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

Thursday, November 28, 2013


I am staying home today.  It feels like bliss, even though my intention was to actually do something.  I had planned to volunteer for a holiday meal program, but that did not work out.  As the week got away from me anyway, it is all good. 

Our family get-together will be on Saturday, and I have a lovely afternoon of making desserts on Friday to look forward to and keep me in the holiday spirit.  All of it is easy-breezy stuff and I am kind of looking to have a nice time in the kitchen.

Holidays are tough for lots of people, even those who truly enjoy them.  So many special things to do, certainly with tons of helpful fun, hopefully even more tons of help from others, especially the co-celebrators.  It is for me, a little difficult, but it seems as though I should just be soldiering through it and and be honoring of how fortunate my life is, particularly when I have so much for which to be thankful.  I do.  I really do.  And, I try to keep things about me as much as possible, but working with people who struggle as much as I do and often have more significant issues and problems can be, well, I connect with most of them in a nearly-friendship-way and it is impossible to not care about them and be concerned about how they are doing in the rest of their lives.

I know that sounds grandiose, bragging or conceited, but I love my work and I really do care about my clients.  I am not enmeshed or anything, and I never have any contact with them outside of our working together.  But, that does not stop me from caring or hoping that our work together is helping at least a little bit.  I think that, maybe, because I struggle with holiday stuff, that it makes me more sensitive to how other people do.  And, I am positive that millions of other people have the same feelings about all of this.  We all do the best we can.  Hope for the best.  Hope to do our best.  Do my own best to do my best.

I am having a nice and restful day.  I might work on my holiday gifts.  Maybe I will not, and take a nap instead.  I am having my favorite comfort foods for lunch, roasted turkey wings, sautéed kale and iceberg lettuce with avocado and a sweet little tomato.  I might have a glass of wine later, but only if I remember.  Maybe I could carry the bottle around in my pocket, you know, just in case.

It is my assignment to bring my daughter's favorite rolls (from our favorite Danish bakery) and desserts.  Because I am dedicated to getting the best result from the least amount of work, the desserts will be of the very, almost insanely, easy kind.

There will be a creamy pumpkin pie, with ready-made crust and no actual cooking.
Chocolate mousse filled puff pastry shells, the ready-made, frozen ones. 
Raspberry and mascarpone filled turnovers, from the similar puff pastry sheets.
Dark and white chocolate covered nut clusters.  But, I am thinking that the boys might like the ones made with cereals, pretzels and candies.  I will decide at the market when I shop tomorrow morning.
Lastly, the boys and I will be making turkeys from cookies, candy corn and prepared frosting, ready-made in a cool tube thing.
I am also roasting three heads of garlic in the morning before I leave the house, to go with the rolls and mashed potatoes.

So, happy holidays, especially Happy Thanksgiving today!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


One down.  I visited my dentist today, and had my teeth cleaned, and had my broken tooth appliance assessed.  It cannot be repaired.  The replacement cost is over a thousand dollars.  That is the yikes.

On a brighter side, I had no tartar or plaque, and that is with not having my teeth cleaned in over two years.  I take good care of my weird mix of regular teeth, that little appliance and all kinds of crowns and stuff.  I  have my own scalers and use them every week or so.  I brush twice a day, adding a third time when I have ten or twelve hour days.  I floss. 

I have a night guard because I have TMJ, because of, well all that other stuff.  It does not work and has twice moved in my mouth and choked me awake.  Turns out that it was not made properly in the first place.  I have had that thing and been struggling with it for a year.  The brighter side of that is that because it was their fault, I am getting a new one at no cost, along with a big apology.

I also have gingivitis on one tooth, a back molar.  I mean, how can you have that on one tooth?  You can have it on one tooth if your night guard does not fit properly and you have to wear your flipper twenty-four hours a day, and that teeny bit of plastic that looks like a tooth causes an allergic reaction or some such nonsense.

So, a fluoride treatment and an expensive bottle of swishy-washy stuff (neither of which was covered by insurance) and it should heal.  Nicely and well.  Yay.

Other than that, it was a pretty decent day, particularly getting a tiny tube of paste and a new toothbrush.  Yay.

Next week glasses and the week after a check-up.  This week family on the weekend.  I am not a huge fan of holidays and extended family.  It is too much for a shy person to take sometimes.  Not always, but often it seems too stressful, although I am very grateful to have great family around which to be shy. 

