Identify what is most important )0( Eliminate everything else
The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world. Dr. Paul Farmer
The suffering of others is not alleviated when no one knows about it.
There is no one right way to live. Daniel Quinn Ishmael
The only thing that you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right sort of people.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut

Saturday, March 30, 2013

a bad day for raccoons

Raccoons, those rascally little, bandit-faced critters are one of my favorite urban landscape animals.

Over the past few days, as I traveled north, noodled around with my family and then came home today, there were so many raccoon bodies along the highways that I finally had to avert my eyes when I saw a lump ahead on the break-down lanes.

Home now to hug CoolCat and appreciate that, despite his regularly expressed desire to be allowed out in the yard, I am able to ignore his pathetic cries and keep him safely indoors.  He can look out the windows and watch the birdies and squirrels, and be alarmed by the cars speeding past on the street, something he completely forgets, or more likely never connects to being outside. 

I am thinking about looking for a nice dog kennel when I am at the charity shops.  I could carpet it and the two of us could comfortably spend lovely, long and sunny days on the porch and still be alive at day's end.  It just has to fit through the doorway.  A comfy chair for me, too.  Maybe a little table or crate for tasty snacks and refreshing beverages for both of us. 

Alrighty, just thinking about being out there is making me feel those familiar twinges of vulnerability.  Exposure.  Too much stuff out there to make a clean break for the house if need be.  Shudder.

However, I was able to walk earlier this week, like outside, on the sidewalk, car still parked in back, and survived.  Yes.  Yes, I did.  I walked to the exercise place and back home.  A couple of blocks.  I was hyper-vigilant whenever I was near other people walking, but I did not return home, kept on walking.  There was not anyone at the exercise place who could help me, so I will call this week to inquire about the best time to go over there.

One walk down.  A million to go.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I just do not get why I cannot relax and get some sleep.  Man.


Not backwards, but moving back into equilibrium.  I went to the support group last night.  It was a vent your story night theme, so everyone did.  Repeating your story, or at least the parts of it that hold energy for you, helps to get rid of the power that what happened has over you.  Over me. 

I had a difficult time sharing what happened when I first got out, because doing so put me right back into the circumstance.  I relived it, which seemed to be a stupid thing to intentionally do, you know?  It was so bad that I did not think that I would be able to participate in support groups, much less therapy.  I thought that being out meant being safe from all of it, including having to remember and share it with anyone.

It was so stressful and I was continuing to have so many panic attacks that I thought I might not be able to go on.  But, I did.  The process seemed too whiney (yeah, even for me...) and pointless.  I mean, what is the purpose or point of dwelling on the past, going over and over it.  It is the past; just move on.  I guess that even then I realized that I had to find a way to divest myself of those parts of my life, or at least the power it had over me.  And, bad stuff that happens to us hold enormous control over how we feel about ourselves and how we manage moving through our lives. 

Even when it seemed that being thrust back into those experiences would finally do me in, I did it.  It was so hard.  But, I did it. 

Last night illustrated that so wonderfully.  Listening to the other women share is an honorable way to spend my time.  It is a blessing to simply be there to witness their stories.  I am one year out of that mess, but today is new to them, and I recognize so much of myself and my experience of sharing with their fresh release from the terrible things that happened to them.  One of the younger women shared her story for the first time last night because her doctor has been telling her to do so over the past two weeks that she has been in the shelter.  I am in awe of what she has survived.  I am in awe of all of these women, all of the women with whom I have been in contact since I left my old life.

Last night's counselor is great at the group dynamic.  She always manages to ask the right questions, helping to keep the narrative moving, productive and in the right direction.  She truly understands how the process of groups is intended to work.  It is not always possible to process what I need, to feel at least marginally better at the end of group, but I am going to continue this and keep going to therapy for as long as it takes to make whatever progress I can make.  This feels as though I do not have a strong enough commitment to my own mental and emotional health, and maybe I do not, but I am willing to keep at this as long as I can, or as long as I am seeing some progress in how I handle things.

It will be interesting to discuss this tomorrow.  I have so much more to think and write about this process, but I have to go to work soon.

Spring began less than an hour ago.  New beginnings.  For all of us.

One of the advocates at the shelter snagged me last night.  They are very interested in starting the book club we have been talking about since I left there, and the times that works best for the shelter, the women and everything that goes on there is not good for me.  I think that I will make that little accommodation and begin soon.  We will work out the details this week and begin soon.  So, that is good, too, yes?  I think so.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


I cannot live without him, and, yet, every day I wonder if I am doing wrong by him.  He has a safe place here with me.  He has the food he likes, all the salad he wants, baked chicken and beef for treats.  He can go anywhere, sleep anywhere.

Since my last freak-out regarding the heating bill, and later that day feeling how cold his fur was, I turned the heat up and I do not give a rat's fanny what the bill is, my sweet baby should not have to burrow under the blankets just to stay warm.  So, that is better.

But, I rarely play with him.  Several times a day he comes to wherever I am, working at the computer, or escaping into sleep on the sofa.  He gets lots of petting and cuddles, but I know that he wants more activity than he can get from the toys I have scattered around.

Maybe he would be better, happier somewhere else.  I know that he would miss me for a while, but he should have a family, or at least a person, who will engage in activity with him.  I do not have the energy to do more than my volunteer gigs, look for work, cook and sleep.

He deserves better. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

capture myopathy

Restrain a wild animal, like a deer or bird or bunny, and it will likely develop lactic acidosis from the stress of simply being restrained.  That is why good-intentioned rescue of baby or injured small animals, except for the ungulates, most often results in their death.  Maybe not immediately, but unless some measures are taken to reduce the stress and the use of sodium bicarbonate or IV fluids, the sweet creature will most surely die. 

