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October 18, 2009


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Oh, I know what you mean about it being hard to engage when all you want to do is disengage. I hope writing helps. Here are some ideas. (I'm not going to shake you by the shoulders though. Sometimes it's OK to withdraw, but if you really think writing here more would help you then I'll gladly made some suggestions.)

Tell the story of the first time you ate something amazing that made a huge impression on you, like your first taste of sushi or your first glass of really good wine.

Do that ABC meme where you pick a word that relates to you in some way for each letter of the alphabet, and explain why you chose it.

Or tell us about your favorite ever Halloween costume.

You know, I think there are little books of journal writing exercises out there that you could use for "homework" blog posts until you regain your usual level or enthusiasm and inspiration.

I'll be excited to read what you come up with.


Oh god, noooo! Not sweatpants in public. This is when you know you have lost the good fight, Manda.

I don't know what else to say but I know you are serious... A book suggestion maybe? "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. It's helped me through some sweatpants days for sure.

And a hug from across the miles. I hope you get to feelin' better soon. :)


I think you are depressed, and I know you don't want to hear that. Depressed doesn't mean you're sad. It means you have lost interest in the things that used to bring you pleasure, it means isolation, it means a flat affect. Those are the things I hear you saying in this post, but I'm sure that is colored by my own struggle with depression. I hope you feel better soon. I guess there is some hard stuff going on behind the blog curtain, and I hope y'all are getting through it ok.


I've missed you! Out of everything on my blog reader everyday I keep looking for a post from you. Everyone else pales in comparison. So write for us :)

I have a boy that is 3 and a girl that is 5 months. How have your kids changed since they were these ages? I remember when you had Genoa and I couldn't imagine having two at the time. Now I can't remember what it was like with one. Tell me where you are, and what your plans are from here. (back to work? or still staying home? or not sure?)

Pretty much say anything, just talk to us :)

(Oh and I have heard St. John's Wort helps with that blah feeling. It seems to always affect people around the time that the seasons change.)


It is so good to hear you writing (even a bit), as you keep me sane as I raise my 3 and 6 year old. So, here is an idea on what to write about.

What are you doing for Halloween? What are the kiddos going to dress up as? Are you and Dave going to dress up? I love seeing your decorations each year!


If anything, write here because you're GREAT at it. You make us laugh and you're so honest. I miss reading more frequent updates from you!

Oh, and step away from the sweatpants!!


Depression. I know you're a rationalist like me, so you'll be relieved to hear you can think of it as a chemical imbalance in the brain. It can be corrected for, fairly easily. Go to the doctor right now, tell her what you've told us, or print out this blog post and take it with you.

bethany actually

I am not a doctor and I cannot diagnose you (and I also know a tiny bit about what's going on behind the blog curtain, so I know there's stuff going on) and I am already rethinking typing this even as I am typing it, but...I had the same thoughts as Sheryl and Rachel. The disinterest in everything and everyone can be a sign of depression. So see your doctor, write here for your therapy, or something. Just be aware that could be part of it.

Post a new favorite recipe, a scathing review of a really awful book (I always love reading Roger Ebert's 0- and 1-star reviews more than anything), an Ode to the Kindle, write about the best gift you ever got.


I second EVERYTHING everyone else has said, lol! I was hoping you have been busy planning another amazing Halloween party this year, I loved the pics from last year and have been wanting to have my own this year but don't think it's going to work out, sad :( Hope your back soon!

Krystal Dixon

In your blog you said, "I am completely inside myself. Or inside any book that's good enough to distract me from whatever it is I'm avoiding". It sounds like you are still reading quite a bit. Maybe you should stop reading so much if that is what is taking up so much of your time. What I have noticed is that ever since you have started writing and "researching" you have not been doing all of the other things you love... well maybe you have but you habven't been blogging about them. I think what you need to do is experience life again like you use to and then you will have something to write about. You would always have these great blogs about all of the fun things you do with the kids and your friends and the things you love to cook! I don't see those blogs anymore and I miss them! I understand how you feel about wanting to read. If I find a book I absoultly love... I can't put it down.. It consumes me!! So my solution is... I don't read, unless I know I have the time to do so and I limit myself. Also, I got addicted to Facebook and Farmville, that's all I wanted to do was tend to my farms. I thought about it all of the time.. so I stopped playing! I feel sane again. LOL. I don't think you are depressed. Have Dave hide your electronic book and maybe that would help(I can't remember the name of it) and limit yourself to reading... just a suggestion.. maybe reading to you, is like crack to a drug addict. Love you and hope to see you again soon (meaning on your blog) And excuse me.. but you haven't even blogged about all of your gory Halloween Decorations! Are you having a party? You should you still have time to plan one if you haven't already! Keep your head up!


