Saturday, June 30, 2007

Weekends rock!

I'm sitting here at work and I can say that, because I have most of 2 days of personal productivity and relaxation still to look forward to. I cleared away some of the bedroom debris last night, had an epiphany about my dietary habits, and after a nap today, look forward to more clearing away of the scrub brush of life that proliferates in my apartment.

The epiphany is a bit of a broken record, but these learning experiences are always works in progress for me. I'm off booze completely now, and I'm actively investigating healthy eating from now on. Yup, heard it before, huh? But I keep pushing that envelope and pushing it, until something scares me, and last night I was a little scared. Like I should probably go to a cardiologist and get those tests done again to make sure everything's cool, because heredity aside, I'm the most at risk of my siblings thanks to all this extra weight on my bod. The water pill and potassium mean me having to pay strict attention to my diet and how much I drink (meaning hydrate); I realize that now. I whine and whine about wanting to have kids, but more important than that is making it to 40 without a cardiac incident. Nothing serious occurred last night, but it brought to mind all the things that could occur if I keep killing myself not-so-slowly through food. So I'm done screwing around. If it means bland-as-hell diet with no red meat, sweets, or salt, I'll take it willingly, because there's no point obsessing about being healthy for having kids if I continue endangering myself and any chance I have of creating them in the first place.

So...gonna knock off some sites, and go home and play! Started color 5 on log cabin...I'll unearth the stash later today for suitable continuations, and hopefully find some old projects for frogging or finishing.

Friday, June 29, 2007


My paycheck was an embarrassment this pay period, not enough to cover rent, let alone Comcast. My pay is a calculation of a base amount ($10/hr), plus an incentive, which is a combination of my site quality and quantity, both of which have been lacking significantly since oh, May 12. I can't be angry with myself, not with this ache still so apparent. Sure, I'm disappointed in myself, frustrated, but there's an emptiness attached to this somehow, so I'm not actively participating in self-flaggellation. Not sure what we're going to do; we'll have to borrow...

Got a counseling session for next Tuesday. Catching the Suns game that night with Mom. Looking forward to Wednesday, hanging out at my Mom's, eating, enjoying each other, convincing her to buy comfortable furniture...

If I can just get my numbers up, the OT they're forcing on us this weekend will help the next paycheck.

There's a feeling of accomplishment with every color I add to the Log Cabin blanket. Still only four, but there's something satisfying about it...Les thinks it'd make a nice throw, but I'm still harboring delusions of aptitude for something bigger. We'll see...I'm still planning to get some cleaning done this weekend, so we'll see what UFOs and WIPs my efforts unearth.

Something nice has been happening where my hair's concerned...I'm developing patience for it. Considering it's summer and I'm me, this is a noteworthy accomplishment. Granted, I had 3 inches hacked off of it about 2 weeks ago, which leveled off most of the layers, bringing it up to just-above shoulder length, almost a bob. That length does make it deliciously low-maintenance and I don't need scrunchies at work anymore, just a clip or barrette if it gets too warm or on my nerves. I absolutely need to remember this for the future; multiple layers do NOT work with my unruly mop...I just have too much thickness and body, and without product, I look like I have my hand on one of those static electricity things. Not complaining at all, mind you; I enjoy my hair's thickness to the point of vanity. But even with the awfulness of summer about to weigh down upon us, I'm looking forward to the mop growing out right now, can't wait for it to inch its way back past my shoulders and fall in a curtain around my face. I finally get where Les is coming from.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ding! Fries are done!

That's why I need the lithium. Days like yesterday.

Holy crap, was I down! Completely shredded, unable to summon energy or motivation for anything, blank. We won't discuss the crummy ideas that went through my head; luckily laziness and an inability to come up with a good story kept me from acting on them. But it brought home clearly that I need a little help, so I'm calling my insurance company today for counseling. If I know my doc, she won't let me back on the lithium until I've got the blood pressure back to normal, so one thing at a time.

