2021/05/07

2021 – Day 127: Three Years & a New Loss

Da Goddess @ 15:55

Dad’s been gone three years now. I’m 100% aware of this, yet I still have moments when I almost forget. Almost. Just before I reach for the phone or think “he’d love this!”, I remember. Or the memory becomes less foggy. Either way, I have that incredible split second moment of him being alive again.

I know I’ll never stop grieving the loss. I know the edges of it will dull and the corners round off with time. I know this. I’ve done this before. Just never lost a parent before. Grandparents, sure. But they were old and th…oh yes. That’s right. I remember now. Dad was old, too. It just doesn’t feel like he was old in my heart and my heart calls a lot of the shots on such things.

I miss you, Dad! I love you and miss you and wish I had even five minutes more with you. Even if those five minutes were you yelling. I’d take it.

Dad

* * *

I’d meant to post this other news sooner, but I somehow managed to forget each time.

Jan from the Cascade Exposures blog, who also occasionally posted here, passed away in March. At the beginning of April, I texted her a link to a place I knew she’d want to explore. I didn’t hear back right away as I normally would. Odd. And then I woke up Easter morning to “This is Jan’s mom…” and I knew. I said a quick prayer that maybe she was just in hospital or something, but I knew. I just did.

I didn’t ask for details. I don’t know the exact day she died or the cause. I’ve just felt blessed to have known her and for her mom taking the time out of her grief to let me know her daughter was gone.

Jan had just retired after 30yrs at the same job. She’d loved it. But she finally had the chance to retire and she took it. With the pandemic, work was becoming a hassle with rotating team shifts and such. So, she was excited to retire, hang out with her sweet Lily cat, and she and her mom were planning some trips for the moment they had the okay to safely travel. Jan was going to show her mom Death Valley, which I guess she hadn’t stopped talking about since she and I had gone. I completely get that. It’s a special place for so many reasons.

I wish I could say it gets easier to say goodbye to people as I get older. The simple truth is it gets harder for me. Of the bloggers I’ve lost (Rob, Mikey, Scott, and now Jan), it just seems to me that the world keeps losing bright lights and big hearts. There will always be a place in my heart for these special souls, but especially for Jan. I consider myself fortunate to call her my friend and deeply honored that she called me one, too.

Jan

Okay. That’s it. I’m going to spend the rest of my day tending to my body and soul with some TLC and a warm shower to wash away the sadness.

Please promise me you’ll be here when I get back.

2021/05/02

2021 – Day 122: Kalo Pascha – Christos Anesti!

Da Goddess @ 00:01

CHRISTOS ANESTI! Christ is risen! Christ is risen from the dead, trampling death by death.

Christos Anesti!

Kalo Pascha to one and all. May the sun shine upon us and warm us for today and always. May Christ’s death and resurrection save us all.

For the first time in many many years, I’m actually sharing a home with another Orthodox Christian. I shall knock on his door in a moment and celebrate this gift.

2021/02/10

2021 – Day 41

Da Goddess @ 06:04

Getting your medical information from a political source is like getting groceries from a guy living in his van down by the river.

Sure, you’ll get something; but is it a safe something, though?

Keep researching. Keep reading. But, also be mindful of the source. When it comes to coronavirus, make sure your sources are using current data from medical resources. Anything else is not going to reflect our situation and the needs that must be addressed at this time.

I’m still tip-tapping away. My internet connection is intermittent and fleeting at best. I will post more soon.

In the meantime, please enjoy this:

I heard this song while being transported to physical therapy and dug it. I’m not much of a big Christian music fan, but a good song is a good song is a good song. This is catchy and it’s simply a great bit of music.

2021/02/08

2021 – Day 39b

Da Goddess @ 05:44

There’s a post from yesterday (which I couldn’t publish due to connectivity issues) on another device I can’t access at the moment. In that post, I mention I’m working on something about the coronavirus and basic health concerns. It ties in with the discussion happening in the comments from this post.

As someone who spent a lot of money and time on education to become a registered nurse, and who spent a great deal of time continuing my education in the pursuit of practicing the best care possible (I still do this even though I’m no longer licensed because I want to stay informed and I like to learn), I value the wisdom that comes from those who are on the forefront of medical care — through research and clinical practice — and I have to take care to approach new information with an open mind free of personal or political bias. To be frank, disease doesn’t give a flying fuck what party you belong to or who you vote for. Disease just happens. And we fight disease with science, with fact, and with the knowledge that addresses the disease. Politics may decide funding and dissemination of information to the public, but the actual fight against the disease isn’t political for medical professionals on the frontline. It can’t afford to be.

