Brace Yourself For Impact

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I present to you a windblown blurry selfie – my favorite affectation. I took this on the way to my brother’s memorial, already 12 25 days ago. Time is the weird mean bitch who used to bully you until you swore vengeance upon her and then forgot to actively visit vengeance upon her, but who you eventually scared the fuck out of (unintentionally) by cross-dressing and not caring about her opinion at all.

I wanted to write about the memorial but then I got desperately sad and wrote a desperately sad post instead. I realize that all this desperate sadness is part of the process of grieving. I’m listening to Madonna right now, that’s part of it all too. God help us all if I crank up Journey, though, nothing could make my brother turn in his “grave” faster than a big-ass Zeke tribute set to “Forever Yours”. He’ll forgive me for Madonna because she’s not Journey.

This is not a tribute post. This is not a sad post. This is not a desperate post. This is not a lot of things.

I used to read that Capricorns are late bloomers to most things in life. I think we can confirm this statement for at least one Capricorn. I have a small declaration to make since I have (so far) not killed myself or been killed by: a serial killer, influenza, arsenic poisoning, Ebola, the awesome power of crystals, typhoid, smallpox, recluse spider bite, fright, agent orange, the common cold, dismemberment, fungal infection, the government, septicemia, star-crossed love, math, microorganisms, KALE, undecided voters, solar heat, syphilis, bad poetry, the flagrant vagaries of soup, or by the dreadful weight of sleep.

(The declaration is coming and doesn’t deserve such a big build-up)

I know there will be times when I’ll still want to kill myself (or at least to die suddenly), because that’s part and parcel of my mental illness and I accept that this is not something I get to shake off like it never was. This is a completely irrational fact of my life and I accept that this urge will come and go.

But I would like to make a declaration of intent, (if I may be so bold), and it doesn’t matter what fate or god or randomness (whatever you believe) has in store for me:

I want to get reasonably old. Just know that in spite of this wild encroaching darkness I’m constantly having to push back I want to grow old because I’ve been a late bloomer for everything in life and I believe, I truly believe, that I will make the most kick-ass old woman and I want the opportunity to prove this. So, when you hear me get sucked down into the darkness and I start talking like I want to go to sleep and wake up when it’s time to die, know that this is not my true fierce spirit talking but my mental illness rearing its difficult head. Let’s not call it ugly, this part of me, this part of so many people I love and respect. Let’s just acknowledge that sometimes our core being, or core self is superseded by our physiognomy against our will. Let’s just accept that our bodies and minds sometimes come ill-equipped for this particular earthly existence.

I was born old and have been getting progressively younger and more hopeful as I age*. I want to get old enough to surprise everyone in a way I wasn’t equipped to do when I was young and fresh-faced.

But listen, if I don’t get to age like I hope, don’t be sad for me. Don’t be so sad for me, at least, that cheese can’t reach you in that sorrow. I’m telling you my hopes, not my certainties.

I always thought my brother would die first between us three siblings. I wasn’t wrong. But I didn’t imagine he’d die of a heart attack. I thought he’d die in some crazy scrape he’d got into. The only real shock is that I’d started to think I was wrong. I’ll tell you what, you can’t take anything for granted. I didn’t need my brother to die to learn this. I always knew this.

(Shhhhhhh – I totally put “I’m Forever Yours” on!)

OH MY GOD, NOW YOU ALL KNOW I SOMETIMES LISTEN TO JOURNEY ROCK BALLADS.

(Pfft! You. Did. Not. Know. This. Fucker.)

(I promise I disrespect Steve Perry’s mustache attempts as well as all those mom-jeans and sleeveless shirts they wore – while simultaneously appreciating that dude’s voice and the rock ballad tradition that – SHUT THE FUCK UP, YOU MAY ALL GO FUCK YOURSELVES RIGHT NOW YOU BLOWHARDS)

Edwardian paper dolls, lemon and lime essential oils, David Bowie and Bonnie Tyler 45’s, sharply cut crystals, gold lame sports coats, Earl Grey tea, cigarettes, bleach, reaching deep into the icy Lithia waters to pull out drowned cignets, talking to the park benches… I mean talking ON the park be- fuck it – talking to the park benches and the pinchy tight moon from the merry-go-round that never stops. These are the memories rising to the surface tonight.

This is windblown me. My best self. The only self I want you to notice. I am invisible outside the wind machine, in the darkness of the stairs lifting people so far above the park of my remembrance that the only thing left of the time is the lingering slatternly scent of Paris perfume splashed against the leather Mercedes car seats striped with the the spare rigid lights of I-5.

