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

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

oh the humanity

Only if humanity equals eating way more candy than any person should ever admit to having eaten.

I took my own, very bad advice and allowed myself to buy some of those chocolate covered cherries candies.  That would have been fine, except that, even though it was a small box, it paved...slicked-up...the path to accepting just about any other candy that was offered to me.  Lordy.

Anyway, I broke the cycle by buying only great food when I shopped on Monday before the big snow arrived.  Those pre-storm visits to the market are often the excuse for having fun food in the house because I will most likely be stuck inside for a while.  But, when I started shopping I just went on auto pilot and did my usual perimeter shopping.  I made one last trip to the produce department, got a big bag of carrots which I had forgotten the first go-round and looked at the salad bar, decided that the extra stuff was too tempting and as I was walking towards the check-out, a deli person came out with a tray of freshly made sandwiches.  They do a weird thing with the sandwiches and other snacks in that display case.  The stuff is bare bones, in that there is not any mayo or mustard or fancy relish or anything but really good bread and rolls, lean meats, a slice of cheese and lots of greens and tomato slices.  Since I knew they were fresh off the cutting board, I grabbed a roast beef, which is not the usual deli beef, but real roasted beef.

I did succumb to a diet soft drink that I like ever so much, as it was on sale, something that lures me in like magic.

Today I will be making turkey and vegetable curry in the slow cooker.  I do not think that I have any coconut milk in the pantry, but I do have some nice shredded coconut in the freezer, so I can manage a substitute.  A slow cooker full of this yummyness will last for at least a week, with a few zipper bags in the freezer right away.  I may have one or two of those bags before I run out of curry appetite, but freezing it as soon as it cools a bit means that none will be tossed at the end.

Natural peanut butter and celery will be a few lunches and many snacks, as four big old bunches were too nice to pass up.  Green bell peppers, apples and a couple of winter squash, some nice bakery bread and lots of frozen Brussels sprouts.  Wheat biscuit cereal and milk were a splurge, but so nice for a quick dinner.  Wheat biscuit crackers (a theme I guess) and some spreadable cheese is yet another quick lunch or dinner.  Lots of salad greens and a handful of tomatoes.

Tomatoes.  Last shopping trip they were divine, sweet and flavorful and the last one was et on Sunday, and whilst I bought more, less yummy ones I am sure, they are a splurge item as well.  So expensive and often not all that delicious this time of year.

I try to eat relatively local, but I do not have freezer or room to store home-canned stuff, and I am pretty sure that I am not willing to give up chocolate or tea in this life.  And, it is kind of weird-ish that I am thinking so much about food, especially since I recently claimed that I do not worry much about anything.

But, this whole food thing might be different.

I shoveled and struggled (and failed) with the cover I bought for the car to keep the windshields clearer.  And, even though I have that weirdly fractured/whatever vertebrae, I was not tired by the shoveling, falling or several trips up the stairs with all of that heavy soft drinks, food and stuff.

In fact, I did not think about the shoveling until this morning when I felt a bit stiff in the old body and in my right knee which I think took a blow on one of my falls into the snow.  Even all of that is minor and passed quickly.  Truth is, I feel great.  Exercise is difficult for me to embrace, but exercise by default...shoveling, walking, wrangling stuff up the easy for me.  I enjoy it.  So, I guess thinking about (oh, not wondering?????) the food I just naturally tossed in my cart and how it is nice that it happened so closely on the heels of the candy orgy, might mean that I do wonder about some things, even if it, as regards to the food shopping, might be more internal that something I try to process. 

And, that I bought food items that cannot be eaten preference...and need to be prepared and actually cooked, albeit by the lazy slow cooker method, might be a good sign.  Man, or in this case old ladies, seem to need more than vegetables eaten as-is. 

So, perhaps, a total disregard for good health, you know, all that candy, but it was so good, brought some good.  I mean, when I shopped, I did not buy any chips, potato or otherwise, no jam, nothing other than healthy stuff.  It feels kind of good and I am hoping that the feeling stays.  Although, I know that the chips are waiting for me in their beautiful red bag, all wavy and crunchy and salty and, oh, lordy.

Monday, December 28, 2015


We finally have some.  Light snow, followed by heavy snow and blinding winds, followed by by more snow and lots of sleet

I picked up a couple of DVDs and a pile of books at the library.
I got my meds from the pharmacy.  Could not afford one of them.  Yikes.
Bought groceries, but forgot to get more sidewalk salt. Ugh.
Came home and shoveled the sidewalks.
Fell twice.  So much not my favorite thing.
Shoveled twice more.
Used up most of the salt.
The empty bag blew out of my hands and headed south.  Blew past the stores and was last seen heading towards the pizza place.
Fell down.  Still not liking it very much.
All the wind blew my carefully scattered salt away.  Probably trying to catch up with its bag.
Snow filled in all the shoveled areas.
Sleet has safely sealed the surface, with no chance of any of the snow blowing away.  Hah. that would be too easy.
All my outer and inner wear drying on all available surfaces.

Just another day here in the tundra.

Suits me just fine.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

I wonder what the new year will bring my way

Truth is that I rarely wonder about anything. 

I budget well, so I never have to worry or wonder if I will have enough money.
I keep myself healthy and my environment sort of fine.  At least I never have to worry about the health department coming in and going insane.
I recycle and cross the street properly.
I pay my taxes, gladly, actually.  Go figure.
My relationships are healthy, too.  I am fine with family and  I have good friends back near the city where I used to live and here in the village.
These are the things over which I have control.  Nearly complete control.  So, all the rest can just take care of itself.

This has been the mildest, most snow-free winter season we have had in decades.  Plenty of rain, but since the ground is not frozen in this area, all the rain is great.  There have been places with flooding, which is very sad, and the unseasonably high temperatures seem to be fostering some tornadoes, another very sad and unfortunate thing.  Unfortunately, weather is out of my control and whilst I wish that bad weather and all other bad things did not happen to anyone, I, my family and friends are fine, wherever they live.

Presidential politicking is in full swing/affront/bullying/insults/outright lies and general foolishness, the kind that can have serious consequences, but again, aside from staying informed (even though the televised debates and new articles make me sick) and being the best voter than I can, there is nothing I can influence, much less change.

There is more international bad news than ever. 
On and on, so many rotten things, places, people, circumstances and situations.

I accept that I can have no influence on anything save myself and the people and agencies with which I occupy myself.  Just one person, doing her best and making sure that I follow my code.

I should probably have more rules for myself, codes, practices, beliefs or whatever, but I have just the one.  Well, I do have two things/codes/beliefs.

The first is that I believe in something beyond myself.  I have no idea what that is, maybe a god or something, Universal consciousness, cellular memory or something.  My childhood and that of my siblings was miserable.  I feel like there is nothing I can say to describe it that is not an understatement.  Best left undisclosed anyway, except to say that some of us are more messed up than others and that three of my siblings are dead as a result of our lives in that household.

I think that the reason I survived relatively intact from those years, as well as that other life, because I knew that there was something more than myself, something more and better than what we knew and experienced whilst growing up.  I pretty much thought that all families were like ours until I was well into high school.  Yeah, slow learner, well trained.

Still, I knew with absolute certainty that there was something more.  It had to be better than what we had, if only by default, although it was decades before I could properly articulate any of that.  I sought solace in books.  I read anything and everything I could find.  Anything.  If it was something with words printed on it, it was fine reading for me.  The worst punishment I could receive was to be prevented from reading.  I can still feel that loss sometimes.

But, I knew that I would survive and survive I did.  Those lessons served me well during that other life, as well.  It is not an exaggeration to share that I can remember several occasions when I should not have done that whole survival thing.

And, as I grew up, that clear belief in something greater than myself clarified into a two-belief coda.  I am using coda correctly, I think, because this whole living here, in this body, time and place is lyrical in a way that I can feel, but will never be able to express in words.  I think it touches my work and my art, as well as my relationships, this lyrical aspect, but words are inadequate in so many ways.

We are here, alive, in this flesh for two reasons.  To be happy.  I mean, why would we have these amazing bodies, crazy minds and kick-ass planet if happiness was not the end game.  The second reason we are here, alive, in this flesh is to be of service. 

I think that service can take any form, or shape or practice or whatever.  If it is founded in faith, then super, but I do not think traditional faith is necessary.  Anyway, that is the first part of my code for living.

So, anyway, all of that defines my actual code and that is to be aware.  Conscious.  Something like that.  You know, kind of a cellular awareness.  Not biology so much, although that certainly is part of it.  Kinds of like a cauldron of my thinking, the places my heart is pulled, nature (I think), that whole greater than myself aspect and knowing that everything is connected.  Yeah, that old axiom about mind, body, spirit, universal connection.  Yeah, Carl Jung and all that jazz.  Rumi and Buddha.  All those and all the other folk who follow that path.

