Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Good Hard Opportunity

I was offered an opportunity to learn how to recognize signs of suicidal ideation in older adults and steer someone skillfully to appropriate assistance. It's a workshop targeted at folks who work with elders and the organizer knows me, they extended an invitation yesterday.

I spent a little time moving a physical therapy session I had scheduled at the same time. I had something two weeks out, but by the end of the day the wait list yielded a session next week at a time that works better.

I'm truly grateful to have this come up. I see so much depression showing up for folks of all ages. As the reality of Pandemic Year Two sinks in people are feeling all the isolation and despairing.

My therapist shared yesterday that the rate of suicide attempts showing up at hospitals is shocking and is mostly children. A recent weekend saw 10 people admitted, all children. Two older people is the usual. It keeps getting worse and calls Child Protective Services are way down because teachers aren't seeing students the same way.

All that drives Oregon's decision to push teachers to be vaccinated first even though kids can't be vaccinated. This decision drives older adults further down the list to get vaccinated and depression rates are jumping up.

It's continuous, national trauma without a real end in sight and mutations around every corner. I'm grateful to get yet a little more training in helping people survive this.

In ordinary, but delightful, news, Ursa gnawed on my arm until he knocked his second baby fang out. It was equally gross and endearing.


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!


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.


New Year Nesting

I cleaned up cobwebs and sentient dust brings from the office downstairs. Then I vacuumed. I organized the storage area in a way that will enable us to have origami paper easy to get to. I also folded towels and put fresh linens on the bed!

A gift I ordered for CK for Christmas, a stunning light, arrived with a small chip. The expense was such, and it was a gift, that I told the company about it. Today a another lamp set arrived, no need to send back the slightly damaged one!!!

We'd considered a second for my side of the bed because CK set her gift up her side, loving the way it provided indirect, low light, and is a small sculpture. Now we have two!

This also meant a pair of small lamps, over if which I'd used in the bedroom, became altar lights. I love how it looks at the light it gives me while meditating is great!

I also got a reply to a difficult letter I sent last month; a company changed their bag-check policy after I had a terrible experience being told I had to check my wallet because wearing it on my body, as opposed to in a pocket, made it a "purse"

That feels HUGE!!

I'm sure I'll ache a lot when I wake up, but I feel good about what over accomplished!


Gifts Are Go!

I sent out 3 handmade cards, two with little packages of stickers, and a small parcel today. Today was the deadline to post Secret Santa items for the Reddit exchange. When I got home my own package was waiting for me!

It's been fun taking part of it, I'm definitely doing it again! I was sent a huge Star Wars comic collection, something I'd not have thought of getting myself.

Tonight we put together packages to send to CK's family and very close friend. I'll send them tomorrow. I also worked on gift bags for local friends and a couple more small parcels to ship.

Ursa helped.

It's been fun this year creating these packages for our extended family. We picked out things together, CK handmade one special item, and it's helping us feel more connected.

A good first day off! Although I forgot to do my boxing!


Secret Santa Stuff

Today I got the names of the people I'm sending a holiday card to and a Secret Santa gift to through the Reddit Secret Santa. It's been such a lousy year, and it's been pretty delightful to surprise people with cards, so I signed up.

CK thought about doing it too, but was feeling like too much is going on for her. It's really busy at work for her, in a good way, but she didn't want to add something else to her stack.

I suggested that she help me make sure I send an awesome gift out, that we could share in the fun. We both liked this idea a lot!

Today's match put me with a younger Dad, with 5 kids, who loves Magic the Gathering! This is CK's favorite game, one we play a lot together. I sent some questions CK suggested to him to help us pick a gift.

Our ornaments for 2020 arrived today too, bringing us a lot of delight.

In the meantime a 37 year-old died in Multnomah Country today. Two days after testing positive for COVID. They were asymptomatic. I begin to think that we'll still be doing the sheltering in place well into spring of 2021.