Brace yourselves for impact.

 

*You mention Brad Pitt and I’m going to clock you, bastard!

 

When I was a ghost I was very small.

When I was very small I never told anyone’s secrets.

Except to the shrew in the rock-wall holding the roots of the bay tree together.

Got a lotta ghosts clinging hard to my bones in hopes of finding new digs.

I’m an empty house with no ladder for anyone to climb up into the light.

I remember the taste of wild berries in the cold wet smoky woods eaten under a rain saturated nylon tent through which the moon was distorted and diffused beyond recognition.

Don’t mind the blood here, I was born with my insides out.

I wish we could go back to Lithia Creek without the bruises.

Please Consider Donating to Help Pay for Chick’s Surgery

Chick post surgery

This is my darling girl, Chick, AKA Chickadee.

I’ve just started a GoFundMe campaign in hopes of getting help covering Chick’s ear surgery.

Chick’s Ear Hematoma Surgery Fund

The story about what’s been going on is there in the link but it boils down to these factors:

Chick is a true Williamson and always manages to get the rare and difficult to treat issues. We tried treating her ear hematoma without surgery and spent hundreds of dollars doing it. They drained the fluid from her ear flap and then wrapped her ear carefully in a bandage which we had to get re-wrapped every week and all the while she’s been taking antibiotics and steroids (to constrict the blood vessels).

Naturally it didn’t work. Today we had to lay down another $822 to go for the surgical fix which, WOULDN’T YOU KNOW IT, might not even work. Like I said, we’re good at having difficult problems around here. Today they had to re-drain it as the pocket in her ear filled with fluid again (serum and blood) and then they sutured the area with many little sutures to keep it from filling again and get the pocket to heal closed.

We have now spent almost all our living expenses for the next few weeks to care for Chick, because that’s what you do with pets when they’re part of your family. We have  no savings, no credit cards, and we were denied the care credit card that allows you to make payments on pet care because we have bad credit from having gone bankrupt a few years ago. So we’re pretty fucked.

Max desperately need socks and new pants and some of the money we spent on Chick was supposed to go towards a few basics to tide him over. Yeah, he can wear sweat pants with holes in them for a while longer but his socks are a couple sizes too small and getting holes in them too. I can’t even tell you how much this stresses me out.

Some kind friends (and a couple of strangers) have ordered from my shop – my favorite way to make money! – and every penny helps. But a few people suggested starting a GoFundMe campaign. So I have, because mostly we get by on what we make per month. Just as long as we don’t have any sudden expenses like the car needing work (two weeks ago) or getting dental work (Philip has been waiting to get a crown fixed for 3 years and we were just about able to afford it until the car and Chick’s needs just evaporated all our slack) or major vet bills. We’ve been slammed and I don’t know how we’ll get by in the next few weeks as most of our next paycheck goes towards rent.

I most definitely need to work on getting my business going but I was taking time off to care for mom.

Do I sound like a sad sack OR WHAT?! But no – really – I know we’ll get through this. Anyone who helps us do it is obviously going to be deeply appreciated by me! And I don’t just mean people contributing funds, I know too many people in tight financial circumstances themselves who may not be able to donate to my fund or spend money in my Etsy shop (still working on my own website) but all the emotional support you give me matters to me too because it helps buoy me up during these tough days. Thank you so much for all the well wishes for both my mom AND Chick! You guys all rock!

Chick’s doing really well right now considering she was at the vet all day long. I love this girl. She’s been such a great family dog so far. She makes us feel safe (remember how she knew the Douche-Twins were bad news before I did?), she is so easy to please (walks, scratches behind her ears or on her chest, treats, just being around us), she loves all the same people we love, she is hilarious the way she groans like an old lady (since she was a puppy), and she’s been remarkably inexpensive all these years having been such a healthy and robust dog. We love her so much we couldn’t NOT spend all our money to do what needs doing.

But dudes, this has been a phenomenally tough past month.

Egg-related Catastrophes, Fucking JEFF, and Reverse Unicorns

All of it is here

In an alternate universe I’m a philosophical radio personality punctuating the adventures of people I eat near, walk past, get snubbed by, and get talked about by.

The highlights of this week:

Hearing my mom lucidly recount the horrible powdered egg poop she had a day or two ago that needs to be entered in the annals of the most repulsive (and regrettable) digestive system egg-related catastrophes of all time.

My sweet kitten-heart Tonka nursing on the hem of my pants for comfort after being neutered and purring like he’s competing for a noise championship.

The thought that the whole world would improve if half of all human men were neutered before they reach puberty.

