Thursday, October 31, 2013

woe is me

Mostly, it has been a good month. I've seen lots of old friends, eaten at some wonderful restaurants, and had a lot of laughs. Mostly, it has been a good month.

Where has October gone? I had periods where I was active and enjoying myself...then I had periods where I felt like this.

Yesterday was one of those. Like the picture.

Early morning, I felt stunned and sad. Weary.

I haven't written my gratitude list or sat with my light therapy for almost a week. I haven’t exercised much. I was signed up to sub in the afternoon but I didn't feel like leaving the house.

I wanted to go back to bed.

I haven’t been reading. I haven’t been doing much of anything.

I feel crazy and frantic.

I haven’t written on my blog. I don’t answer the phone.

Later, I am feeling better. I am sitting in front of my computer and light therapy lamp. I am looking at my rune book, my gratitude list, and a poem. I am looking at my notebook of lists. 

I drew a rune from the bag and got the rune of transformation, integration, and messages. All of those fit for me today.

I read the poem Starfish by Eleanor Lerman. It, too, had important things for me today.

Woodrow is on my desk eating paper and walking on my keyboard. I should let him do that and see what he writes. It could be the message I am supposed to receive.

I did go to sub and it was fine. I love to see the diversity in that school now. Such nice kids, two years in this country, trying to learn high school subjects in a new language. They are very brave.

My friend, Jill dropped off a gift on her way home. I got two birthday cards in the from the bank. I went to see Mary. We drove home in misty fog. Like the moors, or the moops as we like to call it. Reference to Seinfeld.

Today is my 61st birthday. I have not been as mindful of it as I usually am. No costume, no candy, minimal decorations. But this afternoon, our good friends, Tom and Betty are having the family party. Little kids, big kids, and trick or treating. Elliot has been sick so he can't come and we'll miss him. He called last night to tell me a few things, then said good-bye and I love you. just makes your heart hurt.

Woodrow and Gus have both been up to eat. Gus likes to go back to bed but Woodrow will probably torment me for a while. I'm on my second cup of coffee and it's only 5:20. Guess I'm ready to start the day.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

peaceful autumn morning

I'm starting this autumn morning with coffee and a pumpkin muffin. The fireplace is on, jazz on the radio, Woodrow wreaking havoc on our sleepy household.

I made these muffins yesterday using this recipe from Fine Cooking. The recipe is for bread but I made them into big muffins. I doubled the recipe (but did not double the sugar and honey) and it made 12 large muffins. I added craisins and pecans. The recipe calls for olive oil instead of butter which is interesting. I think they are some of the best muffins I've had. The smell of cinnamon and nutmeg and pumpkin....oh, my.

Old Regis and Young Regis put the patio furniture away yesterday and moved the snowblower to the front of the garage. I will miss the patio. We almost live out there in the in the morning, wine in the evening. Such a peaceful place.

We aren't done with leaf gathering. The city came to pick up our leaves on the boulevard on the 21st. That night we had a hard frost and the leaves came down like rain. They covered the car, the driveway, the grass. Damn bad timing, I'd say.

My friend, Joanne, and I are doing a 5K this morning, The Halloween Fun Run. I say doing because we aren't running, we're planning to do more of a saunter. And only if the temperature is reasonable and there is no precipitation or wind. We have gotten much less competitive as we've gotten older. Not that I ever was very competitive.

Most people wear costumes so it's almost more theater than race, although there is always the spandex crowd jostling for spots right in the front, bent over in the Olympic pose that signifies you are a real runner, checking their Garmins. Joanne and I get in back by the walkers and strollers and stand around with our hands in our pockets.

In one race, I won a medal for being first in my age group. I was quite proud until I looked at the results and I was the only person in my age group. Proving, once again, that you don't have to get faster, you just have to get older.

I have been slowly bringing up my winter clothes and gear. Yesterday, I found my Yak Trax. Ugh. There is a reason to rebel against winter. I don't like falling down and Yak Trax only help if you do the penguin shuffle.

Mary has one of these in her office and since I had never seen one before, I asked her what it was. It's a Himalayan salt lamp. It makes such a soft glowing light that's very soothing. They claim it purifies the air but I'm skeptical of that. I have a hankering for one.

Woodrow has finally settled down so we may go back to bed for a while.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

partially hinged

I am better hinged today. I spent yesterday taking care of myself and cultivating compassion and love for myself. I've been reading a self-help book...can you tell?

