Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Vintage Pyrex and Grief

I feel a little while back and my backpack went flying of my body, badly wrenching my right hand. It's remained stiffer in one finger and tender, which makes my hand a little clumsy.

A last week, while putting away some dishes while food cooked, my hand cramped and I dropped my favorite Pyrex mixing bowl. It shattered impressively and I felt terrible. I've lost count of how many things I've made in it over the years.

It was a vintage one from a set my Mother had from my early childhood. Originally there were four bowls, all in patterns or shades of avocado green.

She decided to get rid of them after breaking the largest when I was at college. I asked for the three remaining, using them for the past 30 years!

I thought about trying to scour thrift stores until I found a replacement. Vintage Pyrex is often to be had, I've aquired some additional cool pieces of baking dishes.

Then I remembered COVID, so no Goodwill Hunting.

Then I considered getting rid of the remaining ones and finding a new-to-me set, ones that weren't tied to my childhood. This has real appeal!

Turns out the "Cinderella" mixing bowl sets after kind of a thing. It's probably $150 for a set of four, shipped! Not terrible, but still a lot to think about.

So I just put all that on the proverbial back burner. There was a couple attempt to be distracted by.

Until tonight, when I wanted to make cornbread and went to get out my mixing bowl and it all came back.

The broken bowl, COVID, the coup, all the socially distant everything. It just all hurt.

I persevered and madder cornbread in the modern, OXO, plastic bowl. It was fine, even if it felt off. The cornbread was good for dessert.

We're in day one of an Atmospheric River. I miss driveway hangouts from summer and autumn.


Two Days, 8000+ Dead

COVID deaths are over 4000 a day.

I can't stop thinking about these numbers. How people who think it's a hoax urinated and defecated all over the Capitol Building. They stole, they killed, and desecrated.

People are finally taking this all seriously and it feels like they are too late.

I'm making up cocktails at home because I can and it's a creative outlet. I'm using my vintage barware, which is fun. Although I dropped the lid of the shaker and it vanished; perplexing.


What Ifs

At therapy today I had a round of "what ifs".

What if I hadn't been born to a family with intergenerational trauma going back who knows how far?

What if anyone in my family took my side.

What if support within my family wasn't always transactional, if it was offered at all.

I noted, and my therapist agreed, that these part of my grieving. She reminded me that having a supportive family doesn't yield a positive results. Well-off people from loving families end up living on the street, alone.

They came up after considering how my Mother would say to me when I was an adult how hard she tried to be a good parent, that she did the best she could. As I process new trauma I'm once again angered at this, that this was the best she could do.

My therapist said that, sadly, this was true. She really couldn't have done better than what I got. It brings up the grief for a childhood that I never got.

I started the year by making the best gluten free cornbread ever! Bubbles!!! I'm making it again this week to try and replicate, then document!


Goodbye Obie

Just realizing I totally forgot to post last night. No shame. I was really wrung out Sunday.

I was also worried about Obie. He'd been eating less and less on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday her barely at at all, not even pure kitten paté.

This morning he peed in front of CK in Bertie's old, beat up dog bed. When she tried to interrupt him her fell over to his side. He kept urinating, soiling his belly and feet. He then crouched on what's left of the sofa, not bothering to clean himself.

He was uninterested in food, wanting only you drink a little water. He would stretch out and his breathing was labored. It broke my heart a little when he'd occasionally make these small, rhythmic grunts.

Our excellent vet changed her afternoon schedule and got him in at 4:30. I, in my respirator with another mask over it, stayed with him. He was very peaceful, even on the short ride to the vet.

We thought through options and the risk to CK with the surging COVID rates right now. My going alone felt like the best decision, regardless how terrible.

I thought he was rallying again.

When I brought the new kitten home Obie took to him very quickly. Grooming him, playing a little. He let the kitten eat his food and play with his tail. He let the kitten into his treasure box of Good Trash.

Obie started to jump back up on the kitchen island again because the kitten food was so tasty. I was getting him to eat the medicated food for his urinary issue. He was lively and I got a couple more naps in with him too.

We feel like he got the kitten trained and then he was done.

I'm so glad I took a nap with Obie on Sunday.

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Cancel Thanksgiving

I forgot creamer when I went to the store to order CK's turkey. It felt like a failure.

I thought I'd run to another market, but CK said she'd rather I hold off making that trip until I need things next week for Thanksgiving next week.

Fred Meyer stores, Kroger, have the same careless, "Don't confront non-mask wearing customers" policy that lead me to stop shopping at Natural Grocers. It is so heartless to the employees and customers.

COVID rates hit a new record daily. People still want their fucking Thanksgiving.

I'm so angry I thought about screaming again but I haven't learned how to without losing my voice. I actually cried for a few minutes because I couldn't even think about making art.

After some art studio organization so I can set up the gift from a friend tomorrow, I felt able to make a comic about feeling so sad and angry today. I get 2 of 3 chores I myself done and told the Inner Jerk to, "Fuck Off!", because it isn't the end of the world if there's wrinkles in the laundry.

