Archive for the Ramble Category

No resolutions

Happy New Year!

I am certainly glad to be done with 2018. I had some firsts last year. I went on a cruise, I sang karaoke. I always said I’d never gotten drunk enough for karaoke, and I’ve been blackout drunk a few times. But apparently I just needed to get sober enough.

I had goals last year. I wanted to lose a bunch of weight before my 30 year reunion. I lost 5 pounds – while on the cruise. Stairs, man. We walked a lot of stairs. Also, Petra made me eat healthy. Anyway, I intended to do yoga every day, and tried to get back into meditating every morning. I wanted to eat healthier. For the most part I failed at them all.

This year I have goals again. But I started working on them before Christmas because I have to combat the stress. I’ve been doing yoga, and signed up for a 30 day challenge again. I’ve been making little dietary changes starting with cutting out the syrupy Starbucks. I’m walking the stairs at work several times a day already with a goal of going from basement (where I work) to the top every hour. I didn’t get that done last week because I was very busy and trying to get a bunch of stuff done and wasn’t finding good stopping points.

And I’m going to get rid of my house. I sold my mom’s house, which was my security net. But this house I’ve been in just got way too far out of hand. It was not a good investment for a couple of drunks. I’ve been working on decluttering. It’s going very slow because there is just so much shit scattered everywhere. But I made a LOT of progress in the kitchen over this long weekend, and I’ll just do what I was told – one room at a time.

I intend to blog on the regular again. I want to start back working on my fiction. It may or may not happen as spring semester starts Monday. The fiction, that is. Speaking of school, I have 3 classes this semester, and all that’s left will be the internship. Oh, maybe what I’ve been trying to prove with school is that I can knock this out without dropping out at least once. Because I dropped out of undergrad once and graduate school twice. Then again, I’m not losing interest partway into each semester like I always did before. Because I am following my calling. And I’m sober now. That makes a huge difference. Go figure.

And this time next year, hopefully, I will be changing careers. Because I am not too old to do that.

Back at it

I haven’t written in a while. Life got in the way. Going to school full time and working full time leaves no time. Especially when I am also going through a divorce and managing a household alone. I’ve hit critical mass with my house and I’m ready to get rid of it. Things happen with an older house and that was manageable(ish) until I was alone. There are still things I can and will fix, but there’s just so much overall.

I’m tired.

This past semester, I took 5 classes – while working full time in a new role where I’m still learning, and we just did a hardware migration. Those things never go smoothly. Half of our team quit, and while we were undermanned before, we are ridiculously undermanned now. I was busy. And there was a lot of life happening with the kids and ER visits and wrecks and hurricanes and plumbing issues.

Friends told me I took too many classes. My therapist told me I took too many classes. My sponsor told me I took too many classes. But I barreled on, and I paid a high price – mentally and physically – to get straight A’s.

Was it worth it?

I got a massage the other day as a birthday present to myself because everything hurt. She told me she could feel the inflammation, and let me tell you, that massage hurt like hell! I was very sore for a couple of days, but I had better mobility. She assured me I can combat the physical by working on my diet and getting some exercise in. Which I have already started on because I am tired of hurting.

But the mental…

My therapist asked me what I still have left to prove and to whom. This is the question I don’t like answering. Because, really, what am I trying to prove? That I’m smart? That I’m self-sufficient? That I can do all the things? And to what end? To whom do I need to prove this? And the big question, why?

There is a quick and easy answer, but it is incomplete because the problem is complex. And so there is no quick and easy fix. It’s not helped with cliche or a prooftext bible verse or a pep talk. There’s not a sermon, formulaic set of steps, or special diet. (Though a good 12 Step group does help.) Mostly there is just a lot of hard and painful work involved to let shit go. And make no mistake:

It takes a lot of hard work to let things go that have been stuffed and suppressed your entire life.

It takes a lot of hard and painful work to reject as false a set of beliefs you were indoctrinated to believe were true that aren’t.

It takes a lot of hard and painful work to stop thinking you don’t measure up even when looking at tangible and obvious accomplishments.

All this to say, I think I’ve been doing the wrong work. I’ve spent my whole life working to live up to what I think others expect of me. Not what I know is expected, what I think. There is a difference.

It seems a simple thing to just let go of that rock, but here’s the thing. I didn’t pick up the rock. It was tied onto me by someone else with multiple tight knots that I can’t untie alone. Heck, I can’t even see them all. And that’s why the work is hard and painful.

