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

Friday, August 30, 2013


Yesterday was the worst day of my life, even worse than anything else that has happened.  I hesitate to even write about this because not everyone can connect with my feelings for CoolCat.  He has not been well since the other life.  It was not pain, although some discomfort or pain could have been part of his decline; my vet and I never saw any evidence of that.

Yesterday CoolCat did what I had asked and hoped that he would do, and that was to let me know when it was time to say goodbye.  We spent most of the day together, and in middle afternoon, we let him go.  I have been in welfare work for nearly half my life, accustomed to every person & animal issue and circumstance imaginable, but when it was time to follow through on my promise to always do the best for him, to pay attention to his spoken and unspoken needs, and to embrace euthanasia as the final and loving gift that I could offer, I experienced everything that any pet owner does on that last visit to the clinic.

I have had the same veterinarians for forty years, so making that call yesterday was fine from the time that B answered the phone there.  There is B and L and a few other old babes like me that have been there since our first appointment when we moved here.  In many ways it like an extension of family, the kind of family you actually like and who do not drive you insane or stupid.  Chosen family, hand-picked for wisdom and beauty and love.  I cannot count the many times we met outside the clinic, worked on animal-related projects, fundraisers and educational programs and events.  There was a time when they wanted to offer me a job there, but I knew that being there several days each week was not a good fit for me and my schedule. 

When I would appear without an appointment, someone would welcome me by saying, "Are you hungry?"  That meant there was an excellent chance that I came to buy food for our cats and/or dogs.  Sometimes I would be driving past and if I had a little extra time, I would stop to simply say hello and chat if they were not busy, although anything, any work involving pets and their people is never without tons of stuff on which you are constantly trying to manage.  When I was clearing the house last year in preparation for selling, B stopped by to just talk.  I left the house and rummage sale to my daughter and friends and the two of us went out to the road, leaned on her car and talked about the whole messy issue, but about other things as well, something I really needed to do.  I needed to disconnect from that mess and she knew it and took me there.

Saying goodbye to anyone we love is never easy.  It seems disrespectful of the process to even try to define just how difficult it is.  For someone like me, CoolCat was the familiar, the constant presence in my life.  He and my daughter are the only connection to the other life that was worth bringing along to my new life.

After CoolCat was gone, I took his body out to my friend G's, where he will be cremated and honored alongside L who died last year.  I filled the rest of the afternoon with errands that could have waited, with shopping that probably should not have been delayed, so I was just so grateful for reasons to not come home alone.  When home, I realized how much of the activity here revolves around him.  Welcomes.  Checking dishes to refresh food and water.  Sitting and sharing our day.  Some play, relaxing for both of us.  Laughing and petting and just grooving together until I could get it together enough to rustle up some dinner.

Dinner.  Meals of any kinds.  If it was healthy for a cat to eat, CoolCat got his share.  Asparagus, watermelon and cantaloupe, bits of beef/chicken/turkey, and any kind of greens.  He loved everything from iceberg lettuce, to spinach, to collards, chards and kale.  I think the only greens he did not like were mustard and beet tops.  Oh, he also loved, like insanely loved the leaves and silk of fresh corn, which he did not get because I discovered he loved them after he had snagged some from the trash and vomited the whole mess up.  Poor guy, to love something so much and have it not be good for you.  I guess many of us can relate in regards to liking or loving something or someone that is not in our best interest. 

I could not fall asleep, not unusual for me, and when I finally went to bed to read there was some of his bunny-soft white fur on the edge of the brown sheet.  I left it.  It is still there, just like his dishes and litter box are going to stay exactly where they are for a while.  Probably just a few days, sooner for the litter box though, I guess. 

There were two times that I felt some movement on the mattress, and I looked up both times, expecting to see him walking towards me.  He was light as a feather when he jumped up on something, so I never knew he was on his way to cuddle until I felt his little feet displacing the sheets, pressing into the bed.  When it happened the first time I forgot that he was dead and had a moment of confusion.  The second time was almost immediately, as I was looking for him.  My best guess is that it was some kind of muscle memory on  my part, because, like many cats, bedtime was highly ritualized for him.  My brain and my legs expected the usual sensations.

Now life goes on without him, save for all of the wonderful, heartfelt and often hilarious memories that I carry.  We had an excellent relationship, even though I will always feel that I caused their hardship, CoolCat and L, during the time I was in hiding last year.  My ex lavished love and attention and gifts on our cats and I never dreamed that he would neglect them.  Nothing I can do about any of that now, so I have done my best to release that sadness.  I shared a really great life with him this past year and a half.  Together we found ourselves, healed from some of our fears and relaxed into our very own home, governed by our very own rules, of which there are few, and our very own choices and decisions, of which there were too many to count.

I know, without any reservation that CoolCat and I made the right decisions yesterday.  I will always have sorrow about losing him, I will always miss his sweet and complicated presence and comfort myself with all of those memories.

Rest in peace, my dear, sweet boy, my puddin' boy, my Precious.  Thank you for the amazing blessing you have been for me.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013


The lack of empathy is such a sad character flaw. 

It has esteemed company.
All that jazz...

The most important of these is on a slightly different plane.  It is courage.

It takes courage to stand against the tide of complying with the dumb stuff held by other people.
It takes courage to stand up for everything you believe in.

It takes courage to overcome your
unwillingness to put yourself in the shoes/life circumstances of someone else who is different from you.

Today I had a melt-down of epic measure.  I would not say that I am anywhere near feeling pride about standing up, but even though it has lost me several on-line friends, with more to follow I am sure, I have been holding this thing in for a long time because, well, because I wanted friends.  I just lacked the courage to say anything when some of them behaved cruelly, without heart or understanding...or empathy for another person.

Because I wanted people I do not even know in person to like me.  Or, at least not hate me or think me stupid.  Or, something.

So, I snapped on, of all places, Facebook, where I rarely post anything, infrequently reply and really go there to play games.  I like the bubble games.  I like them a lot.  They are useful for maintaining a couple levels of brain function, the least of which is eye to hand coordination. 

If you make it to my age and do not do something every single day to keep your brain all juiced up, calcification of essential parts and their functions will soon, regularly, ruin your day. 

A juiced brain is a good brain, and the Internet is most likely the best thing to ever happen to us old folk.

So, that is why I was there and why I just could not take it any more.  I am ashamed of myself for not speaking up so many times.  Had I done so, those people would have dumped me long ago, but at least I would not be carrying this shame for a while. 

I have no trouble sharing how I feel when someone does something mean or says something stupid, careless and uninformed to another person.  I am not very assertive about it, but I do manage to choke out something supportive.  It is easier to do with strangers, like when the person in line with me at the grocery store...front or back of rude or says something mean to/about the person checking-out the crap we all buy.  Places and circumstances like that do not unduly alarm me into keeping silent.

Friends are different.  They should not be; they just are. 

But, this long-term thing with on-line people just rattles me, upsets me that I am so dependent on these people liking me.  Heck, any people liking me. 

