Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


End of August

Obie has lost five pounds since January, it's not good. We also can't seem to get control of his vomiting so today her got in to our vet. His kidneys are small and he has a golf ball sized, but not density, in his abdomen.

They took blood samples and more will be known tomorrow when the results are in. We're really hoping for hyperthyroidism.

A good friend, who happens to be something of an expert on disaster prepared, started off the day noting that she felt it wouldn't be a bad idea to prepare for civil unrest in November after the election. Prepare to lose power in late Autumn, have food stocked up, first aid supplies and a radio.

It's left me feeling down today. Amazingly I recorded a video and sent out a newsletter, and people found it helpful. The patches I took to the post office have started to arrive and people liked them.

Trying to keep all that in mind and not the rest of it; it will be there in the morning.


Another Body at a Protest

I'm pointedly staying away from social media right now. Tonight someone was killed in Portland during the protests. Tonight a right-wing group met at the Clackamas Town Center and drove into downtown Portland, shooting paintballs at people, spraying mace at people.

In the midst of all of this I'm trying to focus on feeding us simple meals today. Whiles CK napped I took nearly 1000 patches, across nearly 140 separate envelopes, to the post office. I also sent a strap and a handmade eye pillow off to a student who lives in Ohio. That's been waiting on me for a few weeks now. I put some origami cranes in with it too and a note.

We'll get to the hammock tomorrow. CK spent yesterday trying to stay alert and she was more tired and anxious today. I have had the patch and yoga prop mailing hanging over my head for weeks, so getting all that to the post office felt good. I also picked up our mail, checks, birthday cards, and a present from a student were waiting for me!

The anxiety we both felt seeing the convoy of Trump supporters was going through town with guns was pretty high. CK suggested we play a game on the bed; pretend camping. We played Hanabi which is lovely, doesn't need to stay perfectly in place, and is collaborative rather than competitive. It wasn't a total disaster when Bertie jumped up in the middle.

I'm hoping I can make plans for a couple of socially distant walks with friends this week. I'm thinking of making a trip through southeast next week to drop off another set of supplies with a friend and some small gifts for a friend who's not only doing regular compiling of the reporting on the protests in Portland, but has been going through a breakup as well.


Shopping Joy

It's already my birthday because I am, once again, up well past midnight. Pandemic Night Owl, that's for sure. I did decide I'd sleep better after a shower and that I wanted to wake up to a clean kitchen. These are often reasons I'm up late.

I spent some money frivolously today. I'd ordered a Japanese stationery blind box last month and it arrived just in time for my birthday. The website kept autocorrecting my home address, giving it the wrong zip code, so I opted to pick my box up in person at the downtown Kinokuniya Bookstore. I'd still not visited and this seemed like the perfect match up.

CK even suggested I get blind box toys for myself for my birthday since she hadn't thought to order any and doesn't go out anymore.

Side note; such a safe shopping experience! They check your temperature when you come in, as you're cleaning your hands off with a squirt of hand sanitizer they give you upon coming into the foyer of the store! No one messing around with a partial mask either! That alone made me delighted to spend an hour wandering around!

I also got art supplies for myself; cool dot pens and a tiny alphabet stamp set. I found some gifts for friends, I'm planning to mail some things out soon to people to lift their spirits.

My Mother really shopped for comfort and had truly boggling quantities of clothing, nicknacks, and all kinds of personal care products. There were other things too, bought and hoarded but never really enjoyed.

Retail Therapy is such an accepted thing, but it has certainly got me into trouble in my 20s and 30s. Our capitalist society is all of putting holidays and furniture on credit. I try not to fall for it anymore, it really doesn't help and things don't always give me the kind of joy I'm needing.

Today though, it was a frivolous spend and a bit of money. I've already been playing with the dot pens in my art journal and had a blast opening up all the blind box toys. The Maido-in-a-Box was so worth it, I was hesitant about the next one as the theme is ink and calligraphy. This one, "Back to School", is so thoughtfully done that I'm inclined to get it. I also remembered that lettering is something I want to improve on.


Wisconsin and Guns

I was deeply saddened, but unsurprised, to wake to the news that 2 people had been killed last night in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I'm grateful it wasn't worse. I'm livid at the sheriff there who suggests that protestors brought it on by being out past curfew. I'm also enraged at all the cops who encouraged militia members and gave the murderer a pass, plus gentle treatment. I'm sickened by the news media who show a white terrorist doing community works before killing people while painting an innocent man, repeatedly shot in the back in front of his children, as a criminal.

Oregon has a lot of problems with militias and racism. We have Proud Boys and people putting nails in shields to bash into Black Lives Matter protestors. We had them here this past weekend aiming guns at people and spraying bear mace.

