Friday, May 6, 2011

Doctor's Note

To Whom It May Concern:

Due to a recent psychological trauma, Madison W. is unable to update her online journal. She is currently staying at a psychiatric treatment facility where she is getting the best of care. She wanted me to let you know that she is "okay," and has plans to continue the journal when she is able.

Dr. Gwenyth P. Channing

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Zener Cards

Zener Cards: a set of twenty-five cards, each featuring one of five symbols, used by experts to test claims like extra sensory perception.

I have a friend named Ruth who is psychic. The other day I just happened to run into her outside of Macy's. I was carrying a bag and she knew exactly what I had bought: red cardigan, striped tote and Isotoner slippers!

She scares me.

Note from Luana: Thanks to everyone who has joined me in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. It's been an amazing 30 days and I've met some wonderful people. If you haven't gone to Emerald City, I'd like to invite you over for a visit where you can get to know me better. Blog on!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Yerkes-Dodson Law

Yerkes-Dodson Law: a correlation between task performance and an optimal level of arousal, whereby performance will first improve as a person's arousal level increases but then reach a point at which further stress will result in a decrease in performance.

Not too long ago I had to give a report to the Board of Directors about our new Modern Art exhibit. The more I thought about it, the more nervous I got. But then I remembered what Mama always told me about public speaking: "If they kill you, they won't eat you." My nerves went away just like that.

Mama should be a therapist. She's good.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


eXtraversion: the tendency to turn towards the outer world and interact with others.

Dr. Channing says I need to be more social. My tendency to hibernate with mint chocolate chip ice cream and Project Runway has become a problem.

So I'm taking a class in organic gardening. I'm learning about soils, seeds and squash. I was hoping to meet some interesting people and make some new friends. I like Hilda. She's into sewing quilts, baking bread and playing the organ at church. She is 85 years old. 
Maybe I should have taken the documentary filmmaking class.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Word Salad

Word Salad (also known as schizophasia): the utterance of a jumble of meaningless words and phrases.

This happens when I stub my toe, which occurs twice weekly because my exercise bicycle takes up 75 percent of my living room.

My favorite phrase is "Yabba dabba doodle Snuffleupagus!"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vertical Thinking

Vertical thinking is a distinct approach towards problem solving using selective, analytical and sequential methods.

I did not use this approach when I colored my hair. The decision was based on pure emotion. I was going for Kate Hudson and ended up with Kathy Griffin. Had to wear a hat for six months.

Lesson learned.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Unconscious: the part of the mind containing psychic material that is only rarely accessible to awareness but that has a pronounced influence on behavior.

Dr. Channing has told me that in the process of psychoanalysis, feelings, urges and impulses may arise to consciousness from the unconscious and subconscious which lie beneath my state of awareness. Okay.

All I know is that every time I see Papa Smurf, my foot itches.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Transference: the process by which a person in psychoanalysis attaches to a therapist feelings formerly held toward some significant person who figured in a past emotional conflict.

I've been seeing Dr. Channing for several months now and have never experienced transference. Maybe she hasn't dug deep enough into my psyche, which is okay by me.

I wonder if she realizes that I've been researching psychology terms to see how they apply to my therapy. If so, is she concerned? And would she tell me if she was?

Friday, April 22, 2011


Superego: the aspect of personality that represents the internalization of society's values, standards, and morals.

This is why I never park in a handicapped zone. That, and because of what happened to George Costanza in "The Handicap Spot" episode.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Rationalization: a defense mechanism by means of which a subject adopts logical, rational explanations to justify his/her behaviour or actions which would otherwise be unacceptable.

Mama always told me to just admit it when you make a mistake. Her motto is "No Excuses." That's how I live my life. Everyone wants to blame someone else for their problems, but it's a lot easier to just face the truth, apologize or make restitution if necessary, and move on with your life.

But there's a danger in going overboard to the opposite extreme and blame myself for the things other people do.

Why is the world so complicated?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Quirky: far out, kinky, off-beat, way out.

I took a personality quiz at a party, just for fun. And guess what? I found out that I'm not "quirky." I really wanted to be quirky.

It was rather depressing. Does that mean that I'm just average? Mediocre? Boring?

Does it mean that I really "want" to be "crazy" and that this whole therapy journey is a sham? Am I trying to prove that I AM crazy so I won't be a nobody?

