Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I'm wide awake now.

There's this really delightful movie, circa 1998 or so, one of M. Night Shymalan's first works. Wide Awake tells the story of a 10-year-old boy who goes on a search for God while grieving the loss of his grandfather. It's On Demand right now, and I've watched it at least twice; it's speaking to me on some level...plus it's a really sweet flick.

I woke up Sunday morning with a sense of purpose. I knew I wanted to go check out Hitchcock Woods in downtown Aiken, and didn't see the point of trying to go back to sleep just so I could feel worse...the mattress I was on was lousy (my lower back still hasn't forgiven me), and I'd drunk enough wine the night before to kill a small horse. Had talked to Lil Bro the night before, and what I gleaned from the intense medical jargon of Dad's autopsy (still waiting to read it myself to see if I'm correct or not - Mom, as well as Dad's cardiologist are both in denial about the results at present) was that what set his catastrophic events in motion may have been a garden-variety MI. A heart attack. This may turn out not to be the case, but hearing this woke something inside of me. I'm not even sure what it is yet...it's definitely going to take some mental hashing out. But I went to those woods to walk and began to feel such strength, such clarity. Doesn't even make sense really...we'd always been told a stroke would take him; to have it be his supposedly healthy heart oughta bring nothing but more questions...and it does certainly (though certain parts of it also make sense, like they wouldn't have noticed all the symptoms because the pain that normally travels down one arm as well, would've been on the arm that hasn't been right since 1982, didn't give an accurate BP reading ever since his seizure back then)...that's why I asked Mom for a copy of the autopsy, because my time in the medical field gave me a really decent understanding of their terminology (and Mom and Lil Bro are getting an appointment for translative purposes with Dad's cardiologist, who's also going back to Pathology to make sure those results are accurate).

But maybe my clarity stems from an understanding that knowing the why doesn't help with the closure much at all....it certainly doesn't make him any less dead. Christ, could I be headed for acceptance already? Because in those woods, walking carefully on the soft dirt trail, stepping carefully to avoid the frequent road apples (I didn't see any horse folks, but it's obviously heavily populated by the Aiken horse crowd), I regained my peace and faith. As I was walking, I realized I hadn't grounded in months and suddenly, the earth's energy was flooding up through my legs and arms. It was overcast and muggy out, but almost cool, not more than 70 F. I was surrounded by tall trees, fern banks, and gorgeous groves of greenery. There's a canyon and a sand river...I barely scratched the surface of these woods, can't wait to go back and explore further, and it's a privately owned and funded area only a mile from downtown Aiken. I'd kick myself for not finding it sooner, were it not for how fantastic it's made me feel. I had a good cleansing cry and so totally recharged my batteries; my cup runneth over with how I'm feeling now.

Spent the rest of Sunday knitting, relaxing, and reading and writing in my grief journals. My resolve to lose weight and get healthy has taken on fresh life, because if any of us kids needs to be worried about potential heredity factors from Dad now, with that news, it's certainly me over the others. And that scares the living shit out of me, since I have every intention of living a helluva lot longer than 30 more years. So I joined the Heart Walk in Dad's memory, am eating healthier, and my exercise regimen begins today, in spite of my sore back. I'll take it easy, but I'm not going to lay out. I'll celebrate Lughnassadh tomorrow and the beginnings of my favorite season.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Heck with the Methodists

Of course I don't mean that literally...it's just I'm realizing that my impatience at my lack of inner peace is causing me to make rash decisions about faith. Going to a Christian church when you're really a Unitarian is an exercise in self-flagellation. Add to that the fact that it's in SC, a state so steeped in the Bible belt that they're basically moving backwards socially, and you've got a recipe for anything but inner peace.

So I found a city park with hiking trails that's a whole 8 minutes from the house. That's where I'll be Sunday morning while the others are sleeping in. I'll pack my raincoat, procure some bug spray, and go traipsing through the woods.

I'm really looking forward to getting out of town. We haven't been north since March, when we went on our last scouting trip for the move. We rambled around Columbia, bursting with the hope that accompanies that type of life change - a move to another city. Circumstances may have changed, but SC still holds a special place in my heart, and we're still planning to eventually move there. The air tastes better, lighter; his folks' house is surrounded by pine trees that are great for hugging and shade; and we'll get to see his family, hopefully diffuse a bit of the tension that they live with constantly. The household consists of Mom & Dad J, Grandma, Les's sis Kara, her significant other Allan, and their daughter Kylie. It's become a pretty tight fit; there's a lot of strong personalities under that roof. Kara and Allan are in their 30s, but lack the motivation to move out on their own; and Grandma, while someone I respect for her elder status, is a sharp-tongued pill at times. It'll be good to have us there to distract them for a bit, and I'm looking forward to playing with Kylie, who turned 1 this past week. Also looking forward to seeing Dad J, though I know I'm going to break down when I hug him, because it'll remind me so strongly of what I've lost.

