Friday, January 27, 2012


Limited Internet access and a seriously busy week ahead. I leave this afternoon for SC.

My brain's working in starts and stops. Trying to make list of all the crap I need to accomplish before heading out of town. Dropping off key to Lil Bro right after work, so he and Alice can keep an eye on the cat while we're gone. Doing flea stuff before I leave so the critter won't tear herself up in our absence. She's been damn needy lately and meowing for Les; this trip isn't going to help. Wish we could bring her, but she'd scratch or bite our niece and beat up their Yorkie. Love her, but she's a squirrel. Almost wish C could bring her back to his place, but he has 2 other (larger) cats, and there would be bloodshed eventually. Better to leave her in her familiar surroundings.

Have a feeling time is going to fly from now til Sunday, and then slow to a crawl. That won't be good for maintaining friendly familial relationships...there's already a high level of animosity in certain sectors. Prayers and peaceful thoughts...

Head cold's almost over, but I'm sick of it anyway; cough sticking around and I don't have a great deal of patience. Hopefully throwing myself into housework once I get there will help. And seeing Les.

Om Namah Shivaya. It's a Sanskrit phrase that I'm pretty sure is horribly mistranslated by us Westerners and only supposed to refer to honoring Shiva, but one of the translations sticks in my head: I honor the divinity that resides within me. I'll hold that feeling close to my heart as I'm barraged with Christianity's way of dealing with death this weekend. I'm in a better place lately with my own beliefs, as varied as they are. And when family relationships threaten to fracture this week, I'll go inward, breathe, and find my own peace with Dad's passing. That's what's important, and the thing I have the most control over.

Thanks so much for all your prayers over the past few weeks.

Image from here.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

One foot in front of the other...

I sat in our living room and said to Les, "just make sure that all that positive thinking isn't masking denial..."

He responded, "don't worry, I know it's denial...I just still hold out hope that he's gonna beat this too."

Shoulda listened to myself. Pretty sure thanks to Monday and Tuesday, Les was better prepared than I.

On Sunday, Dad was still coherent. I gave him hugs and said I'd see him next weekend. Told him I was leaving my Superwoman cape with him, but I'd be back with pompoms...I'd be his beating cancer cheerleader. I was deeply worried about the inability to eat and how very thin he'd gotten, but I've been around pain management folks of different stripes for years now, so I just assumed he'd rally. We'd get him eating more, they'd start this new medication regimen, and maybe, just maybe, the word "remission" would enter our lives.

Melanie's world of denial...the idea of him wasn't registering with me. Yes, I saw how sharply his health had declined since we saw him at Christmas, but...I couldn't let myself think that we'd lose him. One father every 5 years is plenty. Thank the gods I didn't follow through with my cheerleader package idea; they would have been unwrapping a 6-pack of Ensure and some other silly gifts in the mail from me like, 2 days after he passed.

I left for home Sunday, had to get back to work. Les stayed, and thank the gods he did. Sunday night, Dad's pain was so lousy, Les spent a chunk of the night sitting next to him, Dad in bed, Les on the floor, pushing the bolus for his pain medicine every 8 minutes. While Dad moaned. The next day they got nursing back out there, where it was determined that he needed a drastic increase in his pain meds. Turns out it didn't need to be quite that drastic...Monday night, he was mentally altered and suffering from what in retrospect may not have been panic attacks. They managed to get a Valium into him after several episodes of paranoia where he thought the wife and kids were trying to slip him a mickey. Tuesday morning, the nurses were back out, fixing his medication and ordering a hospital bed, because they were concerned all the lying flat he was doing was putting strain on his heart. His sister also visited, thank goodness. But as the day progressed, he stopped responding to their requests, and they catheterized him. Les was so busy, I barely talked to him Tuesday, so I was assuming he was slammed with Dad's care; I didn't even know he'd become bedbound. He texted me Tuesday night that the new medication regimen had been decided against, because he was just too ill. I remember that, because it made me realize that he was going to die, that we were out of options. But I had no idea it would be so soon...I was telling my sis and bro that it would be weeks now.

The call came at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Semper Fi

Leslie Sims Johnson Jr. passed away in the early hours of January 25, 2012, surrounded by his wife and children.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


It's like survivor's guilt, being stuck here in FL working on mindless websites, while most of Les's fam is working hard to keep Dad alive and comfortable. I feel guilty that I'm not there, and I feel guilty for realizing that I've got the much easier task of toughing it out at home alone, just me and the cat. At least all that guilt distracts me from being lonely...the cold helps distract too (in my head, not the weather...frickin' weather's in the 70s this week...YUCK!!!). Trying for doc appt to get antibiotics if needed, because I have no business crossing the threshold in SC if I'm sick. Dad's way too ill for any more stray bugs.