It is really hard, being human.  And, whether or not today's tirade leaves me without any virtual friends, I am glad that I finally pulled up my big girl panties and did the right thing.  I guess now that my game playing will not be interrupted by anyone wanting to say how nice I am.  Well.


It has been a weird weekend.  I am not sure that I want to do much anymore.  Yeah, I still love my work and the potential, additional opportunities to do more if I pass my state certification, but I am feeling weak.  My body feels weak.

More importantly, my will to keep moving forward, to keep working on my recovery, well, it just is not there.  I should have paid bills and/or studied for my exam next month.  I could have done more organizing.  That last one was the closest to being accomplished.  If I finished that, all of the remaining boxes, baskets and bins would be put away, making this whole place look great.  If everything were put away, it really would be a one-time job, as organized stuff stays organized, or at least the little messes stay in one room.

But, I am not doing that.  I am all energized and interested and I go to that room and look at it and walk away.  The new dishes and bowls are still in their bags and boxes.  I do nothing and I am exhausted.  I nap.  I sit.  I am glad that hot dogs were on sale when I took R shopping last week, or I would not have anything to eat, except chocolate, and that is boring, the chocolate.  I could never have imagined that I would be uninterested in food, especially chocolate.

I do not feel depressed or any increase in my depression, but that must be the reason.  

I wonder how I can be this self aware and still not be motivated to do what needs being done. 

So, I will be taking myself to organize some more.  It will be wonderful to have that space in which to work, mess around and play with the boys. I go...

Friday, August 23, 2013

what matters

Another 4:00 a.m. finds me still up and playing games and reading health and science stuff and trying to avoid reading any news.  I used to read a couple of newspapers each day and watch all of the news programs.  In retrospect, I think that all of that news frenzy/need/obsession and reading so many books were a way to try to make sense of my stupid life. 

When Andrew Weil's book, 8 Weeks to Optimum Health, was published, one of my sisters-in-law asked me to read along with her and incorporate the book's practices into our lives because her cancer had returned.  It is a decent book and the primary idea I have retained is that watching news programs and reading newspapers (and, it occurs to me that on-line news might be even more insidious) does nothing to improve the quality of one's life.

I probably should be more informed about lots of things, but Weil was right; avoiding news over which I have no control and for which I am unable to offer any assistance or influence is overwhelming and painful and depressing and I no longer read newspapers, and rarely watch any televised news.  I am able to pull in only a handful of television stations anyway, but because the TV is on often it is inevitable that I do hear news.  Except for these early morning hours when all that is on are infomercials and preachers and some loud guy in a purple shirt who is yelling stuff about money.  That is fine.  A little news cannot hurt much.  Besides, I have listen to public radio and one local talk station in the car, so I still hear about some things, and I can depend on my friends to talk about what they know of what is happening in the world. 

What was this about, though?  Oh, yeah.  Cannot sleep and some weird things that have come to me via the news.

So, anyway, I have the TV on and the evening, nearly bedtime, news is on and that man who was just tried for leaking military secrets will be spending the better part of his life in prison and has decided that as long as he is going to be stuck there that he might as well live the life he has always wanted, which is to change his name, live as a female and have the government, i.e. taxpayers, pay for hormone treatments. 

I have a couple of friends who define themselves as transgendered, so I am familiar with the needs of someone who moves through our lives with challenges caused by the stigma of discrimination, misunderstanding and a varied menu of biases and prejudices.

Even though I know very little about the entire issue concerning this man and what he did, as well as the more recent happenings, and even though my first impulse and thoughts are to be supportive of anyone who faces the kinds of life challenges that he must have been experiencing for most of his life, I am sort of conflicted about who should pay for non-essential medical care for someone who is incarcerated for any reason(s).

And, it is not that I think that because this is about gender issues, but I work with people who lack access to basic and life-saving health care and services, and no one is championing their circumstances, or trying to make sure that everyone can receive the medical care all of us deserve.  This is especially concerning to me because all I hear from my self-proclaimed friends is that health care reform should not happen, just in case it has any negative effect on their current, luxurious and all-encompassing health insurance and plans.

Seriously, not a single one of them lacks a single, tiny, teeny-weeny, inconsequential health benefit.  They can afford and have excellent health insurance plans and excellent and expensive medical resources.  I am not saying that they are spoiled (maybe they are, but it is not for me to judge them in any way) or that they do not care, on any level, about those who have fewer resources than they have, but they are worried silly and scared that if everyone has access to health care that it absolutely must mean that it will result in a serious deficit in what they can have.

They were talking about it when I joined them for coffee this past Saturday morning, and even though we have had this conversation a million times, one of them asked me how I was going to cope when our nation's health care system was ruined by providing services to poor people.  Her words, not mine. 

And, I am sitting there thinking, crap, did you guys just meet me for crying out loud?  Have we not had this conversation a million times already?  Have you not asked me for my opinion about this a million times already?  Do you not...seriously...recall that I say pretty much the same thing, that I am willing to make personal sacrifices and have it cost me more money if everyone had the opportunity to basic health care, both preventative and critical?  Seriously?

So, I said what I always say and I am nice and do not yell or make frowny faces or anything, but I feel such energy about this and, frankly, it is starting to really piss me off.  And, I am sorry and I certainly will not say this to them or anyone insensitive enough to espouse that kind of selfish stupidity around me, but the haves certainly have no, as a group or as a philosophy-focal herd, made much progress in the direction of thinking of, much less doing anything proactive or even supportive, for the have-nots.  Sheesh, scratch one of those particular haves and you expose beliefs that are still back in the period when we first began to walk upright, when it probably was essential to make sure that you protected your resources so that you could survive, and if that meant that someone else did not survive because you would not share, well, that was it.

I used to have better health insurance coverage than I do now.  My ex had excellent health care coverage and used it extensively.  He was not so glad to have me use it, which is why I was never able to get the mental health care I needed, you know, therapy and meds, or seek more than basic health care.  When I had to have eye/brain surgery for my vision disorder, he was less than enthusiastic, just as he was when our daughter needed a partly-elective surgery when she was a teenager.  He got the best, we got the scraps, and grudgingly at that.

The good part of that is developing the ability to find and use alternative health practices.  I am a fairly frugal person and, actually, quite happy to be so.  I like living with less stuff and love making my own stuff.  I can make or fix just about anything.  Not engines in cars, but I can do regular maintenance.  I can sew and cook from scratch, grow my own food.  Make household stuff and not suffer because I lack some material thing. 

Although, I have to admit that I miss my kiln and loom, my easel, things like that.  I would love to be able to not worry about the grocery and utilities parts of my budget.  That would be so nice.  I would love to have a better telephone plan, maybe some new and fancy underwear would be cool.  But, you know, if I had to trade any part of my new life for some extra money, huh, what would I do?  I have thought about this aspect of my life, and I am mostly certain that I would turn down more money if it meant that I had to give up my work or my cozy flat or CoolCat or just the gloriousness of being able to make my own decisions and choices and mistakes.  Not to mention being able to follow my body on a night like this, where sleep does not come and I can sit up, read, play on the computer, study for September's exam, have some tea and a snack and there is not a single person here who can stop me from doing what I want, what I need to do, what pleases me. 

