Friday, September 21, 2012

... the sound of a train in the distance ...

... in high school, a best friend and i passed a considerable number of written notes.  there was one point where our notes merely consisted of "love" and "hate" lists.  i grabbed this memory up as a writing prompt today, as i've been trying most of the summer, but successfully this week to journal (hand-writtten) on a very nearly daily basis ...

"I have the choice of being constantly active and happy or introspectively passive and sad. Or I can go mad by ricocheting in between."
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)


-missing Mark.
-the pseudo jukebox radio in the kitchen, playing country western music. –second favorite being the same radio playing 70s songs.
-the sound of the breeze playing in the trees.
-watching the dogs sleep, play, wrestle.
-watching the dogs do everything.
-petting the dogs until I fall asleep.
-baking cookies.
-trying new recipes.
-cherry tomatoes!!!!
-stuffing garden-fresh peppers.
-the sound of a train in the distance (sometimes).
-the feel of my pen on this page on a more regular basis.
-coffee with FOAMED MILK!
-conversing and feeding off of the unique personalities of the “little girls.”
-talking to my girls.
-watching Abigale and Sara grow.
-reconnecting with my mom.
"Everything with me is either worship and passion or pity and understanding. I hate rarely, though when I hate, I hate murderously. For example now, I hate the bank and everything connected with it. I also hate Dutch paintings, penis-sucking, parties, and cold rainy weather. But I am much more preoccupied with loving."
Anaïs Nin (Henry and June: From "A Journal of Love"--The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin (1931-1932))

[Hates] Frustrations …

-the fact that I am unhealthy again- food-wise- ‘tho remedying same.
-the fact that Dad is terminally in pain.
-worrying about Mom’s heart.
-the sound of a train in the distance (sometimes).
-the fact that I can’t sustain decent handwriting despite the fact that I’m “writing/journaling” again.
-the fact that I’m too hard on myself.
-the fact that I can’t make myself “jump” out of bed in the morning.
-the fact that I feel like I still have to “make myself” in any respect.
-the fact that I’ve used the word “fact” for all the things I [hate] that frustrate me me, as if  they cannot be changed.
-the fact that I didn’t do that in my “like” list.
-the FACT that I remain too hard on myself, this self I feel I have to make.

"Sometimes we reveal ourselves when we are least like ourselves."
Anaïs Nin (Henry and June: From "A Journal of Love"--The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin (1931-1932))


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The New Normal, Built on the Middle-Mix ...

Screech, crack, crunch, creeeeeeeeeeeeeak!  I’ve reopened my blog, and in doing so I’m sharing a post from another blog I frequent … The Splintered Mind by Eric Schwitzgebel.

Schwitzgebel’s is an excellent write for today, a day when so many of us are “remembering not to forget.” 

Today, is just one instance in which we are “remembering not to forget” as a country, as individuals, and also newcomers to the “remembering not to forget.” 

Due to the incredible amount of written commentary on September 11th, verbal, visual and audio content that is replayed over the years, redone, regrouped, etc., even those not alive on that day feel its constant life’s breath saying, “remember not to forget.”

I love the concept of Schwitzgebel’s blog, how the things we choose to remember/the things we might forget (or wish to), on the whole (or as individuals), really lend to the fact that the “forgetfulness is an unwitting confession of our values.” 

In something that I’m working on today, through my ears and out and on to the page, I’m listening to multiple women, who have similar thoughts on this particular matter, this “remembering to forget” stuff.

These women were not talking about September 11th, or any other specific event, for that matter.  They are merely tossing around thoughts, and in their discussions had touched on how life’s events can shape or unshape us, depending on what we remember and what we forget.

I’ve been struggling A LOT today with this “remembering never to forget” stuff and such.  This does include the September 11th anniversary, but also the 18-month anniversary of my brother’s suicide. 

It has me thinking … okay, not thinking … it has me FEELING, too, along the same lines of Schwitzgebel’s blog today.  The work that is filtering in my ears and out to the page all afternoon has my mind (okay, MY HEART!!!) thumping in multiple directions.

There were the three voices in my ear, Schwitzgebel’s blog, and then my own thoughts and feelings.  I've been WORKING VERY HARD, to make sense of all of these things, on this day of all days.

THAT’S A LOT OF VOICES, I know … but shared voices, become one voice, if you let them in.  Opening that door, (see the creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaking above) helps one to get out of their “circle thinking.” 

It’s like being in a traffic roundabout, circling, hurting, feeling, thinking, trying to make sense and you are just too afraid, finally, to make that break from the circle; you don’t quite understand, or it’s your first time experiencing a “roundabout,” and you’re kind of freaked that you’re going to get an accident if you’re not careful.

However, if you let the “shared voices in,” it doesn’t stop hurting (or whatever otherwise feeling/s you are having), but it does become more manageable. 

It’s as if the shared voices are saying, about the circle thinking, and in a “roundabout” driver’s-education-coaching-kind of manner, “Yield to the left and KEEP GOING …” wherein you will find yourself, not stuck in that circle, but spitting out onto the freeway … the free way, a bit less circle-jerk’d, I have to say.

The world, and your heart of hearts, will reopen.

We have to continue to believe, of ourselves (and of the whole) that we/us, in totality, are not the things that “happened to us.” 

There’s this middle-mix, and it is hard to find, but there’s this middle ground, arising from this middle-mix, that gradually turns into cement, a new avenue to explore, a way off the roundabout.

Here, the scars are still there, no denying that, but they’re ready now for new growth to take place.  It’s where places like “The New Normal” crop up, these giant subdivided housing tracts where people heal, live, prosper …

You become less your “own worst day,” or the “worst day ever for the world,” and more concerned about taking care of the “self” and the “whole” that are left behind. 