At least I've figured out how to take the homeopathic stuff without poisoning myself...ColdCalm and Zicam are keeping the stuffy head at bay, which is bliss.

Finally hitting the grocery store after work today to stock up on healthy more of this eating-out nonsense...

For Alexa, I hear ya...

And the requisite winter shot:

Image from here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The hard times

There won't be much to post this week. Everything is rather sad and scary, and we have no choice but to push through it.

Les stayed in SC, helping the family.

Dad J. has deteriorated markedly since Christmas. It's like hugging a skeleton. This isn't an exaggeration unfortunately; dude could get cast as an extra in a death camp flick. I pray they make efforts to get a feeding tube into him, because if this doesn't occur, I fear the starvation resulting from the cancer will kill him. If that happens, I also fear the family will fracture into several pieces for a while. They just won't be able to handle it, and as a result, some members will take it out on others. Even better is the fact that the family members whose relationships will fracture, live under the same roof. And all we can do is stand by and watch.

He's supposed to go to Charleston on Thursday to start a new medicine regimen. The unspoken worry is that he'll be too weak to handle whatever they throw at him.

I think I managed to catch tonsillitis over the weekend. Wonderful. If I can catch up on sleep and not get worse, the week still holds promise. I wanted to get back to eating healthy and work out a couple of times. We'll see how the energy level rallies.

I have new contacts and reading glasses. That's astigmatic contacts on top of reading glasses. This is disspiriting.

Say a prayer, light a candle.

Friday, January 20, 2012

And a new day dawns...and the wheel turns...

Things don't always look better in the morning. I ain't no Scarlett O'Hara. Woke up feeling really fuzzy from sleeping so hard last night, could tell I'd been stress dreaming, and I had a headache. Also, my uvula felt like a damn golf ball from snoring hard with the windows open in 39 degree weather. And let's not forget how unruly my hair was, because it's gotten so long that I wake myself up from lying on it, so I braided it last night.


But life don't stop just because a family is freaking out about the ill health of a member. Work is steady. Husby got the oil changed and increased his cool points exponentially by waiting for Chipotle to open to grab me lunch. I've pulled my hair back, and am finally waking up in the ole brainpan. We'll leave for SC after I get off work.

I say freaking out, because we can't get a clear picture of what's going on up there, not really. The females of that household all have the same personality, and they feed off one another's fears and paranoia. Dad is obviously dealing with his own feelings of fear and depression, and it scares the crap out of the others. Can't wait to get up there and have to be the rock in the storm.

If he is declining, I don't expect to bring Husby back with me. He needs as much time as possible with his dad. I push this hard. Les may be scared and tired himself, and not want to deal with the family drama, but time is precious now. I tend to say how grateful I am that we got those 36 hours before my Dad went to Summerland, but in reality.....I'd give almost anything for more time.

Hug your families, folks; cherish 'em.

Image from here

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Too harsh a rant for FB





I hope the reason i'm such a mess now is so that I'll be able to be a rock later...whatever, it's just frustrating. Can't stop crying, and I'm stuck at work. Makes it hard to communicate with coworkers...and how the fuck can i concentrate on site modifications, when all i want is to be home lighting candles and Tebowing.....




I awoke this morning to a clear head. Once I got moving, I was a little fuzzy around the edges, but that's because my eyes are still being ornery, so I tried wearing my glasses for the first part of the day. That lasted less than 4 hours. I swear my eyes like contacts better sometimes...they protect my eyes. With glasses on, my left eye wouldn't stop weeping. Weird.

Thursdays before pay day are always hopeful. There's the anticipation of filling the fridge with some fresh veggies and getting the rest of the bills out of the way. There's the bliss of 2 days off to think and make lists. Doesn't always happen, but it's nice to anticipate better organization than I'm currently living under. Kitchen still needs attention too.

There's the relief of having my body chemistry back to my version of normal.

Too bad the Blogger doesn't support animated GIFs...that pic is actually snowing, and it's purty.

Have a great day, y'all!

Image from here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Taking Stock

Well. I'm here.

But first, a side note...

To the makers of Paxil, who still insist on putting out propaganda implying that their medication is not physically addictive:

Go fuck yourselves.

Sincerely, Melanie Johnson (aka Ember Madrone)

We return you now to your regularly scheduled Taking Stock. Warning: stream of consciousness occurring...

