Wednesday, November 01, 2017

When I die...

With all the death in my life I'm ready to make some decisions for when I die.  Oh, I'm not sick.  I might be like my grandma who is still kicking at 96.  Or an anvil could fall on my head tomorrow.  But I've seen what the lack of planning does.  I know this is going to be a work in progress and I'll probably update this specific page when I make my own updates.  I'll date them so it makes more sense.

Years ago I watched a documentary with a friend.  It was called "A Family Undertaking" and was about the funeral industry and other options (focusing on natural burial).  It really got me thinking and questioning.  And now I've started watching a YouTube channel called Ask a Mortician.  It's been super fascinating and is definitely been getting me thinking.  I've always been fascinated by death.  Especially how someone's life force is inside of an organic machine and then at some point it no longer is.  You're left with what I affectionately like to call an "edgar suit" (men in black reference).  Sounds morbid but here is the thing.  WE ALL WILL DIE.  There is no question about this.  EVERYONE DIES.  But I've been to enough funerals over the years to know what I do and do not want.  There is still more I'm wanting to suss out but it'll start with what I *do* know.

**November 1, 2017

I'm debating on whether I want to be cremated or if I want a green burial.  I know I want one of those two things.  I do NOT want to be embalmed with my eyes glued shut and my mouth either sewn shut or my jaw wired shut.  I want to donate any parts to people who need them that I can (if I can).  Organs, corneas, whatever.

I do not want a service in a church.  Do it somewhere outside, if possible, or surrounded by nature somehow.  I don't want bible verses or discussion of heaven or hell to happen.  I don't even really want God discussed in services either (by all means talk to one another about it if so desired, at the after party, which I hope there is one).  Afterwards, drum circle, music, pass a joint, make something, whatever.  Hell, tell stories, play games, make jokes, especially ones in poor taste.  Celebrate that I was here.  Recently I posted on Facebook that I want one person to give a whole speech entirely in puns.  I'm actually not kidding.  If someone can make that shit happen, I'd love it!

So, from what I know a green burial is the MOST green way to do away with your remains.  It sounds cool.  I wish I could just be buried on a mountain but I don't think that can happen.  If this ends up being too cost prohibitive or, honestly if the powers that be (husband and/or kid) would prefer me be cremated I think I'm okay with that too.  That one can be even more fun (yes I said fun).  If I'm cremated I'm okay with anyone who wants some ashes getting some.  Bonus points if anyone wants to do something cool with them.  Mix with paint, make art.  Mix with clay, make pottery.  Spread here.  Spread there.  Wear it in a MFing locket!  Have it put in blown glass art.  I just want some to be spread on Paradise.

This informational tidbit expresses, in part, why I do not want a traditional burial/funeral.

I have more thoughts and so I'll leave it at this for now.  I'm sure I'll write more later, you know, if no anvil ;)

Sunday, July 23, 2017


We're finally moving out of our "six months equals five years" home.

I'm trying to find balance.  Not get angry and bitter about this place but still be motivated to move.  I understand the draw to see all the negative is a way to pull myself emotionally from this place I've called home for so long.  I created a sort of pro/con list.  I'll share it.

Click for more detail

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Queen of {broken} Hearts

Facebook keeps you updated on all the things you've been through over the years with their "on this day" feature.

This morning I saw a reminder of when my dear friend, Heather and her husband brought us a captain's bed for the living room and took away my old, but well loved couch.  Sarah was going to come over to help move things around.  Truth is that we were well equipped in regards to assistance.   She called to cancel.  She was so apologetic.  I wasn't worried about it.  It as the last time I heard her voice.  Two years ago.  I haven't heard her voice in two years.

I've been cold about her death.  I've held on to anger about her taking her own life.  I've held onto anger for her not asking for help.  I've held on to anger at her mother feeding her insecurities in countless ways so she felt she could not help.  I've held on to anger about numerous people who *could* have helped over the years and *should* have helped and did not.  I've ignored any pain.  I've ignored any feelings of loss.