I have a pretty darn fabulous life now.  Lots of things for which to be grateful. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Another night without easy sleep.  Nothing new, but last week's sort of non-crisis, I have to factor in the sometimes difficulty sleeping.

Even worse, or maybe for the best, is that one of my fiber club friends told me that I have to watch Downton Abbey.  I set my little antenna to run and now I can get one of the Public Television channels that carries it.  I watched for the first time tonight.  It was the last segment from last season.

Damn, that program is good.  They are repeating season three next month.  Does that mean there will be only four programs?  Anyway, I am surprised that I like it so much, as there is not anywhere near the gore and special effects I enjoy in the forensic programs I also like, although there certainly is plenty of drama.  Plus, it is not possible to dislike anything that has Maggie Smith in it.  She is my favorite character in the Marigold Hotel film, too.

So, anyway, this trouble sleeping is most likely part of how much trouble I am having lately, you know, with the old depression thing.  It has to be a part of it.  And, I am wondering, or at least considering, that it might actually be connected with the holidays.  If asked if the holidays are in any way problematic for me, I will deny it, but they probably are.  Darn.  I hate admitting that.

Like, grieving and all that.  Loss.  Just past the anniversary of the divorce.  Knowing to expect more grilling from my daughter's in-laws next weekend and knowing that I am ill-equipped to fend them off.  Just past the anniversary of the divorce.  More darkness hours.  Cold.  All that.  More.

I accept that I am stuck right now.  I do not have enough of a problem with it, I am told.  I should be more pro-active about doing things that will elevate my mood, get myself out there, wherever there is, do more things, especially things that I could do just for myself. 

All of this is coming in tomorrow's therapy.  But...but...but, I think that I should be allowed to wallow for as long as I like, a little bit, maybe not planning to keep on until the time change next Spring, or anything, but I can be sad, even if it is for no good reason.

Oh, yeah, I want my mental health to keep improving.  I really do.  It is what I want and need and, frankly, besides, who would choose to be a sad wallower all the time.  Not me.

I do need to pull up my new big girl panties and move on.  Yes, I do have brand new panties.  Someone alert the media.

It is just that I have a broken tooth thing, with a dentist appointment this week. 
Thanksgiving is this week. 
I need to make an appointment to get new glasses.
I have a doctor's appointment next month, just a check-up, but still a pain.
All first world problems. 
All of them.
Poor me.

Fortunately, I do have bad brain chemistry for an excuse, but there is not any excuse for me not doing the work, which I really do not feel all that much like doing.  Poor me.

I think that I am using work to avoid lots of things.  I really, really and truly hate to admit that.  I think that I am letting the naysayers, the critics, the Debbie-Downers, the cynics and the complainers have too much influence on me.  Who is it that said that the complainers do not get a vote?  I cannot remember, but it just has to be true, yes?

I wonder if that little bit of pith will work in therapy tomorrow.

Anyway, I really am excited about my new underwear.  I bought new socks, too, the cushioned and soft leg part for people with diabetes.  Really cheap, too.  I now have enough of both that, should the weather prevent me from doing the laundry every week, I will be fine for two...count 'em...two weeks.  Yay.

What is the name of that sock part that is on top, on your lower leg? 

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Health is a balancing act, especially when you have something intrinsically unbalanced.  Like mental illness.  And, especially when you know you are doing your best to be healthy and still doing a pretty crappy job of it.

Although, because it is a mental illness, figuring out medications and therapy, self-help, developing better supportive habits, all of that can be more difficult, more complicated than something physical.  I know about this because I have physical crap, too.  Diabetes, arthritis since my mid-20s and superior oblique myokymia, a weird vision disorder.

I watch what I eat as carefully as possible, given my financial constraints.  Good, clean food is not cheap.  Affording better protein is a constant challenge.  I do my best, and I am still not on insulin, but I worry about it.  I need to lose weight.  I am fat.  I am obese.  I am huge.  I am walking as much as I can, but I know it is not enough.  I need to find some way to afford a membership at the Y, or something.  I need someone to come along with their fat-be-gone wand and make it all go away.