You keep moving forward, or up.  Or, if called for, you dig down deep, a new basement with waterproof walls.  You attach a sunroom to the side of the house and a outdoor porch, beyond that.  You might get your freak right back on and build a treehouse in the year ... whatever it is that you "need," you have to rebuild!!!
This is where resilience becomes a factor, that ability to bounce back (like a Bumble), remembering to never forget, but also remembering never to forget to move forward … [hard, the fuck as it is some days …]
"It is perfectly true, as philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived forwards."
Søren Kierkegaard

... In addition, I have to say, I can’t BELIEVE I creaked, cracked, CREEEEEEEEEEEEEAKED/reopened my blog with a heart-felt post, but one that also contained the terminology “circle jerk’d.”

What things may come, from this … not gonna shut the door, gonna find out ...



Wednesday, April 4, 2012

vinegar and brown paper

… my brother came to me in a dream early yesterday morning, so to speak, and without speaking.

i arrived into the dream in a panic, racing into his bedroom in the last house we ever all lived in as a family, before he (the oldest) turned 18 and moved away.

on his bed, i picked up a leather-bound book/binder, which was also wrapped in brown paper, and had a long wire coming out of it.

the strange package in my hand, i ran from the room, crying out, “i found it, i found it! i found the bomb,” but as i ran from the room, and out of the house, a barn exploded in the distance, a giant fireball threatened the surroundings.

it was too late.

i woke with a lurch. it hurt to breathe.

the leather-bound book i had found, in my dream, wrapped in brown paper, on the bed in my brother’s old bedroom, the book was mine.

it was/is this leather-bound binder organizer thing that i had purchased in the 90s, something i used to carry back and forth to work.

it held calendar pages and phone numbers, baby-sitting schedules, addresses, bits of paper, business cards and snags of thought, tiny keepsakes, a bookmark and photos.

in the family, we called it “the black book,” and it was known for its “power” at saving the world, well practically—but for many an emergency, or need for a number or … the answer or the number or a card stating same, could always be found in that book.

i don’t carry it around much any longer. the more and more i’ve worked at home, it has remained on my desk, or under my desk or under a pile of papers. every now and then i pull it out and update addresses or phone numbers, shove in more cards and bits of info that might be needed in “some emergency.”

and early yesterday morning, in my dream, that book, “the black book,” appeared to be the next bomb to go off, but i was going to stop it!

when i grabbed that crazy brown paper-wrapped binder off my brother’s bed, in his room of our yesteryears, i had the power to affect change. i could right and rewrite the world as we know it!

but it didn’t work.

it was just a black book, with a wire coming out of it, wrapped in vinegar and brown paper.

whatever bomb i thought it contained, that could go off at any minute, didn’t matter because a bigger explosion had already occurred.

it was too late; it is too late.

i get that, but i’m taken aback at how flamba-flabbergasted my guts become when i learn it all over again, on a Wednesday bright-sunshine of a morning, over a year later.

i get that he’s gone and there are no real answers… won’t ever be, but a girl can dream.

art print: jack & jill by maria kirk

Each way to suicide is its own: intensely private, unknowable, and terrible. Suicide will have seemed to its perpetrator the last and best of bad possibilities, and any attempt by the living to chart this final terrain of life can be only a sketch, maddeningly incomplete.
— Kay Redfield Jamison (Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide)

... So was vinegar and brown paper really a treatment for head injuries, and would Jack have survived with this remedy?


You may know that part of the famous nursery rhyme of Jack and Jill which goes, mend his head with vinegar and brown paper.

This does indeed refer to the use of vinegar and brown paper for the treatment of wounds, bruises and other injuries. It is a very old remedy which is still used today for swelling and bruising, or headaches.

The brown paper used in 18th and 19th centuries was made of old rope, canvas and other sacking, and could be very coarse, but it was found to be useful when applying a substance to the skin. Cider vinegar, meanwhile, has been used in medicine for hundreds of years.

For bruises, one method was to take six or seven sheets of brown paper and soak them in a saucepan containing vinegar. The vinegar was heated and allowed to simmer making sure the paper did not break up. The paper was then applied in layers over the affected area. Often secured in place with a cloth or rag.

Chambers Encyclopaedia of 1868 recommended that "the heat and pain commonly experienced in sprains are often relieved by the local application of brown paper soaked in diluted vinegar and changed when the feeling of heat returns."

Sometimes it was used for nose bleeds, and a letter to The Cottager's Monthly Visitor (1849) suggested it helped with toothache: "Steep a piece of the coarsest brown paper you can procure in some cold vinegar. Apply it to the face before bed time and tie a handkerchief over the same I have known great benefit to arise from this application."

In Nicholas Nickleby, Dickens has Squeers recovering from heavy bruising which required "Vinegar and brown paper, vinegar and brown paper, from morning to night. I suppose there was a matter of half a ream of brown paper stuck upon me from first to last."

Other substances placed on brown paper included honey for sprains, and tar for pains in the chest.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Everything You Wanted to Know ...

“Are you there, God, it’s me Margaret, and I have CRAMPS! What can be done about this?”

No such thing as time/only change! Again and again this phrase helps to work it all out.

In the 70s, when they separated the girls out for their “meeting” on this particular subject, the girls were given a pamphlet entitled, “Growing Up And Liking It,” as if you had a choice about these things, which you didn’t! Aunt Flo was a freight train screaming around the bend!

I somehow missed the “meeting/presentation,” but just never you mind, I didn’t miss much because I had already found the book, Everything You Wanted to Know about Sex But Were Afraid to Ask on the bookshelf in our living room! I found it long before the school presentation ever came about.

And I wasn’t afraid to ask if I could read it! I just plain didn’t ask if I could read it!

I hid the book behind the book jacket of another book, In This House of Brede, which only now do I see the irony/play on words in that choice! At the time, I was too scared to see anything as I raced up to my room, with everything left yet to know, and the sound of blood rrrush-roaring in my ears!!!!

