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.

2021/02/10

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!

2021/02/01

2021 – Day 32

Da Goddess @ 16:25

I see the folly in my new title system. It’s not a flaw, just a folly. I’m going to have to keep count of the days…as in today is number 32 of 365. This may get confusing. This will get confusing.

I’m ready for the challenge. Possibly.

P.S. I hate the new Chrome tab layout.

2021/01/30

2021 – Day 30

Da Goddess @ 02:55

I should probably wait to post this as a Two-fer Tuesday selection, but I’m not gonna wait. And, technically, these aren’t a two-fer pair. Different artists, different vibes, but both called to me yesterday and I’ve been listening to them repeatedly ever since.

Before I let you get into the videos, I wanted to share a thought with you: we may not have time machines, but as long as we have music, we can travel anywhere and to any time.

Song number one is a song I know you’ve heard hundreds if not thousands of times and probably never knew the title. Boy does this take me back! I can picture the setting so clearly in my mind, too. I was seven and we’d just moved to California. The song had been out for a year at this point, but the warm SoCal sunshine made it feel fresh and new. This song became one of THE SONGS on which I based every romantic notion I had up until I actually had boyfriends.

Suavecito

The second song is a cover of one of my favorite Waterboys’ songs — The Whole of the Moon. I love the original and I now also love this version by Fiona Apple.

Oh, hell’s bells! Here’s a third song for your listening pleasure. Jon Batiste with I Need You, an upbeat and good kind of infectious song.

2021/01/21

2021 – Day 21

Da Goddess @ 00:14

Anti-climactic. That’s the word. Not anti-climatic. That’s not even a word.

I say this as I shake my head over a story on US News & World Report on the inauguration.

I was reading away and stumbled as I came upon the word. I corrected it in my head and continued on. But I kept coming back to it. It really bothered me. It bothered me so much, I began to question if I had it wrong. I mean, I’m not a journalist with a job at a big news source. I had to look up the word just to satisfy my curiosity.

I was relieved to find I was right. If I’d been wrong, okay, fine. But it would have led to my questioning myself on so many words of which I’ve always been certain of the spelling. I’m relieved because this meant my brain hasn’t completely shut off during the pandemic. Trust when I say it feels like that’s the case most days.

I sincerely hope the reporter goes back to correct her mistake. In case she does, I’ve saved a screenshot of it because – well, just cuz.

No such word

The offending word is there in the second paragraph. My phone isn’t fancy enough to be able to circle or highlight anything.

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!

2020/12/04

Morning

Da Goddess @ 14:33

The other morning I set about on my walk, dressed as warmly as I dared against the chill. Yes, the chill. My jacket zipped up tight and scarf wrapped close around my throat.

The kittens greeted me with pitiful pleas for food and water, which I set up in the shelter of the laundry room. As they tucked into their breakfast, I made my way out the gate and down the lane. The breeze was light, but carried with it the promise of a bone deep cold. It happens.

Stepping out on the main road, out of the protection of the trees that line our quaint country lane, I was made aware of that promised chill. I took a deep breath and moved briskly on my chosen route. All was quiet. Temporarily. Within a minute, the sky filled with a giant flock of crows and their calls soon drown out everything else.

I continued my walk, crossed the busier, more hectic, and more essential road that leads my neighbors to and from work and errands. Around the corner and up the hill I walked, grateful for the morning, the breath in my lungs, the sureness of my feet, and even the sounds of the glorious birds on their way to wherever it is they go for the day. They soon passed and I heard a surprised yip. Looking to my right, there was a startled coyote. Loping a small circle in a neighbor’s yard, he seemed to be weighing his options. In a moment of resolution, he sprinted across the street in front of me and into the fallow fields. When he’d made it to the end of the first field, he turned to look at me, slowed to a sassy trot, and made his way to the next farm.

I had to smile. We two alone had shared that encounter, both satisfied with walking away none the worse for it.

Up ahead I could hear the early chorus of frogs in the creek bed. They never fail to cheer me. No matter how close I get, they keep up their song, knowing they’re safely hidden from view.

At this point, my book is open so I can read as I walk. A collection of short stories by authors known and unknown. I’m getting perilously close to the end and find myself speeding along in spite of the fact that I don’t wish to ever run out of stories. They’re all heartbreaking in their own right and I consider tracking down other volumes in this series.

Before I know it, I’ve reached the point where my path turns back on itself and I head for home. I’m beginning to feel a little too warm for my jacket (despite it still being in the mid-fifties) and shrug it off before tying it around my waist. I leave my scarf where it is because I know it’ll help wick away any sweat that may begin to form.

I pass the creek again and say a silent farewell to the frogs and look in the distance to see if the coyote might be lingering nearby. I’d like to see him once more before I’m out of range. Alas, he’s nowhere in sight. What can you do? I pray he’s found a good place to hunker down for a long nap.

I cross the big street in between sets of cars. From north, they have lights on, but from the south they don’t seem to bother. It’s one of those things you notice after a while. It’s been almost two years of this and I’m always surprised by new details that emerge while I’m out.

Before long, I’m back at my lane. I stop to check the mail, gather what’s there, grab one of our garbage bins, and make my way up the little hill that leads me home. At the gate, I punch in the code. The gate shudders briefly and then starts its journey along the track. I step over the track and the outside world fades away.