Exercising as much as I can is good for my arthritis as well.  Movement keeps my joints juiced up.  When I am stiff and creaky I walk, even if it is icky outside and this place is small, I can make the circuit from the living room to the bedroom.  It is boring, but I move things around to make it more interesting.  Sometimes I cannot find things later, but that is part of the charm.  I take pain meds, lots of over-the-counter stuff because it is pretty cheap and I do not have to be monitored by my doctor and deal with those icky co-pays.

The myokymia is a brain thing, too, completely unrelated to the bad brain chemistry that supports my depression.  There is a long chronicle of my experiences with that disorder, which I first noticed in the early 80s, and modified with surgery about eight years ago.  It was not cured, but it did get fixed enough so that the result was a less obstructive vision thing.  It is worth mentioning only because it took decades to get diagnosed, never had any support about it and it is in the past, something about which I am proud because I stuck with searching for help until I found it.  Now that I am writing about it, I am really proud of that whole process.  Good girl, J.

Woven through a person's life is all things physical and mental and no one escapes this life without some wonderful combinations, as if life were not complicated enough already.

It is interesting, only to me I guess, that I am hoping to mess with my hippocampus lately.  I am doing well in my work, but it is not enough.  My relationships are stellar, but it is not enough.  I am being properly medicated, at least I think I am, although maybe all of this struggling means that I need more or better happy drugs.

Anyway, I have been working on this stuff for months and months now, months of struggle, months of just plain trying to get over myself and how sad and lonely I am, moments of serious despair.  The only thing helping is that I have not had any harmful thoughts.  If you have mental illness, you know exactly what this is like.  If you do not have mental illness, you cannot understand.  This is absolutely different from the hopelessness caused by any kind, type, manner of physical pain and despair.  Absolutely.

I am a grown up person, an adult, old enough to know better, do better and get over myself.  My brain will not cooperate and all of the eating well, exercising and surgeries combined will not make a difference unless I find another way to manage my depression, PTSD and, although this seems minor and it probably is, my nearly crippling shyness. 

I do what I have to do.  I have meaningful work that makes much of my successful functioning possible.  The people with whom I work, both my clients and the staff are the best. 

I have a lovely daughter and son-in-law, two brilliant grandsons and all of them love me like crazy (not a Freudian slip). 

I have a small cadre of excellent friends.  There are two that I can depend on without hesitation or reservation. 

I have a life that is safer than I have ever, ever, ever experienced.  More than I ever imagined.

Most people do not have all of these things.  Many people do not have any of the blessings I have.  I am aware.  I honor.  I care. 

I am not handling this, or doing well enough on my own.  I learned today that I need more frequent therapy.  Fuck.  I want to be healthier and I am willing to do whatever it takes, but, seriously, fuck.

Even though we did not discuss this, I need to find a better doctor, the basic kind, what the heck are they called.  Primary care.  Yeah. 

You know, the time when we need to be the best health care consumer can be the time when we are least able to do that well.  Like when we have mental illness.  Like when there is this delicious alchemy of the physical and mental and spiritual.  I know mind/body does not really exist, that we are the entirety of every aspect of what we are, you know, the whole shebang.  Bang.  Bang.  Bang.

Oh, gosh, I have done this before, at a time when I had fewer personal resources, but lots more money.  I am more experienced, smarter these days.  I have made progress beyond my wildest dreams.  I can reclaim my healthy life.  Like epilepsy or diabetes or whatever, mental illness does not just get cured.  It does not disappear.  It can only be treated.  For some of us, it is a life-long struggle.  You can just never let your guard down.  Well, you do, but ignoring things never helps and maybe that is what I have been doing.

I am not looking forward to more sessions.  I do not want to talk about any of this crap.  I do not want to, but I will.  I will show up.  I will do the work. 

Maybe it is the holidays coming, or that it is so dark so early now.  Maybe I am feeling so sad and crappy because I have SAD.  Whatever.  Damn.

Interestingly, I am not depressed about this amping-up of my depressive symptoms.  Maybe it is because there is no point to it, or maybe it is because better health means more to me now that I have this new life.  I am not feeling crippled or despairing.  I might even be feeling some relief that I am no longer struggling alone with this.  Whatever.  Fuck.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

things I learned today

I try to learn something new every day, whether I want to or not.  Truth is that I could not avoid leaning new stuff if I tried.

So.  Today.

People will lie to you until they have exhausted every other choice but to tell you the truth.

