Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Social Blues

I'm fighting the blues about vaccine plans and COVID. While we all get better at living lives removed from one another, it's also hard. With the way things have gone it is likely to be a year before life gets back to socializing safely again.

In response to this I went out for fresh mochi this morning. It felt excessive going for this special thing when we didn't need groceries.

It was delicious and worth the effort, although I felt over tired.

Yes, staying up past one AM regularly had something to do with being tired.

And yet, it has more to do with feeling soul weary of pulling on my respirator and yelling to be heard at all through it. Weary of feeling like every trip or is fraught with mortal peril. Missing the beach and the mountains.

I napped some, Bertie was really happy about that choice. After talking with a dear friend we had Japanese bowls for dinner. I felt ashamed for not working in our yard while the sun shined, but I truly felt done in despite my nap?


Going Back

Today (1/22) I finally emptied out the van of all the hazardous materials, household goods donations, and bags of cat food and a bin of warm clothing and boots for an organization serving the houseless community. The last of my rounds of collecting stuff from many different friends to reduce trips for COVID safety. I also managed to buy us freshly made salad rolls and tofu since one donation site was near our favorite tofu shop.

Our van is now EMPTY and we can get lumber for a project CK wants to work on. Then it will start filling up again as I continue to identify things to get rid of. It felt really good to take care of all this today. I even managed to drop off some salad rolls at a friend's house; she's been feeling a little blue so I thought a tasty surprise would be helpful.

The hazardous goods have to be taken to a transfer station and the closest one is on the outskirts of Oregon City a small town I lived in as a child. It sits adjacent to an even smaller little town called Gladstone. I lived in Gladstone between the ages of 5 and 7.

Not long ago I came across a rare treasure, a letter from my childhood. A short card from President Jimmy Carter. I'd come across it before, even showing it to CK at one point. Only this time I'm in the middle of trauma therapy for the age I was when letter was sent to me. The envelope is addressed.

I looked it up when I found it and looked on the Google Street View. The apartments were still there!

Today, as I drove to the transfer station and drove past the offramp for Gladstone, it hit me that I was so close by! I'd talked to my therapist about going to visit some of the places I lived as a kid, some of the places where I found refuge for myself.

To go home from the transfer station I head toward Gladstone. Today I just kept driving past the onramp and on into Gladstone. I'd guessed right, I was just a few minutes away! I found the apartments, they are both smaller and sadder than I remember them being. There is a fence along the back; you can no longer easily access the creek that runs behind them where I played so much.

I drove from there right to the house we moved to; about 4 blocks away. I then drove right to the elementary school, passing the Lutheran church I went to for Sunday school and service (cheap childcare in the summer too with Bible Camp). The school is .6 miles from the house. The apartments are just .1 mile and I used to cut across the sports field that's still there.

I'm struck at how close together it really all is. Then I recall I was a 5-7 year old walking these paths, often alone.

I'll go back again and walk around more, but with CK with me for real support. This is the first time I've gone back this way, it was OK and not overwhelming, but I also felt done in when I got home.

We ate salad rolls and pan seared fried tofu for dinner with the peanut sauce I'd made earlier in the week. I had no other energy to do more. I'm so grateful that CK is fine with dinners like this sometimes.


400,000 and Climbing

There was a memorial last night (1/19) marking the 400,000 life lost to COVID. Today the CDC website showed it, even though we knows we've been here a few days now.

The thing about the inauguration that most brought tears to my eyes was the large, solemn gentleman who carefully cleaned the podium between people using it unmasked. Closely followed by the way people put a mask back on as soon as they finished.

To see it taken seriously in such a public way felt healing.

I feel like I'm holding my breath for summer militia response, but so far there's been nothing but continued arrests for the January 6 insurrection.

I remain gobsmacked by Amanda Gorman's poem. That's a nice change.

I finally made a budget of all my monthly expenses today AND shared it with CK. I have three months of it saved up. By March we'll sort out how to make it work. Since summer is old credit card debt, it will go down!

Tomorrow we'll get the 2017 tax letter written so Friday I can send it off.

Then we'll tackle the next thing, 2018 taxes.


For, Not Against

A couple of weeks ago at therapy I was sharing my, per usual, mixed response to the good news about my cardiac calcium test.

Things I read about the test noted that when that score hits 400 there's discussion about interventions involving exercise and diet.

My score was zero.

I honestly never considered that would even be a possibility. We're still going to test my cholesterol to see if the supplement I've been taking to address it has had any positive effects. If it has, I'll keep taking it just to be on the safe side.

I'm 51 and over 18 years ago I decided that I was going to tackle my family history of heart disease and my high cholesterol on my own.

I also thought I was going to help my back pain get better. By 2001 I'd already lost a bunch of weight, so I dug in.

I lost over 150 pounds. I kept off around 130 of that. I regained about 40 pounds, but then lost 20 or so pounds of that in the past couple of years as I've passed menopause. The numbers are a little vague because I stopped using a scale a couple of years ago.