It's been a fun day. I've been on 1 a day with my Paxil for about a week, due to poor money management and having to wait for our new FSA (flexible spending account) card to come in the mail. That's usually not a problem, been doing it on and off this past year, because I don't want to be on a full dose if I ever do become pregnant, so I see living on 1 a day as emotional progress (yes, I know, bullshit...but let's move on, shall we?).

So the card came in the mail, I breathed a sigh of relief, and hit the Walgreen's on the way to work this morning to pick up my meds, only to discover that it's been a week since the darn things were filled, so they'd shelved 'em and had to refill 'em. I wasn't about to wait around and be late to work, so I just said I'd pick them up after.

You'd think after more than 10 years of taking the stuff, I'd remember how my brain doesn't appreciate being off it.

I'm already at a disadvantage lately with my eyes too. The ole eye prescription has definitely changed, because wearing my regular contacts and sitting at my computer for 8 hours at a stretch has been producing headaches, floaters, and serious concentration issues. Today was a little better, because I only put one astigmatic contact lens in, gave the other eye a straight myopia lens. Seemed to help, thank goodness...but I still got a mini eye migraine around 3 and wondered how the hell I was going to survive wearing glasses to work, because I really should probably be doing that instead...luckily, Walmart called this afternoon and squeezed me in for this Saturday. Yes, that's right, Walmart Vision actually called me back. I'm still in shock.

So I'm having trouble reading the goddamn screen this afternoon, plowing through Mods, and I realize I'm starting to feel the effects of not having Paxil in my system. It really is a medical oddity that I'm so large, because the way my body metabolizes stuff is insanely fast. My concentration went way haywire and it was all I could do to get my work done. I was starting to fidget, my arms and hands felt like they needed to be shook out, and I ached to be elsewhere. Like roller skating through a mall or something. The tangents my brain goes off brought back memories of college, and that ain't exactly a good thing. By the end of the day, I was starting to physically ache and holding off urges to self-harm.

You will be happy to read that I have since taken my Paxil, as well as a happy pill to take the edge off, and I should be back on kilter (aka, my version of normal) come tomorrow. However, it brings home once again that I'm a bipolar nutbar, Paxil is a physically addictive medication, and the people who manufacture it are douche canoes.

Thanks to the Bloggess for that gem of a phrase.

Moving on!

Outside: rainy and cool. Today was also a reminder that I have no business not wearing my orthotics in my shoes (lord, but I'm an old fart!). I skipped 'em yesterday in favor of flats, and my left knee was arthritic all day today. Going to make appointment for podiatrist to get new ones (orthotics, not knees), as the old ones can't be worn without socks.

Inside: a little glum...will get to that in Hoping.

Wearing: eh, we'll skip that this don't need to hear how since we don't have kids, home is a pants-optional domicile...heheh, ooops......

Creating: second sock, Cozy...Cozy, second sock...

Reading: explicably enjoying Amish fiction, grabbed a trilogy outta the library on the Kindle. Pile o' library books getting varied stages of attention as well...

Going: me, nowhere...Husby, maybe SC...

Dad J in holding pattern, which isn't doing him or the immediate family any good. They are planning to start a new regimen in another week, but his looks declined enough to scare Mom and get her calling docs, and his regular oncologist recommended hospice again. Wish we were there to advise her better, because I'd have told her to not even call that office, to get information from the Charleston docs...

Husby's feeling the fear and sadness, I can tell. I hope they ask him to go up there, because he should be closer to his Dad, regardless of how things pan out. This sucks. Keep us in your prayers please.

Image from here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


The passage of time gets on my nerves.

Well, actually, it's spending said time on unfulfilling work that gets on my nerves.

Took a mental health day yesterday and then did very little. Plowed thru dishes (twice), made dinner, did laundry...but when I was idle, I was gaming on the Kindle (straining my already tired eyes), rather than reading library books or knitting. Even my idle time doesn't measure up to my high standards lately.

I'm restless as hell.

This is gonna be a "random notes" sort of post...

Can't believe how the NFL playoffs are shaping up. Really thought this would be a Packers/Saints Super Bowl.

Sad that Jon Huntsman pulled out of the GOP race. He was the only candidate on that side of the aisle with active grey matter, IMO.

Dad J. is going ahead with 2nd opinion treatment, as far as we know. All prayers continued welcome.

My cute, warm, fuzzy Mommie turned 70 yesterday. Pretty sure we're all in denial about it. Lil Sis treated her to some spa time. Wish I were there to pamper her too.

Yesterday's mental health day had almost nothing to do with the NCIS MLK Day marathon on USA...

Pretty sure I dreamt last night that I was in med school, and House was my mentor. I really gotta wean off the TV...