Anyhow, I have thoughts. So many thoughts. About Covid and healthcare in general. About how information is spread. About how people want to believe in practices other than that based on scientific and medical facts. I’m all for complementary medicine — homeopathy and holistic approaches — when they’re used in conjunction with that of conventional medicine. Together, that’s where the best stuff happens. I have a few too many friends who rely on homeopathic remedies and/or supplements as their own personal shields against disease and who then are surprised when they discover they’re ill.

Basically, my thoughts cover all of this and more and it’s coming. I just want to say it right.

So, please feel free to join the conversation in this other post and I can address topics of concern directly.

My goal isn’t to make anyone feel bad, but to open minds and hope that logic and common sense win out over what feels to be self-interest (even when it’s not intended as such).

I love you all and value our conversations, whether here on the blog or via email or text or phone calls. So, don’t be afraid to join in. I won’t bite. I promise. It’s not hygienic and it’s difficult to do while masked.

2021 – Day 39

Da Goddess @ 03:31

Zeugma

Word of the day.

I’m not giving you the definition because I hope you’ll be curious enough to seek it yourself.

I’m all about learning new words lately.

I’m also all about wanting to quiet my brain. There’s a lot of shit happening in there and I’m afraid it’s making its way into my life physically. Must. Quiet. Brain.

Go on, now. Look up zeugma. Enjoy!

2021/02/03

2021 – Day 35 34

Da Goddess @ 00:44

My sister left me a voicemail yesterday. She’s on the mend from the covid and you can hear the toll it’s taken on her. That’s pretty much what everyone I know who’s had this or has taken care of someone with it has experienced. The lungs really take a beating.

As I told my sis, the best and most fun way to improve lung function is by blowing bubbles into a drink via a straw. Like when you were a kid. It sounds silly as hell, but it works.

In other news, my first physical therapy session is Friday. My first derm appointment is next Monday. And I still haven’t heard back from the interfaith council as to whether I’m approved for rent assistance. Today I make the difficult call to the landlord. Fingers crossed that he’ll allow me to use my deposit to cover rent this month. Also, trying to get anyone to come do a TNR on the kittens has proven nearly impossible. I’ve made at least 15 calls and filled out even more web forms. I’m desperate to get these kitties vaccinated and spayed. I’m concerned we’re going to end up with kittens having kittens and I that is something I cannot abide.

And with that, you’re officially caught up on the glamorous goings on in my life. What’s new with you?

Who loves ya, baby?

2021/01/29

2021 – Day 29

Da Goddess @ 02:03

I’m still (mentally) on Day 28, but it’s officially the 29th, so blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

Health update: first, my sister seems to think she’ll be “better” on Sunday, as if Covid is predictable. I’ve told her to not worry about the timeline as it’s arbitrary and the most important thing is for her to just get healthy again. My friend who had it over the summer is still struggling with respiratory symptoms (diminished lung capacity is the biggest problem) and everyone seems to recover differently from this virus. What tends to be true for the majority of people who’ve been infected is that it takes a while to feel like yourself again.

More than anything, I really just want my sister to feel better. I want her to be as fully recovered as possible so that she can get back to doing the things she wants to do. I know it’s difficult for her to accept such a passive role at the moment, but it’s the best course for her.

I have found I really really really miss our Saturday outings to the grocery store. I miss her giving me the rundown on Mom and her various health problems. I miss just being able to hear her voice and spending those few minutes in the car with her. Our relationship has had its share of speedbumps over the years, but since Dad’s death and then Covid, well, it’s meant we’ve found a new rhythm for interacting that’s been quite lovely. Go figure — it only took a parent’s death and a pandemic for us to hit the right notes of sisterhood!

But again, as much as I miss her and our time together, I just want her healthy. She’s had enough bullshit in terms of health problems the past few years. She really doesn’t deserve this. Nobody does. And I mean NOBODY.