So......I took a nap last night, which meant staying up later to wind down, but surprisingly did me more good than harm...I felt a shade better after the nap, more settled/centered, and woke up this morning feeling the same way, in spite of a rash of dreams involving me looking for contract work in my field with a different company, taking a wrong turn afterward, and having to catch a ride with the mom and kids from "Home Improvement." I think I need to give up trying to understand what my dreams mean.

So......KB tonight, which I will attend, the log cabin blanket and the 2nd Mitford book getting my attention today, and a weekend with a clean slate to look forward to.

Oh, one other thing.....I know I don't worry enough about how public this blog is, but I guess there is a bright side to my recklessness. Last night, my mom talked to my Uncle Dan (Dad's bro), who talked about how Nanie really seems to be fading, doesn't remember anything of substance, or says she knows the memories are there in the back of her head, but she just can't seem to fetch them up anymore. After that visit we had with her, this is barely news...she nearly dozed off on us several times, besides not really knowing any of us...but still, last thing we want is to be grieving anyone else right now...left Mom pretty depressed after the call, so she figured what the hey, I'll call Chuck Curry. Chuck is an old friend of Dad's from his Army days; they both had heart issues around the same time, and they'd managed to stay in touch all these years. Mom had misplaced his number though, and hadn't yet told him about Dad, so she was really dreading that call (and boy, can I relate...going through a phase myself right now where talking about it is liable to put me in tears and that's no fun). She found his number recently, and called him last night, but it wasn't nearly as hard a call as she'd anticipated. Sometime last month, Chuck had been thinking about Dad and decided to pull a Melanie, aka troll for him on the Internet. The search engines brought him to my blog and the bad news about Dad...he fixed himself a drink, read my obit entries, and had a good cry. I'm glad that, however inadvertent it may have been, I was able to do that for Mom.

Now to the phones and the insurance company, to work on my own tenuous sanity!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Want some cheese with that...?

Don't even know why I'm writing. Life hurts, and I can't stand whining. I hate feeling this way, so bloody restless and sad, with the stress making me tense in the pit of my tummy. Was walking into work today and thinking, it's not just Dad...I've been aching for a change for a while now, just didn't act on it because we thought we were moving. So now what? Do I actually look for better employment, something that'll make me less bored and more sane, or do I shore up my patience and hold off, because if we start catching up, we could actually still move next year? The wanderlust is kicking in again, though not to visit his folks, because that house is a pressure cooker at, I want to explore other cities in SC, like Spartanburg and Rock Hill, make sure that Columbia is our wisest first choice for getting up there. Camping would cut down on travel costs, might be able to afford some trips north come fall. In the meantime, organization and the Internet will have to satisfy my antsiness.

Started fourth color on Log Cabin blanket; gotta paw through my stash, see what else strikes my fancy...cleaned off table in bedroom again, but really I need to be spending my evenings tearing into that apartment in stages, because everything, closets, boxes, clutter needs to be decent TV on lately, so gotta turn the sucker off and tuck in...hopefully starting tonight...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Second day in a row I've woken up exhausted and grumpy. I'm sleeping ok with only light dreaming, and getting to bed at a semi-decent hour, but I'm not eating right or exercising, and the not eating right makes my body hurt, so...

Finally got the number of the company's EAP, so I can inquire about grief counseling. Now I've just gotta make the effort to call them.

Read recipe books last night, was too scattered to deal with kitchen or dining room. If my body can quit throbbing today, I'll do some stuff tonight, because it's still a top priority in my head, getting that place more liveable.

Monday, June 25, 2007


When I don't get enough accomplished on the weekends, my brain works a little better on a Monday, because I'm scanning my attic for ideas and listings of what didn't get done on my time off...not enough of a reason to completely slack off on the weekends, that's for sure, but I was a hormone hostage on Saturday, so I'm less hard on myself. But laundry had fallen to the wayside, and I didn't want to spend money on it, so I went to the folks' house on Sunday and ended up spending the whole day there, which is fine, nice to visit, but their dryer is a joke and their furniture selection is so ancient and hard, it's difficult to get comfortable in the place. Drying the clothes there definitely is giving me the incentive to get back to doing laundry at my complex, especially with gas prices not decreasing significantly enough either...I mean, we live in the same town, but it's easily 25 minutes from my place. So spending Sunday doing that makes me out of sorts and wishing for more time...wishing it was next week at least, with the blasted holiday right smack in the middle of everything. Ah well.