If I am alone in this life, than what could possibly be the point?  What purpose does being involved superficially...or even deeply...with anyone or anything thing or belief have?

Is it enough to be a good person and do all the right things and say all the proper words and behave in certain, generally acceptable ways?  Is it enough to just not be a bad person?

You know, I am not particularly religious, even though I have practiced formal religion in my life.  Sometimes is it nice to be part of a community and have a publicly ritual life.  I hate to admit this, but I am not sure that I believe in a traditional, or even nontraditional, god/God. 

I do believe in people of all kinds, even those I do not understand.  Even those who do not like me, or "get" me.  I believe in cats and other pets, and wild animals and trees and clouds and other planets.  I believe in oxygen and germs, atoms and boulders, and synthetic fabrics  and other artificial stuff, like fake Christmas trees and canned soup.  I believe in cultures and ethics and nationalities and how fucking more alike all of us are than we could ever be different.

And, you cannot look at, into the face of another person, even someone you may despise at the moment (or forever) and not believe that there is darn right good in the world, in everyone, no matter how heinously they behave. 

And, yet, I do not wonder about much of anything.  I have experienced a whole lot of healing this past six months or so, perhaps more and more intensely than I have in a very long time, years and years.  There are days when I feel different, maybe even a little transformed, more confident, less fearful, more at peace, and all of it without trying or conscious thought.  It is wonderful, and whilst I know that I am doing the work that brings all of this greatness to me, I sometimes wonder that I do not wonder about stuff enough.  That, maybe, I am not enough of a planner or thinker or that I am not invested enough about my future or what I should be doing or not doing, how I should be moving through my life and my little part of the world.

Maybe I do not have big plans or dreams because I refuse to invest my self, life, energy or heart in things over which I will never have any influence.  Maybe I am not a decent world citizen. 

I guess, if I wonder about anything, that aspect of not being a good enough world citizen, or being involved in local politics or things like that, is what holds my wondering thoughts. 

Then, I get over it and just go to my volunteer gigs or be with my little guys and their parents and my friends, or visit and chat at my favorite little cafe (really, who ever thought I would have a favorite wee place to eat and chat???  amazing). 

I guess I just have small interests.  It has to be enough, because I feel that I have nothing to invest in wondering what might be coming.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Or, early.  Or just the usual inability to sleep.  I keep hearing that it is something wonky with my adrenal stuff, but that does not help me find a regular sleeping schedule.  A diagnosis and some treatment would be nice.

So, here I am again.  Up and quiet so that I do not disturb the downstairs folk.  Nearly six weeks have gone along without any fisticuffs, yelling or other foul deeds against one another.  Well, until over the weekend, but there were only two nights of loudness.  Unfortunately, I was finally back on a med-induced sleep pattern, and now that is all shot to heck.

It gives me lots of time to think and make quiet art.  Last night was the Solstice and I did my little weird stuff and a bit of art later on.  I have finished making all of my gifts, and whilst that is always a fun thing, this year I am pleased with some of the stuff I made.  We will celebrate when my daughter and all her guys return from Christmas with my son-in-love's family out west.  My daughter had her last finals for the term last week and is actually taking some time for herself for a while.  We decided that we will get together and eat and play and exchange gifts when they get back next week.  Nice.

Anyway, I have an entire week of no place to be, no jobs or volunteer gigs, nuttin'.  Yay.  Slacker that I am, though, it makes it very easy to just sleep when I get too tired to stay up, sleep naturally and, frankly, I am pretty much sleeping for at least twelve hours, up for eight-to-ten and back asleep for a long time.  Well, that will work until next week, but I am sure that I am messing up my internal tickings worse than they would be otherwise.

On the other hand, this could be what I need to be awake during the day and asleep during the dark, you know, like a normal person.  Fat chance.  Anyway, I have been eating down the pantry the refrigerator is holding apples, a jar of really good giardiniera, a few eggs, some really old beer and a lot of condiments.  No fresh food whatsoever.  All of the grains and pasta are gone, except for a lone bag of lentils.  No soup ingredients, ah.  Unless I plan on eating microwave popcorn for the next five days it would probably be in my best interest to put on some clothes tomorrow and go to the market.

I actually thought about doing just that, well, like now, but nothing stays open in this village after ten o'clock, not even the gasoline stations, which eliminates even quick junk food.

My life is nice, but my problems are entirely first world.  Even sleeplessness.  And, eating down the pantry is a nice and structured thing to do, as no food gets lost on the back of the shelves only to be tossed when it is no longer fit to eat.  There are times when it seems that I am decidedly not so frugal anymore, especially with how often I grab a quick meal instead of going home and cooking something.  That is particularly nice on busy days, particularly on those days when my energy lags, but it is not frugal.  It is, however, social, so that is nice.

So, anyway.  Pissy problems aside, another thought planet that I have been experiencing is that, maybe, just maybe, happiness and I are not meant to be together.  Sure, I am thrilled to no longer be under the assault that was that other life, and all that healing stuff is going well.  But.  There is something that still feels fragile about my now, new life.

I was driving home last week from fetching the last of the gift cards and books for my grandsons and a car followed me all the way north on the road.  I tried to dismiss it, just more foolishness and lack of respect for all the work I have done, but that car was behind me all the way, then through the neighborhood I take into the village and onto the street where I live.

I know that he and his family do not know where I live, at least I am fairly certain of that.  No, I have to insist that they do not, or...or, what?  Live in hiding again?  I cannot do that.  So, when I reached my flat I kept on driving.  The car made one more turn with me and then continued on west when I turned south.

It was just a coincidence, which was my first thought when I noticed that car whilst still a half-hour from home.  And, I am not the only person who has to take one of those circuitous routes to get here.  The village is not on a big highway or anything.  But, it really bothers me that the whole thing bothered me and I have to wonder if that sort of thing is how I might undermine the life I now have.

You cannot live with fear like that.  I refuse to spend what is left of my life looking over my shoulder to see if any of them are still tracking me down.  I just cannot do any of that.  That first year I did not leave at night for anything, and I always made sure that I was home before dark.  I spent the better part of the second year scanning the surroundings when I came home, especially at night and checked before I left, as well.

It seems, sometimes, as though that is the legacy of that other life.  That he still controls me with fear.  And, the worst part is that he has most likely forgotten all about me and has moved on with his own life.  The Universe does not revolve around me, but that vulnerability, those threads of fear thoughts are persistent. 

I am fine now, was even just fine that evening.  It is fully under my control to do and feel whatever I want, but it is annoying, all in all, to have that kind of response pop up so easily.

However, insights and all, writing/spewing it all out aside, I cannot use all this work as an excuse for buying other than healthy food tomorrow.  To feel so weak at the time of year when dark chocolate covered cherries candies are in season.  Alas.

Friday, December 18, 2015


Today I made a formal introduction of sushi to my daughter.  She has seen me eat the stuff many times, and knows that it is my personal eating-out-treat.

So, I was surprised when she invited me to lunch today at a Japanese restaurant.  She thought it was a brand-new place because our village had copies of their takeout menu mailed.  Since she is finished with finals for a while, she is taking the first few days to relax and it is kind of cool that she thought of me as a relaxing time.  Not always a daily experience for many mothers and daughters, especially the two of us, mostly because she still does know the history of why I left her father.  True, he was not much of a parent to or for her, but surely knows that there is a huge back story to this whole mess.

Whatever.  It really does not matter because I will never tell her all, or any, of that stuff.  I am feeling as though healing is gaining on me.  There have been several times in the past few months when I have found myself doing something that previously wary, or not doing something that used to be propelled by fear.  Well, except for tonight.  A particular car was behind me for the half-hour drive home from errands.  Still trailing me as I approached my driveway, I kept moving and circled around in a neighborhood near to me.  I lost that car, but probably because his path was mine until it was not any more.  It was a pretty tender, one might say raw, experience and it surprised me, both that I noticed that car and that I felt threatened and vulnerable in a way that I have not for a very long time.

It is fascinating how things fit together, or at least seem to.  Another whatever.

So, the restaurant has terrible service.  We waited a long time in a nearly empty place and when our food finally came, I had to request utensils.  Twice.  Not a big deal, and the staff folk were sweet, nice and helpful to my daughter, as this was her first experience with this kind of food.

Anyway, we had bento boxes with a nice variety of rolls and some really yummy scallops.  I ordered an eel roll and let my daughter choose another.  The eel and her salmon were fresh and had a lovely mouth feel, which is just as important to sushi as flavor of the fish and the other components blending properly.  I ate all but one piece of those two rolls and saved my California roll for her to take home because she really liked that one.  It was also her first taste of miso soup, which she liked, but declined to have me show her how to make.