The realization that: a) such comments could encourage the MRA to slaughter me, and b) since the whole bible construct is patently misogynistic, and therefore hell itself is also an elaborate myth of the patriarchy, I will now be marked indelibly for a first class ticket to hell.

Fucking JEFF.*

Haunting the nurse station at both Kaiser hospital and the nursing facility like a wrathful spirit penning their offenses on the great wall of nursing crimes.

Four kittens purring.

The experience of being so bone tired I could lay myself down on a railroad track and get the best sleep of my life knowing trains be a-coming.

That’s a lie, I never sleep well no matter how bone tired I am and you people who experience good sleep are like reverse unicorns to me.

The sign outside the Catholic church that read “Jesus is the living bread that came down from heaven, eat of him and live forever” ZOMBIE JESUS. CANNIBALISM. CAN VEGETARIANS BE CATHOLIC?!

Tomatoes!

Max asking how come high school is so “easy”.

(Angelina wipes brow with her sweaty hand of industry and advocation and says “I don’t know, son”)

The good, the bad, and the perforations.**

 

*Nurse with an obsession about not over-medicating patients  through which he manages to under-medicate patients with a relentless refusal to offer the full prescription of medication allowed to his patients who can’t argue with him anyway because they’re so fucking delirious with PAIN and are too busy hallucinating loud parties in the driveway. Fucking JEFF!

**Cryptic message from the brain with no discernible meaning but it seems as good a note to end this post on than any.

Here, Have a Box of Kittens

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I haven’t been on social media so much. I’m tired of reporting on my mom’s condition. Not because it isn’t important to me or that it might be boring to others, but because it forces me to see just how tenuous and fickle a body can be in recovery. It’s a big process requiring care from so many angles. I’ve been fighting so hard to make sure my mom’s needs are being met and it’s dreary and has me going in circles. My sister has stepped in to make phone calls which is a relief because now I’m not the only one talking to all these dildo-donkeys.

Yeah, I’m super mistrustful of the team of people who are supposed to be caring for her. Today her team will make a bedside stop and I will be there. I hope today is a better day for my mom than yesterday. She was super delirious yesterday, slurring her words, and admits to continuing hallucinations. Yet she passed a cognitive test to determine how capable she is of following directions. You should have heard her garbled report of how well it went.

This is where boxes of kittens come in handy. I definitely need a box of kittens. I’ll share them with you! These kittens are getting fixed today and will go up for adoption this weekend. 3 out of 4 of them. I’ll have Tusker a little longer because she needs to put on weight before she can be fixed and she needs a little more time for taming. We’ve had a great start to the day with our bonding session. She just purred for me for the first time and exposed her belly and also climbed into my lap. She didn’t stay in my lap but she did climb into it twice.

I don’t think I slept at all last night but two good things came of my pseudo-sleep: no nightmares and a kind of soft-focus for my brain in which it didn’t have to be thinking or worrying or plaguing me with upcoming tasks and lists of my responsibilities. I didn’t sleep because I slept in my mom’s apartment so her dog and cat would have some over-night company. The dog hangs out with us nearly all day so it’s not like she feels abandoned, but the cat never comes in our part of the house (because our dog will chase her) and boy oh boy did she need some love and attention. She sat on me, circled me, pawed at me for more attention. She was so starved for attention. Normally I stay in my mom’s apartment the whole time she’s at the hospital but after she got toted away by the EMT’s her room was a disaster and I couldn’t bear to be in there. So it was a cozy animal night, making my mom’s animals feel more normalcy and love, but no sleep. Just drifting in that half-sleep half-waking place.

I didn’t wake up with so much back pain, so that’s cool.

That’s all I have to say for now. I’m burnt to a socket.

The Hospital Report

all this equipment

The day before yesterday I spoke with my mom’s managing physician before her second surgery and he made it absolutely clear to me that it was very unlikely that Kaiser would see fit to send my mom to a skilled nursing facility when I brought up my concerns about her coming home too fast. I may have mentioned that this second surgery would most likely have been avoided if she had stayed another day or two in their care or went to a rehab center for a few days. He made it very clear to me that Kaiser isn’t responsible for what happens to patients after they’ve been discharged. It is of no concern of theirs if the home they’re being returned to is a safe healing environment or if the people caring for them are in any way qualified or able to care for a post-op patient with needs such as: commode monitoring and emptying, physical therapy exercises, med control, bandage changing and wound care.

He told me that Kaiser has strict PT criteria and when the patient reaches them they are discharged and if I don’t like it I can blame congress for it.

