2021/07/19

2021 – Day 200 – There She is Gone

Da Goddess @ 02:50

I will love you always, as I know you always have loved me. I will remember you forever, as you always remembered me. I will go forward with love in my heart and courage to face the unknown. Life continues, but it’s lost a little magic since you left this corporeal existence. I know your magic will find its way to another soul; that’s what you once told me happens when someone you love dies — everything good and kind and wonderful about them finds a new soul and returns to this realm. I believed you then and I believe it still. Your lessons stay learned. Well, most of them.

I was blessed to have you as my mother. You taught me how to find not and how to bring it to others. You taught me the beauty of wonder and how it’s so important to hold on to it, to share it, to encourage it, to keep it alive in your heart. You taught me to laugh, even when you most feel like weeping or when you’re scared. You were my home, both literally and figuratively. You were my True North and my home port, my first love. You were and always will remain my mom.

Love doesn’t end just because someone dies. Your love is in every sunset chased, flower noticed, in the laughter of a child, in the very air I breathe. You were made of stardust and to stardust you shall return until you find the next new spirit is borne into this world.

Thank you for your love and for all the light you shined upon us all. I will love you always, as I know you always have loved me. I will remember you forever, as you always remembered me. I will go forward with love in my heart and courage to face the unknown.

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.

She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says;
“There, she is gone!”

“Gone where?”

Gone from my sight. That is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port. Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone
at my side says, “There, she is gone!”

There are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout; “Here she comes!”

And that is dying.

~ Luther F. Beecher

Thank you for your love, my dear.

At around 0130 this early morning, she left us.

Vale, Mom.

2021/06/23

2021 – Day 174

Da Goddess @ 20:58

It’s been quite the day.

It all started last week. Mom was admitted to hospital with CHF/COPD problems. She’s still there. She’s had every kind of test one can imagine. But what she went in for isn’t necessarily why she remains there. You see, there’s a lot going on. Granted, you don’t reach almost-86 without a few problems, right?

Mom has cancer. She likely only has about six months left. She wants nothing more than palliative care and we’ve all agreed this is the right path for her.

Our family is pretty practical about this stuff. That’s how we were raised and those are the rules.

While I’m not ready to be without a mom, I certainly don’t want her suffering. So, I’ve made my peace with her decision and am going to do whatever I can to make sure she’s having as much fun as she’s hoping for, is as comfortable as possible, and gets to do what she wants as often as we can make happen.

Here’s a question for you: what ideas do you have for a dying 86yr old who’d like to be silly, laugh a lot, enjoy our first big family gathering since covid became a thing? Fancy dress (costume)? A movie “premier”? A M*A*S*H* party? Glasses with funny noses? A petting zoo? Gimme some ideas I can run past her, please.

Oh, and if you have an extra prayer or kind thought, could you send it my mom’s way? Thank you.

2021/05/25

2021 – Day 145

Da Goddess @ 19:29

We’re just about 40 days shy of the halfway point in 2021 and it doesn’t seem like that’s real or even possible. And that last sentence had a question mark at the end of it in my head. Most things do these days. Have question marks at the end, that is. I’m just not sure what anything means or where anyone stands any more. I’m not even sure when I can use “anymore” or it it’s always been “any more”. I used to know these things and now I know nothing.

My own life and in my own head, I’m Sgt Schultz. Is that not the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard? At the very least, one should be Hogan or — should things take a weird turn — even Colonel Klink or Carter. No one should be the Schultzie of their own life. No one.

And yet, here I am.

I guess it’s better than being General Burkhalter, eh? He was never on the right side of anything and wasn’t lovable like Schultz.

Huh, maybe I am Schultz. And maybe I am okay with it.

Nah. If I can’t be Hogan or Newkirk or Kinchloe, I don’t think I want to be in this sitcom at all. I mean, would you?

2021/05/18

2021 – Day 138: Double Nickel Edition

Da Goddess @ 00:01

I can’t drive; I’m 55.

I made it! I made it. I made it? No, yeah. I MADE IT! I almost said “I made it, motherfuckers!” but that seems unnecessarily profane, especially as I’m saying this to you, my friends. You are not motherfuckers. For the most part. I mean, technically, some of you are literally fucking mothers, though I’d hope not your own because that would be, uh, erm, different and unexpected. Definitely unexpected. And very different. Not that I’m judging you. I have so many other things for which to judge you. I don’t want or need to know that part of your life and I’m totally good with n.e.v.e.r. knowing that part. Not that I’d judge you for it.