Knitting this weekend will be all baby stuff...I'm finishing Kylie's top, and then I'll start a sweater for Cooper and some booties, maybe a hat and some washcloths for Elise.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Not nearly as bad off as I thought

Hello! I am Figaro. I have a white bib and belly, and 4 white socks. This picture is an illusion. I am not normally so well behaved. My favorite pastimes include rattling the vertical blinds to vex Daddy, jumping on my big brother Jordan, and tear-assing around the apartment. Mommy says I'm hell on 4 paws, whatever that means.

So I sat down at the new therapist's office (Melanie, not Figaro) (yet another therapist that I'm probably not comfortable enough with to indulge in a second appointment), and started talking. Didn't go back nearly as far in the past as I did with the last one, because I didn't want to get to T-minus 10 minutes to go and feel like I was just starting. So I talked and I wept, and I mentioned how concerned I was that I was delaying the grief or not dealing properly with it thanks to the lithium, and it dawned on me: SFW. I've been feeling guilty for having the medication that allows me to better deal with all that's happened (guilty that Mom, Cyril, or Meara don't have what I have), and the clouds parted as I allowed myself to realize that they a) could certainly have access to meds if they felt the need, and b) probably don't have lithium deficiencies. The way I'm feeling now, on my meds, is normal; it's Melanie's normal, so why beat myself up for what's right for me. If I had to guess whether I inherited the lithium deficiency from Mom or Dad, Dad would win that sucker in a landslide. Unfortunately I'll probably never know now; haven't a clue if it's something that's normally measured on an autopsy (that is, if Baptist EVER gives up the f*cking thing!). But the point is that I can't feel guilty for something that's a legitimate medical condition; it's out of my hands. I've treated it as such for years, so what makes it different just 'cuz I'm facing this mind-blowing grief now? Nothin', that's what.

Don't know what to do about the counseling...made a 2nd appointment, but I'll hunt some more. Got my grief book and journal from Amazon this past week, I'm starting exercising, getting a change of scene in SC this coming weekend, and I'm getting back to church, trying out the Unitarians and the Methodists both, I think, as I search for a happy medium to my faith to help combat the ache. The Katja top will get all my knitting attention until it's done, cuz i'm hoping to finish it for Kylie's birthday, give it to her when we're up there this weekend.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Monday...could be worse...

Woke up with a splitting, nauseous headache this morning, no clue why, so now that the meds have kicked in, I'd love to be anywhere but at work. When you feel so much better after feeling so lousy, the last place you want to be is stuck in a cube...you want to savor it. Ah well.

Semi-productive weekend...worked a pinch Saturday playing catchup with my hours. Moved furniture in the bedroom Friday night and discovered something I haven't seen in a long time: floor space...and I didn't even have to move one of the coffee tables to the closet. Did laundry Saturday night at Mom's house, which was nice, but sad. They have a new couch and coffee table, so the living room is infinitely more comfortable to hang out in now, but the place is still chock full of memories. I remarked to Lil Bro recently that the damn garage is a time capsule, and it definitely brought back the ache as I worked Saturday night...got some good cries in, which naturally has me wondering if it hurt so badly that night because I haven't been crying nearly as much since getting back on lithium. It's helping me immensely in my ability to function day to day, but am I trading coping with the grief for just plain coping, and will that actually prolong my pain/retard my ability to heal? Good questions for the doc tomorrow - new psych appt after work Tuesday. Still I've been a good girl, maintaining 2 a day on the lithium, so it was nice to see the grief break through that actually, even if it hurt like hell.

Yesterday, Sunday, we went to the flicks with Steve & Lynn; I work with Steve - we've hung out on occasion for years (cookouts, birthdays, etc.). We went to the new Harry Potter, which none of us were overly impressed with, unfortunately. The fact that they've managed to keep all the same actors in the key roles really helps, but this movie was the most uneven, poorly edited of them all so far. Complete lack of segues, really blunt feel. Then we went back to their house for dinner, which was nice, though they can barely socialize at present. I think they kept the invite open to us to maintain a feeling of normalcy, but their lives aren't normal right now. They have a little boy who's going on 3, a delightful handful who took to Les like a duck to water yesterday - it was beautiful. Usually I'm the one who hits it off with the small people, but for some reason, Lukas wasn't having me yesterday. Lynn's pregnant with their 2nd boy though, and it's been a very difficult pregnancy - she developed an absess below the baby that is pushing down on nerves, creating a great deal of pain as well as numbness in one leg, and she's on IV nutrition at night. So she's wiped out from that, and Steve's wiped out from picking up the slack. Still it was nice to socialize and get a visitor's eye view of parenthood again.