So, I get to be a little ferocious with my friends, or maybe just benignly assertive, about my beliefs.  They are going to believe and practice what they want, just as I can.  I am still stuck on how I can totally support health care for cancer and other diseases, conditions and disorders, most especially mental health care circumstances, for people who are in prison, but I am waffling on what should be an equal health care concern like gender identity. 

It feels like if you scratch me, financially challenged and still a have, that what is then revealed is something, someone who is not the person I believe myself to be, someone who could shame me. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

I mailed

the registration for state certification.  The nice post office worker ran off a postage label, which immediately postmarks it.  Or, so he said.  Anyway, it is on its way and I will begin studying on the weekend.  I am liking the cozier way that I have arranged the living room and even if it reaches the predicted temperatures, I will be all comfy sitting in the cross-draft of two windows.


I passed

the PS certification exam for the national thing.


My plan, if I had received a passing score, was to drive to the big city where the application for the state level certification exam needed to be sent.  There is not time to do that now.  So, I called those folk last week to determine what could be done without verifying information from the national training guys.  Got what I needed, which was permission to drive up there, need be.

Being the obsessive control-focal person that I am, I called that office this afternoon, minutes after receiving the great news e-mail. 

Apparently, I am not the only person to call them, and I now have permission to mail everything out today, and today's postmark will be accepted as meeting the deadline, instead of the information I received last week that their office had to receive it by Wednesday, before 4:00 p.m.

It is wonderful that this state agency is willing to help us, the recently-trained, to meet those very strict deadlines in a way that accommodates the kind of scary delay of our exam results.  It is comforting to know that I will be working and aligned with an agency that holds true to its original intent.  I like that so much.

Off to mail my stuff and find a big rug or pad to go under my desk chair.  The present one was old when I moved here last year, and I do not want to mar these lovely wood floors.  A few no-fuss groceries, something that can do for lunch at work and home to do more organizing.  It is already looking like the shelter will be receiving a lot of stuff for their children's program.  I like that, too.  Yay.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


I was searching and reading science stuff this afternoon.  I spent the morning cleaning, divesting and rearranging the living room.  Mostly, I am looking for a way to have a bookshelf somewhere in this place. 

The bedroom is roomy and I think I can squeeze one in there, if I put it, and a wardrobe (no closets here) perpendicular to the wall between the windows. 

There is no rush, no money to buy a bookcase yet, and there have not been any at any of the charity shops, so, no rush.

I worked up a good sweat with the cleaning, and a good metaphorical sweat lodge whilst divesting.  All in all, quite the good day, and my reward was online science, something I try to limit because a dozen hours can easily pass unnoticed during all the moving from one article to another to a site to a book.

Scienceness led me to the Aurora Borealis to animals to the Arctic to psychology via mental illness.  I love science, understand little of it, am interested in psychology and have mental illness.  Illnesses. 

So, medicate me...I like this stuff.

Once in a while, a really rare while, I find something that resonates for me.  This is one from today, and it brought a new word, neuroticism.  I had to look it up. 

7 thoughts that are bad for you

Lack of meaning
Lots of fretting
Lack of self-control
Doom and gloom

Looking at that list and thinking of my life and totally aside from the explanation for each one...

I do not think that I am cynical, although that could be the same process as when someone says they are not a prude and that preface to whatever they are going to say clearly illustrates that they are a prude.  Same thing when someone says they are not racist or homophobic or just about anything.  Maybe, most especially, those who preface and say they are not haters.  Just a thought.

I think that my experience was more an acceptance that my life is just what it was, something that changed when I grew to realize that there was something, some other ways to live that were not the way I was living. 

There were times when I felt hopeless that I could have anything different.  Near the end, when it was clear that I would die there I felt the loss of all that potential, maybe even cheated a bit to have missed all of the cool stuff in normal life, but not cynical.  I find this interesting and also think that there is an essential part of being a person that helps you to hold on to hope; maybe not for me personally, but I was comforted a bit by knowing that other people had nice lives and relationships.

Lack of meaning
Until I noticed a few months ago that faith was a missing aspect of my life, I was almost always able to find meaning in whatever I did.  I remember, once, that my daughter told me that I was rationalizing about something, and not challenging her about that, but knowing that there is meaning in anything if you just pay attention. 

I am working on the faith thing, that probably began its decline whilst I was homeless, and am learning so much about myself and what faith can be for me.

My best guess is that I am still rationalizing all over the place.  Does not bother me a bit.

Lots of fretting
Interesting, this fretting thing.  I used that word on Friday for the first time...I think.  I never fret.  Everyday problems are enough to handle without looking for more things with which to deal. 

Lack of self-control
If anything, my self-control is excessive.  The only release from having everything ordered and at least in the dream of controlling stuff, is food.  I am working on that.  It would help if I were not a great cook.  I eat very simply now, but there really is not anything that I could not cook, bake or create, often without recipes. 

So, I hang on to food because it helps me create a barrier of obesity between me and the people who would like to be more involved in my life.  Being fat makes it possible for me to control so many things that I would prefer to ignore right now.  It is not the best solution, it is working very well at this point in my recovery and healing and I am not in the mood to mess with the tenuous balance I have crafted.  Just not gonna do it.  Just not.

Well, I am working on this all the time.  When I fled last year, my anxiety was off the charts.   It sounds dramatic, but I did barely escape with my life, forgot...never thought of it, to tell the truth, until I was driving down the cats, had no money and nowhere to go. 

It all settled out a bit, but my anxiety levels were stratospheric.  For the first two weeks that I lived in the shelter, until I got a roommate, I was able to sleep only by moving the second set of bunk beds in my room so that they blocked the door.  A chair went in front of that, with all of my stuff piled on top.  It was a combination of having stuff that would fall, noisily, to the floor if someone tried to force the door open, and having everything ready for a fast departure should that be necessary.

I took some pretty powerful meds for a while.  They helped, and whilst I still have to pay attention to all things personal-safety-related, my feelings of extreme and crippling anxiety have decreased in direct proportion to how well I am doing in crafting this new life.  This goes back to control issues, and as I increase and strengthen my abilities to make choices and changes that make sense for me, I feel evermore confident in making choices and decisions. 

An interesting part of this is that I was the most compliant person on the planet.  I never spoke up, much less spoke back.  I did whatever anyone told me to do.  Heck, I got good at anticipating what someone wanted and jumped right in to accommodate.  Now that I am making my own choices, not everyone is all that happy with me.  I find this distressing, but not enough to go back, even a teeny bit, to how I was in relationship before. 

Doom and gloom
This one is more difficult.  I had to think about what this means for me.  A lot.  My first inclination was to say yes, I felt at least gloomy, but what I really felt and experienced was despair and hopelessness.   Yep.  The knowledge that nothing I could do would ever be the right thing.  

Oh, yeah.  Everyone has stress in their lives.  Everyone has problems and challenges and disappointments and being let down by the people they thought were dependable and on their side, or in their corner, or at least were not determined to fuck them over all the time.