You...speaking of women here...can have a man for a friend.  I think. 

You cannot eat homemade sweet potato salad, bell peppers, celery and a soft drink and avoid having a soundtrack from your lower intestinal tract for the rest of the day.

You can take a risk and turn the furnace on and only double the utility bill.  Yay!  Oh, I cannot help myself, just yay!!!!!!

You can give away the last of your money, manage well enough for the following week and find out that the person used it to improve her health.

If I do not visit the laundromat tomorrow I will not have any big girl panties to pull up in an emergency.

I am working on the crazy and the lazy parts of myself that do not want to do the work, whatever that is.  My therapist asked me a few weeks back what I would do if I could do anything and I told her that I would just stay home.  Did not even have to think about it.

Right on the heels of that she asked me where I would live if I could live anywhere.  I said Wyoming.  Just like that and it only took a moment to realize that I would like to live in the middle of actual nowhere.  I have notions, probably exotic, probably most of which are myth-based, about living there, a flat lander, a loner.  A Wyomingite.  No close neighbors, no regular mail delivery.  Am I a hermit just below my skin?  If you scratch the surface, do I not run and hide in a cave?  If you search me out, do I not send my friends, the bears, after you?  Maybe.

Needing to plan and stockpile whatever I needed, not just in the snowbound half of the year, but pretty much all the time.  Animals for which to care, warm bodies and cute antics and living creatures who need me and like me and, aside from our joint survival, ask nothing else from me, nothing unreasonable.

All that blessed time alone.  I can work, although not the work I am doing now very easily, but it could be done.  That is why the goddess gave us satellites.  I could sleep and paint and write and create and craft on my own schedule.  Technology exists so that I can break my isolation whenever I liked.  In the summer the boys could spend time with me in my wilderness.

I guess I could do all of that here, and still be able to shop for fresh vegetables and see the boys every month.  I could have that if I craft it right.  I could get a cat and hunker down for the cold months to come.  Long and selfish four-day weekends for those weeks and weeks.  Have the boys come for a week during Christmas break.  I have all the stuff I need and could drag some of it out and paint a bit.

I bet that if I think about this, that I could be a Wyomingite right here, in non-Wyoming.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


I still have not got my stuff together for that actual job, but the volunteer work is going brilliantly.  I am glad for the people we are helping, but it is good for me to remember that this helps me as well.  The work we do can only be as good as the progress of my own healing and recovery.  It seems, maybe, that they should not be that closely connected, but they just are.

The new program of offering time for only job searching, registrations and applications is going well.  Plenty of drop-ins, but few enough that I can get used to working with a group that will always have widely ranging needs.  Truth is that even though I knew from the work I have been doing with clients, that the struggle to navigate the process was difficult for most people, mostly because of the lack of computer and on-line experience.

And, despite my expectations, the further truth is that the problem is that I waited too long to do this.  And, we need to hold a workshop at least once a month to teach and lead people through the process of searching on-line for jobs.  I have already written a tutorial that I can use, but I am struggling to find the time.  I think it will have to be in the evening one month and during the day the next session. 

What we need is volunteers, something we have been trying to obtain nearly since we began four-and-a-half years ago.  Volunteers can be found for other jobs, but this one seems to be more complicated that interests most people.  I need help!

So, it is going to be what it is for a while and we are going to do our best, or as close to that as possible. 

One of the other things I have been trying to do is find funding for scholarships for people who can benefit from having the official certification for using fork lifts of all kinds.  The program is in place in our town, sponsored  by the local business organization, but they do not offer any help with the cost.  I asked them.  I asked them for ideas, based on their broad experience, for resources to which I could apply for funding or grants.  They have no idea, so I have been searching for help on my own. 

I cannot qualify for most grants, but our library can and so that snag is solved.  But, where to find the money is so depressing a way to spend an afternoon or evening.  This afternoon I took the Internets again and found plenty of dead ends.  Most search results are for folk willing to accept my money to help me through the process.  I know how to write for grants, but please do not tell anyone because they will ask me to help them.  I know that sounds selfish, but writing for grants is very-time consuming and, frankly, exhausting when trying to match every detail in the application process. 

Then, I found a site with all kinds of articles and I thought, "Well, cool and groovy, maybe I will find some tips at this new-to-me site."