So, and anyway, it is a pleasure to write about something so ordinary, a day so lacking in bad stuff, momentary driving fright aside.  

And, now I have a sushi companion.  Pretty darn nice, this life.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

time slugs on

It really is the week before the winter holidays for us.  Yule for me and my daughter and Christmas for my daughter and son-in-love, grandsons and all of their family.

I had a huge surge of energy and made tons and tons of ornaments and little gifts, scattered to the winds of friendship and have completely ground down to doing nothing.  I have yet to make gifts for my coffee friends, and since Saturday is the last time I could see them for weeks and weeks, that give me only what remains of this afternoon and Friday to get them finished.  Or, started.  I have all the stuff.  I even have some desire to make them, but enthusiasm has exited the building.

It is my turn to choose where to meet on Saturday and I do not want to go.  At all.  I e-mailed the group and asked one of them to choose a place to meet and that I will be there if I can.  I am such a blob of something.

I am not a brooding person, at least like the dreamer I was in that other life, but there is so much going on this time of year, with the holidays and the coming of the new year that it is nearly impossible to avoid thinking about all sorts of life stuff.

This week was my daughter's final final for this term.  All she has been doing is studying and working and now has a chance to catch her breath during the month between terms.  I am hoping that she takes some time for herself, at least when the boys are in school.  Maybe she will let me take her out for lunch at our favorite Indian restaurant.  I wish that any of us had enough money to send her and my son-in-love out for a weekend away, maybe even to a nice hotel in the city.  You know, I think I could handle that.  I have been saving money for nothing in particular other than I like to save, and I could use that.

Ah, too much thinking.  I am so broody I could lay an egg.  Oh.

Thursday, December 10, 2015


It is December 10th and the expected high temperature is going to be 60F, with a slight chance for rain.

Since that is twice the temperature of freezing, I think that it would be lovely if instead of the usual December snow, that we had December fog, or better yet, December steam.  Guess we need more than 60F, though.  Probably for the best.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

letting go

I have let a whole bunch of things go recently.

Today it was my second cell phone, the cheap one that I kept as a safe phone for my clients and for use by those with whom I worked at the homeless and DV shelters.  It can still be used for dialing 911 for emergency help, so I will keep the battery charged in case someone at the food pantry or homeless program places need a phone for just that purpose.  The nice thing about this particular phone is that it can be reactivated at any time by buying one of those pre-paid cards for this company.

The thing was that the only reason I kept it was to be available when I returned to my old city every few months to do the program stuff I did when I lived there.  No reason to carry the cost of buying minutes to keep it activated.

It was odd.  For two days I looked at the minutes remaining, only fifteen+, and all the time I was thinking that it was time.  That phone took me through my own shelter living, being homeless and all that jazz.  It is properly the time to allow those months to become a more fully released part of my past.

I know it is the right time, and that I will have to contact the clients who still check in for help, and give them my current phone number.  They are still important to me, but all the rest of it, what lives in the past belongs and deserves to stay in the past.  More healing and it feel pretty damn nice.

I released a lot of my frugalness into the Universe.  It is no longer appropriate for me to live as though I am completely without resources, not anymore.  I still do not have a lot of money, as what some/most people might think of as enough money, but it is enough for me, and I splurged on a few holiday items that the thought of buying would have sent me cringing and gnashing my teeth...poor teeth.  One thing is that I went to the dentist and got a good cleaning, something I usually do myself, as I have some nice, used dental tools.  I must be doing a decent job at it because both the dentist and the hygienist commented on how healthy my mouth is and how good my dental hygiene is.

Because I have been taking such care of my teeth, I was able to cancel the extra dental insurance I have been carrying since I retired.  The cost of two cleanings is less than the yearly premiums, so yay!

In the same spirit I cancelled the extra vision care.  I found a decent, although insanely expensive ophthalmologist so that I could get a good post-surgery and diabetes check up, as well as new prescription eyeglasses.  My vision has not changed and I will not need the insurance to buy new glasses for a long time.

Dropping those two extra insurance premiums might seem as though a quite frugal decision, but having them gave me a nice sense of security when that feeling was mostly lacking in my life.  But, you know, in the past/stay in the past.

A really sad thing is that I left a group of wonderful women with whom I have built some nice relationships over the years.  That was a place where I felt safe in a way that my in-real-life did not often afford me.  The leader of the group must not like me because she has made several comments to me that are dismissive of who I am, where I live and the character faults she believes that I have.  Leaving that group was so painful.  Still is.  But, I do not, did not deserve the pretend niceness and snarky words from her. 

I guess it is time to pull up those big girl panties and just get on with the new stuff in this life.

I am still volunteering at the food pantry/thrift shop, and loving it more all the time.  The truth is that I am kind of an odd person and it takes a moment or two for people to like me sometimes.  This bunch does, for the most part and I even...and I cannot believe that I did this...went to their Christmas party on Sunday afternoon.  Free wine and wonderful food, cupcakes, and the governing board gave each of us a gift certificate to be used at the shop. 

You know, working there is an alchemy of blessing and curse.  As a sorter and taker-in of donations, I get to see all that stuff on the days I work there.  All I can say is thank goodness that I do not work there every day.  We cannot buy stuff until it has been on the sales floor for a couple of days, but that does not help curb my infatuation with old linens.  Lordy.  I also bought myself a great winter coat (with soft and warm lining) and a bunch of weird bits and bobs of potential crafting materials which I am using to make my version of Victorian beaded and embellished tree ornaments.  I am loving the process so much and it is encouraging me to use a lot of the stuff I have been collecting and saving, as well.

My health has improved under the care of the doctor I found when I moved to this village.  Every ridiculous health issue that had horrible results has been brought to normal levels, as evidenced by my most recent test results.  I still have an immune or endocrine system issue that remains undiagnosed, but I am happy that all my hard work is finally showing benefits. 

I went along on a day trip hosted by the village's senior citizen center and had fun.  I was hoping to connect with some potential friends, but I think I have to do more with them if that is going to show any promise.  They have a noon meal program and I would like to go to that, but I keep forgetting to call the day prior and make a reservation.  Maybe I will be  able to remember to do that tomorrow for Friday's lunch.

What else.  I see the boys often and even though I no longer live more than an hour away they still ask me to sleep over.  I can leave their house and be in my own, sweet bed in a couple of minutes, but I will say yes one of these weeks.

Healing and recovery from that other life is still happening, a bit more easily than in the beginning.  It took more than forty years in that marriage to make me ill (and more than a little bit crazier than I already am), but I still feel impatience at how slowly all of this is taking.  I keep repeating to myself that everything in its time, and I fully embrace that, it is just that my leaps and bounds towards health in mind and soul are steady, but so small sometimes. 

There are days when I can feel that I am a different person.  Hopefully improved, but there remains that old uncertainty and reluctance to believe that I deserve this new life.

And, you know, perhaps I do not deserve it, but, by gosh, I have earned it.  I earned the right to have this wonderful life, a life beyond my most dear and tender dreams, with every horrible thing that I have survived. 

My life is richer for all of those experiences and I know with complete certainty that it was necessary for me to be living and manifesting the life I now have.  The work I do now. 

Someone famous said something about how sad it would be to die without finding and living the life/work/whatever you were intended to have in your life.  To have never found our particular path.  I heard it on a television drama and they named the person who said that, which I have totally forgotten, but I was struck with how sad that really would be, and I was immediately grateful for all those years of experiencing and grasping at life, surviving all the worse days and nights and being able to use all of that to let my life take me where I am intended to go and to the work that is what I am supposed to be doing. 

Life is pretty nice.  Tonight I have lots to show that. 

All the fixings to make a few pounds of fudge, some dark chocolate covered cherries, the ones that are all liquidy inside.  Two darling polar bear cubs to give my grandsons on my way home today. 

I knew that the little one would love it more than anything, although I bought one for each monkey boy.  I saw them in a Xmas shop whilst on that senior citizen trip, but did not have enough money along to buy them for the boys.  I found a shop a few towns away that special ordered them for me.

A bunch of plastic bins and buckets from the dollar store to help organize my tiny closet and wardrobe.

It is just so lovely, so miraculous and blessed that small things are bringing me such joy every single day.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

wednesday is a great day for telephoning

I had several phone calls to make, ones that I always try to delay as long as possible.

The call waiting times are painful and by the time you reach a person, she/he has been waiting for a break, like forever, and the pain shifts to another level.

Today I called my insurance company twice.

I called the dental plan folk.

I called the vision folk twice, because I got disconnected.  Once.