So, this week...a couple of things. Getting back on my big knitting projects...I've been neglecting the log cabin blanket and the random wrap. Instead, made myself a small pouch for a makeup kit and a sunglass case over the weekend, just cuz. Which reminds me of one funny thing from the Harry Potter movie, when the Weasley kids all opened their latest hideous knitted creations from their mother at Christmastime. Lord, keep me from being one of THOSE knitters. I also want to start 2 baby projects this week: something for Steve and Lynn's new guy, Cooper, and something for my team leader's impending new daughter. Easy stuff like booties and washcloths for the latter, maybe a first stab at a small person's sweater for Coop. Toughest thing on that will be the sizing; I prefer running large on baby clothes, but these folks are quite small in frame - Lukas is a 3 year old wearing 18 month clothes, so I'll actually pay attention to whatever pattern I choose and go for something less than 9 months in size, I think. Will continue to dig into that apartment and reorganize, unpack and repack boxes, etc. We'll bring the coffee table upstairs (it's still in the car from last week), and decide what to do with it. We took the first end table from Mom's and made it the new TV table; the shelves are handy for Les's PS2, and I look forward to getting the other end table/chest from Mom's because that'll allow me to unpack the VHS tapes and store them, which'll free up the boxes for the closet. Definitely need to make some lists of what I'd like to accomplish...I'll do that tonight, so that it won't be so daunting. I tend to wander the apartment looking at stuff and feeling overwhelmed, and that's not the most productive way to get your excrement together.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Random photo thoughts

Now granted, my dad liked posing for pictures about as much as he enjoyed dental work...but I can't help wondering if Mom goosed him right before that one on the right was taken. Would explain the high look on his face, and the self-satisfied look on hers...:)

Where's the lighthouse?

Answer: I got frickin' tired of it. Unfortunately, the selection of templates on Blogger could be better, but I made do. Naturally forgot to save my Links until after I'd saved a new template, so there's less of those because I had to input them manually. And I stole the idea for the What's Going On...section from my Celtic knitting goddess pal, ruthee; she does something similar on her site, and I figure it'll help me be more accountable for getting decent food on the table a couple of nights a week.

Busy weekend ahead...Harry Potter book, Harry Potter movie with friends, furniture moving, cleaning, organizing, laundry....hopefully at least a couple of those things will actually get done. I'm getting decent sleep on the lithium, not nearly as dragged out during the week, so hopefully I won't spend the weekend thinking I need to catch up. I can't access my work voicemail, so can't be sure that I ever received a callback from the shrink...I'll go to the psychologist next Tuesday, and see if she can refer me to anybody.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


My primary doc is a DO who operates a rather revolving-door family practice, which means it's easy to get an appointment usually, but you're crammed into a miniscule waiting area teeming with snot-nosed kids and rednecks (please excuse my class bias, but that's how it feels in there), and you're lucky to get your 15 minutes with the actual doc. So I'm not going to bother with another appointment just to hash out that I can't stand that I'm feeling so much better. But it is bringing home to me that I need a shrink, not a psychologist...I need someone who's skilled in the medicinal end of things as well as the emotional, and a psychologist just doesn't have enough experience. So I'll hang onto my appointment with the psychologist while I search for a psychiatrist.....

Because the damn lithium has me feeling pretty entirely blank. I'm not grieving at all; when I think of Dad, I feel.....very little. And that just ain't right. I was looking for a happy medium, something that would keep me from having panic attacks and hyperventilating every time I think of him, while allowing me to function better at work and such. Instead I'm feeling...nothing. My grief has been erased by a little beige pill, and I'm barely taking enough for it to be considered therapeutic. I dropped back to one a day this week, and if that doesn't work, I may go to every other day. I'm NOT going to go off of it without talking to somebody with an MD after their name, but as I am right now, I'm not dealing with much of anything, and that can only serve to bite me in the ass later.

I've started a tote bag with the brown Cascade in 2 strands, based on the Interweave Musical Stripes pattern (downloadable from Knitting Daily)...when I get bored with that yarn, I'll add either the slate blue or rose pink of that wonderfully rough, peace-fleece-esque wool that Dana gifted me...both those yarn types should make for a neat felting project, just won't double the blue or pink - it's thick enough on its own.

Monday, July 16, 2007


I don't think I've ever been so unsettled to be feeling better.