Nice to visit tho'...Lil Sis was in town because a high school friend is currently playing the Cowardly Lion in the Alhambra's Wizard of Oz...if I didn't loathe the story so much, I would've asked to tag along, because her friend's a real talent. Since all three of us were there, Mom had us make final decisions on Dad's clothes, and got Lil Bro to put those boxes in the trunk of her car, so she can drop them at the City Rescue Mission sometime this week. We've given them 2 cars in the past, and they were the first charitable establishment to send a card when Dad's obit went public.

Definitely starting to get restless...with this being off-season for TV, so to speak, I'm going to try to spend some time in the dining room in the evenings this week, getting organized. Thanks to Lil Sis, I pulled both (Husby's and my) credit reports off the web yesterday, and while they weren't quite as hideous as I thought they'd be, they did underline pretty clearly where we need to improve if we want to move next year or soon after...Did some reading through OpenCourseWare via MIT on Saturday, just for grins, and it felt so good to be studying like that again...can't afford to buy the books and actually take whole courses yet, but reading those articles jump-started my motivation. Then listening to NPR this morning did more of the same, reminded me that I want to keep our house clean, start eating healthier, more organic or environmentally friendly foods, and recycling. Going to look for some canvas hamper-type bins for the recycling, and spend the week unpacking/repacking the house.

Started the log cabin blanket this weekend, and thanking whatever possessed me to do that first block in rice stitch, because to make it look nice, one of the only rules to log cabin knitting is that you always cast off your piece on the right side, and I wouldn't have had a clue if I'd done the entire thing starting in garter. This way I always know which side is the front. Ideally I want this to be a blanket for our bed, but we have a king-size, so we'll see where the delusions of aptitude and yarn have me actually ending up. Unraveled and rolled the bag of scrap yarn I got from Michie at the stash-busting party because the colors are complementary to where I'm heading initially with this...and it's nice, soft yarn, which helped me get over the idea of using any crap yarn, like Red Heart, on this project. I want this to be soft and pretty; the ole knitter's pride has kicked in. Since this and the random wrap have portability issues, I'll be revisiting my socks this week and thinking about other small projects, like that baby set for Cooper (Steve and Lynn's upcoming 2nd son).

Friday, June 22, 2007

Contagious startitis

Maybe I'm feeling better. Nah, that's not it. Damn memory flashes come complete with sound in my head and leave me teary at the most inopportune times, like while I'm walking around at work. Was heading back from getting water, and suddenly I'm in that tiny corridor across from Dad's hospital room, melting down because he's gone.

But I started that log cabin blanket, and instead of starting it with garter, the main middle starter block is going to be rice stitch (or sand stitch, probably has other names too). Just felt like it, that's why. The rest of it'll be garter. And it must've stirred something inside of me, because I just spent the last hour downloading patterns from Knitting Daily. Thinking about the peapod baby set for Steve and Lynn's little guy, who's due to appear in September. Maybe the pewter shawl in some of that Grape Shadow from Knitpicks, because who am i kidding about using that for the Irish Diamond...I have my whole life to make myself nuts over that huge endeavor, goddess willing. Much as I'd love to do the entire Log Cabin blanket in wool, I'd also like it to weigh less than 300 lbs., so I'll dig further in the stash this weekend for suitable alternatives, maybe even that dreaded big burgundy ball of Red Heart. Feels nice to be thinking about knitting again.

Cleaning and puttering planned tomorrow, church and laundry on the Westside Sunday. Hope it's not another fast weekend :(

Thursday, June 21, 2007

On the knittier side.....