From good intentions.

Capture myopathy.

What happens is that when an animal is captured/restrained/confined, the stress causes the production and release of lactic acid from, well, that is less important for my purposes than that it happens.

Why do I even know about this?

I heard it on Public Radio on my way home from all today's Saturday stuff.   The focus of that part of the programming was about fainting, and how and why some creatures faint.  We know that people can faint, and most folk have heard about those fainting goats.  I digress, but if you have a critter that startles easily and falls over in a dead faint when you sneak up on it or alarm it in some way, and you actually do that, and even more heinously find it amusing, well, damn you.  Not shame, no finger-waggling, just straight to damning.  O.K., shame, shame, shame on you.

Why is it important to me?

Because it puts what I have been experiencing into some perspective.  Of some kind.  I might be over-thinking this, but not likely.  It feels too important, like if I do not pay attention, something essential might be missed when I need it most.

So, stress.  It is different for each person...or animal...all of us creatures...and is never really a constant, in that it can have vastly differing triggers, causes, experience, treatment or resolution.  The possible variables are insane.

There is a scientific definition about how stress is  "...any stimulus that alters the homeostatic state of an animal, whether internal or external...", thanks to this guy named Breazile.

Stress begins causing changes in the hypothalamus, which causes the next thing and the next response and then next one and the one following and, well, it is all fascinating, and if I want to read it again I will, it is just not all that important now.

The result reduces the ability of my immune system to remain relatively helpful in protecting me from disease.  I am digressing again, but I wonder how much my life experiences have been the causation, as far as that is possible, for my arthritis (which I developed at a young age, post marriage) or the diabetes and high blood pressure that I have had for only ten years or so.  And, lest I forget, my obesity.  Most of that last one is behavioral, but I was a very skinny child and young adult.  Painfully so.  Oh, never mind, I am just looking for excuses for shabby behaviors.  However, it is intriguing, yes?

I have always taken full responsibility for my physical condition.  That anything I am, here in my skin suit, could be affected by all or any of the other stuff has never occurred to me.  Now that I am thinking about it, I am having a difficult time, impossible really, believing that if it is true, it makes any difference.  Even if it did, so what.  I have to deal with what is, not make excuses for myself with all the what-ifs.  Whodunnit?  Who gives a fuck.

So, anyway, I got home and immediately came to the computer and soon I was reading a paper via NOAA's site (

Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine, Current Therapy
Editor:  Murray E. Fowler, D.V.M.
Professor Emeritus of Veterinary Medicine
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of California at Davis

"In nature, CM is probably an inherent mechanism
that hastens the death of an animal following capture
by a predator, thereby reducing pain in the prey and
conserving energy for the predator-a mechanism
which is, in a way, beneficial to both. This condition
is occasionally observed in domestic animals and

Works for me.

Although, I do have to wonder what kinds of tissue damage might be part and parcel here.  Frankly, I am in no emotional or spiritual condition to even think about this, much less do anything proactive.  I am driving myself crazy, looking for connections, weird causes, anything to make some sense here, or, better, to make some of this, any of this crap more understandable so that it will go away.  I want easy answers, dammit.  This is what happens when I dissemble, although I like to think of it as less trying to ignore or conceal and more like running away.  I am good at that.

That is a choice.  That choice thing seems to be a critical aspect to consider right now.  I have made countless choices, variations on a theme, up and down scales beyond measure, all over the place, during the past year.  Oh, sure, I made decisions before that, but none of them benefited anyone.  Not really.

Even though life went along as smoothly as I could make it, no one benefited, not in any decent or reasonable sense.  I am sure that my ex would disagree.  All decisions, choices, whatever they could be called, were to keep the peace, but I was never successful at that, at following the rules.  I now know that is mostly because the rules kept changing, often were unknown to me, but that is besides the point, but it is important to the whole capture aspect. 

No one was happy.  I had moments of happiness when I was able to escape for an afternoon or a day at work.  He had his own moments of pleasure when he was able to do whatever he needed to do to me.  Perhaps he was happy other times, but I have no knowledge or evidence to support that.  Oh, yeah, I do; he had lots of good times with his friends.  I know that.  He told me.  I saw it once.  One of my strongest continuing memories is when he had reduced me to wherever he wanted to have me be is that amazing release he experienced.  The deep, cleansing sigh, the physical release of his muscles, the ecstatic and dreamy look in his eyes, almost orgasmic, the soft and deep smile of just plain and pure pleasure. 

At the time, it meant that the worst was over for a while, at least until the pressure built again and he needed to do whatever to find that prize.  Remembering that process now, gosh, that end part, that might be the really and true worst part. 

Those were betrayals of everything that is supposed to be a decent marriage.  Or, relationship, I guess.

I am not yet free, but I am no longer in imminent danger.  Such a huge leap forward, and, still, such a baby step.  I am finished with him.  He cannot stop messing with me.  A standoff.  Sucks.

Today just goes to prove that there is not any randomness in the Universe.  None.  Not a bit.  I have spent the past few days trying to release the energy of Thursday's drama.  I have been eating well, sleeping decently, and avoiding naps, you know, the ones that allow me to doze the day away so that I do not have to think about or deal with anything.  A to-the-bone exhaustion, barely able to keep my eyes open, fall on the floor tiredness.  I have kept busy so that I do not sleep the day away.  I think my mind is more clear.  Maybe.

So, hearing that program this afternoon and coming home to find out what capture myopathy might be is the the proof of the no-randomness pudding.  I needed to hear and learn something to help me out here.  I got it.  Maybe I was living in my awareness, listening and watching for something.  Maybe that is why the program caught my attention, even though I had to turn it off when the traffic got too busy.  I am not digressing to write about the weird drivers on the expressway.