I read the Everything … book in one sitting, the day into the night I had found it. I was afraid that the “fake book” behind the dust jacket, still on the living room shelf in our “library,” was beating its telltale heart out and getting ready to alert my parents that SOMEBODY FOUND THE SEX BOOK!

Without taking notes, because where would you HIDE THESE NOTES, or in what code would you write them down in, in case your brothers FOUND THE NOTES, I quickly consumed and archived the book’s knowledge into my brain, ran back downstairs, replaced and readjusted the book jackets, and then ran back up the stairs, slammed the door to my room and realized I was full to the top with knowledge, but I was deathly afraid TO ASK ANYONE ABOUT WHAT I HAD JUST READ!!!! [and yes, I DID ALL OF THIS WITHOUT TAKING A BREATH!]

A year or more later, after the “meeting at the school,” which I didn’t go to—and don’t ask me why I didn’t get to go; to this day, my mom said my invitation “must have gotten lost.” Anyhoo, no matter, one fine night I was home alone with her and she “took care of things.”

My brothers were gone!!!!—whisked away by my dad. This was not an uncommon occurrence. It was probably a car show or maybe even Rummage-A-Rama! Though I was included in some of these treks, I wasn’t always included, so my being HOME ALONE WITH MOM AND THE TIME BOMB THAT WAS ABOUT TO BE SET OFF, didn’t trip any wires at first.

I was reading in the living room as was Mom. Maybe I was even reading, finally, and in second order, In This House of Brede, because I do remember that it was one of the books Mom did offer up was a reading level I “could probably handle at my age.” Either way, things were going on swimmingly, fire crackling, books open, absolute quiet.

That is, until I felt warm and chilled at the same time and then realized, “OH, MY GOSH, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO; SHE’S GOING TO HAVE ‘THE TALK’ WITH ME!” Since I had “missed” the presentation at the school, I assumed some day she’d get to it; but I was also “okay” with her NEVER BROACHING ANY OF THESE SUBJECTS WITH ME EVER!

She cleared her throat and began to say, what? I don’t remember. I recall the same rRoaring and rrrrushing noise of the blood rocketing to my head and making my ears DEAF AS A DOORSTOP, as I did when I read the “real deal,” The Everything … deal!

When her lips stopped moving I formed what I thought was a brilliant question, a question that would look like I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT ANYTHING, and I blurted out somewhat sad and disappointedly, about the whole period/bleeding thing, “Uhm, does that mean I can’t go swimming after it happens?”

I tried to make the question sound as if I was so fearful, and SO NAÏVE, that I was sadly disappointed to find out that “becoming a woman” meant NEVER GOING SWIMMING AGAIN!

Mom explained, again in words I scarcely remembered, that it wasn’t that I could NEVER GO SWIMMING, it was more like… but I was so horrified by the fact that WE WERE STILL HAVING THIS CONVERSATION that I finished it off with a quick, “Okay, then,” so we could go back to our reading and living the lie!

Soon after, my dad and brothers arrived home. Did they get the talk too? I’ll never know, and it’s not like I WAS GOING TO ASK, though I did have a book I could recommend to them for filler! I’ll never know. Maybe they were lucky ass shits and had “just been attending a car show” and nothing more! Score on their parts!

I just wanted everything to go back to “normal” so we could all live happily ever after… happily ever after, of course, until ONE OF US STARTED BLEEDING!

The living end, I have to tell you!

Yet, with every end, there is a new beginning, right?

The continuation of this story is that I’ve raised three daughters and have been as Marge Piercy calls it a “kidbinder” (in the latest novel of hers I’m reading, Women on the Edge of Time). “Kidbinders” mother all those kids around them, not just their flesh and blood, and not just female children either. Kidbinding is gender playing fields wide open.

Suffice it to say, many a talk has been had, many a question answered in my life & times as kidbinder. Many further discussions ensued, spin-offs of previous discussions, and some discussions were met with “don’t tell me, don’t tell me, I DON’T WANT TO KNOW…” with hands clasped over the ears until further notice.

It’s a give and take, a careful dance, to be sure. You really don’t want to be stepping on anyone’s “I’m not ready to hear this yet” toes, and you also don’t want to send someone out barefoot in the cold!

My belief system always was that the bulk of all the “growing up and liking it” should not be a surprise that you launch on your child right before the “presentation at school,” the dreaded PRESENTATION AT SCHOOL!

Growing and changing needs to be an ongoing conversation, for both sexes, not something you “launch” and then back out of the room going, “Okay, then… if you have any questions, you know where to find me,” but then you hope they won’t find you, or ask!

This works when discussing issues of death and dying, grief and otherwise WISE subjects, since it’s all linked, the feeling of lost and found, lost and found, found and lost again, found?!?!? It all requires ongoing communication, and sometimes LOUD SCREAMING, SCREEEEEECHING AND OUT LOUD FEAR!

This evening I’ll be attending my 10-year-old first grandborn’s “presentation” on lady issues. I’ll be there with her and my eldest daughter, her mother. Ironically, this is taking place, as I mentioned, at the same elementary school I attended as a mid-elementary school child, and the same place where I somehow “missed” their group discussion/presentation on these matters.

Is my daughter ready for this “coming of age” moment with her daughter? Am I ready for this “coming of age—again” moment with my daughter and my granddaughter? These are moot questions by this point. The important thing is what my grand girl is ready for.

She has approached us both with the usual questions, the most prominent one being, “Tell me again why all the girls have to go to this?” We can’t answer this question, fully, of course because we’re jaded “bleeders” and we’d like to launch into the million ways it’s unfair that any of us go through this, let alone sit through a flowery presentation about it!

However, in order to keep the doors open, for future discussions and questions, my daughter and I have to answer with stuff like, “Don’t worry, all the girls are going. It’s just a way to keep everyone informed and empowered, and on the same page,” even though we know HOW SKEWED THAT PAGE IS GONNA GET IN THE FUTURE!

