Trouble, oh trouble set me free

I have seen your face and it’s too much too much for me.

Trouble oh trouble can’t you see you’re eating my heart away…..Cat Stevens

So here are the newest medical updates: I have another Echo next week followed by my game plan appointment with Cardiology. Marvin the Monitor is headed back to relay all his not already recorded info if any into the BIG computer which will then be compiled with all the lab readings, exams and general inspections into a fifty page report that can be aptly summarized in these words, “We don’t know, but your symptoms are……” Just kind of kidding but as patient and as medical professional I am acutely aware medicine is an art not a science.

At least that is the way it is looking to me.

Non-pro-dromal Syncope is my only new diagnosis. Sounds pretty fancy, huh? Means I fainted without warning. Already knew that when I woke up on the sidewalk, lol.

My heart has beat to its own drummer for awhile so that is not new to anybody, I guess in two weeks I will know if it can ever be made to step in time or if it’s gonna just keep making its own kind of music. In the meantime, I am a kite without my tail waiting to go back to the job that defines me.

My medical answer bank is empty. And, as of last Friday, my bank account is empty.

My idea box, my heart and my gratitude lists are all full to overflowing.

So my rent of $450 is due today, car insurance of $75 and cell service of $50 (Verizon prepaid card) are both due by the 7th  and I will start owing Cash One on Feb 10 to the tune of 50$ a week. I took a title loan because it was something I could do to pay off a settled medical debt that would have all its fees return if I missed payments. I realize that as soon as I am back to work or receiving disability that will be my first pay off or it will be an expensive decision.

So things I have to offer:

I bake, knit, crochet and sew: actually pretty well. I am willing to swap any of my aforementioned skills for donations. I can also write a mean sonnet, play the bass very badly, and adapt dolls to fit their owners.

Pretty sure those last three aren’t in high demand.

But anyway, this is the hard part for me, asking for help.

I will be happy to pay it forward, trade what I have in skills or possessions to meet my responsibilities.

Accepting help makes me vulnerable. But that is where I am today.

If you donate please specify where you want your money to go and I give my word that it will.

Categories are as follows: Daily living – rent, car payment, etc.

 Skin We’re In Makeovers – these are the dolls I adapt for children who have wheelchairs, a tracheotomy, a g-tubes, AFO’s, skeletal or muscular differences, and/or other attributes not mirrored in popular toys. I generally use Build a Bears and 18″dolls but have done action figures and fashion dolls. Each toy from start to finish can consume 40-150$ in parts and supplies. The smiles they produce are priceless. Representation does matter to kids.

     My 20 Wishes List (aka Bucket List)

To be discussed in detail in another post.

I will tell you that I have had in the past, and still have, the best friends in the world in my life. There is food in my fridge and cupboard, lots of comfy clothes in my closet, love all around me, peace in my heart when I first wake in the morning, and oh yeah, I have my bus pass, and a plan.

I thank you in advance for any help, signal boosts and comments of encouragement are also help, not just the spare 10 or 20.

And now I will sleep, I had to catch the bus while it was dark this morning. To all the morning commuters who do this daily as part of being ecological, part of their small economies, or maybe like me because of their health, I send any merit I have earned today and salute you.

I may miss my car and my job but I still fall asleep safe, happy and above all grateful.

But where can you go, to leave yourself behind…..

Ok, obscure U2 reference actually related to how surrounded by love I feel juxtaposed against how badly I just want to run away from my life. From politics to personal, it is the best of times and the worst of times. So, of course, I decided to watch the Doctor Who (Hartnell) story thread “Reign of Terror” because I thought at least there I know how it ends.

The song I quoted at the beginning is “Redlight” and one of my favorites, also love “Song for Someone”because there IS a light that I won’t let go out.  These songs were my first two “pulls” in a musical augury, the cover and the cross. They make sense.

Deep past was “Kiss My Country Ass,” took me a bit to realize this was symbolic of my like me or leave me alone attitude that has always been my weakness and strength. Recent past is “Oooh Child” which is important both from the soundtrack it is off (Guardians of the Galaxy) and its message of someday, things will get brighter, just not today.

My possible future is “C’est Toi Le Plus Fort” by Edith Piaf, immediate future is “Spy” by Shakira. Ummm, yeah, both are truly about a woman letting a guy be kind of a jerk and still loving them. But I think they are about my current quest to care for those who are harder to love, my practice of Boddhichita, and my work that always takes more than I have to give and leaves me soul tired, until that one moment when a baby does something thought impossible by its doctors.