I needed to hear this today.  Thank goodness I was paying attention.

Beyond all of this, today was nice.  I was certain, even to last night, that I might not be able to go to breakfast with my friends and then the event thing.  I set the alarm and I got up.  I got ready.  I cleaned the snow off of the car.  I drove to the highway.  I got on the entrance ramp.  I drove all the way there.  I got out of the car and went into the restaurant.  I made nice.  I was pleasant, charming, occasionally funny and was hardly snarky at all.  The event thing went well, and afterwards I went to lunch with the friend I took along.  I took her home.  I came home.  I listened to the radio.  I stopped and bought diabetes socks...on sale...wooty-woo-hoo.

I also have a new mascara and some free stuff that came along with it.  Eye liner.  Wow.

Dark, dark chocolate with teeny lemon bits and cracked black pepper.  Yum. 

I made it through an entire day without any drama.  None.  Now it is late, nearly time to think about the time for bed.  Not enough hours left to mess up anything. 


Thursday, March 14, 2013


That should be the name of this thing.  Big, fat (emphasis on the obese) failure.

I had a good week.  My clients and I did some amazing work. 

Tuesday was chock full of accomplishment. I did the laundry.  Grocery shopping done, and within budget.  Bills are paid with enough left over to have coffee with my friends on Saturday; I might even be able to buy breakfast.  I went to the pharmacy and managed to fix a payment issue with them.  They were charging me more than my Part D co-pay.  Whilst I will not receive any kind of refund for the months of overcharges, from now on I will be saving nearly sixty dollars each month.  Yay.  Plus, all three of those errands are in the same little shopping center.

On my way out of there, I saw a storefront for an income tax service, so I stopped in to ask some questions.  My ex still is not complying with the court requirements that he provide me with his income information so that I can file my tax returns.  No big surprise, because not only has he never complied with anything yet, I am certain that he is withholding the information because I declined to file joint returns with him so that he could reduce his tax liability payment.  Whatever.

Anyway, the information I received from the tax preparation guy is that there is a way to stay in compliance with the final divorce decree order regarding taxes without receiving the information from my ex.  That means that I will not have to struggle at the last moment when the returns are due in a month.  I just have to check with my attorney and then gather some municipality information, have my landlord complete some paperwork and with a relatively few dollars, I can go back there and get this done.  Big yay.

All of that success and good feelings was swept away by this morning.  I felt great, and drove to my therapy appointment.  As I was getting out of the car, there was a man across the street.  He was shouting, yelling and cursing into his cell phone.  I got partially back into the car and waited until he was on the next block.  He really scared the shit out of me, totally and completely outside any kind of reasonable response.  I was able to plug the meter and go inside.

After sitting in the reception area, I noticed that the door was not locked.  It always is, to prevent anyone who is not supposed to be there from wandering in, unintentionally or not.  I told the receptionist "I just noticed that the door is unlocked."  She told me that sometimes she does not lock it when the traffic in and out of the building was heavy.  She was nearly shouting at me.  Everyone is shouting today.  I thanked her and said that it was not a criticism, just something that I noticed.  She then went into a little rant about why she chooses to do this and I again apologized and said that I had not intended it to be a big deal or anything.  She continued to rant at me until one of the therapists came into the room. 

The two of them chatted for a bit, and when the therapist noticed that the door was unlocked, she asked the receptionist if she wanted it locked, she did, and the door was locked.  After the therapist left, the receptionist started back in on me.  That part is amazing.  She knows that all of us are there for struggles and difficulties of some significant kind, and she does this kind of thing all the time, although that is only a guess because I am there only on Thursdays and have seen her treat people poorly, hugely insensitively many times, including another woman this morning who was panicking because her ride home had disappeared.  Stuck there, waiting for my therapist who was caught in a meeting that was going late. Crazy making in a place where regular crazy is the norm.  I had a little crystal shard in my coat pocket.  I took it out and used it to lower my panic.  I looked at it, gazed through the crystal and finally got my breathing back to normal.  It gave me something else on which to focus.  It was so pretty, shining there in the sunlight, colors reflecting from my coat and other things in the room.  I felt calmer.  I felt able to work with the shorter session.  I was going to be fine.  I could go to the truncated session, attend the support group after and be fine.

Another woman arrived and said that she had an appointment with my therapist and I kind of lost it.  I was in nearly full-blown panic mode, all of this fear and feelings of insignificance and that I needed to allow that new woman to take what was left of my appointment time because whilst my crap was being held inside, she was visibly in need, and I decided to leave a message for my therapist and leave.  Before I could do that, she came in the room and told the other woman that she would be with her shortly, and apologized for being late.  I told her that it was not a problem, and that I really did not need a session today, and that I would see her next week.  I was terrified about letting my panic show, further embarrass myself, so I left.  As I was getting in my car, my therapist came out and offered an afternoon session, but I declined.  I said that I would see her next week.  I knew that once I was home that I would not be able to leave again.  I was so shaky that I could not drive for, I do not know, maybe fifteen minutes.  I could have spent that time freaking out in therapy, instead I was stuck in the car.

So, now I have created tension between us, as she kept apologizing when it was not anything about her, but exclusively about my inability to handle even one, single, damn insignificant disturbance in my day.  I totally suck.  I freaked out and missed a therapy session that I really needed today.  I messed with the receptionist and my therapist, imposing my own pathology on them.  I felt so out of control.  It was only as I was calming enough to drive home that I realized that the cell phone man was the catalyst for the entire mess.