Last week, I visited my doc and went back on lithium. Since my body basically doesn't produce the stuff on its own, the effect is fairly instantaneous when it's introduced back to my system. My mood lifts, I sleep better, my appetite is ravenous...that part's not cool at all, not when I've just started to lose a bit. Husby offered the oh-so-helpful notion of recognizing when I feel that way and then just eating less. If he wasn't such a sweetie, I'd have beaten the crap out of him for that latent male response.

But it dawned on me Sunday that my anger had dissipated, and that I was crying less, which begs the question, am I dealing with my grief properly? I shed a few on Saturday, but had to make myself on Sunday—watched the movie "Wide Awake" again just to see if I could fetch up my grief feelings (VERY sweet movie, about 10 years old, one of M. Night Shymalan's first...about a 5th grader's search for God following his grandfather's death). And that's when I realized I couldn't find my anger, which I hadn't even realized was a significant issue, a natural progression of my grief, that feeling that I've been wronged somehow to be enduring this loss. Now granted, I was getting pretty tired of all the crying and aching. But that worries me, that knowledge that if I let myself, I'll start blithely going along again like life is normal. Sure, that needs to happen eventually, but not yet, not to that extent anyway. I've never been down on myself normally for doing that, because once I found out about the lithium deficiency, it was easier to peg my issues as biological rather than emotional...but I don't want to do that now, because we obviously have a serious emotional issue at the forefront that shouldn't be buried.

So, other than me not being able to take happiness at face value, it was a good weekend...spent Saturday on the westside, got to see Mom, Lil Bro, and Hunter, and we treated them to Les's teriyaki chicken, and my cheddar corn spoonbread and apple butter/pumpkin pie—YUM! Hunter's such a beauty, behaves quite well in stores thanks to his meds, and he's obviously good therapy for my mom. Six years old and he comes up to my chest! I'm 5'8"...the kid's frickin' huge!

Been slacking on my health studies...I'll create my notebook this week for the AHA Choose to Move info that I'm pulling off the web, as well as any other pertinent health and fitness stuff. Lil Bro has free weights I can use, which I'll hopefully get from him sometime this week in between procuring furniture from them and shoving Husby into one of about 4 job fairs that are being held this week. Thinking of ripping out some more projects; spent some time on log cabin yesterday and I'll put more time into the random wrap this week, because I'm looking forward to getting that one off the needles and wrapping it around me while I watch TV, knit, read...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Ah poo!

No SC this weekend, they had to postpone the baptism. I find it hilarious just how cliquish and cult-like the average Christian church gets...(which further punctuates just how well Kevin Smith nailed the problems of manmade religions in the movie "Dogma")...when you ask to baptize your child with them, if you're not yet a member of the church, you better have the checkbook handy. You'd think they'd jump at the chance to grab another critter into the flock, but no...in spite of the contributions of past family members (this is Husby's grandmother's church), they refused. These are Methodists; aren't they supposed to be more open than say Catholics or Baptists? Well, it is SC, so not sure why I'm surprised...it's one of the things that concerns me about moving up there, the idea that the majority of people you'll run into are likely to be more vocal about the fact that you're going to hell for your beliefs. That espousing my ideals could lead to un-Christian-like behavior from the Christians...then again, we parked our car away from the church at Cyril's baptism so that people wouldn't be put off by our bumper stickers, so it stands to reason that anywhere in this Christian majority, you're going to run into issues. Anyway, it's just as well SC got postponed...this way I'll be able to take at least a whole day off around the weekend in question by then (still recooping my PTO - paid time off). And this way I'll get at least one thing knitted for the kid before we go up...I started Katja last night, and can tell it'll knit up fast.

Hopefully a bit of an organizing weekend...we're cooking dinner for Mom and Cyril on Saturday, looks like, and might be inheriting some furniture in the bargain, which will mean disposing of some crap in our house to make room and moving some stuff around. Hunter's over this weekend too, which is always nice. Thankfully his condition has never allowed him to ask outright yet where Grand-Sir is, though he's recently been improving quite a bit on fetching up complete sentences without prompting, so time will tell.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

2 Months

That's probably the most shocking thing about all this...the fact that life goes on, even though someone ripped the spinal column out of our family. We go to work, pay bills, make plans, even start to forget a little...not about him, of course, but that it's happened; it doesn't remind you every 5 minutes, more like every 10...and that's almost harder because then there's the inevitable "my gosh, I haven't thought about X for Y minutes/hours...what the hell does that mean?" And you hash it out in your head and try not to feel guilty for letting life do that, and wonder if it's you coping or burying, and what that'll do to you in the long run...there's some vicious cycling to this train of thought. But you're usually saved by some random thing that results in a complete meltdown and the guilt abates. Was flipping around last night and came across "It's My Party" on the Logo channel. I love this flick; the plot is sad, but the gallows humor is hilarious. But the main character dies peacefully at the end, and it brought to mind how Dad may have taken the decision from us, but it wasn't peaceful; it was 36 hours of fear and pain masked by morphine, and he died with tubes shoved in every conceivable orifice. I know I can't think that way; besides, the morphine had him basically comatose at the end. Still, it made me ache, and I was a mess the rest of the evening.