Only one of the calls gifted me with a cranky break-waiter-probably have starved to death agent.  I pursued her calm center until she finally broke and set her crankiness aside. 

Along with that call, the others did have nice people on the receiving end and I was able to get through several steps of voice mail information to folk who knew their stuff and were able to answer my queries.

Plus, I had to talk to the people downstairs.  Sounds like a horror flick, and it mostly is just that scary.  I took the easy way and waited until the woman had left for work, as she is easily the most selfish part of that couple.  I swear, when she is drunk she is a bully and when she is sober she becomes super-bully.  I swear.  The man is nice when sober, so I pulled up my big girl panties and knocked on their door after I walked home from the dentist.

I digress, but being able to walk to the dentist is one of the nicer things about living in a relatively small village.  One of the not-so-nice things is that they do not have any dollar stores.  Alas.

So, anyway, the man and I talked about snow removal this coming season and I told him to let me know if there were any problems with the part of the job...because I was not going to be able to shovel much, if at all, and have hired someone to come over and plow the snow away each time it snows.  Which, I guess, is the only time I would need him.

Then, the man said that he would do the whole thing, that he should have offered to do it when I first moved here.  He has a snow blower and uses it on a space not quite equal to what I shovel.  I told him that I would pay him the cost of having the plow guy do the work and he declined, but I convinced him that it was important for me to pay my way.

Now I just have to cancel the plow guy.

The second thing, and the one I most especially did not want to talk about with his wife, is that I need to use my half of the storage space in the basement.  Again, no problems with him.

All in all, except for my blood sugar dipping too low, it has been a nice day.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

to sleep

perchance to dream.

Insomnia is a vertiginous lucidity that can convert paradise itself into a place of torture. 

I lost my sleep, and this is the greatest tragedy that can befall someone. It is much worse than sitting in prison.

The night is the hardest time to be alive and 4am knows all my secrets.
I could go on and on and on because I cannot sleep.  Triggered when the downstairs folk have time for their two to four hours alcohol induced fights, knock-downs and generally sloppy arguments.
Their most recent performance was a bit more than three weeks ago.  I finally, after nearly a year of living here, found the courage and/or stupidity to go down there and ask them to be quiet, which did not turn out so well for me, and of which I think I have already shared.  Even if I have not, it is not worth the ink to type it.

I have tried everything.  Meditation, herbs and chamomile tea, over-the-counter pills and tablets.  I have stayed up all night, and then forced tons of caffeine beverages to stay up until a my usual bedtime.  I do stay awake all those thirty hours or so and then keep sleeping until mid-afternoon the next day.  Today I slept until after 5:00 p.m.
I see my internist next week and will ask for help, but between my back and lack of sleep, well, to be honest (which I always am anyway, but sleep deprivation is making me defensive) I am quite the mess.  I look it, too.

And, it should not be all that problematic, being retired and all.  Still, I would love to be awake for whole days in a row, a very long row.  And, I have to work this out because the trigger to this is not going anywhere, and neither am I.  Finances are keeping me here.  Our landlord does not want to be bothered and told me to just call the police every time this happens.  In his defense, he is sympathetic and has spoken to them several times about this, but neither of us wants to turn this in to actual trouble.

And, the first time I call the police, it is pretty much over.
In between the bouts, there exists a kind of détente that I would not like to disturb.  All I want to do is sleep.

 I am, however, reading an insane amount of books.  

Emil Cioran 
Emil Cioran 
Poppy Z. Brite

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


I have hung onto my smarter-than-me phone for a few years.  When I stopped being without any resources, getting that phone was one of the second layer of things I brought into my life.

It was inexpensive when I got the phone, but I soon found out that the phone company agent lied to me about contracts and fees and options, particularly those that would have been a better choice for someone like me.  I am not a gamer, nor do I watch videos/fillums on my phone.  I just needed a simple phone with some data options so that I could look up information for my clients when I was working with them outside of my office/batcave.

Thus began the courting dance of promotions that the phone company offered every time they raised my fees to a point where I could no longer afford to have the phone.

I was wooed each year when the most current promotion ended.  Each new promotion was a few dollars more than the previous one, and I kept on using that phone and company because it was easier to just pay five dollars more each time.  Even thinking about finding a new provider was more work and stress than I could handle.  Still cannot handle.

So, anyway, yesterday I received a letter that the promotion I had was ending in a few days...yikes...and I should call to talk to them.  I did that, and, as usual, the monthly fees were going up and the amount of data was decreasing.  Factor in that the woman on the phone was no all that nice, and true to past experiences I was soon reduced to tears.  I know that she and all of the rest of their agents are simply doing their jobs, and it certainly is not a great process or result to bully their customers into feeling stupid and disloyal by not immediately jumping for joy and saying, "Oh, goody, thank you so much for pricing this phone out of my budget."

This afternoon I just lost it, control and any chance to not fall apart.  I asked to just leave everything as it was and asked if I could call back.  I managed myself back into calmness and tear-free moments and went to my computer to look for a new phone provider.  There was not any way that I could afford the new promotion fees without cutting something from my budget, but the maze of companies and plans is mind-numbingly complicated.

I opened several tabs so that I could try to compare companies and plans.  All that fine print makes the process more difficult than it seems it should be, but I guess the companies have their reasons for that.  I nearly gave up and called my provider back to just cancel the phone immediately and pay their termination fee, which came as a surprise because I did not realize a year ago that I contracted for two years with their company. 

Shows what an incompetent consumer I am.  Hell, I try my best, but there you are.  There I was.

I finally called them back and the new person with whom I spoke offered to waive part of the termination fee if I took a pre-paid plan.  Well, the monthly cost is fifteen dollars less than going with the new promotion, has exactly the same plan benefits as the other plan and I have some breathing space to really research and find a cell phone provider and plan that costs even less.

I am not particularly dumb, at least about things like this, technology and stuff, but if one is already feeling vulnerable and at risk, trying to make the best decision under that kind of personal duress is just plain, too difficult.  I am sure that I am not the only person who struggles with these sorts of choices.  Yay and good for all of us who wrestle with making the best financial choices we can.

Making any kind of choices can be challenging for folk like me.  I have come so far in healing and recovery from that other life, but I still stumble over stuff like this once in a while.  Now that it is over, for the time being, I am feeling better and maybe a bit stronger or something.

Every day is a new beginning for me.  A new day when I never know what might pop up to move me away from stability and peace of mind.  Whatever.

New information about how to handle things like this and a phone that I can continue to use.  Not bad for a crappy day.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

texting with my daughter

after the monkey boys are down for the night.

Her: Did u c the sun?

Me:  What is this thing you call the sun?

Her:  Like the moon, but it's warmer.

Me:  Huh.  If you say so it must be so.  Is this some new kind of science?
         And, no, I did not see it.  Did you lose it?

Her:  Yes.  It is called sphere science, which means round, sort of.  It is the study of all round stuff.

Me:  Like watermelon?

Me:  I like watermelon, but they are cold.  Like the moon. 

Her:  Only the round little seedless ones.  The oblong ones fall under oval science.

Me:  Oh.  You are so wise.

Her:  Yeah.  I go to collàge.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Harper Collins does not suck

The end of that tale is that someone or some system at HC got all wonkified and e-mails were sent out in error...apparently...that the book was out of stock and had to be back ordered.

Yeah.  Old news.  But, in the midst of messaging back and forth with an actual person working for the publisher, I received an e-mail from someone who assured me that he/she/it was happy that I was going to keep my order for software (ordered a book) and that because they never know what future books will cost they cannot honor my request for a 20% discount on future purchase(s).  The discount was offered by the real person, not something I requested, and I had written back that I do not really buy books anymore, so I would not be using the offered-by-them discount.

End of story.  Go Set A Watchman was a very good book.  I have since heard from other folk that they did not like the book, one person refused to even talk about it, and that they had read many negative reviews about it.  I am thinking that it might be that I was alive and living that period of society and racism and that that might be why I love the book so much.  Whatever.

The thing that brings me back to write is the need to write something out of my mind and body.  The couple in the downstairs flat have never stopped fighting.  For months it was relatively not so bad.  The fights would start.  Would go on for a bit and since I was awake I took advantage of being awake and used the bathroom.  After a while, I could affect the noise level of the fights by just getting up right away and walking loudly to the bathroom. 

Several times this month alone there have been longer and louder fights no matter how much I try to make my presence known.  I find it really difficult to believe that I can hear so much of what happens down there and they seem to be unable to hear me, although to be honest, it is still a disturbing experience and that sort of keeps me more quiet than I ordinarily am.

Today it began outside, as it sometimes does.  I cannot imagine what that is about, but it happens.  Getting up did nothing and the fight began at 2:30 a.m. and continued inside and outdoors until I could not bear all of the swearing and yelling and crying.  So, I pulled up my big girl panties, shoved myself into a pair of slacks, put on a jacket over my night shirt and went downstairs.