To add to that reading of those songs is my self song which is the lullaby by Tanya Goodman, “I L.O.V.E Y.O.U.”

Others goes out to my sister, “Feed the Birds” is both a great theme to how a treat all life and a song I will always associate with Diane. I can see her singing it to herself on her bed in the purple bedroom while we play paper dolls. It is also a song about listening to and seeing  little things we miss, my word for the year is “attentive.”

Then comes hopes and dreams and what pops up but “All Night Sleeping Song to Help You Relax” from the zen music garden. Sleeping is both my hope and my fear, my blessing and curse. I take my top plate out at night so I don’t crack it and I have bitten my gum line ragged and bloody. However hard it is to go to sleep and stay asleep, getting out of the bed in the morning is just as hard.

Final Outcome is Johnny Cash’s “Flesh and Blood.”  I hear two messages here. One is pretty basic, I still need people, the other is that love is our only true legacy.

Musical augury is simple. I ask the universe what I need to know, then I turn on my kindle or Ipod, bring up songs and hit random play. Then I use the songs in the order of cards placed in a Celtic cross spread to listen. Try it, and really listen. Actually anything can work, if one is willing to look and to listen.

I actually did this reading/listening because as soon as I sat down to write my thoughts scattered like children on housecleaning day.

It was a hard day. Not for any new particular reason but because waiting always gets harder the longer we do it, and because friday is creeping closer, and then Feb 1 and I don’t yet have my ducks all lined up with my answers on their bills, in fact my pond looks pretty empty right now.

On the other hand,

I got out of bed all on my own, showered, dressed myself, brushed my teeth, made myself coffee and breakfast, knitted, walked, talked on a cell phone…….so far the level of my gratitude is far above my level of fear or want. I am one lucky little old lady.

BTW, thanks for the PM feedback, but is there a reason no one comments? I only ask because I am not that savvy and wonder if I made a mistake building the site.

Anyway, thanks again for the love and support y’all.  Time to say Good-Night.

It’s alright

I know change is a bad thing,
Breaks me down into a sorry sad thing,
Not some iridescent grateful butterfly
I’ll resist with defiance
Not the power of a mystic silence
I will fight the dizzy spiral of goodbye

And it’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright

Dar Williams – It’s Alright Lyrics

So I guess I better write a blog since I have had so many people looking for answers I have not yet posted. I am guessing that is the source of my sudden surge of readership.

It is either that, or everybody just decided they need to learn my lemon curd recipe.

Awesome stuff first.

This Christmas thanks to many acts of generosity, and unexpected connections with a couple other agencies that serve children, “The Skin We’re In” delivered 14 eighteen inch dolls modified to reflect their new friends reality. We also did about 2 dozen adapted Build-A-Bear’s. It was FABULOUS!!!!! Thanks everybody who helped. I have also completed a couple of interviews for the grown-up’s book, hoping to raise the costs of two shoots so I can have a real sample with photos as I “shop it around”.

If you want to learn more about this particular passion of mine, I hope to have a few videos up soon. Got a Go Pro for Christmas and the old woman who I am, still mastering its use.

Also each doll from start to finish costs anywhere from 40-100$ in supplies (including doll, clothes, wheelchair if appropriate, AFO’s, Trach, etc.) If you want to donate to this effort please note this in your PayPal donation.

Awesome, right?

The next part is less awesome, but not really bad, just change.
I was leaving the Chandler Mall and had an episode of sudden and complete syncope. I “went down like a rock” said the gentleman who witnessed it. I am no small woman so split my head a little and created a lovely goose egg. I spent 3 days in the hospital while we ruled out the usual suspects like a pulmonary embolism. Doc says there has to be a reason.

The long and short of it is I am currently wearing a cardiac event monitor and cannot return to driving or working until the 18th of February at the earliest. I feel well enough to be going a bit stir crazy, so all in all, I am fine.

I need to make about $1200 dollars magically appear to keep all my bills like rent and insurance paid while out of work. I am applying for disability but that takes time, so if any of you faithful readers want a lovely knitted anything, or perhaps a jar of fresh lemon curd if you are local, or any other time based service I can provide in exchange for a donation, please PM me on FB.

Shoot I will even take just straight donations with the understanding that as soon as I am back to work I will pay it forward again.

