Saturday, May 29, 2021

In-laws and outlaws

Tuesday of last week, marked two weeks since my second vaccine dose and meant I was fully vaccinated.

Over a month ago, I made an appointment for my first haircut since August 2019...I am not normally a hair person, but my hair was making me feel older and it was chaotic, something I normally embrace, but a haircut made me feel a little pretty and I was ready to honor that need. I tipped my hairstylist 100% because he is awesome and I wanted to celebrate him and his new downsized business. I have gotten my hair cut by him for 20+ years!

I then went to the dentist, and it ended up being far less stressful than I thought it was going to be...apparently all dentists are booked solid, so I was glad I made that appointment too.

And because I was now fully covered, we made a spur of the moment choice and visited The Barren's father, as he is immune compromised we both needed to be covered. This meant a road-trip and a day long drive. It was great to see him and hug him and spend even a little bit of time with him.

He is married to a woman who has very very high levels of need. She controls most situations by delays, she has a hard time transitioning from one task to another and is chronically late. Now my father in law is all engulfed by it as well and so they get lost from time lines for weeks. The Barren texted his father asking if they would be home this past weekend and he said yes, and then we booked a hotel and told him we were coming to visit, after hearing it, FIL changed days that he would be available (they are getting their floors done) and we added another day to the hotel and said great see you then. The Barren told his father he wanted to visit a music shop with him and that they would only be open a few hours after we arrived so we would pick him up to make the timeline...When we arrived it was a fairly swift transition, as his wife was staying behind to walk the dog.

We ordered food before returning home with pizza for us four and on arriving, his wife spent another hour+ doing who knows what and delaying dinner (she did put the pizza into the oven while she did something else while we all waited) the oven turned our pizzas into crackers. DH and I sat waiting at folding tray tables waiting for her to begin dinner....

The following day we went over after breakfast so The Barren and his father could play music for a bit which is all The Barren wanted to do to connect with his father. 💓(his dad doesn't call often and is even harder to get a call back from these days) While the guys played music I sat listening to his wife talk about things, and try to not take any bait:

What do you think about what is happening in Israel? What about this other political situation, I mean how can they eat cows...why would you not want to get the vaccine, I don't think your reactions were what you think, I hear people are waiting longer to have kids...

At that the Barren chimed in and said, "yeah we are still waiting"

Then she suggested we go to a music festival at a local winery, we jumped at the opportunity to go and we all gathered our things to go, then we waited...she took another hour to get ready to head out the door. I had squirreled some snacks in our car, thankfully. They get so wrapped up in tasks she doesn't really eat regularly and I am a woman who likes to snack all day long! So I was hungry...they brought their dog too, who is a rescue that has serious anxiety issues and can not be left alone. So she was panic panting the whole time and it was really hard to witness, I also was having a hard time being around sooooooooo many people kind of wearing masks. 

This is when I began to get " sparkles" my optical migraine trigger and whispered to The Barren about it, but my MIL heard and stopped taking photos of children dancing to ask if I wanted an aspirin (which was nice) I tried really hard to down play it, but it was the perfect out of a stressful, situation and so we scapegoated me and left early. As we said goodbye to my FIL,I got a photo of DH and FIL and it was lovely and bittersweet. 

The Barren drove us into town while I fought a freight train of a migraine and a panic attack. We got dinner, as we were famished and I did some conscience breathing exercises while I waited for the migraine drugs to kick in. MIL texted and we pretended that we were already back at the hotel and I was sleeping, when were were actually secretly eating and then going to the hotel to sleep. MIL offered to bring us leftover cracker pizza and we thanked her for the beautiful gesture but we were fine.

The next morning we left for another full day of driving back homeward.

Sigh

On the way home we made an effort to stop and see things we never had, after all, this was the closest to a vaca we'd taken in multiple years! It was another exhausting day and when we rolled into a town only a couple hours from home, we booked a pricey room at the hotel my art is in...TOTAL splurge!


It was super cool to see it in person after all this time.

The hotel was delayed in opening, and when it had a soft opening in Dec 2019 I wasn't able to make it, then 2020 closed the hotel and then opened it and then closed it and now it is open again. So we went to see the work finally installed.

When we checked in, I gleefully told the reception person that I was the artist that made the lobby's artwork...they looked up and said "oh" and then looked back at the computer.

