2018/05/24

If It Weren’t for Bad Luck

Da Goddess @ 15:29

If it weren’t for bad luck, if have no luck at all.

The day before my birthday, Mom was admitted to the hospital with respiratory distress. She went home several days later. I didn’t call because talking made her cough, so we texted.

I just got a call from my younger sister to let me know Mom’s back in hospital again for the same problem. Instead of going to her regular hospital, she’s been admitted to the hospital where Dad died. What’s more, it seems she’s in the same room. (Update: Mom’s actually in the emergency department as of 16:30, so she’s not been admitted.)

J is headed over there now to see what’s going on and will update me. C is, of course, dealing with doctors and Mom.

I almost went down to San Diego yesterday. C and I discussed it and we decided to hold off until next week sometime.

I feel like I’m stuck in a fucking loop right now.

Mojo and I had spoken the other day as Mom was getting settled in at home. Mojo told me, “Grammy keeps saying she’ll take her medicine but she’s done.” My mom had uttered the same thing several times while Dad was dying and again on Mother’s Day. I told her to hold off because we can only deal with so much at once.

This also has had me thinking of us gathering around Dad not long after he’d passed. Mom gasped, put her hand on his chest and said, “oh! I can still feel his heart beating!” She was in shock. I gently told her he was gone and she was likely feeling her own pulse through her hand. I double checked to show her and she looked, momentarily, defeated. I told her she wasn’t the first person to be hopefully mistaken.

While Mom has been conflicted about my dad got a long time, the simple fact is that they’d known each other for over 60 years and had a very emotionally complex relationship, what with marriage, kids, divorce, grandkids, and the rest of the things life throws your way. Being sad, angry, hopeful, relieved, and even confused is understandable. But it also highlighted how fragile she’s become, not just over the years, but in the space of a few days. Emotional conflict can bring with it health issues no one expects. I’m not saying Mom’s health crisis at the moment is the direct result of her emotional health, but her emotions are not working FOR her right now.

Dear God, please help Mom get better. Please help all of us deal with this in helpful and loving ways. And, pretty please, don’t let May become the month my sisters and I become adult orphans. We’re still working through the last loss.

Can I get an Amen?

17:00 Update: CT scan looking for blood clots. X-rays were okay.
17:30 Update: nothing obvious, so that’s good news. Tests all seem to be clear.
19:00 Update: Mom being transferred to her regular hospital where all her records are available for anyone who tends to her. I’m relieved beyond belief.

2018/05/18

52 — The Full Deck

Da Goddess @ 00:01

I’m 52 years old. Five. Two. A full deck. Or am I the “fool” deck? Sometimes it does seem like I’ve been given that role. But, nah. I think I’m falling into the positive camp this year. Despite all the ups and downs, I’m glad I’m here. Even if I am a bit worse for wear.

Technically, I hit “over-the-hill” a good while back. Emotionally, I think 39 was that year. Physically, ugh. I don’t know when it happened (maybe 2005 when I got hurt?). All I know is that none of it matters because I’m still hanging in here and that needs to be celebrated!

I’m not sure how I’ll celebrate, but it might include cake. It’ll probably include cake. Okay, cake will be involved. Are you happy? Yes, cake. One of the few pleasures you can share with as few or as many people as you’d like and not get side-eye for doing so. Except maybe from your doctor who’s worried about your weight and your blood sugar. But if you don’t tell, I won’t tell, m’kay?

52. If I were a deck of cards I’d be complete. Unless you want to play pinochle or canasta or some game requiring an expanded deck. But if that’s the case, why haven’t you invited me over for a game? Fair warning, I suck at pinochle and kick ass at canasta! You’ve been warned.

Go grab some cake and we can eat at the same time. I’ll be here. Just pull up a chair when you’re ready.

2018/05/16

(bitter) Sweet Sixteen

Da Goddess @ 00:01

As of today, I’ve been blogging for 16 years.

There have always been rough patches during this time, but this year takes the cake with my dad dying. And yet… when I posted about it here I got texts, emails, phone calls, and comments. They’ve been instrumental in helping me get through the grief and helped me see there’s more left to learn from Dad than could be taught during his lifetime. Thank you, my friends. Without this blog, I’d have never met you and you’ve all made my life richer, Fuller, and definitely more interesting.

Thanks for sticking around, for coming back, for just being your unique selves!

16…that’s, like 50 in human years, isn’t it?

2018/05/13

Happy Mother’s Day 2018!

Da Goddess @ 01:58

It doesn’t matter if you physically gave birth, adopted, assumed guardianship, or just served as a guiding hand to a child, if you’ve given your heart to a little one, you’re deserving of a warm Happy Mother’s Day from me and the entire world!

