Sunday, September 18, 2011

D Day

As in dentist decision day.

Tomorrow I will have to act on the decisions with which I am struggling regarding my stupid and inconvenient mouth issues.  Jaw thing.  Pain in the ass and did I mention inconvenient?

Well, I guess that having something expensive is never convenient, but this, on top of the whole freaking mess around here, is, oh, it is like looking for your lost cat, slipping on the mossy banks of a mighty river, sliding down and down towards the surging foam, managing to grasp and barely hang on to a rocky outcropping and then having your kitty come, stand on your fingertips and purr like the dickens whilst kneading her spikey, little claws into your knuckles because she is so damn happy that you found her.

Anyway, I have decided to make an appointment with some other dentist, one that specializes in extractions, implants and bridges.  I know that my dentist is fully capable of doing all of this, but she is totally freaking me out with her odd behavior.  So, after I have the new appointment with the new dentist, I am going to make an appointment with her.

We will sit down, get comfortable and then I will share my betrayal with her.  I just totally suck, but I have already paid nearly $350 for the appointments last week, and I just have to make sure that any further work will last longer than the twenty-four hours she expected the bracing of my crowns to last.  Huh?  She is going to be upset, I am going to be upset as well, and I have a five day start on her in the whole freaking upset department.

I had a dream that indicated that this would all turn out fine.  I trust these kinds of dreams and I am not making any exceptions this time.  I have faith.  Yeah, in a stupid dream, but it is working for me right now.

How I am going to pay for all of this really expensive jaw stuff is a concern.  I write "concern" like I am wondering if the kale is going to be fresh at the market this week, or if I am going to have time to go to the post office tomorrow.  SWINM promised that I would be able to have dental care, but I have such a bad feeling about this, and that this will be just another broken promise.  A new dentist is going to insist on some kind of immediate payment for that first visit, and, gosh, it is just too much worry.  I have to get the dental and medical care to find out the extent of this jaw thing, have the disintegrating teeth removed and replaced somehow, and do whatever is needed to fix the core problem.

You know, it would be different if I did not take such stellar care of my teeth.  I brush and floss at least twice a day, after every time I eat.  I scrub my tongue and use those little brushpicks, and often floss as well, after every single meal when I am not at home.  I have my own scalers and clean my teeth thoroughly each week.  That recommendation that we should have our teeth professionally cleaned twice a year?  Well, I always did that until SWINM cancelled my dental insurance, but even then, my cleanings took barely ten minutes, or so, in the chair, because I really do take excellent care of my mouth.

If you go through life being a good person, doing good in the world and all that jazz, and still manage to expect some kind of fairness or something, life will be one heartbreak after another.  It is just that I am a really and truly good person around here and I am still treated like crap.  There must be something majorly the hell wrong with me.

Maybe I will have another dream tonight that figures it all out for me. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

More rationalizing

So.  O.K., I may have to fire my dentist, at least for the short term.

She is a great dentist, probably the best in her town.  Over the years she and I have become friends.  When I was at the appointment earlier this week where the jaw thing was discovered/suspected, she and I were joking back and forth, just being smarasses, the usual stuff, and I noticed that her new assistant was looking at us strangely.  My dentist noticed too, and said to relax, that we were good friends.  The assistant relaxed and sort of got into the spirit of the whole thing, although I do think that she was puzzled that I was taking the whole jaw thing and the possibilities and consequences of some of those possibilities a bit too lightly.  Whatever.  It is what I do.

Anyway, during the work that I had done that day, she was, well, how can I say this...she was cranky and not very nice to her assistant, who is new, as in really new.  Even though she is experienced, she is new to this practice and, like any new employee or colleague, needs time to learn exactly how things are done there and get up to speed. 

Next.  I received a telephone call to see how I was doing and she was all over the place.  I just listened and let it go.

Today was more telephone calls from all kinds of people involved in this and she was just a weird.  One of the options is to pull a whole bunch of teeth, repair the jaw thing, let everything heal for months, as in like months, and then create and install implants.  That would cost thousands and thousands and more thousands of dollars.  I do not have that.

The second option is to pull the teeth, up to four of them, repair the jaw thing, let everything heal for only a month or so, and then create a bridge appliance to replace the missing teeth, which I totally and completely want to do because these would be the four bottom teeth, from the center to the right of my mouth.  This option would cost only four thousand dollars, including the extractions and all the extra visits.

Again, I never thought that I was a vain person, but I clearly am because I really do not want to go to work with that large of a gap in my smile.  Immature, selfish, vain, vain, vain.  Too freaking bad.  I want replacement teeth there.  Implants, bridges, whatever, just fill the damn gap.

So, I said that I would prefer, only because of the cost, to have the bridge appliance.  She then proceeded to argue me out of it.

Me:  But, X, the implants cost too much.  I want something there in the gap, but, seriously, who has that kind of money?
Her:  The implants are a better choice.
Me:  Well, at my age, it probably makes sense to choose the bridge.
Her:  That's not true.  Implants are there for good and they are easier to take care of.  They function just like natural teeth.
Me:  Yeah, but I still do not, will not have that kind of money.
Her:  Well, it's probably for the best because I have not done these in a long time and I really should be re-trained in how to do them.

Me:  Great, then no problem, the bridge it is.
Her:  Oh, I suppose that I could have the company guys come to me and refresh me.  (That made me laugh a little in my head)
Me:  Well, I still think that I prefer the bridge.
Her:  You do know that all of those teeth on the bottom in little, right?  And that the bridge would have to connect to them?

Me:  Yeah, I know, but I cannot get the implants.  I really cannot.
Her:  Well, the training is expensive and takes a long time, and I really do not have the time right now, so I guess that is best then.
Me: Cool.