Finally steered away from the random wrap for a spell...the thing's 5 freakin' skeins long and I have plans for at least 2 last night I frogged 2 old projects and stowed that yarn, dug through the stash for some complementary colors, and started a square for a log cabin blanket. Even though I suck at picking up stitches, I'm loving the idea right now of easy and long for my projects (ooo, like my men! haha).....don't have enough stash yarn, I think, but this idea has the potential to fit on our bed eventually (king size).....delusions of aptitude, must be feeling better...

Actually crawling out of skin a little, looking forward to coffee and...with the gang at KB tonight.

So Dad stopped by yesterday afternoon.....

See, the thing that really sucks about this grief thing is the acting normal at work. I know, I know, I wouldn't really want to be a woman of leisure because I'd go completely out of my gourd without something to distract me from the ache. So the coping mechanism kicks in, you go to work, do your tasks, only think about the elephant in your head a couple of times a day, fleeting thoughts because you need to be acting normal now, it's not even that conscious a decision really, and then you get in the car to go home. And you don't even realize that you've been holding anything've been going about your business, but getting away from work gives you back your permission to be sad. A memory slips in, and you try to shove it aside, because it's a particularly hard one and you'd rather not cry while you're driving in the rain...your driving's bad enough as it is.

That's what was happening yesterday...I'd been going along OK at work Wednesday, a little slow, but holding it together fine. Then I'm driving home lost in thought, and the memory bank turns on. And it's from when I flew into the room to find him gone, his spirit already leaving the room, surrounded by people in tears. I hugged him around the head and kissed him hard, and couldn't get the words out. This starts to play back in my head, and I can't shove it aside; I'm getting that lump in my throat and the feeling that my wind's been taken away. I punch buttons on the radio, changing channels, to try to distract myself, and I hit the local '80s station...playing "Drive" by The Cars. Their only ballad on that terrific Heartbeat City LP. Dad loved that song, he loved the melody after the 2nd bridge, he'd make everyone stop and listen to that when it played. And the waterworks turned on full-blast, but it wasn't sorrow, it was was OK, I get it, pal, remember the good times for now, remember what made me happy, and remember that I'm here for you still when you need me...I talked to him and cried, and thanked him, and promised him that we were OK...

Still hurts like hell, but I'm going to try to hang onto the lesson I was given yesterday. Coincidence that that song came on? Oh very likely, but I took away from it something precious.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm a weepy mess, and you?

Ah, it's not that bad. More like I go through the motions at work, which wasn't anything new pre-Dad; the difference is something sets me off afterward and I collapse literally or figuratively into a puddle. Screaming in the car helps. I used to do that when I was depressive-sick in college, so I don't feel so bad now about ruining my voice a little more. Mostly I'm just letting myself cry whenever it strikes. Occasionally it sneaks out at work still. Yesterday I was answering an email from Lil Bro at home, and the tears just flowed, because we were talking about Dad. I just rage with the knowledge that he's gone from this plane, that I'll never see him again in this life. On Saturday I was unpacking boxes and I found a birthday email he'd sent me 5 years ago. He changed a lot as he got older, became more nostalgic and emotionally accessible. The email talked about walking up and down the front lawn on Ferris Avenue, our first house, walking me to sleep on his shoulder, waiting for my little arm to slide down as a sign that I was out, and then carefully bringing me upstairs to bed. I just crumbled. The physical ache of it hasn't gone anywhere yet. Les called his dad on Father's Day, and I made some quip like, yeah, would've been nice if I could've done that too, but by the end of the wisecrack, the tears had caught up to my voice. I've been feeling distinct sorrow this week. Which makes me feel self-centered, because I know Dad would be ticked by the way we're carrying on with the grief, but I just remind myself that he never had a clue of his self-worth in this life, so he needs to let us grieve for him in our own ways. That's usually followed by a, so there!