Even good things bring stress.  Getting married, having babies, moving, changing jobs, getting promoted, winning the lottery.

It is my belief, simpleton that I am, that the reduction of stress levels would make everything and everyone better.  There would be less crime, less violence, fewer wars and more chocolate for everyone, with excellent wages for the cocoa growers.  Fair Trade, baby.  Yeah.

Even better is the article that I found on their site just now.

7 Tips to cultivate gratitude

Saturday, August 17, 2013


The exam folk have informed us...the training group...that they are working to finish the exam grading in order for those of us who intend to take the state certification exam next week to apply and send in our fees in time.

The only way for that to happen is to personally deliver the materials and check to their office.  I am fortunate to have the day before the deadline to drive north to that city and deliver my stuff in time.  My guess is that there are going to be some people, the ones who are already working, will have difficulty doing the same thing.

At least the weekend need not be spent with more than the usual, ordinary, normal stress.

I plan to nap and have a pastry later.  CoolCat agrees, but shares his preference for a wee bit of canned food. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Pizza won.


Thursdays are interesting in that at least once a month I begin therapy early in the morning and finish a bit more than three hours later.

The first session is the the Sister who is patiently listening to me struggle with all things faith related. 

Second was regular therapy, which went well.  She wants to have more discussions about what my next steps might be, job-wise, but until all of the testing is finished that is a non-issue.  We all know what I want and we just have to wait.  I was hoping to hear something today.  Still tomorrow. 

Lastly was group.  I have discovered that it is not a good idea, no matter what the conventional thought might be otherwise, to peer counsel members of a group to which you belong.  There is too much overlap, and for one of the women with whom I work, her expectations of how much time I should be spending with her are increasing.  It is not healthy and is inappropriate on so many levels.         

That woman became ill during group and I drove her home, which is fine.  During the ride she kept a steady conversation about what I do most of the time and that we should repeat the day that I helped her with errands.  You know, if I am going to continue doing this part of my work, the therapist that facilitates the group and I need to meet and establish some guidelines.  I sort of fell into this when she asked if the woman could have my telephone number.  She is an intern this year and I am just dumb, old me, so it was a true beginner's misstep.

Everything will work out.  I will find out if I passed the exam in time to register with the state examiners.  I will find the ways to help without the possibility of causing hurt.  I want pizza.  I am pretty much craving pizza.  I cannot go get pizza because I shopped on the way home today and I have lots of food in the house.  I have some really excellent celery and lovely carrots and red bell peppers.  And hummus.  It is going to be delicious, but it will not be pizza.


Whilst I used triumvirate fairly close to the definition, there is one more thing.  Months ago I was worried about what I would do with my life when I ran out of problems.  Granted, the stuff I was facing and the challenges with which I was dealing were crappy, sometimes the the nth degree, and I knew that things would either work out or not, or even become worse.  Personal safety has still not been resolved.  Probably will not be for some time.  If ever.  However, I am taking precautions and feel as comfortable with the whole mess, at least as comfortable as anyone can be near a city that is experiencing record-breaking gun shootouts, random shootings, retaliatory battles and murders.

That level of problems is in my past...knock wood...and I am kind of pleased to be transitioning into normal life problems, at least what passes for normal.  It is very nice to have issues and problems what do not have the potential to kill me.  So, I no longer have to stress about the end of my whining and navel-gazing.  That knowledge would go so great with a nice pepperoni pie.  Does anyone deliver to this part of town?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


I wonder if it is only my age that makes sleep so irregular for me. 

Most nights I am able to fall right into dreamland, although my bedtime is an hour or two later than it used to be.  Other nights, like tonight, I am not the teeniest bit tired, even though I was exhausted and yawning mid-day. 

Now, it is nearly midnight and here I am, sitting and typing after trying to relax and fall asleep.  I am going to go back to bed in a moment, read some more of my book and hope for the best.

I know that sleep habits and patterns change as we get older.  I know that we need less sleep at this age.  But, I am tired of being awake all night and having to function well during the day without resorting to a nap.

I am feeling some stresses.  Still waiting to hear about my exam results.  I e-mailed the director and she answered back this afternoon that the exams are still being graded, and that she will make sure that my results are ready for me before the deadline next week for the state certification.  If I have received a passing score, that would be great.  If not, I just can begin studying again, something I planned on doing anyway, just to make sure that I am internalizing all of the materials.  That is stress number one tonight.

Tomorrow after the head shrinking and group, I will be biting the budget and finally getting some things that will make cooking more efficient, maybe easier.  I will be buying a frying pan, a couple of smallish sauce pans, some knives (saw what I want at one of the dollar stores), a butter dish, some bowls and maybe a new dish pan.  The dish pan I use is plastic and they really last only so long before they get all scratched up and hard to clean.  Another stress. 

After being here for a year, cooking with a tiny frying pan and a couple of stock pots is much less fun than I thought it would be.

I am going to develop new sleeping habits.  I have never had a television in my bedroom, so that will stay the same.  I do read before sleep.  That is not likely to change, as more than forty years of doing that has left me unable to sleep without having a book fall out of my hands when I drift off.  I went without pre-sleep reading for two weeks and was never able to create any new rhythms or practices.

I figure that if reading results in falling asleep a half hour or so later, then that is a small trade for not being able to fall asleep, and waking again several times.

But, I really am going to try a whole bunch of different things to make sleep easier.  I found a couple of meditation and relaxation techniques, a lighting thing, and I might go back to using a white noise machine, or use a small fan to create the same thing.

I love zombies and all of their stories, but I hate being sleep deprived and walking around like one. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

collapsing to one reality

Happy Birthday, Erwin!  


I do not understand physics, although that does nothing to prevent me from being thrilled and fascinated by it, whatever it is. 

All I really do understand is that our Universe,,,maybe much more I just do not one huge something, like an ocean of energy, like as in unlimitedness, a place where limit does not exist, where existence, reality if you will...and I am not sure I will, because I do not understand...flips into and out of actually being something and repeats without end or limit.  Something like that.

I embrace the idea of everything being energy.  One thing I learned is that our reality is only what we decide it will be.  Like everything is this quantum soup when it is out of our notice, our attention, our acceptance of whatever our reality is, just churning around out of our line of sight.  In front of me everything looks ordered, or as ordered as my personal space can get, but back there, just around the curve of my head is this amazing, incomprehensible and glorious everything.

When I look at my hand (the only safe body part to observe lately), it looks solid.  It feels solid.  I can move all the parts.  Pinch and squish my old lady skin.  I can see the veins and feel my pulse at my wrist.  It is a good, strong pulse, and I am happy to have it.

I can clip my nails and buff them to an uneven shine.  I can move that weird spiral ring around and around.  I can pick things up, open a soda can, bring it to my lips and drink the pretence of sweetness.

As useful and interesting as my hand is, the truth is that it is something like 0.9999999999999999999999 (toinfinityandbeyondmaybe) empty space.  I think there are genuine molecules of me there, each surrounded by invisible energy.

