My Christmas Nervous Breakdowns

This is a true story about My Christmas Nervous Breakdowns. And yes, I’ve had more than one over the past three days.

Christmas Nervous Breakdown lady

Starting early this past week. If you know me, you know how I love to make homemade and creative gifts. Furthermore, I’m a conservative. We recycle, re-use, upcycle whenever possible.

So, I was busy making teacher Christmas gifts for Princess Buttercup’s teachers. I was in the midst of lining the inside of a used whole kernal corn can with a ripped paper bag. Somehow, I got burned by the hot glue gun. I yanked my right hand out of the can, and the bag strip wrapped around two of my fingers. My closest family and friends know that when I’m in real pain, I don’t say anything. I jumped from my chair and dashed to my kitchen sink. The only thing that helped for the next hour was cold water.

I’d say that was my first Christmas nervous breakdown.

I gave up on lining the cans with paper. Bad idea. The next night, I only glued the exterior of the cans. That worked a lot better, but I ended up burning my left thumb. Ouch!

I gave up on the glue gun and started using decoupage glue and Modge Podge, instead. They worked fine.

upcycled can

My third Christmas Nervous Breakdown occurred yesterday around 2:45 p.m. I was on the frontage road, preparing to get to Parkway Place Mall in Huntsville. The story of my life–I was stuck in traffic. I mean, really s-t-u-c-k. The light would turn green, only to allow two or three cars to go. Sweet.

Let’s put it this way, I’d already spent an hour or two traversing Whitesburg (nightmare) Drive, only to find two of the presents I was searching for.

So I sat there in traffic. Suddenly, I say, “I’m going to have a nervous breakdown. Right. Here. In. The. Middle. Of. Huntsville!”

Just to clarify. I didn’t start screaming or anything crazy like that. My nervous breakdowns tend to be mild and internal. Probably not the healthiest of nervous breakdowns. But at that moment, I couldn’t have hopped out alongside the Parkway and jogged in place. Wouldn’t have been prudent.

So at first chance, I turned around. I did realize it was going to take an hour or so to get home. But at least I was heading out of town.

But at that time, everyone from Redstone Arsenal was getting off work early. Everyone from Research Park was leaving early. Not to mention the thousands of city/county school employees who were already on the road, searching for those last-minute gifts.

There was a wreck on I-565. There was a wreck on Highway 72. Every artery in and around town was clogged. I took a few deep breaths and did some praying for patience. I told myself that I’d eventually get home.

I tried a shortcut around one of the wrecks and think it took me longer than if I’d sat in place.

Finally, I did get home. The rest of the shopping would have to wait. I’ll admit I binged on Stacy chips and humus. Alright, I did have a couple of cookies, too.

I also realized my problem: perfectionism.

Instead of settling for “good enough,” I was seeking Eden on Earth. And that went away a long time ago.

Lefty and Princess Buttercup volunteered to help me wrap some presents.

“Christmas,” said Lefty, “Is about survival…not perfection.”

Wise words.

The Reboot — How to get Up and Going after an Illness


My rainbow reboot!

I contracted my first poison ivy rash near the beginning of June. Miserable, I went to the doctor and got a shot that eventually cleared it up but somehow caught a tummy bug the next week. By the time I was feeling better, I found another horrific rash on my legs that itched and hurt like poison ivy but it was much, much worse. I experienced extreme swelling and fever at the site. My doc again told me that it was some type of contact dermatitis. After the pain and itching went away, my tonsils started swelling and my throat became inflamed with tonsilitis. By that time, I felt like a truck had hit me. When I was a little better, I went outside just to pick a couple of tomatoes from my garden. And, you got it…I got that same horrible rash on my hands this time and had to have a shot and antibiotics.



The culprit: Virginia Creeper!


As you can guess, I was beginning to feel “learned helplessness” like Seligman’s dogs in his classical conditioning experiment.


Point is, I had become very discouraged. The house needed cleaning, my family had been eating out a lot during my infirmary, and I was deplete of positive energy.

I needed a complete reboot!

Just shut the whole system down, and start over.


Here are some things I learned about rebooting after a major setback:

1. Be patient. Regaining energy takes time. Be sure to give your mind and body time to rest so that it can heal. You definitely don’t want a relapse!

2. Be patient. It takes time to get back into the swing of things–the housework, grocery shopping, prepping meals. Patience helps to keep you from being overwhelmed by it all.

3. Be patient. Ease back into an exercise routine. I found that tai chi was a good way to do this because I can do it inside, and the stretches and movements are slow and easy.

4. Be thankful. In my case, I’ve been thankful that I don’t have a long-term illness and am usually very healthy.

5. Go! I began to feel alive again after getting out, being around people again, and being creative.

The reboot isn’t fast, but I’m thankful that it’s happening.