I’m home. Another walk completed. Another group of memories settling into my head and heart. The kittens thread themselves between my legs, the goats bleat for their morning meal, and my legs threaten to stage an all out revolt against the climb up the twelve steps up the stairs to my door.

Just think! Two years ago, I could barely make it up this staircase without holding on to the railing. Two years ago, I would practically cry out in pain after one trip up! I still have pain and there are days I don’t trust my legs to hold up this body on that simple task. The difference now is that I have fewer days like that than I did when first I moved in. My muscles have relearned some of their essential functions and I’m more willing to test them every chance I get.

Once inside, I hang up my jacket and scarf, say hello to my sweet ginger companion, wash my hands, and begin the process of checking my blood glucose level, setting out my medications, filling my water mug, and getting on with my day.

Again, two years ago, this would have seemed impossible. And again, there are days when it is. But I’ve managed to make it happen, slowly but surely. The magic of this place, this particular home, has made me believe it would…be. That I would be. That I could.

Mornings never used to be my favorite time of day unless I was just getting off work or just heading home after a night out with friends. I’ve come to treasure the quiet and the beauty of the just-waking world. Once I’ve borne witness to this magnificence, once I’ve fed my body and soul, once I’ve medicated myself toward better health, once I’ve completed my chores, I can nap with my head full of images for my dreams.

Morning has broken

Morning has broken

2020/11/24

Tiny Hearts

Da Goddess @ 02:21

Both kittens have these delicate faces with little hearts for noses. They’re absolutely adorable and I hate having to leave them outdoors. But having them in the house is not an option; Fletch’S physical and mental wellbeing is priority one. That doesn’t mean I can’t love these two little darlings and play with them every chance I get.

Tiger Lily and a heart for a nose

P.S. When Fletch is on the porch and either/both cat(s) are around, it’s always nose touch followed by Fletchy hissing. Everyone then retreats to a neutral place and settles in.

2020/11/16

Roll Call

Da Goddess @ 11:39

For anyone keeping track, the animal count here has been rising the last few months. It’s risen again.

Not counting the massive flock of crows that descend upon us each day, the current total is as follows:

Dogs: 4. Badger, Bandit, Bentley, Bristol. Bentley just joined the pack.

Cats: 3. Fletch (mine). Tiger Lily and Zelda (not so much mine, though I put in the time and effort).

Goats: 2. Bella and Bamberella. I’m not spending time with them the way I used to. I don’t want the kittens over there as the goats have some respiratory thing they can’t kick.

Humans: 5. Most of the time. 3 in the main house — usually, some times a couple more. 1 downstairs neighbor. 1 in my place.

It can feel very crowded when everyone is here at the same time. I don’t necessarily mind all the animals, but I do mind some of the humans when they fail to act responsibly. It’s a lot of stress I don’t need when I have kittens clawing at and climbing the door because they’re starving and thirsty. At one point, the main house folks were out of town for a week and KNEW the cats were out of food before they left. I know this because I had told them. I’d told two of them. I cannot abide negligence when it comes to animals, children, and the elderly.

There are a lot of stressors with the people in the main house and I have made aware the problems with them to the property manager because I no longer have the bandwidth to handle most of them myself. I’m officially the old guy of the neighborhood yelling at kids to get off my lawn.

One of the issues has been resolved, but we’ll see how long that lasts. I’m not hopeful. Not hopeful at all. Why? Because another one of the issues was with the dogs (I love them, but believe me when I say that’s a lot of dog shit that’s never picked up and a good deal of it is in the yard right where I can smell it). It turns out they were only approved for two dogs. Their response to the reminder from the property manager was to add a fourth. Again, dog shit. And the barking at night when they’re all left here alone is both comforting and irritating. Comforting in that I know no one could ever sneak onto the property without the four furry alarms sounding. Irritating because it goes on for hours at a time, sometimes very very very very very late. It’s just a lot. A LOT.

So, grumpy oldster that I am, I’ve been weighing all my options. I’ve been looking for a new home. The obstacles I’m facing are: 1. Cost. It’s stupid how much even a one bedroom costs in the worst part of town. 2. Availability. With Covid decimating jobs, everyone is economizing and cheaper places go quickly. 3. Cat-friendly places are few and far between. I’ve looked at places I can rent by myself (see items 1 and 2) and shared rentals. The problem with shared rentals is the ludicrous restrictions regarding cats. Outside only (not my boy; he’s strictly indoors unless on a leash and would never survive) or I’d have to keep him in my room. We went from 1200+sq ft to 400sq ft and that was hard enough. Trying to keep him in one small bedroom would be the death of him. And me. As Pam has noted with her dogs, since moving out on my own and ESPECIALLY during the pandemic, my attachment to and codependence on my fuzznugget is off the charts. Which is also why I can’t imagine giving him up just for a place to call home.

What am I going to do after next month? I have no fucking clue.

In the meantime, I’m doing my best to survive the ever-expanding roster of living and breathing creatures here on the lovely single acre I call home.

the kittens at rest

2020/10/19

Zelda

Da Goddess @ 16:21

This is the little beauty called Zelda. She’s the more intrepid of the two cats. Her name means “gray fighting maid” and it’s entirely appropriate for her. She and her sister have wonderful extra toes on both front paws. They’re solid little cats and have the most delightful and tiny meows.

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