End of 2017

2016 was the year I became cynical and disillusioned. This was the year I said it out loud and made it my tagline.

Now I know that the change in year means nothing more than me continuing to write 2017 for the year until at least February. Nothing is going to happen at midnight tonight that is different from any other time of the day or day of the month or day of the year.

It’s just another day. Albeit a day that I don’t have to go to work and yet still get paid.

I did a word for the year this year after swearing I’d never do that. My word was contentment.

I wrote these verses on an index card and put it on my bathroom mirror:

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 1 Timothy 6:6-7

Y’all, I had some tough stuff this year. Kind of like the last 4. No, more like 8. Maybe 9. But this was the year I grew some stunted emotions. It’s really tough to go through hard stuff and feel it.

Good stuff happened, too, and I took a great big leap going back to school with the goal of changing careers. AT MY AGE! I have to say that because it was earlier this year that I said to Petra, “I can’t start a new career at my age,” and she called me out on my crap. I certainly stressed on it a lot, but unlike most college classes I’ve taken in my life – undergraduate and graduate – I did not lose interest in any of my classes during the semester. I think that is a good sign that I picked the right major this time.

It’s unlikely that I will make it to midnight. It’s just not a goal of mine anymore. Sleep is way more valuable to me.

Here’s to the new year! It won’t be a new me, but I’m going to start it off with a new yoga mat and a return to some older, but healthy habits I had before my facade fell apart.

This would be a clever title if I wasn’t so tired #NaBloPoMo

This might even have been a post with substance if I wasn’t so tired. But alas. I am only even putting up a post so I don’t miss a day of NaBloPoMo.

First, I am going to share some things I find amusing. Like my WoW character. Her name is on the pic, but I call her Fartfancy.

A few funny (to my 12 year old sense of humor) interactions have happened within the game.

My first guild, Gay Lady Coven. It was mostly guys. I think I was 3rd female. Also I am significantly older than all of them, one of them being Chad.

We are Midnight Court now. I pretty much do nothing with them, and am more of a novelty being “Clock’s mom.” Also since starting school, ain’t nobody got time for WoW. But I have several quests I need to do that are dungeons so I will have to stay up ungodly late sometime and do those with the guild. Assuming any of them are still playing.

This should be my next tattoo:

Except saying “Drop the rock.”

I found this pretty funny:

It’s been a while

I was told today that I haven’t blogged in months. Technically that’s true, but it’s only been two and half months. These things happen when you go back to school full time while you’re working full time. Ain’t nobody got time for blogging! But I have gotten caught up(ish), and I’m going to take a few minutes to throw out some non-pot stirring things.

These boys crossed the rainbow bridge at the end of July. I fully expected one or the other of them to not come back from the vet. I did not expect neither to come home. I haven’t cried over an animal since I was very young. I didn’t even shed a tear a few years ago when I found Darci in the road, and she was my girl. I cried over these boys for 2 days, and decided I finally grew all of my emotions.

I went to DC in August. I promised my family for years that I would take them, and this was me fulfilling that promise. Chad backed out a couple days before, so I will probably still take him sometime. Or send him if his friend can meet him there. This wasn’t my first time, though, and I made Jamie take a picture with me at the Marine Corps Memorial just as I had done with my mom in 2000.

We went Arlington National Cemetery, but I ended up going to JFK’s grave and the Tomb of the Unknown by myself. As I was walking up that last hill to the Tomb of the Unknown, I realized I had made a huge mistake. I was sure I would make it up there, but that I would never make it back to the entry. As I was walking up to the Tomb, I heard a bunch of clicking and I knew what it was that I was hearing, and stepped up my pace. I just happened to get there for the end of the changing of the guard. That was pretty stinking cool!

If you’ve never been, you can’t grasp the size of Arlington unless you are there in it. And I was able to make it back without having to find a ranger to rescue me.

I took the above photo from the WW2 Memorial and thought to myself, “Jenny ran though this?!?”

I got to have dinner with my friends Michele, Heidi, and Todd while I was there. Darrel couldn’t make it because I forgot to tell them all until the week of and he already had plans.