Yay!  I found a sidebar link  It looked so promising, offering an article about  how you should not pay for job help.  Yay!

When I clicked on the link, this is a screen shot of what popped up.  Good freaking grief.  Seriously?

You get to the point where you should not be able to be truly surprised by anything, and then, in full cliche mode, you get surprised.  This one kind of delights me because it is so funny.  Sad, sure, but really, really funny.

I guess that is enough searching tonight.  Still have to make lunch for tomorrow, which is going to be wonderful, sweet potato salad, celery and bell pepper strips, yogurt and a couple of apples, and a peanut butter and jam sandwich, something I always take in case one of my clients is not properly fed.  The sandwich and apples are something they can easily take away with them.  I know that it is stupid, and I cannot do it every day, but it makes me feel better when the person next to me and I are trying to ignore stomach rumblings.  I remember what that is like, oh, like it was just last year.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

abundance from the other side

The past couple of weeks have been interesting and have given me the means to express another viewpoint I have on having.

I know my life is abundant because I do not have to pack all of my belongings into a big duffel bag and haul it around with me all day because if I leave anything where I live, it will be taken by other people.

I know my life is abundant because I do not have to stress over where my next meal is coming from.

 I know my life is abundant because I do not have to fear becoming ill.

I know my life is abundant because I do not have to be painfully uncomfortable during the cold, icy and windy winters here.

 I know my life is abundant because I do not have to worry about my safety when I am asleep.

I know my life is abundant because I have not destroyed all of my relationships with alcohol or other drugs.

I know my life is abundant because I have the choice of not having some things so that I can have other things that make more sense for me, like trading the convenience of having a fancy phone for having Internet access here at home.  Or not eating out and using that money to provide some services to other people who are in the same desperate circumstances in which I found myself last year.

I know my life is abundant because I have done the hard work that is required to heal and recover from the extraordinary life experiences of the past few hundred years.  I absolutely know that my life is chock full of hope and promise and the ability and willingness to take possibilities and make all things possible.

I kissed a girl and I liked it...nuh...this afternoon I kissed a cat and we both liked it.  I made a second visit to the shelter and might have found a cat that might like to live with me as much as I might like to live with him.  He is a lively 13-year-old tabby who was surrendered last week by a family who had to transition his owner into a nursing facility. 

Oh, what to do.  I miss CoolCat so much.  Ordinary, unrelated noises make me think that I am still hearing him around here.  I have muscle memory that makes me think he is still here.  I thought, always thought that it would be too difficult to not have a cat around me.  I will forever miss CoolCat and Lilliput, and it is only time before I adopt another cat, but it just does not seem the right time.

Maybe it will never the the right time and I just need to let things happen without stressing.  But, gosh, that cat today, Tiger, is in much the same place as I am.  I never should have stopped by there today.  I am not ready and now all I can do is wish him well and wish him a new, hopefully forever family.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I am letting go of more things and people.  People is the sad part of this, but it needs to be done.  Actually, it is one person, a woman who was supportive when everything hit the fan, even lending me her sewing machine during the time I was homeless.

That sad part is not so much letting her go, although that is terrible, but that she now feels that I owe her unquestioning compliance and to present myself as being in full agreement with her in a program that we are supposed to co-manage.  I have tried, but some of the things she is proposing are not as ethical as I need them to be, and the amount of control she needs right now is just too uncomfortable.  I guess that I am not breaking our professional relationship, but maybe just taking a break from it.   I love her and I love the work, so it is my hope that I am able to return to the program.  It is also necessary that I need to have less attachment to, how can I say this, to what is right for me, and to be more flexible within the group and program dynamic.  After decades of not having choices, having the ability to make my own choices and decisions is a heady experience and I do not want to become too invested in having what I think I need, especially if it might conflict with the work I am doing with other people.  I am stuck on this.

So, anyway, I need to pay attention to the positive parts of my life.  Ordinary abundance is something that I am noticing more often.  The little things that are not all that little.

I have friends, like real friends, meaningful work, a safe and warm place to live, enough food and the means to keep everything going most of the time.

I appreciate the relative safety this place provides, but I get a little thrill when I pass by the bedroom door and see my bed and when I go to bed I do not have to lock the door and push the bed against the door for extra protection.  I no longer have to keep a cell phone tucked into my bra in case I need to call for help.  This one is not little.  It is huge and I am grateful every single day/night.