Trying to not let them dull my sparkle, I asked if people ask about the art on the walls, the reception person said " not really" their apathy was enough and I walked back over to the art and quietly had my own party in my head.

We drove home the next morning, after I had taken as many photos as I could think of taking.

It was a 2021 kind of vaca-we walked into our door, dropped our dirty laundry into the basket, I walked into the kitchen and began making dinner. It was gone...all of it was done and we were back to Homeostasis.

Since returning, I have gone to see our "girl" and her babies, attended my online art lecture and today after consulting a physician friend, I went to the final class of a favorite teacher, and returned to my first in studio hot yoga class since March 2020. (strangely emotional)

I wore my mask the whole time, the only one doing that. I got a spot closest to the door, right next to one of the three air scrubbers that run during the class and got a sweat on and left afterwards. Passing a studio full of unmasked people. Vaccination proof is honor system, so I took extra actions.

Things are trying to get back to what they were, but it will never be the same again. And it seems that as hard as people try, it seems more and more offset.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Hot Flash or Fever

I turned 51 on the 25th. I had another Covid birthday...it was quiet and I was glad my parents were healthy and fully vaccinated. I got my first hug from my parents in over a year...it was emotional, I got a drawing from my youngest niece. It is a drawing of me and The Barren looking at each other and when you place the two drawings side by side (like a friendship necklace) it forms one heart. 
I framed it when I got home. I have made my birthday cakes since going vegan because (I am protecting people) I didn't want to impose on others to make a special ingredient cake for me. 
The gathering was outside in the backyard and my mother made me a 14pound "cake" made out of watermelon and other fruit because she wanted me to be able to eat the whole thing. 
It made my heart explode...
And try as I might, I couldn't eat all the watermelon in time and ended up juicing it.

I dressed for the day again...blue polka dot peter pan collared dress
White basketball shoes and hairy legs. 

Last Tuesday, I got my second Dolly dose and waited until getting home to cry. I was overwhelmed, I was emotional, I was so thankful. I had seen a photograph earlier that week of a woman in India, visibly scared with an oxygen mask on her face while other women surrounded her and gazed at that mask. 
I looked at that image for a long long time. I felt their fear and their exhaustion...
I was lucky enough to get the vaccine, I was healthy...I was not going to die from this disease.
There are still STUPID people berating others for believing science, and their vaccine dose waits...
meanwhile others die from never having the opportunity.

It is a lot to digest...

Later that night, I started to play: " hot flash or fever"

My 30+hour fever started the night of the injection and by the morning, I felt every side effect from the paperwork list. Plus I got a "covid arm" from the vaccine. 

I thought everyone got a red swollen bump from shots...apparently not
I am at day 7 now, and it is almost not visible.
***

Then we roll into Mothers Day here in the US.
We have been on a waitlist with the recue group we adopted our cats from since November 2020
(right after we said goodbye to Xander)
After my second dose, we were invited to see 50 available kittens!
We went and spent 3hours meeting all of them... and hearing stories of how each of the in house mama cats had given birth there and the complications that some had encountered.
The kittens were all perfect and beautiful, the mama cats were enchanting and sweet and social.
The Barren kept going back to one enclosure and sitting with a teenage kitty.
I was sitting in the enclosure next to him and witnessed him falling in love.
The kitty walked into his lap, and fell asleep.
She looked at him the way our Theo used to look at him, 
it was so beautiful to see love transcend time and galaxies...it was his cat!!
I began to weep...it was such a powerful thing to witness!
When I entered the enclosure, I sat and she watched me. I leaned forward and asked her if she wanted to live with us....she walked over to me and got into my lap. 
She had selected her people.

We were offered the opportunity to foster her and have her give birth in our home!
We both went pale and said we were not emotionally stable enough if something was to happen.
After all she had just told us stories about the complications some of the mama cats had.
Our girl is YOUNG and SMALL and that scares us.
But of course, my IF talk came back into play and I began second guessing our choices...
Should we have her here now
Should be just "buckle up and grow some nerves"
should we...
what if we...

So for the record...
****
We didn't find a kitten, or even two...
we are adopting a pregnant teenage cat,
and when she gives birth, we will adopt one or more of her babies too...
The irony of the situation was not lost on me.