It was an icy conversation. I was already upset that Kaiser, this time around, has not been keeping me informed about decisions for her care. I did not get unpleasant with him, no raised voice, no direct accusations, but I did respond with a “we’ll see” when he said they’d probably send her home two or three days after her surgery.

The doctor did not speak to me again. The nurses did not tell me that the plan for her had changed completely. My mom told me herself but she was hallucinating off and on all day yesterday so I couldn’t be sure.

Some things I’d like to note:

The physical therapist my mom originally worked with (after the first surgery) was taken off her case and she got a new physical therapist.

The doctor I spoke with who was so sure my mom wouldn’t qualify for a stay at a rehab facility has been replaced with a new doctor who actually called me this morning with an update on their plans for her rehab which include a stay at a rehab facility and the assurance that Kaiser feels they should take my mom’s recover “very slowly”.

The surgeon who performed the first surgery was contrite during the pre-op visit. He seemed extra gentle with my mom and not at all dismissive of my questions (as he somewhat was the first time around) and though he never visited my mom after the first surgery he has already visited her twice this time and yesterday said to my mom “I’m sorry, this shouldn’t have happened”.  She says she responded with “No, it shouldn’t have.” Go mom!

The physical therapist who paid a visit to our house the day after her discharge did not think her excruciating pain and inability to walk to the bathroom was worthy of note or consultation with her surgeon. The surgeons believe that she had already dislocated her new hip the day before because of my mom’s description of the level of pain she was in. This should have been a red flag to the PT guy. But all he did was lecture me on administering pills to my mom correctly. Fucker.

***

So, as of today, I know for sure they’re going to keep her at Kaiser for another day or two and then they will move her to a skilled nursing facility. They didn’t tell me how long they think she’ll be at the nursing home but I’m sure it will be the shortest time possible because that’s how Kaiser likes to do things. I think this 180° change in their approach to her care is due (probably) to two factors: they have come to realize that my mom is in worse shape than they originally supposed and I rocked the boat and made it plenty clear that I hold Kaiser responsible for her needing this second surgery. All I can say is suddenly they’re being very cautious of her recovery.

I’m still angry with Kaiser. I absolutely hold Kaiser responsible for my mom needing this much more complicated second surgery. But I feel loads better now that they seem eager to make things right and see that my mom recovers in a manner that is safe and appropriate.

Good things:

My mom is a trooper. Truly such a trooper. She has so many fears (at clinical anxiety level, like me) but she just keeps bouncing back from those fears with new eagerness to recover well so she can come home to her dog and her textile art projects, and to us.

My mom lets me take pictures of her in the hospital. Indulging me in my macabre fascination with medical equipment and hospitals is definitely not something all mom’s would do.

My mom never loses her sense of humor. Her humor is almost as dark as my own.

She says her leg feels “right” this time, that it didn’t feel quite right after the first surgery.* So she feels optimistic that her recovery is going to go better.

She’s not fighting me on my strong feeling that she needs to go to a nursing facility if her insurance allows. Two years ago she fought me so hard I caved and it was really rough on me to have her home and not yet even completely sure how to change her colostomy bag. This time she’s totally on board. It’s probably because the level of pain she felt when she broke her femur on Tuesday was so tremendous she is scared to have a repeat of anything going wrong at home.

I’m just about to go visit her. This has been a gnarly three weeks for us here and I’m ready for everything to go well now instead of falling apart. The car is fixed (for $$), Chick’s ear seems to be healing so it seems possible she won’t need surgery, my mom’s dog Rosie who got hurt during the whole EMT visitation is barely limping now, Max’s toe is still infected but he’s soaking it so I think that will heal soon.

My phone is continuing to break down. Payday is today and I have a little bit of money that I made from Sugar and Pith that I can transfer to our account so hopefully I can replace it because I’m so tired of having to work around the part of my screen that no longer responds to touch. Maybe that sounds unimportant but it just had to break down when I needed to be able to text my brother and sister frequently with reports on our mom’s sitch.

But the main good thing is that things do appear to be calming down and getting fixed. I’m not sick to my stomach with anxiety today. It’s not so hot out. It’s still tomato and summer squash season, and fall is just around the corner. ** Although I failed to stay sober through all this hospital stuff, I will be soon be ditching the beer again for tonic and mega-lime with no gin.

Thank you to all of you who have been following our misadventures, offering thoughts of healing for my mom, and emotional support for me. You are absolutely wonderful and your reaching out has been so helpful. xoxo

Update: It’s 3 minutes after I published this post and my mom’s dog started throwing up, so maybe I spoke too soon. Holy fucking hell.