We went to the Pulse today, then I went to therapy for EMDR, then we went to Patrick's for a cheeseburger in honor of Pat Mayer's National Cheeseburger Day. I came home to take a deep and dreamless nap. I was exhausted.

So, it's 4 o'clock and I am back in my pajamas. I don't have the energy to get up and turn the radio on or pour a glass of wine.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


We loaded up the family and went to the pumpkin patch yesterday. It was so cold and rainy and windy that it was a little hard to enjoy but the kids had fun. As you can shortage of pumpkins.

I've been a little unhinged lately...just not feeling right in the head. I went to see Mary yesterday and she was not surprised based on what we talked about last week and what we are processing. I keep reading and searching and thinking I should be able to find the answer myself. Mary laughed and said why don't you try to take your own gall bladder out, Teresa? I guess that analogy makes sense.

I haven't been writing much and I can't seem to get much done. After my splurge of purging, I ran out of steam. It will come back, I know, but I am tried of moving the same pile of clothes around in our bedroom. Why don't I just put them away?

Regis went off to work today and I am alone with my thoughts. I am going to do things to treat myself well today. I did the plank challenge, I did my gratitude list. I am writing. I am going for a walk with my good friend, Deb. We like to visit, we like to walk, and she loves Gus so we all win.

I checked my blog stats this morning and damn if the post I wrote about the death of Bert, our Jack Russell Terrorist, in 2007 wasn't widely read this week. How strange. If you look down the right-hand side of my blog, there is a section called blasts from the past. Several are about Bert. He was a force to contend with.

Woodrow has been a delight and a devil this week. He tipped a vase of flowers onto the floor yesterday and he has begun to swipe pens. If you are missing a pen, it's a good bet that he nabbed it. He does make us laugh, though. He jumps on Gus and surprises him. Gus likes to play with him but they both have about a ten minute attention span...then they're done.

Off to enjoy the day. I thought I accepted a sub job but I didn't get a confirmation so I didn't have to go. Ah, well. What I'm doing is more fun anyway.


Tomorrow (probably today) is the birthday of Jim Hughes, my old neighbor. He died about this this time last year in a horrid accident on 169. Sometimes, it is hard to grasp that people I knew are gone. Gone.

Tonight I made a call to old friends about the death of their father, Andy, who I can only remember as young and feisty and a force in the universe. How can he be dead at almost 90 years old?

All day, the word compassion comes to my mind.

Here I sit. Middle of the night. Kitty running around the house up and over tables and me. Wine glass full. Fireplace glowing. Jazz on the radio. No place to go in the morning.

I'm reading a book called How to Wake Up by Toni Bernhard.

It's a wonderful book.

Going to bed. Even Woodrow has exited the building.

It smells like fall in our house. How nice.

Friday, October 18, 2013

road trip

We made a road trip with Tom and Betty yesterday. We drove to New Ulm for dinner at George's. We lingered a long time over appetizers, wine, and dinner. George came over to tell a joke. We had all heard it before, we knew it involved Spanky from the Little Rascals, but not one of us could remember the word that started with D or the punchline. That was almost funnier than the joke once we were able to retrieve it from our dusty old mental shelves.

On the way home, we stopped at the Crow Bar in Courtland. The other five patrons were all wearing camouflage which gives an odd ambiance. Of course, I had to have my picture taken with the cardboard cut-out.

Not so much going on today. I'm going to walk downtown to meet my friend, Kris, for coffee or lunch. The sun is shining. I have things to do so I better get out of my chair and get moving.

Later...Woodrow's great escape.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

lawn care contests in the neighborhood

In our neighborhood, there is some competition to see who can keep their grass the greenest and tidiest in the summer, who can rake their leaves first in the spring and fastest in the fall, who gets their sidewalk shoveled first after a snowstorm. We usually choose not to participate. If we do happen to participate, it's an accident.

I have an inclination toward oppositional behavior and if someone tells me I can't keep my garbage dumpster in front of my garage, I am all the more inclined to do it. I would not fare well in a neighborhood that had convenants.

Regis and I are thinking of buying a pickup camper and moving to Arizona to live in an asphalt retirement village. Hysterical laughter. That would be the second to the last thing we would do. The last thing we would do is to drive down the highway in an RV the size of our current home.