Now THAT would be crazy. Dr. Channing, we have a problem.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Performance Anxiety

Performance anxiety: a kind of anxiety which stems from the fear of being incapable of fulfilling a task or attaining some goal and being judged negatively by others.

Last week, the art gallery where I work had a special exhibit and I was in charge of arranging catering. My supervisor, Cordelia, alerted me that the artist was very particular (absolutely NO seafood). She said that she trusted me to "handle the task satisfactorily." Right.

Who wouldn't be stressed in a situation like that? But I took a deep breath and channeled my inner Martha Stewart. Martha told me to call my friend Cassie, who just happens to be best caterer in town. I had no worries because Cassie is the most confident, self-assured, and dynamic person I know. Her energy rubbed off on me and I'm proud to say I did not go ballistic.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Overcompensation: a defense mechanism whereby an individual attempts to offset weakness in an area of their lives by focusing on another aspect of it.

I'm really terrible at math, so to make up for that deficiency I've excelled at music. In school I was getting Cs and Ds in algebra, but I was first chair cello and in our high school orchestra. My friend Brook was a math whiz but she couldn't identify a bass clef to save her life.

This is how it is in the world and I've come to accept it. In fact, I think it's a good thing that people have different strengths and weaknesses. It's all about balance. What if everyone in the world could build a house but no one knew how to bake a cake? Where would we be?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mental Block

Mental Block: a condition in which a person is unable to continue his thought process or the painful thoughts in his mind are repressed.

Dr. Channing is concerned about my resistance to hypnosis. She thought it might help me come to terms with a traumatic incident in my childhood. My brother had captured a jar full of grasshoppers and I freaked out. I broke the jar and let the grasshoppers go, but one of them died from the broken glass. I wanted to take it to the vet but Mama wouldn't let me.

I have no idea what this means.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Nervous Breakdown

Nervous breakdown: a state of neurasthenia characterised by a variety of symptoms including apathy, limited initiative, poor concentration, dysphoric or depressed mood, moments of anxiety, and hypochondriacal tendencies.

...what was I going to say...oh, well, sleepy...I CAN'T FIND MY OTHER SOCK!...going to bed...I have all the symptoms of acute indigestion...gotta see the doctor...good night...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Latent Content

Latent content: the presumed true meaning of dreams concealed beneath a manifest content.

Good news. After I told Dr. Channing about my recurring dream of polar bears, I haven't dreamed it since. I even tried to make myself have the dream by eating a Klondike bar and watching The Golden Compass before I went to bed, but it didn't happen. I think I'm cured. Dare I hope?

Click here for details of my dream and Dr. Channing's interpretation.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Kleptomania: an impulse-control disorder consisting of stealing objects which would be useless to the individual personally and have no great economic value.

Okay, I admit it. When I was 12, I stole a Snicker bar from the grocery store. I never got caught but my conscience wouldn't let me eat it. I consider that a good thing. I like having a conscience. That means I'm not a sociopath!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Johari Window

Johari Window: a type of exercise or tool designed for people to understand their interpersonal relationships in a better way.

Last year at the art gallery where I work, Cordelia (my supervisor), thought it would be a good idea for all of us to do a Johari Window exercise.

It works like this. There is a master list of adjectives that describe personality traits and the selections are arranged into four quadrants of a "window"

The result? My peers think I'm complex, nervous, self-conscious and tense.

I sound like a Chihuahua.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Inhibition: a defence mechanism in which a person inhibits learning or social activities or capacities with the aim of avoiding anxiety.

As a child I hated birthday parties. Mama wanted to have big, lavish parties for me, but I would not allow it. I didn't want to be the center of attention; just let me blend into the background and be invisible. To this day, I don't like people making a fuss over me.

I didn't like attending parties, either. Those stupid games like Musical Chairs scared me to death! What if I was the kid without a chair when the music stopped! I would die on the spot! And it was worse if you won the game because you would get a prize and everyone would be jealous.

I would say I'm definitely "inhibited."This is one of the reasons I'm seeing Dr. Channing. Does this mean I'm crazy after all?

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Hypochondriasis: the sustained conviction, in the absence of medical evidence, that one is ill or about to become ill.

