AM I HAVING FUN YET

January 18. The Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Another day enclosed in the grey. I tried dipping my toes into my fun list this afternoon. I didn’t have any nail polish on hand. Otherwise, I might have had some fun. I used to have a couple of bottles laying around forever and a day. I could have used them today. So I had throwaway regrets. Next, I tried origami. I have a kit I bought when I was in Japan a million years ago. The instructions were diagrams without words. It was a bit complicated. Maybe I should have started on page 4 instead of 22. As a result, my tulip is a little too top heavy.

Next, I played a little piano. I was not engaging so I gave up after 20 minutes. It’s really no fun when I’m feeling so blasè. I had been reading Babel and it was interesting but in my mood, a dark fantasy about colonalism would make my mood darker. I thought about resorting to John Grisham’s The Client, but I got onto YouTube and found this. I was engaged, caught up in the music and movement of this couple ice skating.

It wasn’t really what you would call fun but I was at least distracted from my grey feelings for a few minutes. Perhaps I should not try so hard running away from these feelings/days. Just accept and ride/ease them through without a fight/struggle. Perhaps there’s a purpose for them.

ADVICE TO MY 16 YEAR OLD SELF

Day 28 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. The end is near and what is it that I’ve learned from this challenge?

  • that I still love words and pictures and the things they tell me
  • that I still tell some stories over and over and that I need to tell myself new ones
  • that I am fulfilling my goal of having this writing space – tracing and understanding the archeology of my time on earth.

I don’t know why that it is that I hold on to the negative narratives more than the positives. Why it is that I admire others so much and think so little of myself? Does not having a physical father present in my early years make a difference? And how about being a minority from age 6 to adulthood? I have had a double sense of being invisible and very visible at the same time. I have had the sense of being very small and standing out like a huge sore thumb. I’m using the past tense – have had – because I don’t feel like that anymore. But I am sure that child/young adult still resides in me.

It’s really too late to change my history, my paths through time. But it is not too late to accept and take comfort in that I did the best I could. I can accept that maybe it is the rites of passage. I don’t have to cast blame in any direction, inward or outward. If I could go back in time, I would tell my 16 year old self that being imperfect is part of the human journey. We can’t grow from a perfect end place. Don’t worry too much about making a wrong decision. Life is not black and white. It’s not about right and wrong. Some things/decisions are better than others. Wisdom is learning to make detours and corrections as we go along. Most of all, I would tell my 16 year old self to love herself unconditionally, to think more of herself and less of others. Let go of things that doesn’t serve her. Time and energy are finite.

LIFE CAN GET BETTER THAN THIS

Someone once said, Life doesn’t get any better than this. Now, in this very minute, I’m saying it, too. It’s summer time and the living is easy. I’m sitting in front of the herb spiral, sipping tea, eating cherries and tapping on the keyboard. Soon the sun will chase me into another shady spot. Let me see if I can set up my old patio umbrella. It’s been mostly sitting in the garage gathering dust all these years. I’ve only used it to give Sheba some shade in her dog run when she was a puppy, the run she’s hardly used. It’s been converted into the guy’s bicycle shed long since.

It didn’t take long to find the umbrella and the base. Took a bit of sweat to set up. I filled the base with water to give it some weight. It didn’t work. It needed to be in the center of a table to prevent it from tipping over. My table does not have a hole anywhere. What and how to do? I lugged the set up behind the bench. It tipped and leaned against the bench. Perfect! Except I didn’t expect it to tip sideways. Good thing I wasn’t sitting underneath it at the time. So much for my effort. Just dust and sweat but nothing ventured, nothing gained. I will have to wait till the sailor gets home to figure something out.

I’m chased indoors. The sun kept playing peekaboo. It was too exasperating.


Afternoons are not my best. Everything goes south. I am tired and disorganized. It’s when the cluttering happens. I’m incapable of putting things away. I throw and toss things in where they fit. I pay for it eventually – like last evening. The ice cream was calling me earlier than usual. A good thing because the fridge freezer was covered in hoar frost. I had my ice cream first before I could tackle the icy mess. It had occurred to me that I could be creating disaster for myself by my mindless tossing things in, cramming when necessary.

No harm done except loss of time and energy. I have learned from it. Mornings are my best times when my mind is more quiet and I can think clearer. Best to use it to plan, prioritize and make lists of what and when to do them. So today is the first day of the rest of my life. It’s morning again. I’m sitting in the morning shade, in front of my little monk again. There’s a lovely breeze blowing. There’s children’s laughter from the daycare. There’s the sound of traffic.