Age is such a funny thing. A young friend of mine, one who babysat for my children when they were small, said something about being middle aged. Wait, wait...what? Does that make me upper middle aged...or old?

I went to my favorite shopping site yesterday, the consignment store. I found two great bargains. The first was a long cardigan that I loved but it was 48 dollars and a little big in the shoulders and underarms. I hung it back up and moved on but as I did, Kim went behind me and marked it to half price. For 20 bucks, I'll keep my arms down.

The other item is a chenille coat by a New York designer. You can look it up. Kim said it had just come in and she had it marked at 50 dollars but gave it to me for 20. Whoa. I hit the jackpot. It would not be everyone's taste but I love it. This is one that sold on Etsy but mine is dark teal.

Vintage Norma Kamali Orange Cotton Chenille cocoon coat, oversized Cocoon collar which can be worn as a hood, oversized and wrap style, can fit any size, 2 patch pockets on the front. Great Deco design! One of Kamali's famous coats!
I can't resist a good deal on an interesting coat. Why wear some boring thing from Penney's if you can wear something that looks like a chenille bathrobe? Wahhahahahaha!

I'm going up to Betty's this morning to play with Ella and Alex. Ella wants to chalk my hair again which will be a riot. It didn't wash out of my hair right away last time so I had multi-hued hair for a couple weeks. My feeling about that is it's just hair and you may as well go around with a rainbow on your head as not.

These are called pig wings. They're pork shanks that are usually not used but someone in the meat industry figured out that they were pretty good. We had them at a party last week and loved them. Trying to track them down was not easy. We finally found them through a friend of mine who works for a food distributor. We're making them Sunday before or after the trip to the pumpkin patch.

Enjoying my Kickapoo coffee this morning and listening to Shuffle Function on KMSU. Woodrow had a wild streak from 5-6:00 but now he is slumbering peacefully in his little bed near the window. It's his favorite spot. He watches the leaves come down and he watches the birds in the feeder. The squirrels really get his attention.

That's the news from our corner of the world. Happy Thursday!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

flotsam, jetsam, lagan, and derelict

Those are nautical terms for specific kinds of debris in the ocean. The picture is not of debris from the ocean, but debris it is. I have been on a mission the past few months to rid my life of clutter. It started in the garden and commenced in the house about three weeks ago. I worked hard on this pile last week so it would be ready for the thrift store folks by Thursday. In case you are curious about the words:
Flotsam is floating wreckage of a ship or its cargo. Jetsam is part of a ship, its equipment, or its cargo that is purposefully cast overboard or jettisoned to lighten the load in time of distress and that sinks or is washed ashore. Lagan is cargo that is lying on the bottom of the ocean, sometimes marked by a buoy, which can be reclaimed. Derelict is cargo that is also on the bottom of the ocean, but which no one has any hope of reclaiming.
So, there you go. I see (online dictionary) the phrase flotsam and jetsam also means worthless encumbrances. That's what is in the boxes...encumbrances. Things I don't need. I am letting go of things not meant for me

Tuesday, October 15th will be the first anniversary of my mammogram last fall that started of all the cancer monkey business. It might seem like an odd anniversary to note, but it's more a celebration of the year being over. The yard and garden work, the cleaning and uncluttering, like my therapy, seem like part of that journey.

We were in the back yard today, raking and bagging and mowing. It felt good to be doing that...last fall I don't even think I looked out the windows into the back yard. We have a list of fall tasks to accomplish and we're right on track. We don't want to be obsessive list makers and task accomplishers, but we want to be better than last year.

I have been through every drawer and cupboard at least once in the last few months. There is more to do but I am happy with what I have done.

Speaking of obsessive. Our neighbor was out cutting his grass within thirty minutes of arriving home from his vacation. Then he washed his car. Take a deep breath, pal. You work too hard.

windy day....again

Regis and I have been marching around the house the last few days, singing the Mighty Mouse theme song. God knows how we can remember this goofy song from fifty years ago when so many things drift from our age-addled brains. Evidence, I guess, that the stuff that gets in there when you're really young never goes away.

Regis performed a wedding ceremony yesterday at the Ney Nature Center in Henderson. It was a gorgeous setting but so cold and windy that I was practically numb. The bridesmaids wore little strapless gowns and I'm sure their legs were blue by the end of the ceremony. Ella went along because she loves weddings and likes to take pictures.