There was so much more of the conversation and it just got weirder, something about maybe she still has the molds she took of my mouth a few years ago, maybe they are in the back someplace, maybe.  Now, why should any of the matter?  A sensible and thinking person would do her best to find another dentist to do this part of whatever we end of doing.  And, doing it soon because I am counseled to not wait long to decide and begin the process, as in begin the extractions and jaw thing fixing next week

It matters because I care about her and she has just come out on the other side of a year of really crappy personal experiences that included the death of someone close to her.

This is where, if you are going to insist on maintaining a friendship that grew out of a business relationship, that you just pull up your big girl panties and have a conversation, clear my head of all the negative noise, and either have her go ahead and to the extractions prior to fixing the jaw thing or find another dentist to do the work.

If the friendship is strong, well it survives.  If it is weak, then it dies the natural death it should.

I should have called her back at the office this afternoon and had this conversation or arranged to go in after clinic hours and have at it.  I just could not bring myself to do it.  I could still call her at home this weekend, arrange to get together and have this conversation, but I know that I will not do that, either.

I am wasting precious time, as finding and achieving an appointment with a new dentist is going to take more than the couple of days that I have.  It could take weeks, months.  I am a procrastinating time-waster.

I should just go and make that smoothie, but I think that I will grab a kitty and go rest, read the last of my zombie book and, with any luck, have a nice nap and wake up to find that this whole damn week was just a crappy dream.

And, you know, this whole thing is not serious, as in life-threatening, just tedious and potentially weirder than this week has already been.  Big girl panties time.  Lordy.

No whining

Well, just a little bit, mostly because it seems impossible for me to go cold turkey, although I would never complain about turkey.  Well, I would, but I am not comfortable sharing that story.

So, anyway, I have this jaw thing and until I decide what to do about it, I have to not chew, not bite.  All foods have to be soft, fluidy, liquidy or capable of being mushed in my mouth, on the opposite side of the jaw thing, using my tongue against the roof of my mouth, again, on the side opposite of the jaw thing.

I miss chewing so much.  I never gave it a thought, but biting and chewing are...were...a large part of enjoying food.  But, I am doing what the doc recommended.  I even had a burger yesterday by cutting it into really small pieces, like smaller than a half inch, and gumming the stuff into insensibility.  It was tasty, but not the same or right feeling experience.

I have to keep thinking about this, am going to have a smoothie for a snack this afternoon, have been eating cooked cereals,and have made a couple of really tasty meals since Monday or Tuesday or whenever this all happened.

Late last night I made meat loaf in the pressure cooker.  It was interesting.  It was the first time that I had heard that machine make noises, other than the occasional steamy murmuring.  When I opened the cooker, there was a ton of juicy sauce, and a little bit of fat globules floating and glistening on top, which was a surprise because I used 90% lean ground beef.  I guess that shiny stuff was the 10%, but it seemed like a lot.

I ladled out as much as I could, then inverted my big strainer over the top of the cooker pot, lifted and flipped it over so that the juicy stuff could drain into the bowl into which I had ladled the juicy stuff.  Then, when it looked like most of it had drained out, I covered the strainer with a dinner place and flipped again.  There was still some stuff that looked too glisteny to not be fat, so I put some paper toweling dams along the plate edges so that I would not have to clean any overflow from the refrigerator in the morning.

Despite putting crushed tomatoes (canned) into the bottom of the cooker and covering the top of the loaf with a little sauce that I made from tomato paste, water and seasonings, the bottom of the meatloaf burned.  It was weird.  It was a paper-thin layer of burn.  I was able to lift it off with a fork, not lose much of the loaf and it did not impart a burned taste to the meatloaf, not even in the adjoining meaty part.  Weird.

Anyway, it worked out fine and it tastes fine.  Unfortunately, I forgot that I was cooking this stuff just for myself and I made portions generous enough for the two for whom I usually cook.  Someone who is not me is not interested in trying any of these new cooking experiments in mushy stuff.  I do not blame him, but I will have to remember to not use three pounds of ground beef if I make this again.  I will be eating this meat stuff for a very long time, even if I freeze some of it, which I intend to do this afternoon, along with half of the pan of lasagna.  Easy meals coming up.

Today I had a small piece of the meatloaf for breakfast/lunch.  It was really good, even better than the taste I had last night.

More of it was crumbled and put into a small pan of lasagna, along with whole wheat lasagna noodles, spinach, ricotta, canned mushrooms, shredded mozzarella, and I used the juicy stuff, which had overnight transformed into a really yummy tomato sauce (nice because I did not have to make any...yippee!) as the sauce.

I wanted it to have as few carbohydrates as possible, so I put a single layer of noodles on the bottom, filled the pan with the fillings and put another single layer of noodles on top, smoothed on some more sauce, and sprinkled a bit of shredded Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses on top of that.  I tented aluminum foil over the top so that it would not get crunchy and baked it for an hour.

It is fine.  Good even.  The only problem seems to be that even wishing and hoping will not magickally make a dairy sensitivity go away.  I had a three-inch-square piece and the cheeses helped the whole thing move through my system in short order.  So, future pieces will have most of the cheeses ripped or scooped out.  So sad.

In an effort to lessen the carb load, I used whole wheat noodles.  I cooked them until they were as floppy as possible, used lots of sauce and they still are too chewy.  I had to mash them with my fork so that I could gum them down with the rest of the ingredients.  Oh, and there is one section where the edge crisped up despite the foil covering and it is all I can to do cut it off and gnaw away on it.

I prefer to think of this whole thing as sharing and not whining.  I am so good at rationalizing.