To offer your love and attention, your patience and understanding, you’ve given another generation the kind of care they need and deserve to become citizens of our planet. We’re all in this together, whether we acknowledge it or not. By extending a hand, you help to build the bridge between each of us and make our community stronger.

Thank you for being you. Thank you for caring. Thank you for the stories, the soup, the endless brushing of hair, the bandaids, serving as judge and jury, vet, doctor, nurse, teacher, chef, chauffeur, and friend. Thank you!

Now go eat something you probably shouldn’t, take a much deserved nap, and let the dishes sit in the sink for a day. Celebrate YOU!

First a Word From Your Host(ess)

Da Goddess @ 01:47

I took a break from posting about Dad’s death because I needed to. I have lots more to say, you can bet on it, but between being exhausted (physically and emotionally) and feeling like maybe this was becoming all Dad all the time, it’s a necessity.

I’ll be back to talk more about the grieving process I’m going through, how I see others coping, etc. I’m just going to keep a little of this to myself for now.

Thanks for all the kind words in comments, emails, and texts. You’ve warmed my heart and helped ease my soul.

2018/05/09

The Day After the Day After

Da Goddess @ 09:02

I had a long night of thinking, of remembering. I dozed off a couple times, but really never slept. My stomach was not having it.

With inflammatory bowel disease you can never predict when your stomach is going to go rogue one you. And you can’t predict how long it’ll last. There are times when I’ll go months without a flare up and then have a bad day. Or maybe I’ll have a horrible couple of weeks followed by a day of relief, quickly followed by a month of horror. It’s really that crazy.

Were I insured or on Medicaid, I’d have tests to see if I’ve ramped up to ulcerative colitis. But I’m still waiting to find out if I’ve been approved.

Anyhow, stress can be a trigger for flare ups and I’d say death of a loved one counts as stress. It took a day or two to smack me upside the head, but it has most definitely done that now.

J cleaned Dad’s house yesterday before C even got there. I’d slept through the day and missed everything. Today, I guess we’re going over to sort through stuff? I’m not quite sure. I know C has been good about getting rid of Dad’s clothes over the past year as he’s worn out stuff or lost too much weight to wear it. We’ll have to get the rest of his clothes sorted and donated this week, I think. Better to do it now instead of waiting and letting grief smash into us again later.

Other notes:

I’m an idiot! I packed enough underwear for every day of an Everest expedition but failed to pack sleep pants.

I actually posted on Facebook yesterday after 7 months. I’d almost like to delete my account there, but a great portion of friends on there I don’t contact any other way. What to do, what to do…

2018/05/08

The Evening of the Day After

Da Goddess @ 22:40

I’d just awakened when I heard Mojo knock on my door. “We’re gonna go to dinner. Are you going to come, too?” she asked. “It’s *that* late already?!” I replied.

I haven’t slept that hard in a long time. The memories of my dreams are fleeting, but none were disturbing, so I’m grateful for that.

C took Mojo, LD, and I out for Mexican for dinner down by San Diego harbor. It was very good, but then I couldn’t tolerate another bite and my stomach screamed “none of this belongs here!” So, yummy food, bummy tummy.

Last night, no problem with the homemade beef barley soup and cornbread. Or the turkey sandwich from the comfort cart provided by the hospital. (I’m not kidding when I say Pomerado Hospital is one of the best hospitals on the planet!)

I guess eating whilst grieving is going to be an adventure of its own.

We’re back at C and D’s house. Mojo and I spent an hour going through photos on our phones, “oh! send me that!” and subsequently texting favorited images.

How did we ever manage to communicate before cell phones? The sheer ease of communication is astonishing! I texted my sister from bed this morning to save us all from yelling across the house. I do, however, draw the line at texting someone who’s sitting next to me. Unless it’s an urgent message and we’re in a “no-talk” situation. Or unless I’m sitting with a friend named Jacque in a bar in Vegas.

My mind is full of utter nonsense that keeps trying to push away sadness and important tasks relating to Dad. Thus, the existence of these ramblings. They have to go somewhere. Twitter is filling up quickly with them. This blog is, too. And I posted to Facebook for the first time in at least 18 months. Less about anything on Facebook, more just to let a couple people know, people who had known Dad.

I’m going to try to get to sleep early so I can be of actual use tomorrow. My sisters can’t keep carrying all the weight, nor should they have to. Fingers crossed I make it.

Dad, I am trying to get this right. I hope I’m at least coming close. I love you and will miss you forever.

The Day After

Da Goddess @ 09:27

I don’t know how any of us got through yesterday. Lots of love, laughter, and tears to be sure, but I honestly don’t know how we were able to keep going.

