2019/09/29

Hey There, Mr. Blue

Da Goddess @ 12:40

I always knew — or, at least, suspected — the gray sky would give way to the blue. I just didn’t know when or how. I was also reluctant to admit it.

But here I lay, in my big bed, alone, watching the clouds lighten and change. The deep gray slowly morphs into something else, something more ephemeral until I can’t remember how dark the skies were as I gaze intensely into the brightening blue.

I should be happy with the new sky. I should feel lighter and brighter, more energized. I don’t. I liked the gray. I liked the way the heavier sky seemed to envelop and fully embrace me. That’s what gave me the courage to move more, to look harder at myself and my surroundings, to feel free to be myself. Happy, sad, everything and nothing in between. The gray sky never asked for anything other than I let myself be who I was in any given moment.

Blue skies almost demand you yield to their impossible brightness. Their big, puffy, spectacularly white clouds encourage you to spring into action.

I’m not that girl. I haven’t been her for a very long time. I can’t just turn on a light and bounce out of bed, straight into a day full of busy-ness. Now, in these days of aches and pains and an unsteady gait, I need time to slowly stretch, to ease movement out of weary joints and muscles, to will my body to get upright and remain that way. It’s what happens as we age or as we recover from some calamity or another…while we age. We don’t do anything quickly — even falls seem to take forever. Or maybe it’s just me.

In the gray, soft light I feel as though I have permission to take my time and ease into standing, walking, or even breathing. Nothing is hurried. Everything is cushioned and gently guided by Time itself.

Come to think of it, I don’t fall on gray days. I only fall under skies of blue. Why have I not realized this before? Perhaps I have and don’t remember. That, too, happens more as we get older.

As much as I do appreciate the brilliant azure skies above, I find myself more at ease, more myself under the gray gaze. I like the feeling of all the heavens closing in to become one, to become a singular entity drawing its arms in close about me, tenderly nudging my body and soul into the activities of life. I don’t greet blue skies with a kind smile these days. It’s just the way it is now.

Hey there, Mr. Blue
I see you
Now go away

Hey there, Mr. Blue
I’ve seen you
And now it’s time
To say adieu
Let me have the gentle kind
Kind of day for which I’ve paid
In many, oh so many ways
I’ll see you soon
Soon enough to love you once again
Just not today
Okay?*

I shall sit here on my porch and await the return of the reassuring blanket of comforting tones and perceived weight, the safety of a sky that looks the same at 3pm as it does at 10am. I’ll be here. I’ll wait…right…here…

(*Apologies to Jeff Lynne for the bastardization of a really nice song.)

2019/05/07

Dear Dad: One Year Later

Da Goddess @ 10:30

Dad, it’s been a year since you left us and so much has happened. I know you’ve been looking out for us because we’re all still here. So many things could have taken any one of us, especially C and Mom, but, again, we’re still here. Thank you for that.

Thank you for also making it possible to get set up on my own again. I’m not 100% myself yet, but I’m getting there. I keep wanting to call and tell you about so many things. Then I catch myself and remember you’re no longer here. Physically, that is, because I feel you around all the time. I’m so grateful for that. I’m grateful to be reminded of you at every turn. The crows remind me. My landlord’s cars remind me. Just having a place to live, to call my own, reminds me. Thank you thank you thank you.

There are still tears and I think it’s safe to say there will always be a chance of tears. I know you lived a lot longer than you thought you would. I’m glad you did. I’m glad you got to know your grandkids and even happier they got to know you. Thank you for loving them so much!

I also know you felt you were ready to go. I understand. Rather, my head understands while my heart continues to struggle. 87 is a great age. There were times I thought we were going to lose you before — heart attacks are as scary for the family as they are for the patient! You were always too stubborn to go early. I guess a part of me thought you’d defy death forever, as unlikely as that is. All those years of “rehearsals” you’d think I’d have been more prepared. You could have been 105 years old and that would still have felt too soon to me. That said, I get it. It was your time. I’m just glad you didn’t have months or years of pain and suffering. Going as quickly as you did, I consider it a blessing.