The true irony of this was that I was so very close to catching up and paying back the three personal loans that haunt me a bit, and even reinstating a 30 day bill cushion. Hey, lucky for me, after co-pays, etc. I am actually at zero balance this hospital stay WITH rent paid, phone service and groceries, at least until Feb 1

My word last year was “solvent” and I almost made it, but hey, everything is alright.

No failures in my life just learning opportunities. Better things ahead, always.

“Ni le bien qu’on m’a fait, Ni le mal tout ça m’est bien égal”

“Rien de Rien”

I really don’t. For those unfamiliar with Edith Piaf and/or French, basic translation of today’s soundtrack is no regrets, and for me it is always sung by a chanson whose life and voice are equally moving. It is one of my three favorite songs, and one I request be played if anyone insists on ever having a memorial service for me, assuming this dandelion ever dies.

I owe much of my finally moving  forward again to a young and gifted artist who put a paintbrush in my hand freeing with music, color and movement the pain for which I could not find words.

I blogged yesterday, and then I painted yesterday and then I went to a barbecue with my SCA family who had Veggie dogs and grilled veggie kabob. (Plant based consideration in itself by a host leaves me verklempt, so add in chocolate porter and the kindness was transforming). I ended my perfect birthday week in the way I had begun it, with a group of lovely people who expect no more of me than just being unpredictable, imperfect me.

I made choices of who and what my soul needed, it all came together, admittedly there was not time to include everyone I love in my birthday celebration, and there are a few exceptional bits of human light and friendship where I am consistently unable to attain even temporary orbit these days. Life gets busy sometimes.

Those I chose to spend time with were ones I know see “me”, all of me without idealization, or its flip side of  fear and blame. I gifted myself with those whose presence is always the best present. That’s what I gave myself for my birthday this year.  An entire week of being just me

And it was just what I needed.

Yesterday I blogged, I painted, I partied with friends.

And then I came home and cried, and cried, and cried.

And today I woke with a headache but  some of the blanket of grief lifted

I wanted to paint more, but I am out of paint, and I think I need some other brushes, so here I am listening to Edith Piaf Radio on Google because life is good, and I can.

I am still really struggling with words, but that’s okay…rien de rien

“There comes a time, a time in everyone’s life”

Even the music in my head is jumbled. By the time I am done with this entry maybe a song will stick, maybe I will have a title. Maybe some day soon I will write a poem again, I will truly feel happiness again, maybe I will actually find a way to start these tears and cry until I stop.

It has been 5 months since the last post, not easy months but not bad ones either.  I go to work. I eat. I sleep. I move through life maybe a bit more hermit like than this time last year but maintaining an appearance of normal.

The losses of important friends have been monthly. People continue to surprise me with their incredible ability to be beautiful. While other times people surprise me with their narcissism and meanness. I am the sidekick in an incredible mashup of a Nicholas Sparks and Stanley Kubrick movie.

I wake up most mornings feeling peace, joy and gratitude. I can sometimes make it through a whole morning without thinking about the rape. Maybe lunch or the music on the way home will make me think I need to call one of my friends…and then I realize that cell phone reception will never reach that far.

Do others guess that everything looks like its like it’s filmed through a Vaseline wash? They see my smile, hear my words, exchange news, even hug. Are they aware of the thick woven wool scrim interjected between us?

Nothing touching me. Grief is the perfect isolation tank.

I need a mental equivalent of Clyndamycin to free myself of his memory, all the bad memories, all the betrayals.

And I need emotional morphine to live with all these happy memories of those I have said good-bye to this year.

But I am still getting up.

And getting on.

Cause that’s what I do

and sometimes I just play along, why don’t you come too.

if it’s a friend you need, let it be me.

“Moving Right Along in Search of Good Times and Good News

With good friends you can’t lose, this could become a habit!”

Got up this morning full of gratitude and immediately put on my exercise gear and went for a walk and trot, not a long one, I don’t yet know my new neighborhood well. Just 2.34 Km, but I met my goal of 30 minutes. If you look at the map, I pretty much just went down to the end of the block and back.

I slept like a rock last night, not even waking to pee; which is a VERY deep sleep for a Silver Siren. I weighed myself just to see and I lost 2 pounds. Bladders like that only come from years of nursing, retail, or parenthood. The rest of you would probably only lose a pound as your little bladder is not overstretched. Upside, holds a lot: downside, leaks easily and prone to infection from retention.

But everything has its pros and cons, even road trips with best friends who can’t lose. (Moving right along…..)

