling men who have hurt their partners sounds like fun."
While I never said the work was fun, its definitely challenging. It has helped me grow personally and professionally. I have some pretty great co-workers.

And it really helps me appreciate my home. My family. My husband.

One guy today questioned if he ever really loved his wife.

That made me sad. Apparently I'm still thinking about it. But it made me think of how I love my DH and everything I love about him.

And for your reading pleasure, a list of many of the things I love and appreciate about my husband:

- His big generous heart: When we were first dating, I learned, kind of by accident that he was sponsoring a poor child from another country. Monthly sending money and letters to help the child and family provide a better life/future. He started doing it as soon as he got his first job out of college. He also its his "thing" to put together 2 full grocery bags a month to give to the local food pantry.

- He is a future thinker. He is always considering the next step. How will today affect tomorrow. Be it actions, money, whatever.

- He is very affectionate. I need that.

- He is incredibly honest. Sometimes to the point of being annoying. But I know that he always means what he says. If he says the pot roast was good, it was good. If he doesn't like that beer that you've been raving about, he just says so. No sugar coating. No trying to appease or pacify. No hidden messages. It is what it is. Hes not going to pretend.

- His sense of humor. If you haven't seen it, you don't know him very well. While he seems very serious on the surface, he is actually quite funny and silly. We have many many inside jokes. Though he will never ever like fart jokes.

- His fathering. I knew when i saw him interact with his nieces and nephews for the first time that he would be a good dad. He looks at his son with pure adoration. He is goofy and silly with him and kisses his face and head and speaks baby talk and cuddles changes diapers and laughs at spit ups. It is a joy to watch him.

- His ease with himself. He is just so comfortable in his own skin. I would like to thank his parents for that. It helps me to be at ease with myself

- Listening. Now, at first, he often seems like he is not listening. This was difficult at first. He has a thought and sticks with it. And you might make your case...whatever the issue/discussion is and you might leave the conversation feeling like you got no where. However, he ALWAYS thinks about it. And hours or days later will come back with modified thoughts based on research or further thought. And then will acknowledge your idea. Better late than never.

- His faith. It is super personal to him. He loves God, loves life, and is very spiritual. However it is not preachy at all. It is simply lived out.

- Morals. This possibly goes along with honesty generosity and faith. But he has strong moral and ethical convictions. I know that he will always do what he feels is the right thing, even if it is difficult. I love that he  tells some of his guy friends that he thinks some of their "typical guy stuff/talk" is dumb and degrading to women.

- Fairness. This man has never hit below the belt. Ever. not once. He always plays fair. Even if/when I do not.

- Animals: oh he has a fondness for all creatures. We dream of having a farm. He cuddles this kitty. He can't shoot/hunt animals, even though he has been trained to do so. And is on my "ethical treatment of animals" bandwagon. Hes also the master gardener around here.

-He is immensely intelligent. I really believe he could have been a doctor, and a good one. But he is also a good chemical engineer and manager of people. He does chemistry for a living. And makes it work on a huge scale. He uses that intelligence is many other areas as well.

-Supportive. I have some crazy ideas and goals sometimes. And he is supportive of them, even if he may not be a huge fan of some of them. We worked it out early on- dating while I was finishing grad school. He helped me take care of mom. He's cool about my all-natural kicks. Whatever I need for my work schedule. Losing baby weight- ok, even if there are fewer sweets around. '

-Passionate- when it comes to the things he really loves, he can turn into a giddy little kid or a man on a mission. Looking at Star Wars Toys, opening a pack of baseball cards, hanging out with his brother, going to a baseball game, the Badgers, getting a gift for his dad, getting/making dessert, working out, social responsibility, his vegetable garden, chemicals, religion, politics...

-Patient. Kind. Gentle.

I pray our son turns out to be an awful lot like him.

Is he perfect. Absolutely not.

But who is.

Is he awesome. Absolutely so.

I am a very very lucky woman.