All of us had to have a lie-in at some point. (How pretentious of me to use lie-in as opposed to nap…it’s just that napping doesn’t quite seem appropriate in this context.) We had dinner. We talked. Mojo and I stayed up talking and watching stuff on YouTube.

After crawling into bed I realized I still hadn’t changed my clothes from Sunday, had forgotten to brush my teeth, and really needed to pee. It took me a full 90 minutes to get up to do anything about it.

Woke up at 0745 to the realization that my dad is really really really gone. I knew that yesterday, but it hit me afresh upon waking. I don’t know how to do this. I mean, I know, I just don’t KNOW.

I’m in total lockup today. Neck and back are not cooperating. I practically crawled to the bathroom. This is worse than normal as the sheer emotional momentum from yesterday has left my body. This definitely is NOT the day I anticipated having. I’m hoping I’ll fall asleep for a bit and wake up in better shape.

Sleep, though, I don’t know. So much keeps running through my head. I don’t remember how many times I prayed last night, but it was kind of all that kept me from crying. That and I didn’t have Fletch to cry to. That’s how I get through the bad moments at home.

Yesterday, while at the hospital, we had the chaplain come in to say a prayer with us. She was a pleasant little old lady with a slight lilt to her voice. All was going well (relatively well, I mean, we were heartbroken, crying, and generally in need of comfort) until she got to her third “Heavenly Father” in her prayer. At the next mention, I felt a giggle building. At the fifth mention, I kind of started to shake. By the sixth “Heavenly Father”, I was actively having to hold back laughter.

Her next parlor trick was telling us she was sure Dad was a lovely, wonderful, kind man. Mom guffawed openly. C and I laughed.

Cranky, grumpy, misanthropic, loud, rude…and, yes, a good man. Perfectly imperfect. That was my dad. I didn’t always understand him, but I always loved him. I was lucky to have almost 52 years with him. That’s a helluva lot more time than many people get with parents. I’m not feeling great about it, but I’m okay with it. I’m okay with it in that he’s not in pain any longer. I’m okay with him being free of the ravages of aging. Being free from illness, from losing autonomy, losing friends, losing the ability to do all the things he enjoyed. He’s at peace now and I have to learn to get there, too.

I’m extremely grateful for my sisters, brothers-in-law, my mom, the kids, my friends, and the staff at the hospital and hospice. Together we’ve made it this far and that’s something special in my book.

Each day, each moment will bring with it new challenges, but I’m a quick learner and I think I have a handle on getting through whatever comes up. No guarantees, just a sense that I can do this.

Going to attempt sleep again. Or maybe hobble out to the kitchen for a piece of toast. Then I’ll tackle whatever comes next.

2018/04/08

Kalo Pascha — Christos Anesti

Da Goddess @ 00:01

Christos Anesti! ~ “Christ is risen!”

Alithos Anesti! ~ “Truly He is risen!”

Christos Anesti 2015

This year Orthodox Pascha is celebrated one week after the celebration of the Western Easter. The Orthodox date for Easter is based on a decree of the Council of Nicaea, Asia Minor, held in 325 A.D. According to this decree, Easter must be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon of the vernal equinox but always after the Hebrew Passover to maintain the Biblical sequence of events of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The Orthodox Christian churches have adhered strictly to this formula.

“Christos anesti ek nekron
thanato thanaton patisas
kai tois en tois mnimisi
zoen charisamenos”

2018/02/20

35 ° F

Da Goddess @ 09:18

I live in Southern California. It should not be 35°F outside. I don’t do cold well.

That is all.

2018/02/04

Gold Medal Head Jumping

Da Goddess @ 05:36

If head jumping were an Olympic sport, Fletch would have a bazillion gold medals.

He loves to jump up next to me at around 04:15 every morning, sniff at my face, and then leap over my head, running away furiously after.

This is his way of saying he’s ready for breakfast. Breakfast isn’t served until 06:00.

When he doesn’t get the response he wants, he’ll repeat this routine until he realizes I’m not budging, at which point he climbs to the top of his cat tree and meows pitifully. When that fails to get a response, he paces around me. Then he tries head jumping again. Or head butting me. Or purring.

Sometimes, only sometimes, he’ll begin this song and dance at 03:30. When he does this…grrr… when he does this, I do my level best not to yell at him. For one thing, it wouldn’t do much good. For another, it would wake King Arthur, which would not bode well for anyone. And, lastly, it would kind of be like reinforcing his bad behavior.

It takes great patience and willpower to ignore begging kitty behavior. Mostly because some of it is rather adorable. Like the meowing. It’s so girly! And a little pathetic. But mostly girly. And he’s not at all girly. Plus, the leaping is really athletic. Irritating, but wildly athletic.