The short story is that I walked to the front of the house and waited until they noticed me from where they were arguing on the porch.  When they did, I asked if there was anything I could do to help and he apologized and said he was trying to stay quiet and she started yelling about it was all her fault and when I stepped on the the first step and said that it probably was not, she began yelling at me.  That this was none of my business.  To mind my own business and to just go away and mind my own business.  I stepped down, turned and began the walk back to the side door.  She kept yelling about this was not my business and I turned back.  She stopped and I told her that it really was sort of my business because "this" happens all the time and it means that I am woken and cannot go back to sleep.

Silence.  So, I came back upstairs.  I was shaking and beginning to cry and quickly closed and locked my door.  I was a while before I could stop shaking and it bothers me so much how difficult is was to go down there, what a risk and danger it felt like.  But, that is what my landlord has been encouraging me to do, even though I no longer mention the fights to him, he asks me about the situation every time I see him.

There is no reason I should still be so fearful of the fighting.  For fuck's sake, it has been three years now since that other life and I have been working my fucking ass off working to recover and heal from all that crap and when I finally find a nice place to live, here in the village where my daughter and her family live, I am still hearing all of that crap. 

But, that is not about me, nor is it directed to me.  I have talked to both of them several times in the past six months after finally gathering the courage to share how this affects me with them.  Nothing has worked, not really.  Today's fight began, what, 2:30 and I went down there at 4:00 and there have been several really loud part of the continuing fight, which finally seems to be over as of quarter past five.  My guess is that they are tired and need sleep so that they can go to work in the morning.  They get over it.

Here I sit, spewing this out, trying to release the panic.  I have stopped being all shaky.  Have a headache and wonder how much coffee it will take to keep me going for the rest of the day.  It is nearly 6:00 a.m., early for me to get up.  Oh, yeah, I am already up.

I am partly angry with them, still am concerned about their welfare, and really pissed at myself for being bothered by any of this.  It is time for me to be over feeling so scared and vulnerable when someone else is fighting.  In one aspect I admire them for standing up to each other.  I could never do that.  I could not answer back or defend myself, much less fight back.  Maybe things would have been different if I had challenged his behavior.  I will never know, so it is stupid to ponder what might have been.

I have already signed a new lease for the next year.  Just did that a few weeks back, so I am stuck here unless I come up with some ideas about how to raise money, find a job or something to buy my way out of the lease. 

So stupid.  Out of the fire, for sure, but only flipped out into the ashy part on the edges where the flames nip at my ass as I cower there.  Okey-dokey.  Done.  Fuck.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

update on the update

It will have to wait until later, but I just received another e-mail from the HC folk.

This is turning into a cool story.  Might have to give it to one of my characters.


According to Ms. (not sharing) at Harper Collins, the e-mail message approximately eighteen hours ago was an error.

I do not want to call baloney again, but when I checked in the wee hours, there was no traffic/shipping information in my account or the actual order.

According to the latest information, Go Set A Watchman/Harper Lee, should be here before 11:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.

And, for my understanding, they are offering me a 20% discount on a future order.  Since I have not purchased any books, aside from thrift buys at fifty-cents or less, in nearly a decade, I am wondering if that offer will still be good in another ten years.

So, anyway, all those feelings of loss for nothing.  I am still looney, a dope and recovering from being caught in the thrall of pettifogging.  Quite frankly, I am a little prideful that I even know that word, much less thought to use it.  Twice.

As I was eating dinner, way too many Brussels sprouts, I turned on the television and there was a program about Nelle Harper Lee and the release of this book.  It was interesting, with perhaps the best part was her sister, Alice. 

I am wondering if this is an older program, because it seems familiar, and I believe that Alice Finch Lee died a few years ago.  Might have to research that, but no matter, because it was fresh and wonderful and Ms. Alice is wonderful and I could never tire of her voice.

Well, now that the Universe has recovered from my attack on its balance this morning, I await my copy tomorrow and look forward to a pot of tea, a bar of my favorite chocolate (honestly, could really be just about any brand), feet up, windows open and that sweet volume in my hands.


I am better

I am still immature, but I am better. 

I am also still a dope.

Harper Collins, you suck

I am up at 1:30 a.m. because my phone clanged whilst I was reading a library book.  It was an e-mail from that publisher letting me know that the book I ordered, pre-ordered and pre-paid in the first fresh days of February will not be sent to me. 

They are out of stock.  The book is back ordered.

I call baloney.

I ordered that book on the very day they released their press release.  They were more than happy to accept my order and my credit card information, as well as charge a premium price for quick delivery.

Now, on the day of publication, the book is not available.


You are the publisher. 

You know exactly how many copies of the book were pre-ordered.

You have known, at least since the day of your press release, how many copies you needed to print.

You are a famous and successful publisher and were well aware of how popular and eagerly awaited this title was going to be.

I sent a message via your Customer Service option to cancel my order.

I am not a snippy person, nor am I unaware of the issue regarding publication of books.  I worked in a bookstore for twenty years.  I know this stuff.

I am not a weirdly flighty person, subject to fits of immature disappointment, and, frankly, I am a bit surprised myself how disappointed I am to have received your e-mail notice.  But, I am.  Disappointed. 

Sufficiently dispirited to cancel my order and wait until I find a copy in a bookstore or at my library.  I just put the title on my reserve list, and will be waiting for quite a while, which is fine.

I will recover from this truly petty response and will be fine by morning, but I am still cancelling my order.

I am such a baby.  I wish I could be more ashamed about this pettifogging and surprising and...did I mention ridiculous...aspect of myself.  All right, I am a little ashamed, but I cancelled my order and I am stickin' to it.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I have had worse things than cancer in my life

That other life had its moments.  Times of happiness and joy, pleasure, fun and the birth of our daughter.  As hard as I try, I cannot figure out if there were more good and decent times than not.  I truly cannot let memories flow in a way that can help me decide if there was more pleasure than pain.

I believe that many people face the same challenge, and it is a challenge to remember and honor the times of suffering, fear and pain without not giving the same credit to all of the great stuff, because it is likely that the great moments were/are part of how we survived, no matter how that survival is for us.

I have survived well.  Mostly because I am alive.  I am not dead.  I can hardly stress that sufficiently...I am not dead.  No one killed me.  I did not kill myself.  I sometimes think that either was just as likely to happen.  I used to self-harm, but only dreamed of having the courage to end it all myself.  I had a plan and a back-up plan.  Probably only one plan is needed, but I did have two because you just never know when circumstances will mess with your plans.

I lived on the threshold of making an inadvertent mistake or not being able to translate the signals being beamed my way, and whilst the consequences were unpleasant (enough said about that) they came with the sharing that things could always be worse for me and that included dying.  I believe that I came close a couple of times, but something held his actions, probably fear of facing his own consequences for acting on his anger and pure hatred for me.

The day I left had been preceded by months of escalating abuse.  I never called it back then, never came close to understanding that what was happening to me was abusive.  I always believed that if I could just find a way to follow the rules, anticipate mistakes or missteps, that I would be fine.  Or, at least not have to face the bad stuff.  I really do not want to rehash all of that stuff, but it bears mentioning here because I did survive.  I paid attention to what was said.  I paid attention to body language and I most carefully paid attention to the flow of what was happening.

But, I made it out that day.  And, that is another story, parts of which I have shared previously.

So, anyway, worse things aside, three weeks ago I had a regular visit with my internist and when she asked me a question, it reminded me that I had been having irregular spotting, something, it turns out, who knew, that women of a certain dotage and nearing their seventh decade are not supposed to have.

I mean really, who knew.  Within days I was having an ultrasound.  Not all that pleasant, but, well, you know.  Within a few more days I was having biopsies snipped, pulled and unceremoniously yanked from my nether regions.  You know.

Within a few more days I was having all of the pre-surgery testing done and an EKG had some "squiggles, but I do not want you to worry about them, but I think it would be a good idea to get a cardiac stress test before your surgery next week."

O.K.  By the time of the pre-surgery testing, the biopsy results were back and it was not looking all that wonderful. 

The sun was not shining, the birds not singing, and the unicorns were not eating butterflies and pooping rainbows. 

Two weeks after that first accidental memory and comment, I had the big gun surgery.  Aside from panicking about being sedated (a certain kind of flashback about not having control of my body), I welcomed all the sedation meds they had and came through just fine.  No actual panic attacks.  No physically defending myself whilst going under or coming back out of that unconsciousness.