We go with the adage that a child will ask questions, at their own pace, when they’re ready to hear the real answers. We don’t bombard her with diagrams and overt discussions about what “men and women” really do in the dark, or the consequences of dark times and not so perfect scenarios.


I was given a piece of advice about kids and telling them about the “tough subjects” like death & dying and “growing up and liking it,” wherein you are to remind your SCARED OUT OF YOUR MIND SELF, that your child will only ask for what they are ultimately ready to hear. The important thing is, NEVER OVERLOAD A KID WITH THE DETAILS. Start slow, and engage in a conversation that will continue infinitely. Gradually, they will ask their questions, at their own pace, whew!

Starting slow, engaging in discussion patterns, all along becomes more and more helpful as childhood mature. The questions are a lot easier to handle if there wasn’t a lot of “cabbage patching it up,”when the first questions ever arose, believe me, but you also don’t want to freak a kid on just how complicated life can get, outside the confines of the happy-go-lucky cabbage patch.

There’s this fine line, somewhere, and I think all parents are still trying to find it, cross over it, redefine it, and then run back to the other side of the line and still worry if they’ve “drawn it up right.”

How do you explain to a kid who believed once-upon-a-time in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, that the real reason the Tooth Fairy leaves change is because you’ll need it for the Tampax and condom machines of your future?

Losing Santa, and demystifying the Easter Bunny are one thing, but a handful of loose change, and A LOT OF QUESTIONS ongoing can be pretty scary, no matter the time period we’re living in. No matter that “this is now” discussions are ten times better than the “then” discussions.

Growing up is what it is, and you actually aren’t always going to like it. Therein lies the rub, but being openly educated about it, feeling as if you can even have opinions and deeper questions, that makes it a whole lot easier.

And I promised I wouldn’t bust out laughing or embarrass anyone tonight, which I WOULD NEVER DO THAT! I’m actually looking forward to the “presentation” I missed all those years ago, and attending one in a more open and loving fashion. It will help me to forget the “deer caught in headlights” GUILT I had in my own “knowing all along” before I was supposed to know, right?!

What comes around, goes around and around and around … all of life is a circle!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chamomile is not for sleepy time; it's for the wickedly awake in all of us!

THE JOY OF CHAMOMILE: migraines suck the life out of a person. i'm not allowed to take "ordinary" migraine RXs because, silly me, i had a stroke 10 years ago, so that makes "ordinary" migraine medications, the kind that will zap the headache away/RIGHT AWAY contraindicated for me because, "what the fuck if" they caused another stroke?!?!?!? that wouldn’t be good now would it?

so the alternative is to have one of these buggers, which usually include a neuro pro-drome, which then ramps to the “real ache” from which i CANNOT GET A F’ING BREAK, followed by at least a week post headache, where i feel like i'm missing the digits of my left hand and can't walk talk/walk straight—because, yeah, that’s far less damaging to my BRAIN than a migraine med THAT WOULD STOP THE HEADACHE IN ITS TRACKS!

anyhoo, a year or so ago, my doctor put me on a prophylactic medication, a low-dose blood pressure med (even though i have the most labile blood pressure of all time/even when i'm LOL'ing and pissing myself!) since this is supposed to help stop/reduce migraines.

go figure!

now, i did not go into her office SCREAMING THAT IF SHE DIDN’T GIVE ME SOMETHING I WOULD PEEL THE PAINT OF THE WALLS WITH MY TEETH, BECAUSE I COULDN’T HANDLE ONE MORE HEADACHE, but i did stress that they are both emotionally and physically debilitating and that I REALLY COULDN’T TAKE IT ANY LONGER!

i gave this med a try and i've tracked this for over a year. now, every once in a great while, i can go a month without a F’ing MIGRAINE, but the “every once in a while[s]” don’t come around that often. the first time i went 30 days without one, yes, way cool, but once i had another one shortly after the milestone, i tended to forget how cool it was or when it was that i was ever MIGRAINE-FREE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!

some months i’ll have one migraine, but it’s more like two. i typically have a “funny headache” around the hormonal wing-dinging in my ovulation cycle (YES, AT 50! EGGS! so not right!), and then i’ll have the pleasure of a prodrome, a F’ING migraine and the resultant dead head week, with the migraine usually starting right before my –er, uhm, gonna say it on Blogger, right before my F’ING PERIOD! even this is better than the “off the chart and on no particular schedule” migraines i’ve had since pre-teen-hood, but still just because they’re coming “on a schedule” DOESN’T MEAN THEY WERE INVITED!

so yeah, two headaches a month is better than more than two a month or an “anything can happen” headache kind of life, but like a doctor told me once years ago when i told him i once went such-and-such a few weeks without a headache, “Uhm, hello, a person isn’t ‘supposed’ to *really* have headaches, especially migraines, and a person really isn’t supposed to count the number of them as the positive; the positive would be not having a headache at all, Ms. Stoic MigraineSufferer, no WONDER YOU HAVE MIGRAINES! you think one or two is a picnic, but a bunch of them is a mess. the fact is THEY'RE ALL MESSY AND YOU'RE A MESS!"

i was told that when i was about 24, and i remember readjusting the giant stick up my stoic ass and thinking, “uhm, sure, i’m sure a day without a migraine is a day without a migraine, but what kind of a wuss would choose that over … oh, what the hell am i thinking, I HAVE A MIGRAINE…” and then a number of years passed, and i was still having migraines so i kind of told my doctor i was uber-interested in this “semi-charmed kinda life” that this other doctor had told me about long, long ago in a faraway no-headache land!

that’s how i ended up with the blood pressure med, even though i didn’t have high blood pressure, and here i was still on an “okay, so two migraines a month, maybe not a picnic, but certainly not the end of the world,” schedule and not thinking that was too bad, because the Mayans are in charge of the REAL end of the world, right?