*That would have been incredibly useful information to share with her PT and her doctor right away.

**Which sometimes means hotter weather than summer here in our county. So fingers crossed we get a real crisp fall this year. We’ve had several cool grey mornings this week and that’s been heavenly.

Crossing the Great Basin Desert: Spring Break Part 1

dangerous weeds

The last vacation we had was in 2008. We never have the money. In spite of being laid off two weeks ago we decided to take off on a road trip to visit our friends J and E in Salt Lake City during spring break in a spur-of-the-moment decision. To get to Utah from California you have to cross 400 miles of Nevada on the I 80E highway.

400 miles

It looks pretty much like this for all 400 miles. Considering how big the United States is, 400 hundred miles might not seem like much, but believe me – it’s a punishing drive. I’ve been through part of the Mojave desert in California and Nevada and thought that was a thirsty god-forsaken stretch of land but it’s nothing compared to this endless empty stretch of country.

hard living flower

This hearty wildflower/weed was the brightest thing in that desert not including the sun beating down through God’s giant toy magnifying glass of a sky. Did I say God? If I believed in God I would feel abandoned in this landscape.

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I couldn’t quite shake the fear that our clunker of a car would break down somewhere between Fernly and Winnemucca. Too bad if you’re bleeding out from a car wreck, expect to die. Emergency services are all very far away. I admit that I packed food and water as though I expected to get stuck on I 80.

picnic for desperados

This is how I imagine al fresco dining in prison yards to be. I will say that most of the rest stops had decently clean and equipped bathrooms. I can’t say the same for the rest stops on I 5 through California and Oregon. But at this stop I couldn’t bring myself to use them. Truly, I worried I might get murdered in it.

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By the time we made our way to Winnemucca, the only decent habitation along the entire length of that Nevada Highway, it had become our favorite game to come up with epic insults about Nevada to vent our feelings.

Great Basin Desert

Max’s final assessment of Nevada:

NEVADA = SYPHILITIC BAG OF DICKS

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But our insults must be tempered with the fact that I know quite a few very cool people who come from Nevada. Please forgive our violent feelings!

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One of the great things about trips like this is to see with our own eyes the wildly different landscapes that are part of our country. We looked up information on The Great Basin Desert as we drove through it and learned some things about it. My son will never forget Nevada now. He’ll never take trees or water for granted.

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After 400 miles of brown desert, casinos lodged in every available crevice of habitation, and the endless parade of tiny townships that were no more than a handful of dilapidated trailer homes with a broken down barn or store, the salt flats just inside the Utah border were delightfully refreshing. We got there at dusk just in time to see the pink sky reflected in the pale expanse of salt crust.

Bottleneck

glass

I haven’t had an alcoholic beverage in 2 1/2 weeks. I’ve been super grouchy and prickly. I haven’t wanted to be around any humans. Yesterday was a particularly thorny day. Got my feelings hurt on Facebook by a group of people that brought me to tears. I try to wear a thick skin when skating around on social media but sometimes thoughtless spears and careless conversations stab through the softer bits. Not drinking alcohol means a whole layer of protection is missing.

I’m still on a news fast. I’ve been on a news fast for almost 2 months. There’s no way I can let myself go back to reading the news while I’m not drinking. I can’t handle it. I see the headlines so I know what everyone’s getting mental wedgies over but I have clicked on no news links and watched no news programs. I miss The Daily Show a lot. The day I found out Jon Stewart is leaving the show I felt so betrayed and depressed. When the only sane voice in news gives up on us all – it’s pretty much OVER. I realize that someone else will take his place. I also realize that his team will still be there writing and producing a good show, but without him…I can’t even bear to think about it right now.

I have spent a lot of time on my couch under my favorite blanket watching Murder She Wrote. Most days that’s all I can do after I come home from work and take care of Max and do a few dishes. My days off I try to get work done on my apothecary business. But to be honest, I’m just tired all the time.

I know I’m not going to be like this all the time. I know this fog will lift. I know I’ll move forward. I know I’ll get some energy back. So I guess I’m just in a holding pattern until I can dislodge whatever has been blocking all my words and shake them loose. Every morning before work I open Scrivener and I try to get a few words out. Some mornings it’s like shoving my head into a plastic bag, other mornings I squeeze out a couple hundred words and it feels great. I try not to focus on all those times I wrote 5,000 words in a day.