I am.  Just ask anyone. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I do not ever, well most of the time, have sweet things to eat.  I have diabetes and manage it with diet and an oral medication.  Since my diagnosis more than four years ago I have learned to avoid hidden sugars and to read labels even more carefully than I have always done.  It has been two years since I baked anything sweet, and that was spaghetti and meatball cupcakes and babies under a blanket cupcakes for a niece's baby shower.  Much longer than that since making anything sweet for myself, well, I guess the bit over four years ago diabetes thing.

But, losing sweet tasting things is so sad.  Really.  No Halloween candy for me, no candy canes at xmas or Cadbury eggs at Eostre and only a token bit of a taste at the babies birthday parties, just for good fortune for the coming year.  No pastries when out with the Chickies.  No gummie critters, no gum drops, no gum.

If I still was able to go to see movies, there would not be any Twizzlers or popcorn (whilst not technically a sweet, still too carby).  I do drink artifically sweetened diet soft drinks, but I just figure that the preservative and chemicals in there might help preserve my cells whilst calcifying my brain.  Hey.  It could happen.

But, last week, well, it was in the middle of some biblically bad stuff here.  I am not saying that any seas parted, but there have been several occasions when I feared that the fabric of time and space had been violated.  But, that is another story.  I would share it, it might even make me feel better to unburden some of it, but then I would not be able to stop crying and, well, it is Saturday and I do have to be able to go to work next Wednesday.

Anyway, by Tuesday I could not stand it and by Friday I was frantic for something sweetly tasty and my usual apples or carrots were just not cutting the custard.

I thought about custard, but knew that a savory one would not do the trick, so when I went to the pharmacy to get my medication, I stopped at the market and bought chocolate chips and a bag of walnuts.  I am not judging myself, but I was aware of how epic a fail this would be.

Little did I know.

I came home, followed the directions for chocolate chip cookies, on the back of the bag and set to work.  I used whole wheat flour, Splenda (don't start...), a whole cup of butter, the walnuts, eggs and a dump of Ghirardelli's cocoa.  I spread it out in a sheet pan to make bars, easier.  When it came out of the oven I sprinkled another bag of chips over the top, waited a bit, spread out the melted chips and waited some more.

I let it cool completely and got out wrap so that I could immediately portion it out and put most of it safely away in the freezer.  Freezing sweets might not work for others, but it does for me.  Probably because I am needing more immediate gratification these days, but whatever works, yes?

I cut into the pan and the darn thing practically shattered into crumbles.  The whole pan was weak and crumbly, like, ummm, crumbles.  It tasted great, but was like some kind of crumbly topping that you would put on top of ice cream or something.  The only thing holding even the crumbs together was the melted coating of chocolate chips on the top.

I ate a small piece, thought about it, tried to eat another tiny bit and and eventually tossed the whole, expensive mess into a container which went out to feed the critters at the feeding stations.  They liked it and it was gone in a few days.  The whole, freaking pan.

I had no idea why it happened.  Then, yesterday...another Friday, coincidence?  I think not... I began to think that maybe I had never put the eggs into it.  I remember going to get the vanilla, finding none and deciding to substitute with a little blackstrap molasses dissolved in a little water.  But, I had no recollection of fetching, cracking or incorporating eggs.

So, when I took my friend shopping yesterday (another nine hour day, but that is still one more, other story), I bought more chips, one bag this time, more walnuts and a small bottle of vanilla.  Man, has that stuff gotten expensive.

Two hours ago, after I set the bread to rise, I decided that since I had bought the ingredients, that I would make another attempt to satisfy my sweet tooth, which, in addition to my bleeding and shattered heart, was begging for comfort.

So, I did.  I made sure that I fluffed the butter and sweetener parts.  Fluffy, very fluffy indeed.  Then, I carefully added both the vanilla and the damn eggs.  More fluffiness.  All the rest got tossed in, mixed and spread out in a pan.

Well, it really must have been the missing eggs, because this batch turned out great, wonderful, amazing.  It slightly overflowed the pan and the edges are crisp and light and, oh goodness, just right.  And, I put so much cocoa powder in them that they are, in effect, brownies.  Even better.  More chocolaty goodness without any additional shame.  I also used three eggs, just the right amount to make it cakier than a cookie and not too much like cake.  I rock.

It is now cut, wrapped and safely in the freezer, but I must admit that I did have more than one piece.  How many more, well, I am not confessing that part, but I think it best to go and take a rest whilst I recover from my chocolate and carb coma.  I did drink a nice, big mug of green tea whilst eating the lovely bars, so that has to count for something, yes?

So, if there is a lesson in here...and there is that if you decide to indulge yourself, do not let your shame make you forget the eggs.

You may quote me.

All the things I can(not)

This unposted space mocks me.  I had plans, kind of nice, sort of big, mostly challenging plans and it is all fucked up, at least for the time being.

I cannot knit or sew or make those damn porcelain bowls I promised everyone for Yule.

I cannot make any stuff at all.

I cannot make sense of what is happening here, much less wrestle some forward movement out of it.

I cannot visit anyone, not my friends for Saturday morning coffee and, so much worse, not my grandbabies and their mommy and daddy.

I can keep saving money to have his car fixed so that I will be able to resume, at the very least, visits to the babies.  I am slightly more than half-way there and if I had not already paid for those stupid, non-refundable trips, I would be 3/4 of the way there.

I can be grateful for being allowed to use his car, so I just have to get over my selfish irritation about paying for all of the repairs this time.  It is a pittance compared to buying, registering, insurance-ing-up, gassing and maintaining a different car.  Big-girl-panties-pull-up-time.