There was part of that weight loss that involved really disordered eating behaviors. That deserves multiple posts by itself.

The net result was that it worked. I got all kinds of wonderful feedback and accolades for doing it. No one thought it was weird that I spent hours of every day absolutely obsessed about food because my cholesterol went down and the weight came off. I was my doctor's ONLY success story of personal lifestyle change affecting cholesterol.

Then, poof, I passed menopause and my cholesterol popped up. This test was to see if there was really anything to worry about and, clearly, I can relax a little.

Yet, here I am, unable to celebrate my good news. Again.

I "won" and I don't feel it.

I mentioned it to my therapist. How it almost is as if I don't know what to do if I'm not actively pushing against the examples set by my horrible family. I've used them as a kind of backstop from which I can blast away from.

Now that I've blasted on past any of the health expectations I was haunted by growing up, I don't know what to do!

My therapist wondered if I had to keep them as what I'm always resisting, pushing back against them, pushing myself further away from them.

What if I used that energy to work for myself?

Today in our session it came up at the end in being able to see how I sought out help and resources in the form of neighbors, concerned teachers, a pastor's wife, museum staff, librarians from all over, and more. When I was doing that and other self-soothing & emotionally regulating activities, it wasn't pushing against my family, I was seeking outward to support myself.

I'm going to keep focusing on this shift. I've moved so far past my terrible family that I don't have to fight them, I only have to keep moving myself forward.


Hoping Machine

Woody Guthrie used the phrase "Hoping Machine" in his lyrics and his resolutions. We, our hearts, are those machines.

I'm reminding myself of this because my heart feels heavy and my chest tight. My hoping machine feels slow and quiet. A bunch of chores and a couple of errands done helps me feel more settled, plus CK and the creatures.

I feel like the weekend was suspiciously quiet likewise demonstrations that happened today. The usual white people inappropriately quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Are we in the eye of the hurricane?

I picked up groceries today, getting more tomorrow in addition to therapy. Yet more as the week progresses.

Unless there's civil unrest, then we'll deal with all the things I've already stocked up.


Pests of All Sorts

Our day included discovering ants had found a stash of cough drops and dog training treats. Then that a rat had found food CK had packed in a bag back in March, but didn't eat and forgot about.

There was also a lot of laundry. Thankfully we had leftovers for dinner.

I've been having a day where nothing I get done feels like I've made enough progress. That jerk brain is still right below the surface, ready to criticize.

Then, I got a shivery overwhelm feeling when a trauma memory triggered. As far as those go, it wasn't the worst. It still wasn't what I needed going into inauguration week.


Six More Months

A friend posted a question on a social media site today asking what people were doing today to prepare for another six months of socially isolating for safety.

It hit me kind of hard.

I know that's what we're looking at, but something about seeing it worded the way it was gave me a big wave of woe and despair.

In just under three months it will be a year of distancing.

Maybe by summer enough of our friends will be vaccinated and we can have a party.


Soup & Sympathy

I have our pantry stocked well enough that, with the weekly produce delivery, I don't need to go out much. As COVID grows more highly contagious, this is a real benefit to keeping us healthy.

Today was going to be a rare excursion for some specialty food items; mostly tofu from the best tofu shop in town. It's nearly 10 miles across town and is worth the effort. I also planned a vegan donut indulgence.

More motivation for the trip was to take some frozen soup to a friend whose Dad died on Monday. I've been stocking up our freezer when I make stuff, so it makes it easy to share.

I got to the donut shop and CK called to tell me my wallet was on the coffee table!!

A outage of the messenging app many friends use meant no one knew my plans either! I unexpectedly showed up at our friend's place, but it was a good surprise.


Too Tired to Think

I want to write about what's been kicking around my head since therapy last week, learning how to focus on working for myself as opposed to always seeing myself as working against my family.

It has to do with how I'm feeling nearly 18 years after deciding to work on my heart health. Pushing against the examples in my family of origin and doing what's nearly impossible; losing over 130 pounds and lowering my cholesterol without medication.

Anyway, I have to go back to that sometime. Since the coup attempt last week it's been hard to make my brain sort out my thoughts.

My brain is focused on what should be restocked in the event there is civil unrest next week.

It's exhausting.

The kitten, who is nearly cat sized, helps us both. He and Bertie played wildly together this evening, making us both laugh.


What Fresh Hell

Today began with seeing a post from my teacher sharing that she had COVID.

Then a friend shared that her Dad died Monday from cancer. Alone at the hospital because of COVID.

T* was impeached again.

I finished my clean up of the utility room. The floor could use mopping, multiple passes, but it's been swept well and looks much better. I hauled a big bag of trash from the basement out to the bin and another from the garage. I also got a big stack of cardboard out for recycling too.

I mostly avoided news until the evening, when CK and I could partake, discuss, and integrate together. Cleaning took most of the afternoon and I managed a little work on budget stuff.

Then I found out my closest college friend woke up with a fever, cough, and chills. She's professional caregiver and just received word about her vaccination. She's awaiting results from a COVID test and isolating in her home, away from her family.