We left after telling the Rescue leader and I have signed up for volunteer hours 
(so I can visit her as she progresses to birth)

We are in our early 50's, 
we are adopting a teenager who is pregnant 
and will raise one or more of her babies too.
We are about three months away from having a kitty in our home again.
I am anxiously trying to get everything ready for them
Nesting?!
SERIOUSLY!!

When we got home Saturday night, I felt numb.
I half filled a tub and sat in it and began to wail...
Deep heaving crying...missing my kitty cats...wanting a connection like The Barren had gotten.
Fearful that it was all falling away from me.
I was like a woman possessed, I was wailing and talking to myself in whispers.
The Barren came in to find my in quite a bathtubbed state.
Crying, wailing, laughing whispering...like two people were having active conversations in my tub...
I sipped some water and The Barren sat to soothe me back into one mindbody.
I think that was all leftover from my sorrow...
I was so thankful that The Barren knew how to let it happen, and gave me space and no judgement.
I was mourning, and he recognized it.

Even in that moment-it was a reminder that my sorrow is deep, it travels across time, manifests in numbness, smiles and laughter. As I stepped out of the tub, intoxicated from the emotional ride I had just taken...I have learned to respect the space it needs from me, but not let it take over.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

New stress different day


1st shot done!
Yes, I dressed for the event

I have spent the last two and a half weeks helping The Barren with his reaction to the first dose of the vaccine. The Barren gets an asthma response when he gets a chest cold, which is why we locked down so hard and for so long...well The Barren got his fist dose of the vaccine and 36hours later began to wheeze, it has spiraled since and he is currently on an inhaler, allergy medications and antibiotics to fight what is believed to be the beginning of pneumonia. 
(all these things have happened in the past when he has gotten chest colds, too many weekend walk in clinic experiences to count)
Yesterday he was wheezing so badly that we went to a walk in clinic because the wait to see his doctor was two weeks... he had to be seen in an outside room because it all looks like Covid-19 and we don't need to freak people out.
We live in a funky part of town, so while waiting in our outside room, we got to witness a near beatdown between two guys who had "looked at each other too long" and wanted to knock/knife the daylights out of each other. thankfully that didn't manifest.

The doctor yesterday explained that an anaphylaxis response is not uncommon for people with asthma and that his body probably reacted big to the first round and sent it all spinning.
Steroids were added to the menu of pills and the hope is that he will get breathing better in time for the second dose...which has been booked at a four week mark instead of the 3week mark.
The Barren is breathing better so far, thank goodness.
As you can imagine, the upcoming shot has us both on edge and wanting to be battle ready!

This morning I got my first dose of the vaccine, I got the Dolly Parton one.
Now all her songs are stuck in my head.
I dressed up for the shot, wearing a dress I wore the last time we went out in 2020. I also firmly believe that nothing can go wrong if you are wearing a purple piece of clothing. I use to have a pair of grape purple pants, I wore when I wanted to feel assured and strong. So I wore a grape purple dress and bright green sweater this morning...I felt present and brave.
The vaccine site looked like a set from M*A*S*H as it was an office building under renovations, so it was covered in plastic sheeting, bare cement floors and drywall partitions with folding chairs.


It was surreal to say the least.
Got my shot and appointment for the second dose.
I took my photo and then tried to not cry.
I have already taken a nap and I am famished.

I should be fully covered by my fathers birthday and I can finally hug them!!
Something I think is pretty emotional.

Parents are currently fully vaccinated and that has me breathing easier for them and realizing that my relationship has shifted once again.
I had gotten a call last week that my mother went to the clinic because her eye was BLEEDING! and she only went because my brother said it would be a good idea.
She hesitated and when my father sent a photo of her eye I nearly collapsed. I told my mother that she could loose vision and that she should really get an opinion other than her own...she blew me off and at that moment I pondered:
Were my parents always so defiant?
Was it time to step in or was it really time to step back?

I chose to step back.
My mother went to see an eye doctor the following day and they confirmed that nothing was damaged or injured (thank goddess) and that was that.
I waited for them to call me
my step back meant I was not going to call them anymore (at least I was going to try) 
and when they wanted to talk to me I would answer that call and do my best to not stir the pot.
It took three days for them to call me.
(Prior to the virus I spoke to my parents at least twice a day, now it is once every few days.)
This is a BIG adjustment for me; as I see them wanting to chat as acceptance and love. So when it is sluggish it means they are not thinking of me or love me.
It is sick, and insecurity is running the show but, a reality I am working with.