I can go to work and do fine there.  I can go to fiber club afterwards, but not for long.  I get too hungry and antsy and cannot sit still.

I can work on the computer, so that is great, as I am mostly up to speed, like really, really close, on the sites I manage, and totally up to speed on all of the projects to which I committed.  Nice to have that one place where I am not failing.  So, I am also very grateful that I do have this computer and the Internet to help me with my work and help provide a place where I can go and disappear into the bits and bytes to have some fun.

I can manage on the money that I have and am grateful that I have simple tastes.  I never really thought about it in those terms until fairly recently, but it is true.  I am satisfied with simple things and simple pursuits, although I am not averse to having the Universe drop a whole, stunningly decadent and huge amount of resources on me so that I could take a break from being frugal and have the ability to indulge myself and those I love once in a while.  I would love to help my daughter with stuff and maybe send her and my sweet son-in-law away for a responsibility-free weekend once in a while.  I am glad and satisfied that I have always been glad, satisfied and grateful for what I do have, but that would be totally wonderful.  There is that platitude that money cannot buy happiness, but that is a lie.  It is also mean because it makes those who could really use more monetary resources feel like selfish pigs, which they/me/I are not.  Money can buy the release of terrible worry and the peace of mind that supports happiness, which is pretty much the same thing.

I have so many more of my 'can' than my 'cannot' and that is fine, but not fun.

Everything in it's time.  Right?  Yes?

I had to come back and add the most important thing that money can do.

It can provide safety. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I have this only because an on-line acquaintance had it on her blog this morning.  She is Girls Wear Blue Too, and is in my blog links thing.

        Wordle: going

It is very interesting, at least to me, the selection of words and their arrangement.  It is also a little unsettling, kind of bittersweet and is making me feel all sentimental and maybe less stressed and more hopeful about my life, big-picture-wise.

These,  most of them, are not words that I would have chosen for tags.  Weird, but compelling, never the less.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The next steps

Socially impaired.

That is me.  I cannot manage to be the happy, sun is always shining, life of the party that everyone expects from me.  Not only could I always do that, it did not have to actually think about it because it was what I did.  Unconscious, easy.  Sure, I would receive the occasional mean remark disguised as a compliment, such as when someone called me a Pollyanna. And, well, there is that one person who used to call me a Berk-wearing-tree-hugging-annoying-optimist-hippie-freak, but that was the exception.  But, not much of the crap in my life had a serious or more than momentary effect on how I am.

I am a bounce-back girl.  I am really a very sunshiny person.  I see all of the positive and supportive aspects of my life, even extending that to parts of life that do not involve me.  I make lemonade all the damn time and share it on the sunny side of  the street.  My glass is always more than half full, and it is never covered, so that it can be filled and spent as needed.  I really am all of these positive things, and more.

Well, I think that I used to be because it is now something that I have to make happen instead of just letting it happen.  I thought that spewing all of the parts of my crap that are not too personal or too painful would allow them to just go off somewhere and not continue to bother me.  And, that mostly works.  Experience it fully, wallow as needed and then just get rid of it.  I have, or at least used to have, this flash meditation.  It is, was, that I would allow myself to re-experience whatever had happened, bodily feel the emotions and then let the whole thing pass through me and fall to the Earth, where our Mother would transform it into something good.  You know, something wonderful created from the not so wonderful.

I still believe in that process.  All energy all the time and being a part of it only as it flowed through me and where I was a part of that particular thing, that process, that being.  Simple.

But, now I have to consciously generate some positive feelings and energy when I am around certain people.  That distresses me more than I am able to express.  I have to think about how to arrange my face, make adjustments to my expressions, think happy thoughts and be part of the happy and friendly stuff that is going on around me.  I mean, I can still do it.  I am in no danger of having some major fail when I am with someone else.  It is just that something that used to be effortless, something about which I never had to give a thought, is now so much work, laborious, just so damn hard.  I have little fails, and a couple of people have mentioned it to me, so that means that I am not successful at hiding how difficult this is for me.

It has been happening more and more often over the past six months or so, and it happened on Saturday,  with my coffee friends and again at the family thing on Sunday.  I thought about those two days, back-to-back like that, on the drive home yesterday.  And, I thought, well, Simpleton, this is just the withdrawal experience from not spewing for the past couple of days.  You are used to getting rid of the crap, letting it pour out of your head and heart, through your fingertips and onto the electronic page.  You will be fine in a few days, you know, just like you would recover from going on a cake binge.  Ah, I digress, but I do remember the cake binges.  Good times.

Anyway, it is not only the past few days of not spewing all over the place, because this is a fairly long-term problems for me, and then when I got home I thought about it some more, took a nap, thought more and repeated the process, minus the nap, this morning.  And, I came to a few decisions.

I am going to continue to not spew about all of the less positive aspects of my life.  They are never going to end, mostly because I am such a loser that I will never leave here.  And, since they are never going to go away or even be less of an issue, I just have to get over the need to do all of the navel-gazing.  I am going to ignore the crap and just do whatever I have to do.  Besides, all of the weeping makes it hard to use the computer or knit, and is really messing up my sewing and my efforts to master crocheting.  And, a bigger and more important besides is that the person who did that big thing was at the family event yesterday and despite my most fervent and loving desires, I think that that relationship is pretty much over.  I can manage, even embrace, being loving and polite and non-confrontational, but it seems that I might not be able to reclaim the trust that existed between us, at least on my end of that equation.  I just have to let that person drift out of my life.  It really sucks, but I really do not have any influence, much less any control, there.

I am going to get away from the big-picture stuff and concentrate on the small stuff.  I have great hopes that this could work.  And, this fits in with the plans that I have for the next hundred days project.

