Monday, December 21, 2020

Exhale bullshit in two parts



So yesterday was a red flag day, rolling blackouts and an official stay at home order.

Normal December day, with temps in the 80's and no rain in sight.

I am working really hard on not seeing this as a twisted version of Russian Doll
wake up, and start only to have the air knocked out of you after the first foot hits the floor.
I have stopped reading the news again...after seeing the ding dong loose over and over in each recount it was all the joy I needed.
The Barren has grown more and more concerned as things are shifting again, and there are people plotting violence and no order from officials about stay at home orders and the virus is spreading at a break neck speed...so he is mentally preparing himself and maybe me in a way, for civil unrest and war.

I continue to try and keep my eye above the ground and be a little afloat in this sea of chaos.
My parents are bored out of their heads, and I am concerned about their mental health as this wears on.
My extended family is a mix of " fuck it " and " I don't think I'll catch it" 
So that is reassuring and has made it so that we barely talk to anyone...
isolating and strange silences.

My MIL called The Barren this past weekend to proclaim that she was not doing anything for Christmas, and that we are to expect nothing from her. There are too many stupid people spreading the virus and she is staying in.
So you know we talk with her still...
My FIL called and spoke to The Barren to share some craft stories and let him know that he is waiting for the vaccine....so we still talk to him.

My SIL (brothers family) maintains hermit status and home schooling and the two teenagers in that house are going loopy from isolation. While the littlest is happy to have so much time with everyone.
The dogs agree.
So you know we still talk to them.

My bestie and family isolated for two weeks after being exposed by extended family who bullied them into a visit with their 90+ yr old grandma.
Thank goddess besties family all wore masks and stayed as distance as they could as after the quarantine and testing they were all negative !! but the extended family were all positive and got sick.

I flirted with the idea of stopping at my local thrift store to take a peek, as I have not been thrifting since March and I miss it A LOT...
but the line of people outside made me drive on and whimper a little.

I have pulled the holiday décor out, and moved the cats from the mantle to a sunny window so I could decorate the mantle with holiday décor to remind us that it is indeed winter, and holiday time and that there is A LOT to be thankful for.
We are still wanting to be married, we still are healthy, we have healthy family and food in our tummy.

**********************
Part two
**********
Solstice morning- hair aglow


I wrote that earlier this month, and now that we are celebrating Solstice I decided to return for some more reflections.
Today's mediation focus was on changing pain, and reflecting on the bright return of the sun.
It was another lovely cool morning in the park, crows over heard cawing and little birds chirping in the grass under the trees.
I love the feel of the cool wind on my forehead and the quiet that soothes the now constant hiss that my ears produce.
I was reading about the confluence of the planets last night and how it is a time of great manifesting.
Thinking bigger than a foundation, bigger than you would normally think...
I have been having a hard time wanting things for myself and career.
I wonder if I deserve them...or if I have earned them.
If it is really too late for me...
but I want it all!
I want to want it passionately again, drive myself hard to see those things...
Imagine big bright goals.
Places far away, father then I had imagined...
I guess this year has made it harder to see things in the future, dreams that were once easy to imagine are now muted with doubts and wonder if I can go far away again.
I will think on my dreams, the ones I can't imagine for myself and maybe something, somehow will manifest for the future.


The stay at home order is in place, but the numbers are still through the roof and most of the area hospitals are near capacity. So I continue to only go and do grocery shopping, and park mediation classes. I drive by first and assess the crowd and if it seems crowded I pass it on to another day.
I made myself a couple new masks, and strip down when I get home changing clothes from outside to my inside clothes.

My father had a follow-up visit to his physician and thankfully took a list of questions I was set to ask to the appointment and learned new things about his headaches:
My father has viral meningitis most likely contracted back in December of last year...
one of the after affects is long term headaches. 
He is experiencing other elements too like:
 being off balance, sleep issues, light sensitivity and bruising.
His medicine, is giving him hand tremors and accelerated short term memory loss and mild hallucinations; things I noticed in his actions.
The physician saw that I wanted to be involved in the appointment but because of the virus only my father and mother could attend the appointment.
My father is most upset about the fact that he has gained weight.
My family has a HORRIBLE relationship with food and body image, 
 his weight gain is forefront in his mind.