So today will be a quiet day, a thoughtful one...can't do KB tonight because I can't spare the gas and have no dough for coffee, so I'll putter and pack, because we're going to SC tomorrow night after work. Our niece Kylie is getting baptized on Sunday. I'm thinking of wearing at least the top of my funeral outfit; it's so bright and pretty, and it'd be nice to wear it for something happy. I look forward to hugs from Husby's fam, holding Kylie, walking around their neighborhood, and enjoying a sit in their side yard where they have a respite of hardwood outdoor furniture amidst the pine trees...I like to knit out there, but we'll see how oppressive the heat is. Hate going up to the baptism empty handed though...is it completely unrealistic for me to try and knit a baby sweater in 60 hours?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Thought that counts

Making myself actually read Kathy is keeping me from working out! The most I did last night was carry the laundry up and down the stairs, and conserve gas by walking to the laundry room when I switched stuff from washer to dryer. A short jaunt, but still pleased with myself. But in my defense, I REALLY don't want to screw myself this time. I was thinking of copying the training log pages out of the book so that I don't screw up the originals, but that got me thinking that I'm already setting myself up for failure because I've stopped midway on stuff like this in the past and then I'm ticked that I don't have clean original copies to start over on.....so by thinking that I need copies, I'm already thinking that I won't make it through the 12 weeks without slip-ups? But let's face it; a small part of me is still a Virgo and certainly my father's daughter, so having the book act as a template and making copies for the actual working out is organizationally prudent...a little anal, maybe, but prudent...so I just need to change my thinking, because she emphasizes how the plan can be adapted, modified for continuation after the first 12 weeks, so if I'm more comfortable making copies of the training logs than writing directly in the book, then that's a positive move toward my program, right? Yeah, that's it! This regular exercising thing is going to be just as mental as it is physical, so figuring this out now rather than 2 weeks in, has gotta help, right? Think I'm almost convinced...it's tough starting a daily program after 37 years of doing nothing of the sort...requires a discipline and love of yourself that you didn't know existed up until then. Getting the good news about my BP at the docs was a relief, but there's no way I'll take it as an excuse to slack off or be complacent about my health. So it's really ok that I'm taking my time getting to know this program, because it'll mean less confusion once I've started, which'll make me more comfortable. Sounds like I'm trying hard to convince myself of this, huh? Actually it's just me thinking out loud. It dawned on me that one of the reasons I fail so easily at exercise is because I don't give it the attention, before as well as during, that it deserves. We're talking about moving—physically, intellectually, emotionally—toward a healthier lifestyle, toward a way of living that'll be beneficial for the rest of my life. Of course it requires study and attention to detail, and careful planning. It's the key to why diets don't work, because people are only looking to change until the scale hits that magic number, and then they think they'll just automatically be good from there on, when in fact it gives them license for things to "go back to normal." I can't, no, won't let that happen. I want to chase after my kids without getting winded. I want to live to be 102.

So I took stock of my workout equipment and read last night, and thought about rearranging the furniture in the bedroom so that I have a space. I know I'd be more comfortable working out in the bedroom, and thankfully, they're still using the downstairs apartment as a model, so I don't have to worry about bothering neighbors for now. Besides, it's not like I'll be doing aerobics much; I'll keep my main cardio work outside or at the complex treadmill, unless I decide to join the Y. I hate giving money to a gym, but if it has equipment that I could use, I may investigate the option, because it's RIGHT NEXT DOOR to my office, so the convenience factor is obvious. Hard to think about something like that when we usually can't pay our way out of a paper bag though, so for now, I'm assessing what I have so I can make do. Might ask Lil Bro if he has any cast-off workout equipment, and luckily dumbbells are cheap. Point is I can start with what I have; it doesn't require any serious spending, though I'll be glad when my gift card is back up to its balance so I can indulge myself a bit.

This whole entry oughta go in my MJ Health & Happiness blog...ah well. But I'm getting excited about this as I write about it! That's gotta be a good sign. I woke up groggy as hell this morning after stress dreams, but just thinking about getting healthier is getting me jazzed. Tonight I'll move the furniture and finishing reading up to the training logs.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Man, I feel good!