I think that I will never be well again.  I will always struggle with the ptsd and the just regular life for other people stuff that triggers my fears.  A whole fucking year and I can be tossed back into the worst of my life.  I am not making any progress, not any real kind if I keep allowing all of this stupid stuff to destroy me. 

I am spiraling and do not think that I will be able to leave the house for a while.  I can think clearly about this, recognize and evaluate the core trigger today, cell phone man, but I cannot stop the physical things that happen with this whole panic problem.  I am so stuck.  I will have to call my friend and cancel our outing on Saturday to use the home and garden show tickets that the woman who sold the house sent to me.  How pathetic I am to not be able to handle this kind of stuff.  What a mess.  The only good thing that might come out of this is that I feel really weepy.  Maybe I can make this into something useful by dwelling, wallowing in it and maybe I can make myself cry about it.  That would be so wonderful.

I did some meditation before signing on to the computer, ate two fried eggs.  So, I am calmer, but I am not out of the process yet, as I am craving carbs.  I want potatoes and popcorn, I have those.  I want candy, something with sugar in it, I do not have that.  Not being able to leave the house will help here, small favors.  I am going to go and peel a bag of carrots and eat all of them.  Then, I will have a couple of cups of green tea.  Then, I will probably pop some corn, but maybe not, at least I am trying.  I have been taking all of my meds, taking vitamins and extra B-complex and eating really, really cleanly.  Just meat, vegetables and salad.  No junk at all.  Even the pumpkin bread I made is mostly eggs, nuts and pumpkin.

I just now left a voice mail message for my therapist.  Explained that it was not anything about what happened there, but that it was all about cell phone guy, and that I would see her next week.

I think that what bothers me most is what a snivelling, self absorbed piece of crap I am.  I have until Tuesday to pull my self together.  I really do have to get better at all of this.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


One of the things that concerned me, once I was able to be concerned about more than surviving, was who I was going to be when I transitioned into a normal life.  I know what a normal life should be because I observed how other people lived and I watched movies and read books.  The books were an essential part of that, as I was certain that I would eventually find a story that could be my own and that once that story was found, well, I would be better.  This was one of my major concerns when I began therapy, although I was unable to share that until deep into the sessions.

I was certain that not being under all of that crap would reveal that I was not a nice person, that it was only the abuse that kept my not-niceness in check.  I am not entirely sure who I am, or could be, but there have not been any basic changes in how I feel or behave or think.  Comforting. 

The truth is that I have changed in other ways.  I am less supportive of some of the behaviors that others have towards me.  I had a long afternoon with a friend on Thursday.  She asked me for help with the problems her recently ended relationship caused.  Unfortunately, the end came after years of what she shared were abusive behaviors of her boyfriend.  Clearly none of us tell anyone until it is very late, or nearly too late.

It is a sad story, I did get the information she needed and during the process I discovered that she has misrepresented me, told me some truly vicious gossip about a mutual friend, and I think that we are finished.  In the past I would not have done anything or stopped helping her, but I am changed in this respect.  She has lied about me and, given the nature of the gossip, most likely has done this about our young friend.  From my perspective, I cannot afford to have her in my life any more.  The third friend I have turned out, something I should have done years ago.  The new me does this and I have to admit that I am not entirely sure how I feel about this. 

I am becoming a quitter.  Friends, jobs, volunteer gigs.  What next.  Family?

I am disappointing to so many people lately.  I do not immediately drop everything and help with whatever they need.  I do not give money when someone asks.  Well, sometimes I still do, but I am much more careful about giving away what I really do not have. 

My therapist tells me that these things are part of regaining myself.  Lordy.  Just painful.  Truth is that whilst I seem to be more protective about myself and my resources, maybe becoming more assertive...only internally so far...and feel that I have the potential to, gosh, not sure, but certainly live more effectively than I have been.

I had a dream last night about doing something social.  In my dream I was confident and enjoying myself.  I woke thinking that being able to live as I was in that dream would be so nice.  I am often struck with how disabled my life is.  Living in the cold and dark.  Not spending time with my friends, the ones who turned out to be true friends, not going anywhere or doing anything.  I received free tickets for the local home and garden show, that begins next week, from the woman who was the realtor for the house.  I would love to go, just to see the demonstrations.  There are two tickets, I could take a friend.  I cannot bear to spend the money for gas and parking, probably less than $15.00.  This sucks.

It is just one area where a few dollars could be spent, but I cannot bring myself to do it.  I am living poor.  I am thinking poor.  I am manifesting poor.  I am determined to stay hopeful, positive, empowered.  I really am.  I am thinking and believing that I will not be left with nothing.  Maybe that needs to be stated more positively.  I am thinking and believing that I will receive my fair share of our joint resources.  I need to hold that thought, that I will be fine and just be fine.

In my heart that is not so, but I need to find a way to install a better belief system into that willing heart. 

For all of those years I hoped.  I never stopped believing and hoping that things would get better, that all the bad stuff would stop and be replaced with, well, maybe not happiness, even I knew better than that, but perhaps by something more benign.  Then, I stopped hoping because I knew that it would only get worse, and so I got out. 

But, I want hope.  I want the belief that I will be fine.  I am tired of disappointing myself with all of the negative talk.  I say it to myself, some version of a little mantra about how I will be fine, I will receive my share, everything will work out.  It will. 

I am trying so hard not to say lordy. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013


The last time I tried to apply for help with financial stuff, like food, housing, health care, things like that, I was $49.00 over the amount of income you can have in order to qualify for food assistance.  I was $127.00 over for everything else.