If you have watched the original Muppet Movie, you are familiar with today’s internal soundtrack, a perky, funny song about getting lost on the road to your destiny.

(If you haven’t watched it, why not and when do you want to come over; only movie I re-watch as much as Wizard of Oz. Speaking of which, Cathy, Ann if either of you are reading this, text me about a movie day again. I think we all could use a visit to the Wizard or that other Rainbow and Cathy your grand smalls are welcome to join us.)

Meanwhile back at the point, and yes, this is how my mind and often my conversations meander. Friendship with me is not for the faint of heart.

So even with the best of friends and intentions we can head West and end up North, “Send someone to fetch us we’re in Saskatchewan”

Before I plan a morning run route I get familiar with my neighborhood, learn where the dead ends are, which areas are well-lit or poorly lit. Is there evidence that the trail areas are used to “hang out” AEB (as evidenced by, now you know some nursing lingo) cigarette butts and empty cups, do I see other walkers/runners at sunrise or dusk.? I love to walk and run outdoors, I am not a fan of gyms and will often not exercise rather than go to a gym, so I know how to make myself as safe as possible.

The same goes for my hiking. I prep my bag with adequate water and a few high energy snacks, I take my compass and recently changed to Verizon as my cell phone carrier so I could keep my GPS signal even in remote areas, I check weather reports. Personal safety is important to me so I plan and pay attention.

When I hike, I always leave an itinerary, check in at the ranger station if applicable and review guide books where available. Trail maps and memoirs or previous hikers are equally important for planning the longer hikes.

I do all these things because if I do, I get to relax and have fun AND I get to live to hike again. I now know how to read weather signs, and what bugs, plants and predators are waiting in the areas I hike, what they look like and how they sound and how best to respond if encountered.

Experience has taught me how to safely plan my outdoor fun.

Unfortunately I have been less careful about my relationship journey.  These next few posts are my memoir style guide-book to how I ended up lost and also how I am finding my way back to me.

Step One. Pay attention to what you see and hear and watch for consistency.

I am a trusting person, because I try extremely hard to be a trustworthy person. In fact I can be annoyingly observant and honest. So when I see the behavioral equivalent of a homeless campsite or cigarette butt hangout on my walk with somebody, I say “Hey, look at this, I don’t think this is a safe place for me to be alone.”

The problem is, I am more trusting of external input in relationships than I am of my instincts. If they respond with, “don’t be silly that’s nothing to worry about, I am cleaning that up now.” Or worse yet because I am an instinctual nurturer, “Wow, thanks. I never looked at it that way before, thank you. Can you help me clean it up” Instead of leaving, I am hooked.

So to put this is in less allegorical terms, my new rule number one is watch for signs of honesty and trust my gut.

For example: He tells everyone he is 5’8″ and he is shorter than you and you know you are 5’5″, and he clearly believes his lie (I mean I joke about being 39 but don’t expect you to believe it), avoid this man.

He tells the same well-practiced stories but is consistently unable or unwilling to answer direct questions about himself, his history, his beliefs, his life in general. If it feels like he is hiding things, guess what, he is. Avoid this man.

The stories he tells always cast himself in heroic light, he is defensive about anything that in any way pokes fun at himself and yet enjoys laughing at others. Avoid this man.

In other words, Narcissists are extremely good at deception. The person they deceive the most is themselves, and they do believe their lies, they also know how to read others and explain hitting all their victims buttons, so it is harder to spot as lying.

A sure key you are dating a dangerous narcissist is that all problems are someone else’s responsibility or fault. He doesn’t get angry, of course, because that would be a fault, but he will jokingly despise and hate lots and lots of things. Clearly his tastes and his opinions are the ones that matter, when he does give an opinion, those who disagree are just not as “special” as him.

In the beginning you (I) will be on a pedestal and immune from that blame, and all the right words will let me (you) know how special you are (of course you are, you are with him) but as the relationship progresses and you (I) become a bigger part of his life, that acerbic wit and occasionally glimpsed and unacknowledged rage will be directed at you.

So avoid this man.

Consider a relationship trail with a man or woman like this closed for snakes.

Time to get ready for work after a nice shower and Tara Meditation. My new essential oil is Forgive! (because I AM truly angry that I was raped) and I will clear my Karma, because I acknowledge I have no one else to blame for my choices, but I can learn to choose differently.

 

 

(Just Like) Starting Over

So much to say, so much to share that all the words and thoughts run into each other and tumble pell-mell into a mental smoothie,  which I reread, and decide to delete.  So my first commitment to reader and self, is I will not delete this post.  But warning, there are triggers in this for those who have been abused.