Life goes on though. Started reading At Home in Mitford again; gonna try to read the whole series through. Damn books are so well-written and fun, it doesn't bother me at all that they're steeped in the concept of JC as the Lord and Savior. The author (and her main character, Father Tim) takes such a literary and philosophical view on the Bible, I'm able to read the quotes from it and be uplifted. Or put my own spin on them, so that they reach me with similar intent...I mean think about it...Phillipians 4:13 my version: I can do all things through Spirit, which strengthens me. The other one that sticks in my head is, deliver thy works unto Spirit, and thy thoughts will be established. Sound ideas for raising faith and organized thought, with just a little twist. Hey, it works for me, and that's what's important.

What else? I found that other skein of Color Waves for the random wrap; thing's gonna be 8 skeins long, I think, before I'm finished. Which'll be fabulous and comfy :) Kyle XY seems like the only decent thing on TV right now. 200 channels and no attention span. I cooked dinner and cookie bars for work last night, got settled finally to watch the tube and unwind, and there's wasn't a damn thing to hold my interest after 9 p.m. Should've exercised, but my body's been one big ache since starting the water pill. Luckily, I found out why; called the doc like a good girl and she's called in a Rx for potassium. Good thing, because I'm getting serious about this healthy diet and lifestyle thing. I have to; the last thing I want to do is be trying for kids while I'm still battling high BP, the potential for gestational diabetes, and lord knows what else. So I made the painfully mature decision to chill out on the baby-making thoughts until after Christmas. That should work til about September, when I hit 38 and my friend Lynn pushes out her 2nd son. Gonna try to lose some weight, get the BP down, get healthier first. Man, this decision sucks, but of course, it's so prudent for my and any future small Johnsons' well-being, that I can't even argue with myself.

Got my hair cut; it's adorable...looks like Terra's, just thicker. Les hates it, bitched all weekend (he LOVES my hair long), 'til I finally explained to him that I've been crawling out of my skin since we got back from CT, and if I didn't get it cut, I would've tried to take the scissors to it myself. He's been fantastic with the hugs though, and getting me to cry when I need to. People may shake their heads at how we've been living on love, so to speak, for so long, with him out of work, but it's the easiest damn thing to do when I look into those brown eyes. Totally whipped. And always hopeful; we both have such capacity for growth, I know our future lies well beyond these tough times (she says as an airplane engine drops on her head). Dad's passing has certainly brought home the inability to take time for granted. Hence all this positive talk that will, I pray, turn into action.

Friday, June 15, 2007


'Nuff said.

Except that I'm looking forward to both resting and getting things accomplished this weekend. Probably going over to the folks' house Sunday to do a bit of laundry and make sure Lil Bro is surviving with the beautiful blond boy (he's got him all to himself this weekend, because Mom's in Orlando helping Meara settle into her new apartment, and H's mom is busy giving him a little brother). Otherwise I'll be cleaning, knitting, and enjoying time with Husby. And patting myself on the back for surviving my first full week back to work since Dad passed. It was quite hard...Wednesday and Thursday felt almost normal, but I honestly don't realize the way I'm burying my feelings until I have the car to myself and find myself screaming and crying. I was holding off on getting grief counseling until I handled the re-enrollment of my health benefits. Well, that got done today, so I'm visiting the appropriate websites this weekend, to set the task of referrals and appointments in motion.

Inspiration has snuck into my head this afternoon, and the ensuing verbal diarrhea is catalogued on my SCMoving blog. I'm also enjoying the Random wrap so much, I may have to paw through the ole stash this weekend and start myself an afghan of sorts. What better way to stash-bust!

Happy weekend, gang!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

After all these years.....

Been a witch for a while now......met the PHB (Lil Bro's ex, the psycho hose beast) 8 years ago, she introduced me to the Craft, probably waited a year or two before I broke down and really started studying though......still, Catholicism teaches you stuff like, if your faith's strong enough, God shines on you. And the Craft is a lot of work, when you're transferring your beliefs from something so structured to something that so many see as heretical. It requires a decent helping of that faith thing, directed instead at something much harder to define and in the face of people telling you that you're a) going to hell for your beliefs, and/or b) putting your faith in something quite imaginery. If Christianity is canvas, paganism is fishnet in the Christian world; you have to work your ass off to build it a foundation that can take your weight. Then something earth shattering comes along (like your dad dying), and one leg goes right through that fishnet and you're left scrambling. Ever throw a cat on a hammock? Same concept - hysterical to watch, not so fun to experience (as a crisis of faith anyway...).