So, I had this great idea, after the dismal results whilst apartment hunting, that I would investigate what is available for low-income folk like myself.  Even though I am keeping my eye on things working out decently, I thought, heck, it could not hurt to take another look at what might be possible.

I went to the state agency web site and after the initial query part, it indicated that I would qualify for $20-40 in food assistance per month.  Cool.  So, I did the complete registration and application.  The final page was to read and accept their policy statement and then enter my electronic signature.

Part of that policy statement listed the income requirements for receiving services. 

I am now only $28.00 over the limit.  Close.  No cigar.  Since I was on the last page, I finished the darn thing.  Now I get to wait for the telephone contact from them telling me that I do not qualify.  Great.  At least I tried, yes?

I next went to another section of the site to look for what they offer in commodities.  I do not qualify for that either, but they had a link to a cookbook that uses the commodity food items and I found a couple of nice recipes, so it was not a completely wasted effort.

What I can do is to go to the churches and retirement facilities that offer free lunches on the days when I do not have to work.  They accept a goodwill offering, and I will see what they are comfortable accepting.  You have to call the site the day before, and I will be doing that tomorrow morning for Monday's lunch.  All I have to do is survive this current mess, and no matter how it turns out, at least it will be finished and I can find a part-time job to help with everything.

This should be depressing the hell out of me.  It is not.  Amazing.

You know what they say.  I am strong.  I am invincible.  I am stubborn.


I write bad poetry.  I really do.  I am a good poet, but my poems are, well, they are of the bad sort.  They do not rhyme most of the time and they are about ordinary life and I am pretty sure that they are interesting only to me.  I have shared them with a few people, those who understand the poem-writing-process and I get good feedback.  I almost performed some of them once, but left the event before it was my turn, because I knew that strangers would see right through me.

Someone once figuratively compared them to a relatively famous poet, but I am certain that he was making sport of me.  He was way too amused to be sincere.  However, since the writing of stuff, poems included, is something that I simply have to do on occasion, his disdain and mockery really mean very little.  It did not at the time, and even though I remember that, it still holds no energy for me.  I think that is probably true for everyone else who just has to write.

There is a little coffee shop near to where I go for therapy, and when I have a bit of extra money I will stop in there for a truly excellently brewed cup of the hot stuff before my head-shrinking-maneuvering-remolding-reconstructing appointments, even when that money should more properly be used for paying the heating bill...oh, the horror that bill continues to be.

You can get a twenty-five cent discount on your coffee purchase by doing something different each day.  One day is to answer a trivia question.  The first time I went for that discount, the guy working there gave me a fairly complex physics question.  I was not able to come even close to the correct answer, so no discount for me.  I felt like a failure, seriously, until the next person in line was presented with a question about dogs, for crying out loud.  I went from epic fail to wtf in record speed.  I still tease the coffee guy about that.

But, Thursdays are sing a song and you save a quarter day.  Now, I can sing.  When my daughter was in high school she tried to get me to perform in some stupid talent thing, but I cannot sing in front of anyone, which is partly because my ex used to ridicule me for vocalizing around the house, but also because I am shy.  Like, really shy.  Monumentally shy.  People who know me well, get that I am shy, but acquaintances and client never get that, for which I am grateful and because I work really, really hard on overcoming my natural tendencies and make great and sincere efforts to behave like a normal person when I am in public and have to actually interact with people.

So, when the coffee guy told me a few weeks ago that I could save that quarter buck by singing at least a bit of a song, I declined.  I also said that I would always make sure to have enough quarters with me when I came to get coffee.  I asked him if he just did that on a whim, or if that was the standard discount theme on Thursdays.  He said that it was, and I expressed my regret at having asked that my appointments be switched to Thursday.  He thought that was hilarious.  Fortunately, I have not had the means to buy coffee since then.

I knew that I wanted coffee this morning, but I did not want to deal with not being able to sing, even soto voce.  My solution was to write a little poem before I left the house and hope that a tuneless rendition would be acceptable.  I mean, all songs really are is some kind of at least pseudo poetry set to music.  Really.  I wrote a haiku on a sticky note and hoped for the best.

When I got there, he asked if I wanted him to leave room for cream and I replied, no thank you, no cream, no singing.  He laughed.  He thinks I am funny, bless his heart.  Thus heartened, I asked him if I could get the discount if I read a poem.  He laughed and said that I could and I said that was great because I had written one just for him that morning.  I read the poem and he could not stop laughing (it really was not all that funny, the poem) and nearly forgot to give me the discount.  But, he did and I saved twenty-five cents plus tax.

The haiku is:

Coffee discount, sure
But, singing for it, scary
Always have quarters

That is the most I have ever made on a poem.

On a different note, I shared the highroad poem with my therapist this morning.  You know, I wrote that thing in just a few minutes.  I have read it several times since then, mostly just reading it, but doing so out loud a couple of times.  One of the amazing things about us humans is that we often do not know what we truly think or believe until we vocalize it, write it down, or do both.  It is often a pretty interesting revelation.  Surprising.  Often stunning or shocking.

Needless to say...although I guess I am saying...I was very surprised to find that reading it for her this morning was so emotional.  I could barely get through it.  My vision blurred, throat constricted and most of it was recited in a whisper.

I have done a lot of work in the week since the last appointment.  I am not a goal kind of babe, although I imagine that simply trying to get through a difficult day can be manifesting a goal of some kind.  But, I made a concerted effort to do some serious thinking, especially with the whole divorce wrap-up-going-nowhere thing.  I have to make some decisions about where I am going to live, whether to stay here and struggle with paying the utilities during the winter or move and hope for the best somewhere else.  Whether or not to unpack my crap and live the best way I can in this place until the weather improves enough to move.  All that stuff.