Finding gasoline at a newly reduced price and having a full tank of the stuff in the car.  I am usually able to put just a quarter tank in at a time, maybe half a tank, and this filled tank feels so rich.  I am gas rich.  In a good way.  Cool.

As things settle down, and I finally get around to unpacking my stuff (most of which was boxed up and stored by my friends and recently returned to me), I am finding that I have gone from having hardly anything to having way too much stuff.  I am grateful to my friends and to actually having all of this stuff, but most of it needs to go to people who need it more than I do.  I now have abundance to share.  Cool.

Starting this week, I will be walking to work.  I should have started doing this when the weather was nice and before the snow season began, but I am going to do it as often as it is safe.  Same thing for walking downtown to my therapy and group meetings.  Exercise by default.  Painful to begin, but eventually entering the cool zone.

As a volunteer, I am grateful to be able to do whatever they will let me, and having the director (of the place where I volunteer to help with employment and referrals to social services) give me full opportunity to add an extension of that program in any way that needs be, is just the most wonderful feeling.  I have worked hard to get this far with the work, but it could not have been done without the support of, well, just everyone in the place.  It is difficult to remember the blessings in my life; I need to be better at that, instead of allowing fear to rule what I do.

I have the financial ability to cover all of my basic needs.  I am struggling with the knowledge that raising my furnace temperature to 62F is going to raise my utility bill, but I am pretty sure that it will not make other bills difficult to pay.  Being warmer this winter is so wonderful.  One of the things I found when unpacking these new boxes is a couple of blankets and some socks.  Even during those below zero weeks to come, I will be comfortable in my little flat.  I also bought and made some things to help reduce the drafts in this old Victorian and darling building.  It has already made a difference for the outer door, still needs a few additions of wind-blocking materials, but so easy to do.  Way cool.

Whilst I still miss some foods, I am managing with the discount markets and have increased my abilities to be resourceful and inventive with ingredients.  I try to buy only what I can eat in a week or two and that is helping me to dramatically reduce food wasting.  Very cool.

Some things need more work. 

I need to be a better housekeeper.  I am organized, but messy sometimes.  
I need to recycle more.  I just do.
I need to find a church and actually show up for services.  I think I have found one, but do not attend often.
I need to be a better friend.  Spend more time with people I like.  Exert myself to find new friends.
I need to exercise more.  I live within walking distance of a facility that I could join. 
I need to spend more time with family.  Finances prevent this, so maybe I could make and sell stuff.  But, what is the problem.  I have few skills in that area.

I need to do all of these things, get better at them, sure, but there is so much more.  Cool.

Monday, November 4, 2013


Crash.  Crinkle.  Ouch.

I live next to an attorney office.  I think there are three in there, plus an elder gentleman who comes late, leaves early.  He uses a cane and walks with his head down.  I do not know the stories there, but my best guess is that he may be one of the founders of that law firm.  I often walk with my head sort of down, too, because my close-up depth perception is shot, although it is no a particularly aware way to walk around town.

His schedule of arrivals and departures is as erratic as my own, and I regularly see him emerging from his mini van or walking towards it in the late afternoons.  When I see him now I sometimes wonder what his life must be like, semi-or fully retired or just allowed to have the run of the place.  I like to think that he still handles clients and cases, that he is the wise elder, that his wisdom is a welcome and necessary, an essential part of the work they do there.

But, he often seems too fragile to be driving.  It is comforting to see him in that van, because it affords some extra protection that a smaller, more low-profile vehicle would give to him.  I remember driving a mini van and always appreciated the higher view it gave me, whilst making sure that I did not allow the size of my car to block the line of sight for those around me who might be trying to turn or enter traffic or just not get stuck trying to pull out of a parking space.  My van was one of the smaller types, I was often blocked by taller vans and SUVs, and was aware how difficult it was for me to leave a parking space.

About an hour ago there was a larger than usual clashing sound, sort of like the sanitation guys when they are so nicely taking our garbage away and have to deal with the dented, rusted and just plain sorry metal trashcans.  Not like the lovely plastic ones I have.

I looked out of the window to see a vehicle that was leaving the law office next door, trying to back up onto the curb of my front yard.  In the street was a black sedan on which, not only the bumper, but much of the front end was on the ground, and the black car had been pushed into the side of a white car that was driving in the opposite direction.  The door of the offending vehicle opened and the elder gentleman slowly emerged.  By the time he was fully out of the van, a man had come out of the law office building, where he checked on the gentleman and the people in the other cars.