and this is also how i have now ended by weaning off the drug/shit that doesn’t work—because, yeah, you have to wean off a high blood pressure med, and not just stop it, even if you DON’T HAVE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE—AND IF THAT WON’T GIVE YOU HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE OR A F’ING CLUSTER HEADACHE (different than a migraine, by the way, so how lucky am i that i don’t have those … there i go again on the sunny side of the f’d up HEADACHE STREET!)

and so enters this month’s “funny headache” mid-month, and so entered premenstrual migraine (just like most usual/on or off this medication i didn’t need that didn’t work). AND, the ditzy prodrome-ish crap started on the eve of my 50th a.k.a. GRAND TIME FOR A F’ING MIGRAINE, can you believe it?!!?!?

however, this time i tried the usual holistical-ish things, and had a strong cup of coffee (for the caffeine and vasodilation), made sure i had taken my one 325 mg (stroke prevention enteric-coated aspirin already that day), and then the rest of the afternoon and evening drank chamomile tea, STEEPED, and lots of it, both cold and warm.

i did not take any additional ibuprofen or Tyleonol, or Excedrin Migraine or aspirin Goodie powders, and I did not drink any GIN straight until i fell on the floor and could just forget the battering ram of a headache. i did not drink more gin after the first “pass-out that wasn’t long enough,” followed by more Tanqueray with Nyquil just to make sure i would pass out again and get past the headache, and also sleep through the night, so i could wake up unrefreshed to continue working on my headache!

i hate taking so much ibuprofen even though it's something else my doctor said "can help" (such as taking it “several days before your cycle” to stave off the migraine), but she also can't give me anything else, so what else is she going to say?!?!!?

i already combat my ridiculously low vitamin D with supplements, make sure i’m getting enough iron for my lily white ghost appearance, drink a billion tons of water, exercise, eat right, take my fish oil (and eat 50 pounds of fish a day, practically), and a number of other things to prevent/stave off the M-beast and keep my head “safe.”

i don’t really eat chocolate (yeah, i know, weird) and i even (and this is hard for me to say) STAY AWAY FROM THE CHEESES MOST NOTABLE FOR CONTRIBUTING, SUPPOSEDLY, TO MIGRAINES—although i think that’s propaganda!

too many aspirin, ibuprofen, etc. bother me in the first place because i don't like "thinning my blood out" any further than necessary because what if this, that or the bloody last migraine makes my head explode?!?!!? yeah, see? you can see the mess i’m explaining and it's bad headache art! what’s to become of Vegetable Matter Me if all that loosened blood flow, thinned and ready to travel, gushs out my ears and nostrils, making my gums bleed and then, well—not so good!

so where is this all going? it leads straight back to the CHAMOMILE tea, Baby! i sucked that shit like it was gin!!! by my 50th birthday morning, my headache was down to a lesser pulsation, and even though i found it difficult to think, and i knew i’d still be Freudian-slipping words for the next several days, my head felt more manageable!

i mean, if a person was going to be force-fed a headache, a migraine EVERY SINGLE MONTH, this one i can “almost” get into, even though of course i wish they’d go away forever! but i won’t look a gift lesser headache in the mouth especially when i'm having so much fun IN SPITE THE F'ER!

also of note, i typically don’t drive or run heavy machinery when my “head is fucked.” with a sludge-filled head, i do dumb-ass things like put a cup of water in the fridge and then wonder why it’s not in the microwave, heated up, when i return from pissing in a closet instead of the bathroom. stuff like that, stuff way crazier than normal crazy!

however, yesterday it was easier to do that, drive and “stuff,” though i was glad it was a fun outing day with my eldest daughter (a chaperone) and eldest grand girl (someone i could entertain with my crazy shit!). it’s still nice to have company on Freudian slip/head f’d days, a. because it’s Freudian slips are better with an audience or someone that can explain things to the cops, and b. it helps me to talk through what i’m doing and where i’m going next when i can’t concentrate. if someone is there going, “i know you meant we were going to the store next and not the shoe,” that’s always super helpful.

i also don’t take on EXTREME WORK or futz with my schedule during this “time of the month,” and make sure to get my sleep, solid as possible, no reading, no movies, no music beforehead, just dead head go to bed. i count to ten over and over to get past the pounding and go to sleep, or a reason facsimile thereof, since the dreams during a migraine are freak-oriffic! (more freak-oriffic than regular freak!)

now, i had read chamomile can be good for headaches, though we all know it’s the tea of choice for a good night’s sleep, and while it can’t KILL A FUCKING MIGRAINE TO DEATH, it can slur-purr one into submission and make it more manageable—and that was WITHOUT EVEN PUTTING GIN OR NYQUIL IN MY MUG!

i’m a total tea fanatic/ADDICT now, anyways, so this was a giant score-score/win-win. Chammy, my nickname for the wondrous tea will become one of my fav/stave off a headache “cocktails” now, where previously in all my tea collection i’ve been ignoring her as the “sleepy time tea.”

most evenings, i’m cavorting with other leaf-age varieties, or sipping ice water (what Granny calls her gin—just kidding!) and don’t need a “sleepy time” tea because i get to the business of “sleepy” all by myself. but Chammy will now be one of my topper teas on a daily basis.

this was just one lesser than evil migraine under my belt, but i’m taking it my tea ball and i’m going to run with it—okay, moderately race walk and try not to fall on my face!

we’ll see what happens next time i feel the rampage starting up. i’ve also rethought and redrawn the garden plot of my dreams for this summer at “the little yellow house” and it’s most probably going to become an expanse of CHAMOMILE!!!!!! –and maybe some weed!—i mean WEEDS, the other wildflower!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"For some migraine sufferers, chamomile tea, has been helpful in relieving certain migraine symptoms. Chamomile has used to help with reducing inflammation, reducing muscle spasms, relieving anxiety, treating stomach cramps, ease skin irritations and serves as a mild sedative to help with problems sleeping. Chamomile is available as a tea, liquid extract, capsules, skin ointment and as dried flower heads." ---from (this does not work, of course if caffeine is a causitive for your migraines as some teas contain caffeine)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

what matters most

... i couldn't beach-comb as planned today, had to stay close to my own yard since i'm still coughing my butt loose--yeah, a person can cough their butt loose, not kidding! but did find this grouping of pictures, a lovely reminder of the summer of '95 when the girls and i made as many healing trips to this same beach area as possible "when mom's work was done" for the day.