Secondly, Mom’s finally been given some meds to relieve her intractable pain. It’s been emotional torture to hear her physical pain over the phone. I mean, it killed me to not be able to do anything to help her and to know her fucking doctor wasn’t going to give her anything more than Extra Strength Tylenol for the pain that was making her weep all day and all night for over a month. Well, enter Lil Sis and yet another trip to urgent care for help. Mom was finally put on steroids and a low, temporary dose of Percocet. Halle-fucking-lujah! I’ve now had several calls with Mom where she was able to actively participate in the conversation. There are no tears. There’s no distress in her voice. She has actual relief from the pain!

I can’t stress enough how important pain management is. Even if it’s just temporary relief, breaking the pain cycle for any length of time is HUGE when you’re dealing with chronic pain or even an extremely acute flare-up. Mom has relief for now. The pain isn’t completely gone, but it’s been reduced to something livable. Mom’s physical distress is no longer psychic distress as well. Especially in older patients, especially when they’re isolated (as we’ve all been for waaaay too long [but necessarily]). There’s a level of emotional pain that comes with unaddressed physical pain (as I’ve said in my previous post and many others before it) that only becomes more debilitating with loneliness and age and loss of autonomy. To have a doctor refuse to address the problem is a slap in the face and is cruel beyond reason. People don’t let animals suffer like that! At least now Mom is feeling better and, hopefully, this flare-up can just become a distant memory for a good long while.

Thirdly, I had my three months follow up to my diabetes diagnosis. And cholesterol problem. And…blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. My labs were fantastic and my doctor declared me his most improved patient for the quarter. I went from extreme danger zone heart disease-wise to “this is what I call healthy and normal” range. My blood glucose levels are more in line with what they should be (there’s still room for improvement) and the doc was impressed with my reduction of my A1C. I went from “so far out of range to somewhere close to acceptable” according to him and that’s good enough for me for the moment. No changes in meds. No changes in anything else, although I asked again for an appointment with a nutritionist. I know that’ll do me a world of good.

I also got referrals to physical therapy for my neck and back (work comp won’t approve/cover it, but MediCal will) and to dermatology for multiple skin concerns. First and foremost, the two areas on my nose that are suspiciously awful from time to time. One lesion has finally stopped scabbing over (never did anything to it to make it get scabby in the first place) and the other has become the current problem. I know 100% that this is the result of unfettered access to copious amounts of warm California sun exposure in my youth. The endless sunburns. The endless exposure without sunscreen (remember when you bought Coppertone because it was a suntan lotion and not a sunscreen?). The years and years of carefree days spent browning like a holiday turkey or ham. Yep. It’s finally caught up with me. I knew it would. And the time is now. I’ll let you know how this plays out.

So, despite the need for referrals, my health has taken a turn for the better. In three months, I managed to undo however many years of unchecked nasty cholesterol and diabetes and am hanging out in a much better health neighborhood. I’m proud of myself. I wish I could say my glucose numbers were better, but that’s a necessary gradual change. Still, I’m regularly under 200 and that’s a major accomplishment for someone who started out over 400! I’m no longer drinking two gallons (+) a day. I’m not feeling the need to sleep all the time (or at least now it’s because I’m tired for other reasons). I don’t feel like I would rather curl up and die. I have real, actual days of not wanting to nap! This is a big deal for me. The last several years were awful and I didn’t know why. Then, BAM! The truth of the matter was made painfully evident via lab work. Now, I’m like a real person again. I’m thrilled!

I don’t know how I managed to ramble on for so long. I guess there’s just that moment between semi-awake and total sleep where the brain can somehow form complete thoughts and demand to let them out. Lucky you! And now you know more about me than you did yesterday, probably more than you ever wanted to know (and I didn’t even get into the embarrassing stuff). But there it is.

Now it’s time to crawl into bed. The Dick Van Dyke Show will wait. I’m going to take full advantage of the sound of rain on the roof to get in some quality zzzzzzzzzs. Fingers crossed!

Here’s a quick phone snap of the late afternoon sky before the storm came in. Sheesh! SoCal has such awful, ugly skies, right? XOXO

Before the storm

2021/01/27

2021 – Day 27

Da Goddess @ 06:00

This is the post I was working on back on the 15th, when I thought there might be a 15b. What makes this kind of weird is that this very subject was a highlighted story on the Tweety yesterday.

I think I kinda love my new system for blogging. I don’t have to come up with any clever or inane titles, which leaves me free to blab about anything. Not that the old way stopped me from doing that. I just like not having to think up titles, I guess.