I’m going to miss you forever, Dad. I will. All of us will. I’m going to keep thinking of all the good times we had. I’ll remember some of the bad, too. It’s only natural. But I won’t dwell on those because your goodness, subtle kindnesses, inner marshmallow, and your love for your family were stronger than any flaws you had, even that wicked loud roar when you were mad.

It feels like only yesterday I was rushing to hospital. Again, it’s been a crazy year with grieving your death, Mom in and out and in and out of hospital, C’s stroke, the uncertainty of my health, the greater uncertainty of housing…the year was occasionally going by too quickly or crawling along, depending on the memories I was facing, the way things usually go. It pretty much feels like one great big surreal fever dream. When grief engulfs me, I let myself feel it. I acknowledge that heartbreaking sadness washing over me. I accept it as one would any pain you feel because that’s part of life and loving. I’m glad you were my dad. I’m glad you ARE MY dad. I just wish you were here with us live and in person. Since that isn’t possible, I focuse on how lucky I was to have you as a father. Thank you.

I miss you. I miss you. I’ll always miss you. And I love you. Always. ALWAYS.

Thanks for being my dad and for loving me.

With love from your odd child,
Me

2019/05/02

(T)Hairsday — The Color Purple

Da Goddess @ 06:15

I’m still purple. Actually, I’m MORE purple at the moment.

I’ve stopped thinking about my hair color except when I catch sight of myself in the mirror. But other people comment. The comments are always, surprisingly, positive. From little old ladies at the store to my doctors, people have been kind.

It’s not like I’m the only one in the world with vivid hair, so that may well be the very thing that’s softened people’s response to mine. All I know is it makes me happy. For less than $10, I’m getting a couple months worth of joy. Not bad, eh?

The Color Purple

That’s about as good a pic as I can get with the phone. It doesn’t give you the full extent of my purpleness, the depth of the color, nor does it show you the smile on my face. But, trust me when I say it’s very purple, deeply so, and it’s nothing but the embodiment of joy for me.

Now, if you’re considering doing something similar:

1. Consider your skin color. You’ll probably want to avoid colors that wash out your complexion or cause you to look ill. Think about your favorite piece of clothing, the one that gets you compliments. That color is likely what will be a good choice for your hair.

2. Temporary color is a great choice for anyone wanting to give this a trial run. I started with Colorista by L’Oreal. It came with several pairs of gloves (hang on to the extras as they come in super handy for future hair experiments) since one bottle is enough for a couple applications for most people. If you have very long or thick hair, you may require more product than someone with shorter and/or thinner hair.

3. Don’t spend an arm and a leg for color. I got my color at Walmart. The price was excellent. The location was convenient. For me? Doesn’t get better than that!

4. Pay attention to the color swatches on the box. If your hair is very dark, you may need to lighten it before you start playing with color. Here’s the trick with that: buy two boxes of THE least expensive hair dye. Go for anything that DOESN’T say “ash” or “golden” as either of those can cause your vibrant color to look off. I recommend getting two boxes because it makes life easier to have a second on hand in case you need to go lighter.

5. Do NOT do more than one hair lightening or dye job per day! Your hair can’t take it unless you’re using professional products and, if you’re going that route, just have this done professionally (you’ll save yourself a lot of angst).

6. After your hair has lightened up, go ahead and apply the temporary color. Make sure you wear gloves! Follow the directions provided. Seriously. Follow. The. Directions.

7. If, after the first application, you don’t feel your color is bold enough, wait a day. If you find it necessary, do a second application. This generally does the trick. The second application tends to make the color pop. POP. Pop. Pop. POP! That’s kind of the whole point of going with unconventional colors, isn’t it?

8. When/if you’re ready for something more permanent or are looking for color that lasts a few extra washes, try Arctic Fox. It’s a semi permanent color and is holding up quite well. I’m currently sporting Arctic Fox Purple Rain. I waited a week before going with a second application and it was just what I wanted.