I am trying to be proactive about the things over which I have any influence.  Control, well, I never had that, it was always a tender longing of mine to have some control, some autonomy over anything in my life, but now I am able to make choices and decisions for myself, and I quite like it.  I did some apartment searching on-line, although I am conserving gasoline and have not gone driving around looking for rental signs.  It was just as depressing and disheartening as the first time, before I stumbled upon the sign in front of this place.  I have actual standards for what I want now.  It has to be on the first floor.  An elevator would be nice, but those kinds of rentals are out of my price range.  The landlord or rental agency has to allow cats, because I am not going anywhere without CoolCat.  The rental fee has to include heat.  It just has to.  I lack the ability to assess the insulation factors that make reasonable heating bills possible.

Starting over again someplace new will be initially expensive, but lower utility bills should pay off over time, as when I landed here my expectation is that I would never move again.  After much painful and fruitless searching, it might be in my best interest to stay here, save my pennies in order to properly winterize this place as much as possible, along with guilting my landlord into doing some of that himself, you know, being the magnificent tenant that I am and how could he possibly bear to lose me.  Like that.  Besides, there are so many things I like about this place, discounting the freakishly insane utility bills.

I just do not know.

I also went looking for inspirational stuff, even though that sort of thing repulses me most of the time.  All that rah-rah, you go girl crap.  Seriously.  I had some time between clients yesterday and followed a link sent to me by that one-stop-serves-all business, employment, connection, networking site.  Surprisingly, there were some cool things there.  Sure, all rah-rah, but I just love me a good platitude, a clever cliche, some snappy chatter.  I compiled a few and e-mailed it to myself.

Some of my favorites, although I must admit that most of them made it to the list because they amused me:
  • Be Brave, Imaginative and Decent
  • There Are No Make or Break Decisions
  • You Can't Be Everything to Everybody
  • Follow your instincts
  • Make Sure Your Journey Is Worth Traveling
  • Speak Even if Everyone Else Is Silent
  • Feed the Eagles and Starve the Turkeys
  • Three questions:
    Are you happy with your job?
    Are you happy where you live?
    Are you happy who you’re with (that could mean friends, spouse, partner, etc).
    If you answer Yes to at least two out of three, you found your spot for the moment.
    If not, you need to make a change to one of them.
  • Do as you would be done by.
  • Accept Responsibility, and Good Things Will Happen
  • Be intentional
Sometimes I have entirely too much time on my hands.  At least I am making an effort, I guess.

The latest on the court-ordered stuff is that my ex is being given one, final chance of manning up and doing the right thing or my attorney is going to file contempt charges against him, the investment companies and his attorney.  You know, right from the beginning my attorney told me that I would get my share of our resources.  And, I told her that it would not happen, that she did not know him like I did.

She was positive that all of this would work out.  She continues to fight for me, and I am grateful, truly, but I have spent more than half of my half of the proceeds from the sale of the house on legal fees.   She believes that had I been more forceful, or assertive, or some damn thing from the start, that he would not continue to be in non-compliance with the court orders.  I am not convinced of that, because he is manifesting exactly the same behavior that he always has.

I knew all of this would happen.  That is why I never refused anything that he wanted during this process.  I also know how frustrating this has been for her, but I knew that nothing I did or did not do would change how he operates and it seemed best, still does, to do everything I could to facilitate this whole mess moving along as quickly as possible.  The only time I have refused to cooperate is on his wanting me to assume half of the tax liability that he incurred by stealing from the investment funds.  He expects me to help pay for his greed.  Sounds like double taxation to me.

I have made a forward moving decision about some of this.  I am no longer going to express, internally or otherwise, my belief that I will come out of this impoverished.

From now on, like from this very minute, I am stating that I deserve my half of our resources.
I am not accepting one cent less than half of the amount that was in those accounts at the time of the final decree and those final court orders.
I am expressing that I will receive those monies.
I am expressing that I will be in full control of this and that I will no longer have to worry about having enough money to live.
I am a strong, resourceful and deserving person (ah, redundancy, thou be my middle name).

Along with that, I am self-talking about how I will always have what I need and that I can handle any struggle or difficulty that comes my way.

Now, for something different and something that borders on shame, but in the interest of continuing to be honest with myself about everything, I have to admit that I know that success in the whole money mess will not go down well with my ex.  Just being practical here.  I know that he will become even more incensed than he is now, even though that might seem to be physically and psychologically impossible.  I know that resolving this to my benefit has the potential to put me back into physical danger.  I am not thrilled about that, but I do have to be concerned with my safety.

So, it is with a heavy and tender and sorrowful heart that I am going to take some actions to help protect myself.  I will participate as fully as I am able in the self-protection class that is part of this new support group that I have joined.  I am planning on taking an additional series of classes on self-defense.  I will be having a discussion in the next few weeks with someone who teaches martial arts, where he will assess my physical condition and decide if I have the strength to take some martial arts training. I will be filing a report with the police department about the potential for harm that I suspect might be part of my life when this mess is resolved.  Despite their ineffectiveness, I am considering have protective orders established.  I am thinking about other things that I can do to keep myself safe; this aspect might mean that I have to move to a secure building.  The thoughts I am having are making me ill.  However, I will do whatever I need to do. 

It is now after midnight and I think that today is International Women's Day.  Bully for us.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I am much less upset this morning.  Less worried.  Less scared.  I am thinking that the mood-altering pumpkin bread I made for dinner last night helped.  I ate half of it.  Yeah.  Food is my drug of choice.

Since last year I have been trying to set little goals, things that are achievable without stressing me beyond my ability to cope.  This digresses, but I it is increasingly difficult to quantify how bad things were or are.  I keep thinking about when it was worse or the worst or really bad and when that might have been.