I love the image of the Moon being put back to bed...
as nights becoming shorter, the sun waking and starting to shine longer
and the potential of rain in the middle of this transition, 
like tears flowing as one season says goodbye to another.

So I will sit today, reflecting on health
art
love
desires
and 
hopes for the new days ahead.
Exhaling the bullshit 

inhale
exhale



Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Familiar Heaviness

**another quarantine ramble**

© The-Barreness.blogspot.com

© The-Barreness.blogspot.com


So here we are in December...it has been a month since we said goodbye to our kitty and I still involuntarily check places he would be. I also have heard little sounds around the home at night and while I sit in the studio thinking, I hear him grooming himself in the chair behind me. 

Last night I swear the blankets had a cat on them as they were so heavy when I pulled them up to my chin.

A familiar heaviness.

Maybe that is it, there is a familiar heaviness in the days now.
The long weekend produced over 1600 new cases in my county, and I expect that number to rise even further as the days pass into the new year.
I spoke with the GI about my first colonoscopy and we agreed that me postposing it was safe and I was at a low risk group. The case numbers are climbing too high and I did not want to take medical people away from helping others that are in a much more dire situation than a routine colon screening. 
I am getting one, just not while the covid numbers are climbing.

The Barren and I had a mediocre Thanksgiving, we shopped for food and made different food and I tried a new recipe that ended up being long labored and came out quite boring! So that put me into quite an off mood. The Barren had a similar situation with his planned sides, and the bread didn't rise as it should have so we quietly ate a disappointing meal.
When my brother facetimed me the next day, he recounted a similar situation of making big efforts to make something special and it coming out super disappointing.
SUPER BUZZKILL
When I was cooling down from my mild temper tantrum, I mentioned to The Barren, 
Why is this different? We have been cooking from home since MARCH.
Making food and trying recipes for months....
Why do we think that thanksgiving is different?
We are thankful and present most days, and give to others every month...
Ugh, it was disappointing to watch others travel and visit others...
Tik Tok had families gathered and boasting that they were all infected...
I am so exhausted of the quarantine, 
and being a rule follower.


I am lonely, tired all the time
Pulling myself through daily chores and mediations.
My yoga studio found a loophole and has declared itself a "wellness center"
so they are now teaching indoor classes, and have reduced the park classes. 
So I fill my schedule with pre-recorded videos and go to the park two times a week to practice at 8 ft away in a mask nearby others.
The studio classes are full (10people per class) and filled with 20-30yr olds.
I am not the studios demographic.
It all makes me feel old and "responsible"
(a label I was given in my 20's and I have tried to fight it, but I am; I am responsible)

Thanksgiving weekend also got us to send our holiday cards out...
(responsible)
We had a portrait taken by a photographer I have admired for a decade, she does Ambrotype portraits and we did one for our 18th wedding anniversary and used it as our card this year.

I got a call from my parents last night that it had arrived and that it was "interesting"
which is coded language for " I don't like it"
sigh

I will leave this post of rambling about the mundane on a high note...
I dropped of my artwork to the gallery for the year end big event!
No reception this year, but a lot of buzz as always...
My piece sold in the first 2hours!!
I don't know who bought it, I will inquire later, but I am happy to have that pressure taken off my chest.
A sale means two things:
1. I have a new collector
2. I get invited back the next year to submit again !
Of the 11 years I have been invited I have sold work in 9 of them.
then when I thought that was my high of the day
I posted a drawing I did of a musician playing their instrument and tagged them on social media.
That musician not only commented on the work 
but BOUGHT a different piece of my art from my ETSY shop!!!
I have to admit, I did one heck of a happy dance.
so there was that too.
A roller coaster of emotions.
Much like the fluctuation in temperature from day to day.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Gone

*** trigger warning, a post about grief and loss ***

 



We held him as he fell into his final sleep. 

17years and 2months after bringing him home; my constant companion for all those years. 

I made choices over these past years to not travel on business trips or even multiple days away, as he got stressed out and I would be distracted by not seeing he was okay.

As he aged I was his primary caretaker and huge portions of my day were spent checking on him, and making sure all his needs were addressed before he knew he needed them. It was something I didn't even think about as the days ran on. He loved me and I loved him.