People were unable to stay home for Halloween or Thanksgiving. They won't for Christmas and New Year's either.


The Big Gift

We finally got the old couch hauled away and about a week later the new couch arrived. We put it together last night. It isn’t an upgrade, but it’s such an improvement.

CK keeps worrying that she didn’t get us a “big gift”, but now that it’s here it is easier to remind her that she did! The new, upgraded chair cushion is great both in color and feel. Tomorrow I’ll put the matching foot rest together.

It’s also a furniture refresh we could do safely from home. Delivery was safe, one persons barely entered with a mask on and the door wide open. We could put it together ourselves. COVID changes priorities a lot.

CK had an interaction with a care provider today that left her feeling bad about herself and eating. Given how hard we’ve worked for her to enjoy food again, especially given her weight loss due to food apathy this year, I was livid.

I’d wanted to use my boxing game, but discovered the controllers were dead. (I’m just now remembering there’s TWO sets!) I was agitated about CK experiencing food shaming and couldn’t focus so I rearranged some small furniture in the living room. It looks cozy and was a great surprise to CK when she came upstairs.


Late Night Slides

I'm going to teach another new workshop tomorrow, Yoga for Grief. Since it's new I didn't advertise it much at all beyond putting it on my newsletter. Four really wonderful people have signed up!

I feel both knowledgeable and like a complete fraud. Fairly normal, really. It feels very delicate stepping into this area, but use what I want to be doing!

So I'm up too late because I was checking over the slides I made. Another advantage to being online is having slides instead of a handout! In there morning I'll send a PDF to folks!

Gratuitous kitten in my hoodie shot!


Still Thankful

For the first time since CK and I got together we had no guests over for Thanksgiving dinner. We've had anywhere from 1 to 15 guests each year for Friendsgiving.

A dear friend did pop by briefly with a few dishes for us to enjoy. We in turn sent home with her some of everything but the pies. Our fridge is chock full of tasty food!

Sending over meals was unplanned, but since we decided to make our classic dishes and had plenty, I thought to make up plates to send. CK and I both recalled saving some takeout containers. Then she asked if I saved the thermal bags her creamer gets delivered in!

The pies came from a different bakery and I got us each one! CK's has egg and dairy, mine is vegan. Both gluten free in an almond flour short crust style shell. This too helped since our favorite bakery closed and I was feeling really sad about it again, when I realized we didn't have a place for pies!

The kitten continues to delight us. He's teething and can be pretty bitey, but mostly he's a love.


Teach Where You’re At

Last night I unexpectedly got a chance to teach yoga to people in person and it was really a great mood lifter!

I was doing our traditional Thanksgiving week late night grocery trip. This year CK stayed at home, she's only left the house 4 times since March.

I was complimented on how well the folks at the checkout could hear me through my MegaMask combo of a respirator-style mask with protection against aerosols and a cloth mask to filter my exhalations.

I commented that I'm, "Professionally loud!". I explained that as a yoga therapist who works with older adults, many of whom are low hearing, I strive to speak loudly and clearly.

The younger of the two commented that they had wanted to try yoga but were too worried about their back. I said that back's are a specialty because of my personal journey.

Then I taught the two folks helping me how to do "ledge dog", which is a downward facing dog using whatever sturdy ledge is at hand. In this case the checkout stand! Soon I had FOUR people doing it together and groans of relief were heard.

I passed out cards, told folks to sign up online for free videos.

Truly, a joy. The first in-person yoga I've taught since March.

The MegaMask is my featured image. It's a 3M respirator with filters for aerosols, this is what I also use when we have terrible smoke from forest fires. Over it I modified a very basic cloth mask from Athleta. It's been stitched along the bottom to help tighten it up around the 3M mask exhaust vent. This edge is then further taped down to ensure that my exhalation is filtered through a cloth mask. While I'm not ill, this signals to folks that this is what we all do when we care about each other.