What a difference a little good news makes! What I weighed is barely worth celebrating, but it's been so long since I've weighed that fully clothed on the doc's blasted scale, that I practically floated back to work. Set aside the knitting and spent the evening giving one of my Kathy Smith books a hard skim; going to do more of the same tonight to make sure I understand stuff and don't overdo it my first time out, work out on the Bean tonight, and start Kathy tomorrow. We're out of money for this week, so that means no junk food anyway, and I'm back in the habit of trying to drink close to 2L of water at work. Going back on the lithium, so that oughta be status quo anyway.

I have an appointment in 2 weeks with a psychologist who takes credit cards, and we have an SC trip coming up either this weekend or next, so the trip out of town oughta do some good too, though I know I'm going to melt down when I hug Dad J. Dad L. will be gone 2 months on Thursday. Unreal.

So laundry, reading, and exercise tonight...hell, I'll get enough of a workout just going up and down the damn stairs with the laundry, so I think I'll mainly goof around on the Bean tonight, acclimate myself with the different exercises, positions that are currently possible with this bod...looking at the pictures in the manual is one thing, performing them with a spare tire for a waist is another. Reminds me of when Yoga Journal did an article on yoga positions for big women; there aren't nearly enough of those types of instructions out there. All the commercials for this type of exercise equipment (the stuff they advertise for on TV) showcase beautiful people still; they need to have separate vids for us fatties who are just starting out, so that we don't hurt ourselves or cause damage to nearby furniture, animals, etc. ::wry grin::

Monday, July 09, 2007

Could it be? A decent Monday?

Went to my primary doc today for med assessment. I've lost 10 pounds and my BP is 110/70. Hot damn and yay, me!!!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Yes, folks, she figured out her digi cam!

Yeah, ok, so I have some practice to do still...

The first one: Dad's urn (cherry or rosewood? can't remember which...) backed by Mom and Dad's wedding photo. The seal is for the Department of the Army; he served from 1953 to 1956. The rest:

Timothy Michael Lyons
KT • Papa • Sir • Grand-Sir
June 10, 1939 – May 12, 2007
"Until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand."
Irish Blessing

KT stands for King Timothy; I was the Long Mountain Princess, the name of the street we lived on in New Milford, CT. When Lil Sis came along, she became the Above All Princess after the street we lived on in Warren, CT. Grand-Sir is how Hunter knew Dad; we brought it up as a joke right after he was born and it stuck.

The green Model T actually runs! It's a 1927, I believe, belongs to my Uncle Dan and he still drives it in local parades and the like. He fired that sucker up after the funeral and we all took rides to the cemetery and around town in it; quite a blast when you're drunk!

The headstone is the family plot, conveniently situated on the first corner on the right as you come into St. Johns Cemetery in Norwalk. Meara couldn't get over all the headstones; I had to remind her that those suckers would sink right into the aquifer in Florida, which is one reason you rarely see them that prolific in the South. They'll put a nameplate for him on the main stone, as we're running out of room for separate markers around it.

I know Mom's bummed that he's up there, but I can't help thinking that that's where he belongs, right near his brother and dad, in the neighborhoods where he grew up. The three of them can ramble around the area fixing old cars and doing yard work. I miss the area already...it was a great visit, and I hope I can scrape up the dough to go back up there when Nanie passes.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Kinda dishy, huh? :)

Can't believe it's taken me this long to put this up!!
If you go to the website http://www.mem.com and look to the left side of the page, you'll see fields for last name and a drop-down menu of choices. Type in Lyons for the last name, and Everlasting Memorial for the drop-down. There are 5 pages of Lyons' on the site; he's on the top of the 5th page. It shows his obit, plus a bunch of photos arranged in gallery or movie form. We get to add/replace photos down the road.
I'm thinking this pic was from his 2nd senior year of high school, but I'm not positive...I'm going to add some more pics later this weekend from the trip to CT; his urn and the family plot were really pretty!
Love you Papa!


In the beginning, say, oh, the month of May, there was a definitive and noteworthy distinction between what I term my "regular" depression and my grief. I could tell that the overwhelming emotions I was feeling were most definitely from the grief and not exactly a byproduct of my past issues. I consider my time in Fort Myers to be the worst of my depression; I was on medication that did more harm than good, and the side effects literally had me wondering if I needed to check myself in someplace with soft walls and canvas jackets. So it's easy to compare bad times to that and think I'm not that bad off.

Now it's July; it's been almost 2 months. Already. Things will never be as bad again as they were in Fort Myers, but I think we can safely say that the distinction between my depression and my grief has left the building. They've melded into this emotional blob, and the result is this shell person who's sleepwalking through life at the moment. My memories of Dad inexplicably tend to immediately shift to the last moments, coming upon him and realizing he's gone, that his soul has left the room. It's a palpable, vacuum-like feeling that causes my soul to start shrieking. I did some screaming last night to try to eleviate this feeling. It wasn't enough. I gotta find a better way to release...my vocal chords are never gonna forgive me.