Wisconsin though, they have the same militia problem AND they have whole bunches of people who think it is their duty to open carry while picking up groceries. Granted, the murderer was a 17-year-old cop wanna-be who came up from Illinois.

Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin; all of these states have the same issue. Too many people wanting to make a political statement by wearing a gun to dinner.

Years ago, when I was engaged to my second husband, we went back to Waukesha, Wisconsin, where he was from. Multiple events were planned for me to meet his family and friends. One small dinner party, 6 people including the two of us, had a conflict because one of my fiancée's friends was one of these open carry activists and I didn't want a handgun at the table during dinner, even holstered. The dinner was being held at another friend's, where we were staying, and there were numerous guns in the house already!

What strikes me is how he tried to talk me into just letting the friend wear his handgun into the house for dinner. Why couldn't I understand Wisconsin folks more, after all, I'd gone to college there? I was just so accustomed to people gaslighting me this way I ignored that, dug in and insisted that there were already enough guns.


Violences of All Kinds

I woke up in the early morning hours and was just getting back to sleep when CK, who had sat up in bed, said aloud, "Justin Townes Earle is dead."

We both have this memory of introducing each other to the music of Justin Townes Earle, who she got into, and Steve Earle, who I was into, as part of our courtship. It was probably a few years into our relationship she realized later, looking at the dates of JTE's releases.

This news set a gray tone over the day. CK noted that for whatever reason, this celebrity death was hitting her hard. I thought a lot about intergenerational trauma and how it robs people of their ability to feel connected. I thought about TJ, how close in age we were and how he didn't make it out. I'm so grateful for the ways I found to cultivate resiliency, I managed to avoid the addictions that were modeled for me.

We have been worried about friends and family in California. Just as one fire near my mother-in-law was contained another has started. I'm grateful our fire season has been so mild so far.

Today I heard that a member of the soccer patch community I belonged to was assaulted by cops last night, awoke in an ambulance and is now home covered in bruises and with a concussion. Part of me is surprised it has taken this long for someone I know to experience police brutality during the uprisings here. I'm grateful that it's taken so long and I'm also full of rage and grief at the state of the police.

Then another Black man shot in the back repeatedly by cops over the weekend. This time in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which is about 90 minutes from where I went to college. The man lived, but is now paralyzed from the waist down. There are uprisings there and the more police violence as the response.

I keep thinking about a series of tweets from Black activist Brittany Packnett asking how many times do white people need to "bear witness" to the brutalization and murder of Black people, particularly by cops, before we do something about it. Postcards of lynchings date back to the 1880's, I didn't know about this until I was a young adult. I was so surprised, now I know better.

I'm glad I'm taking a break this weekend and glad I'm cutting down to 2 weekends a month, but I'm committed to holding space for the Yoga of Freedom classes. If people want to study with me on Saturdays it's going to come with a side of social justice. Getting more white people to talk about this without having to ask a Black person to unpack it for them is vital and is something I can keep doing.

It feels like so little, but I'm keeping in mind that this past Saturday a student in her early 70's shared that she'd always thought herself to be, "a gentle, kind person", but coming to the class has helped her see that she does have a lot of biases about race and how people look. She said it's been very eyeopening and is helping her realize that she's got work to do!



I'm not good at staycation. I can't let go of all the stuff that needs doing in our house. The to-do list I never seem to get far enough with because I'm doing something else like teaching, doing stuff with friends, and resting. Not being able to even get the house cleaned up feeds my feelings of unworthiness

I realized this was driving my urgency to go away for my birthday. I don't want to see all the things I feel behind on. That's the appeal of going away.

Instead I'm going to practice resting without shame, less shame. That's a big order for my birthday week, but the pandemic continues to make everything more difficult.

Today CK surprised me with an early gift, a complicated tabletop game that's based on a role playing game I played in college! There's an option to play solo too. She suggested I use some of my time off this week to learn how to play and teach her on Friday.


Plodding Along

I didn't sleep really well last night, I also had stayed up past 1:30am, and wasn't able to sleep in on account of Obie wanting food and my needing to go to the bathroom. If I get up at all when Obie's on the prowl, he's away at full yowl until fed. I even tried to give him some kibble, but it didn't help.

I avoided napping today in hopes it would help me get to bed earlier. I am actually closer to getting to bed by midnight tonight. I've already boxed, done the chores I'm doing tonight, and brushed my teeth. Just putting up this update and a little bedtime meditation.