Ella and Nana at the Ney Nature Center overlooking the Minnesota River 

Ella was making funny faces for the camera!

The photographer took this picture of us together.

Ella took this photo of me. I think I look mysterious. Like a WWII espionage agent.

Beautiful wedding!

That's Ella in the front row. She likes to be front and center at weddings!

Dancing ice cream cone at the DQ in St. Peter

Saturday, October 12, 2013

better photos...ney nature center

Regis took these because, of course, he had to get out of the car. It would be hard to perform a wedding from inside a car. Hey, maybe that's a service we could through weddings.

wind and how I hate it

Yesterday was very windy, about 40 mph with gusts up to 50. We went to a wedding rehearsal at a beautiful spot but this was the only photo I took and it's not a good one because I wouldn't get out of the car. I did venture out to the porta john once but between the wind and the walnut covered ground, it was an adventure. I almost turned back.

I hate wind. I hate the feel of it but I also hate the sound of it. I don't like to be in the living room on windy days because you can see the trees blowing every which way. It's disturbing. I'm sure, had I lived in a cabin on the prairie, I would have gone insane. I am grateful for our cozy little house.

We went to the Roadhaus in Henderson after for another adventure. There was a fairly raucous Friday afternoon happy hour crowd and the music was loud but we had fun. I ran into my exercise friend, Christine with her kids, celebrating a birthday. It was a two-hug meet-up.

It's such a small world, really. I am part of an online support group for building new habits. It's worldwide but my small group is four women, two from the UK. Amazing. At the wedding rehearsal yesterday, I discovered that the groom is the son of an old teaching friend of mine. She told a story about discovering, as they drove to Taco John's) that she and her work friend shared a grandfather. I love stories like that.

Today is not supposed to be so windy. The wedding has a western theme so I'm wearing a denim skirt and cowboy boots. One of the groomsmen was practicing his roping skills while we waited for the other folks to arrive and they are wearing cowboy boots with their tuxedos. I love the weddings Regis does...they are usually just a tad non-traditional.

After my blog post yesterday, I dusted the shelves in the living room (and got rid of a few things), dusted the shelves in the dining room, and cleaned off the shelves in my closet. The top shelf is where things go to live that I don't use often but can't quite offload yet. The physical cleansing feels like a part of my mental cleansing.

I have things to do today. Hey, it ain't all silver saddles and Sunday parades. I'm going to drop off the itineraries for the wine trip at Patrick's. I'm going to search out the pickle guy at the farmer's market. I am going to drag the boxes to the garage so they are out of the way until Thursday. And we're taking a road trip to the pharmacy in Mankato. It will be a busy day so I better get at it.

Friday, October 11, 2013

random thoughts

  • In an effort to be more mindful of our spending, I looked at my BCBS account online. Scary. From October 1, 2012 to the current date, I'm betting I had a $100,000 year. There were two days alone that topped $25,000. I had a grand total of 110 medical claims last year. I'm surprised they don't put a hit out on me.
  • The picture was taken last night. I was talking to my friend, Karen in NJ, and maybe I was too loud. Woodrow looks like he is plugging his ear. He loves this new bed, Betty!
  • We have been working hard to be a tiny bit more productive. Every morning we come in the office and look at our financials (not as complex as it sounds) and our calendar and then we make a list. A short list because we know that the longer the list, the less likely it is to be completed.
  • Last night, just when I turned the light off, Woodrow decided to play with the beads hanging from the edge of my lamp. He tipped the lamp over, got stuck inside, and dumped my water bottle all over the floor. He is getting more adventuresome. He loves to play in the back porch and runs out there the minute the door opens. He also wants to inspect (or eat) everything we eat. He has never had human food so I don't know if that's his curiosity...or what.
  • Regis and I are all scratched up from Woodrow's sharp claws. This morning, he let me trim them and God, those things were like needles. Regis had a doctor's appointment this morning and he was afraid they would think he was a cutter. Kind of a rare behavior in older men, but you never know.
  • I don't usually like fantasy in my reading. Wicked was an exception. I'm reading a book now that surprised me with time travel. I just can't do it. I'm about half-way through but I don't even care how it ends. Time travel...I call bullshit.
  • Regis sorted out the man drawer in the kitchen. I took everything out, wiped it clean, and put in the little baskets. He arranged them as he liked and now he knows what's in there.