’95, was a summer, and ensuing time, where i (and sometimes "we" on the whole) was told (a time or too often) that things looked "too easy" for me, or that i "didn't appear" to be taking things too hard. these guesstimations and critiques burdened my shoulders, stabbed at good portions of my backbone and threatened all i knew to be strong and true in my heart, as far as health and wellness.

a person's truth is their always known, and a person truly always knows how they are feeling, what it’s like on the inside even if there is not blood on their shirt, or a heart left dangling on their sleeve. just because they “clean up well,” doesn’t mean they weren’t nearly shitting themselves moments before over their predicament, or crying their eyes swollen shut the night prior and wiping all that snot on the bedcover! we all question, “what next? now what? well, this certainly didn’t work out quite right, now did it?” no one is perfectly put together, head to toe, not really.

and these times of trouble, hello?!, THAT IS, when “letting a joy keep you” comes into play. no one really wants to see you dying your “little deaths” all day long, living out your bellyache; that’s life, on the inside, pulsing through us, it means we’re still breathing! if the blood and guts were supposed to be on the outside, we wouldn’t have skin, thick as it needs to be most days.

so when things really do get tough, and a person is trying to handle a difficult situation, and is also well aware that they are looked upon by those in their care as someone “in the know,” as someone to trust on how to handle things, well, a level head is needed, with more than a dash of perseverance, the hope for grace and guidance and that person damn well better have a Rubbermaid laundry basket and cooler, packed the night before, “just in case” there’s time to get to the beach!

because life can be a b!—no kidding and sometimes there are those days where you are all, “OMG, my head is going to fly right off its axis,” but a head has a better chance of righting its direction if the body it’s attached to comes home at the end of the day with toe sockets and pockets full of sand, eyes ready for the nod off to sleep and a mind too full of the day’s memories to start the he-said-she-said-you said-they-said-whatever-it-was-that-was-said-was-your-fault-and-you-suck-anyway blame game.

those critics that ride your shoulders, real or imagined, even the ones that have been trying to bring you down since childhood, they get tired! they don’t wear sunscreen, they can’t swim; they shrivel up and blow away, take on water, choke and die! they can’t compete with the sound of the laughter and love you are trying to keep solid in your life.

“what matters most is how well you walk through the fire” ― Charles Bukowski

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The State of Nutmeg

“It's on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly.” – Claude Monet

Ten days ago I drove away from my “little yellow house,” within walking distance of the shoreline of Lake Michigan, in the midst of the last snowstorm of the season. I drove back through time and to a place of remembrance since we were all hitting the one year mark since my brother’s suicide. In that way, I found the last snowstorm to be a real comfort, added warmth and cushion between that date and me (us all).

This year too, the date fell on a Sunday, Leap Year having been involved in this turn of affairs, and so we were going to be forced to leap ahead an hour to greet that moment of loss to save some daylight time.


Everyone knows that when someone dies, those left behind “live for” and live on, feed off of, and could not survive without those, “This time last year…” start offs. You have 365 possible days of thought or happenstance where that person is still alive. You have 365, “This time last years…” where that person isn’t dead, hours and hours and hours and hours of them. Being asked to jump ahead, even one minute to that one-year anniversary where you won’t have these goodie bits left is painful. You’d like that one hour back, you’d love it if …

So, yeah, I was pretty wrapped up in my snow security blanket while it lasted, this year especially, this heavy grieving year, since my brother was not my only loss.

I also did not fail to miss the beauty and/or the irony of how for Snow’s last stand, it clung icily to each branch and bud, and then melted like tears throughout the day melting well before Sunday the 11th, and the anniversary of my brother’s death.

As the trees shook loose their lacy shawls, and every last tear fell to the ground, they stood tall. It was all about the business of reaching towards the sky for ultimate bud-hood and blossom-ness. Healing, as it were, that’s what we were supposed to be doing too. We were to resume a level of composure, straighten up and not die trying, feed our souls and pump up our slouchy and broken hearts, stop holding our breath, breathe in his stead.

I don’t have it all figured out yet, this last visit “back towards home” and away from “my little yellow house,” not yet anyway. -And not all of my visit home was related to the memorial brunch we had in honor of my brother. There was much else going on, as well, which is what makes it hard to get it all into words instead of a smear of emotions, complicated by the fact that I also caught a virus and was ill during that time. So I’m deciphering the pieces and parts of it all, how much of it was real, how much of it was surreal and how much of it was just the cough syrup.

Driving back home today, however, the meandering back road route that I prefer, it was obvious that the world around me had changed a great deal in just ten short days. Things had gone from sheer white, floor to ceiling, to what can only be described as the State of Nutmeg.

And no, I didn’t drink an entire bottle of cough syrup prior to the drive, out of a little cup that said “drink me,” and then drive the truck down a little rabbit hole. Things were really the color of nutmeg. Nutmeg in surround sound.

And no I wasn’t smoking weed either!

We’ve had a series of warm days since the weekend, with a wee bit of moisture yesterday, and today lots and lots of sun again. Soon, the grasslands and tree lines are going to give notice of this, but right now, it’s all nutmeg!

More warm temps and sun are expected the rest of this week, so I suspect a number of other spicy colors will pop from the green category, splashes of yellow, little bits of purple along the edges.