I just love that.  And, I would not be thinking about it if Google had not celebrated Mr. Schrodinger's birthday.  And, I choose to believe that his love of cats influenced him to place one in his box.  And, even though, beyond a stunningly elementary level, I do not understand that whole thing either.

I think that learning from the cat in the box that something can be both one way and another way as well at the same time was an important thing to learn.  I have always been interested in science of all kinds, and quantum physics just rings my bells.  So, over the years I have read many books on it, as well as biology, my second favorite only because it was tumbled from the throne of interests by physics. 

I used to have a cool book, the cover was pink and blue, it was written by a woman, and maybe that it made it more comprehensible to me.  It was dumbed down for people smarter than me, but I still learned so much from that book.  I wish I still had it, as I liked to just open it to a random page and luxuriate in the words.  It would be a wonderful surprise if, when I finally get around to the three boxes of books I saved from that other life, to find it.  It would be quantum.

So, anyway, the knowledge that something can be two, maybe more, things at once is just nice.  More importantly, it explains so much of everyday life. 

You can be going along, doing what you have to do and, you know, there were times when I wondered about the possibilities of the path not taken.  My life was like that, the reality and the lost reality of the other side of the choices I had made, was making.

Energy.  Empty space.  The myriad options, the effect of the observer, who forces the observed to default to one aspect or the other.  The realization that my reality is what I make it.  There is not any magic, as much as I want there to be.  Or, are there multiverses where, in the realm of possibility all things are possible.  Limitless.  I like those movies.

And, as weird as this sounds, when I finally paid attention to my life, when, through some miracle, some perfect storm of circumstance and who knows what the hell else.  Some place inside me that wanted to live, only it is not that simple. It was quantum, and that is good enough for me.

Multiple universes or not, I am not only the creatress of my life, my universe, I am its observer.  When I do that, observe, I am doing what I choose to do, want, need, must.  There is a part of being the observer that confuses me, and I cannot be the only one, so I researched it.

That whole observation collapsing the possibilities to one thing, one reality is not understood by anyone, not just me.  That is both comforting and quantum.

Happy Birthday, Erwin.  I got cake for ya here, so stop by on the weekend.  I know you can do it, quantumatively.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

mental illness - how you doin'?

I might as well begin directing addressing it.  I have depression, some kind of generalized anxiety disorder and PTSD.  The short version is:  I be crazy.  I am working on greater mental health.  I take medication and do talk therapy.  Both help.  But, the truth is that I have crappy brain chemistry and that I always will. 

So, anyway, post-traumatic stress disorder.  This belongs to what I think of as heroes.  Military personnel, police, fire fighters, you know. those who give the most to the rest of us.  They suffer from this PTSD because of the extraordinary circumstances of their work and the consequences of surviving that work.

Except that my beliefs about PTSD were only partially correct.  Much to my surprise, but mostly alarm, even plain old crazy and crazy acting folk like me can have it as well.  There was a sentencing hearing on Friday for a man in a major Midwest city who used his post-active military PTSD as the reason for killing his wife, who just happened to be a police officer.

He had earlier said that he killed his wife because he had been talking a lot about committing suicide and that his wife told him that if he did that, that she would kill herself as well.  So, he shot and killed her because he did not want her to miss out on heaven, something that his religious beliefs said she would.  He was emotional at that hearing, and no one will likely know what the truth of any of this might be, or how many truths there are.

But, the important part of this is that untreated PTSD makes it into the news all too often, and for all the darker reasons.  Earlier last week PTSD was rejected as a motive in another murder case.

Like all mental illnesses, it takes a village...

Most people believe that they are not acquainted with anyone who has PTSD.  The chances are a bit more than likely that they are.  Amongst the many faces of stigma connected to mental illness, PTSD might be the most stigmatized and misunderstood.  Sick, huh?  Societally sick, as most of the PTSD sufferers (my guess, having no statistics at hand) are connected to our military actions, another heinous issues that I simply cannot address now. 

Our military men and women give their lives in all kinds of ways and we honor and reward them by fussing about diagnosis and treatment.  That aspect is improving.  I guess.  On a big-picture, program-focal and positive-propaganda level, but the truth is that, for a myriad of reasons, not the least being financial, treatment is much less than it should be, than it should be.  Than it should be.

I do not have the answers, but, sure as hell, someone does.

This information is from National Center for PTSD,

10 Steps to Raise PTSD Awareness

  1. Know more about PTSD.
    Understand common reactions to trauma and when those reactions might be PTSD.
  2. Challenge your beliefs about treatment. PTSD treatment can help. We now have effective PTSD treatments that can make a difference in the lives of people with PTSD.
  3. Explore the options for those with PTSD.
    Find out where to get help for PTSD and learn how to choose a therapist. Also see our Self-Help and Coping section section to learn about peer support and other coping strategies.
  4. Reach out. Make a difference.
    You can help a family member with PTSD, including assisting your Veteran who needs care. Know there is support for friends and family too.
  5. Know the facts.
    More than half of US adults will experience at least one trauma in their lifetime. How common is PTSD?. For Veterans and people who have been through violence and abuse, the number is higher.
  6. Expand your understanding.
    Learn about assessment and how to find out if someone has PTSD. Complete a brief checklist or take an online screen to see if a professional evaluation is needed. June 20th is National PTSD Screening Day.
  7. Share PTSD information.
    Share handouts, brochures, or wallet cards about trauma and PTSD.
  8. Meet people who have lived with PTSD.
    Visit AboutFace, an online gallery dedicated to Veterans talking about how PTSD treatment turned their lives around.
  9. Take advantage of technology.
    Download PTSD Coach mobile app and treatment companion apps in the National Center for PTSD's growing collection of mobile offerings.
  10. Keep informed.
    Get the latest information about PTSD. Sign up for our PTSD Monthly Update, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
United States Department of Veterans Affairs
National Center for PTSD

National Institutes of Health
National Institute of Mental Health
Post-Traumantic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

If you know me personally, most of the time I look fine, normal.  Even when things are bad, you most likely will not notice.  My default behavior is to go quiet.  I go silent.  Withdraw.  Dead.  I have learned that it is safer to do so. 

Those of us who are so disabled by our mental illness that we try to hide it are legion.  We take our medications and faithfully attend therapy.  We join support groups and educate ourselves.  We work our asses off to be as well as possible.  We do our best.

Other people with mental illness(es) have different defaults, based on their own experiences.  Sometimes they are loud.  Sometimes they can be disruptive.  Other times they can seem out of control, dangerous, threatening.  Maybe all of those things.  You might not like it, and, please believe this, those people do not like it either.

You know, no one has to do anything proactive. 
No one has any responsibility to do anything they do not want to do. 
No one carries any accountability to do a damn thing.

Mental illness is not a choice, no matter how it came to be, crappy brain chemistry, other physical imbalances, abuse or traumatic experiences that cause changes in our brains.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Returning to work yesterday was like arriving home after a long pilgrimage to nowhere.  Yeah.  I was gone.  I came back.  Except for all of the welcome back chatter and hugs and even a little kiss, it was an ordinary gig day.