9. Use a gentle shampoo after coloring. Harsher shampoo will strip the color and that’s pretty much the opposite of what you want. Condition well.

10. If you’ve decided to go with a permanent color, try Schwartzkopf’s Göt2be products. They’re bright and affordable.

11. If you went and played around with your color, please comment below with a link to photos of your hair. I really really want to see and I want to celebrate your courage.

2019/03/31

Eight Turns

Da Goddess @ 18:32

Because my new home is teeny tiny, I don’t have the luxury of a dishwasher. At least, not a dishwasher run by electricity. It all comes down to me.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not currently as diligent about getting the job done as I should be, but they always end up done eventually.

Because I’ve been trained well in the art of pathogen elimination (“we can’t be all ‘ooh! Pathogens…having a party'” as per the man who ran the food handlers’ course I had to attend to work in a restaurant back in my teens), I’ll fess up to having a bit of an obsession with making sure every dirty dish as clean as possible (this was something the former bf didn’t worry about & which often led to me rewashing anything and everything he handwashed during our time together). In order to do this, I’ve developed a ritual.

1. Hot water. Lots of it. This causes me an unwelcome level of agita as I have to turn on the water full force in order to get any heat at all to said water. I live in California. We’re notoriously droughty. But this is the only way for me to get my hot water and needs must.

2. Soap. I need an adequate amount of dish soap to ensure each item is properly cleaned. The former bf would notoriously use a single drop for at least half the entire amount of dirty dishes. That’s inadequate and one of the reasons I rewashed his work on a regular basis. As it stands, as much as I’m pinching pennies, I will NOT compromise when it comes to anything that could possibly make me sick. Food poisoning caused by poorly cleaned surfaces is not an option in my home. Thus I definitely use more than one drop of dish soap per item. I bought a large bottle of dish soap in January and, surprisingly (to the former guy), there’s still more than three quarters of that soap left (he considered anything more than that one drop wasteful). In fact, the smaller bottle I’d filled is still half full.

3. Cleaning utensil. I don’t use a sponge. I’d rather mainline pure clostridium than allow a disgusting petri dish of a sponge to touch anything my food will be in contact with. No matter how many times you run a sponge through the microwave or dishwasher (and, frankly speaking, if you have a dishwasher, just fucking use it, okay? It sanitizes beautifully), that sponge will never not be anything more than a pathogen delivery system.

So what DO I use? A brush. A glorious brush from the dollar store or IKEA. You don’t need to spend more than a buck or two for a brush. More expensive brushes don’t perform any better, they simply cost more.

Because brushes lack soft absorbent surfaces, they don’t retain bacteria or fungi the way a sponge does. That said, at least once a week, let your brush sit in bleach for a minimum of one minute to help eliminate any germs hiding in the opening where the bristles attach to the brush wand.

4. Friction is your friend. You don’t have to scrub hard if you have decent friction. Enough friction to create a good amount of bubbles. Bubbles help lift germs from the surface of whatever you’re washing, which then means they can be sent down the drain and away from your gut. (This same principle applies to handwashing as well, as does the amount of soap you use.)

5. Have some fun. Why not? If, like me, you’re stuck washing dishes by hand, it doesn’t have to completely suck. For me, it’s an opportunity to think about things or to let my imagination run wild about projects I’d like to tackle. It’s also prime music time. I put on music I enjoy and let myself just blank out for a bit…or sway or bop along with the beat.

5a. I also indulge my secret, deeply hidden OCD.

Every dish or glass gets the eight turn treatment each side. (Silverware and cooking utensils get a slightly modified eight turns, but I’ll spare you the details.) I hold the plate or bowl firmly by the edge, scrub quickly up and down (or back and forth, or side to side… however you need to imagine it to make it make sense to you) until I get a decent amount of bubbles in that linear pattern that looks lovely. Then, a quarter turn, repeat the scrub. Followed by several more turns with more bubbles. Basically, I end up doing, you guessed it, eight turns. I repeat the same process on the bottom of the plate, bowl, pan, etc.