And crack the library books I brought home Saturday...

And put down the Kindle in favor of the yarn more...

Thanks for checking in!

Image from here.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Better (and ready for the weekend!)

Grandfather Mountain this morning, courtesy of said Mountain's Facebook page. Makes me want to buy a 4-wheel drive vehicle, some snow tires, and go for a drive...

Hilarious how it takes your body truly rebelling against your unintelligent choices for the reality to sink in...

I've never been diagnosed pre-diabetic, mainly b/c I'm in denial about it and my fasting blood sugar usually is like, 100...but boy, take 1 day of stupid choices and my body TELLS me now.

This isn't a bad thing.

Wednesday was an OK day, but out of laziness, made 2 stupid choices: burger and fries for dinner that night, and the pint of Haagen Daz that evening, late.

Thursday, I was deeply depressed. Chalked it up to my poor choices the previous day, plus the aforementioned emotional baggage, and treated myself to Chipotle to raise my spirits. I usually get a burrito bowl, which for me is white rice (personal choice, as they do serve brown rice now), black beans, chicken, medium green salsa, cheese, and sour cream. And let's not forget their yummy, 500-calorie bag of chips on the side (which I use as edible utensils).

Usually the green salsa is strong enough to give me a lift that lasts the afternoon; that stuff is a frickin' aphrodisiac. Instead, I was practically narcoleptic, could barely work, and hated food/life by the time work was out for the day. I juiced my dinner, as well as today's lunch, and am finally feeling better. The problem with turning so many corners in your life, is eventually you realize you're walking in circles.

So let's break it down a bit, shall we? The burrito bowl is 2 portions of food, not 1, if we're honest with ourselves. White rice over brown is simple starch (plus probably bleached, but I'd like to think Chipotle steers clear of that nonsense). Beans and chicken are a double shot of protein, with more starch. Cheese and sour cream have some protein, but really are just healthy dollops of not-so-great fats (so that if they haven't salted the chicken too much, as all restaurants are wont to do, don't worry - the inflammation and mucus will show up, thanks to the dairy).

The self-loathing that accompanies overeating is crushing. I'm so glad that my OA books arrived yesterday. I started reading last night, and I'll start the workbook this weekend. I'll also get back to the Y. I'm looking forward to making better food choices for both Husby and I in the coming week. I wish I could afford Heather's upcoming workshop; instead I'll read everything I can get my hands on, on eating well for health. I'm paying my library fine and getting back there today after work. Bloggers are in full "it's January, let's get organized" mode, and I plan to steal all kinds of ideas and information from them. I will not do this to myself anymore. One day at a time.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pensive, grumbly...

There's a scene in Season 1 of Scrubs.....

Turk wants to give Carla a nice pen, but doesn't have time to shop. He sees a nice one in the hospital's lost and found box, wraps it, and gives it to her. Finds out later that that's not a lost and found box, it's an "ass box," the box where the ER docs put stuff that they have extracted from people's rear ends. He runs through the hallways praying to God for her not to open the gift, and when he finds her and she's got it unwrapped and is so grateful to him, he looks up to the heavens and asks God: "were you THAT busy?"

That's how last night's knitting felt.

No fault of my pals. Felt good to be out in public and knitting with friends again. The conversations are hilariously random, and knitting is centering me nicely.

Just the wrong week for me to find out that an acquaintance is pregnant, the result of an "ooops! no condom!" moment.

Was driving home and asking God, "really? couldn't have spared me that?"

It hurt more than it should. Also allowed me to cave to emotional eating...was like, "I want a latte but it's too expensive and I'll never get to sleep, I want a happy pill but it's too late and I'll never get to sleep.....Haagen Daz, it is!" Ate the whole damn thing.

These issues will be explored in the coming weeks, as I study the OA books that are supposed to arrive in the mail today.

I'm just still in information overload mode. There are so many obstacles to hurdle in our quest for a child. Finding the money. Educating ourselves. Tests for his fertility. Tests to see where the fibroids are and if they'll need to be removed, because if they're located in certain areas, then embryos won't implant. And let's not forget that pesky 5½ year window...the horribly short amount of time we have left.

So I'm sad today, and grouchy. Looking forward to the weekend, so we can plan some more, really look at where we're going. Finding the dough for a move and a child at the same time is almost laughable, but I won't give up hope until we've truly exhausted all our options. Trials bring faith.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Taking Stock

Snow's pretty weak so far this year, from what I've read, except for that early freak storm in the southwestern US. I don't bang the global warming gong that often, but it's hard not to when the polar bears are running out of room on the ice, and places like Canada and Maine have barely seen the white stuff yet this winter. Keep denying though, gives us liberals good sound bite fuel.