I had not embarrassed myself.  No one learned what an emotional mess I am and mostly I did not embarrass myself.  I cannot properly express how grateful I am for that.  Even now, a week later, I have a startle moment and have to breathe a bit to relax away from that whole humiliation possibility.
There was a moment just before I succumbed to the anesthesia when they strapped my arms to these crazy shelf things on both sides of the operating table when I thought that I was going to completely come apart.  But, I kept on breathing, had been meditating my ass off since before I left for the hospital, became a bit more sedated and went off-line, so to speak, and did not freak.

I learned that once in there, a whole ecosystem of weird stuff was found that never showed up on the ultrasound.  Polyps were harvested, fibroids left alone (except for more tissue samples), the tiny assortment of cysts will be watched from now on and the pathology reports were back in thirty-six hours and no cancer was found.  None. 

The surgeon and my internist both expressed their concern about how I did not seem worried about the rush of procedures and tests and more tests.  And, whilst it seemed weird to share with them, I do not worry about much any more, here in my now new life.

I am free and alive and the things that worried me are no longer a part of my life.  So, I mean, what is the point?  Worrying never solved or helped anything.  Nothing.  Not a single thing.  I always mess up this quote, but it is something about worry being the payments on a debt you do not even have yet.  Something like that.

Anyway, I do not worry.  Truthfully, whatever happens will just happen and there is not a thing that I could have done about any of that two weeks of health care.

I was in good hands, with people I trust and since I am not a doctor and they are doctors who do this sort of doctor stuff all the time, I mean, even if I tried to think of something to fret about I am sure that I would not have been able to excavate a single thing.

If I had cancer then I would have figured out what I was going to do next.  If, as it turns out, I did not have cancer then I would have wasted valuable time that could have been spent on napping, chocolate (I am totally serious about the chocolate) and reading and spending time with the boys or just doing nothing.

I have come to realize that transitioning to my now new life that I have already made some significant changes to how I live, how I want to live and all that jazz.  If cancer were to be a part of my life, the only thing that I would do differently would be to have more fun now, rather than plan and parse out stuff the way I have been doing.  But, really, no significant changes to any part of my life.

And, most interestingly, not having cancer has moved me to that one different thing, which is to not miss a single moment of fun experiences.  Also, I had to dip into the money I got from my ex in order to pay for a truly stunning and breathtaking amount of medical expenses, and I have decided that I am going to use more of that money instead of being unsuitably frugal.  I am not going to be a crazy person or anything, but I am going to have more experiences with my daughter and all the boys.

On the day between the cardiac stress test (I got the nuclear one) and my big surgery I went to the little gym down the street and signed up for a membership.  I still have to wait until I stop bleeding/spotting before I go and exercise there, but hopefully that will be only another week or so.

Oh, when I saw my internist on Monday to follow up on the surgery and all of the test results, the changes I have made in my diet and activities over the past three months resulted in a freaky improvement in all the stuff that the tests were for.  I now have a decrease in two of my regular meds.

One more thing is that the cardiac stress test showed that I have a brilliant and strong heart, but I do have coronary heart disease.  I am certain as I am of anything that that little issue is mostly due to the stresses from that other life.  And, I am doing so well that the only change I have to make in my meds is to keep taking massive doses of vitamin D and B and a little orange-flavored aspirin every day.  Which I will do as soon as I remember to take it. 

Change does not come easy to me.

I am blessed with this now new life, I am doing good work, feel healthier than I have in, gosh, probably fifteen years and whatever comes my way, much worse things have happened to me. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

nuttin' honey

I am not feeling well enough to write about all of the stuff that is making me feel not well, but I did go on-line to look for books to borrow from the library.  I cannot do much, but I can certainly find the energy to sit and read.

I learned something about myself from the book search, though.  Even though my daughter told my grandsons that I read a lot and do not really do much else...a whole other thing...lordy...I learned that even I cannot borrow and read a book in which one of the characters is named Sir Goldenloin.

Kind of grateful for that.  Just saying.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


From not writing anything, anywhere for a long time, something happened yesterday that spoke to me fully transcending the whole thing about things speaking to us.

There was a riot in Baltimore, MD/US related to yet another young black man dying in police custody.  The arena of young black men being in much too close proximity to negative contact with authorities is one that is nearly ageless in this country.  Minorities suffer all over the world.  The privileged lording it over the less privileged, who then rise to do the same to whomever is more recently on the low spot.

Anyway, whilst going to a mall to pick up her son, a mother saw that same son on the news, lower face masked, participating in the riot.  When she arrived there she found him and began berating him, including grabbing him, giving him slaps against his upper body and forcing him away from the center of the riot. 

Because nearly everyone has great media in their hand or pocket, those smart phones are out and recording the action, and this mother and son encounter was captured and shared and found its way to the news. 

There has been universal praise for this mother for taking charge and what is truly, in effect, proactive behavior to educate, instruct and remind him of how he was raised and exactly what she expects of him.  The final shot of the two of them is him looking back at her with a look on his face that is the perfect expression of his burgeoning understanding of what was important and what was likely to happen after the cameras moved on to other things.

I have been that kind of mother.  My daughter never participated in actions that lacked support for others, much less riots.  But, all of that is another story, several stories.

It is just that what happened snapped me out of my funk last night.  That, and needing to find out more about a person that I have been seeing on a cam.  You know, those traffic cams that monitor every single, blessed moment of our lives.  At least in public, and I am not so sure about how secure we are in our homes in large urban areas.  That technology is some pretty serious stuff.

Whatever.  This morning I decided to try to find the exact place where I see this person on a particular cam.  I never expected to find the exact place or even the general area, but I did.  I even found him on a shot on Google maps or live or street view or whatever it is called.

I immediately felt scared and ashamed.  There truly is not any any privacy for any of us, because this technology is everywhere.

I felt both violating of his privacy and violated myself.  This happened an hour ago and my own shame increases.  But, the honest truth is that I will keep watching this particular cam because it makes me feel good to see him most days, sitting in his usual space and enjoying the weather and interacting with other people and feeding the birds and everything else.  It really makes me feel good, that part does.  Being able to find the place where I first encountered him and finding him on that image, taken who know how long ago, is totally weirding me out and only the next few days will tell whether or not I continue to watch this particular cam.

The other cams I watch are scenic, with no possibility of identifying any location or person.  They are all public spaces, as is the one in which I see that man,  and whilst I do not like the whole concept, I do understand the official need to have eyes on the scene.  It is the nature of our world now that there are plenty of people ready and willing, and perhaps waiting or planning to be dastardly to public treasures, which includes people.

As evidenced by the coverage of the doings in Baltimore this week, although that came to my more personal attention because of the smart phone images.

Maybe it is my own, health-fueled, isolation, but I really love watching natural scenes that I will never have a chance to visit.  I will never travel to Hawaii or Eastern Europe or the tropics or anyplace that is more than a hundred miles from where I live.  Yet, I can go there and sit at my computer and relax to the ocean waves breaking against a shore, in all parts of the world. 

I can watch wild animals eating, visiting water holes, playing and living their lives.  I do, however, hope that I never have to see the entire circle of life played out.  Not that I am afraid of it, but it is not my favorite thing right now.

I like looking a landscapes where not much happens, or long views of cityscapes.  I like seeing how differently they look from day to night and in-between.  The seasons are still to come because I only recently discovered these things.

And, the truth is that I find myself caring about that man and when he did not show up for a few days I worried about him.  And, it is not that I am avoiding my own life.  I am working my ass off to building this now new life and bulldozing (if necessary) my way through the rough spots.  I am moving out in directions I never conceived.  Ever.  So, there.

There is not any real point to any of this.  Except that, maybe, I can care about the world and all that jazz.  And, maybe, I can care about one person who I will never meet, even though I found him by being a voyeur.  Lordy.

This is full of spelling mistakes, so ignore them.  Now I have to go shower so that I can visit the mammowagon to get squished.  I might treat myself to dinner out.  An early mom's day gift to myself.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Tonight I was supposed...self write a letter to my pain.  However, it had other ideas and wanted, insisted on writing to me.  A letter.  More of a manifesto.  I am not having any of it.


trying harder

here.  really am.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015



Glorious Earth Day, here again. 
I cannot think of much progress anyone had made in saving our planet lately, but Earth Day is still a nice idea.

I cannot think of anything to write about.  Still recovering and feeling like tired and crappy, but like today enough to make an effort.

Happiness to all of my friends on this beautiful blue marble.

Saturday, March 28, 2015


I finally sorted out most of my medical mess yesterday. 