So, beginning next week, I will begin Hundred Days to Greater Creativity and More Positive Thinking.  I might wait until September first.  Maybe not.

Every day I will find at least one positive thing that happened during that day, and I will try to do something creative. 

Creativity.  It will not always be sewing or soap making, knitting or painting, but it will be something.  More importantly, it will be an aspect about which I will have to think and plan so that it actually happens.

Positive thinking.  Frankly, this one is going to be much easier.  On my first hundred days project I had decided to say one positive, supportive thing about myself.  Every day.  Every freaking day. Within minutes of making that commitment I knew that it was impossible.  My best guess is that even the most well-adjusted, positive thinking person would have trouble doing that every single day.  So, I added the divesting of one item each day.  I rarely, as in for all practical purposes, go back and read anything that I have written, not electronically or on paper, so I cannot be sure, but I think that I did a fairly good job of coming up with many self-affirmations.  The getting rid of stuff went better.  And this time, the positive thought is not restricted to me, but can be about anything that happened during the day, about any person or any aspect or condition in the world.  As a fall-back, I have the cats to provide some heartfelt and comic behaviors, so that is making this much easier.  What I cannot do is use this as an excuse for being ironical, sarcastic or even the teeniest bit snarky.

Continuing to divest myself of all of the stuff that is burdening me is a given, as doing so will be manifesting both my creative juices and some serious and conscious work on having positive viewpoints and adjustments to not having this stuff around.  I am going to avoid any big-picture aspects, hoping to keep this up close and very and significantly personal.

I think that these plans are both challenging and doable. 

So, I will be going away for the next several days and then dealing with the consequences of having dared to actually go away for several days.  That should pretty much make the beginning of September when this gets started.  I had thought about waiting until the Autumnal Equinox, but that is too far away.  I need more immediacy than that, although I am now thinking that a ritual then might be appropriate in support of this.

As for my social ineptness and sadness and all that jazz, well, I am going to take a break from both my coffee friends and from family stuff for a while.  I am already missing those, as the pressure in my chest informs me.  But, I need some perspective on why I am so unable to simply be what I believe to be my authentic self.  There is some, no matter how remote, possibility that it is simple sadness about all the stuff.  Maybe it is hormones or depression or something.  Maybe I need vitamins or a swift and enduring kick in the ass to remove me from a self-imposed pity party.  Nah, this is no party, pity or otherwise.  It is a definite change in how I am able to be in relationship and it is in my best interest to figure out what is causing it and to fix it. 

So, daily creative activity and a positive thought about someone or something.  Dribble on some divesting, slop on some improved social interaction, give it all a big shake and it should be an excellent few months.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

To remember

The next time that I am field dressing my ugruk, I do not have to discard all of the stomach contents, as the clams in there are still eatable.  I mean, who knew!

If you want a friend, you have to be a friend.  Sure.  But, that does not translate very well when your friend is trying to stab you in the back.  Repeatably.

The Universe does not revolve around me.  Frankly, the Universe does not even know that I exists.

Sometimes the truth hurts and you have to keep telling yourself whatever that is until you finally get it.

Never underestimate the value of a nap.

One of my friends is a stand-up poet.  Most of his poems are just a few lines of commentary about life in general and his horndog habits in particular, but I digress.

Anyway, one of my favorites of his is:

Sometimes I think that the world would be a better place if I had never been born.
Oh, that's ridiculous.  If you had never been born, the world would be exactly the same.

Sometimes, bitter irony is the best sauce.  Just saying.

The next Hundred Days - Prelude 3

The family thing was today and it was nice.  Every single person was invited (even the really wacky sister-in-law), but, in deference to the very long distances some would have had to travel, not everyone was expected.  There were two surprises, one from each side of the family, and, gosh, that caused so much excitement and happiness and the love was just flowing all over the place.  Very, very nice. 

The take-along play mat with the cars was a big hit and was used today during the church service.  A quiet toy to help the little ones handle the adult goings-on.

It is approximately sixteen inches square.  Cobblestone fabric on both sides, but a red, four-pocket addition to one side.  It can hold up to a dozen of those small cars.  the pocket is two layers and there is a layer of medium weight Pellon inside the whole thing.  It has two nice, soft and wide straps for tying the roll closed.  Oh, yeah, when you put the cars into the pockets, you fold the other half over the cars and roll it up, tying the straps to keep it together.  I was going to applique roads, driving lanes, sidewalks and maybe trees houses and other stuff, but when I had it cut out, I decided that leaving it plain, for open-ended play made more sense for my grandbabies.  It was a good design choice, as it turns out.

Here are the images.
The side with the pocket for the cars.  Sort of half-way moved in the direction of the fold-before-the-roll-up.

Three of the pockets, with the straps just hanging out and being groovy.

Full of imaginary roads

Close-up of the cobblestones.  So cute.

All folded and rolled and ready to go.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The next Hundred Days - Prelude 2

I am still agog at yesterday's happenings.  Glad and all that, but amazed.  Still.  But, glad.  Lordy.

So, here we are, Diary, back together on another forced march towards fixing me.  Baby steps, baby, that is how this one is going to go, just like the previous ones.  I intend to use this process until the day comes when I can sit and do nothing because I am totally caught up with all the stuff that needs doing and there is not anything to do unless I make something up.

I still need a focal point, but am going to let that come in its own time, lest I dedicate the next leg of this project to something that I will regret having chosen.  Like, ummm, that would totally suck, so I am not going to rush this.  I have a couple of ideas juicing around in my noggin, although nothing is holding much energy for me.  I need to stop thinking about it.

Coffee today with my friends, but the last time for a long time, until the van gets fixed.  Gosh, where are the shitload of money faeries when you need them?