I’ve found solace in quilting some evenings and have almost finished the quilt my friend Pam sent me over 6 years ago. I’ve also been finding some peace in my front garden. I don’t like my back yard. That’s where the dogs poop and we don’t keep up with scooping it up. It’s over-run with bamboo and oak. But the front garden is all mine. I can sit on the porch to enjoy it. I can do little things to it, plant just a couple of flowers, weed one bucketful, and it makes a big difference because the front is so small.

I’m excited about making more potions. I’m excited about learning to make soap which is the next skill I want to add to my arsenal. I still love living in the house we live in. I’m still incredibly happy to be in Santa Rosa. I love this place. I’m excited that Max is taller than me* and his shadow mustache is growing more distinct. I’m enjoying the last kisses on those baby-soft cheeks of his because they’re going to be rougher soon. I’ve let him mature at his own pace and it’s paying off.

Five years ago I worried so much about his eating issues and now he loves trying new foods and though he still doesn’t like much produce for its own sake, he ate fried plantains not long ago, ate coleslaw on a pulled pork slider, and eats avocado (and sometimes tomato) on hamburgers. He’s become a gourmand just as I predicted he would someday be.

My mom is doing really well. She gets stronger all the time even though she still feels tired a lot. I’m hoping this year will be surgery free for her.

I guess I’m giving all the updates today.

I’m going to pour another cup of coffee and chisel a few more words out of my brain into one of my manuscripts. Later I will be heading to the library to renew my card and find history books on San Francisco in the 1870’s if they have any, and costumes from the same period. I also might look up a book or two on typhoid for fun.

I hope you all have a peaceful day!

*He thinks it bothers me that he got taller than me so don’t break it to him that I enjoy seeing him grow taller.

The Good Noise

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I declared an intention I didn’t fulfill. I was going to drag John out of his case and play the crap out of him even if I can’t remember shit. Instead I went back to work and didn’t have time. It’s been too long. I admit I’m scared the note memory has fled the building and all I have left is a bewildered fuzzy memory of being able to play some songs.

If this is true then my epee thrust is also wanting.

(Things I used to practice and commit to the twilight driveway lined in ivy and buzzing with wasps)

Keokuk Street. Books. Musty garage smell. Pill bug highway. Vases of lilacs on the solid oak big-cheese desk. Playing “O Sole Mio” for the bread dough rising in the garage we called the kitchen. Chasing toxic childhood ghosts from my life. Grouting a doorway while Cash complained of Folsom Prison Blues and Mahalia was five times more proud than me.

I don’t work tomorrow. Max goes to school. Philip goes to work. It’s important to try to remember the notes I used to see in my mind. It’s important to reclaim the madness, the good madness, the good noise.

This Post Apocalyptic World

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The last two weeks have been heavy, strange, and emotional. I feel like I’ve been slowly returning to the wild.

Quite aside from everything else I’ve experienced the unexpected adventure in cooking bacon. BACON. I have put my hands on sliced dead pig and baked it and then later dealt with the solidified pig fat when cleaning the baking sheet. I’m not kidding when I tell you that I nearly throw up every time I face that stuff. I can’t divorce myself from my love for living pigs and when I see that weird yellow sluggish stinky viscous fat I always wonder if it’s anything like human fat would be. I think I do this to apologize to the pig who lost. I am making bacon for Max. I invented a mini-baked potato dish he loves that involves crumbled bacon. I’ve made it every single day of this week. This I do for my son  but wouldn’t do for anyone else unless they were on their death bed. One of the things that makes it okay is that I know how much he appreciates how tough it is for me to handle meat.

I have a serious carnivore for a son and I’m determined his needs be met.

But , BACON?! Seriously, I’m making BACON?!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ferguson is still happening. Because it’s always happening for black Americans every day of the year.

Max is settling into his new school routine.

And then there’s the fact that money is super tight. I haven’t gone on a vacation for years and had a wonderful one planned for this November to meet up with some writer friends in Colorado. I haven’t cancelled my hotel reservation because some part of me refuses to give up hope yet. What has become clear is that I either have to get a part time job outside the home or I have to make money on my own stuff. The same old situation I’ve been facing for years off and on. Well, I decided I don’t want to get a job outside my home because nothing sounds more depressing than that.

The difficulty is that I am bored to tears making my old apron pattern and pot holders and if I have to make things for a living I want to be making things I can get excited about. First off I listed my triple strength wound salve inspired by Cricket’s work as an apothecary. I have first aid kits I’m working on too. I listed my salves and sold 4 in one day to friends.

I’m working with a post apocalyptic theme. It interests me enough that I wrote a whole novel about it. A favorite family game is planning for a zombie apocalypse. Some of the greatest joys in my life are skills that everyone will need to survive an apocalypse.