Back to this day. This momentous day. This day on which I hit a milestone of fifty-fucking-five years of age!

Mr. Andruski, wherever you are, fuck you. You said I’d never make it. Hell, you didn’t even think I’d be alive long enough to graduate high school. Well, I did graduate high school, college, and while I didn’t realize my dreams as I’d dreamt them high school, I most certainly realize many others I’d conjured along the way. All without your “valuable insight and guidance.”

Can you believe the vice principal of a high school would say such things to a teenager and to her mother? Those words — and “you’re gonna wind up a wasted slut lying face down in the gutter if you don’t watch yourself, missy!” — actually led to one of the worst moments of my life: my dad slapping me across the face and my nose pouring out blood by the bucketsful! To be fair, my dad didn’t intend for it to happen. I don’t think he’d ever would’ve done it if not for my mom and I yelling VP Andruski’s words at each other. My dad only heard me screaming those words and thought I was saying those about, and to, my mom. He stormed into my bedroom and smacked me, just as I was turning my head, which is what led to the spurting of blood from my nose (all over the bedroom, which included the white chenille bedspread and the yellow and orange medium shag carpeting). I was 14, I was angsty, I hadn’t been the most well-behaved teenager (is there such a thing? Has there ever been such a thing in the history of the world?), and I was mouthy as fuck. And yet, despite the fact that I’d been ditching school and had run away at least twice at that point, this was the only time I can recall my dad raising his hand at any of us kids. Definitely the only time he’d ever done so with me. And I was the problem child of the family.

This is where I feel it necessary to tell you a couple of important facts:

1. My dad was a yeller and had a horrible temper. But he wasn’t violent. No beatings for us! He’d just scream and throw vile words our way.

2. My dad did NOT like blood. The very sight of blood made him woozy. Even the mention or, rather, the description of blood was enough to make him go green or ghostly pale.

With these two factors in mind, imagine him raising a hand to one of his daughters, actually going through with the impulse, his hand making contact with my nose instead of my cheek, and a profusion of blood issuing forth from my proboscis. The shock of the violence and the sight of all that vivid red against the white bedspread and yellow carpet caused my dad such agita that he yelled louder, stammering and sputtering, all while going green and turning quite pale. He stomped out of the room, as much as one who is close to fainting can stomp, that is, slammed the master bedroom door, and left my mom and I staring at one another.

Forget our argument (for the time being). I was shaking, crying, and holding my hands over my nose while the blood seeped through my fingers. My mom went into full parental mode. She wrapped her arms around me, doing her best to calm and comfort me. At some point, I don’t remember her doing it (maybe she used some form of maternal magic I never learned), she’d grabbed a t-shirt or dustcloth and had me wipe the blood from my nose and mouth and chin while holding it gently but firmly to my nose to stanch the bleeding. I think she was just as shocked as my dad was, as I was! And I know she was as concerned for him as she was for me. She sent me in to the bathroom to clean my face while she went to check on him.

Long story not-so-much-shorter, we all survived that incident, no thanks to Andruski. It never would have occurred had he not spoken that way to me and my mom. Regardless, we made it through that and many other incidents over the years. Years that asshole predicted I’d never see.

But I have. So, take that and shove it, Mr Vice principal! (I’m sure he’s dead by now, but I feel so much better having said this!)

So, yeah. I’ve made it to 55 and I’m proud of it!

My life has been full of extremely interesting moments. Some were terrifying, some exhilarating, some dull as dishwater, many unexpected, but all mine. And that’s more than many people get. To be cavalier about or take for granted any of these moments would be disrespectful to those gave me life, to those who never got to experience what I have, or even to myself.

To quote from my favorite conversation on getting old (from the movie ‘The Guardian’): “Hell, I’ve always been old, Ben. You know what, though? I don’t mind. I mean, if my muscles ache, it just means I’ve used them. If it hurts to walk up them steps now, it’s just ’cause I’ve done it a hundred times to lay down next to a man who loved me. I got a few wrinkles here and there, but I’ve laid under thousands of skies on sunny days. I look and feel like this, well, because I drank and I smoked and I lived and I loved, I danced, sang, sweat, and screwed my way through a pretty damn good life, if you ask me. Getting old ain’t bad, Ben. Getting old, that’s earned.”