He was my friend, my confidant and a true companion.

Quarantine made our time together more structured and we napped at or around 1:30pm almost daily together, as I sleep lightly at night, it was an easy way to give him attention and get some soothing from him for my anxiety and sorrow. 

Around mid October, something happened. The Barren and I were chatting and he let out a strange meow, which had us rushing to him. He lost all mobility in his legs, leaving him unable to stand or sit. we took him onto the patio and spoke to him as he looked confused and tired. Our daily hummingbird looked on at him and the scene unfolding. Xander tried to stand and walk indoors and I supported him and took him into my studio where he laid on a pillow on the floor and settled into what we thought was going to be his final moments. Over the next three hours he regained the use of his legs and was able to walk again and eat. I laid awake most of that night checking on him and soothing him through two more mini episodes. I asked The Barren if all my hair had turned white from the shock.

As the next days past, we was totally self propelled....but I started noticing he was more and more tired.

His breathing became more and more labored, he needed to take a break walking down the hallway. He got winded turning around in the seat. He drank less and ate less...the time had come.

A lovely vet came to our home and with one looked said she understood why we called her.

While they prepared his sleeping medicine, he got up from his patio chair, walked into the house, greeted them and then motioned to be picked up. The Barren held him, then handed him to me. I walked back outside and sat with him. The hummingbird returned and sat on the leaf above his feeder and watched.

Xander got a sleeping medicine shot and then the euthanasia shot. He fell into a slow sleep, hearing my heartbeat and his head being covered in kisses.

Simply put, this cat was magic, as I am sure most peoples companions are to them...how lucky we are to be able to walk with them. How lucky I was to give him dignity and a peaceful death.

I sat in the chair the next morning, crying and mourning. The hummingbird arrived and sat on his leaf. He looked at me, then the door and the deck and the chair, waiting and searching for Xander. I watched this for 15minutes...and wondered how do you console a hummingbird?!

Xander's ashes were returned two days later, and we built our annual Dia de los Muertos altar.

The silence in the house is deafening, and maybe that is why I can hear the hissing in my ears so well these days. Today marks one week since he left and I still awake in the middle of the night looking for his fur to pat, peek into rooms to see if he is sleeping quietly...We are donating his food, new cat toys and some cat beds to the rescue we got him from.

The hummingbird comes and sits on his leaf daily still, singing and watching me as I sit in the chair Xander use to sun in and that he took his final breath in. I talk to the hummingbird and thank them for their songs and tell them what a good friend he was to keep Xander company on the patio while he slept and sunned himself in his final months.

Although I have yet to take a nap since he passed, I know that I will eventually...maybe he will come to me in my dreams while I doze and think of him.

**you can hear the hummingbird chirp as he arrives off camera


Sunday, October 25, 2020

Breast Up

 


This is what it looks like when you are waiting to find out if 

that the lump they found on a mammogram is gonna try and kill you.

The one you couldn't find, the one the doctor couldn't find...


They took a lot of images, then went into a room and had me wait.

Then they came out and took some more.

Left the room

Then a third time....and I waited.

Then with a smile in their voice, told me I needed an ultrasound.

I was taken into the ultrasound room, jellied up

and it appeared on the screen, clear as day.

It was determined to be a cyst.

No need for additional treatment, unless it grows uncomfortable.

I left the hospital, and sat in my car and cried.

I was relieved, I was thankful...

I am not going to lose my breast.



Thursday, October 15, 2020

A collection of shit

***below contains sarcasm, frustration and doctors and shit*** 

So things are cruising along...

We have all voted early and continue to do it, at least it seems like that...and we all want the white supremist racist baboon out of office and he needs to drag all his misogynist friends with him like toilet paper stuck to his shoe.


It is tense here. In fact I chose to get my annual exam before the election as I mentioned to my doctor I was afraid of what may lay ahead until we can get this asshole out of office/power. (like the early fear and an influx of IUDs when he took office)

She mentioned that she read that dentists have been reporting an increase in chipped or cracked teeth in the last year!

I have been wearing my bite plate at night since 2016 election night created a chipped tooth

We are a mess! and fighting the good fights but night time dreams, continued quarantining and additional stress from working at home is taking a toll.