I made the gift bags for a family thing tomorrow and put the gifts in them.  I made cards from images of the recipients and did cut-outs of appendages to hold the gift cards.  What else?  Yeah, I finally made the car roll that I have been meaning to make for at least two months for the grandbabies. 

I had an idea about a tiny playmat that could hold a couple of their tiny cars and that could be hauled along to church and restaurants and just anyplace where we might have to have something quiet with which to keep them entertained.  It turned out very nicely and when I have time I am going to post pictures of it, but not tonight, because it is a long drive to the festivities early tomorrow morning and it is late and I am going to bed whether I want to or not.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Next Hundred Days - Prelude

So, anyway I learned some things today and had three experiences. 

I learned that I am so respected at work that just about anything is possible, and that is just freaking amazing.  The system in which I work is stressed because of budgetary cuts, which translates to a more stressful environment.  And, yet, I get to create another dimension to the work I do.  Granted, it is not going to cost any money, but I get to expand further into the community with all kinds of support.  I am thinking about writing for a grant for more technology, so that would be cool, too, and fun since I have not written for any grants for the past few years.  Another agency wants to partner with me and I am going to do it.  We will begin cross-training in a few weeks or maybe the middle of October, I still have not decided, what with the trip and the beginning of school in a few weeks.  Anyway, the whole thing just totally rocks.

Next, I was offered a job with a governmental agency in the town where I do most of my volunteer work.  The offer came as a result of some of that work.  Whilst it would help to remedy part of my financial dilemma, I turned it down.  Philosophical differences, and that is all I am going to share about that.  Very satisfying to feel so comfortable giving up the money in favor of honoring my ethics.  I am feeling strong as a result of this, especially since things around here are still so crappy.  I will admit that declining left me feeling a little breathless and wondering if I had, finally, totally and completely lost my mind.  Like, I must be far off in the deep end of incipient psychosis to even think of refusing such a fine offer.  Like, really.  But, I did and it immediately felt, well, it felt just wonderful and thoroughly right.  Who woulda thunk it.

The third nice thing is that I was invited to be a part of a new program serving those in the community who are homeless or near to being so.  It is practically brand-spanking-new and it was offered to me less than an hour after I turned down the paying job, which if I had accepted I would not have been able to do the new volunteer thing.  I mean, talk about connections and consequences and all that jazz.

My little heart is all pitter-pattery and if this sequence of events today is not the perfect illustration of paying attention to my life instead of over-thinking every damn thing and rushing to the appearance of financial improvement because I am so worried about fixing the van's brakes, instead of being available to do some truly kick-ass and important work, well, I do not know what is.

Totally, freaking, amazing day.  Man.

There is some kind of idea in my head about where I want to go in the next several months, life-wise, but it is still percolating and I am going to let it be until it settles into something.  I can do that.

What happens when I cannot sleep

I am not editorializing on this one, not at all.  We would occasionaly have this kind of situation via the legal aspects of shelter investigations.  It certainly can be that such circumstances are part of a religious practice, but the majority of our cases were not proved to be so.  Just saying, and saying that this is an interesting aspect of modern living.

Proof that multi-tasking is not always in one's best interest.

I knew it!


Alrighty, then.

An extra layer of bad service.

Getting older #1

Getting older #2

Getting older #3

Getting older #4

I wonder if you could make this work if you are a person.

A bit of self-help advice.  You know, for when I just need to snap out of it.

Ooops...and all I want to do is get the brakes fixed on my car.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

100 Days toward a healthier life - Day 100

Well, only four days late, but unavoidable.  One would think, perhaps even hope, that a hundred days of focused intention and serious commitment and actual hard work would be useful somehow.  One would think that.

And, if I am going to be reasonable about this time spent with the intention of having a healthier life, that forward movement towards that is a given, even it one is not working her ass off to have that, you know, sort of by default and the passing of time.  Even I would have to work very hard to find myself worse off after more than a few months of intention.

So, I am not mentioning the food thing, even though I can remember what I ate.  It was more of the same, healthier choices, and really not all that important, big-picture-wise.

I could go back and read what my goals were for this time, so I will go and do that and be right back.  Well, it seems that my vision problems, the retinal bleeds (and then the posterior retinal detachments) were the main catalyst for this project.  That has pretty much resolved and I have since learned that my crappy eating habits had little to do with any of it.  Sure, avoiding simple carbohydrates is best for me, but the two eye issues are more related to my age than what I cram down my pie hole.  And, in addition to everything else, I have had the opportunity to use the words "pie hole."  That pleases me on some crappy level, probably best left unexplored.

So, the eye issues and my struggle to join Weight Watchers.  That latter one never resolved.  It was too difficult to connect with the correct (their word) person each time I went there.  There were either too busy or they were too busy. smiley: laugh  Really.  I am not sure when I finally gave up, but I did, although my desire to join that program has not diminished much.  As my process progressed I just forgot about it, unless it was in the middle of the night and at a time when I could not actually do anything, and then I gradually stopped thinking about it at all.  Still would like to join that thing. 

Next was actually losing weight.  I have done that, even though I stuck to my determination to avoid the scale, weighing stuff, counting calories and all of the angst usually associated with that for me.  I focused on portion sizes, following the food pyramid and then the food plate thing when that was released as the new and improved food pyramid thing.  I naturally choose smaller portions than I used to eat.  I rarely, like a few of times a month, eat snacks between meals, and only in response to my body's need for food because I did not eat enough at the previous meal.  Not even when they are offered to me, and especially at work where there is always some bakery or other special treat for some thing or another.