I have been re-designing my Etsy shop to be a post apocalyptic shop inspired by my novel “Winter; Cricket and Grey”. I’ve gotten so excited that I’ve even gone back to working on book 2 of Cricket and Grey.

I’ve been working on some recycled smock/sundress projects and designing entire wardrobes to go with them and all of this led up to a revelation I had today.

I have had only two professional ambitions in my life. Writing novels and being a fashion designer.

I have, as discussed endlessly in other posts, failed at making a living doing either. My experience in fashion design is solid, however. In all the ways I tackled the field I succeeded. I was an excellent shipping manager at Weston Wear. I was a great design assistant and swatcher at Mulberry Neckwear. I made incredible quality costumes when I was Autumn Adamme’s partner.  Then I made beautiful quality aprons and charged completely reasonable prices for them and got paid about $3.00 an hour for my work.

But I have never designed and sold my own clothing designs.

I am designing a micro Post Apocalyptic wardrobe.  I’m excited about it. I don’t believe this is going to become my new career. I want to be writing books – but I’m excited because doing this exercises skills and passions I have had for as long as I’ve had the passion and love for writing. I do believe that I can make enough to help us out of financial holes for a while with this work. But most of all I’m excited to do both of the things I was born to do at the same time.

My mom needs surgery to fix a hernia and rectus abdominis separation. It’s elective but it seems the preferable choice to waiting to see if her hernia gets stuck and creates an emergency surgery situation. I’m not scared like I was the last time because the surgeon called her young and healthy enough for this to be her best option. Risks that this surgery will end up causing a need for other surgeries is very real, but he called her young and healthy not more than 20 minutes after she commented on how watching Max mature so quickly reminded her of her imminent death.

I can’t emphasize enough how weird it is to see my baby develop a shadow mustache.

My sister is about to leave for Vermont for two years. I just went to La Rosa happy hour with her and as always find myself amazed at what she’s shown herself to be capable of and laughing with her is such a high point in my life. When cleaning my office the other day I found this wonderful little booklet she made me just when I started realizing how lucky I was to have her in my life (I was 17) instead of resentful of her because she is the most wonderful baby girl two parents can have together and I never was that wonderful child. I will never take that book she hand wrote off my shelf to live in a box of scruffy memories because every time I see it it reminds me how much I love this woman who has the same(ish)  blood running in her veins and wears so many of the same family wounds that I do. We may have always experienced the same things differently, but I’ve known Tara since I was 5 1/2 years old and I spent a lot of time caring for her like a mother before I rejected her as a sister like the asshole I am.

Fuck, I’m getting maudlin now.

Depression and anxiety are fucking bitches.

Nigel Lythgoe called suicide “stupid” in the last So You Think You Can Dance episode. On behalf of all my people – fuck you Nigel! Try to understand, try just a little harder to understand that there isn’t a better tomorrow for everyone. Try to understand the demons that haunt some people and that suicide is sometimes the most honorable way to lose battle with depression because sometimes sticking around is more humiliating and torturous and painful than leaving with some scrap of dignity and power.

Thinking today about my own capacity to maintain an open mind. Thinking about how much harder that was when I lived in McMinnville. Thinking about how I crossed the line into religious bigotry – something I didn’t know I was capable of until I moved there and my son was bullied for being unreligious. Thinking about the friends I made online while living there who have ended up being great lights to me spiritually, helping me to see how loving and open minded Christians can be and who have, without intending it (I believe) made me such a better person for their faith and their kindness and open heartedness. Robin and Elizabeth particularly come to mind. Always challenging me to think hard about what I say and believe about religious people, not because they actually challenge me but because who they are inspires me to be a better version of myself.

Robin has been a great support to me for so long, she loves Jesus and it allows her to love fellow human beings who swear like motherfuckers but who are otherwise trying to live by very similar moral rules that Jesus would like us all to live by. There is no moment I joke about religion or criticize it that I don’t first think about her and ask myself – is this crossing a line that Robin would feel pain over? She knows I’m an atheist and that I make fun of religion and take the lord’s name in vain and she’s okay with those things (none of them have shaken her from my side, at least) but she is in my mind every single time I propose to say something expansive about religion or politics that might include her. Because I love Robin so much.

Elizabeth is the same – (close friend to my beloved Pam Kitty Morning) – a woman who has somehow followed my online life for years and there have been times when she’s spoken up to say how harsh I sound in my political passion – she calls me on being mean and being unfair – which I certainly am sometimes. I listen to her because she is another woman who loves Jesus but never pushes him on others and uses that love to direct her own actions rather than to judge others with it. But she isn’t afraid to call people on their shit sometimes and I deeply respect that. Been thinking a lot about Elizabeth in the last few days, but especially today.