As I approached my own front yard, after the hour-long drive, it too was decidedly in the nutmeg state. The yard was littered with dry honey locust leaves, but on closer inspection, tulips were two inches through the earth on this side to say, “Hello, look where we are now, compared to then,” as well as the Tiger Lilies, and a few other bits of green peeking out to say hello, names withheld at the moment. (Hope to see more of them tomorrow, so I can give them proper introduction.)

All of this gave me great pause, and if that’s the one thing I’ve learned how to do this year, while not only getting a million things done, I've also learned the art of great pause.

This afternoon, I sat outside for a considerable amount of time, going through ten days' worth of mail, listening to the neighborhood sounds, drinking my tea. The dogs sniffed the entire yard and then re-sniffed and potty’d around the trees a few times before relaxing at my feet. I let the mail drop and glanced about the yard imagining what other surprises were to come, as well as what I’d put my mind and heart to in the coming weeks.

There is no such thing as time, only change. I can’t quite tell what’s healed as of yet, or if what’s healed is healed in any kind of “for sure” way, but I can see where the new growth is, and that’s a start. I can dig deeper without hurting myself …

Saturday, February 25, 2012

vertical gardening

i’m no photographer, and i wouldn’t even try to play one on TV, because if i did i’d likely trip and fall and pull down the umbrella we were using to block the natural (too bright) light and shadow, to get things “just right.” and then, when i ran from the setup shot, in SHAME, i’d probably trip over the 100-billion watt lamps we had set up to mimic “natural light” and burn the whole sha-bang down… only.just.sayin’.

and just goes to show… i’m constantly learning in this life, that there are no “just rights.” i’ve also been playing around a lot with Jung and shadows, my own and those that fall on me in the bright sunshine, JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I HAD IT ALL FIGURED OUT, and worse yet, the shadows that fall on me in the dark, making things darker, JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I HAD IT ALL FIGURED OUT!

i’ve cried a lot this week, even though in re-opening the door to my blog the other wee-hour'd morning, and writing the first entry, i was so held upside, by my own personal guns, that i wouldn’t allow myself to shed one tear. there are still no words (might make some up though!!!) for the sounds i was making those wee hours. it was a learned moment for me on JUST HOW HARD I CAN BE ON MYSELF AT VERY TELLING MOMENTS.

sheesh! it's okay to tell... and it's okay to FEEL in the telling; it's okay to verbalize an emotion instead of just telling a story. there's a difference between what you think, and what you REFUSE TO SAY YOU FEEL.

there's a difference between what you think & what YOU REFUSE TO SAY YOU FEEL.
there's a difference between what you think & what YOU REFUSE TO SAY YOU FEEL.
there's a difference between what you think & what YOU REFUSE TO SAY YOU FEEL...

(yeah, so "thousand times on a blackboard" work for later)

i’ve also LAUGHED A LOT THIS WEEK, to myself, with others, over the phone too (so hard sometimes there was only wheezing on both ends, which would sometimes would break the cell connection or make the two of us talking both go "are you still there?!?!?" knowing we both were/that strongly connected), out loud, in public, in texts, using emoticons, etc. … and at myself!!!! (important NOTE TO SELF: laughing at SELF is way better than SHAME/BLAME/GUILT or any of those other post-traumatical f’d up feelings that make the laughter harder to come by when forced to look at SELF and still seeing the PTSD/SHAME/BLAME/GUILT crap!)

(more "thousand times on the blackboard, OLD LADY, let's get this right!!!! kinda stuff!)

i have felt renewed and incredible LOSS this week. and even though i own this really great book by Judith Viorst called Necessary Losses and even though i’ve read it/lived it/loved it/her writing since i was a child because she is so spot-on, and own her other book as well, Imperfect Control—AND, even though i have since replaced my worn paperback copies with HUGE Amazon re-order hard-cover versions, which i balance precariously from high places so that they can smash down on my head whenever i need her healthy reminders, i’m suddenly and continually lost and (REALLY, REALLY HARD ON MYSELF ABOUT IT) for not being able to control my grief (losses) right now.

there are many times, where i’m caught up in asking myself, “where the FUCK is that little girl who used to lie (HIDE) in the grass, with the Redbook magazines (where i first discovered Viorst), and whatever other healing WORDS she could steal from the house, off the bookshelves … where is that little girl?!?!?!?! the one that knew, if you just made it through, you… you what?!?!?!?!

that little girl used to be soooooooooooo fucking empowered by loss (or was she just fucked up?!??!?). she ate losing and imperfect control for breakfast, and sometimes had trouble slamming the thickness of it down, past the lump that was already in her dry throat. to her, it was all "winner, winner, chicken dinner," even if she was sent away from the table, because alone in her room there were fairy tale books about other chicken dinners, or she could tell herself a story about a better chicken dinner, or cut pictures from the Sears catalog and build a room with an EVEN BETTER, MORE WINNING FAMILY CHICKEN DINNER WHERE SHE WAS SO PERFECTLY STILL, AND STILL AT THE TABLE!!!!!

for that little girl, life went on, because the alternative was … ?!?!?! and the idea of “whining about it,” uhm, yeah, not such a good idea.

until now, until this particular mean season, things were going along pretty good, with and without good reasons, but suddenly (or not so suddenly since we all know that river D-E-N-I-A-L) that little girl still, who thinks she has to be perfect, and get it figured out, now she thinks she has to do it all by her 50th birthday (which by the way—she’s looking forward to this monumental event in her life, but maybe trying to move forward too fast?!?!) --and of course she has all kinds of other mini-deadlines prior to this like finish this first, and be sure you heal this over to and get started on that, and ... (yeah so--make sure you pull the giant stick out of your rumpus too, why don't you??!?!?!? in fact, how did they manage no miss that stick on your colonoscopy?!?!!?!?)

i love milestones, and until this year, i used to understand the beauty and the history and ongoing nature of a headstone … and therein lies my personal rub in so many wrong directions right now [therapist type jumps in and asks, “anne, why did you call your “personal rub” a “wrong direction.” why do you still perceive anything about you as “wrong?” … but therapists aren’t ALLOWED IN MY BLOG RIGHT NOW… scurry off, you!]