The reality of not being quarantined is a scary one, being around more than two people is scary.
The yoga studio sent out a poll asking if a pre-covid level class filled with fully vaccinated people was something of interest....
I made an appointment to get my hair cut after I am fully vaccinated, I have not been able to get it cut since August of 2019.

Then today the State announced that it plans to be fully open by June!
That scares me too...I am scared of people now it seems.
I am scared that life will mow this all over and forget about what is possible, 
I am scared that things will slingshot back to business as usual...and forget all that is important.
I am scared more often than I am confident.
I need to work on that too...

but, the idea of a thrift store visit is really exciting too and there are people there?!






 

Monday, March 22, 2021

Overgrown


 I've spent the last couple of weeks in online summits.
Art Summits mostly, ones I would have never been able to travel to pre-pandemic, so these online options allowed me to attend demo after discussion by many different artists and see studios all over the world and watch new processes and then rush, triple masked to the one art supply store 40+miles away and purchase new supplies with my squirreled away funds.
I have always loved school and these online events are perfect for the extreme introvert I have become.
I can sit and watch in silence or type questions from behind my on screen name or turn on my mic and ask questions. One of the best parts is that we are a whole community of introverts and socially awkward people all wanting to be together unseen and unbothered.
my people

I also popped into the Chasing Creation's Childless Collective Summit this week.
This was a summit over four days that was crazy organized, beautifully put together and filled with resources for the childless.
It was something I had wished for when I was at the start of my journey into finding who I am now.
I watched some of the recorded presentations and could not help but feel like, well it felt like I felt when I finally read Catcher in the Rye when I was 29...
I am too old of this...I have outgrown this part of me.
I was listening to lectures on navigating pain, 
dealing with conflict
making decisions about ending fertility treatments
Discovering who you are
finding ways to heal
finding a new path.
ALL FANTASTIC and interesting and I encourage you to check it out too...
but I kept saying to The Barren
" I feel like I am past all this now. I am entering menopause, I had to close that door years ago.
I guess I figured out this stuff on my own....I had to"

Time marches on regardless...we all gotta figure out if we want to keep walking or stand still.

In other "Deal with this news..."
Another couple quarantine babies are cooking in two yoga instructors. One appeared while I was in my weekly park yoga class, and seeing her so full with baby; made me want to pack up my mat and run/leave. I guess that part of me will never change. 
I feel like, I have walked into the wrong room and saw something that was forbidden...
It is a visceral reaction, and although I don't even know her, if I could hiss like a character from a bad vampire movie I would, 
before trotting off mumbling under my breath about how she was luminous and so lucky.


The Barren has gotten his first vaccine shot, as he qualifies under "underlying health conditions", I am still waiting my turn, and quite frankly...I am ok doing that. There are a lot of people who should get the shot before me and I recognize that. I also know people who have jumped the line and gotten one ahead of others. 
My parents get their second shot this Thursday and I am happy for them to get it and maybe resume a small social circle of chatting at farmers market with friends, or seeing movies in the theatre again.
My brother has so far decided to not get it, and that makes no sense to me, but I know a lot of people feel this way...so it really comes as no surprise.

2021 has been more like a 2020 version 2.0 for me, nothing surprises me anymore.
I seem to feel like noting can stick to me right now, 
stress washes over me way too easily and I spend evenings sleepless
I awake with panic attacks
I just deal with them...what else is there to do?
I am making things, eating greens, drinking water, meditating, bathing myself....
I am in a holding pattern for sure.
But somewhere, someplace inside, I feel like I'll be able to flee 
run away, and find new things to look at...


Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Another year-less hair

 


This was that moment when things got …

weird, and downright surreal.

******

We went to The Barren's moms place for a meal for his birthday. We brought lunch and we sat in the backyard, at a table, 6ish feet from each other with our double masks on. 

His mom and her longtime partner have both gotten the first dose of the vaccine, and were a bit more caviler about keeping their masks on the whole time...but thankfully, I am TOTALLY OCD about it and kept mine on which rubbed off on The Barren too and we were safer that way.