The kitten rides my shoulders! While folding laundry! He also flops into my hand or up against my body with tiny, happy squeaks, and goes to sleep.

I'm not sure how this will work if he grows into a big kitty, but it's pretty delightful now. Kittens definitely help the moments where I feel the losses of 2020 so keenly.


Holding Space

This morning, when I asked my yoga class if anyone had a gratitude or a celebration to share, a student responded, "I have a sadness to share."

She then shared that she's not seen her granddaughter since last Thanksgiving. She is coming to realize that she will be alone for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's.

I offered to set up times for my students to use Zoom, and facilitate, a discussion about "Reimagining the Holidays". People can share ideas on how to still have meaningful connection, particularly with winter coming.

More importantly, I'm going to start holding a Yoga for Grief session. Not sure if this will be monthly or bi-monthly, but it's apparent there is a need for this. I have been sending people to my teacher, who's been offering work on grief for a while now, but this is one of those times where I finally realize that my students want me to hold the space for them. They know me, they are more comfortable being in these vulnerable places with me.

It was hard this morning, then regrouping everyone back to Yoga in Chairs. I realize how much of what I do is holding space. More and more, the biggest part of my work is holding the space and making it safe for people to be vulnerable together.

In semi-related news, my voice is still mostly gone and I couldn't lead chanting today. I must remember to only scream cathartically for a minute or two, not five. No matter how good it feels.

It occurs to me that "a good scream" is my version of "having a good cry". Crying ends up with me so congested I can't breath and my head is pounding. It never feels like a good release. That's even without getting into all the assorted trauma I have around being punished for crying.

However, a good scream, that I can get behind! It really does feel cathartic and cleansing. I just need to find a way to do it without losing my voice since I really need it for the holding space thing!

Comic tomorrow, forgot to photograph it again.


Lost Voice

All day today my voice has been hoarse and faint. I worried a little.

Whole having a long soak with epsom salt I recalled indulging my desire to scream while driving home from a the local shop.

It started because of a policy at the shop to increase security against burglary that decreases health safety.

That first scream about all of it, COVID, the ghoulish mismanagement of the pandemic, Black Lives Matter, white terrorist militia, the mayoral race here, the presidential election, and feeling hopeless about the election changing anything...

The first scream of rage and grief felt so good I let out several more on the way home. Mostly incoherent screaming, a few rounds of screaming, "NO!", and swearing.

It felt good and didn't hurt at all. I came in, made tasty dinner, and watched TV with CK.

Today my voice is shot. At least it isn't a virus!


Making Time

Today a friend reached out to share the news that her Father had died. It wasn't expected news, but as he's been having a series of health issues for several months, and he was in his 90s, it isn't entirely unexpected.

The thing about loss is that it doesn't matter if it was expected or not, it's still grief. Our grief to integrate, or not.

I was grateful to have very little planned today that couldn't be done later. This meant I was available for a phone call. Then after completing the short errand I'd planned, I was able to join my friend for a chestnut foraging trip over to SE Portland.

We all wore masks and I took our car. Our first stop, the planned stop, was a bust, but we got a tip from another friend and headed over near Laurelhurst Park where we all found several.

Before leaving CK started to tell me to give our friend an extra hug. Then grimaced, because COVID has made that not safe.

I recall working with someone during my internship, they had recently lost their husband of many years and I was offering gentle, passive yoga movement. At then end, as my hands rested over her shoulders lightly, she covered my hands with her own and said to me, "Grief craves touch."

As I talk with people about grief in these times I'm so struck by this loss of touch. It leaves me grateful to find ways to connect outside and socially distant, which at least answers some of the need of connection grief seems to want.


Ballots Ho!

Our ballots arrived in the mail today. We plan to fill them out and turn them in this weekend.

Thinking about the election riles up my anxiety.

We coming to terms with Thanksgiving in isolation. Back in March I think I had some hope that we'd all celebrate together by late. By June I'd lost that hope, but it's sinking in now that it's only weeks out.

Our big hope now is finding pumpkin pie we can each eat. Separate pies. I'm still sad that Back to Eden Bakery is gone due to COVID. So many delicious Thanksgiving celebrations with pies from them.

More napping today. Therapy, stayed up way too late and the bulldog needed a 2am potty.

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Respite for Obie

Getting Obie back on the digestive medication relieved his distress. I also started giving him the pet CBD more often, plus a single drop of human grade a few times a day. This combination of keeping him more comfortable, so less meowing incessantly.

The past two days have felt so hard, liked I'm pushing through quicksand to get anything done. Surprisingly, we ended the weekend with all the clothing laundry caught up, the kitchen clean, and 2/3 of the floors upstairs done. CK hung shelves in the den today.

I'm trying hard to keep moving. When I'm not moving, I'm focusing on my breath, the feeling of the Earth beneath me. I'm not staying in the fear and despair, but it is work and I'm tired.

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