Why eight? Four alone would seem inadequate. Five would be uneven. Six wouldn’t allow for every rotation to give equal attention to the surface of the item. Seven, again, odd. Eight turns means each direction gets two chances to get rid of food and germs. The twelve it would take to get each turn the equal number of scrubs just seems like overkill. I’ll do it if I must to get rid of everything bad, but this rarely happens.

Eight turns. Each side. Lots of suds (they don’t need to be big bubbles, just sudsy).

6. Rinsing. Hot water, obviously. Both sides, natch.

7. Drying. Make sure you allow your newly cleaned items on a newly cleaned surface, be it a clean towel or a rack. I use a metal rack because it’s the only option I have available, but it’s also what I’d choose due to the ability to sanitize it.

I allow the clean items to air dry. Towel drying has the potential to transfer icky, mean, nasty pathogens to everything you just spent a fair amount of effort to clean. Don’t let the pathogens party on your watch!

***

And there you have my insane approach to handwashing dishes. If I had a two well sink, I’d include a bleach dip. But I don’t so I can’t and I’m okay with it.

Do you have a specific approach to dishwashing? I would love to hear about it.

2019/03/29

A Good Cry

Da Goddess @ 02:36

I’ve been battling a series of unfortunate and disabling headaches the past week or so and I’ve just about had it. I’m never sure how long I’ll be down or if I’ll ever get over it at all.

The one thing I’m pretty sure of is it’s all because of my neck. When my neck stops hurting as much as it does when my headaches are at peak awfulness, the headaches stop. This has been the case since day one. With the exception of that post-op window of neck pain relief. Boy, do I ever miss those days!

So, as I’m wont to do, I go searching for things to make me happy, to distract me, to just find something to make me FEEL something. And I saw Tim Minchin tweet a link to a speech he gave. It made me cry. It was a good cry.

Then, I watched Better Things with Pamela Adelon. The episode was “No Limit”. I cried again. It was cathartic. I usually, at the very least, tear up watching Better Things, but every once in a while I full on bawl. This episode did that to me. Adelon is, quite simply, the funniest, realest, most honest voice of my particular generation of moms, especially single moms. She gets it right. She knows. And she’s just so open about all of it…what we get right and what we get wrong. It touches my heart every. fucking. time. (Pamela, if you somehow see this, THANK YOU for everything — for making me laugh, cry, and mostly making me feel seen and heard and validated.) By the way, if you’ve not seen Better Things, do yourself a favor and watch. Start at the very beginning and work your way up to the current season. You owe yourself this show.

My headache isn’t gone, but I feel better for having cried, if that makes any sense. It’s a start, right?

P.S. my only other attempt to brighten my mood as I fight all this bullshit pain comes down to these two words: purple hair.

2019/03/03

Three Days In

Da Goddess @ 00:07

I’m three days in on the SCS trial and I feel like crap. MY head hurts horribly. My neck is locked. My hands are numb and tingling. The bandage over the insertion site is itchy. I haven’t taken a shower yet because I don’t have anyone to tape up all the electrical doodads. I also haven’t filled my prescription for antibiotics yet because I’ve been sleeping sporadically and now it’s raining and I can’t get this stuff wet and I’m loathe to go out if I’ve not showered and I’d have to do either a cab or Uber and the idea of getting in or out of a vehicle makes me cringe so I’m freaking out about everything and I can’t stop my head from feeling like it’s going to explode.

Whew! Glad I got that off my chest.

But, seriously, I feel like crap. I forgot how long it took for the last trial to start feeling okay. I’m so stupid about remembering these details sometimes. Excuse me while I go cry in bed for a couple more days cuz I’m a big baby right now.