[therapist exits stage left/anne goes to front door and finds package]

[hey wait! i thought there were no therapists in this blog?]

[who is writing inside these brackets, anyway?!?!?!?!]

okay… since the freak inside the brackets mentioned, and since this blog needs to end soon because i have some “real work” to do today, yes, there was this fantastic, itty-bitty package sitting outside the front door of my little cottage this morning.

it was something i ordered a few weeks back, so it’s not like it was a “total surprise,” but one musn’t look a untotal gifted surprise of any kind in the face right now, especially during a time when bracketed conversations show up in their blog (seemingly from nowhere), you know?!?!?!? tall horse-y girls with clutzy emotions have to be careful about these things!

when i saw the return label on the box, that was less than a foot sqaured, i giggled, OUT LOUD, for about the i’ve-lost-track-how-many-times this week/compared to the times I’ve also cried. –and the sun and snow-light was bright, i could have cried!!!!

so yeah, life, every morning, it's a SURPRISE i don’t get pulled out the door by the dogs and bust my ass and trip over a package, but this morning EXTRA.SPECIAL!

it was my Thumbelina-sized gardening tote/tools, for my plans for “re-growth” this spring and summer. yes, me Ms. Winter, i’m all about the regrowth, always have been, which is why I LOVE WINTER, it’s the necessary season beforehand.

prior to bed last night, i had shoved work, writing, therapy workbook and much other aside and instead was reading about a “vertical gardening project” i want to attempt this spring/summer, since my property is small/there’s only going up—so the timing and arrival of the tools i will need versus the bigger tools i already own at my supposed “other house,” did i say timely??!?!?

did i say timely, even though i’m the one who believes there is no such thing as that silly thing, time—only change.

and did i say timely, during a change-ling period when i have LOST A VERY LOT, and i have learning again we have control over nothing, and oh, what a beautiful thing that can be,

and just BE.

“Plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom.”
― Ken Kesey

--and if i'm wrong about ALL OF THIS, most of these garden tools could also be used for eating things like ice-cream or clipping/hacking off giant hunks of cheese from a block, or pawing at salads & salmon but there isn't a single tool in this kit bag that could be used for self-mutilation, NOT EVEN BY A TALL CLUTZY GAL with her contacts in the wrong eyes!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Walking [Nightmare] Tall, Wearing Purple

"You might try then, as I did, to find a sky so full of stars it will blind you again. Only no sky can blind you now. Even with all that iridescent magic up there, your eye will no longer linger on the light, it will no longer trace constellations. You'll care only about the darkness and you'll watch it for hours, for days, maybe even for years, trying in vain to believe you're some kind of indispensable, universe-appointed sentinel, as if just by looking you could actually keep it all at bay. It will get so bad you'll be afraid to look away, you'll be afraid to sleep.

Then no matter where you are, in a crowded restaurant or on some desolate street or even in the comforts of your own home, you'll watch yourself dismantle every assurance you ever lived by. You'll stand aside as a great complexity intrudes, tearing apart, piece by piece, all of your carefully conceived denials, whether deliberate or unconscious. And then for better or worse you'll turn, unable to resist, though try to resist you still will, fighting with everything you've got not to face the thing you most dread, what is now, what will be, what has always come before, the creature you truly are, the creature we all are, buried in the nameless black of a name.

And then the nightmares will begin.”
Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves

...when i opened the [Pan]door[a's box] to come back here to check on my blog and "to try to remember the kind of September when life was slow and oh, so mellow," well ... err, uhm, i realized it had been a helluva lot longer than September since i'd been here.

reading back through the last six or seven of my entries was, in a word D-I-F-F-I-C-U-L-T! i was surprised by the intense emotional and physical reactions i had reading my own words (the bitter ironies), and a few of the noises i made trying to keep the tears back, were in a word … well, actually i can’t find words for the noises right now, so i’m stumped on that one, just like i’m stumped lately as to why I feel this intense need to FIGHT SO HARD to keep tears at bay, because in doing so tonight, yeah, pretty sure i broke my clavicle, fractured my liver, and it's no living wonder why i can’t breathe half the time because i actually don’t breathe half the time when i make these noises i can’t find words for!!! on top of this mess, i double crossed my legs and that was 3-1/2 hours ago (still not sure how uncrossing them is going to go), and yeah chewed threw my lower lip.

but i digress…

as i said, i reopened the door, and while there was some freak-ass creaking, and my heart did some shredding and shrieking, i’m actually excited to play this role on TV again--the one where i have a blog, but in real life i’m a walking f'd up nightmare.

i have an art/fart/etsy blog as well where once upon a wrinkle in my old time's sake, i had intended to move my artwork and focus more on my etsy shop, so i’ll be building a door or window to that blog soonly. this will include a large (altered/collage/mixed media) project featuring, Ms. Ladykins below, ongoing, and then updates on additions to my etsy shop as well as whatever other arty fart bombs i drop.

Maybe the only thing each of us can see is our own shadow.

Carl Jung called this his shadow work. He said we never see others. Instead we see only aspects of ourselves that fall over them. Shadows. Projections. Our associations.

The same way old painters would sit in a tiny dark room and trace the image of what stood outside a tiny window, in the bright sunlight.

The camera obscura.

Not the same image, but everything reversed or upside down. -
Chuck Palahniuk

There now, that wasn't so hard now, was it?!?!?! --this restarting, jump-starting, let's get this blog shock therapy party and my heart started!

"I give you this to take with you: Nothing remains as it was. If you know this, you can begin again, with pure joy in the uprooting.” ―Judith Minty, Letters to My Daughters