Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Saturday Success

I taught another online workshop today! I moved my annual Meditation for Beginners workshop online and it went pretty well.

Zoom isn't the way to go with registration. 3 people each accessed a different way, 2 trying alternates after having problems with the email they were sent. 1 couple couldn't ever get on and we went to a backup number!

This meant we started a half hour late. I had anxiety sweat halfway to my waist! Despite that I just asked if people could stay longer and we got underway.

I'm learning more each time I do one. Next month I'm not using Zoom to process registrations.

Then lots of support for CK ad she created a timeline of micro, and outright, aggressions from one source at work. It's pretty exhausting stuff, so I'm trying to make sure there's comforting meals, listen, sympathize, and read stuff as needed.

It's a good distraction from worrying about new COVID strains as we stop have no idea when we're up in the vaccination process. Ursa's an even better distraction, he's guilty cat shaped and still growing!


Friday Feels

It's been a tiring week. CK has a lot of work stress brought on by a mediocre white, male manager. Thankfully her team really supports her, but it's still exhausting to help her take care for herself in it all.

I'm tired of the usual games white men play and of COVID. I don't even have the energy to get properly angry about it all.

The taxes are in again. A small group signed up for my workshop, so that's happening tomorrow. I spent today updating my handout to talk about what at home people can use for supporting meditation.

I got us takeout to celebrate making out to Friday and getting the taxes in again. When I got home I discovered ants had overrun the kitchen sink! Then I found two things in the fridge that were still supposed to be good were questionable. By the time I tried to dish up I was disgusted by the very idea of food!

I got over it and we hung out discussing the over-confidant white man while gaming.

I am finishing up a card that's going to London. I'm the rematch for someone who's card never showed up and I'm sending the one I made along with a Portland themed holiday card and a letter about Portland, the thing this person asked for.


Wisdom on Wednesday

Moved ever closer to sending taxes! We're being sure to get a Certificate of Mailing to prove it was sent, this can only be obtained in a post office.

I checked with the local UPS Store and they confirmed this, with apologies! I was then given advice to not go at the time I was calling, around 2:30pm, because the neighborhood post office is busy in the afternoon.

Pre COVID I'd have gone and listened to something while waiting out the line. It's just a queue.

Now I'm taking the advice to go when they open at 8:30 tomorrow. Not my favorite thing to do, but it will reduce exposure and I'll be home to teach in time.

I was grumpy today because my sinuses hurt which makes me slow. This means I didn't get to make happy checkmarks of accomplishment in the calendar journal. Which means my head hurts and I feel like I'm not doing my share of the work.

I am grateful today for the arrival of a new electric kettle! It should be more impervious to ants and looks snazzy!


Tuesday Tasks

It turns out that I'm kind of loving the household calendar / diary!

I even geeked out over it with CK and she noted that she's not seen me this energetic about a tool like this before! We talked about how to leverage using it together, even though I'm the primary owner. I also thought of putting my appointments in it so she has a way to check in on stuff without needing to look at a device.

I got the 2017 tax response package nearly ready. I just want CK to review it at lunch tomorrow. I'll get a return receipt for it this time!

I hope it won't be an icy mess tomorrow after unexpected snow arrived today! Less than a half inch, not enough to make a mess if it freezes.

I also ploughed through finding gaps in my 2018 taxes. CK scanned stuff so tomorrow I'll categorize and give documents good names. Then I'll export my details and get it all uploaded. Then we can figure out what's missing.

Now to keep this energy going!

Journal page celebrating a garden in my Animal Crossing New Horizons game. Playing with markers and growing confidence with quick sketches. I'm pleased with the trees.


Mixed Monday

The day started with a bump for CK; someone else decided to leave her team. It's uncomfortable right now, made worse by the interim manager.

I had good news from a student. Then I had great news from the Employment Division; I was automatically moved to another round of benefits! There's eleven weeks to pay out!

I'll keep banking what I get from students. This should take me into summer between benefits and what I can save up.

I decided to use the beautiful desk calendar. It can help me keep better track of stuff I need to do, maybe help me bring focus to things I want to do, and I'm making journal notes. I'm noting how I slept, what media I consumed, what might stand out, and what dinner was!


A Collection of Calendars + Shame

We slept in this morning. I'm really grateful we aren't awakened daily at 6am by an anxious cat who never could soothe himself. Ursa mews when he hears us up and starting to move, but not earlier.

Despite the late start I felt like I'd nod off just about every time I sat down. COVID times have me feeling so weary and emotional.

I got this fancy desk calendar in this month's art blind box, Maido-in-Box, and I'm undecided about using it. It is undated, so I can start using it whenever I feel like and go forward from whatever Day One is. I can decide without a clock ticking.

I'm undecided because I stopped using paper calendars a while ago. They were heavy and added to the weight in my bag. This one is designed to be more of a journal than a date book, it has a section just for tracking habits, and pages it suggests for sketches.

Since I have already begun two art projects for the year, including my handmade journal each month, I worry that I don't need another daily thing I'm trying to do. Adding these posts is also something I added in the past year.

Then again, I'm creating a whole new life again. Maybe a journal that helps direct my goals and projects as a hausfraĆ¼ might be really valuable!

Since I'm having such a mixed reaction to the book, and feel like the box had a real miss to it, I'm feeling guilty about buying it. I splurged on the deluxe box and the fancy calendar journal was a big part of the extra cost.

It also came with an adorable, playing cards sized calendar. I bought myself a desktop calendar for Christmas. Then I ordered one from an artist online, which already felt overindulgent. Now having a tiny desk calendar and this journal thingy arrive adds to my sense of overspending!


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.