::jumps down from soapbox::

Outside: trying to be Florida's version of winter...failing for the most part, but temps are dipping again later this week. I'll take it.

Inside: noisier lately...boss is out of office, so coworkers get chatty. Earplugs help...forgot my iPod.

Wearing: purple mock turtle, jeans, Docs. I'm in love with mock turtles...need about 11 more (and then to move somewhere where they'll actually get worn more than 2 months outta the year).

Creating: second sock! True to my word, for once, started the 2nd as soon as I finished the first. Working ribbing, and plan to dip into Cozy again soon. Finding that the knitting is settling my brain this week, which is nice.

Reading: more blogging than books this week...Ashley's book still getting mileage, and bringing out Made from Scratch again...

Going: knitting with the gals tonight...otherwise, hopefully sticking to home.

Mom and Dad J. head to Charlotte tomorrow for a 2nd opinion on his cancer. I pray that this doc visit brings better options than his original practitioners, who aren't giving him a whole lotta decent choices, as I'd mentioned previously. Wish Les could go with them...hell, wish I could go with them...cuz the questions that come up after one of these visits, that go's frustrating.

Brought up the point to Les last night, that we don't want to bring a baby home to our current apartment. He agreed, but considering how long it'll take for us to save for either a move or a procedure...there's just so much to consider. Les knows he needs to be looking for work, but his folks' situation is tenuous right now, where he needs to be ready at a moment's notice, in case he needs to jump on a train and go help them out. We're encouraging them to get one of the other family members back driving again, to spell off Mom (that's a huge wooley situation that I won't go into here, but suffice it to say, it would certainly help initially if another family member was able to drive). So we're in a holding pattern of sorts for now, where Les looking for work is concerned. Classic that he's finally almost ready to start looking and we need to hold off if I can just get him to a dentist...

I think my eye prescription is changing. It's a month early, dang it, so trying to look away from screen more to readjust eyes...tried out reading glasses with plain contacts this morning, but it's not working. Should be able to tough it out...just means only wearing contacts to work for now.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Just poking my head in...

Having trouble thinking in straight and clear sentences this week. This isn't a bad thing...just a bit of brain overload. I'm trying to prioritize things in my head, and there's plenty that Husby and I still have to talk about. Makes me annoyed when I have to go to work, because I'd rather be planning our futures...

We went to the fertility doc yesterday. I can't look upon what was discussed as bad news, but there were surprises. I had already steeled myself for the fact that the low prices that he advertises on his website are designed to get you in the door, but it was still a shock...the average "procedure" costs at least $13K. And this is still a far cry from what the average adoption costs (private adoption of an actual baby, you're looking in the neighborhood of $35-$50K). I get that these are ballpark figures, that if we went the foster care route, it would probably be cheaper and at least initially result in a stipend to offset costs; but we're not there yet.

Then there's the fact that thanks to my age and PCOS (mainly my age), it's a better option to go with donor eggs than my own. With my own eggs, there's a much greater chance of miscarriage or it not taking at all. That hurt...he talked about how because it grows inside you, they are finding that donor eggs do retain characteristics and IQs of the parents wanting the baby...but it took a bit of time for me to warm to that idea. And I ache that my genetics wouldn't fully be in the picture.

Things sink in, in stages. Yesterday it was all about "where the hell are we gonna come up with $13K?!" My stock options are worth less than $3K at present, and that's our only nest egg. Today, I'm looking at things with a longer eye, and I itch to discuss it with Husby more.

Because if we're honest with ourselves, there's no way we want to bring a child into that apartment. It's filthy and ancient, and no amount of cleaning would change that. It needs things that the complex wouldn't be willing to invest in while we're still there (carpet, fridge, W/D connections that pass code, fresh paint, new cabinets, etc.) does that mean that moving should still be #1 on the list? And if so, then here or further north? We both want to get closer to family, I know that; so I think I can keep talking SC with him...especially given his Dad's tenuous health. It's just so scary to continue to place a child on the back burner in the interests of giving said child a real home. Your average fertility specialist only works with women up to age 48.

Les will lament how much OT dough we blew last year, when we could have been saving. I won't let him; I can't think that way, only ahead. What can we do without, sell, etc. to get us saving? It's absolutely infuriating that it takes this kind of shakabuku to get me to see what we can do without. I see red, thinking about how much we piss money away in the interests of hedonism. And I damn sure am done letting my Starbucks and Chipotle cravings keep me from the possibility of a better home or a child.