The passenger in the black car was shaken up a bit, but the other drivers seemed to be fine, although you never really know about all of that, even when you are a part of an crash, I am guessing.  I was back-ended once and did not realize that I was hurt until the other driver took off.  I would not have been able to do anything, as no one got his license number, but, you know.

All the vehicles have been towed.  All the debris has been cleared from the street.  The cops are gone, as are the rescue/ambulance guys and the fire truck.  I did not watch what was happening, but a few minutes ago I took another look and the elder gentleman was still talking to the police.  I looked again later, to see the view as it always is, so he much have gone inside.

The thing is that in order for him to have caused that huge amount of damage to the other cars, he had to be roaring out of the driveway, over the sidewalk, and at a great speed, which makes me think that he accidentally pressed on the gas pedal instead of the brake.  Maybe.  I have never seen him drive fast, but I did not see the impact, so just guessing.

And, the thing goes further than you do not have to be driving on the expressway or in tight traffic downtown to a smash to happen between two, or more, cars.  You do not have to be in slow-like-molasses rush-hour traffic, surrounded by drivers as irritable as yourself.  You can have an accident anytime, even if you are the cause and have done something stupid, it is still an accident, which is why they are called accidents.  I used to have a friend who was an insurance company investigator (formerly an under-cover police officer and a clown at some point, as well) and when people would stress over having done something stupid and needed to use their insurance coverage, she would assure them that that was the purpose of insurance, to cover stupidity of one kind or another.

Driving safety is important for everyone, but most particularly old folk like me.  I am a stunningly good driver.  I never speed or dodge about in traffic.  I figure that as long as I am there, in the driver's seat, rubber to the road, that I may as well pay attention, and so I do.   I do not telephone or text, but I do eat sometimes, but not soup or spaghetti or salad.  I think that because I am paying attention, that I probably get to see more close calls than someone who is late for work or a party or driving buzzed on the way home from that party.    Along with that, it is my most sincere hope that I am not any part of close call observation or experience for any other drivers.

I am alert and aware and know that even though I have not yet had an accident, that one could really happen just about any time.  Earlier this year I took an AAA ancient older driver's course.  I did it to receive a discount (small, but welcome anyway) on my car insurance premiums.

Anyway, I am aware mostly because losing my ability to drive means that I will only rarely see my daughter and all the boys.  If I do have an accident, or some kind of close call, my plan is to stop driving.  Oh, sure, if someone slams into me, then I might reconsider...if the cost of repair are not too great or I am not too greatly shaken by the experience.  This is kind of on my mind because of the accident my daughter and her family recently had, air-bag-deployment, totally-trashed-car included.

I pushed for experimental vision surgery eight years ago, oh, has it really been nine?  Anyway, my vision was getting so much worse that my only alternatives were to stop driving or find a way to modify my visual disability.  The surgery could have taken my sight, but it worked and I can still drive.  However, should I feel that my ability to drive safely becomes compromised, I will voluntarily stop, sell my car and learn to depend on the kindness of other people.  Or, I may have to give in and move up north so that I am living closer to my family. 

But, gosh, I hope that does not happen for a long, long time.  I love my work here and I have worked so hard to craft this new life, so I guess that I could do it again.  Up north.

I have to leave shortly for a big meeting.  On the drive over I will be trying to not pay such strict attention to my driving that I neglect to do so safely.  Could happen.  But, I cannot have an accident.  I have too much to do.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

sulphur pools

When I am trying to avoid doing anything useful, I come here and noodle around on the passive-aggressive notes site.  Since CoolCat's passing, it is one of the default things I do to elevate my mood.

The best part of that site is that it links all over the place and time is much linear than ordinary.  Today I found a note about a sign at an active volcano which has sulphur pools in the crater.  The signs says,

It is costly to take an injured or dead person out
Avoid unnecessary expense

I just hate it when someone has to drag someone's body out of a sulphur pool, living or otherwise.  Don't you?

