Pepper Jelly, Puppy and Persnickity Partner


Someone at work brought in homegrown jalapeños and Serrano peppers.  A bag full.  I had a few habanero and 1 bell pepper so I made 8 jars of pepper jelly.  The dog, cats and husbands whined and complained because the odor of extracting peppers took your breath away.  I’m used to working with peppers so I know how to breathe through the capsicum steam.   I still have half the bag of jalapeño/Serrano pepper mix and I think I’ll can some salsa.  Not today tho.  I need to rest before starting on the rest of the to do list.  Lasagne to ready for baking tomorrow.   Couscous to go with lamb tangine tonight.  Writing on the birthday boy’s ice cream cake.  And court rules to attempt to summarize <– like not going to happen today.


Crush, the puppy, is doing a bit better with becoming housebroken.  We have graduated his kennel from the garage to the living room.  He whined at bedtime, but only until 2 a.m.  🙄

Crush is my constant shadow.   I’m not sure why.   My husband and SOMH care for him more than I do.  I don’t feed him food scraps like I do my cats (long story, bad choice, but too late to change).  But if I do dishes, he lies across my feet.   If I turn to stir food on the stove, he schooches over to lay on my feet.  If I sit, he holds my leg.  If I sit on the floor, he lies across my lap.

Maybe it is because Ajax follows me everywhere and this is some sort of power struggle between the feline and the canine.   Ajax uses his bully tactics to get my attention and Crush uses his cuteness, playfulness to get it from me.  


The persnickety partner…what can I say.  I can’t seem to do anything right this weekend.  I know he doesn’t feel well but he’s not a complainer so he’s just…persnickety.   He’s a man so making suggestions is futile.  He was in an accident several months ago and saw a quack of a chiro and he’s worse off now.  He’s a bit gunshy to try again so he suffers.  Chronic headache, body ache, ill temper.  I hurt for him.  

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Post-Anxiety Guilt

Does anyone else go through this?

This vicious circle.

I’m trying too hard.  Trying to stop it before it happens.

It’s never obvious to me that it is “simply” an anxiety attack.

This time it was nausea over the weekend.  Then, yesterday, I had what can only be described as an adrenaline rush.  The trigger…our new puppy peed on the floor.  Did I bend over to clean I too fast and get a headrush?  Regardless, my adrenaline was pumping.  I remember feeling that.  Wanting to call my husband to tell him about it, then negotiating in my head that that would be stupid, it can wait…and I think I managed to push those obsessive thoughts out of my head as I drove to work.   But the “rush” feeling never subsided.  It was a knot in the center of my chest.  Like I couldn’t breathe…but I could.  Like I was walking the edge of a panic attack, but not.  

The evening was better, but I was feeling unusually tired.  I think I slept well and only remember checking the time twice during the night.  Today, the day was going well.  Dog peed on the floor (he apparently has issues when I cook my SOMH breakfast) and no adrenaline rush.  About 1 hour into my day at work, for no reason, the knot returned.  My lips tingled.  My tongue felt too big for my mouth.  My ears were ringing.  

No big deal I think. I started cyclobenziprine two weeks ago and since it isn’t supposed to be taken with lexapro, I’ll just call and get the ok to stop it.  It isn’t helping the restless legs anyway. (Keep in mind I am on very low doses of both.)

Long story short…I’m told to come in.  I’m told to stop the cyclobenziprine-it’s not helping anyway.  Then, I’m told I’m having an anxiety attack.  No, I argue.  My anxiety manifests in aches and pains, not tightness in the chest and tingling lips…I’m slowing down…hearing myself say the symptoms out loud.  Danielle just smiles.  It ok, she says.  She’s awesome.  We talk.  We determine the trigger was probably the routine change now that we have the puppy.  Even though I planned for it.  

Then the guilt sets in.  I wasted her time for something I have dealt with all my life.  I left work early.  I worried my husband.  For…an…anxiety…attack.   Why can’t I have anxiety attacks, or depression, like they show on those television commercials.  Why do I feel “normal” but not?

Whether it is a bout of depression, anxiety, panic attack, whatever – I find it very hard to deal with the guilt.  I’m blessed.  So many others out there are suffering.  I shouldn’t be depressed…or anxious…or stressed.

Yes, I know it is a chemical imbalance that can’t be controlled (well, I mean, I can’t “tell” it to stop).  I know it’s nothing to feel guilty about.   But I do.  Am I alone with that post-anxiety side effect?

“Even Good Stress is Stress”

In my world, stress = pain.  In my world, stress doesn’t seem to exist.  At least in the frustrated ugh kinda way.  This is my cerebrum malfunction.  One of them anyway.

I follow and read quite a few blogs written by fellow sufferers and although I hate that others go through this, I take comfort in knowing I am not alone.