Our cat had, what we assume was, a stroke the night before last, he lost all ability to control his right side legs and mobility and we thought that was it. He laid down on his pillow on the floor, we sat with him talking, petting and saying goodbyes as his breathing was slower and more erratic. Then, he slowly recovered the use of his body...when he stood on his own two and a half hours later....we realized we have a serious badass cat, who just reset his body for the 6th time...when he got up and ate, I looked at The Barren and asked " so is all my hair white now?"  He continues to be stronger and aside from slowing his roll a little more, he is mobile and self driven. I am thankful and still in shock, in fact I think we all are still quite.

So as I mentioned, I went to get my annual check up at the doctor. At 50 you get two new features of the check over: a rectal exam and an order for a colonoscopy. Two gifts I struggled to have enthusiasm about. I was unfazed about the exam, I am a little nervous about the procedure, although almost everyone I know has had it done.

I also got the results from my mammogram I had two days ago and it seems that is a 5mm "subtle nodule" that needs to be looked at more closely.  That has me more anxious, and I am trying to play it all calm in front of The Barren who is clearly quite unsettled by it. I have my super uber ultrasound on Monday (which I pay for because insurance won't) and between that and the extra mammogram and ultrasounds the mammogram place wants to do I hope to have a better sense of what it might be and if a needle biopsy is needed. 

(I am trying really hard to not freak, as a friend had a small change like this on a yearly mammogram and she ended up with a double mastectomy ) 

2020: Like I needed to have another concern or terror this year! 

Oh but according to the scale at the doctors office I was down 14pounds and not a single word about that, except "your BMI is good." So that felt anti-climactic from the doctor that kept telling me to lose 5 more pounds!

Most of my concerns about weird skin textures, and stiffness was attributed to perimenopause and that I will have a unique experience as my mother had a hysterectomy and so I am free floating in that pond of unknown information.

I had blood taken and left and got lunch. It was 100* and I ordered a hot chai, because I just made it through yet another exam.

So how are you all doing? Still locked up like us here in the US? Please share holiday plans, as we will be socially distancing for those too...

On the good news front, hubby's wish came true and we have crows that come to our patio daily and eat peanuts we leave for them. This makes him happy and smile and that makes me feel like there is something really bright and wonderful too look forward to every day! 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Self care and reflection

 


So after a primal scream, deep scary toxic rage , a good long cry, and staying up to 3am to sit and process my feelings...I feel like I am on the other side of my grief from the loss of RBG. 

I am planning and acting.

I am slow on the uptake. Proof being that, today... I decided that I do not need to make political statements in every piece of art I make from here on out. I have nothing to prove to anyone. My actions are my own and I do not have to announce/make public what I do and contribute to make my actions more valid.

I think my shutting down my facebook has highlighted this for me....I spent several hours over a couple of days, manually deleting my history and photos and tags. My page is stripped down to simply my name and I have spent the last two days just taking down information from the things I still want to keep on my radar. Like art groups. My final post was about the loss of RBG and how if you are a woman or know a woman you need to vote and remove the assaulting racist xenophobe and his minions out of office.

I feel set afloat, and quite untethered.

Most recently, like so so many others, I am struggling with feeling overwhelmed and overtaxed emotionally and so in an act of self-care I am focusing my energies on what I hold closest in my heart and plan my actions accordingly.

I enjoy spending time giving, so I am continuing to do that.

I have stepped outside my comfort zone a few times now and it makes me feel better.

Still being sheltered, is getting harder and harder and I was listening to this neurologist on the radio and understood more about a quarantine brain. We need new experiences to allow us to form memories, being in the same place for days on end doesn't allow us to form new memories so it is important to do things that are out of norm; brush your teeth with you less dominate hand, approach a know act from a different direction. If you are driving this could simply mean taking new routes home. 

This adulting thing is becoming a super sucker of fun.

I made an appointment to have my yearly exam with my doctor, I wanted to make sure I would not miss a breast exam or a pap...as this might be harder to come by as we approach November. I have broken my appointments up into several days, to see if that helps reduce my white coat. 