I've declared a moratorium on all eating out and had already promised no new purse purchases this year (for other reasons)...we're down to our last car payment, and I'll give up the Y in favor of walking and in-home weights and yoga. The tax return will help, but not nearly enough...we have to purchase a new vacuum cleaner and save for the car property taxes. There's not a lot we have worth selling, but our lifestyle is getting a major overhaul in the coming weeks. I'm so fucking ready.

Image from here.

Friday, January 06, 2012

One Word 365, aka I am SUCH a sheep.....

So it turns out the reason I'd heard something about people living their lives according to one word, or keeping one particular word in mind, or something, is cuz it's a blogger's movement out there...

I'm a follower and a bit of a joiner...comes with the penchant for web stalking. Since this idea's actually working for me so far this year, why not give it some props.....

Last year I was one of those people who wished she could make the time to meditate. I study Tibetan and zen buddhism (among other faiths), and desire that level of quiet in my head and in my life; but putting forth the effort always tripped me up. Because it does take effort...sometimes the hardest thing you can do for yourself is just sit still. Never mind that my lithium-deprived brain is always goinggoinggoing.....look up "monkey mind" in the dictionary and you'll see a picture of me. Be kind, wasn't my best side.

So when the word "peace" popped into my head in the last week, it sounded like a damn gong. But instead of putting more pressure on myself and my wallet by dropping everything and going out to buy a zafu, zabuton, and earplugs, I simply started listening to myself inside. In the choices I make about what food goes into my body, how I choose to spend my time...I take a deep breath and listen. It's palpable, how far inside that peace extends when you let it.

Last night, Husby had to run an errand. My bro still had one of the keys to our house from when he checked on the cat while we were gone over the holidays, so I was cleaning dishes in the kitchen while keeping an ear out for Husby returning, so I could open the door for him. I slipped onto the bedroom chair to glance out the window at the parking lot, and the cat (Fig, aka "lap whore") saw her opportunity and jumped onto my leg. I say leg, because I wasn't in lap mode with one leg crossed...but she just balanced herself on one of my legs and lay herself down on my belly and chest as though staking a claim. I let out an exasperated sigh and tried to talk her out of her current position..."dude, i'm in the middle of cleaning......can't even reach the remote......i left the light on in the kitchen.....", but naturally, as cats are wont to do, she completely ignored me, readjusted herself on my belly, and set to purring. She's still having flea issues that have her grooming too much and covered in little scabs under her fur, so I didn't have the heart to just dump her off.

Instead, I moved my legs, shifted her into lap mode, and started petting. Blocked out the TV on in the other room, blocked out the electricity I was wasting by having the kitchen light on with nobody in there. Just talked to her and myself in low tones while checking out her sore spots and letting myself relax. And realized this was exactly what I needed at the time...that meditation is so much more than forcing yourself to sit, eyes ahead, hands in specific positions, turning your mind over and over to blank.

People are always talking about relaxing more, but I'm betting so many don't do it enough because they've plain forgotten how. Our cat is a little bipolar (heh, like her owner), and her mercurial moods can make her a pest. But looking into her eyes last night, I was struck by how we need each other. I can't wait to have more animals someday, but for now, she and Les are the only things I'm caring for (per se). And just stopping to care for her gave me peace. We sat there at least 15 minutes, until Les came home. The TV stayed off in the bedroom; I just sat and petted and thought.

Peace. Working like hell for it to stick around.

The Deliciousness of Friday...

Welcome, once again, to my rambling brain.....

Glad it's Friday...may as well enjoy the lack of OT while I have it. Two-day weekends were damn hard to come by this past autumn. I'm almost grateful to have my paycheck back to dismal, because it's forcing me to look at the month with a long eye and actually budget, so we're not completely desperate come rent time. I know, what a concept!

My personality is downright mercurial. My family thinks I'm a little harsh, quite a cynic, and my sarcasm can bite at times. But I'm also so completely easygoing, it baffles me when people get het up over small things. My team was asked to physically split up for a time; they're hiring so fast, there are barely desks to accommodate the surge. I guess I understand why certain people wouldn't want to move, as some of the youngsters have become good friends and formed a clique of sorts. I was the first one to volunteer to move. While it's nice having my current window seat, it also affords me a view of the back of the hospital and a front-row seat every time LifeFlight comes in for a landing. I don't need reminders of the tragedies that can befall people.

Besides, I'm betting it'll motivate me to work harder, being away from the team; because the last thing you want is to be caught screwing around when you don't have people looking over your shoulder. And it's noisy enough over there where I'll need to wear my earphones more, so I'll be more focused. Yea, that last one smacks of optimism....please allow me my delusions.