My new and self-proclaimed greater and more comprehensive insurance is certainly new, but is fraught with not great and whilst it may be more comprehensive (I will never know because I am too confused right now and it might become my usual state), it is much more confusing to navigate.  A conservative estimate of how much time this ate up (sorry, it is late and I am hungry) is that I spent between ten and twelve hours on the phone or on the computer, often working on both at the same time.  By the time I left the pharmacy last night, having cleared up a whole poop-load of miscommunication that originally indicated that I might be hoarding or misusing one of the happy drugs, I was more than exhausted, but feeling so much better about every darn thing.

As for misuse of that med, I had mentioned that I was nearly out of the pills and when my doctor's office called in a new prescription, the nurse called me back and told me that the prescription was refused because I already picked it up.

He was positive that was the information from the pharmacist, and I could not remember doing that.  I have been so sick I thought it must be that I am more unwell emotionally.  I was questioning all kinds of things and experiences from the week.  And, I was really frightened, scared that my mental illness was getting out of control.  I mean, if I could not remember fetching an anti-depressant, could not find the bottle or paperwork anywhere in the house or the car, then I was in serious trouble. 

All of my doubts about my abilities and my path towards better health meant that it was all probably an illusion.  I could feel myself going to ground, preparing to hide out and hope everything would pass.  And, then, it seemed as though confronting my bad memory about the med would provide some useful information, something that would help me pull myself back to what stands for normalcy for me.  I decided to go back to the pharmacy and have the pharmacist tell me that, yes, I had picked up the medicine.  I needed that closure about that.

Turned out that I did not pick up the medicine, but it had been re-shelved because it was rejected by my insurance because a refill was being requested a week and a half too early.

I am good at being able to express my feelings now, but I cannot express the relief I felt about not having made that mistake.  Even better is that the pharmacist was so helpful and explained how to take all of the new and old meds so that they would be effective, especially since there were increases in dosage and new meds. 

I was so thrilled that I bought myself some mascara and a 12-pack of diet cola on the way out and promptly dropped it just outside the door.  Had to go back in for bags for the cans that spewed all over and it is still in the car.

I am a very resourceful and determined person.  I sometimes think that I am more stubborn than dedicated, but it is what it is.  I rarely give up.  It is one of the reasons I am still here on the planet.  It is how I am able to get up in the morning and do stuff.  Most days.

This past week was a challenge and I was not all that physically or emotionally up to it. 

I have been in and out of illness without sufficient breaks of health for a long time. 

I finally found a doctor in this village and she is outstanding.  No nonsense, and I really like and need that.  She also was clear about how I was not properly medicated (except for the happy drugs, which she only had to noodle with a bit). 

So, I am on some new meds, have in increase in others/happy drugs, and two meds are gone.  Even so, I am taking more stuff than before.  It is too soon to know if any of this will work well, but I am feeling more confident about where all this is going.

I received the last of my test results yesterday and I do not have the suspected problem, and the results were so good that because of the results and my age I do not have to have that painful test again. 

I think that what bothered me so much this week is that I had to keep calling back to my insurance company because whomever I talked to had given me incomplete or incorrect information.  What if I had gone with the first and bad information?  I shudder.  I need to add here that part of the problem is with me.  I am not assertive enough to ask questions when faced with someone who is positive that she is correct.  I could not ask for clarification or challenge anything told to me.  That is why I had to keep calling so many times, hoping to connect with someone with the right information and with whom I felt comfortable talking.  This is not the fault or a problem with the people on the other end of the phone.  It is with me.

What worries me is that I found myself paralyzed at several points during the hours and days of calling and that I had moments of just giving up and doing without the health care stuff I needed.  As it is, one of the specialists I need cannot be found closer than one hundred...yes, one hundred...miles from where I live.  I wonder how that fits into my new, better and more comprehensive insurance coverage.  My final call to them yesterday afternoon reassured me that this is the case and that fact even astounded the company representative that was trying to help me.

So, I will be going without the help of that kind of medical resource and my doctor is readjusting some of my meds and we are going to consider this the best we can do.

I am feeling less fragile and hope that I will be able to figure out what all of this is here to teach me.  One thing I know already is that I cannot take my endurance for granted, as I nearly failed, gave up a couple of times.

I still have to find a therapist and dentist next week.  Fortunately, I have only one day with something that needs to be done, so I have plenty of time to search my insurance coverage on-line, make calls and have little breakdowns.  But, I am not quitting.  I am going to get this mess straightened out, keep reminding me that most of the mix-up is because of my abilities to cope and just keep keeping on.

Monday, March 23, 2015

finding medical care

I have an internist and am very satisfied with the care and resources.  Unfortunately, the world of medical insurance and care is so complicated and difficult to research. 

I have a computer, it is connected to the Internet and I know enough about both aspects to teach other people how to use both, heck, I can even write code, or I used to be able to do that.  I am too stressed from organizing my health care stuff to find out.

I am privileged.  It is important to stress how insanely privileged I am regarding medical care.  I am acutely aware of this because I work with people who are not so lucky.  And, it really is all about luck.  The luck of having the ability to wrestle through all of this mess.  Lucky to have sufficient resources to afford additional health coverage in addition to what Medicare provides. 

What I have in common with less lucky people is the nearly paralyzing stress and fatigue of trying to navigate this crap. 

It is like the complexity of taxes, of all kinds.  Get one system, simplify it and apply it to everyone.

It is like laws.  Go back to the time before laws and lawering and make everyone follow that if what you want to do or say does not cause harm to anyone or anything...including yourself in most instances, there certainly are exceptions...then go ahead and do or say whatever the heck you want to say or do.  If there is no harm, then, no foul.

There are lots of other ways to make life less stressful, and I know that the one most helpful to me is to make the payment systems at stores and clinics and wherever, one same process.  If I have to scan or swipe my information or membership card, if I have to swipe my payment method card, standardize all the damn machines for doing so into one universal machine.  Period.  I know that the clerks and sales people would like the same thing. 

But, this health stuff is horrible.  I know that I have decent access to care and that it will (most probably) will not impoverish me, or if it does, it will be relatively temporary.  I prepare for extra and/or medical expenses by saving anything I can.  Sometimes I have to delay medical care for a while if it is not an emergency, and I do my best to avoid any behaviors that would create an emergency situation.  Except for the falling, but I am working on that.

I arranged for and paid for the top tier of health benefits through my medical plan, for medical, dental and vision care.  The dental benefits alone will pay for the extra fees.

However, because our health care system is such a mess, many providers, clinics, hospitals and individual doctors are bailing out of some things. 

Medicare is one of them.  Complicated and inconvenient (and sometimes greedy)insurance companies and their procedures is another.  It once took my old insurance company nearly eight months to pay a simple office visit claim.  During those months, my doctor and clinic were waiting for claim payments from practically every insurance with which they work.  That is insane, and whilst I understand the desire to hold on to your money as long as possible, to cause problems for others who need their money is kind of disgusting. 

And, that causes all manner of difficulties for health consumers, me, you and everyone.  And, that means that I have spent two full days trying to find:
  • A pre-colonoscopy preparation thing that my insurance will cover.  It is in my best interest to do so because to pay for it myself will cost more than a hundred dollars/US.  My second call to my prescription service graced me with a person who was willing, unlike the first call just a minute earlier, to dig around and find a prep thing that would be covered.  A subsequent call with the gastro office was actually funny.  The prep thing that my insurance will cover is one of several dozen available, but which has not been used in several years...maybe longer.  The office person was familiar with it and will prescribe it, but it might not be available in a pharmacy; will have to be ordered.  However, it will save me me and will cost only $14.00/US.  So, I can schedule the colonoscopy.  Ultimately, two or three hours well spent.
  • Same thing for another prescription, one for my heart crap.  I have that settled, too.
  • Now that I have moved, I need a new therapist.  It would be best for me to have one with a couple of specialties or at least experience or interest in treating someone like me.  The one that my internist says is the best match for me no longer takes my insurance or is a Medicare provider, because of the issues I have already mentioned.  In fact, when I called the clinic, the woman who answered the phone was so cool and welcoming until I asked if they took my insurance.  My best guess is that she often experiences people who are upset and probably not nice about that.  So, she was immediately stressed and defensive.  I had to reassure her that I was not upset or challenging their policies before I could convince her to tell me what their customary session charges are.  
  • Another few hours were spent, nearly five, in searching for a female therapist who is part of my insurance providers and within driving distance that would not encourage an overnight stay, you know, just to be safe from all the driving.  I think I have found two possible therapists, but I am now too exhausted to try any contact with either of them today.
  • One of my anti-anxiety meds has gone from $26/US for three months to the same price, but for only one month, and I cannot express how unbelievably grateful I am that I will be able to afford this med, even though the first month will cost $130/US. A minor complication that I am not fussing about.  It took a long time to find this med.
  • The dentist I would like to use is within walking distance of my flat, is reasonably priced and is nice.  He is not on my provider list.  Huge surprise.  So, I am going to just stab a knife into the list of the ones I did find.  Too tired to do anything else but home for the best.
Those who do not have my resources do what I used to do and that is to seek medical service with anyone who will take them, not rip them off too much and not be too far away to reach.