Labor Day weekend I flew home to AR for a birthday celebration. There were 3 “big” birthdays right together and my cousin Sharon (who turned the big 50) threw a shindig. It was really nice for so many of us to get together without it being for a funeral. Our parents came from large families that came from large families so there are a bunch of us. This is just a few of the girls:

I’m not sure who took that, but I stole it from Sharon’s Facebook.

Almost a month ago, Evie started having seizures out of the blue. I took her to the emergency vet, dropped way more money than I ever thought I would drop on an old dog, and she was in such bad shape, we let her go. I cried after talking to the day vet the next day (before we made the decision). I cried a little bit every day after that for 3 or 4 days. And then I melted down when I went to pick up her ashes.

She was a puker, but aside from that, she was the absolutely sweetest dog ever.

Chad finally got his driver’s license, so now when he writes “milk” on the white board, I give him $5 and tell him to go get it himself. Unlike Jamie, he is quite happy to go get stuff I send him for.

And back to that whole thing about going to school full time while I’m working full time?

I will NOT take 4 classes next semester. I spend a crazy amount of time at Starbucks because I cannot get homework done at home. I have never wanted to clean and organize so much as I have since school started.

Oh, and I got a tattoo.

Dreaming #nablopomo

I tend not to put too much stock in dreams. I blame my parents for dismissing relative’s dreams. Plus I have really weird dreams, and they are usually vivid so I often remember them. Back in the spring I had a dream that was so disturbing, I had to call someone about it to stop dwelling on it. Just last week I had one that I had to tell another friend about. I wasn’t so disturbed after waking up, but I was pretty disturbed in the dream.

But then there is the dream Chad had back in May. He said to me, “Hey, I dreamed that Granny died.” I told him that she had been sick and was in the nursing home for rehab, but that she was going home the next day. 2 days later she died.

I have had several dreams about Mom since she died. I dreamed that I was packing up her stuff, and had most of the truck loaded, but then there she was in the kitchen, and I panicked as I thought, “What’s she going to do when I have all of her stuff?” Another dream, I was home for the funeral, and on the way to the funeral home, but she was actually still alive and in the hospital. Still another, I went home for the funeral, and at no point did I find it odd that we were in the house in Morrilton, but then Mom was there, and was asking me where her car was. I remember feeling angry that she couldn’t remember I had the car, and then guilty that I was angry because she couldn’t remember. (I think maybe that’s something I haven’t really worked though yet.)

The other night I had one of my typical “out there” dreams. For some reason I had to fake fight Rachel from Friends in order to fight some dude that I think I know, but all I can think is that he looked like a cross between Danny Bonaduce and Sammy Hagar. Took forever to choke him out, too, but he finally tapped out right before losing consciousness.

Following this, I was feeling like honey badger, and decided to go tell Mom who was on the porch. I walked out and said, “Mother,” in that same way that Jamie says it to me. Mom was sitting in Aunt Becky’s green chair with Aunt Pearl. Aunt Violet was laying on a bed beside them, only that woman looked nothing like Aunt Violet and more like Aunt Dude. Granny was sitting beside the door, and I woke up before I could assess who else was out there. Essentially, I think I was on that porch with a lot of my deceased aunts plus Mom and Granny. Just so odd, but neat.

A new chapter #nablopomo

fotheringhay-wm

Yesterday was kind of a big deal for me. I have not attempted to write fiction since I was in elementary school and we would have to write a story using each of our spelling words. I hated doing that. I can’t tell you why. I really have no idea. I can’t remember if it was being constrained by having to work in specific words, or if I lacked imagination. Having typed the last part of that sentence out while somewhat thinking back, it wasn’t lack of imagination. So it must have been the word constraint. Regardless, I thought most everybody else’s stories were better than mine. Who knows if that was consistently true. I certainly don’t remember any of my stories let alone any of my classmate’s.

That short cliffhanger I wrote was supposed to be 1) easy and 2) more detailed. For the past 2 or 3 years, I’ve been working out a story in my head. I have the main story line worked out, and so I thought it would be a very simple task to knock out the beginning of the story for yesterday’s NaBloPoMo post. However, the whole story was largely visual. My characters didn’t have names. My towns and villages didn’t have names. The mountains and river had no name. Thank goodness for name generators! At some point my creatures will need a name.