One of my friends on the ol’ Tweety was discussing how people, in his experience, are a bit insensitive about sadness and depression. I had to agree with him as I’ve often heard the same at various points in my life. “What do you have to be sad about?” “Depression can be controlled with exercise and diet. Drink more water. Snap out of it! You don’t need pills!” Those are just a couple of the more comment comments people make.

Let’s discuss this a bit.

First, sadness is an emotion. Depression is a medical condition.

Sadness can be a symptom of depression, but not the other way around.

Sadness can pass. Depression takes a bit more effort to treat.

While exercise and diet can alleviate some of the feelings associated with depression through the miracle of endorphins, more often than not, the person who has depression requires more assistance. This can come in the form of therapy and/or medication. Personally, I think if you’re prescribed medication for depression, you should also be prescribed therapy. The medication can help balance the chemical component of depression, get one through the worst of it, but therapy can provide a wide variety of tools to help one navigate life in a manner which benefits the patient in a myriad of ways.

For some, medication is a temporary piece of the depression puzzle. For others, it’s a permanent piece. It really depends on the type of depression one has.

Therapy, well, I’ve discussed this previously, and I see it as a very special part of my depression puzzle. Essential at times. Really, truly essential. And then there are times when I don’t need or want to use that particular tool. Or I feel the lessons learned from therapy can get me through a rough patch. I feel able to cope with the chaos of my life. But, knowing therapy is there if I feel I’m not coping well is a blessing I can’t adequately address in words. Lifesaving? Sure. Though it’s not just that. It’s…it’s like…a flotation device for when the plane goes down in the sea.

Okay. Let me take a second here to come back around to the medication. The meds I take bind to the receptors so that the missing chemical allows me to function as a non-depressed person. This alone makes life so much easier for me. However, during times of extreme stress, prolonged pain (chronic pain [as well as chronic illness] is a bitch of the highest magnitude and will mess up your body so that it can no longer tell if physical pain or chemical insufficiency is the cause of a current — shall we say — overwhelming of one’s well-being, thus the need to adjust the messages to the receptors [that’s what chemicals are: messages]), and even good times, the depressed body will wreak havoc on itself. It takes more than endorphins, more than medicine, more than diet to keep a some people from spinning out of control. That’s where the addition of therapy comes into play. And the combination of these treatments are what makes it all lifesaving. But not merely lifesaving.

It’s the difference between seeing a 500 piece puzzle as a crazy mess of nonsense and viewing the same 500 pieces as part of one big picture. It’s the difference between seeing life as an unsolvable puzzle and seeing it as an ever changing set of images on their way to becoming something larger and more beautiful.

I’m not explaining this as well as I’d like to. The thoughts, the metaphors are right at the edge of my brain, then they flit away as I attempt to put them into words. They’re like that, you know. They can be so elusive. Then they just jump out and yell, “SURPRISE!” while you’re in the shower, on a walk, or at the grocery store. You know, somewhere you don’t have quick and easy access to pen and paper, voice recorder, or even just the ability to hang onto them because there’s a lot happening around you, requiring focus to get through whatever it is.

That’s also an apt description of depression, now that I think about it. Depression can make your brain very busy and not allow you to focus. It can send you conflicting emotions and thoughts, making you feel unable to handle situations you would normally handle with ease. It can fling emotions wildly about, like you’re the one on the ledge in the dunking booth. “Whoosh! Here comes happiness!” or “Zing! How about a double serving of sadness and anger? Fun times!” or “Ha! Bam! You’re so stupid!” When you have all that crap flying at you, you’re gonna end up gettin’ wet. No two ways about it.

What do you do? What’s going to be your towel now that you’re absolutely soaked from being hit with all that shit? Hopefully you have a towel. Or at least some dry clothes. In other words, you hope your meds are working, the tools your therapist gave you are kicking in and helping you see the situation is temporary, and/or you know when and whom to call if you’re not able to get it together.

I don’t know if this is making much sense. So, because it’s an important subject for me, I’m putting this in the old draft folder and going to bed. I’ll reread this is the morning and see how I feel about it then.