I have been giving a gift to his mom for decades on his birthday, a thank you for making the man I love. I call it her birthing day gift. It is usually something small, a token trinket. Mostly just acknowledging her part in the day. She has grown to love it and expect something. (I am totally fine with that!) There are FAR worse things a MIL can expect from her DIL. 

After the meal these two jars were placed on the table, and The Barren was told to pick which ever one he wanted...it was part of his bday gift. My MIL and FIL have begun to grow their own. They were crazy conservative about drugs in the past and this overt, boldness takes a moment or two to adjust to.

They are both engineers by trade and so they are trying to crack the code of dosing edibles and those stories are quite funny. They are trying to make a brownie that is big enough to satisfy their chocolate craving but also not make them so shitfaced that they spend the rest of the day facedown in the couch.

Since cannabis has become legal, it has been a funny transition in our social groups. The parents, who were all hippies, but really pushed hard against their kids using drugs in college are now asking advise about strains and doses. While all us normal stoners, are kind of gobsmacked at their enthusiasm, after receiving so much shit from them for too long.

After the strangeness of the canning jar of pot, the conversation was all about how protected they are now that they have the vaccine. I couldn't help but feel like I was reliving a conversation with a former lover about how he shouldn't have to wear a condom because I was on birth control....maybe it was my own  mindset, but things felt strange and almost funny.

These days things seem off center, tilted and lit strangely.

It feels like I am floating through most days and the repetition of actions is feeling like a movie scene replaying over and over. I wake up, pee and get into yoga clothes, check email for work and personal tasks, then do exercise and then errands, then eat something, try brainstorming, do laundry, do more wall gazing then try and think what to make for dinner and watch tv and clean up dishes, take a bath or shower, maybe have sex and then go to sleep and do it all over again.

What kind of life is it that we are living these days?

Maybe that is why these encounters with backyards and parents is so surreal. Life is downright surreal.

I got my parents appointments to get the vaccine this week, it felt like I had just scored the best concert tickets ever....they were thankful and then my mother said she wanted a different vaccine than what she was scheduled to get. We looked up the data and then I had another half hour call with her explaining how the vaccine works, the effectiveness of this one she is supposed to get and how she might not even have access to the single dose vaccine. It was stressful.

I am stressed out by my parents recently. My shifting role with them and what that looks like. In that daily routine, I would say a good few hours are covered in stress with my parents activities and making sure they are safe and have food in the house and that people are not taking advantage of them. 

(ex: installed solar panels have created leaks in the roof, and the solar company offered them a flat fee to fix it, instead of fix it for them!)

*Sigh*

I am tired, and melancholy and am trying to see a light at the end of this all...

but it is hard.

I daydream of running away, and into the big memories of travels and sunlit days of the past. Laughing more and feeling alive...my actual dreams are dark and sad and scary and i am often left wondering how long it will take to shift into a new direction? 

anyone else feel this fatigue? This shift/tilt of life?


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Some go this way...

“Some go this way. Some go that way. But as for me, myself, personally, I prefer the short cut.”

The Cheshire cat 


I thought I would give the rest of the world a peek at what it is like where I live right now.
It occupies much of my mind, and time and takes up a lot of space in my head.
So in many ways I am documenting it here, maybe in hope that it will seem funny after a while.


 via Instagram: Gripster2000

Yes, these are screen captures from my phone and I hope you can forgive my luddite qualities.


My county still has an average of 600+ cases a day and about 20 deaths a day!
We don't have enough vaccines but to inoculate 75+ year olds and medical workers so far.
All appointments are gone, and we get weekly deliveries that are given to the above group...
The governor expanded to allow vaccinating 65+yr olds 
but there is not the inventory to allow that. 
Yesterday our stay at home order was lifted and so outdoor dining is available again starting Friday.
It makes zero sense.
sigh

I continue to stay indoors, taking online classes and attending zoom lectures.
Doing yoga in the living room or studio...
There is rain this week (for the first time since last year) so all my outdoor park classes are canceled.

My father is finally recovering from his surgery, thanks to my mother being a drill sergeant and making sure he does his breathing exercises and walks and sits in places other than the bed.
It was a bumpy road but thankfully, looking better.
I really enjoyed sitting with my mother and waiting for updates about my father. The time highlighted that she is older, and I am older and our time here is fragile and uncertain.