I don't go to the doctor with fake ailments, but when I read a list of side effects on a bottle of Advil, I reconsider whether or not it's worth it. I don't like taking medicine and I avoid doctors and hospitals. Obviously if I were in dire straits I would get medical attention, but the straits would really have to be DIRE!

Sometimes I freak out when I think of all the chemicals in the foods we eat: hot dogs, potato chips, Lean Cuisine...but then I realize that's just life in the Big City and we can't change it.

No, I'm not a defeatist. Dr. Channing has helped me gain perspective about things I have no control over. My "freaking out" episodes have lessened considerably.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: uncontrollable, irrational and excessive worry with respect to daily life activities.

Am I the only one who doesn't see a problem with this? Everyone worries! Where would we be without worry? The world, as we know it, would cease to exist!

Don't you think that Tim Gunn worried when Isaac Mazrahi stole his "Project Runway" idea for "The Fashion Show"? Or that Ellen Degeneres worried about what people would think when she quit "American Idol"? Or that Jay Leno worried when he left the "Tonight Show," not knowing what the future would hold?

I'm not saying I enjoy worrying. Just that it happens. People shouldn't think they're crazy because they worry once in a while.

I wonder what Dr. Channing worries about. On second thought, I don't want to know.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Flooding: a procedure which consists in exposing a phobic person to feared stimuli for increasingly extended periods of time with the purpose of extinguishing the reaction of fear.

Last year, at Mama's insistence, I saw a behavior therapist to deal with my fear of listening to my own heartbeat. It was horrible. The therapy, not the disorder.

I was forced to listen to my heartbeat using the "flooding" method. Stethoscope. Heart monitor. Pulse detector. Never again. I've lived 29 years without listening to my heartbeat and it hasn't been a problem.

That's one reason I switched to psychoanalysis. Freudians would never do a horrible thing like that! Thank you, Dr. Channing!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Echolalia: the state in which a person repeats the vocalizations made by someone else.

I've done this since I was a kid with my brother Grant:

GRANT: Stop touching me!

ME: Stop touching me!

GRANT: I mean it, Madison. Leave me alone!

ME: I mean it, Madison. Leave me alone!

GRANT: You're stupid!

ME: You're stupid!

GRANT: You're crazy!

ME: You're crazy!

GRANT: I'm gonna tell!

ME: I'm gonna tell!



Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Dysphoria: a downward shift in the tone of mood (sadness) accompanied by irritability. The opposite of euphoria.

I definitely have this. However, I don't blame anyone. I take full responsibility for my moods. I suppose it's normal to have down swings; everybody does. It becomes a problem if you can't pull yourself out of it. When dysphoria strikes, I just crash on the couch and watch "Titianic." Yes, it's a depressing movie and I always cry at the end (the clock scene? OMG!), but when I think about how tough other people have it, I feel much better. Unfortunately, I've developed a fear of cruise ships.

Not mentioning this to Dr. Channing.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Cassandra Complex

Cassandra Complex: A state of mind in which valid concerns or warnings are disbelieved.

This complex is derived from a Greek myth. Cassandra was wooed by Apollo who admired her beauty and gave her the gift of prophesy. When she rebuked his advances, he turned the gift into a curse and no one would heed her warnings of future events.

I suppose it's like being in denial when things are going badly. Like the time I threw a surprise birthday party for my sister-in-law. Everyone tried to talk me out of it, but I didn't listen. 

On second thought, I don't think the Cassandra Complex applies to me. Dr. Channing says that I see the Dark Side and embrace it. Hmmm. Maybe I have a Darth Vader Complex.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Bibliomania is an obsessive-compulsive disorder in which an individual has the habit of collecting books excessively.

I am proud to say that I do not have bibliomania. I do enjoy books, but I'm not a MANIAC about it. I can't say the same for my Uncle Jarvis. His books are piled to the ceiling; it's like walking through a labyrinth. The towers of books makes his house look dark and creepy, like an old Victorian, when in fact, he lives in an open-concept ranch.

I wonder if there is a word for obsessively reading the same book 12 times in immediate succession. I did that with "The Devil Wears Prada." Perhaps I should casually mention it to Dr. Channing at my next session. Or maybe not. She has a Prada handbag.

Friday, April 1, 2011


I've decided to do a little research study psychology and psychotherapy terms. I figure since I'm in therapy it might be a good idea, especially when Dr. Channing starts tossing around words like "Manifest Content" and "Thanatos." Sometimes she scares me.