Of the three of us (Lil Bro, Lil Sis, and myself), I'm the only one that went through all the sacraments of Catholicism (baptism, confession, communion, confirmation, Christian marriage). Lil Bro made it to communion before my folks' lapsed Catholic nature drew him away from the church (that and our proximity to it...the closest Catholic church near Warren was a town or two over, so it was much easier in those days to hit up the Protestants downtown), and he eloped on the beach. Lil Sis was raised by two very lapsed Catholics by that time, so other than Mom occasionally dragging her to Sunday service, the kid received very little spiritual foundation growing up (to the not-so-objective eye anyway, and compared to the years of catechism that Lil Bro and I endured). She experienced the faiths of friends, became born again in late high school, and is drifting toward the Methodists following Dad's exit. Lil Bro, thanks to community service, pulled an even stronger faith from his psyche; he just rebaptised himself, this time as a Baptist, is studying the Bible, and seems to be finding peace and strength with these beliefs. It's heartening and I'm so proud of him, but I also couldn't help feeling squirmy as I sat in his church at his baptism, listening to the well-meaning pastor expound on how those who aren't saved are damned. We even parked our car away from the others in the lot and with the back facing away from the church, so people wouldn't take notice of our considerably liberal bumper stickers. I'll shout from the rooftops the merits of finding a faith that works for you personally, but don't ask me to buy into a faith that condemns those who don't believe in it. I just can't believe that God gave us free will, only to punish those who exercise it...I mean, you take certain levels of Christianity seriously enough and people should go to hell for studying world religion in college.

But I'm a lazy witch, letting sabbats pass by without thought, and I don't keep an altar or light a daily candle or pray that much...I blame the cats for the altar thing (Fig would make short work of any altar within cat range, with the way she tears ass through the house), but I know it's a copout. So having to suddenly define little things like the concept of an afterlife or how God figures into the grand scheme has left me cast adrift. I've been trolling the Web for evidence that my beliefs could fit into the structure of Christianity somehow, so that all this wouldn't be so much work, forgetting of course that one's faith is probably one of the hardest roads you'll ever travel in this life, so if it's going along easy, you're taking it for granted or doing something wrong. I've spent the last day studying the Quakers, thinking that their liberal nature and quiet, simple lifestyle could somehow mesh with my beliefs, but alas, I've come back to the big thing standing in my way: I don't believe Christ was anything more than a man, and the Bible's just a book written by men. I'm just not a Christian, no matter how I try to bend it. I'm grateful actually for this little crisis of faith, because scouring the Christian websites for glimmers of information that ring true brings confusion, but when I then go back to websites that are closer to my faith (like Reclaiming or Feri), things get clearer and it's like I've come home. So it's time to get to work. I have the books I need already...Starhawk and T. Thorn Coyle and Margot Adler will speak volumes to this Ember Madrone, and I already own most of the good ones. Time to quit whining and put in the effort. Scary certainly, but the resulting faith and strength I'll experience will mean volumes as I come to peace with Dad's death.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

One month today

Seriously, someone explain how this is possible. I can't keep my eyes dry today, even when I'm listening to my MP3 player super loud to distract myself enough to work. I drove back from lunch and parked to eat (because we're finally getting rain, thank the lord), and the realization that this time last month we were saying goodbye to him because he'd flatlined, broke over my head like a fresh storm and I wept.

Enough time has past where if I'm dragging around the apartment or seem out of sorts, Les'll ask me what's wrong. I know he's a guy, but even he should know better than to ask that question for like, the next 3 to 6 months...he does know better, I realize it's an oversight or him wanting so badly to make sure I'm ok, but I still have to resist the urge to fly off the handle and rant, what the hell do you THINK is wrong?!?!