“It is time to spread our wings and fly..Just like starting over..” was the soundtrack for my hike yesterday. (Hey NPR had a whole show on how this is a real thing, not that I needed proof it was real, but who doesn’t love validation.)  John Lennon was talking about a woman and rekindling the relationship, my heart was singing to Father Sky and Mother Earth, the best friends, family and lover that I have ever embraced, neglected or ignored.

No prose, poem or picture could convey the world I walked in the last two days. The two hiking spots are only 20 minutes apart but different altitude zones and could be on different planets.

The first was aspen, pine and lake view, heavily travelled, partially paved and hardly hiking. The crows were plentiful, gophers, chipmunks, cacti and unfortunately trash were pretty much everywhere. I strolled through nature’s mall smiling and greeting visitors from literally all over the world on their way back to Phoenix from the Grand Canyon. Took a dozen group pics at least with phones, pads and cameras. No language barrier exists when you smile and pantomime, and gratitude and laughter have no nationality.

The second hike was around the cone of a volcanic eruption, higher elevation meant constant wind, scrub pines and few cacti, birds or visible mammals. Instead it was the spirits posing as upended roots and laughing rock faces from which the insects, lizards and the tiniest snake I have ever seen peeked out to see who was intruding on their spring festivities.  No pavement here and one very steep incline. A forest fire was frighteningly visible downwind from the crest.

I have not given up planning for and dreaming of doing first the Arizona Trail and then the full Appalachian Trail.

I am definitely NOT thinking about romance. Everything is always so perfect until it isn’t, and the most recent surface charmer gave me clues he was a dishonest, narcissistic abuser but he would claim such good intentions and play my kind heart like a well-practiced piano, and I would forgive him.

I was foolish and paid a high price for this education.

“No, never!” means the same regardless of how far a relationship has advanced.  He claims it was an accident, he was carried away in the moment, he loves to tell the story emphasizing the fact I have PTSD from my time in the military.

He should know, Early in our relationship I shared my most horrific adult memory, a trust I had to that point only shown to my therapist, I was the first woman in my field and an officer and local spiritual leader assaulted me and I was told that if I pursued and action my military career and future would be over. It was more than 30 years ago, and the story I realize too common even now that things are beginning to change.

So imagine my shock and devastation when his arms held my arms down and he ignored my protests and did to me what I had said would never happen again.

I was in shock. I had just officially moved in with him, I had no place to go, I was the common denominator, it must somehow be my fault, he was crying and saying he was sorry, I couldn’t think. I couldn’t feel. Because if I let go the numb even a tiny bit, the pain would destroy me.

I was ashamed. What was wrong with me?! How could I be here again?

This was December. Merry Christmas.

The interesting thing about narcissists is they are very believable because they believe their own lies, Whether it’s the 5’5″ man saying he is 5’8″ or the same guy telling you and the world that he is just doing his best and that he loves and cherishes me and I am just broken. And like my father he is the kindest, smoothest, most generous and charming man in the world until he isn’t, then after the damage is done he is all tears and apologies and please help me be better.

Except that is not my job.

And it is the greater cruelty to even ask me to help you be okay with raping me. Because that is what you did is called. Straight up honesty, and somewhere under the darkness and shame we both know it.

So it is embarrassing to say, it took me until I was hiking this weekend to absorb the frog in the boiling pan way I ended up in the same place, the same relationship space, where I am literally taking care of a cruel, conscienceless child man and calling it love.

I don’t wish him any ill. Whatever seed of Karma was maturing between us has flowered and I pray that he will gain honest self-awareness and finally pursue happiness instead of fleeting pleasure at the expense of all others. I pray for him what I pray for all of us: self-awareness; compassion and the self-love that comes from placing others first; physical, mental, and spiritual health; abundance.

There are details to clean up of money and possessions, the worldly detritus of broken commitment, but I am done and out and healing. Finally.

Not that I don’t find myself missing the way he made me feel like I was the world, or the safety of saying I was part of a couple in a world that values a woman more in a relationship, and trying to find an excuse or perspective that would let me go back there again.

Because that is how it works.

Ask any abuser or previously abused person.

But now that it is here, in black and white, I won’t go back.

And maybe one other strong, independent, smart woman like me will forgive herself for ending up falling for and staying too long with  a narcissist and find the strength to leave.