My word for today is Avoidance: the attempt to subtract oneself from a stimulus or situation considered unpleasant.

I do this all the time. Sigh.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Not Schizophrenic

Dr. Channing was very close to prescribing me a mild anti-depressant. I put up a fight because I do not want to take any kind of drug. I don't even take aspirin.  I've read the possible side effects of aspirin and it's not pretty:

Heartburn, nausea, black or bloody stools, confusion, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, hearing loss, ringing in the ears, severe or persistent stomach pain, unusual bruising, bleeding stomach.

No thanks.

The whole thing started when she saw that I was not my usual self today. I was feeling blue and wasn't in the mood to talk (which is unusual for me). I get like this sometimes but it doesn't last long. Usually a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream is all I need.

However, she was more concerned about my passionate resistance to the medication than to the "depression" itself. Can't say that I blame her. It was like a whole other personality took over. I hope I'm not schizophrenic.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Crazy Is as Crazy Does

Now that I'm going to therapy twice a week, I'm wondering if this is such a good idea. Sometimes I feel like a speck under a microscope. I never know what is going through Dr. Channing's mind. I want her to like me. I want her approval. But is that the "correct" attitude to have in therapy? Trying to please my therapist?

This is something I have to figure out on my own. I need to get over my fears and just let go. Like the time I was ten and went roller skating. I held on to the railing for dear life. My friends were skating and having a great time while I was chained to the wall. I was afraid of falling down and everyone laughing at me. That is still my fear today.

I admit, I have issues. But I am NOT crazy! I've heard that people who say they aren't crazy, are actually crazy. And people who say they ARE crazy, are actually not crazy. So maybe I am crazy. Or not.

Off to get a caramel macchiato. I need to decompress.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cello Project

Since I have a break from therapy this week, I thought I'd use the time to dust off my cello and play a bit of Bach. I used to play all the time but when I realized I would never be a Jacqueline DuPre, I began to lose interest.  In our early sessions, Dr. Channing asked me about it and encouraged me to take it up again. I found out that she plays the viola. All we need now are a couple of violins and we'll have a string quartet.

Wouldn't matter anyway. I never play in front of people. I'm too embarrassed. Is it because I'm a perfectionist? Fear criticism? Can't measure up (no pun intended)? All of the above? I'll let Dr. Channing decide.

So I dug Isabel out of my closet (Yes, I named my cello "Isabel." So sue me), and we joined forces on the Saraband of Bach's D minor suite. After a few rusty squeaks and squawks, I got into the groove and did Bach proud. I felt guilty leaving Isabel untended for so long. She must hate me for it. I know I would. But no more sadness. Today is a Resurrection. Isabel has risen from the grave and dragged me along with her.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Paradigm Shift

Dr. Channing is going to a conference. That means my therapy session has been cancelled for Thursday. But what really has me concerned is that she wants to see me twice a week.

TWICE A WEEK!? That can't be a good sign:

ME: But, Dr. Channing, I don't understand. Am I getting worse?

CHANNING: Of course not, Madison. In fact, just the opposite. I believe that you're nearing a breakthrough in your therapy.

ME: A breakthrough? Really?

CHANNING: With two sessions per week we should be able to uncover the cause of your neuroses at this critical juncture.

ME: I thought we already uncovered it. Remember the dream I had about Mama putting me on the toilet at two months old? My anal-retentive whatcha call it?

CHANNING: Yes, the dream was revelatory, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. As we've discussed previously, you have been showing signs of a castration complex, narcissism and regression.

ME: Regression? I haven't sucked my thumb since I was 13.

So Dr. Channing scheduled me for Tuesdays and Thursdays. I should be glad that a breakthrough is on the horizon, but I'm not. I'm terrified.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Extreme Makeover

On Saturday Rachel and I got a free makeover at Macy's. It's totally not our thing, but with every makeover, you get a coupon for Taco Bell. So why not?

I think the makeup artists used every weapon in their arsenal. We looked like a couple of Cirque du Soleil rejects. To preserve the memory, Rachel took a picture of us with her cell phone. I think I'll photoshop it for next year's Christmas cards.

My favorite part of the process was picking the eye shadow. I usually use grey or taupe, but I stepped outside the box and went with purple. This was a big step for me because purple symbolizes the opposite of everything I stand for.