Tonight, I'm just sad.  I miss her.  I miss her smile.  Her evil laugh.  Her desire to do right by everyone she encountered. Then there was her longing to feel worthy..... and that last bit complicated our friendship.  She couldn't stop trying to *do* for me.  I didn't want her to.  I just wanted her to *be*.  Part of me fears she took it as rejection.  It was after I told Sarah that I didn't want her to counsel me, to try to fix me.  A mutual friend said at one point Sarah thought our friendship was over.  I heard this and I was baffled.  We still talked after that, but it was strained.  One night I was telling her how hard things had been lately.  At first she was quiet.  Then she told me she wanted to help but didn't know what to do.  She was queen at putting on a front (that worthiness thing), but in that moment, she was so very real.  She let me see her vulnerability.  I just said it would help to listen and that if I needed anything I would ask.  Things shifted in a good way.  I don't remember if it was that night, or another, but one night after that we talked.  She heard me and my sadness and I heard hers.  I invited her over.  I said that I was depressed and she was too, and it was better to be depressed together. We ate chips and dip, we crafted, we didn't talk much, but we shared space.  I'm grateful for that time.  I'm grateful that we mended fences.  I likely wouldn't have forgiven myself if we didn't.

And tonight.  A dam has broken. I've cried more tonight for her than I have in the last two years.  My heart aches.  I'm sorry, Sarah, for hardening my heart.  I didn't want to hurt.  I didn't want to miss you so much.  But I do.  I miss you so very much.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The struggle is real?

Counseling was so very perfectly timed.  I typically have been going every other or every third week.  I think I even skipped a month somewhere in there.  Things were going pretty well.  Honestly, even after Cecily's passing I felt I was handling it fairly well. Then came the memorial.

I'm struggling.  There are so many facets of just what my grief encompasses.  First. Of course I miss my friend.  She's an amazing woman, and I can still feel her out there.  I love her so very much.

Second.  Our friendship was unique (aren't all friendships?).  I'm not going to say better, worse, or whatever.  Cecily was so private, and I feel like so many things about her need to stay private even though I'm weirdly *not* private.  But it puts me in this place where I feel like our friendship seems made up.  The general public doesn't know about our long conversations.  About all the things we talked about.  The things we shared with eachother.  Hopes, dreams, insecurities, fears, frustrations.  We daydreamed about a future when we were a regular part of each other's lives.  Planned community.  Working the earth.  Surrounded by children, critters, song, art.  I think in our 10 year friendship we had only one tense moment.  And it was over a misunderstanding.  Once it was cleared up we were fine.  I don't judge other people's more tremulous relationships with her because she was passionate.  They had firey ups and downs and that is beautiful too.  And I do have friendships like that too.  But ours was not that.  I feel like because she was so private she never said much about our relationship so now that she's not here it feels like it could be perceived as all in my head.  For those who know me, you know I struggle with the "it's all in your head" bullshit.  But as much as it's something I struggle with I read our old messages, I think about old conversations.  It wasn't in my head.  It was very real and it remains very precious.

Third. That insecurity I have.  I always struggled believing that this amazing woman found me valuable.  I was startled when Cec faced having to go in to the hospital to take care of her out of control pain, she still was pushing to see me.  I mean ME.  She was in pain and she "really wanted to see [me]."  Me?  I'm still blown away.  I did my best to lighten the mood.  I gave her vinyl spiders (she giggled, I love her laugh).  She planned on freaking the girls out with them.  I changed her white board from saying "comfort goals" to say "comfort goats" and drew a picture of a goat saying, "you'll be okay!"  (more giggles)  I climbed in the hospital bed with her.  We showed each other pictures on our phones (saved Snaps for the win).  We chatted.  I did what I could to make her laugh.  Later that night, via messenger, she lamented that we didn't take a picture when we were cuddling and said we'd have to take another one later.  She said I saved her life.  My heart hurts right now thinking about it.  I still love her so very much.  I can talk myself out of a lot of beliving that people care about me and that our friendship is all in my head (my depression has given me these skills).  But with Cecily I couldn't deny it. I look back in my old messages with her and never once when I was being insecure did she make me feel dumb.  She just lovingly, patiently reassured me she loved me.  That I was her friend.  And she expressed her own insecurities to me.  She struggled to believe she deserved my attention.  I lovingly assured her it made me happy to give her the attention.  It was the least I could do considering I couldn't physically be there like I wanted to.

Please don't get me wrong, I didn't put her on a pedestal.  I saw her human parts.  I saw her struggles.  It made her more precious.  She was human.  She was real.  She was the sister I couldn't have even dreamed up for myself.  I wanted to be old people with this girl.  If she weren't so private I'd tell you all of the day dreams we had for one another.  Our plotting.

This has hit me so hard.  A great deal of my previous losses I've been able to temper with bullshit.  Focusing on frustrations.  It helped me distance myself from the grief.  I can't find a thing that does that me for Cecily.  It has been one of the biggest, most profound losses I've encountered.  I'll say it again.  I love her.  I love her so much.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Day After

Cecily's celebration of life was yesterday.   It was a fascinating thing seeing so many people from so many facets of her life.  One thing was for sure.  I'm fairly certain that everyone in her life is an excellent hugger.