If you’re feeling sad and the feeling doesn’t seem to ease up or go away, it could be you’re experiencing a symptom of depression. This is especially true if you have other symptoms, have a history of depression (either personally or in your family). It’s important to seek help if you continue to struggle with these emotions and/or thoughts. There is absolutely NO SHAME in seeking help from a medical professional! Anyone who has a problem or judges you for getting help isn’t someone you need in your life (definitely in time of crisis, possibly forever depending on your needs and your needs alone — this latter part is another subject for another time). Don’t let anyone else’s perception of your situation deter you from getting help. Only you and your doctor/s should makedecisions on what’s appropriate for you and your situation. If you find your current healthcare provider isn’t supportive, ask (or even demand) a referral to someone better qualified to treat you.

No matter what you thought you knew or understood about depression, it’s worth continuing to learn more about it so you can recognize it in others or even in yourself. Find out what you can do to help yourself or someone else through a time of crisis. And understand that everyone responds differently to various therapies — be they medications, talk therapy, biofeedback, or whatever tools they have at their disposal. Understand, too, when it may be necessary to step in and offer more assistance, such as calling a doctor or a hotline or even emergency services if necessary. Some resources:

Mental health and substance abuse hotline: 1-800-662-4357 or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.

Suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-273-8255 provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

As we go along in life, there will always be speedbumps, potholes, flat tires, and what have you. Life’s not easy all the time for anyone. How one responds to the stressors of life depends on a great many factors. The thing is, if you’re finding it a little more difficult to navigate through the obstacles you’re currently facing, it’s reasonable and prudent to get assistance. It’s what you’d do for any other health issue. Be kind to yourself and allow someone to help.

So there’s that. Probably more jumbled and rambling than I’d like, but there it is.

2021/01/17

2021 – Day 17 Bad News + TJH: Inspire

Da Goddess @ 00:01

My sis has the covid. I wish I could have it for her. I’m the one who has fuck-all to do. She’s the who holds it all together. She handles everything with Mom. She’s the one who gets shit done. And now she’s sidelined by this fucking virus.

My fingers are crossed in hopes that she recovers quickly. Honestly, she’s the last person in the world I’d have expected to get it because she’s so vigilant about handwashing and sanitizing. However, she’s also the one who is out and about, trying to keep the water from sinking the ship.

If you have a spare moment, please say a prayer for her. Thanks.

P.S.

Single line contour drawing of my big sister

This was my attempt to draw a quick sketch of my big sister — though I’m not sure why I gave her short hair. Her hair is currently long and gorgeous these days. No color or highlights, just natural. It’s my favorite hairstyle she’s ever sported. I don’t know why I’m going on about the hair; it just feels like it’s important to acknowledge the beauty of her locks for some reason, even though I bollocksed it up in the sketch.

Carry on.

2021/01/16

2021 – Day 16 TJH: Inspire

Da Goddess @ 01:58

Each night as I head to bed, I turn off the lights in the living room and key my phone to bring up a blank note page so the light from it gets me to the bedroom without me tripping over anything (like the cat). If you don’t move your finger across the screen, it goes out fairly quickly, so I’ve taken to scribbling away with my thumb. Well, that got me thinking about the single line contour drawings I used to do in my art classes as a warm-up exercise. Now, I challenge myself to complete at least one quick little character every few days.

Below is one that wasn’t meant to resemble anyone known to me. I rather like this guy. He has no name yet. Feel free to suggest one or ten.

I’ll post more in the future, I think. I’m having a lot of fun with this and it’s sort of opened my mind to a more creative headspace.

Single line contour drawing

Basic technique used: a single line (I’ve been using my left thumb), while looking at the drawing or without. If using a reference subject (person, photo, fruit, etc.), try drawing looking at the subject only. Then try another while glancing back and forth from subject to your drawing. After you do this several times, you’ll discover your blind drawings improve a great deal as you become more confident in your ability to control your hand/drawing tool.

I’ve been doing this on my phone and in a sketch pad. I’m amassing quite a collection of doodles. It’s fun and it’s a really wonderful way to engage your brain in something other than television. It’s a bit of art therapy.

A bit of advice: Don’t judge your drawings. They’re not meant to be the Mona Lisa or Venus on the Half-Shell. They’re just a way to let your brain have a bit of a rest.

Another tip: if you’re using a reference subject, try to get your paper or phone or whatever you’re using as close to the same level and angle of the subject. By not moving your head up and down so much, your brain and hand better translate what you see to what you capture in your drawing. There’s less distortion in the translation, if you will.

Reminder: don’t judge your efforts! Just let go and have a little fun!