Let me explain. You see, I've developed a theory about color and personality. I have absolutely no empirical evidence to back me up, but it's just something I know is true. According to my theory, each color has a positive and negative vibe. For example, blue represents joy (positive) and violence (negative). Positive because blue skies make you happy; negative because the phrase "black and blue" is violent and having the "blues" is to be sad. 

Purple represents loyalty (positive -- king's wear purple robes and demand loyalty from their subjects) and aggression (negative -- purple is a popular color among athletic teams and athletes are aggressive). While I am somewhat loyal, I am not aggressive. In fact, I go out of my way to be nice to people. Everyone has to like me. That is the rule of my universe.

I haven't told Dr. Channing about my color theory. As a woman of science, she wouldn't be impressed. Besides, I wouldn't want her be self-conscious about the colors she wears to our sessions.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Depressing Friday Night

After work I came home and morphed into a vegetable. No energy. No passion. No joy. All I want to do is eat ice cream and watch "The Bachelor." Am I a romantic at heart. Maybe so.

Grant and Meredith invited me to their house to play "The Simpsons" Monopoly. I declined, despite Meredith's promise that I could be Lisa. I wonder if they feel sorry for me and don't want me to be alone.

And why is everything always about me? I need to get over myself and start thinking about other people for a change.

Too tired to think right now. Going to bed early and sleep in late. I'm done.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

I wasn't going to say anything, but it's my birthday. I'm not sure how I feel about turning 29. Is my biological clock running out? Should I be married by now? At my age, my mother had two children ages ten and seven. She was president of the PTA, worked part-time at the public library, and was a hospital volunteer.

Dr. Channing would not like it that I'm comparing myself to my mother. In fact, anytime the word "mother" comes up, her scribbling becomes more intense. One of these days I'd like to sneak into her office and read those notes. But alas, that would never happen because I just don't have the ability to do anything that adventurous.

Anyway, I went to Mama's house for my "birthday party." Grant and Meredith were there, sitting at the table, smiling and drinking lemonade. Placebo jumped up to greet me with a sloppy wet kiss. Mama had baked a bunny rabbit cake (she likes to use her Easter baking pan every chance she gets) and brought it to the table with great fan fare. All 29 candles were burning. I felt like running from the house screaming. I hate birthdays. Almost as much as weddings. I don't know why. Ask my therapist. 

Somehow I managed to blow out all the candles in one breath. Then it was time to open the gifts. I hate this part the most. I assume that everyone's happiness is hinged on my reaction to their gift and if I don't respond the right way, feelings get hurt and everyone is miserable.

But not this time. Grant and Meredith gave me a goody bag with various and sundry sweet treats, including chocolate covered cherries and a gift card for Macy's (Thank you!) Mama 's gift was a lovely pair of aquamarine earrings (my birthstone) and a cute short trench coat. I'm always shocked that Mama knows my style.

Afterwards we sang karaoke and watched "The Shawshank Redemption." 

Not such a bad day after all.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


...I accepted Mary's invitation to be a bridesmaid at her wedding. I wanted to say "no," but the part of my psyche that wants to please others and abhors every form of conflict and confrontation said "yes."

So after work today I meet with Mary and the other BM's (seven all together) to discuss dresses. I'm hopin' and prayin' that Mary's colors are not completely hideous. My last bridesmaid experience showcased "Yours Truly" in a lemon yellow, Southern Belle gown with fuschia magnolias pinned to my bodice. With the sweetheart neckline, I looked like a cheap Valentine card.

The good news is I've lost weight, thanks to Rachel forcing me to go to yoga class. I feel energized, have a more positive outlook -- and my Happy Baby Pose is noticeably improved.

I have to reschedule my session with Dr. Channing for tomorrow. I don't think she would approve of the bridesmaid thing. She knows I hate weddings and she knows that I especially hate bridesmaids. Her imminent disapproval gives me pause.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Got Art?

As you may have noticed, I've been absent from the blog the last few days. Work is insane. Noticed I said "work" is insane, not me. I want to make that clear.

For the past two years I've been an administrative assistant at an art museum --- and there's no end in sight. Don't get me wrong, I like my job. But I was hoping that by this time in my life I would be living the dream (and I'm not talking about polar bears.) The fact that I don't know what "the dream" is has been a problem. Hence, my relationship with Dr. Channing.