So thanks to the observances of a friend, I was easily convinced to take a more active approach to my recuperation. I made an appointment with my primary doc to talk meds. I'm calling a psychiatrist back on Monday to get her earliest possible appointment, and I'm keeping my appointment with the Master's level clinician in the meantime. I see that I'm barely pulling off coping at the moment. As soon as I fix the Amazon screwup that occurred yesterday, I'll be repurchasing the grief book and journal that I want. I'm going to try to write in the green journal every night, the one I bought so I could talk to Dad. Avoidance (to give yourself time) as a healing tactic only does so much before it becomes more detrimental than therapeutic. I realize there are parts of this that can't be forced, that time will heal to a certain extent, but it's obvious I need to grab my bootstraps a bit in order for my sanity to punch through this grief better.

I hope Dad's not disappointed in us. We're all still so reeling from his absence. The man was the central nervous system of the family, and you just can't have an ego and personality like his evaporate and not have it leave this gaping chasm. I've said before the man had self-esteem issues, so if he were still around, he wouldn't understand the how and why of our grief. I guess I need to stop thinking about how it's affecting him and focus on me. Was talking to the counselor Tuesday and she remarked how she was hearing me talk of how others were coping, but not about how I was. There's a message in that, that demands further exploration on my part.

Dana, bless her soft fuzzy heart, gifted me a bunch of yarn last night (2 skeins of Noro, some Peace Fleece wannabes, plus some soft wools), which I look forward to playing with this weekend. Was brainstorming last night when I got back from KB about how to use the PF wannabes and found a nice light pattern for a scarf that I decided to try the Opal on, so I frogged the Jaywalkers for now. I'm just not in the mood for socks right now, don't have the patience for dpns. I'm thinking of a deliciously long scarf somehow combining the two PFs, because they're in pretty complementary colors, a rose and a slate blue...and I'm adding some Noro to the log cabin blanket. NICE! It is pretty warm to be working with thick & quick (the blue wrap), so I think I'll pull out the random wrap for some quality time this weekend too.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Still blank

I give Mom and Lil Bro kudos for not going completely 'round the bend from living in that house. Never mind that the furniture ain't comfortable; the place is one big memory bank. I can't imagine being more in pain than I already am, but I'm pretty sure that living in that house would produce that feeling. Lil Bro combats it by working out/exercising for now, and it seems to be helping...he admits that to not do physical activities would put him in a corner in the fetal position at least emotionally. I'm not sure how Mom's coping...still a tough read. She admits to breakdowns like we all have, but with people, even family, there's this strength for the most part that pervades her personality, that's so apparent it makes me worry that she's surpressing. More likely she's going through the motions like we all are, and it's harder for me to distinguish because I'm in such a fog of my own as well.

Problem is, and she's admitted to this as I have, that reading about how to cope with grief is difficult because it forces you to sit down and absorb it, get to know it, curl up and have conversations with it, and that's just physically painful. I guess it's normal; I mean, in the first month when it's still so very fresh, you're already thinking about it 24/7 so to purposefully try and read about it would probably send your psyche right over the edge. I read a little in the early days to convince myself that I was going to survive with this big chunk of my heart missing, and to reassure myself that everything that was occurring in my head was normal. Can't deal with past depression like I have and not be concerned with how this life-changing event would affect...everything. Then I ignored the books for about 6 weeks, and now I'm slowly opening to the idea of exploring them again, maybe doing a little journaling. Gotta do something, as I can already tell that counseling won't do as much as I'd like...after the session the other day, it produced a long-forgotten memory of driving to my sessions in Fort Myers, and going over in my head what I wanted to cover beforehand, because those damn 50 minutes are so precious and short. It's just not enough time to produce decent results on its own...probably why so many people medicate now. The way I voiced it to Lil Sis is that it may help steer us in the proper directions, but the emotional/intellectual heavy lifting will be up to us.

Had 4 beers yesterday, so my body's one big joint creak today...dumbass...Suns game was fun though! I actually only pulled out the knitting at the very beginning...the rest of the time I was able to enjoy people/vendor watching and the game itself...we won 3-2 and it went by faster than baseball I've been to in the past. Fireworks were quite neat afterward, and the rain only sprayed us right before the first pitch, which was hilarious because most folks scattered for the upper levels, but we stayed put and put ponchos on, so our seats stayed dry while others had soggy pants issues afterward :) Then yesterday we went over to Mom's, Lil Bro and Husby cooked kabobs out on the grill (yum!), there was lowfat berry cheesecake afterward, and it was nice just hanging out with Mom and Lil Bro. I was exhausted on the drive home, but we got back early enough for a light 2nd wind/wind-down that left me refreshed before bed.