So wonderful.  All of that love bestowed on me and a full schedule of wonderful clients.  Man.  Life really does not get better than yesterday.  Or, today.  Or, even, just about any day of the past year and a half.  It was difficult to make sense when I escaped that other life; I was shocky for months.  Even moving into my current place was not any kind of positive turning point or moment for me.  Only the perspective, that gift, of Time allows me to see how far I have come in, well, everything.

And, today was one of many perfect, or nearly perfect, illustrations of that journey, all of the steps and pauses and back-tracking, recovery and this slow, sometimes torturous, and excellently pleasing forward movement.  I now have a life worth having, an actual and fairly normal life, just like everyone else.  Sure, I know that there is no normal to be had, it does not exist.  Normal as normal is a fiction.

However, I do have my own normal, one I continue to craft each day, sometimes moment by moment.  It is wonderful.  My life is wonderful.  I had a normal vacation, albeit a working one, from a normal occupation.  I returned to it and, who woulda thunk it, all normal.  Mine.

One of the things I was anticipating for yesterday was to see the effect of last month's training on how I work with my clients.  I wondered, when we began to work together, if there would be some significant change in the process.  It was more subtle, sort of like an affirmation of what I always do.  I believe that I am a more effective listener now.  So cool.  Of course, it helps that I get to work with some of the nicest and best people on the planet.  Yep.

I thought that I would be exhausted by mid-afternoon, mostly because I had to wake at 6 a.m., a time that I almost always get up for the day.  Those other days, especially the past five weeks, were pretty much the same, but I did not have to get up.  It was a choice, and I had me a few really nice naps during those weeks, which makes an early start to the day easier to take. 

My last client arrived on time and we worked well past his appointment time, and with energy to spare.  I might write about him someday.  It was an amazing conversation that traveled well beyond the actual work.  He was, is, inspiring, having overcome many obstacles, often of his own making.  I am a pretty solid, earthy and plain person, and he is much the same.  No sub context.  No hidden agendas.  No bullshit.  My kind of client.  I have had my share of drama queens (both genders) and those who blame everyone else for their problems, so it is refreshing and energizing to work with those people who are ready to work and work hard, something I require them to do.

There have been some clients who really only want a typist, and it helps if they find one that can read their minds.  My crystal ball is effectively broken, but if someone wants me to type, I am happy to do that.  I want, I long, I yearn to offer more to them, but my job is to be the tool that helps them create the tool that is their résumé and any other documents they need.  If they need extra services, I help them find the right resources, agencies and people they need. 

Many of my clients experience housing and food insecurity, and they often need those issues and challenges managed before they can move forward.  I am happy, genuinely happy, to oblige.  It is often the most satisfying part of my work.  I really dig it.  Really.

I wonder, sometimes, how I came to have this great life.  I know that I have worked for it, that I continue to work my freaking ass off.  Every day.  Well, most days.  Some days I just coast, you know, how we need those fallow times to recover and fill our wells for the fruitful times.  Gosh, I can be so Jungian sometimes.  Totally smiling now because writing all of this today feels...dare I say...dare I dare to say...happy.  Yesterday was happy, exhausting and full of interesting challenges to be addressed, but, really, just so happy.

Truth is that I never thought I could feel happiness like this.  Just never believe that I could have a day, much less a life, where happiness could be, could survive the next assault.  I had given up all hope for, well, for really anything but pain and worry and fear. 

I know that now I can have normally painful times and that I will be able to be proactive about whatever that is and that I can recover from it, become stronger and better prepared to tackle any future painful stuff. 


Alrighty, misty eyes aside, today was great as well.  Therapy went well.  I shared the transcript that the testing agency suggested that we save, you know, just in case our computer went all wonky and so that we would not have to try to duplicate our answers to the exam questions.  Good, great idea, as taking that exam was excruciating, and I do not use that lightly.  I had such a cannot imagine...when I finally finished the final question and logged off. 

I have been using that exam experience to figure out where I might want to go with all of this stuff.  I have to accept the reasonable possibility that I did not successfully pass that exam and that I will find myself studying more for a time and then retaking the exam.  If that happens, I will not be able to take the examinations for state certification.  This first one was for national certification, and is required to take the state exam.  Seems backwards, but it is what it is.

Anyway, whatever extra work it takes, I will achieve both of the certifications and who knows where that will lead.  I have been checking the job market for these positions, and they are being gobbled up by people who graduated from this process earlier this year.  The job listings still available are not within driving distance, which is a problem because I have decided in the past few weeks that I am not moving.  I have been living in this place for a year and am finally unpacking my crap.  I am staying here, even if it means that I cannot find a job.  I am not giving up my volunteer gig at the library, in fact, I have decided that I am going to add another full day to my schedule there.  When I shared that with our director yesterday, she expressed that she was wondering if I would move away to continue the work that I want to do, but that actual work is here, in this town, at that library. 

Whatever happens, it is beyond imagining that I could be where I am today.  Had I not fled that day, I never would have met all of the new-ish people in my life, and the even-more-new people that keep entering my journey.  I am totally and completely slack-jawed amazed at everything that is happening, everything that I have in my life now. 

This morning, in therapy, my therapist was kind of chucking at me and I was all yeah-yeah-yeah, I never use the word goals, but I guess I do have them and she was all no, I am enjoying the way that you pull insights out of your ass, and I am all yeah-yeah-yeah.  Well, she did not say my ass, but that is pretty much what she meant and just kept up her amusement at my using the word goals, something I have vehemently denied having ever since we met February last year.  She also reminded me that my patience now astounds her because after our first month of therapy I was so impatient with not having gotten-over all the crap from the other life. 

I am only marginally more patient now.

Sort of like that.  The details are irrelevant as long as the truth is there.  And, man, I am all about truth now.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


I go back there in the morning.  I am ready to be there.  I have been internalizing all that stuff from the training last month, and am looking forward to seeing if I am able to put some of it into practice.

I checked with work and my schedule is full for the next two weeks, and partially for the following week.  It should really be fun and interesting and I am absolutely certain that I will be exhausted long before it is time to go home.

I am just about to go to bed, and this is interesting only to me, but I turned on the television and our President was on a late night talk show.  I like him so much.  Really, I love our President.

Following him is Patti LaBelle, who has the most amazing skin to go along with her even more amazing talent.  And, man, can she move!


Saturday, August 3, 2013


Today marks the end of the last full week of my vacation.

I managed to get some things done, more things partially done and some plans were completely ignored.  I did the training for becoming a peer specialist, and took the exam last Sunday.  Oh, that exam.  I am more comfortable with that exam experience, whether passed or failed, but most especially failed as this could be another one of those golden opportunities to pay attention to my life telling me where we are supposed to go next.  However, I still intend to take the state certification (the other was national, yeah, I know, backwards).

I have not spent much time with family or friends, though.  None of the plans worked out; truthfully, I really did not try to make new plans.  I wonder what that is about.