Having what I have now is why I am so privileged and lucky and I have nothing that is worthy of complaint.  So, I am not really, but I am thinking about how if this is so difficult for me with every skill I have, what can be done for those around me who cannot navigate or even begin to understand this mess.

I was planning to visit the village's community center where there is a program for seniors.  I cannot just walk in and announce that, "Hey, I know that there are other old folk like me who have having conniptions about juggling all that health care jazz..."

Nope, cannot do that, although I am thinking that going there and meeting other old folk would be more than nice.  Maybe we can incorporate health care stuff into the employment stuff that I will be starting up again.  Soon, I hope. 

This mess is not our fault, unless you want to extrapolate it to how we vote for the people who are the chief messer-uppers.

Gooder-news is that I found a support group that is close enough to not require an overnight stay and I am going to it tomorrow.  Unfortunately, it cuts into my on-line and on-telephone research time, but there is a excellent chance that I will sort out all of this medical and insurance stuff before I die, but we have to wait until all of my test results are back from last week's bloodletting.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


I had an appointment with my new doctor this week.  Two days ago.  Some of the test results are back and, man, is my life changing or what/

New heart meds.
Different statin.
New high blood pressure med, that also helps with my heart crap.
Vitamin D, because I apparently do not have a level that could be found.  Should help with nearly every health issue I have.
Transitioning from oral meds for diabetes to more oral meds plus insulin.  I can hardly wait.
Some weird preliminary something from my pap test, but I cannot handle worrying about it now.
Bone density testing, colonoscopy (freaking yikes), mammogram and some other damn things still to come.  I can hardly wait.

My anti-anxiety med came back at nearly $127.00/US per month, and that was after the insurance discount.  Under the old insurance plan it was $10.00/US per month.  It is one that most people cannot tolerate taking, weird side effects and all that, but it has worked like a charm for me; I really hate to give it up.  Oh, well, until I find a med that my insurance will cover I will just have to embrace skittering out of my skin for a while.  Should really be a boost to the fighting downstairs.  I can hardly wait.

Other than that, my new doctor is a dream come true.  As recently as four months ago, my old doctor was noodling around and not addressing the problems I was having.  To find the new doc and have her be someone this thorough and assertive about treating the few things I have is, well, it is a little stunning, as well as being reassuring.  More than reassuring.

I meet with a diabetic clinic person in two weeks, see my doc three weeks following that, to retest my blood and adjust meds as needed.

I am used to needles, both for myself and as a vet tech and owner of pets with extraordinary needs. If you are fuzzy I can treat your diabetes and hyper-thyroidism, give you infusions, administer vaccinations, rid you of worms and other parasites, and neuter you.  I really can.  So, none of that should be a problem.  I can hardly wait.

Other than that, I feel just fine, like usual.  Although, as I spent the afternoon thinking about all of this, there might be a chance that when all the dust/drugs/needles settle that I might begin to have more energy.  It surely would be wonderful to find the right types and amounts of  not so depressed happier-drugs after all this time.

The fall I took last week is healing and I can lift my leg again and get into and out of the car with ease.  I have new library books and some DVDs

Oh, and I am calling my new doc Sawbones because she told me that if I am going to keep falling so much that I had better get a bone density test done pronto.

I finally made an appointment with the dentist just down the block.  I can walk there.  Turns out that even though I do not have a plan that requires me to choose from a school pack gaggle gargle (HA) of dentists, he is not on the list-that-does-not-exist.  Lordy.

I have tomorrow with no appointments, nothing to do except sort art supplies or if that gets too strenuous, I have fillums.  Guardians of the GalaxyMaleficentMaze RunnerThe Hundred Foot Journey.

I can hardly wait.

I am sort of regretting making this the week when I do or arrange for all of this stuff.  So much easier to crawl back into my lair, dark and quiet and lovely space that it is.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


I should be leaving for my thrift shop gig right now, but I am here, sittin' at the old computer looking for recipes to make a marjoram tincture or oil infusion.  I am tired, but I cannot sleep.  I am hungry, but I cannot eat anything without risking nausea or at least an upset stomach.  I have a small headache.

My downstairs neighbors had another of their fights this morning.  Someone started it at 3:10 a.m.  It woke me and I got up.  The floor must have been creaky, because the shouting stopped immediately.  As long as I was awake, I did what all old people do, I went to the bathroom.  When I returned to bed and settled down, hoping that the very brief fight would somehow, miraculously, not keep me up, the fighting began again. 

It did not last long, but there was not any way that I could go back to sleep.  PTSD triggered in that way, and this kind of fear-induced adrenaline takes a long time to metabolize.  When we are frightened, adrenaline is produced for the flight-or-fight response needed to protect ourselves from danger, and if there is no immediate risk, it is absorbed/or something in just a few minutes.

When released, triggered by an experience that returns us to previous trauma, the adrenaline sticks around for a long time.  For me it can be more than an hour.  It used to last longer, so an hour is a real improvement, and I am grateful. 

But, the fighting from downstairs prevents me from going back to sleep.  I rarely assign responsibility to the triggering event.  It has been more helpful for me to take on all of the responsibility for my feelings and, most especially, my responses to what happens in my life.  But, I make an exception for the couple in the lower flat.  I have spoken to them a few times, explaining the problem. 

The first time we talked, I shared my issues with their fighting, a tiny bit of my experience and a bit more of the work I did with our women at the domestic violence shelter.  Lots of blah-blah, but I told her, the wife, that I was a readily available resource for them and either one of them could come upstairs to take a break and/or cool off.  Any time of day or night was fine, and one of them was always welcome to sleep or just hang out by her/himself.  I have been criticized for making the offers to them, but they do not have any other places to go except for their friends, who most likely would be as intoxicated as they would be.  Too bad.  They can use my flat if need be.  I just do not want anyone to be hurt or scared or die.  You know?

A bit of background is that the fights have been happening since I moved here, which means that they were happening long before I arrived.  In the first six weeks that I lived here, there were ten big fights.  Like, really big.  A few lasted for hours.  I stopped counting after ten, but there were a few more.  One involved another couple. 

After that two-couple fight, I tried to talk to them, but no one answered the door and I discovered several days later, during another conversation with the wife, that they were most likely sleeping off an adult-beverage-fueled evening, as they had made the other couple stay the night, being unable to safely drive home.  Alcohol seems to be a large factor in these fights.

So, once again, no sleep and I had to manage to stay awake (no adult beverages) to make my morning appointments and all that jazz.  After a few hours, I called our landlord to share what has been happening.  Interestingly enough, he called their cell phones to read and remind them of the noise prohibitions in our leases before he called me.  This is when he asked me to call the police.  I apologize for the lack of coherent continuity; I am tired.

So, anyway, after that big fight, she initiated the conversation, explaining in a snotty manner that they are young (emphasis) and they like to go out.  In fact, they had so much fun that they made their friends stay overnight for safety.  Then, she looked at me the way old, fun-crushing babes like me deserved to be visually chided.

I asked her if she was talking about regular people noise and she just stared at me.  I said, "You know, regular people noise, the kind people make when they are having fun."  Still facing that stare, I continued to tell her that I was concerned, tried to talk to them and finally had to call our landlord because of the fighting, and that we had previously talked about that problem, you know, middle of the night, PTSD triggering, inability to return to sleep and the problems it causes for the next couple of days.

I reminded her that my health issues are not her concern, but that they are mine, and that all of this was not so much about the two of them, but about me and that I would not be able to continue to live there if I could not sleep.  Seriously, I told her, this is only about me.  Although I think you are  nice people, what you do or do not do is your business, I have to take care of this aspect of my health.

Lots more blah-blah-blah from me, but I still find it interesting that she/they think that I am just being an old, cranky and nick-picking neighbor that is trying to interfere with their fun.

She initiated another conversation about this a couple of weeks later, sharing that they had some serious conversations about their relationship and were considering separating for a while to see what happens.

That was three weeks ago, three really nice weeks of good sleep and decent relations with them.

Well, until last night/this morning.

I am hoping that she did not answer the door(s) because she is sleeping.  Even if she simple does not want to talk to me or face me, that is fine, too.  But, I would have liked to go to work today.  I would like to have slept and not be tired and unable to nap right now.  I would like all of that very much.

My fear is so much less disabling now.  I am upset with myself that I cannot control the triggers when they come.  I hate having to interfere with the lives of other people.  Everyone should be able to do what they want, even if other people do not like it, even if doing whatever it is is not in their own best interest.