I saw my doctor (she’s not really a doctor, she’s a PA) two weeks ago to discuss my medication and such.  I was prepared with some questions. If anyone has read previous blogs, you may recall I desperately resisted medication.  I no longer feel that way.  The lexapro works very well and I am maintaining on a low dose.  But…(isn’t there always a ‘but’), I noticed that there are still times when the pain become unbearable. I can hardly stand or walk.  I cannot hold a pen in my hand.  But I’ve had “all the tests”, this pain is “in my head”.  Real, but not.  Nothing physical causes it.

I had an incidence of this pain in August.  It was the worst it had been since on the medication.  I was beating myself up…what could have me so depressed?  So depressed I couldn’t even go up and down the stairs in my home without tears.  I have literally nothing…not a damn thing…to be depressed about.   I am blessed  with healthy, intelligent, beautiful children; a loving soulmate; beautiful grandsons; good health (realitvely speaking); a good job that I enjoy.  My oldest daughter has an excellent way of putting things into perspective and I got over my WTF pity party and prepared the questions for my doctor.

It all made sense to me.  My body is having a delayed reaction to stress.  In July, I quit my job, went to AZ to help my daughter and SOMH welcome their second child, and move to a two bedroom apartment.  I came home and started a new job.  Two weeks later…excruciating pain.  I believe that I am not depressed but rather the receptors in my brain are depressed.  The cortisol hormone that is released when stressed isn’t being absorbed/processed by the depressed receptors in my brain.  Hence the delayed reaction.  

My daughter, her husband and her two children (age 1 yr. 8 mo. and 3 mo.) visited for a week.  My dad drove in from Illinois. We had a houseful.  I had my children here to cook for.  I had my grandsons here to cuddle with, play with and have water play with.  I had my dad here to meet his great-grandchildren for the first time.  But this was all an upheavals in my routine…stress.  I was bracing myself for the inevitable pain.  Knowing this was on the horizon, I arranged to see the doctor right before they leave.   My intention was to share my delayed dealing with cortisol epiphany with her and get her blessing to increase my meds for two weeks until that excess crap was absorbed.  

Not only did she debunk that theory, she asked me when I wanted to wean off the meds. 😳. She is certainly against me increasing since I have one side effect.  Restless legs.


I can’t be normal and actually feel stress.   No, I have to wait until my conscious brain sleeps and the subconscious takes over.  Then that “stress” decides to tense my entire body up.  I clench my jaw.  (I know this because surgery I had years ago has left me without 80% of my parotid gland, so I often wake with my jaw locked.)

She sent me home with low dose of cyclobenzaprine which I have to take nightly.  It’s supposed to help with tenseness at night, and may ease the restless legs.  (Not so far 😔)

I am to lose weight.  No more carbs.  Effective immediately. (Tiramisu doesn’t have carbs, right?)

I am to accept the fact that I am NOT 25 anymore and that my body can’t do the things I used to do.  This was the knife in my back, because I was doing those things…in February…of THIS year.

Its possibly the beginning of osteoarthritis.  I am to try Osteo-BioFlex for three months.

And stress happens.  It cannot be avoided. Even GOOD STRESS is stress.

New Addition


So we brought home a beautiful light yellow lab and named him Crush.  As expected, the other two furry family members are none to pleased.  Ajax, the gray tabby, quickly asserted his dominance by swatting at the puppy.  His displeasure grew whenever I was tending to the puppy.  (I belong to Ajax and have since I brought him home 11 yrs ago.)


Leo, the black tuxedo tabby, puffs up like black tumbleweed and tiptoes around him.  He’s tiptoeing closer and closer and hissed once.  He is otherwise disinterested in the dog.

By day two, Crush was having none of Ajax’s swatting and decided to use his voice.  Two puppy-barks and Ajax backed down.  Foolishly I thought this would be the end of it, but Ajax was just giving Crush a false sense of superiority.  Crush decided he would leap toward Ajax and entice him to play.  Ajax delivered four swats before Crush could even blink.  Ajax was back on top.  Today…day four…is Saturday. We are all home and Crush is having the full family experience.  He follows me around like … well, like a puppy.  So does Ajax.  Ajax was becoming tired of my new companion and Crush must have sensed it because he turned and barked at Ajax.  Crush was back on top.

As of this moment, after a full day of new noises, sounds and routines, both cats and the dog are asleep on the floor among the scattered chew toys, bones and empty water bottles.

Although I am not a dog person, and prefer cats, I must say Crush is very cute.  He will be 100% cuter when he is fully housebroken.  I’m calling him Mr. Piddlepuss.  And why…WHY when they drink water do they splash it all over the place.  


Welcome home baby.