  • On Thursday when the thrift store folks come, I'll take a picture of the stuff we are contributing. Such a good feeling to have some of that clutter gone.
Just now I thought of a couple other things I can bear to unload. Have a great weekend and make sure to put some fun things on your list of things to do!


An ordinary day. I love ordinary days.

It's John Prine Day on Shufflefunction. Sweet way to start the day. Although we did hoot when one of the guests said Highway 61 builds to the "earth shattering orgasm of Desolation Row". I requested Dear Abby and heard it on the way to school.

I'm going to sub at the high school but I feel rooted to my chair and my coffee cup and so it doesn't sound all that interesting at this moment. It's only half a day but I suppose they wouldn't appreciate it if I didn't show up.

I'm continuing my de-cluttering jag. Yesterday I cleaned out two man-drawers in the, random nails, assorted glue, and other substances of unknown origin. I don't like to throw things out unless they get the nod from the man who put them there. I have thrown out valuable shit before, let me tell you.


I had a fine time subbing at the high school in a middle level special ed classroom. Nice kids, good notes from the teacher, and a couple of characters. Just what I expected.

After my half-day, I walked down to Patrick's and had lunch with Regis and Alex. Alex wanted to play what he called stick pinball. He and Regis finally agreed to call it billiards.

It was a wonderful day but it must have been a busy one because here I am, posting it a day late.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

urge to purge

This is evidence of my urge to purge. I spent about four hours yesterday and again today, going through things, pitching, making piles, sorting, organizing. From whence did all this shit this come?

I have another giant pile in the basement. Clothes from all my phases. My "hey, this it" phase to my "slutty old gal" phase to my current "contemporary grandma" phase. I'm sure when the folks come on the 17th to pick up our stuff, they will think someone died here because a currently alive person would never need all those clothes. Of course, I kept my favorites like the long white alpaca scarf.

You would think I would be done by now but I'm not. There are still many, many piles and shelves of junk to explore and dump. Regis is nervous.

I'm thinking of changing my station from the leopard chair to the new leather chair and a half. It's closer to the fireplace and I could hide my stash of necessary items....nail file, tissues, phone charger, laptop, list of things to do. I might have to experiment a little.

I work on Thursday morning in an EBD classroom. I know how that goes. I really, really love being able to work when I want to work. Not tomorrow, I have things to do. Not Friday, I have a haircut appointment. Next week doesn't look good either. Ha!

I talked to a community helper (?) today about our insurance options. At the end of the conversation, we agreed that what we currently have, in our current health circumstances, might be the best. No worries, no hassles...just great care. I wanted him to say that for $59 a month, I can get you no-deductible, no co-pay insurance! Great cost. Yes!

cinnamon cookie recipe for Betty

1 cup butter, softened
1 and 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 and 1/2 tablespoons of molasses (I might leave this out next time. Overpowered the cinnamon flavor.)
2 and 1/4 cups flour
1 and 1/8 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cream together butter and sugar
Mix in egg and molasses, blending well
Mix flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add to creamed mixture.
Drop by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Cookies are quite soft when they come out of the oven. I let them sit on the pan for a few minutes to settle.


I've been thinking about scars. A scar results from the biological process of wound repair in the skin and other tissues of the body. Thus, scarring is a natural part of the healing process.

For a long time after my cancer surgery, I couldn't look at myself in the mirror because it was a person I didn't recognize. I have an ugly where the tumor was removed, an ugly scar where the lymph nodes were removed, and a chemo port that stuck out on my chest like a radio knob. The scars were difficult to see. They were wounds. They meant I had cancer and that was painful.

I have been thinking about scars on my house, too. Every time I go through the curtain to the back porch, I see the little stain from Elliot's chocolate-covered baby hands. There's a nick on one of my cupboard doors where it hits the clock. I have squeaky doors and my furniture has marks that remind me of holidays where plastic trucks driven by little boys hit the legs.

All signs of experiences, not to be avoided or erased, but to be remembered.

Yesterday, I told Mary that when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I couldn't say the word. Couldn't talk to anyone about it. Couldn't read about it. Wanted no part of a support group. Mary said that is not unhealthy and it gave me time to adjust to the diagnosis. Defensive denial she called it.

I didn't want cancer to be my life but it became that way for many months. From November to June, I was consumed with treatments, check-ups, recovery.