Sigh.

I love Fletch. He’s a nut. He’s a crazy, relentless, furry, adorable nut and I’m glad I’m his guardian.

(But he really deserves some Olympic level medals.)

2018/01/22

The Plague

Da Goddess @ 19:15

Current Mood: Dejected
Current Status: Infected with The Plague
Prognosis: Deathbed adjacent, chance of 11th hour rally

Whoever invents an instantaneous cure for the cough would make billions.

Really wish this would happen.

That is all.

2018/01/11

(t)HAIRsday – Basics

Da Goddess @ 11:11

I may be a beauty school dropout, but I learned a lot during my time there. So, here are a few basic tips for my friends:

  1. When you’re shampooing your hair, try using about half the amount you think you need. This serves two purposes: you use less shampoo, obviously. And you are being kinder to your hair. You see, when you’re shampooing, you’re actually cleaning the dead skin and dirt from your scalp (unless your hair is full of awful debris, you don’t need to scrub your hair into a dry, lifeless mess).
  2. When conditioning your hair, use about 3/4 of what you think you need. Again, you’ll save some money, but, more importantly, you only need to condition your hair, not your scalp. Plus, too much conditioner can be hard to rinse out and weigh down your hair.
  3. Never leave conditioner on for longer than two minutes. Some conditioners have ingredients that can cause more damage than they’re supposed to repair.
  4. Rinsing your hair with cool water does two good things: it actually helps remove more of the conditioner than warmer water. And it helps to close the cuticle, thereby reducing the frizz and protecting the hair itself from other damage.
  5. When it’s time to get dried off, use a separate DRY towel for your hair. A damp or wet towel can catch hair in its loops, causing breakage.
  6. Once your hair is in that towel, DO NOT rub it vigorously! This can cause more breakage. Instead, blot your hair or press it gently between towel folds.
  7. Finally, before you brush your hair, make sure your brush is clean. Get rid of the hair from the bristles. Wash it if it looks a even a little grungy. I tend to clean my brush after every use. This way, I know it’s done and don’t have to think about it as I’m (generally) rushing around trying to get ready. Anyway, when your brush is dirty you end up negating all the effort you just put into getting your hair clean. Also, if your brush is full of hair it’ll pull at the hair on your head causing (repeat after me!) breakage.

If you’re interested in more tips, I have lots more! tHAIRsday may end up being a semi-regular thing.

2018/01/06

Drunken Choir

Da Goddess @ 19:09

I’m sitting out on the front porch, soaking in the cool evening air. In the distance I can hear the cars zipping down roads both near and not so near. I hear crickets and tree frogs. The occasional bat or owl. The neighbors’ TVs, hard to miss since they are elderly and hard if hearing. And then there’s the drunken chorus of a song I don’t know, in a language I don’t much understand unless it’s spoken slowly and contains most of the words I DO understand.

Behind the house, across the street, someone’s celebrating. I don’t know what occasion is. It doesn’t really matter. What I hear are voices raised in song, communally rejoicing. There are plenty of voices off-key. Some are a bit behind the others. But then there are moments of absolute beauty, in which everyone has hit the right notes. It’s in those moments that I feel my heart swell a bit and smile.

I’ve been thinking about us. The collective us. As a neighborhood, a community, a city, state, country, and a planet. We don’t always know the same songs or speak the same language. We don’t always hit notes perfectly. But we’re all part of the choir. We often sound drunk and uncoordinated. But sometimes we all hit the perfect note at the same time. When we do, it’s not always easy to hear because we’re too busy worrying about what we’re doing and singing to truly appreciate the moment.

I’m doing my best to listen for those moments these days because they’re so rare and precious. I need to get in there and appreciate more often how beautiful it is when we are in harmony and work toward making sure I develop a voice that hits those perfect notes more frequently. If I don’t, I’m part of the reason we sound like a drunken choir.

2017/12/07

The World is on Fire

Da Goddess @ 10:15

While it may not be the world world, it’s getting quite a bit more of my world involved.

Southern California is, once again, ablaze. Some keep referring to the fires as *brushfires*. These are most decidedly NOT mere brushfires. These are deadly wildfires.

Raging out of control, aided by strong Santa Ana winds, which are expected to kick up to gusts up 90mph in some areas.

We are safely away from the fires. All I can do, all any of us can do, is to pray for the safety of those in harm’s way.

May all y’all be sheltered in a safe location as your neighborhood is evacuated. May the firefighters and police and pilots be safe as they fight the fires and help evacuate communities go up in flames.

Praying this all ends quickly and with minimal loss of life.

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