But the boss had the other folks draw straws for who else had to move and you'd think they were being asked to move outside.....what the hell does it matter where you sit? This is a job, not a social club. IMO, there should have been 3 volunteers.....someone asks you to do something at your work; you don't whine, you jump. Is this a generation gap thing, or am I just a people-pleasing person who's good at following orders? Can't be that 2nd one...I've reflected quite a bit on how glad I am I never joined the Army Reserves (it was an option 15 years and 100 pounds ago), because being forced to operate without questioning anything would've gone WAY against my grain. I am a bit of a people pleaser though.

In other news.....

It's funny how ideas take shape in your head. My pacifism has made me anti-gun for some time now, and this was a rigid belief. Not even for target practice, not even for food...which was hypocritical on its face since I'll never be a vegan probably and I still ingest mostly factory-farmed dreck. But when you're supporting a family of 2 with 1 underpaying job, your ethics yield at the shopping cart unfortunately, unless you plan very carefully (which I'm hoping to do more of, cuz I'm really tired of eating CAFO meat).

Naturally, this has also been a time when Husby has been obsessed with obtaining his first firearm. He loves guns, watches the Military Channel rather religiously, and spouts caliber differences that sail right over my head. My gun knowledge is limited to the 12-gauge, the .22, and the official Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time.

When we attended our first gun show last month, I felt myself thaw just a bit...probably because there was just so much eye candy there, and I was raised by a hunter (ducks for sport), so I found myself a bit curious. Then yesterday, I read Ashley's first article in Verve, and for some reason, it woke up another part of me...the part who wants to understand more fully the hunt and gratitude to an animal for giving its life, the circle that feeds and clothes us. I've read Jenna posts about this mindset before too, but Ashley's words, and the books that are available of late on the subject, reached into my homestead-craving brain and reshaped my beliefs on the subject.

I think this will be a good weekend. There's reading, knitting, and cleaning to be done...I'd love to get at the corners of the kitchen, and the bedroom closet has ceased to be a walk-in recently. I want to try making bread again too; last weekend's effort was a dismal failure (I called it twice-risen ass...this wasn't an exaggeration). My mind still feels clear and at peace. Such a relief.

Image from here.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Mental meanderings

If I can't live in snow, I'd just like to be able to drive to it occasionally. I think I can live with that. That's why just getting past the Sandhills of the Carolinas appeals to me. Actual cool weather in winter, close enough to drag Husby for a ski trip knees hurt just thinking about it, and I grin ironically. I was so damn young the one time I went skiing in CT; we were maybe 14. Can you imagine what a workout that would be now? Where do I sign up?

I mean, heck, even parts of Canada got a green Christmas this year. Was riding up in the elevator with some suits this morning who were talking about the trips they took over the holidays. I was struck by how both of them discussed how on the way to or from visiting family, they stopped at our satellite offices for one reason or another...we have several offices spread throughout the US and Canada now (but nooooo, can't be bothered to expand to the Carolinas yet! heh...sorry, digressed there.....). I remember desiring to be that type of suit, someone who was forced to travel for their job, who lived for their work. When I was a kid, I was going to be a high-powered attorney who wore a suit to work everyday. Interesting how different childhood dreams can be from eventual adult desires.....I'm not afraid of responsibility, but that type of life simply couldn't appeal less to me now.

Plus I totally dig getting to wear jeans to work.

Not normally one to adopt a particular word or phrase to live by in the New Year.....I do write resolutions, and usually break them very quickly. This year, it appears I'm turning a corner. Not only are the resolutions still sound, but I find myself working on a particular word: peace. It relates to my renewed faith, whatever that is; and my desire to treat myself right. Peace around me, but most importantly, within myself. It started in the weeks before Christmas, and on New Years, I hit the ground running.

My faith is a combo plate of paganism, buddhism, and quakerism. Semi-related to this and my health, I started researching the tenets of Overeaters behavior toward food had been significantly bingeworthy over the last year. I don't purge, just inhale food like it'll be gone tomorrow, and then wonder why my weight never changes. I hoarded food occasionally, hid it from Husby (telling myself it was for his own good, since chocolate exacerbates his's that for rationalization?), and grazed until I was uncomfortable, at work and at home. Pretty sure I came close to endangering myself a time or two...when you've eaten so much that you need to sleep propped up, because your organs don't appreciate the decreased space, you know you have a problem. So I finally sought help...haven't been to a meeting yet, but they offer plenty of online assistance. The tenets are basically the same as those for AA/Friends of Bill W......