I have experienced happiness, even joy and pleasure, during the past several decades.  I do not think that I could have survived without that, those occasions, those moments.  Part of that was just plain survival.  If I was not sharing anything with anyone, then I had to at least appear to be a normal person with a normal life.

I did that, with varying degrees of success, and the thing that I bring out of that time is that I am a big, fat liar.  I lied my ass off to appear like a normal person.  I am not even sure what a normal person is supposed to be or look like.  I did my best.

That life of deception, well, I am beginning to understand it, although accepting it is something that is not going to happen.  It shames me.  It makes everything I do and say suspect; maybe not to other people, but always to me.  Or, maybe it does make me a liar, once a liar, always a liar, to others.  If I was so good at hiding all of the bad stuff, went about my life without a lot of apparent difficulty, then one has to wonder what that was all about.  Normal people get themselves out of the kind of life I had.  I did not do that for nearly forty-five years.  So, it could not have been all that bad, right?

It does not help that those sentiments and thoughts have been said to me.  Surely, if it was so bad, you would have left.  Certainly, it could not have been all that horrible if you stayed.  Of course, no self-respecting person would stay under those conditions.  Condescending.  Pitying.  Unbelieving.  And, that is why, after I left and people asked me what it was all about, that I never shared anything beyond the conversations with those three people.  I would simply explain the whole not living in my old house as that I was getting a divorce, and leaving it at that, even, most especially, if someone asked for more information.  I had to cut a few people out of my life because all they wanted was the gory details.  My suffering seemed to increase their satisfaction somehow.  Maybe it was being able to compare my crap life with their lives and thinking that what they had was not so bad. 

I would always be resolved to not share stuff with them, but when they started asking probing questions, I eventually caved.  Not because of their skills at persistence, but because of my need to get some of that stuff out.  I still have that compulsion, although I have learned to control it.  After I was safely out of that situation I truly was compelled to share, to spew, to just about anyone.  Totally inappropriate, and whilst it did not last long, it is another aspect of shame that I carry, that I was so needy and so desperate.

Whatever it was, it was not helping me.  I felt used somehow, and those folk are gone.  They cannot contact me because I have a different telephone number, they do not know where I live and when I run into them I am too busy, too rushed to have a conversation with me.  I know that makes me a bad person, but it is what I have to do.

I am a late-bloomer in nearly every aspect of my life, but those three people bumped up my learning curve, and I have never made that mistake again, the mistake of trusting that people who I thought knew me and would support me, would be there for me.  Huge fail and even larger learning experience.

The only safe places have been the (now) two support groups and therapy, and, maybe, two of my friends, but I am not positive about the friends.  Oh, and here is a safe place, because this is so anonymous.  Three on-line friends read here occasionally, and that is great.  It should not seem as though having someone reading all of this crap would be important, but it is.  It means that I am not just spewing into the ether.  Even though those three people do not know me in real life, they do not judge me or what I am able to share. 

So, big picture, I am better.  I still need to keep setting goals, even it that is only to get through a difficult day.  And, I did some thinking last night about how I want to handle the crap from my ex.  My attorney is handling things well, fortunately, as I am unable to do that.  Those people have this one, last chance to man-up before she takes it back to the courts.  Great.  I need the money to survive, but going back into court, the thought of it puts me into full-panic-mode.  I swear.

So, I am thinking and one of the areas is how I have to stop self-medicating with food.  Last night I could not eat dinner, so I made pumpkin bread, my healthy recipe one, but it is still pumpkin bread.  It is mostly eggs and pumpkin, with just enough flour and spices to hold it together.  I ate half of it.  I am on the verge of eating the other half, but am going to wait until after I go out and shovel the most recent snowfall.  We are supposed to get, and it is already looking like that will happen, at least seven more inches, and I have to remove it every time it gets to two inches because there simply is no place to put the stuff anymore. 

Food.  I have not been to the market for a week or so, and I will be eating from my pantry.  When I get back in the house I will be making mac and cheese, and most likely eating more pumpkin bread whilst that cooks.  And, the noodle thing reminded me of one of those happier times in my married life.

My ex would not eat many different foods.  That meant that our meals were just what he wanted to eat.  No deviations from the acceptable menu choices.  I did add healthier side dishes and salads.  He ignored or criticized those, but as long as the bulk of the meal was what he liked, we managed.  Mostly.

Anyway, the elbow macaroni for today's lunch and dinner reminded me of those wheel-shaped macaroni things.  I loved chili, insanely loved it, still do.  My ex would not eat it, claimed that even the smell of it made him sick.  One day I found that wheel pasta and thought that if I used those and renamed chili to cowboy stew, that maybe I could sneak chili onto the meal plan.

Well, it worked.  Chili was still the recipe I liked and which had been soundly rejected by my ex, but the addition of those noodles made all the difference.  Cowboy stew was a rounding success and he requested it regularly. 

Now, that is a happy memory, one of the things that eventually becomes a warm and much beloved family story.  And, to some extent it did, although once I share what I had done (eternally stupid am I), he never ate it again, but it pleased me that our daughter continued to like it and I still made it sometimes for the two of us when he was away.

That is cool, yes?  Yeah, it is.  It is a mostly happy memory, and it makes me want to honor more of those.  I have plenty.  Those stories carry the burden of grief and suffering, but they were, at least momentarily, light-hearted family stories of fun and happiness.  I need to gather more of those memories.  I need the perspective.  I need to find a way to continue to forgive my ex.  That is essential.  I do not hate him and I cannot allow that to be a possibility.  We have a daughter and hatred for him cannot be a part of my feelings, because even if I never express it to her, or anyone, strong and negative emotions are not helpful to anyone and most surely would eventually filter into my words and actions.  I refuse to self-poison myself.  I have had quite enough of that from the outside, I do not need to internalize hatred and allow it to erode my beliefs, my ethics, much less my behavior or words or behavior.  And, that would happen. 