I hate that the blog has become this grief station, but I suppose it's better than bottling is fairly normal otherwise...I'm cleaning a little more, walking a little more, knitting a little more...I go to work, act as normal as possible, and then take it out on Les when I get home. I'm pretty sure when I finish the other 2 skeins of Color Waves on the random wrap, I'll be sniffing around for more yarn, because to finish it would be a type of closure that I'm not necessarily ready for...just started the Chenille so I have some time, but it's knitting up fast...I'm getting smart and not bringing grief books to work; that's just asking to be sad...I wish I could hang one of Dad's pictures at my work, but it's still too fresh...this surprises me a little; I've always been so tough, so good at keeping things from getting to me...I normally don't let things haunt me like that, but right now looking at a picture of Dad for longer than a glance just tears at my heart.

I never got around to doing that ritual on his birthday Sunday, so I'm going to try and do a little something tonight. I need to light candles, talk to him a bit, pay tribute in my own way and get some of this goddamned ache out of my chest.

Monday, June 11, 2007

One Day at a Time...

Grief is AA without the fun of detox. I'm starting to tool along again with a spot of normalcy and then suddenly I'm socked in the gut. Friday was a sleepy blur as I caught up on rest (again...probably dipping into the negatives on my PTO at work); Saturday started out nice, cleaned the kitchen, which felt fantastic; but the new Fergie song on the radio on the way to my folks' house left me weepy and letting out some screams; then back to ok as I enjoyed good food and company with Christy, my best friend since the 6th grade, who took time out of her vacation to come up to my folks' house to feed us. Sunday was breakfast with ruthee, Dana, and Carebear (VERY nice to see them again...haven't been to KB in a while obviously), then naptime, which left me feeling dragged out, then church on the northside for my Lil Bro's baptism (he became a member of the Dinsmore Baptist family), which buoyed me considerably, a feat in itself considering most of that crowd would consider my afterlife to resemble the inside of a brick oven...I try to experience new churches from a sociological, anthropological, or scholarly point of view, but it's a tricky proposition when you're facing an onslaught of pity and damnation from the pulpit. Still, I so respect my Lil Bro for taking charge of his life the way he has and finding his faith; the pride's frickin' leaking out of my ears!

Today, it's plain mind over matter; we'll see how long it lasts. I made a list last night of several little things to accomplish, I'm keeping the kitchen clean and planning a decent meal for tonight, and there's a new Kyle XY season starting on the tube this evening.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Emotionally shredded - Handle with care

I'd like that on a sign to hang around my neck for at least the next 3 months. You know those T-shirts that say "I'm out of my mind. Please leave a message..." Well, I need something similar, something like "If you expect a thoughtful and coherent response to your inquiry, please put it in writing." Because what I'm really feeling runs something like the only reason I'm out of bed and dressed is because the alternative is eviction and starvation, not necessarily in that order, so please be forewarned that I'm not at all in a good place at present and any attempts at civil or clear conversation may be met with resistance ... which is certainly more socially acceptable than the alternatives that flow through my head, like if someone has the audacity to say good morning without knowing my sitch ("Blow it out your ass...," "Go fuck yourself...," "Really Officer, I've no idea how that office chair got shoved up my colleague's orifice..."). I think some anger management counseling may be in order.

Knowing ain't half the battle where this grief thing is concerned. When I catch myself feeling ok, I don't feel guilt, just gratitude; because when I remember what's happened, the shock is like it happened yesterday. My eyes well up, I get that wind-knocked-out-of-me-tummy-hurts feeling, and the inconceivable nature of this new reality rearranges itself firmly in my emotional center. Dad can't be dead. It just doesn't make sense in my head. The man's been there for me for 37 years; how the fuck does he just evaporate like that? (Well, technically his spirit went bye-bye and then we torched him, but you get the idea...)