There are emotional wounds, and fears, but they are healing. The physical scars may always look like they do today but they don't bother me so much anymore. They're just reminders of my experience.

Monday, October 07, 2013

blog posts drifting through my mind

I read once that if you write often, you start to think like a writer. I often sift events of the day through my blog post filter. Too many times they drift away before I get them written down. I know I woke up this morning thing of something that would be a good topic but by the time I was done with all the morning start-up chores...nada.

We had a splendid weekend. We went to a wedding in Madison Lake of some young friends, Sam and Jessica. We met Sam about five years ago when he worked at Cedar's Grille. He was so friendly and personable that we often went there just to see him. Eventually, we met his girlfriend and got to know about his family and his dream to buy the Silver Dollar in Ghent, near my hometown.

Ella went to the wedding with us because she loves to dress up and she loves weddings. She started to cry early in the service, during the heavy Catholic stuff) and said she wanted to leave because it was sad. I told her I thought she was overcome with emotion rather than sadness. She was fine when we got to the lighter side of things. What do you expect when you have a wedding in front of Jesus hanging on the cross? Levity?

We had our picture taken with Jesus.

We had lunch at the Boat Landing in Madison Lake. A fine little place. It was customer appreciation day and they were serving free pork lunches with pumpkin bars for dessert. That is Midwestern hospitality. We sat at a window overlooking the lake and had a fine time.

Ella wanted to post these pictures on FB so we did. I got a note from my niece, Nicole, the next morning wondering how we know Sam and Jess. Nicole's husband hunts and fishes with the bride's dad, the bride's cousin was best man at Nicole's wedding, and her family has spent time at their family cabin. Small world.

We went to Zoey's birthday party at Sibley Park yesterday. It was cold and rainy and I don't think I have been that cold since we were in Pennsylvania during the infamous Nor'easter or the time I was in San Francisco. Brrrrr.

76yui is Woodrow's contribution to the blog this morning. Anybody translate kitten?

My urge to purge surges and wanes which means that I have boxes everywhere. Half-filled with stuff I might want to get rid of, I'm sure I want to get rid of, or I just don't want to deal with right now. I have been piling stuff in the porch all summer just go get it out of the way. I don't know if this comes with age, with breast cancer, with the easing of depression. It feels good no matter the cause.

My priority for today is to bring up some winter clothes. I have a big mess in the basement bedroom...clothes that don't fit, clothes I don't like anymore, clothes I wouldn't wear on a bet. I have to decide the best way to do this. Sort the basement stuff first before bringing one item upstairs. Then sort the upstairs clothes before taking anything downstairs.

My gratitude habit = successful! I wrote every day, at least three things for which I was grateful. I think it made a difference in my outlook. This month we're working on financial health and I am continuing with gratitude.

I have a draft of another post called scars. I'll work on that today.

Be sure to do something this week to celebrate the beautiful fall weather!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

the things in my head

The subject line seemed right today. We'll get to that later.

Last night I went to election judge training. There was a whole crowd of Q-tips there which surprised me and I was instantly overwhelmed. I had about fifty hand-outs in my packet and we were told many horror stories of mistakes made which resulted in lawsuits, what to do if a felon tries to vote, and what to do if a dead person is in the roster book. A totally up-lifting evening. That's a government job for you...not much fun and shitty wages. At least we aren't furloughed yet.

I posted this next photo on Facebook. Several people thought it was me as I have tights like that, and pointy toed shoes. It is also not inconceivable that I would have a drink in my hand. It is not, sadly, me in the picture but Regis and I think we can set one up like this and we shall.

Woodrow and Gus are a constant source of amusement around here. At the moment, Woodrow is galloping across Regis's desk and making a huge mess. Papers are flying, he got stuck in the kitty litter bag, and he is stepping on the weather radio to make it beep. He always uses the litter box for it's intended purpose but he also thinks it's a cool place to play. Regis tells him that turds are not hockey pucks. We hope as he matures he will be less entertained by this activity.

Here is where I sit in the morning. My coffee, my list journal, and my therapy light. I also use a little aroma therapy in the form of eucalyptus and rosemary. It's a peaceful way to start the day.

I have had some stuff going on in my head, my therapist thinks, for several years. She labels it depression and anxiety. I worked in the mental health field for all of my career as a teacher and thought I had a fairly good understanding of what that meant...depression and anxiety, but it feels different when it's inside your own self. It comes on gradually, so gradually that you don't even know how bad you feel until you start to feel better.