So, I am off to move some more snow around, then inside for tea and a nice shower whilst the mac and cheese bubbles away.  I read something, I think it was last year, about baking mac and cheese in a shallow sheet pan.  It bakes more quickly and you end up with four times the amount of browned and chewy top and crispy edge pieces than you would in a regular casserole pan.  I can hardly wait.  CoolCat likes only the creamy and soft centers, so I will mound it up in the middle of the pan so that there is plenty for him.

Monday, March 4, 2013


This crap will never end.  I can write all the self-empowerment poetry, think all the positive thoughts, release all of my fears and vulnerability and it will not make a fucking bit of difference.

The latest from my attorney today is that my ex is still insisting that I file joint income taxes with him for last year.  I am not doing that, as I would have to pay for the tax liabilities he incurred by fucking me over with the investments.  He continues to remain in non-compliance with the court orders...all of the damn things...and my best guess is that he is planning on my usual compliance, doing whatever he wants, however he wants it done, without comment or resistance of any kind.

Those days are over.

Unfortunately, taxes must be filed by the middle of April.  Fuck. 

Between the gutting of the investments and the insane amount of money I have already spent on attorney fees, well, all of this is so distressing.  Fuck.  Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckityfuck.

When the next utility bill arrives I will probably have a break-down.  And, I found out today that I have to stop looking for a job (not that I have had any luck for the past seven months) because if I am gainfully employed before this is resolved that status could complicate things.

Complicate?  This will never be resolved.  He is keeping me tied to him with all of this stuff and will not be happy until I am destitute.  I want to hate him so much and I just cannot get beyond the pain to a place where I can fully despise him.  Not even a little.  

Maybe I am improperly medicated.

And, I was trying to do something different, like make dinner using an actual recipe.  Epic fail and now I have wasted those resources as well

Saturday, March 2, 2013


So, anyway, there is this thing called Wordle.  It creates this cloud thing using words that you choose to enter or it will harvest the most commonly used words from a web site.  Like this one.

I used it years ago to illustrate the tenor of the conversations on some of the medical sites I created for people.  It is cool, yes, but it also is very telling in what kinds of words we use when the purpose of the words is to be part of the process of whatever the hell any of us are doing on-line.

I was surprised to accidentally stumble across it today, and decided to enter this site's URL and see what would happen.

Lordy.  What a wake-up call.  It was so alarming to find what a whiney bitch I am that the only recourse was to put it here.  Make it public, relatively speaking.  Take some responsibility for how I am not moving forward as much as I would like.  Sure, this space is for unreservedly spewing, but I guess I thought that I was making some progress, or at least more than I actually have.

I recolored the most used word in red and then did the same for the words that I wish I had used more.  The more hopeful ones.  More productive.  More forward-moving.

Nowhere on there is hope or belief or trust.  I have looked and looked and love is not there.  However, lobster is and I have absolutely no idea where the heck that came from.  Not sure that I want to know, but I think it might have been when I was grousing about what the 'haves' have, as opposed to what the 'have-nots' like me do not have.  Probably some class-ist babbling.  Sour grapes.  Like that.

Bottom line is that it is what it is.  Simple as that.  Will having done this, finding this information have any effect on what I write?  Hell, no.  It might be part of my consciousness for a while, but I will soon be back to the same-old same-old.

Besides, this is the only place in my life where I can get rid of any of this.  My friends, even if I could afford to get together with them, are most likely sick of hearing the constant repetition of my crap.  I will not burden my daughter with any of this.  My siblings are out of the questions; I am the person to whom they come for help and to unburden themselves.  We never worked out how to do it otherwise.  I go to therapy once or twice a week and that helps, as well as a support group, but neither of them are the kind of safe places to share what I write here.  Even here is not safe enough, all anonymous as it is, to share the really bad stuff.  No one will ever hear or read any of that.

Anyway (one of the most used words, by the way), here it is.  An interesting way to bare one's soul.  I guess.

Click on the image to get a better view of the spew.


Friday, March 1, 2013


I may be taking the high road on the outside, but on the inside, I want your socks to be full of holes.
I want your undies to shrink.
I want your cable to stop working at the best part of the program.
I want your soup to be too salty.
I want the market to be out of your favorite foods.

I do not ever want you to know what it means to be cold every moment because you cannot afford to run the furnace.
I do not want you to have to count pennies to buy groceries.
I do not want you to be unable to see your daughter, your grandchildren, and their father because you cannot afford to put gas in the car.
I do not want you to never see your friends because of the same gas money issue.
I do not want you to live in the dark because having lights on at night makes you feel too vulnerable.
I do not want you to have had your sister make threats against your life.
I do not want you to be afraid to be outdoors when it gets dark.
I do not want you to experience the lack of love.
I do not want you to live in the kind of suffering you created for me for all of those years.
I do not want you to suffer the pain and loss of having every resource stolen from you because you finally had the courage...or maybe it was simply too much fear to leave.

I am taking the high road on the outside.
It is more difficult to do so on the inside, but I am working on that.

I live without anger towards anyone.
I am pleased to find ways to live with little money.
I am grateful to share my life with CoolCat.
I appreciate the moments when I can be with my friends.
I am more than grateful to have meaningful, productive and loving work.
I honor the life I now have, mostly because last year I escaped with my life intact.
I live the best I can.