I’ve just got to avoid the Virginia Creeper.

“Jesus said, ‘Rise, take up your bed, and walk John 5:8.’”


This beautiful field of flowers makes me happy.



What I got done; What I didn’t get done


Wall décor…to be finished at a later time.

I know this blog isn’t all about me (nor is life), but here’s what’s going on in the life of an average (albeit quirky) American housewife and work-at-home mom:

I know I promised that I’d post my art creation from the architecture stuff that I bought last Saturday at the Harrison Brothers’ basement. BTW, I forgot to mention that HB is an old hardware store. Located in Huntsville, Alabama, HB now sells gifts and merchandise from regional artists. Every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month, they open up their basement from 10-Noon and sell architectural finds and other “old stuff” that people have donated to the Historical Foundation.

Today, I had wanted to Pin this art project but didn’t get to it at all.

School can be brutal. If I can spend just over $8 on one Friday to help Princess Buttercup’s day start brighter, then I will.


Before school, we went by Starbucks, and Princess Buttercup ordered a something-or-other Frappuccino with something-something-something that wasn’t on the menu. She told me that you can always order from their “Secret Menu” or describe your drink and they will make it per your specs. I didn’t know that. Now I do. I just ordered a latte.


Mary Kay hand lotion.

One of my good friends is selling Mary Kay cosmetics. You can order from her site right here. She’s such a sweet girl and great wife/mom/dau/friend, so please show her some economic love. She gave me this lotion set for Christmas, and I love it! I usually don’t have a skin regimen (bad, me) but this smells really good and my skin isn’t withering away this winter with the central heat and copious hand-washing.


Great Pearl Heist by Molly Caldwell Crosby

The Great Pearl Heist! Yes! Here’s the thing:
If I were an atheist, I would totally be a jewel thief. I mean that for real and have told my confidants that many times. After all, if there wasn’t a God (first of all, I wouldn’t be here) but might would make right, right? Even if it was intellectual might. I mean…not that I’m this great intellectual, but now I’m rambling…oops.

Being a cat thief isn’t a fantasy of mine, but art heists and jewelry heists make fantastic reads. Not only that, the book goes into the history of Charles Dickens’ London. Edwardian England is a passion of mine. I don’t know why mud-rakers and chiffoniers hold a fascination for me, but they do. Midway through the book and thoroughly enjoying it.

Last on my photo list are pictures of our doggies, Spike (2-year-old black Lab mix) and Snuggles (our lady alpha dog who thinks she’s queen.)

Since I refuse to post pictures of Princess Buttercup (because of privacy and also bc one day she may resent having her face pop up every time someone Googles her), I post the pups.

Hope you all have a blessed day!



Lab QB tackled by defensive alpha dog.

Top 10 Reasons that I’m Totally Uncool

I really don't mind when I want to take my own picture.

I really don’t mind when I want to take my own picture.

10. I recycle. Yes, contrary to popular beliefs, even social conservatives try to keep the planet nice for their future grands. Sometimes plastic clutters my house because I’ve been too busy to toss it in my little blue recycle bin.

9. I shop at consignment and thrift stores. By doing so, I find out which brand in clothes can take the long-haul. If a brand can look decent after winding up in a thrift store, then I know that’s the brand worth buying in a retail store.

8. My house is usually a cluttered mess. I’m often embarrassed for other people to stop by, but at least my hubs hasn’t complained.

7. I’m old. Yep, I’m well over 30 years old, which makes me ancient and thereby uncool.

6. I try to eat healthy and try to feed Princess Buttercup healthy foods…very uncool.

5. I drive people crazy (especially my family) by taking pictures all the time. But then again, they enjoy them after vaca or the event is over with.

4. I don’t have a smart phone. I’m the only American who doesn’t, I’m sure. Some people have said (and I seriously hope they’re kidding) that they can’t be friends with me because I don’t text. Well, a group of girls said basically the same thing to me when I was in 5th grade and didn’t own Nike tennis shoes. So I guess I’ll survive not having a smart phone, too.

3. I like smart people. I live near Huntsville, which supposedly has the highest number of PhDs per capita in the country. Now, I’m not saying that I’m smart, but I like people who are.

2. My kid said so! (Actually, when she read this, she said, “Mommy! You aren’t uncool.” Just give her a few years!)

1. I’m part of a counter-culture that began over 2000 years ago. Since I was born around the time of Vietnam, naturally I have picked up on going against established beliefs. The movement may be a little too radical for the majority of Americans. It’s definitely been unpopular through the ages. It’s still unpopular and unreasonable to some. Its leader? Jesus Christ.