Things almost feel normal again but would I want that normal back? I don’t think so, even if it is possible. I’m learning to be peaceful with things as they evolve and as they are. Though I still shed tears over Sheba, I am at peace with her passing. I am comfortable with her physical absence. She is with me in my heart. As for the woman next door, I am learning to disengage from her energy. She has a disorder, I don’t. It isn’t about me.

So ends another post for the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I haven’t shown up every day though I try. I try not to be rigid and fixated on being perfect. That’s something I learned from the woman next door – her fixation on a weedless yard and perfectly clean driveway. Yesterday she was out with her leaf blower, blowing whatever she has on her driveway, sidewalk and even the sidewalk of the next house. There were some workmen tearing down the old siding. She even blew under their truck parked on their driveway. What I felt was sadness for her.

IN THE DESERT AGAIN

I’m not God and I don’t have the whole wide world in my hands. I’m not and I don’t but I wouldn’t mind if I am and I do. It’s wishful thinking but what if wishes do come true? I’m feeling helpless and useless at the moment. I’m at the wall with nowhere to move. I can only take a deep breath and heave a heavy sigh for relief. This is real life.

So I am here, to lay some of my anguish on the page, the anguish of acceptance. I am not God. I do not have control of everything. I suppose this is the first part of the meditation practice called R.A.I.N. It stands for recognize, allow, investigate, and nurture.

Recognize what is happening;
Allow the experience to be there, just as it is;
Investigate with interest and care;
Nurture with self-compassion.

I’ve learned the first step of recognizing what is happening. But allowing the experience to be there, just as it is, is not so easy. I want to fix it with the first inkling of discomfort it brings. I can see myself getting into my Supergirl/Wonder Woman suit, all hyped up to the rescue and change the situation. There’s an urgency in me. I feel there’s no time to investigate with interest and care. I tend to berate myself rather than nuture.  I recognize what is happening in me. I want to change.

I am here, tapping out what I recognize and know. It’s been exhausting hosting all the thoughts and emotions inside my body. They’ve been in the wash cycle too many days , agitating and agitating. Now it’s time for the rinse to kick in and the dirt to drain out. I will hang on to the good stuff. I’m not God but I wouldn’t mind if he gives me a hand, light my path and point the way. It’s difficult navigating in the dark.

I haven’t been out in the desert for awhile now. I have missed my time there. I miss the emptiness, the silence and the arid air. I miss the seemingly endless time and the peace to heal body and soul. Most of all, I miss the conversations with God. His presence was all around me there. My heart was opened to accept and receive. Somehow every day life happend and it closed up shop. I have been sleeping on the job. I’m awake now and in the desert. I hope he will show me some wisdom and compassion.

BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL

It is another sleepless night. Somehow I knew it was too easy. It’s only a little over a week since Sheba’s developed her ear hematoma. Two trips to the dog ER to get it drained 21 cc and 11 cc respectively. A followup 2-3 days later resulted in 5 cc drained. All of this has been very draining for all us, humans and canine. Sheba already had a bit of sundowning just before all this happened. Since, the nights have been worse. So the vet suggested a short course of trazodone. It would chill and help her recovery from her ear traumas. It all sounded wonderful but wasn’t. The first day, the trazodone knocked her out. Her legs didn’t really work well. When she was awake, she would pace like a stoned dog. So I decreased her dose a little. Whereas she was restless only at night, she became restless day and night. Our nerves were raw from her ceaseless pacing and banging into things with her head cone.

If something doesn’t work, why keep doing it? After 4 days on the trazodone, I stopped it. Sheba slowly became more her old self during the day. She would lay down on her pillows by herself. Hope was on the horizon. We leased her to the piano leg at night so she could not pace and bang around. We need some sleep. It worked last night. We all slept in till 8 in the morning. Hallelujah, right?

Today’s or rather yesterday’s vet checkup showed that she does have an ear infection. A good reason to rejoice. There was a cause , therefore an end to all this misery we’re going through. We were jubilant and came home armed with earwash, antibiotic eardrops and oral antibiotics. Earlier in the day my order of melatonin for Sheba and some for me came. I dosed us each with 3 mg. All was well. Sheba settled and relaxed on her pillow. Then it was bedtime. I took Sheba out for her business.

The disappointment was keen. But at least I had 2 hours of sleep when I woke and heard her panting. Perhaps I should have ignored her but I was never good at it. She gets more stressed and worked up. Then she starts barking. Yes, she is a smart dog. She knows how to get attention. But she is 13 and has an infection. Human elders with infection do the same. So here I am, sitting on the stool beside her. I’m tap, tapping away, hoping for a better day. It is almost 4 am. She is at least relaxed and laying down.