2019/02/20

Travel Day

Da Goddess @ 13:10

I feel like crap today, but I gots to be traveling to see the doctor. Uber to train to Uber. Doctor visit was quick, but I saw my favorite PA and got to thank him for getting me my spinal cord stimulator trial for my neck. Couldn’t come at a better time as my right neck, shoulder, and hand are extremely painful at the moment. My blood pressure was 148/100 at check in, which proves how much pain I’m in right now.

So, prescriptions obtained and sent to pharmacy, which they’ll mail meds to me soon.

Uber to train to Uber to home now. Strangely feeling proud to be able to do all this ony own. I feel awfully independent. Yay.

And that’s my day in a nutshell.

What are you up to today?

2018/09/12

The Quicker Picker Upper

Da Goddess @ 10:50

This song brings much joy to my life. I can, have, and will listen to it on repeat for hours.

2018/09/10

Battle Plan

Da Goddess @ 21:45

One of my go to methods to combat depression is watching a show I love.

I’m ten hours in (today alone) on Black Sails. Rewatching this show makes me feel like I can win just about any battle ahead. If Captain Flint and his pirates can face down England and Spain, as well as various mutinous factions within, I can surely prevail my technologically advanced first world problems, right?

P.S. I’ve appropriated the theme song for myself.

P.P.S. If you’ve not seen the show, look for it and watch. Four seasons. All worth your time. Get through the first season’s sex scenes (they’re important to the political climate for women… one of the few positions of power available to women of the time) and just dive into the golden age of piracy and the imagined events leading up to Treasure Island. It’s beautifully filmed, acted, and scored.

Work in Progress

Da Goddess @ 06:51

I’m working so hard to keep my head above water, to keep breathing, to just make sure I continue on each and every day.

Some days are really difficult. Pain, frustration with work comp, frustration with personal stuff, trying to not be in tears all the time make it very hard to keep the darkness away.

The one good thing work comp has done is give me some time with the therapist. Now all I have to do is get scheduled and somehow find transportation to the appointment. (Yet another reason I’m struggling emotionally. I’ve relied on K.A. so much over the years that I painted myself into a corner with regards to any independence, which was okay for a while, but has ultimately not worked in my favor. More on that some other time, perhaps.)

I only know I have to get my head right before the darkness becomes too loud and too convincing, y’know?

Thank God I have Fletch. He keeps things real around here.

2018/09/04

Ermahgerd

Da Goddess @ 21:17

I have no words for how I’m feeling lately.

I’ve started to write a post countless times, but I’m unable to string together a coherent thought.

Sigh.

2018/08/04

Yes!

Da Goddess @ 22:49

Talked with my big sister on the phone today. First time since her stroke. Her progress is remarkable! C’s speech is still slow, but it’s clear and that’s an amazing accomplishment. So many stroke patients don’t get back to even 50%.

Thank you for all your prayers! C still has a ways to go before she’s where she wants to be, but for me, this is a miracle and I will never not be grateful for her surviving this and for your support.

2018/07/29

Down the Toilet

Da Goddess @ 08:44

If you’ve read the Secret Squirrel post ( because you know where the password can be found [it hasn’t changed location or the actual word]), then you’ll need to cleanse your palate. I might have just the thing for you.

Why is it that I can sometimes use almost an entire roll of toilet paper in one sitting and have no problem with the flush, but other times I barely use any and the toilet requires double plunging?

I’m sure it has more to do with the crappy (pun intended) plumbing than it does my bathroom needs/habits. But, y’know I had to put the question out there.

Protected: Super Extra – Secret Squirrel

Da Goddess @ 08:35

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

2018/07/23

Upper Limits

Da Goddess @ 21:59

I’ve reached maximum capacity emotionally.

My older sister, C, had a stroke. Thank God, she’s already home and improving!

I’m about a month away from being homeless. Fingers crossed for a miracle.

The entire ending of a relationship over the course of…however long this has been…has reached peak impact. Especially with circumstances being what they’ve been. (Long story.)

Health 4/10. One life left.

Patience 3/10. See above.

It’s fucking enough already.

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