I’ve earned this. I’ve been annoyed, tormented, pestered, plagued, molested, worried, badgered, harried, harassed, heckled, persecuted, irked, bullyragged, vexed, disquieted, grated, bested, bothered, teased, nettled, tantalized, ruffled, bent, broken, spindled, and I’ve lived, damnit! I’ve earned all this.

So, hey there, 55. Nice to see ya.

2021/05/16

2021 – Day 136: 19 Years

Da Goddess @ 09:53

Are we who we think we are? Or are we who others think we are? Can both these perceptions exist simultaneously and both be equally true? If you know how others see you — and it gives you pause to reflect — does that invalidate what you thought of yourself? Or, if it changes how you see yourself, does THAT invalidate your previous view of who you thought you were? Should it? Should we then reconsider everything we thought we knew?

Is it possible for our actions to be purely received as we intended them, or is everything we do — regardless of our intent — completely at the mercy of how others perceive them?

These are the things running around my head at the moment.

I’ve been blogging for 19 years as of today. I guess I somehow thought I’d have a better idea of who I am and who I was at this point, but I feel I may never have any answers and I’m not sure if I want them any more.

Of course, I didn’t have any idea when I started this blog back in 2002 that I’d still be at it almost 20 years later. Hell, I didn’t have any idea I’d still be at it even two or three years ago. It makes me wonder if I should continue on; if I should make it a full 20 years of blogging; if I should take it up to May 16, 2023, which would be the end of my 20th year and call it quits then; or do I just keep on plugging away until my fingers seize up or fall off? I won’t make any decisions for now. I’m not in what anyone would call a prime decision making frame of mind at the moment. Have I ever truly been in that frame of mind?

Sometimes I don’t know if the me who started this blog is the same person who is currently writing this entry. I know both of us have inhabited the same body, but is that really all it takes to be the same person? I have no clue.

As I say almost every year, the only thing I know for sure is how much I value the people I’ve met through blogging. Each of you have left an imprint on my heart. Some have taken a bite of said organ, some have helped it grow, some have tried to rip it out and stomp it in to oblivion, and some have returned time and time again to help patch up what’s been bitten, beaten, torn, and bruised. You who have helped me grow, who have nursed me back from the brink of disaster, you are the ones I like best. Obviously. Feel free to tell the others. I won’t deny it. (If you were my children, this would be an entirely different conversation.)

Speaking of nursing, can you believe I was still a nurse when I started blogging? That seems a lifetime ago! It definitely seems like it’s, at least, been half a lifetime ago.

Little Dude was just four or five, and Mojo was eight or nine. Now? They’re grown and off on their own journeys of self-discovery, exploration, adventure, mundanity, heartache, heartbreak, recovery, triumph, and, hopefully, fulfillment and contentment. Instead of the precious, fragile little beings I once held close and fussed over every breath or cry or sigh or laugh, I have to remind myself they’re now capable of wiping their own bums, fixing their own meals (and mistakes, for that matter – steaks and mistakes, anyone?), determining their own lives. In the time since starting this blog, they’ve become fully formed people who no longer need me for, well, anything. It’s both sad and wonderful.

It’s the way the world works. Time passes; living things grow; living things die; we change; we do our best to get from one day to the next.

Using that particular lens, I can see I’m still me, just the older version of me; the me who has seen fire and seen rain (literally, at times); the me who has loved and lost and cried and laughed and LIVED. I don’t think I’d want to be the same exact person I was when I started blogging. Sure, there are some parts of this strange trip I might wish had gone differently, but I can’t say I’d want to have come through all of it and to not have changed in some way or another. I’d be crazy to not want to learn and grow along the way.

And so, with that in mind, I think I’m going to be okay with not knowing if I’m the me I think I am or if I’m the me you think I am or if I’m some mashup of the two. We can revisit this a year from now and see if I’ve miraculously found the answer. See you then?

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.