Things feel very difficult at times but they are getting better. Her ear has stopped bleeding. Surgery is not needed. The underlying cause has been discovered. Treatment has started. Nothing is easy nor simple. Hope her night time anxiety and restless with improve with melatonin increased omega 3’s. I am doing fairly well with all this. When I accept what is, I am less stressed and more at peace with it. This is what we have to do. One day at a time. Sheba deserves the best from me. She has and still is giving me much joy.

 

HICCOUGHS

I have to tell you, I’m having more than a few hiccoughs in 2019 and it’s only April. There’s 8 more months to go but who is counting? I’ve been here many times before. I’ve learned it’s best to accept the hiccoughs instead of fighting them. It takes some effort each time. I’m accepting that, too, because that’s how I am. It’s like doing the backstroke in a rocky swimming pool. There’s no smooth gliding. I’m tossed about. I’m not a good swimmer and I start panicking when water floods my face and up my nose. I have to rein myself in from  thrashing wildly about, gain control and float through the waves.

I’m doing just that through this recent hiccough. Who knows what poked the tip of the iceberg. Do I still have hormones? Then there’s the weather, the clouds, winds, dip or rise of temperature along with the atmospheric pressure. Whatever. It does not matter. I’m out of balance, my mood can change on a dime, I can’t sleep, things don’t get done. It feels like weeks long but it is only a couple of days. Life feels like a wreck. I feel like a wreck.

I sound like a wreck, too, but I’ve changed a thing or two. I can almost stop my thoughts and feelings on a dime. I said almost. Now whenever those bad thoughts and feelings come up, I see a stop sign coming at me. I feel that hand pushing me back. STOP! And I do for a minute or two. Huh! I have to roll that around my mind and decide what is best to think, feel and speak. Sometimes the best course of action is no action and no words.

Well, I do hope I can sleep a little better tonight. Maybe I can practice doing the backstroke in my mind to send me off into dreamland. But what will be, will be. The future is not ours to see. Que sera, sera.

IT IS GOOD ENOUGH

The sun came as ordered today. My bedding plants and I breathed a sigh of relief. Our world looks bright and hopeful once more. I don’t like change very much but nothing is constant. Even though I can try to hang onto things with tooth and nail, changes are happening all around me and to me. So I am learning to lean towards it rather than running away. Life is easier and better that way. I breathe easier and deeper accepting that which I cannot change.

What took me so long, eh? I don’t like to acknowledge that I could be wrong or that there is another way. There is always another way/side to everything. I see through so many shades and filters of my lens depending on what I want to see. I can use so many justifications to make everything sit copacitic with my heart and soul. I didn’t even know it until now.

Knowing that, I’m slower voicing my thoughts and opinions. I take longer to observe and reflect. There’s no hurry to form a judgement, is there? I’m going to blame my nursing profession again for some of my lacks. When you work in a hospital setting of life and death, there’s a crisis around every hallway. It’s STAT this, STAT that. You have to make quick decisions. It’s action and reaction, a snap of the fingers. I take all the stuff home. I treated everything like a crisis. Have to fix it right away. Right now, STAT!

Most of life is not a crisis. Many things and decisions can wait. Many decisions are not life and death. They don’t have to be THE perfect decison. I have to use my best judgement and pick one. Then I need to let go and not agonize over whether if it was THE best. Most of the time it does turn out to be the best.

I’m sitting in glory and ease, tap, tapping out gleefully in my moment. I’m experiencing the sweetness of a success. I had talked about my father losing all his PC Optimum points on his card yesterday. It took me quite a few phone calls and emails to straighten it out. It would have been much easier for me to give him the $20 and lie about recovering it from the company. I decided to follow through with one more phone call and one more email. Low and behold, I looked at his account online. It said, Welcome Sam. Your point balance is 9,146. It is short 5,000 points from what he thought. It is good enough. Better than 0.

It is a good enough day, too. It was 2 degrees Celsius this morning. Now it is 20 degrees. All the bedding plants are airing and sunning on the deck. I have seeded one raise bed with spinach, lettuce and kale. Crossing my fingers and toes they will germinate. The seeds had sat all winter on the deck. Life is like that. Not perfect. Not bad. Some sunshine. Some rain and lots of snow at times.