Organizational stuff is going well.  Two, uninterrupted afternoons should do it, with an additional day or part day of moving furniture, especially in the bedroom.  I have art to hang and a home to find for the few dozen books I kept.  I really do not want to have to find a small bookcase.  Visiting all of the charity shops for this is not the teeniest bit appealing.  CoolCat's litter box needs to find a place in my new and exciting workroom.

Speaking of the workroom, I am looking forward to the next time the boys stay here.  We come up with ideas of things to do and then gather the materials.  Now, they can go in there, choose what they want to use and then just use the stuff.  We will still have ideas, especially around the holidays and birthdays and occasions like that, but now we have the option of doing anything however we like.

The truth is that I still have too many art and craft supplies, but one of our tasks, the boys and I, will be to sort some of it and have them choose what will be going to the shelter.  I may even take them along, just have to check with the folk there.  They already understand how some people have lots of stuff, like us, and that other people often do not have the basic things they need.  It is never too early to begin the practice of giving to others.  Their mother was helping at the community meal program sites when she was their age.  It is one family legacy that is worthy of passing on.

What else did I want to do?   Oh, yeah, I wanted to set up my easel and organize canvases and paints should I be so inspired.  I totally forgot about doing any of that.  Completely skipped my mind, even in the midst of organizing the art stuff over here and the sewing junk over there and remembering to save a shelf for the kitchen crap overflow.  Well, at least I know where the stick blender and the green bags are.

Someone posted a link to a joke site and I noodled around there late this afternoon and found a short video produced by the Cleveland Clinic.  I became familiar with them decades ago when I was first diagnosed with my vision disorder.  I did not know it was from them until the video was over, but I loved the darn thing and was thrilled to find it connected to them.

I am not going to share the video, because I do not know how to do that here.  I am sharing the beginning and end, though.

It began with a quote from Henry David Thoreau.

Could a greater miracle take place 
than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?

The short film showed patients, and some family members, at a hospital, walking, sitting, in consultation rooms, with short explanations about their circumstance.  Things like someone who has just learned that his tumor was malignant, another man who had learned that his tumor was benign and a woman who was listening to her doctor, but could not comprehend what was being said. 

So many different scenarios and health experiences.  It was very powerful, and I had to keep pausing at the end so that I could catch the final thoughts.

What if you could stand in else's shoes
Hear what they hear
See what they see
Feel what they feel
Would you treat them differently

I am becoming more competent in doing those things.  Yesterday's three, little things were about that exactly.  In each, I stood back, let things flow and tried to see what was happening from the moment in which that other person was living, at just that precise time.

I will most likely never know what the process was life for them because I declined to engage in their issues and what the trigger might have been.  All in all, aside from the first bit of falling back into being completely non-confrontational, my default behavior for the past hundred years, I was able to learn a bit about myself and how I want to interact with other people.  I mostly feel ill equipped to do that, particularly since most people seem so comfortable and skilled at it.

But, a couple of things stand out for me.  The first is why someone is so dedicated to not taking responsibility for their actions that their default response seems to be to look around and attack the most easily attack-able and most vulnerable person.  I understand the mechanics and the forces of that, having lived for all of those years with someone who chose that as his preferred way of dealing not only with me, but everyone else.  

Nothing is ever their fault.  They never did anything wrong, but if some dark force in the Universe snuck up on them and tricked or deceived or forced them into doing something they worry that someone else might think was wrong, the first thing they do is to assign the blame on someone else or otherwise indicate that they were obligated to do whatever it was because the other person's behaviors, words or thoughts (yes, this one counts) forced them to do whatever the heck that wrong thing was.  

I really get that.  I do.  But, the problem for me was that two of those people are just like me, trying to manage their lives, do the best they can and try to survive every day relatively unscathed.  Boy, do I get that.

However, the third person was a staff member at the center and is supposed to be, hell, is trained and designed to be the person who should be a good resource to the rest of us crazy people, and not the person who creates problems just because he has some image of how perfect he is, and it occurs to me that one of his stressors might be the way he is expected to function as that staff member, along with all of the expectations that his employers may have for him.

Large image-wise, if everyone would just pull up their BGP and BBP and behave like decent human beings, none of this would ever be an issue.  I wonder in what Universe all of that might be possible.  

Certainly not here, that little, blue ball inhabited by humans.  Life is so freaking tough.  

One more thing is that I also read a quote by Morgan Freeman, the actor.  He was being interviewed by Mike Wallace, the program was 60 Minutes.  They were discussing lots of things, but I have read only the part of the transcript about racism.

Wallace:  How are going to get rid of racism until...?

Freeman:  Stop talking about it.  I'm going to stop calling you a white man.  And I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.  I know you as Mike Wallace.  You know me as Morgan Freeman.  You're not going to say, "I know this white guy named Mike Wallace."  Hear what I'm saying?

Interesting.  As a regular person, that appeals to me.  I wonder how many other regular people are willing to see only the person and not the things by which they identify or quantify or judge people.

Is it possible to stop the way we, collectively, judge other people by the way they dress, talk, walk (or do not walk), the color of their skin, the shape of their features, who they love and how they love, and all of the ways we might minimize those people because we do not believe that they are as good or worthy or valuable as we are. 

How about the way they live?  The kind of houses they have.  How they cook or clean, how they grow their own food, or the choices they make in the markets.

The lists are endless and as varied as the people who hold them.  I have plenty of lists of my own, the difference for me now is that I try to recognize when I am judging and smack myself around until I stop.  It is not an easy process and I am working very hard to increase my successes, and learn from my failures to accept everyone for exactly who they are. 

This past week was chock full of opportunities to find out if I can be the person I believe myself to be.  I can only do my best and hope that I can be her, that person more often than not.

Friday, August 2, 2013


I might still suck about more things than I can count, but I had me an ol' nap and I feel much better.  It is amazing how many things can be fixed by losing consciousness on the sofa for an hour or so. 

Well, that is out of the way for the time being, although it is going to be interesting when I see him at the center next week. 

I do have two thoughts about what happened today.  The first is that even when hurt and knowing that responding no longer has the potential to have the crappy and inconvenient self-protective feelings beaten right out of me, I still did not respond.  I am not sure if that is a good or bad thing, but the fact and truth is that I do not respond.

I will not do or say anything that has even the most remote potential to turn into an angry word or argument or dispute or hurt feelings for someone else.

The other thought is it might not be in my interest to be so passive, but I see no possibility of changing how I respond.  I used to run away from conflict, and that made sense.  Now, no longer needing to use silence and compliance to protect myself, it still makes sense to me.  It is interesting that this next thing occurs to me, given the work I am doing on my spiritual life...more about that how difficult it can be to turn the other cheek, and how satisfying it can be to walk away from . 

 Not participating in conflict is good for me.  I never have to regret saying something in the heat of the moment.  I never have to worry about escalating something into the Stratosphere of Stupid Stuff Entirely Off The Original Problem. 

There are negative aspects to this.  Too bad.  They are only temporary.  If I am not accepted for who I am, then too bad.