I ended up rushing the end so I could get it posted and still get to bed at a semi-decent hour. The destruction of the village needs more description. Oh, I think I have a way to work that in as I continue it. But, I digress. As I was getting ready to publish it, I freaked out a little inside. “What if everyone thinks it sucks?” Because in a weird way, writing fiction feels more vulnerable than anything else I’ve ever written. Including poetry. Not that I’m going to go dig around to find the poetry I dabbled in when I was still a teen. And certainly not my songs. In fact, those songs really need to disappear forever.

Back to the story, since I hadn’t really thought out details, I’m now all excited about where it might go. Because it’s one thing to have a main story line, but the steps to trace that line are what makes or breaks the experience. Or rather it’s like the difference between reading a book and watching a movie based on a book. Take Stephen King. When I started reading his books, I had already seen a few of the movies based on the books. But then I reached a point where I had read all the books up to a certain point in time, and then watched the movies, and the movies sucked. The Tommyknockers is the perfect example. The book scared the crap out of me. To this day, I have nightmares about my teeth falling out that I didn’t have before reading that book. The miniseries was atrocious despite starring my boyfriend Jimmy Smits.

There has been largely no point to this post besides existence as a daily post that’s over 500 words. But, I am looking forward to writing more of yesterday’s story.

On with the show

The DragonLady doesn’t like crowds. That’s why she doesn’t do concerts. Crowds freak her out. Also, she doesn’t like to pay the price concert tickets cost these days. But you know what? I went to see Fleetwood Mac last month paying way more than I wanted to pay for tickets in the rafters.

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Prior to the beginning of the show, I would look at that and get that feeling in my stomach as if I was going to pitch forward and fall to my death. Because I also don’t do heights.

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That’s my “this is too high” face. Note that we weren’t all the way at the top but close.

Once they came out and started playing, though, I did not notice the height at all. It was a heck of a good show! I sat there singing along with every single song as only someone who has spent a LOT of time listening to Fleetwood Mac can do. I screamed. I yelled. I was surprised I could talk the next day.

Dreams unwind. Love's a state of mind.

Dreams unwind. Love’s a state of mind.

Tusk

Tusk

They were so fantastic! Lindsey Buckingham didn’t leave the stage until just before the encore, and then just during the drum solo in World Turning. I know he is the youngest member of the band, but he is still mid-60’s rocking a 2.5 hour show.

IMG_3719

This was the finale, which I obviously didn’t take from the rafters. Someone with much better seats than I took this. Also, I used up my free space recording Gold Dust Woman. Which I haven’t uploaded.

“…and the wind won’t stop”

Pain is baffling. It is pretty dang frustrating to spend several years trying to get healthy, changing my entire lifestyle through exercise and a healthy diet – and then getting sober – to find myself struggling with chronic pain. I even went so far as to question my sanity. After all, how many health issues can I share with Petra before I begin to wonder how much is in my head. On the other hand, when I really think about it, I can see that the issues started way before we ever met. And since I don’t believe in coincidence, there must be a reason why we were put in each other’s lives. And yeah, I over-think and tend to over-dramatize. Whatevs.

Talking to a couple of friends last week, I wondered aloud if maybe I’ve had this pain for a while and just didn’t know it because I was self-medicating. It was pointed out to me that because I have been sober for over a year now that I would naturally be more attuned to what is going on with my body. So I started thinking back trying to find a time in my life when I was dealing with a lot of pain, and in my very late 20’s and very early 30’s, I had a lot of knee, back, and wrist pain. The Air Force doctors and physical therapists couldn’t find a reason for any of the pain, though it was said that the wrist pain was likely pre-carpal tunnel. I realized that I stopped having so much widespread pain when my drinking ramped back up.

I did a little internet research and a study was done on a connection between fibromyalgia with depression and alcohol use. While the study was not to be taken completely conclusively, it showed that low and moderate use of alcohol tended to lesson the fibromyalgia pain. I went back and forth between high moderate and low heavy drinking. This could have had an impact on my pain level. Petra says my symptoms scream fibromyalgia, and I had some pain last week that definitely fit that category.

My dad claimed to have nearly every disease or disorder known to man. I know he had allergy problems and Type II diabetes. I remember a couple of times hearing him say, “I think I have depression.” I do not doubt that at all. I also have heard him talking about his recovery from his ruptured appendix, and he described an incident that sounded exactly like I feel when I have a panic attack. He also claimed to have “myalgia.” It’s a broadstroke disorder of muscle pain. Fibromyalgia falls under that broad disorder. And as I connect dots again, my mother-in-law told me that he had a problem with pills for a while. If he had pain like I have pain, I’m sure he did have a pain pill addiction because at that time he had a highly technical and physical job that would be hard to do while in chronic widespread pain.