I don't think there is anything wrong with turning inward from time to time, but it sounds to me like you are having trouble emerging from your little cocoon. It's a struggle, but who knows what kind of wonderful metamorphosis is occurring under the surface.
The only thing that concerns me is the talk about more cocktails, but I'm a mormon. What do I know about cocktails?
Your focus and interests are shifting. Your kids are growing older and less dependent. You are experiencing some big changes.
This is starting to sound a lot like a talk about puberty. Maybe you are going through some secondary puberty? Awkward and strange, but necessary, eh?
Perhaps you should write about other awkward/strange times in your life and how you grew from it.
Or blog about your hair.
Or the weather.
Honestly, just write. You'll get to the root if it all eventually.


I have a great solution. Instead of having all of this backlog of pressure about autobiographical blogging, you can write about other people!

This blog is about your kids, write about them! Write about the dog, about me, about your gardener, about the books youre reading. Get back in the habit of writing, and soon enough youll be writing about yourself again.

Love you,

(ps: if you need me to steal you away and go do stuff, all I need is your permission. And I'm moving soon anyway, so prepare for some heavy lifting :)

Dawnapalooza '09

This is the very first time I've EVER commented on a blog. Not just your blog, ANY blog. And I'm writing to tell you to get an adult beverage and come back to life. In all seriousness though, it sounds like you need a vacation. So you can read guilt-free for as long as you want, uninterrupted and be selfish. It's so hard to justify that behavior when you have a wonderful husband and kids. That's my two cents, Mandajuice...and I'm broke!

Alias Mother

Oooohhh.... I think franticallyheidi may have nailed it. You are going through a lot of changes. Alex's move to school changes the family role you've been playing for the last few years; you're redefining yourself as an author; you are looking at possible career re-entry; it sounds like there's lots of challenging background stuff going on. And...it's fall. As a lifelong northerner, I can honestly tell you that you should not, ever, discount the effect of cold and darkness on your mood. After years of dismissing it as bunk, I finally (FINALLY) believe in SAD and take steps to prevent it.

Solutions that work for me when I'm in those states of minor depression are forcing myself to do the things that I know are good for me. I clean up my diet. I get out into the fresh air and get some exercise. I get together with friends even when all I want to do is to hide on the couch. I get together paperwork, budgets, housework, whatever I've been neglecting and I make a plan to tackle it. It's hard to force yourself out of the comfort zone, but I think we all know that doesn't lead anywhere good. Right?

Amy H

I have no advice or experience with depression but just wanted to say that I am thinking about you and I want you to hang in there.

Rayne of terror

Try one of those blue lights for SAD. As a lifelong Californian your 2d winter in the PNW may be part of phenomenon.


Since most of us who read your blog only know "Manda" from Mandajuice, I don't think it's fair to comment about depression. Only you, your husband, close family and friends (and doctor) could help you determine if that was true. What are THOSE people saying about you?

I've also noticed a difference in your tone, but just because you're not writing like you did before doesn't mean you're depressed. Why do we always put such pressure on ourselves to do everything, be the supermom, and superwife? We all want alone time, and at various points in our lives sometimes we need more alone time than normal.

It's okay to NOT be "on" all the time for your public "Mandajuice" fans. Take care of yourself, and take your stinkin' time. You deserve it.