2021/01/13

2021 – Day 13

Da Goddess @ 20:45

I’ve had the same phone for about 18 months or so and haven’t been able to get online with it unless I used WiFi. It’s been the bane of my existence since the moment I got it.

I’ve tried everything to get it to work properly. I’ve spent hours on the phone with tech support trying to get it to work.

Today, I got a notice saying my autopay for my account was cancelled (my prepaid card was below the necessary balance) and I couldn’t get to the bank before it closed so I could top up the card. If the bank would switch my ATM card to also be a debit card, everything would be fine. Ugh. So many “ifs”.

I called in to speak with customer service to see how many days I had before my service would end and was told I had until midnight. I asked if there was any possible way to get an extra day grace period. After speaking to two different people, I was given a three day extension. The supervisor did some magic something or other to my account and guess what happened after that? Bingo bango! I suddenly have an honest to God network connection!

If I lose that connection after I get autopay set up again, I will lose my shit big time.

Also, my front door and lock are now working again. Ha! I say my front door. I have just the one entrance/exit to the house. Unless you count windows. Which I don’t. Mostly because I live in a second storey unit. Mostly. And also because I don’t make a habit of entering or exiting places via windows.

Back to the door sitch: I could lock it easily from the inside. If I went anywhere, I would have a tough time locking the damn thing. Especially on hot days. It also wouldn’t stay closed when it wasn’t locked. Thus, I took to putting the porch chair in front of the door just to keep Fletch kitty from pushing it open and escaping. Plus, I really didn’t want a house full of flies and wasps, which is always a possibility here in my little rural haven.

I finally asked the landlord’s uncle if he could take a look at it since he’s here converting the garage into a studio apartment. He fixed it! And now I’m happy to not have to struggle with the lock just to go downstairs and do laundry or to walk down to the mailbox.

For a day during which I did very little physically, so very much got taken care of. As my therapist would say, I’ve knocked some obstacles to happiness off the list. On to the next item!

2021/01/09

2021 – Day 9

Da Goddess @ 12:27

So, back to the eye appointment.

Turns out I have to have a separate appointment for the optometrist. I can’t get in until almost the end of February. Ugh. I need new glasses now. My eyes are crossed and foggy and aching and I have to wait? Oy vey!

But that’s nothing compared to what happened with the ophthalmologist.

Remember me saying I didn’t like the puff of air to test ocular pressure? They don’t do that anymore at this office. Noooo. Nope. They give you numbing eye drops and then stick this penlike thing ON YOUR EYEBALLS to test ocular pressure. What the fuck is wrong with these people? Who the fuck came up with this means of torture? I wanna know! I wanna do horrible things to them and curse them for eternity!

Since I’m a big goddamn baby, I wussed out. I tried. Yes, yes. I tried, gentle reader I tried to let them touch my eyeballs. But I couldn’t do it. I was practically in tears by the end of it. All I could see was this thing coming at my eyes and I would flinch and squirm and turn my head. I tried to hold my eyes open. No luck. I tried summoning every ounce of willpower from the deepest part of my soul. All to no avail. I. Just. Couldn’t. Do. It.

And so my appointment was incomplete on that count. I got through everything else they threw at me. I did it with aplomb. With elan. I. Did. It. But I couldn’t do that one thing.

At the end of the appointment, while waiting for transportation, this lovely woman walked in. She was built like me. Traditionally built, if you will. She had on the greatest pair of plaid leggings, awesome knee-high boots, a black mid-thigh length sweater, and she was sporting the most glorious red-magenta-ish hair. I don’t even know if there’s a name for that particular color; I only know that it was spectacular! As I got up to leave, I tapped her arm and complimented the hair and the outfit. I stopped short of giving her my number and asking her to be my bestest friend. Just barely. Just. I’m kicking myself now because, frankly, we’d totally be besties for life. I know it with all my heart. And I missed that opportunity. I was still too rattled from the eyeball trauma, thankyouverymuch.

Yeah, I’m an idiot. Through and through. An absolute git.

One positive note: while waiting for my appointment, I was seated outside and was reading a book. A man stopped to ask me about it.

“Is that any good?” He queried.

“Oh, yes! It’s my third time reading it.” I replied.

“That sounds intriguing! Who’s the author?”