2021/04/29

2021 – Day 119

Da Goddess @ 14:08

There’s one place on earth I don’t like to visit. It’s a “goddess temple” in the middle of nowhere in Nevada. What bothers me most about this place is not that there are bad vibes or negative energy there, but that there’s nothing there. It’s a void. It’s as though someone took a great cosmic vacuum to this plot of land and pulled up every last mote of emotion, of energy, of soul. I end up feeling physically ill and injured every time I’ve visited (the 1st time for a photowalk, the 2nd & 3rd times with others to see if they felt the same as I had). When I walked beyond the border of the property, I would suddenly feel a burst of fresh, cool air in my lungs and my body would straighten, my mood would brighten, and I felt as though as veil lifted from my vision. I would wander around, my camera to the eye and I’d want to photograph everything, from the sky to the gnarled exposed roots of a plant that had forgotten what it had once been. I’d walk and walk until my travel companion would have to come looking for me, having called out for the past hour and getting no response. Then came the agonizing walk back through the void. I’d approach it full of hope that I’d just had a momentary lapse of health or mood, only to suddenly feel ill once more the very instant my foot crossed some unseen but very real plane. At that point, I’d hurry as quickly as my now hobbled body and soul could toward the car and drive as swiftly as possible away from the wretched place.

I’ve never been able to figure out how a location could feel so absolutely empty while surrounded by glorious mountains, hills, skies, flora, and fauna. Oh, and that reminds me of the lack of animal life in that space. No insects, lizards, birds, or any other sort of creature was ever spotted on that property. Beyond it, life was practically teeming in the air, on every surface. How could that be?

It’s been over ten years since I last visited the site and I’ve considered a trip out there again to see if anything has changed. But then I wonder if I really need to experience it again and think of several other locations I’d much prefer to see once more.

I think I’d like to try Jay’s Grave* instead. At least I would be able to identify the sensations and give them reason to exist. Plus, fog! And apparitions!

* * *

* Word for word the comment I’d left for Tom Cox’s “GHOST” entry.

Please consider adding Tom to your list of regular online visits. He’s a marvelously evocative writer and his podcasts are lovely.

* * *

There is another post I started a week or two ago explaining my absence, but this was more important. Shall post that one soon.

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.

2021/02/03

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.

2021/01/25

2021- Day 25

Da Goddess @ 20:12

It’s been raining most of the evening and we’ve also had thunder, lightning, and my porch is covered with hail. It’s wonderfully thick and crunchy. Yes, I had to go out to check on it. Inside, I knew it was hailing, but I had no idea what kind of hail it was, hence the checking on it portion of this story. Barley. About the size of barley. Maybe a little bigger.

It was windy, too. Most of the day was exceedingly windy. The branches left on trees after last week’s winds did their best to find their fallen friends today. Last week, our jacaranda lost a huge limb. I did my best to clean up the debris, used an electric saw to do the heavy lifting, so to speak. I had to give up when I got the largest and thickest part of the branch cut into three sections. My neck, back, and brain couldn’t take much more of the jiggle joggle beating that comes with sawing something that big and that dense. I’ll be back at it tomorrow now that there’s even more to tackle. I have no idea what to do about the broken limbs still stuck in the tree though. I mean, obviously, I’ll have to wait for them to come down on their own, but I’ll have to keep watch on them while I’m working to clear the debris on the ground. Not exactly the ideal situation, is it?

This is what jacaranda wood looks like when you cut into it.

It’s really lovely when a storm like this comes through. I like having an excuse to curl up and do nothing. Fletch likes it, too.

Earlier, in between the various waves of rain, I put out some catnip for the kittens. They were already feeling frisky, but I thought it would be fun to see what would transpire with nip thrown into the equation. Let me tell you: it was hysterical! They were having such a good time attacking each other and then rolling around on the porch. They’d get into little offensive strikes from a supine position, wriggle or roll their way closer, slap tails, bat paws, ears back and flat, a little grumble, and then someone would decide to leap up and launch themself at the other. It was so entertaining! I could’ve watched for hours.

I guess it’s time to think about getting out another blanket. At 20:00 hours, it’s 45° and only going to get colder. Because this is an old building with old windows, I have a slight breeze at all times. There’s only so much you can do to combat the chill. The individual heating/AC units in the bedroom and living room are fine, but I can’t take a lot of heat from them. I layer clothing and do fairly well with that, however, the added cold air means I need something more effective. So that’s where I’m off to now: blanket city*!

Stay safe out there, my friends!

* Now I want to watch Community and imagine myself in Troy and Abed’s blanket fort. Maybe also the pillow fort, but less so because of the whole war thing.

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.

2021/01/15

2021 – Day 15A TJH: Inspire

Da Goddess @ 01:48

There may or may not be a 15B. Only a good night’s sleep will tell. Until then, here’s the awful sky I have to look at night after night.

Just another sunset

Just another sunset

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