STRUGGLES

 

This time in the afternoon is definitely not my best in terms of energy and mood. I am sapped and droopy. I am not sounding my most up nor energetic. I probably whine alot. I should try changing my schedule. But you know how difficult that can be. I am sort like Sheba now with habits. Once I’m in a rut, I need a crowbar to get me out of there. Mind you, some ruts are healthy – like my Saturday morning swim. My thinking brain didn’t like the idea. It started telling me how dark it is that time of the morning. But my body was craving it. It tells me it’s Saturday morning. It’s time for my swim. My body won that one.

My brain is now struggling to find the words, my body trying to find the energy. They both are searching and scanning for some purpose and meaning to what is this all about.


My search was not at all fruitful. I had to abandon and let it rest. It is now bedtime. Sometimes it is wise not to dig so hard for purpose and meaning. I have to give up on some struggles. Live and let live. Do not ask questions that have no answers. Do not expect others to agree with me. Do not expect others to change. Be the change I want to see. I am finally learning to speak for myself and of myself. Peace. Sleep well. I hope to do better tomorrow.

THERE ARE NO WONDERS

Something wonderful happens when I eat a chocolate chip cookie. I double the pleasure when I have two. My grumpiness melts. That headache fades. Sheba crowds near, hoping for an oops and a few crumbs. I give her a few little frozen carrots. She is happy and gets to clean her teeth on them. Now she gives a grunt of satisfaction. We’re both down for the count. She’s on the floor. I’m on the chair, tap, tap, tapping some insight and wisdom – I hope.

I know that I will pay for my chocolate frenzy this week. I know/have my boundaries. I can’t keep eating them every day. Maybe we will walk a little faster and further today. It is +3C right now. There is no point in wondering what’s wrong with me and the weather. Don’t waste time asking the unanswerable questions. This is how it is. Get on with it. I am – getting on with it. There is POWER in the getting on. There is movement and results. When you just wonder and wonder, all you get is a headache.

Let me tell you the story of my wonders. I could never accept things/people/situations as they are. I wonder WHY, THEY MUST, THERE MUST BE. I always want to find explanations for everything, everybody. I am never ready to face the truth of what is before me. There MUST be another reason, another time, another chance. It WILL be different….. It’s no wonder I’m where I am, eh?

I have to give up on that wonder lust and wander as on foot. Sheba and I have wandered far on our walk. It is a balmy +6C degrees. We took our time, sniffing the dead exposed grass, rolling on the icy backalley. All the quirks worked out. Paws wiped clean, Sheba goes into the house. Meanwhile, I tend to the messy business in the backyard. You guess it, Sheba’s poop. I could very well have turned a blind eye and not see. Somehow, those things can’t be ignored. They are there in the head without eyes.

I take it as a measure of my mental health that I CAN do it. I WILL HAVE to do it at some point in time. Why not now? If the need and the idea arises, why not do it now, if possible? I bend to the task. It is not difficult. One, two, another one…into the bag. It CAN be hard. It’s not glamourous. There is no skill requirement. I will not receive any accolades from anyone but myself and maybe other depressives. We know how difficult such tasks can be in our moods. I hear their applause in the recess of my mind. I take a bow. Thank you! Thank you! Much appreciated. The yard is looking better. I didn’t get it all but it was a full Superstore bagful.

What next? A cup of tea, of course. My life is measured by cupfuls. Not a bad measurement. My cup is always full. I do count my blessings. Mostly to myself though and here. I try to keep my stuff contained. It’s good to have boundaries. No need to broadcast. Hear ye! Hear ye! That’s is not me. It’s good have a safe space. I hope you have one. It’s not that I’m secretive. I’m discreet but I do share. Do you?

NO MORE FLOUNDERING

I always look forward to my Saturday morning swim no matter the weather. It was a chilly -8 Celsius at 7 am. The petunias are maybe blooming their last hurrah. They have done well, cheering and showering me with their brightness into October. They have earned their rest.

As always, it is relaxing and restful to glide into the pool and let the warmth of the water wash over me. More so when I have the luxury of a lane to myself. I can just swim back and forth at my own pace. I don’t have to worry about anyone grabbing my toes because I am too slow.

I went into the fast lane as it was the only one empty. It was on the opposite side of where I am used to – the slow lane. There is always something different for me to work up to. Even the flow of the water felt different. It was all good though. I practiced at accepting and working with all these ‘differences’. I tried not to  worry about a fast swimmer arriving and kicking me out of the lane. When I worry and panick, I flouder. I would get water up my nose. Then I would be coughing and struggling more.

Today, I worked at not panicking and floundering. Ok, I tell myself. I have a right to be here. I stilled my thoughts. I stopped thrashing around. I slowed my kick and swam steadily up and down the lance. No one booted me out of the lane.