Last week I found out something about my dad’s childhood that I never knew. I didn’t get great detail nor did I ask for more detail. I learned what I needed to know which explained why he acted the way he did. He had a really rough childhood. The one aspect of it I never knew was the one that I was able to take and finally feel connected to him. Sadly, nearly 8 years after his death, but I understand. I have friends, family, programs, and mental health support that he didn’t have. Not that he didn’t have support of friends and family. Especially family. But I have been granted awareness that he was either never granted or chose to remain in denial. And so, I think it is no coincidence that I find all this out now – after I’m sober. I know where I stand with fibromyalgia if that is indeed the reason for my pain. I also am acutely aware of my self-destructive and addictive tendencies. Okay, maybe not acutely. But aware. I don’t want pain management. I want pain elimination. If elimination is not possible, well, I suppose that will be another blow to my self-reliance. ;)

Too much

Last week was one of those weeks where there was just too much. It’s been a while since I had a panic attack. I had 2 last week. I guess maybe I needed a reminder that there is no such thing as an instant fix for one’s issues that are so deeply rooted. I had gotten pretty confident that I had finally grown up emotionally, and then I talked to my mom, and she largely couldn’t talk back. She would try, but then get frustrated when she couldn’t say what she was thinking and say, “I’m just crazy, crazy, crazy!” I wanted to argue and yell, “NO, YOU’RE NOT CRAZY!” But I know the futility of arguing with someone who has lost the ability to reason and retain. So I would just say, “You know, it’s okay. It’s going to be okay.” And it is. It just doesn’t feel like it.

I had a uterine ultrasound the next day. I made light of it because I really wasn’t overly concerned. In fact, I was hoping the results would show the need for a hysterectomy. Turned out to be 2 benign ovarian cycts. And must be on the left because I don’t think he ever found my right ovary. I thought at the time that he couldn’t see it because the wand was puncturing a lung and my ovaries aren’t that high. Not that I exaggerate. ;) But all joking aside, as I was laying there I felt the beginning of the first panic attack. I got home to find no one there, and in a few minutes the rest of the family returned from a trip to Lowes picking up a new dishwasher. James kept asking me questions as he was swapping them out about what we did when we installed the original. “I don’t know. All I remember is we fought.” He kept asking and I kept giving that same answer because even though the circumstances were completely different, I was freaking out inside over the memory. Finally he said, “This isn’t like last time, and I’m not going to yell at you.” I responded, “I know. You’re sober and I’m sober. But I never dealt with that event.” I finally managed to calm down enough to switch out the wiring which, ironically, was the thing that turned the original install into such a huge fight. And everything went so smoothly. It was amazing. Yet, I still showed up to a meeting with my sponsor later in a panic attack. And thank goodness we were meeting that night!

But then the next day, I got double-teamed at work and told to grow a spine. I turned right back into an emotional 5 year old and shut down. Another thing happened the next day at work that triggered another panic attack on the way home. I remember thinking then, “I’ll wake up with a migraine tomorrow.” I did get to meet the Fonz that night which was just too cool. It would have been cooler if he’d held my hand like he did Petra. Just sayin’. And sure enough, I woke up with a migraine.

I had an appointment Saturday morning that I wasn’t going to let a migraine stop. It was something I didn’t want to do, but I could come up with no good reason not to do it, and God didn’t close that door. We had agreed on 45 min. I thought that would be too long, but we talked for like 3 hours. I don’t think I have ever felt that comfortable being that open and sharing with someone I barely knew. We both agreed that it was a God thing. To top it off, though I hadn’t yet taken anything for my migraine because I didn’t want to be half stoned out while there, there was no pain that whole time. I had trouble with speaking words, but that’s not unusual. After I left though? My head nearly exploded on me. Especially when I stopped at Food Lion. Another God thing.

And yesterday morning, I stood in the shower and broke down. I had that huge ugly cry that I needed last week after talking to my mom. I wondered at the time even as the sobs wracked through my body why I have such a hard time surrendering to grief and sorrow to this day. Why can’t I let go and be vulnerable around other people and especially my close friends and family? I mean, I know why. But why do I hang onto it after it had long since stopped being useful? I know the answer to that too. It’s frustrating.