Projects this week are the log cabin and the blue wrap...random wrap will be revisited this weekend, and I need a 3rd skein for the blue wrap, I can already tell. My QC team all chipped in and got me 2 gift cards, because they could tell I've been having a hard time coping, and the one that works like a Visa debit is burning a hole in my pocket...definitely looking for a particular grief book and workbook with that sucker, as well as some stash enhancement (yarn for you laypeople).

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Counseling is a crap shoot. In this age of HMOs, PPOs, and Web-search everything, looking for a mental health counselor is quite simple. In the case of my insurance, it has its own site entirely dedicated to mental health...punch in the criteria you're looking for in a head-shrinker, press Submit, and viola! Looking for a psychiatrist as opposed to a social worker? Click! Feel more comfortable with a black male, or a white female? Click! But you're still spinning the roulette wheel as to how you'll feel once you've met the person, whether you'll actually be comfortable enough to open up with them and get any work of substance done.

This wasn't my first time on the couch; I started counseling at 19 in college and tried it on and off til age 27. Then my meds put me on a reasonably even keel, and I've spent the last 10 years feeling, dare I say, normal. So it wasn't so much trepidation as skepticism that tagged along as I went to my first visit with X. Keeping in mind that it's impossible to feel satisfied after the first meeting with a new counselor, because you're forced to nutshell your life into a 50-minute segment so that they have a clue about your issues . . . I was finally getting down to the details of Dad's death with 8 frickin' minutes left in the session. So my initial feeling about it is...blank. She'll be fine, nice lady, mid-50s, country club type without seeming airbrushed (which is a relief, lemme tellya...I try not to judge books by their covers, but those women who look like they just stepped off a golf course drive me nuts)...but I can tell that time and study will be quite the healers in the coming months, maybe more so than her skills...won't sell her short yet, it's not her...it's just this grief thing really is a growth experience that can't be pigeonholed or categorized too stringently. Lil Sis made a comment on her Facebook about how she's ready for things to seem normal again.....I hope she means a new version of normal, because I don't see back to normal in the cards at all. We're all going to change from this, are changing...there's still this abyss in my soul where my dad used to be, and getting that abyss to heal ain't gonna happen overnight, that's for sure. And when it does, it'll be an entirely new section of my soul, from chrysalis to butterfly, as it were. I'm being a little close-minded about the counseling, I know...I'm going to dig into those grief books from the library in the meantime, and I have another appointment scheduled for next week. We'll see...my brain may be blank, but that existential ache in my belly's pretty bad today.

One thing I'm tired of...being tired. I catch up on the weekends, but I'm lucky to get 5 or 6 hours a night during the week, because my brain won't turn off, and work is just exhausting. Which is quite frustrating because all I do is sit on my ass in front of a computer all day, I'm a true cubicle mole, but then I get home and my brain's oatmeal, so that even knitting takes an act of will at times. I'm going through the motions at work, and I don't even realize I'm holding something in, it's entirely rote or robotic or something, doesn't feel like I'm holding anything in, until I'm driving home and can't catch my breath because a memory pokes its way out...I can tell I'm due for some more therapeutic screaming.

So, Suns game tonight if we're not rained out (fireworks and free ice cream! gonna rain all day tho', so trying not to get my hopes up), and family time tomorrow. Gotta renew the library books Thursday, so I'll take a look at them in the next day or two and decide which ones are even worth keeping.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Surprisingly ok mood

For a Monday, that is...hell, a couple of days last week were real butt-draggers. But I slept the clock around Saturday night, and spent Sunday doing a whole lot of relaxing. I could just tell that I didn't have it in me to clean much, so I picked up my knitting and tucked in. Later in the evening, gave myself a foot bath and repainted the toes. And best of all, can't begrudge myself the slacking because it was very necessary.

Frogged 2 more projects, and planning to pick up mr. sock's mate tonight to get myself in the mood so I have something to bring to the baseball game tomorrow night ::grin:: It's either that or watch us get spanked by Mobile. We're going with Mom and hopefully, Cyril will join us after he works out. May have to bring more than one project, now that I think about it, to distract me from my desire for a beer. I'm definitely not touching alcohol in the foreseeable future. I'm giving my body a month on the potassium; then I'll call my doc to get my blood work done and get a referral for a cardiologist so I can get additional prophylactic tests done. No sense ignoring the possibilities just because I had a CAT scan done 2 years ago; I mean, heck that was 10 pounds ago and my BP was normal back then. I'm back to eating healthier, which sucks...but it really doesn't when the alternative is feeling as crappy as I've been feeling these last 2 weeks.