Well, friends, the author is Hannah Tinti. The book is The Good Thief. It’s reminiscent of writings by Robert Louis Stevenson, Charles Dickens, Daniel Defoe. It’s beyond a wonderful adventure; it’s just amazing! I urge you all to pick up a copy and lose yourself in it.

Anywhoodles, the man went in for his appointment of torture and I wrote him a note with the information about the book, tucking it under the windshield wipers of his car. I also wrote another note and gave it to the gal behind the reception desk. I really hate for anyone to miss out on something so wonderful. And that includes you lovelies. So go get a copy!

If you like The Good Thief, also check out Last Smile in Sunder City and the follow up book Dead Man in a Ditch, both by Luke Arnold.

2021/01/08

2021 – Day 8

Da Goddess @ 10:58

My God, the pain! My right shoulder and neck feel as though they’ve become one gigantic slow-turning knot. Just when you think it’s reached maximum intensity, a new level appears and makes me want to scream, then vomit, then scream again, then vomit, then rip the heavens from the sky, stomp on them, turn them into a bitter and rancid wine, and then cry whilst vomiting. Then, I want to vomit some more, scream louder and longer, gnash my teeth, rage against Hell, turn Hell inside out, make Satan beg for mercy, and then destroy everything and everyone who stands between me and relief. And then I just want some relief. Even if it’s only for a few moments. I want the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo to strike up the most terrifying sounds, to beat angrily, to blast the bagpipes as loudly as humanly and inhumanly possible. I want the earth to shake, to tremble, to rumble mightily and to cause fear to well up into and spill over from the hearts of even the bravest among us. Because anything…anything…ANYTHING is better than this.

And how all y’all doing? Anything new to report?

2021/01/05

2021 – Day 5

Da Goddess @ 04:07

In a few hours I’ll need to be wide awake and sitting in a chair at the ophthalmologist’s office. The big appointment to get a baseline for my diabetic eyes. I’m just hoping I can get some sleep before then because it really does me no good to go in with exhausted eyeballs now, does it?

The two least favorite parts of the exam will be the dilation of my pupils and that fun whooshing puff of air. Let us recall how eye phobic I am, m’kay? I’m the person who required several hospital employees to hold me down when I needed to have my eyes checked for corneal abrasions after a chile verde accident. As soon as the doc said he needed to put some dye in my eyes (while he was holding a cardboard sleeve containing said dye, which must touch the actual surface of the eye), I suggested him — nay, WARNED him — he was going to need assistance. He didn’t believe me. When he was sufficiently convinced I wasn’t going to be able to keep still or keep my eyes open, he called for backup. I suggested he listen better to his patients when it comes to such things.

Anyhow, I hate everything that has to do with my eyes, except getting new glasses. I know I’m due for them as my right eye is completely put of focus with my current lenses. I can’t wait to have new glasses and I can’t wait to get new frames. I hate the ones I have. I’ve pretty much hated them from the start. The former boyfriend talked me into wire frames. Once they were on me for more than a day, I remembered how much I hate them. They bend too easily. The stretch out too easily. You can’t pop them up onto your head for a moment while you’re using your camera or blowing your nose without the nose pads and nose arms getting all tangled up in your hair. So, yeah. No. I’m not doing wire frames again. Ever. Nor will I ever let some man decide what my personal style should be (at least not unless he’s showering me with bills in large denominations).

So that’s the bulk of my day sorted. If I can tolerate being outside after the appointment, I’ll go have a look at the new unit being built in the garage. It’s going to be a studio apartment. My landlord’s uncle and his crew are handling the construction. From the little I’ve been able to see at a distance, it’s going to be rather nice.

I’m going to attempt sleep once more. Fingers crossed!

P.S. Remind me to tell you the story about the big tabby I met. And about the rambunctious dogs.

2021/01/03

2021 – Day 3

Da Goddess @ 06:44

Still here? Good. That means we’ve both survived the first two days of 2021. Every day without a toe tag is a win.

I went to bed at 2200hrs Friday night, got up around 0500 to feed the cat, went back to bed and slept until almost 1000. I know I woke a few times during the night, but I was able to conk out again right away. I remember zero dreams. I rarely sleep that well for that long. Even when exhausted. Whatever juju made it happen I’m taking as a good sign for this year. I then had a very lazy Saturday because my whole being just hurt and didn’t want to function properly. So I slept a little more off and on. I had to postpone grocery shopping with my sister. I’m running low on a great many things, but I was that wiped out.