Then there’s Diane L. too. A long time reader of my blog who is kind and supportive who took some exception to my most recent post about the Ferguson situation. Completely fair commentary with a different view than I presented.

All of these women who have such different perspectives than I do keep sticking to me, my atheist swearing self, my challenging thoughts and all. I feel rich with great women in my life. So many women holding me up high when I feel myself sinking low. So many great women to keep my ego in check so that I can become the person I really want to be.

I have so many other incredible women supporting me too. Writers, my three IRL friends I’ve been hanging with for 8, 14, and 22 years, and BlogHer ladies.

I am rich. Not with money, but with supportive incredible friends.

There’s no denying I’m not much of a catch of a relative or friend in some ways – deeply flawed, broken, funky, fat,  but I’ll tell you all this: I make the best fucking garlic pickles. My sister will confirm this. I make great food. I’ll feed you. I write really well and I write the truths I know even when they’re ugly, scary, or shameful. I’ll say what everyone else is afraid to say. I do this for me, for you, for everyone. But mostly for me.

Mostly for me.

I once buried a cigarette with mint jelly.

That proves everything you ever needed to prove about me.

A Big Collection of Small Stresses

43 years

Dream scrap: trying to check into a hotel, cheap hotel, tons of trouble just getting the key but then can’t find the room. Continually getting lost and people try to show it to me and they can’t find it. Then I finally get to my room and I set my things down and leave, immediately forgetting what my room number is and get lost again. It’s in a terrible place anyway and I need to meet up with my friend Richard von Busack because we’re supposed to walk to a pub to meet people. Later I’m in hotel with friends and one has a baby and the baby is trying to stand up and then falls and knocks his head and so I offer to find the hotel nurse and can’t find her, meet strange couple in the hall claiming to be hotel staff but one has a hand covered in soil or coffee grounds.

Later, my friend Sharon is in the room and her friend Colleen and they’re doing art. Colleen is making something really cool out of plastic. I have to leave and take my bicycle and Penny wants to ride in the basket but then we get a flat tire right near the room where a serial killer is staying.

A whole lot of hotel stress.

We have real money stress too. I wonder if this is related?

Hopefully the labels for my salves will be done this weekend. I need to develop my travel emergency first aid kits too.

So. Today is the first day of 3 more months of sobriety for the sake of losing weight.

Today I will not drink alcohol because of ALL THE FUCKING FAT I DON’T WANT TO CARRY ON MY BONES ANY MORE. And because I put too much back on.

I kind of want to bake some bread. An herb bread.

But I want to work on the novel too and it’s already almost 12pm.

I think I will stop buying soft cheese in a week or two to save money and lean up the cooking.

What a lot of random thinking I’m doing. No focus.

I have cavities that need dealing with and dental work we can’t afford to get done. That really stresses me out. I have to have my foot looked at and Max needs his nose cauterized and he has a cluster of warts on one toe that those wart pads aren’t working on so he wants them frozen off or whatever they do for that.

Also – while Max has really grown a lot food wise and is trying a lot of new things – he’s in his narrow part of the eating cycle right now where nothing sounds good to him and many things don’t taste good to him. Very stressful for both of us.

So I guess from the dream to everything I’ve just written, I have a large collection of minor stresses wearing me down. I suppose I better pull myself together and make the most of the next three months.  Save money, make things to sell so I can take care of the little needs and also have money to take this vacation in November.

I wonder if I should give up drinking coffee? That would be an incredible money saver. What would I drink in the morning? I can’t really conceive of how I would handle that. And with no alcohol? YIKES. Black tea is a hundred times cheaper. But that means more 1/2 and 1/2 consumption. Something to think about though. Our coffee is very expensive and I drink a pot a day. (2/3 decaf, remember, and it ends up being about 3 big cups, so put your eyes back in your head). Something to give major thought to.

Maybe just give it up during the week days since there’s no way in hell Philip will give up coffee on the weekends. That would cut out 5 days of coffee drinking. Significant savings.

Yeah. Money is tight. And yes, we could give up going out to dinner on the weekend but it’s something Philip and Max love to do together (and me too, though I don’t go out with them as often now since I don’t eat sushi or like any Japanese food) so I’d rather cut out other expenses.

Time to go feed the dog, get dressed, and nail this day. Or kind of deal with it. Or maybe just crawl through it or whatever.