In the battle with my flab, I am winning.  I have less of it.  There is a visually comfortable less of my physical body.  I have gone down at least two clothing sizes.  So, that is good.  I was able to do that without all of the dieting processes that do not work for me. 

I have not had a second heart thing, and I guess that it is only fair to myself that I fess up that it was a heart attack.  Just a small one that did not require hospitalization, weird and expensive medications or any kind of extraordinary action on the part of anyone, but that did come with a lecture, which I totally deserved for being such a physical mess and not taking any of this, or myself, seriously on the level that the lecturer(s) felt appropriate.  That whole thing was a mess and very distressing when the people I am paying to take care of this little thing are yelling at me, even though I deserve the yelling and a whole lot more that the yellers are not doing.  And, at this point, like right this minute, I am more opposed to dying than ever, although there are factors that change that at what seems to be minute-to-minute some days.

As for the rest of what I wrote at the beginning stages of this project, well, I am not going to read them.  I rarely read anything I have written, preferring to just spew and avoid looking back.  Maybe that is not a beneficial choice, but I really do not think that I am capable of learning anything from this right now.  Maybe later.  Maybe not.

I do believe that my ultimate and loftier goal of becoming over-all healthier has happened.  My blood stuff is better, my weight is lower, my eating habits are so much improved that I can hardly believe it, really, and I just feel better in lots of big and small ways.  Sometimes I will be doing something physical and suddenly be aware that it is easier to do, produces less discomfort or pre-planning and that I am doing whatever that particular thing is without any thought, naturally and spontaneously.  That part is very, very cool. 

I believe that I have set a new standard for how I am going to be in my body.  I have absolutely no concerns about going back, sliding back, to my former icky habits.  I believe myself more able to resist using food to alter my moods, comfort me and help me to lose myself in food ecstasy in an attempt to blot out the more problematic parts of my life.  So, all of that is good and sustainable.  My joint and vision issues are the same and I am just going to live that that and make adjustment when needed and stop feeling so guilty and such a failure because I am unable to fix something that is beyond my control in the first place.  More slow learning, but I am getting there.

I divested more things.  Not as many as last year, but objects and the ideas/dreams/hopes/desires connected with those objects.  I can see that my life is moving in a direction that I did not think that I would be able to consider with any seriousness or hope of achieving.  At least now I am connected to the true possibility of all of that.  More stuff is on its way out.  The process is difficult for me, and there is still an entire basement of stuff to be sorted and hopefully tossed.  There are days, moments, when it is my hope that I live long enough to finish this, although my commitment to this is strong and it will be done, in time.

And, connected to that is, of course, the aspects of my life that do not work and managed to become more significant areas of distress.  O.K., all that ambiguity translates into people.  We all have them, those persons who, well, it is just not in our best interest to have them around, but, there they are, sucking the life right out of us, and we keep them in our lives for lots of reasons.  Sometimes we feel that we need that distress for some perverted reasons, usually connected to not believing that we deserve better, that they are the price we pay for not being perfect and for making mistakes.  They are the consequence, the punishment, and anyone who denies that such a person exists in their own life, or has at some previous time, is just deluding themselves.  We all do it.  It is part of our nature to punish ourselves for our true and perceived imperfections.  It may be subtle, small, personal, intimate, but it is there; we do it.  Sometimes it is a family member, sometimes a friend, maybe a crappy co-worker or fellow volunteer, a terrible boss.  It is one of the less self-supportive aspects of being human.

Most of the time, having that person(s) in our life is a small matter, not seemingly significant, but you know that saying about not sweating the small stuff, well, most of our lives are composed and populated with the small stuff.  It accumulates, drains us, distracts us from other more important things, fucks with our focus and our dreams and plans, our desires about the kind of life we want to have.

I can, and do, admit that not absolutely everyone has this kind of person or issue in their life.  I know plenty of people who either simply do not have this, or are so competent, so expert at managing their lives that it never develops into an issue.  You know those people, too.  They are healthy in mind and body.  Their hearts are unencumbered and they handle stress in healthy ways, never turning difficulty against themselves in some messed-up belief that they deserve to be unhappy or misused or abused simply because they deserve it.

I am one of those latter persons, and it was brought home to me during a session with a new client yesterday.  I mean, talk about the teacher arriving just when the lesson is needed.  Man.

Anyway, I have worked very hard to overcome an early life that was not supportive of survival.  Truth is that three of my siblings did not survive those beginnings and the rest of us struggle with doing the best we can with all of it.  My guess is that all of them carry the same belief that they have survived better than the rest of us.  I know that I do.  I think that I am managing my life more successfully than some of my siblings.  And, maybe that is true, that each of us has created a life that works for him or her.  I guess that is what we all do, no matter how life formed us.  Huh.  I guess I can start cutting each of them a whole load of metaphorical slack about this.  Yeah, I am a slow learner.  Anyway.

Anyway.  I am still working with the consequences of making poor choices in my middle life.  And, I am not making excuses for myself, I had only what I had to work with when I was that age.  Like now, only I was significantly dumber than I am now.  I am still pretty dumb, but slightly less so, for which I am very grateful.  I did gratitude, I appreciate it and honor the process that got me to that place.

And, those consequences, well I took them on, accepted it because those kinds of things always seem like such a good idea at the time, you know?  And, there are all kinds of responsibilities that come along with the things in our lives that we choose.  And, all of the writing is just the long and torturous version of saying and admitting that it is me, and only me and my choices, that bring me here to this time.  I created all of this, my life and only I can do anything, those things that need to be done.  Or, I can choose to do nothing, which I think I can no longer do. 