Obie, who it turns out has developed a sensitive stomach, threw up some of his dinner. He ate a little of his bedtime meal, but not all, and now is yowling at me because he's still hungry. I don't want to give him more or any of the kibble, in case that's what caused him to throw up some dinner; he'd had kibble at 4:15 this afternoon. I think the kibble has trout in it and he definitely can't have salmon.

Despite my plodding energy all day, I found a new CSA delivery to start the 1st of September. I'm finding more ways to have things delivered to us to save me both the time and the stress of going out to shop. I also got quite a bit of laundry done.

And despite all of that I'm feeling so angry tonight. Boxing didn't give me a break from it. I'm glad I did it and was happy to see that the new technique of blocking is easier for me than the walking movements are. Usually it helps my feeling ragey, but not tonight. Obie isn't helping.


Strange Celebrations

I attended the 50th birthday celebration of a college friend via Animal Crossing tonight. Several folks who also play attended and it was very sweet.

With my own birthday less than a week away, I'm trying to decide what I might like to do without going anywhere or seeing much of anyone. Zoom birthday happy hour, like we did for CK? Animal Crossing play? Physically distant visits from friends to the backyard?

CK suggested tonight that I investigate produce delivery again. Once again peaches picked and packaged by Freddie's have bruises before ripening, one so badly it's not really usable. She's all for more expense with less trips for me since they are both time consuming and stressful.


Impending Birthday

I realized that in one week I'll be 51. I'm taking a few days off and we're going to try to truly staycation for my birthday, not try to pack it with household tasks.

I've felt pretty spent today, I'm not helped by falling into some of our low shrubs at 4:45 this morning trying to stop Bertie from foraging for apples during an urgent potty break. I also walked into spider webs, so my early morning hours were not ideal.

While my emotions were not running along to weeping at every turn today, I still am feeling a lot of grief for the state of the world right now. Between the disaster of this presidency continues to unfold daily in new ghoulishness, and the pandemic that doesn't seem to be slowing down because people are still largely ignoring safety precautions, I'm feeling despair.

This also means our tenth wedding anniversary is just around the corner. We're picking out a new greenhouse to mark the occasion. We found out that the 10th anniversary is the Aluminum Anniversary and the greenhouse frame is made from it. I want to get or have us make a plaque for it.

I'm trying to focus on ideas I have to make our staycation anniversary special and how grateful I am to be here. I found out we can get all of the dog and cat food, aside from the special food Obie eats from the vet, delivered to the house for free. Finding more ways to keep me out of stores.

I'm also going to reduce my Saturday classes, the Yoga of Freedom, to 2 weekends a month starting next month. Facilitating social justice discussing for white people online, plus yoga and presenting a new voice each class as a theme, turns out to be really tiring. Doing this will make it so there's one weekend each month where I don't have any planned facilitation or teaching of any kind.



Another day that felt so hard. I'm sticking with therapy hangover and the ongoing stress of living in a pandemic managed by ghouls. This evening everything felt too sharp and made me start to cry.

I really dislike crying. Partially it's due to the fact that I was punished often for crying, for being too dramatic, and called a "cry baby". I was rewarded for masking my emotions and being as inscrutable as possible. This combination makes marriage hard and I've been really digging deep to unlearn these antipatterns, as CK calls them.

The other reason I really loathe crying is that it always turns my mucus production way up. As if my tear ducts sent out a signal to produce all the snot possible. This results in my having terrible sinus pain, complete with slight swelling.

So, it not only feels scary, vulnerable, and fraught with shame, it also physically is miserable. I've never been able to fully appreciate the experience of a "good cry", it never feels cathartic, it feels like I lost a battle and my head hurts.

I realized that I'm feeling a lot of grief about our tenth wedding anniversary next month. As much as I'm thinking of ideas to make it special at home, I'm really sad we can't safely go anywhere.

Home, with chores that never get done, feels like such a task I'm not equal to. I need so many naps and breaks to play video games, that there's never a sense of the house being done. Not even for an hour. Part of me just wants a couple of days away where everything's done and I don't have to see the never ending list of things to fix or clean. I want to not be awakened by Obie yowling at me, as much as his not doing it makes me worry.

I'm also feeling shameful about my grief. We have a beautiful home, a big yard which we're turning back into a secret garden oasis, and plenty of space that we both get solitude. Our financial needs are met thanks to CK's job. She loves her job and finds it very satisfying a year after being there. We, as we approach 10 years of marriage, are doing better than we have in years, the pandemic is good for us in many ways.

With so much positive happening, it feels wrong to be overwhelmed by grief because we can't go on a vacation next month.

I'm trying to do the thing where I approach my hurting, angry self as if it is a student who's having a lousy day. What would I say to that student, how would I remind them that some days we just feel all the grief.

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