I am never going to figure out the subtleties of normal human interaction.  I am too old and there is not enough time.  It comforts me to know that I am not alone in this struggle, that there are legions of us, those who are out here, doing our best and not quite making it in the whole being able to accommodate everyone. And, whilst this truly does limit what I can do or where I can go in the large image of my life, at least I am clear on how I can move through what is left.  Besides, I participated in today's field trip, and that is a huge forward step for me.  It makes it possible to take the next risk.  That I experienced some stress and am fine (after a damn fine nap) is nice.  That I have this place to come and spew out everything, without filtering anything is another way that I am healing from everything that happened.

And, you know, there are still going to be plenty of new and equally distressing situations, circumstance and experiences to be had in my new life.  I can get behind that. 

The trip out of town was to spend time at a place that offers therapeutic experiences with horses.  Until I got old and obese I used to ride.  It has been a bit more than 25 years since I had the opportunity to ride, although much less time actually obese.  It was so nice.  After the program and facility stuff was shared, one of the therapists asked what we wanted to happen there.  All I wanted was to touch them and have one of them breathe on me.  I was also hoping to be able to share a few hugs, but was too shy to say that.

We did a few introductory exercises and it was like, gosh, like I get to spend every weekend with horses.  I was so excited to go there, have been for the month since it was suggested in group by the therapist at the center, and when I was in the ring, with horses milling about, sidling up to me, licking my hand and breathing on me, I felt such calm.  It was amazing.  I was partnered with the woman who always wants to be my partner in anything.  She was afraid, but came along on the trip and was game for pretty much anything.
I haltered our horse and after settling in with him, handed the lead over to the other woman.  She was hesitant at first, but horses have a way of bringing peace and confidence to everyone, even those who are inexperienced and frightened.  It really was an amazing day.  As we were leaving the stables to have our tailgate lunch, one of the trainers stopped me and told me that he could see the moments that my experiences with horses started coming back to me.  In a day of pleasant things, that might be right up there near the top of the list.

So, spirituality stuff.  I am still working there.  I am planning on choosing one of the neighborhood churches to attend on Sunday.  I wonder if any of the on-line information about them mentions less body movement and more meditation.  If not, someone should start a web site with those and other qualities of churchy expression and possibilities and potential.  That would help us searchers so much.  They do it for restaurants, health clubs, parks, theaters and the like, so why not churches.  It just makes sense.

One more thing before I go and read more of good.  It is now midnight-thirty, and an hour ago I receive a text message that said, "Enough of the barking dog already!!"  It was followed a few minutes later by a caller, who left a message about how it was 11:30 and something just had to be done about the barking dogs.  Really, she said, it just has to stop and that the intended recipient of the call had to bring her dogs indoors. 

It is probably no surprise that I did not call her back (I never answer calls from numbers that I do not recognize; if it is not identified by my contact list, there is not any way that I am picking up.).  But, I figured from the text message that the woman had dialed poked the wrong number.  I hope that all worked out for her, and for the dogs. 

The whole day informs me that everyone has their own issues and struggles, particularly where relationships are concerned.  That comforts me, too.  Life is tough sometimes, and if I can keep pulling up my BGPs, then everything will be fine.

After my nap I went noodling around on-line and found this saying.  I like it for lots of reasons.

Before you speak...think.
T - is it true
H - is it helpful
I - is it inspiring
N - is it necessary
K - is it kind


i suck

If difficult things come in threes, and I am not all that certain that they do, as problems seem to attract more problems and it certainly does seem like more than three in any given short time, then please let the third one come on, oh, like I just freaking dare you, c'mon, get it over already.

Today was a sort of field trip for the support group.  It was nice.  Everyone got to be their weird and crazy-acting selves and I had a wonderful time.  On the way home, our driver, a staff person from the center, made a wrong turn and sent us west instead of east.  I told him that we had not come that way and he told me that I was mistaken because everything looks different when you are coming from the other direction.  Fine.  A half-hour later he finally realized that I was right and turned our little caravan around into the right direction.

All was fine until we were close to town and he started rewriting the history of that wrong turn. Like, seriously, who gives a damn.  It was a nice day and no harm done.  I do not know, maybe he was worried about it resulting in some issue back at the center. 

He started making up how we found ourselves heading further out of town, and no one else in the vehicle said a word.  They just looked at me, waiting for me to say something.  I did not.  He became more strident about it and one of the other women said that I had been right and that it did not make any difference anyway, and then sort of drifted off as he began saying things to her.

If he had simply let it go, or made a joke about it, everyone would have forgotten about it before we arrived back at the center.  But, he kept it up and I still said nothing.  It was pointless to defend myself or say anything when we got back, and, frankly, it is not my style to do anything close to that.  Stuff happens and you just move on.

Now, that was probably a good thing, just letting it go, but it is the same old response that I have always had when someone gets after me.  I never stand up for myself.  And, I was unable to do that today, even when other people in the car were responding to him.

The sucky part is that it appears that my preference it to always default to this.  Today was an exceptionally minor thing, and still I could not say anything.  I froze.  Just like I did in that other life.

So, anyway, Sunday's exam failure and today's personal failure to stop someone from being weird and rude to me are the first two.

I will get over this in a little while.  If I can find some chocolate around here it will come sooner, but if we are without the lovely cocoa end product, popcorn for dinner will have to do.

Another default, finding solace and licking my wounds with food.  Sucky.

Third Thing, I am ready any time convenient for you.  In the meantime, I will wallow in whining and complaints and thinking of myself as a victim once again.  It cannot always be something icky done by the other person, especially since it is not always the same other person.  I am the common denominator in icky situations.  Another default. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013


If I am going to have dreams, not goals exactly, but dreaming about having something or going some, any old place, or being and doing something new.

I am still discouraged about the exam.  Stuck.  With every day that passes I am more convinced that my performance on that exam was not enough.  I am still obsessing about how prepared I thought I was, how I was going to breeze through the two hours that the exam was estimated to take, and maybe not ace it or anything, but do well and do it with relative ease.  Four fails on one project.  I have to let this go.

So, anyway, I have a dream about where I want to live.  The cost of living there is beyond my ability to earn that kind of money, even should someone be foolish enough to pay me a couple of hundred dollars an hour, with overtime for any hours over twenty in a week.

I figure that since that dream will never come true, I might as well dream big, huge, ginormous, insanely large.  So, I am.  I am dreaming large. 

It sure does take the pressure off.

I heard that condom commercial again today.  It really is triple and not dribble, but I kind of like my mistaken version of it. 

CoolCat seems better, more lively today.  I gave him a new food dish today, one that I am hoping will keep his kibble in the container instead of all over the floor, pushed by that sweet, little, pink nose.  Anything outside the current bowl is deemed inedible.  He would rather go hungry than eat any of it and is not the teeniest bit shy about letting me know that even the thought of taking one bit of food is unreasonable, and, what the heck must I be, J, did you just meet me?

No, we have been buds for a long time, but I never give up hoping to find a solution to the out-of-the-bowl-food problem.  CoolCat, just try to work with me here, O.K.?

I bet that if I smeared canned, wet food on the kibble gathering dust on his mat, that we might have a significantly different dynamic.  Ah, who am I kidding.  That precious guy rules me.  I am putty in his paws.