This week I had to work late almost every night to get ready for a new exhibit. All hands on deck. I was helping Harry arrange some tables for sculptures. The exhibit is called "Atlas Pranced" and was inspired by Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged." At least that's what the artist says. I studied art history and philosophy in college and I can tell you that Ms. Rand would be mortified at this horrific display.  

So why did the museum choose this artist? Well, there's a "revolutionary" on the Board who convinced everyone that the artist is a genius. Art is often in the eye of the beholder but is a statue of a man licking his elbow really "cutting edge"?

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Valentine's Day Party

Since I don't have a husband, a boyfriend or even a cat, I will be celebrating Valentine's Day with Ben & Jerry. My favorite flavor is "Peanut Butter Cookie Dough" but I think I'll try "Jamaican Me Crazy" in honor of Dr. Channing. 

I'm looking forward to donning my Hello Kitty pj's and watching Harry's Law. Of course, I promised Dr. Channing that I would start journaling my dreams this week. She wants to try another dream interpretation to see if there are any recurring themes. I hate recurring themes. If I had my way, I'd banish all recurring themes from the face of the earth.

I have two choices. I can tell her the truth and possibly wind up on anti-psychotic medication OR make something up and (hopefully) appear "normal." However, there's always the chance that what I consider a normal dream may, in fact, make me a candidate for the funny farm. 

Mama says to always tell the truth. My gut says listen to Mama.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Dream

Dr. Channing tried something new this week. Dream interpretation. She said that dreams reveal the fears and desires of the subconscious and help us to understand underlying impulses and emotions.

I told her about my recurring dream. I'm walking down a sidewalk in the rain. It's twilight and everything is gray except for the bright pink umbrella that I'm holding. I turn the corner and see two polar bears rushing by pulling a sleigh. One of them looks at me and says, "Would you like some ham and eggs?"

Dr. Channing was scribbling like crazy on her notepad.

"What does it mean, Dr. Channing?"

"Well, Madison, as I've already explained, the interpretation of dreams will hopefully shed some light on your subonscious desires that manifest themselves in your conscious awareness. In this particular dream, the rain and the darkness represent your fear of being alone And although your world is a fearful place, the umbrella signals hope."

"And the polar bears?"

"Your life is spiralling out of control. However, the bears are pulling a sleigh so there is an ultimate purpose. They also represent power. The fact that they are polar bears means that you isolate yourself but you desire to be more adventurous."

"I'm almost afraid to ask about the ham and eggs."

"Food symbolizes the comfort and love you felt in your childhood when your mother met all your physical needs."

"You got all that from one little dream? Are you a good witch or a bad witch?"

Dr. Channing didn't answer. She doesn't appreciate my sense of humor. But that's okay. After all, she's helping me prove to the world that I'm not crazy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Best Friends

Last night, Rachel and I talked about life and art over a cup of vanilla latte and a white chocolate mocha. For the record, we are best friends but polar opposites. She's a blonde, I'm a brunette. She wears hiking boots, I wear ballet flats. She likes Chinese food, I like Italian. She's a Sagittarius, I'm a Pisces (Fire and Water!)

Despite our differences, we have a lot in common: We believe in honesty, fairness, integrity and shopping. We are both chocoholics, we drive Hondas and we have insane crushes on Johnny Depp.

Rachel is a go-getter. She works full-time for a veterinarian, takes a drawing class, sings in a jazz ensemble, grows her own organic vegetables, volunteers at  the library, does yoga three days a week and is writing a screenplay.

Me? I'd just as soon stay home and watch TV or read a book, although I will emerge from my cave to go shopping or to the movies. Sometimes I feel guilty because I don't have anything written on my calendar except my appointments with Dr. Channing.

Nevertheless, Rachel is an inspiration. I think I live my life vicariously through her. She always has something interesting going on. She just signed up to run a 10K to raise money for the United Way. Oh, did I mention that she's a marathon runner? Sigh.

Time for a piece of chocolate cake and a glass of milk.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dog Days

Somehow I got roped into pet sitting and spent the weekend walking, feeding and providing entertainment for Placebo, a 75-pound chocolate Labrador Retriever.