My stress levels during all this have been through the roof, I fear I have massively altered my digestive system and I am now trying to regain control of it.
Do any of you get heartburn or ingestion 6+ hours after eating? 
I am experiencing that, I can not lay flat in bed right now, and 6-8 hours after eating  in the evening I awake with chest or stomach burning....I get up drink water and sit up in bed and then fall back to sleep.
But, MY GOSH this is getting old.
Stress Much lady?!

Okay this post has become quite a bitch fest...
I am understanding that I am the person who reaches out to others...I am that person.
I am a person who enjoys simple pleasures, like a pretty plant or listening to rain or falling asleep on the couch watching tv or reading while hubby strokes my hair or holds my hand.
I love the sight of the sun peeking through the branches of a tree.
I love having vivid dreams and sitting with the visual memories for half a day trying to figure out what it all means.
I love a cup of hot tea and sometimes a cookie
I love the cool air on my face and blankets up to my neck
I love that last week when I left my parents place, I saw my nephew riding his bike with a friend and when I waved and said hello, he said "Love you Auntie" he is 13!
I will take that and wrap it in my softest folds of self and carry it forever.



Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Blue dress and pearls

 I awoke today ready to wear something different...

I didn't wake up soon enough to wash my hair first so I threw two barrettes in my mop and shimmed on a dress I had bought online in mid 2020 thinking I would wear it to an art gallery or show.

That didn't happen but I made it work as a celebration dress for today...I dug through my jewelry box and found my pearl necklace, I was gifted a pearl necklace when I was 13. I think I have worn it twice...

Today, today was the day.

A blue polka dot dress with a peter pan collar, and my pearls! 

I watched the inauguration from my phone, holding my breath terrified something horrible was going to happen, and then she walked up to be sworn in and I started to cry, happy light tears... like an exhale that I had been holding for far too long.

A woman in power, a woman of color and substance

HOPE

*******

I have been taking self portraits since the beginning of the year, to help document what feels like a slow decline of my mental health. I was gifted a polaroid camera that takes multiple exposures and it fits well into my photography style. 

It is a classic response that artists turn their gaze on themselves first; they are the closest and most eager subject. Self portraits are as old as art itself...

January 15th 2021
© The Barreness.blogspot.com

Photography is what saved me from myself before and I feel that it is still trying to do it again.  I treat my camera is like an enchanted being...a separate living entity that is capable of influencing me. It has convinced me to mostly be braver than I thought I was, stand my ground to capture what scares me, excites me and inspires me...for that I am forever in it's debt.

I have been taking almost daily self portraits since before quarantine, and it feels like a hissing valve is releasing each time I press the shutter. With this new instant camera it feels a little like spirit photography, except I can capture my mood or dual most dominate emotions running in my mind.

The year hasn't changed much since it turned back to January, in many ways it feels like a 2.0 version, same shit, some features amplified, while other are phased out.

I haven't been sleeping well, despite the fact that I am still meditating multiple times a week, taking vitamins, exercising, and eating healthy...but I am haunted in my sleep by the loss of my animal companions, relationships, travel, forgetfulness and desires.

Last week I was so exhausted, I made some lentil soup, The Barren and I ate, I smoked some pot and slipped into the bath (that barely covered my knees, we are still in a drought) and then fell into a sleep. I was in bed for 11 hours, and slept for maybe 9 of them.

I tried to do it again last night, but I was awake most of the night again, either peeing or staring into the darkness of the ceiling and trying to make the constant static in my ears dissipate.

This week, my father is having back surgery for a pinched nerve that has left him hobbled and unable to stand, walk or sit. The surgeon explained that he could only do this "relief surgery" because there are no beds in the hospital and so this was the best he could offer. Ideally this will reduce some pain, and allow my father to stand again. I'm a little scared but I will spend the day waiting with my mother and bear witness to her manic swings in mood.*

*my mother is my fathers EVERYTHING and she doesn't sleep much and refuses to nap so she prone to bouts of manic swings of extreme happiness or sadness based on what she can process.

2020 was TOO REAL

It was too much, too often, too deeply, and too brightly raw