There's an awful lot of speculation here, all written in an attempt to lift you out of your hidey hole. Well, being a hidey hole kind of person myself, I'm not going to jump on the depression bandwagon. Maybe you are, maybe you aren't. And we have such different personalities that I can't begin to give you advice, even though I'm good at advice. I think you need a break from everyone's advice. Methinks it's coming from more places than here, where you kinda asked for it, so no shame on the other commenters. Maybe I just wanted mine to offer something different, if it has done anything at all. I'm here. I am available. You can hang out in my hidey hole with me.


Oh, I so get this! I kind of withdraw into myself (and good books and romance movies) about 2-3 times a year. I don't really know what causes it, but I'll tell you how I try to make myself get out of it (once I realize it's happening . . . again).

1. I get some good, old-fashioned sunshine. Something about those UV beams can really boost my energy.

2. I get a massage -- a nice, long one.

2. I get a new haircut, or color, or both -- even if it's just a trim.

3. I head to the make-up counter at my favorite department store -- not necessarily to purchase something, but for someone to make my face pretty. You can get great, FREE makeovers in a department store.

4. I put a timer on my reading. If I don't, I just get sucked further and further into a bottomless pit. I LOVE reading. I would do it all the time, but alas, I have FOUR children (the oldest is 8) and retreating into a fantasy world (no matter how much I really want to) is not really practical for me.

5. I go out for drinks with friends -- friends that are funny and make me laugh.

6. I pay someone to clean my house -- just once. It gives me a deadline for picking up all the crap that I haven't picked up while I've been in my books AND it just makes me feel better. Sometimes after the house is completely clean, I buy a new rug, or seasonal hand towels, or just SOMETHING to spruce up the place.

7. I try to get back into the kitchen, even if it's just baking a roll of refrigerator cookies.

NOW -- I must say -- all this is NOT EASY for me. I have to make myself get off my duff and out of my yoga pants (I live in Florida -- sweat pants are too hot). It takes a few weeks to force myself to get out and about and I always consider it a BIG PAIN IN THE BUTT, but it eventually works. Eventually, I begin feeling like my old self again.

Here's hoping you're back to yourself soon! :o) Cheers!

Becky H

Write a review of Outlander! I love that series and Jamie always perks me up!


I never comment here but today I feel compelled too. YOU ARE DEPRESSED! I know because the same thing happened to me years ago. All I wanted to do was READ. I finally realized what I was doing when my six year old said "Mom don't you love me anymore? All you do is read, read, read." What a wake up call that was. You need to see your doctor and get help. I did and I felt so much better. Good Luck. I miss reading your blog.


Manda, I too am worried about you!

I usually only comment on your recipes, but I might as well tell you that whenever I've cooked from your blog, I've heard your (imagined) voice in my head, sharing all the tips/wisdom you'd most recently figured out. Tips on budgeting, shopping, cooking, parenting, throwing parties, making friends ... You've (unknowingly) provided some significant amount of guidance to me in so many areas of life! I wanted to share with you how grateful I've been for that.

But I'll hazard a wild guess that maybe for once you're trying to escape that role? Maybe escape from being the person who always has the answers, who provides the guidance to everyone else -- your family, your friends, your blog readers? Maybe you just want to ... rest.

That's OK. Maybe it's depression, maybe it's not. I don't know much about labels like that. All I know is that rest is needed for everyone. And you should do whatever helps you get that mental rest.

However, I also agree with Krystal Dixon that maybe the reading is taking over, much the way some people get addicted to Facebook or video games. Maybe it's time to limit that so that you eventually can learn to direct yourself outward again. Maybe take part in activities that you enjoy, but that you still find restful -- activities that don't put you in that spot of having all the answers, being The Provider of The Experience! :)

I hope this helps, but if not -- well, chuck it to the curb. All I know is that over the years, YOU have helped ME. And I thank you for that!

Best of luck in finding your mojo again,

Lori Harrison

Could it be....you need some See's Candy? Or maybe some good ole Bean dip...or how about Sea Foam Salad? Hang in there Kiddo...the bottom line is..life is hard. And you my dear are a GREAT.GREAT mother! Don't ever forget that. You are loved by so many. Keep writing! I love you!

Nancy R

What are your Halloween decoration plans? Will you all be outdoing last year? Pictures, please!

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