Placebo is my brother Grant's spoiled child. Grant refuses to put Placebo in a kennel so he imposes on friends and family to watch the dog when he's off doing whatever brothers do when they're not testing software or taking their wives to Black Eyed Peas concerts.

Actually, I didn't mind hanging out with Placebo. I enjoyed the company. The only problem was taking him for walks. My arm is permanently out of joint from tugging on the leash. I finally rubbed some bacon on my leg so he would heel. It actually worked.

By Sunday afternoon, I was getting used to having a dog around the house. We read the newspaper, had a staring contest (he won), watched "Must Love Dogs" on dvd, snacked on popcorn and danced around the house to Neil Diamond songs.

I will not tell Dr. Channing about this.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I See London...

After my session with Dr. Channing I went to Starbucks. I had to undwind. They say that's what therapy's for, but I couldn't help it. Free associating for an hour was exhausting. I desperately needed a cinnamon latte.

I told Dr. Channing about an incident that happened when I was in fourth grade. I was on the playground and I saw a girl on the monkey bars. She was wearing a blue dress and hanging upside down with her legs wrapped around the bars. Her underwear was in full view. Big, white granny panties. All the boys gathered around and started teasing her. Her face turned red and I could tell she was embarrassed. I was angry at the boys but I was also angry at her.

I glanced at Dr. Channing. She was sitting quietly taking notes as usual, but I could sense a little tension when I mentioned the underwear. Her right eyebrow was higher than normal and her lips were pursed.

So why did I recall this memory? What does it mean? I'm thinking this is the reason I always make sure I'm wearing pretty underwear.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Please, God, Not Another Wedding!

It's Thursday and that means Dr. Channing and I are going to have a little chat. Actually, I chat and she writes. It's called free association. And believe me, I have a lot to free associate about.

Yesterday was a nightmare. An old "acquaintance" of mine, Mary L., asked me to be a bridesmaid at her wedding. I haven't talked to Mary in months. The last time was at a candle party, one of those home decor get-togethers where you invite everyone you know so you can get a free set of placemats. I was on Mary's list of "butts-to-fill-the-chairs."

It appears that Mary wants seven bridesmaids but she doesn't have enough close friends or family to fill the slots. I'm a slot-filler. It was a slap in the face. Not to mention, I hate weddings. I've been a bridesmaid six times because I can't say "No." Dr. Channing is going to have to use her magic wand and get me off this carousel of insecurity.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mama Called

I just sat down with a bowl of macaroni and cheese and was ready to watch "Tabatha's Salon Takeover" when Mama called. Thank God for caller I.D., but I answered anyway. I didn't want to have to call back later. I'd just as soon get it over with.

"Hello, Mama."

"Madison, I thought your were coming over tonight."

"Not tonight, Mama. On Thursday. It's only Tuesday"

"Are you eating? Did I interrupt you dinner?"

"No. Just hanging out."

"Why do I get the feeling that you're not telling me the truth?"

"What do you want me to say? Yes, you're interrupting my dinner. Yes, you called at an inconvenient time. Yes, you're a pain in the..."

"Very funny. Don't you feel better getting all that off your chest?"


"Which reminds me, how is your therapy coming along?"


"Do you talk about me?"

"Of course."

"What's your doctor like?"

"She's a liberal Democrat."

"I don't have anything against Democrats."

"I know you don't, Mama. That's why you've voted Republican your whole life."

"I vote for the best person. Can I help it if it's always a Republican?"

"I've gotta go. My mac and cheese is starting to look like mortar."

"Okay, I'll see you Thursday. Love you."

"Love you, too, Mama."

Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm Not Crazy

My name is Madison W. and I'm not crazy. My shrink might tell  you otherwise. Dr. Channing is a psychoanalyst. Old school Freudian. Before her I was seeing a cognitive therapist but it wasn't working out. She spent the whole time doing crossword puzzles. Whatever.

I have issues, but who doesn't?

I'm 28 years old, never married and not really looking. Most women my age are doing everything in their power to find a man. Why? Because they don't want to be alone? Their biological clock is ticking? They've been planning their $20,000 wedding since they were in fifth grade? All of the above?

As for me, I like living alone. I don't hate my mother. I'm not interested in getting married or having kids, but I won't say never. I'm addicted to Starbucks and mint chocolate chip ice cream. The problem is that certain people think I'm crazy, but I'm not (see subject line). I started this blog to set the record straight.