The trip north was happy, bittersweet, and deeply sad. I saw cousins that I hadn't seen in 22 years, and I met cousins that weren't even born yet when we left CT. We got in Thursday night a bit numb, crashed, got up Friday, and drove to Warren to sightsee. That was weird, but nice; I was really surprised by how much of the commute I didn't remember. Whether that's because it's changed or my memory has is still in question. What hasn't changed much at all physically is that tiny town of Warren, where we lived from 1981 to 1985; it's still God's country, an absolutely lush landscape of green and hills, so it was quite relaxing riding around that morning. We hit John's Best in Brookfield for lunch and it did not disappoint; still the best damn flavored pizza I've ever had! Holy crap, we stuffed ourselves! We drove back to Norwalk and received visitors that evening at my Uncle Dan and Aunt Karen's, where we were staying (Dan was Dad's oldest brother). That was truly a trip down memory lane, as both friends and family dropped by to eat, drink, and pay tribute. I ate like a horse and drank like the Irishwoman I am all weekend.

Saturday morning the memorial was at 10 a.m. at St. Jerome Catholic Church, where Mom and Dad were married. I was still feeling pretty detached about things, ever since seeing the beautiful rosewood urn/box that contained Dad's really didn't feel like Dad was in there, so I was handling things a little easier. But then after the priest did the holy water blessing of the urn at the back of the church, we walked down the aisle to the front and the opera singer/friend of Karen's starts singing "Morning Has Broken...," one of Dad's faves. I had forgotten we'd started the Jax funeral that way, and this guy's voice was just exquisite, so the waterworks hit and stuck around for most of the service. After the memorial, we went directly to the cemetery where the priest said a few words, we said a few prayers, and another daughter-of-a-friend of Karen's played "Danny Boy" on the violin. So damn beautiful. The rest of the day was a bit of an alcoholic blur, punctuated by a toast to Dad with a delicious Irish Mist liqueur that I really need to add to my paltry stash of spirits, because it really was yummy, and a delightfully wild ride in my uncle's 1927 Model T during which we drove back to Dad's cemetery to visit him and to St. Mary's Cemetery, where our Grace relatives are purported to have been buried even though the headstones have been lost or were never acquired due to cost.

Sunday we slept in a bit, thankfully, and went back to the cemetery for cries and pictures. That was really nice, because we encountered a huge flock of Canada geese just feasting on bugs amongst the headstones, and we're all suckers for those birds from our days on Above All. The day was overcast and cool with a pretty breeze. We went back to the house, then to Notre Dame (convalescent home) to visit Nanie. She had a TIA recently (transcient-ischemic attack, aka mini-stroke), which did a number on what's left of her memory, which combined with the sedation made for a pretty repetitious visit ("And you are...and where am I...and you are..."), but I was so delighted to finally see her again. Meara didn't take it well at all, so that day was her day for alcoholic oblivion, which made the next day of travel rather excruciating, bless her heart. Thankfully, Nanie was out of it enough to not even ask about Timmy (Dad, her son), and she probably doesn't even remember the visit really, but I'm going to start sending her cards like every 2 weeks or so, because she made a crack about feeling useless for living as long as she has (and we wouldn't even tell her her age, almost 96), and it'll make me feel better to remind her how much I love her. We had a serious food spread that night, on top of hamburgs and hot dogs, plus fantastic desserts, and got to visit with family again and make plans to try and keep in better touch from now on (which Meara's already made a start on, with a family website).

Monday was travel day, which left me tired, very physically sore (thanks in part to a misstep down the stairs carrying my luggage at Dan and Karen's), and ornery, so I was quite glad I had the foresight to take Tuesday off work as well. Slept in, puttered, napped, recovered. Now I'm back at work and rather cast adrift. I'll look into grief counseling in what's left of this week, but we can't afford anything probably until at least July, when my flexible spending account recharges, so it's a good thing I've got so many decent sources from the library for now. Christy should be in St. Augie, so she's offered to cook all of us dinner one night this weekend, so that'll be really nice, because we had short visit time at the memorial. I need to do laundry, and we're really screwed money-wise at present, but the rent cleared so I'm less worried...we just need to figure out a way to make it to next Friday.