The odd thing is the feeling of peace that's come over me since I started studying their material. It's not even like I've sat there, read stuff aloud, and physically given my problem to the gods yet...I'm just scratching the surface. But something obviously has resounded deep within me, because I haven't snacked for 5 days now. I eat a regular breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and have no desire to pour food into my body beyond what's needed to sustain energy, alertness, etc. If I'm hungry between meals, I take a breath, try some water, and listen to my body. I'm experiencing a willpower that hasn't shown its face before, and I'm in tune with a voice deep inside me that's saying "you're done treating yourself like hammered shit".

It feels pretty good.

Images from here.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Taking Stock

And another Wednesday is upon us. Wish I were curled up at home with the above items, but work beckons.....

Trying not to think about the subject matter of last post...what will happen will happen.

Outside: warming, 50s today...transplants whining, me grinning...

Inside: bored, wanna be elsewhere.

Wearing: ancient slate blue sweater, black pants, everyday oxfords.

Reading: Canning & Preserving with Ashley English and the latest issue of Mother Earth News. Seriously awesome.

Creating: finishing a plain vanilla Harlot sock in yummy discontinued browns in Felici...making myself start the 2nd sock as soon as the first one's done. Also drawing up plans for a handsewn Kindle case and brainstorming other nifty things, like doing handmade gift tags in January for next Christmas...I'm so tired of not doing stuff I want to do around the holidays. Only way I'll pull it off evidently is with serious prior planning. Time to let my Virgo out!

Going: hopefully nowhere for a week or two, but will depend on family sitch.

See last post. Otherwise, I'm just getting back to normal here, work, occasional exercise, eating habits under scrutiny. Started fresh on New Year's Day and haven't been grazing during day or TV time. Feels good.

Images from here.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012


What would you do if faced with your own mortality?

See, I'm such an editor, that statement by itself bugs me, since we all know that one day we're going to leave this Earth.....but unless faced with the question somehow, we blithely go about our business, tra-la-la, for the most part, not "living each day as if it were your last" because that's just too damn exhausting to even think about.....

I know, far too deep a topic for right after New Years. But unfortunately, some family news has my brain wheels turning hard.

My FIL's doctors have given him bad news with regard to his cancer. They've given him choices A, B, and C. Choice A means the same or worse pain than he's already been experiencing, with no guarantees. Choice B could mean less discomfort, but also a lot less chance of it actually working. Choice C angers the crap out of me: hospice.

I know I'm not living it. I know it's his decision. I pray they at least get a second opinion before deciding anything.

But my gods! Those are the choices!? After only 7 months of fighting this thing!

I don't want to hear some oncologist tell me that we're lucky to have gotten that. We're talking about a medical group that claimed they couldn't pinpoint where the cancer originated, and then proceeded to switch his chemo to something that was supposedly more focused on his cancer. That alone is frustrating in its ambiguity, but I fear that the fact that we catch everything at third and fourth hand (because of our physical distance from the situation) means that we're not getting the full scoop. It's not that they're keeping stuff from us; it's just that they (the inlaws) don't have the language for what's going on. I could tell from the start that the new chemo wasn't doing anything except destroying his lymphatic system (yea, yea, I know I'm not a doctor...shut up!), but by not being there to call the docs on that fact, get further explanations for their reasoning, we're kind of cast adrift, on the sidelines looking in. Very frustrating.

With Dad, there were no choices. Or if there were, he'd already made them for us. I don't really know if the docs wanted to operate again on his bum aorta or if he was too far gone to risk their surgical stats. I tend to blame him, for his fear of dying on the table, but more likely, the docs wouldn't even have taken the chance...and then he went so fast.....

But with Dad J., there are choices. And I need to reconcile myself with the idea that what I would choose won't necessarily be what he chooses. And I need to help my beautiful husband, the man's son, come to the same realizations eventually.

I'm very lucky. I've never experienced physical pain, not really. The closest I've come to take-your-breath-away pain is when my knee locks, and that's infrequent. Everything else I experience is just nagging or chronic. So I can't relate to Dad J. in that respect, when the choices are the fog of morphine or the sharpness of true pain.....

I'm scared that he's tired of fighting. I pray that's not the case.

And because we are terribly self-centered humans, these thoughts bring me inward, to my own life, the life I share with L, and how badly I want things to be different. We are so stuck here. I don't just want to move to Spartanburg because we're in such a rut here and I hate Florida. I want to move there because it's closer to family and closer to an area of the country where I desperately want to live, a place with a more temperate climate, some hills, and away from the awfulness of a big city. I want to live simpler, make more things by hand, and live in a house with a yard. And what's it gonna take to move us forward? What if we were faced with those choices?

First image from here. Rest from here.