Another thing I learned is that neuro scientists have discovered in just the last few years that memories enter our bodies first and then travel up to the brain, making talk therapy sort of worthless unless it gets at the body memory. I have experienced, several times in therapy, what it feels like to let a body memory go. I know this sounds like voodoo but it's amazing...even if it is voodoo.

Depression and anxiety are not things you are, they are things you have. They are illnesses, not a mood you are in for a day or two. I've been thinking about this a lot lately as I progress through the steps to be healthier. I think you get better as gradually as you became ill so it isn't like one day the sky lights up and the depression and anxiety are gone. There is not one thing that caused it and there won't be one thing that fixes it.

It's almost too bad that the words depressed and anxious are in our language to describe brief moods because it leads to misunderstanding. Depression and anxiety are medical conditions. Ah, enough of that.

So, I'm working on healing in many ways. I think I am about 75% done with my therapeutic process with Mary. I'll continue to take the medication. I am sleeping better and that helps because then I don't have to spend so much time in the blanket fort during the day. I'm using light therapy. I am going to get back into exercise because I know that helps. I'm getting organized and getting rid of clutter and I'm scheduling activities for myself and for Regis and I together. Life is good, in spite of everything. Or maybe because of it. If we didn't have the rainy days, the sunny days would not be quite so glorious.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

wednesday morning...then wednesday night

I really don't know how I found time to work in my previous life. This week, like most, has flown past us. It seems like there are many things to do every day. If you are poised on the brink of retirement, don't delay. Do it. There are many, many interesting things to fill your time.

These are my new glasses. I realize...not to everyone's taste so if they are not to yours, keep it to yourself. Smile. I love them. Bold. Colorful. Clear on top. Readers on the bottom. And only 40 bucks from Zenni online. Why would I pay $600 to an eye doc clinic for that?

We are getting the biggest kick out of our pets. Woodrow makes me laugh out loud as he goes in and out of boxes, chases the feather toy, leaps into the air and does a half gainer, and lands with his back arched. He would make a mighty hunter if he didn't weigh two pounds.

I decided to be an election judge this year for the school district election. I'll be at a polling place for folks outside of the city limits of St. Peter who are still in Nicollet County and are in the St. Peter district. Ho hum. They predict 60 voters and I will be there from 6 am to 8 pm and longer depending on the counting. Those of you who know me, know that the counting, or any part of the counting, should not be my jurisdiction. Don't they have a hostess? I can't count to five twice and get the same answer. If there were some sentence diagramming involved, I would be your guy. Fortunately, I was sitting by my old (in the best sense of the word) colleague, Pat Duenwald. He is a math teacher and he can add and subtract even under the influence of really good Scotch. He is the head judge and a very funny dude so the day should be just fine.

I am hearing thunder and rain drops. We are predicted to have rain for the next four days. That would be wonderful.

Regis collected from the letter carrier today the most beautiful package from my friend, Karen in New Jersey. She sent a leopard print beret (oooh la la), a scarf with the colors of an Arizona sunset, and a pair of touch gloves. I didn't know that that meant but Regis said it means you can still operate your electronic devices with the gloves. Hmmm. Good idea. And, thanks to my friend. Send light and love her way tomorrow as she will be meeting with her oncologist to set up a course of treatment for her latest cancer.

I had an elbow-length sweater on at the election judge thing. I looked down at my arms at one point and realized that I have glue stuck all over from the IVs from my last two medical procedures and that I have kitten scratches everywhere. Next thing you know they are going to ask me if I feel safe in my home.

Rain is coming heavier now. I would not want to be driving.

St. Peter has an annual event called the Nobel Conference. Brilliant scholars from around the world swarm our town and deliver made-for-the-masses lectures on things like "the edge of the universe". Regis and I, in our peasant ways, wandered to the bar late yesterday afternoon as is our wont from time to time. We realized that the incoming all had blue lanyards and name badges and did not look like they were from here. Ah. Nobel. We might have been supping Schell's beer in the company of a Nobel physicist from Sweden. We can only hope. Regis said at Patrick's, we all put our pants on one leg at a time. Yes, very democratic we are.

Well, the rain is pounding against the window, the wine glass in nearly empty, and Woodrow is in bed already. Time for me to go to sleep.