Although...since making the annual appointment I have thought more about my weight than I have all year, and that is a direct reflection on my fear of hearing my doctor tell me I need to loose 5 more pounds to fit on her BMI chart. So maybe it is just my fear of disappointing her, how fucked is that!

I am constantly checking off a list of things in my mind, did I eat this than make sure to do that, make sure you are drinking enough water, not too much caffeine, take your vitamins, YOU FORGOT to take your vitamins, if you mix this with that it is wrong, you are wrong...you messed it up...she is going to tell you how wrong you did this or that...you need to still do this or that...

Anyone see "The Good Place" the above is quite similar to a rant on the show...I  actually got tearful when I realized it.

My dentist can wait - I don't need any guilt from them either.

Has anyone else felt this way about their doctors, post infertility treatments/care? It feels like I want all the other parts of me running without notice (perfectly) so that the drama or the fear of a doctor is abated....I must be nuts...doctors are there to fix, maybe they will always find something wrong regardless of the patients input of efforts?!


I know this entry is mixed up and upside down...so is everything else in this world!

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Molehill

 

I tried something new last week.
I did my meditation practice in the park, 
with my teacher and other students, 
at a social distance+, 
while wearing a mask the whole time.
It was a nice change, and something I am going to try and do again this week.

I watched the sun come up
I sat on my mat while bits of green pine cone rained down on me
from the tree and the squirrels eating above.
It was a lovely change.

After class a student that is always in virtual class came up to me and we chatted for a little while.
I was awkward from isolation
spoke in fits and starts
but it was nice to meet someone new!

This same day, we had a mandatory 4 hour power outage at home.
It was planned and I had gotten ice for our perishables.
(this is the foreshadowing part)
The power ended up only being out for a little over an hour...
but...The Barren had taken the day off.
We spent the day fighting the current heatwave.
We don't have AC, and so the fans were on and we were laying (literally) low.
Later that day, I realized
I forgot the ice in the coolers and it leaked all over the  living room floor.

As the week went on, our fridge seemed warmer than normal,
but I simply figured the heat wave made me want everything cold cold...
so I turned the temp down further.

By Thursday, The Barrens' stress level from work was through the roof-
I was giving him personal space and quiet.
except for when we called to wish 
Our niece happy 7th birthday wishes. 

 This same day, my state had registered over 500 individual active fires.
Many started by lightning, and with our decade long drought it was easy to ignite.
The smoke is starting to bellow all over the state and so we close all the windows and doors, 
so as to not get sick from the air.
Then...
My father called with an update from his recheck with his neurologist 
and was this time diagnosed with 
and had stopped his prescribed steroids (for a "viral infection" in his brain)
 and was prescribed an anti-seizure med 
(ironically the same med my cat is on)
He gave me bits and pieces about the visit, peppering in his "toxic positivity" over it all.
When I asked a few questions about the visit, my mother was handed the phone and 
I could hear her voice shake as she mentioned her fear
from witnessing memory loss and balance issues she was seeing in my father.
I did my best to let her know I heard her, and that I thought it was a really good idea to mention these things to my fathers primary doctor. Fear of addressing them was not going to do any good.
I phoned my brother and told him we need to sit down and have a super sucky conversation about our parents and where our lines of involvement are.
I felt like the big sister again, and I could hear in his voice my little brother.
It was terrible.

Meanwhile the old man cat, is miserable from the heat and is lying around looking dead.
Like, have to check he is breathing, looking dead!

Then we had two small earthquakes 
and when I got up to get myself a glass of water.
I realized nothing was cold in the fridge but everything was still frozen in the freezer.

I started to spin., and the room was getting dark.
(I had gone shopping on Sunday before the outage and the new food was bad or going bad)
At this point, 
I was just able to vocalize to the stressed out Barren, before I shut down, that I was:
" really really stressed"

I don't think I spoke the rest of the day.
I sat and watched TV and went to bed to stare at the mountain of laundry 
that had formed in the corner of our bedroom.

Yesterday night, we went and bought a new fridge.
We should get it sometime in the next week, ideally.
Turns out everyone is sold out of fridges and with the heatwave and rolling blackouts
and fires and earthquakes and a virus that is still killing thousands...
things are a little backed up.

So how is your week going?