So, I have made changes during this hundred days in my relationships with other people and my relationship with myself.  Some of it has worked brilliantly, and for that I am humbly grateful.  Some of it has not worked all that well, or has worked in a way not of my intention.  I accept that, even though it resulted in the loss of a friendship or two and the whole and heartbreaking betrayal thing.  I can let the friendships go, they did not work and were causing distress for everyone, but the other thing, well, I really care about that person, I love that person and whilst I am trying to work this out, trying to at least come to an understanding and acceptance about why this thing happened, I think that I am a ways away from getting there.  That person is very desirous of getting beyond this, although unwilling to address the thing that happened.  I would love to talk about it, have some understanding and all that jazz, but it seems that is not going to happen.  So, I have decided to just let it go, move on and hope that time will bring an acceptable and enduring resolution.  Really, I cannot do anything more than that.  So be it.

Which brings me to my commitment to the someone who is not me, SWINM.  The swinum.  It is still beyond my ability to understand my sense of responsibility to this person, when so much effort on this person's part is dedicated to causing problems, some of which cause suffering not only to me and other people, but there is significant fall-out that affects that person, too.  I am so stuck in this pathology that I just have to laugh in amazement, in wonder and a kind of quasi-disbelief that I am still here, but here I am, and with no deliberate plans on leaving anytime soon.  It is based, at least partially, on that person's declining health, the knowledge that that person's family has finally had enough of the shenanigans and have removed themselves from that person's life, and a bunch of other, smaller, less immediate issues.

You know, I thought that if I stayed that I could have some influence, some ability to facilitate and support that person's other relationships, that if I left that there would be no possibility of any of that becoming better, and that was especially true for the little person, now a big person, that we created together.  But, seriously, what ego, what hubris, what delusions of influence or facility.  My intentions and desires were good, they were, I do not know, maybe even a little noble, but the perspective of time has made it clear that maybe nothing that I did or did not do would have made any difference.  And, I consciously use the "maybe" because there is still that hope and all those wishes and dreams for something different.  Still, I took and continue to take my vows seriously.  Perhaps I should be smarter at this and accept that it is time to cut my losses and move on, but I cannot do that.  I am not a quitter.  I do not bail when the going get tough, or even when it becomes nightmarish.  I do not walk away from my commitments.  I stay and I work.  I am not a quitter.

So, since I cannot release my attachment to those dreams, I am doing whatever I can to create the best life possible in these circumstances.  I think that I will begin another hundred days of something, because I have so much more freaking work to do on myself and  I can handle the focus and time demands of that commitment to time.  Less time and I would be too scattered, longer and I would lose heart, so a hundred days it is.  But, what to name it.  I will have to think about that.  And, I am giving myself a week or two break before beginning that new journey, as this past two weeks was too distressing and I need some time to recover.

So, am I healthier than I was three-plus months ago?  Yes.  I am healthier and stronger in my body and in my determination to have a better, or at least an easier life.  Stuff, some of it lovely and much loved, is gone, with more to follow.  I managed to accomplish all of my intention, and then some, during this time.  I like that, that I exceeded my expectations.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

100 Days toward a healthier life - Day 96, 97, 98 and 99

So, three more days have passed and I wish that I could remember what I ate, but I cannot recall most of it.  It was a retreat center, so the fare was plain and simple.  Maybe those two words mean the same thing, but retreat center food is almost always delicious even though it is not fancy by any definition.

The breakfasts were bread that you could toast, yogurt, juice and coffee or tea.  The other meals were mostly some kind of casserole, starchy, thick gravy and bread.  We did have really fabulous broccoli one night, and brothy soup was also available.  I went to a Target store, one of those big ones with a grocery store in it and got green peppers, strawberries, grapes and apples.  So, a pretty good food weekend.

Today I stopped at a diner for lunch and had a nice burger and fries, catsup and a soft drink.  Dinner when I arrived home was a couple of those frozen burritos and a lecture on how I spend too much money on food and gas for the van.  So much for trying to eat better and more healthy food, and the van will stop working soon enough, so that problem will be solved.

The van is, to the best of my understanding, not going to be fixed, but I will keep driving it as long as I can.  When the rest of the rusted brake lines wear through, I will have it towed home and will have to walk the three miles to the bus stop to go to work.  I had this insane thought that maybe the sight of me walking with my cane (or the occasional two canes) might find me offered a ride once in a while during that walk.  It will not be so bad now, but late fall and winter are going to be a bitch. 

Anyway, I am not going to worry about that right now.  I cancelled the two trips that I had planned, and that money, nearly eight hundred dollars might buy me some rides to the bus stop, and, at least I will not be spending any money on gas, so that is a good thing.

I really wish that I could have gotten out of this weekend's drive for that workshop.  It would have saved me the hundred or so dollars for the car rental, but I said that I would be there and I keep my word.  Not that that really seems to count for anything anymore, but it is more and more just about all that I have.  SWINM was furious when I got home tonight and went out and trimmed three branches that fell on the rental car, for which I am responsible and whilst it looked like the leafy parts protected the car roof, hood and doors, I moved it out of the way as best I could.  Something else happened, but I cannot talk about that yet, or maybe never, but it sure did make coming home not so much fun.

Next weekend is the grandbabies' baptism and all I want is for that damn van to work long enough for me to get the fifty or so miles there and then back home again.  Then, I do not care about it, or, frankly, much of anything.

I am thrilled that this hundred days is over and I can finally stop writing and thinking about it.  I tried so hard to get healthier, become more organized and get rid of all of my crap.  I needed to be less encumbered by stuff and to be a better person.  Well, I did as much and as well as I could.  It has to be enough.  One more day of this and I am going to spend the time until tonight thinking about some of the larger aspects of what I hoped to accomplish and how much progress I made and all that stuff.