It made me think of all the opportunities I have for going astray.  Sometimes I am distracted or resistant to making some change in my life, and there are plenty of times when I am just, plain, too lazy to do what needs to be done.  There I go, stumbling and lurching along, stuck in the same old patterns, making the same old mistakes, trying out new ones, not paying attention and falling into the same old sulphur pools.  It stinks more than it burns, and that is the truth, especially at this place in my journey.

A good example.  I went to a church service last Sunday and it was nice, the sermon was very nice and the people I met at the hospitality thing following the service was even more nice.  I ran into four current friends/acquaintances...pleasant surprise...and met more nice people.  My intention was to go again this morning, but I slept late, did not have enough time to shower and get dressed, and realized only later that I could have gone because of the change in Daylight Savings Time. 

Which, is ridiculous, because if I really wanted to go, the alarm would have been set and I would have showered last thing yesterday.

Sulphur pool.

The reason I did not return there is because I am making some decisions about where my spiritual life is going.  I had another meeting with my adviser this past week and we had a good session.  I am taking more responsibility and am now seeing her just once a month.  I felt stuck there last week, and I had this popping moment of clarity yesterday about how I am over thinking this.  Now that I have choices, I am stuck thinking that I have to analyze and have all this angst about what I do not want.  Like being a superficial part of the community, as though I can even explain what that means. 

Sulphur pool.

So, I am going to take a risk and just let the whole church and faith thing be whatever it is going to be.  I am releasing any qualities that I want it to be for myself and for the church.  I have always simply gone along with the flow, doing whatever someone else wanted me to do or expected or wanted to control.  I think that is making it difficult for me to release my relatively stupid expectations about what I should do and expect.

Sulphur pool.

I have lots of them.  I cannot seem to avoid them entirely, but at least I can haul my sorry ass out on my own now.  I am tired of scraping the stink of failure off of my sorry hide. 

I am tired of not doing things or making decisions because the burden of doing that seems overwhelming at times.

A good example.  My daughter called this afternoon to tell me that they bought a new car.  The reason is that they were rear-ended by an inattentive driver, and the car was totaled, to the tune of more than $20,000 in estimated repairs.  The very young woman who hit them was very upset by having caused the accident, and nearly incapacitated when she walked up to my daughter's car and saw my grandson in the back seat.

The doors were all stuck shut and whilst the air bags were scary, everyone was properly buckled in, with my grandson in the middle section of the rear seat because the little one was visiting his other grandmother at the time.  But, the best part is that no one was hurt.  The second best part was that the tow truck guy let my grandson help operate the controls to lift their car onto the towing ramp.  One of the state Sheriffs who responded gave them a ride home, which was another thrill because the boys love cops more than anything. 

So far so good, but I have not spoken to her in more than a month, just before the accident.  Both of us are busy.  Me moderately, her insanely.  Between caring for two busy young boys, college classes and a husband who travels internationally half of the month, I hate to call and find her busy, especially when she has a moment to herself and is studying..  That means that when I want to call her, I hesitate, try to figure out what she might be doing, and then not call.

Sulphur pool.

No more.  I am planning on calling whenever I feel like it.  If she is busy, she will let my call pass on to her voice mail and call me when she has time.  Her plan is the same in this direction.  I am hoping that this strengthens at least of bit of the reserve that we have between us, during this whole divorce mess.  One can only hope, and this has never been a fail/pool, so it would be nice to keep it that way.

A couple of things.

Cystic acne, particularly more than fifty years of it totally sucks.  Mine is triggered by stress, so I have had it often over the eons.  I have had the latest breakout(s) for nearly two months and I am really tired of the pain and disfigurement. 

Frozen meatballs from the market are not good.  I bought some and have baked them, served them plain, with seasonings, gravies and, today, homemade tomato sauce.  Ewww.  Erp.  I am so disappointed, as I like the low-fat nature of those little spheres of meatiness, but they are a pain to make.  I do, however, have a nice, big pot of saucy, mushroomy spaghetti.  Enough to last for days and days.  Yum.

Friday's job application lab was interesting.  Only three people came, but that is because we have not sent out press releases or letters to the agencies.  It was very helpful in determining the level of experience and need of  the people who will come to this lab, and the kinds of support materials and tutorials I will need to create.  Allover, it was a satisfying experience.

I watched some cat videos this morning.  I want a cat, but seem unable to make the commitment right now.  Want, need and grieving.  Such a small issue.  Such a large heartache.  Such a tiny problem.