It ended up being a good call because I found myself in the bathroom with alarming frequency (alarming for anyone without inflammatory bowel disease), often just barely making it. This is one of those things that can upend your entire day or weekend or week or even month/s. This is also why I’ve learned to honor my body when it decides to kinda shut down. It doesn’t always mean a flare up of my gut, though it does tend to follow that pattern.

TMI? Too bad, so sad. This is life. I mean, we all have our stuff. This is just one more thing in the shit heap I get to call mine. No pun intended. I’ve stopped counting all the health issues because, frankly, it’s depressing. Thank God for therapy! And antidepressants. And distractions. But, despite all that, i have those days when I find myself starting to tick everything up on an imaginary list and it gets to me. That’s when I do everything in my power to switch off the brain and go for nonsensical distractions. It works. Mostly.

I ALWAYS say “mostly” that way. It’s the law.

One of the distractions I use is searching for my favorite body powder, which Walmart has stopped carrying. I’ve entered my old lady body powder phase. Actually, I got there last year. So, I find this fantastic inexpensive ($1.98!!!) powder that smells heavenly, right? I always bought as many packages as they had in stock. I’m glad I did since I can’t get it at Walmart any longer. Except I’m almost out. And that link to the company selling it? Their price just went up again. That’s the actual company distributing the product. Je suis très déçu. Almost as disappointed as I am by Secret no longer making my deodorant (I have three more on hand before I have to decide which route to take next).

But back to the powder. I use it liberally on my decolletage and on the inside of my elbows at night. Those are areas that tend to get a little sweaty and I like the lavender as it’s naturally calming (I’ve also come to like the tropical breeze scent or whatever it’s called…and I’m sad Walmart never carried the rose version because I would have bought the hell out of that!), thus making it the perfect powder for me. I was ready to plonk down $3.95 when it was on sale on Belcam’s site, but decided rent was more important than body powder. Just barely. And only because I have a cat to care for.

Sigh.

It’s just not fair! Why can’t Walmart carry the powder again? It’s my favorite and I’ve found it’s the only product on the market that still has talc in it. Corn starch has replaced talc in almost every powder product on the market because of the slight chance that talc MIGHT be linked to ovarian cancer. There’s no definitive proof of the link between the two, but almost every company has opted to make the switch. (BTW, corn starch, while very good at absorbing perspiration, can cause yeast growth, which is the last thing most of us sweaty folk need.)

Look, I’ve come to the realization that I can be high maintenance when it comes to personal care products. I’m not at all ashamed of this. I’m rather particular about what I use on my body because I have found using poor substitutes cause me all sorts of problems that I then have to spend more time and money on to fix. Yeah, I’ve learned the hard way and I no longer have the bandwidth to deal with MORE problems. I stick with what works until I have no choice but to change. Like I’ll have to do when my deodorant stash is depleted. I’ll very likely end up going with a spray because standard deodorant sticks tear at my skin and the gel kind are super ticky-tacky, which makes me sweat more. The smooth solid (soft solid/conditioning solid as this specific type of deodorant has been labeled in the past) has been the only type I can use for more than 20 years. The only way to get it now is to buy Secret’s “clinical strength” formulation and it’s priced well beyond my budget. Walmart has had their version and it’s fairly spendy as well. Plus, it’s rarely in stock…if they’re even still making it.

Look at this nonsense! Even when I try to distract myself from the things that stress me, I’m still fucking stressing! My brain seems to get stuck in that pattern. Is it any wonder I’m back with a therapist?

Before anyone takes that last sentence the wrong way, I need the therapy and I like therapy. I particularly like my new therapist. She’s fantastic. For me, therapy helps untangle the mess, helps me to get my brain back on task, and I’m better at problem solving when I’m in therapy. It’s not that I can’t manage without it — I can. I’m just happier and less frazzled with it. Between chronic pain, my 3 million other health issues, the isolation with the pandemic, and all the major changes in my life the past couple years, I get overwhelmed, my brain is overloaded, and I find I can tackle most problems on my own. Honestly, I think everyone should have therapy. It’s incredibly beneficial in a multitude of ways. But, the key to good outcomes is having the right therapist. The wrong one can really cause more problems.

Shit. I meant to do just a quick post and head back to bed and I’m over 1,000 words. Definitely too much for one day.

Happy January 3, friends! Ta for now.

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