I stood up to do my damndest to honor my friend.  I told the story of how I played my ukulele for her.  How I was out of tune and I don't play well.  But how she still connected with the music and teared up. I pointed out in surprise that it was not due to my playing.  I don't know if my point of the story got across.  But for me it was about her sensitive soul.  This activist had this tender bit of her and it was startlingly beautiful.

Then I read what I had written in the wee hours.  I may have changed a word or two in the reading of it, but it's what I had printed out to read from.  The line breaks were often used to remind me where to pause in speech.  Here it is:

I found a small quote by Thomas Moore
“We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible.
To have real conversations with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion,
but it involves courage and risk.”
I think he’s right.
There’s never been a greater blessing than to have been able to open yourself to another person and still be loved,
especially in spite of all the parts of yourself that you may not like very much.
I believe Cecily was one of those people Mr. Moore was talking about.
She has been someone I always have been able to speak freely to without fear of judgement and without fear of abandonment.
No small feat.
I have always admired her authenticity.
Her strength.
Her commitment to stand up for what was right,
and to stand up for others, who cannot do so for themselves.
I have always admired and valued her propensity to love deeply and completely.
In these last few weeks it’s been easy to get caught up in wondering what if she were still here.
The battles she would have won.
The songs that would have moved her.
The world she would have touched
and in doing so all the beauty that would have been brought forth.
I’m sure the thought will make it’s rounds again.
But as long as I can remember to,
whenever I feel I have the choice,
on days where I just don’t want to be sad (but it is okay to be sad)
I will instead choose to think of the millions of ways my life is better
for having been able to call Cecily my friend.
I am forever changed because of her.
She has taught me that being vulnerable takes strength.
It takes very little strength to pretend things don’t bother you,
to turn a blind eye to wrong doings
and to live shallowly. 
It takes a whole lot more courage to show the world your soft, sensitive self,
to admit that there are things that can crush you,
and even sometimes going as far as to divulge just what those things are.
But she helped me embrace all these parts of myself that I struggle to look at.
She has taught me to be kinder to myself. 

I’d like to read a little something by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
“The reality is that you will grieve forever.
You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one;
you will learn to live with it.
You will heal
and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered.
You will be whole again
but you will never be the same.
Nor should you be the same
nor would you want to.”

I believe she’s right.
Because of Cecily I can love more deeply.
I can laugh more freely.
I can forgive myself more readily.
Because of Cecily the world is more vibrant.
She helped me see joy in connections,
in the natural world around us
……and even in sugar laden chocolate and frivolous tv.
And no matter what self doubts I have
she made it clear that she saw me as something more than I ever could have seen on my own.

Cecily will never truly be gone.  Because we are changed by knowing her.
I know I’ll never be the same. 

And remember, “grief only exists where love lived first” -franchesca cox
Imagine all of that interjected with me trying not to cry, and failing.

Lots of insights flitted about my head throughout the night.  One thing, entirely having to do with me alone, was the acute realization that as I'm getting older, or maybe it's less about age and more about something else, I'm becoming more awkward.  I don't know if I'm just not as good at hiding my insecurities as I once was or maybe I'm more insecure.  I'm struggling dramatically to talk to people.  I feel like my life is one big dose of open mouth, insert foot.  Everyone was gracious, of course.  But I was so ridiculously awkward.  You should have heard my inner monologue once someone gave me the "what is wrong with her" look.  I tried to figure the math of it.  "Maybe if I stop talking after *this* moment I'll be okay."  It was better, but still painfully difficult.  One of the hardest things was when people would tell me I wrote/spoke well and all I knew how to say was "thank you."  There was something left hanging in the air but I didn't know how to fix it.  I would start rambling then get THAT look.  Then I would promptly excuse myself.  I'm getting worse with people and have no idea why.

Okay.  I'll write more about my insights later.  'Til next time, friends.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Dearest Cecily

It's been the longest week ever.

This may be a little disjointed and possibly out of order but here we go....

This time last week (3:59 PM, when I started this post) I was on my final stretch to White Salmon, Washington.

The evening of the 20th I was in communication with my friend, Cecily's sister,
Courtney.   I wanted to visit Cecily over the weekend.  Tentatively heading out Christmas day.  Courtney just informed me that Cecily had experienced a pulmonary embolism and they weren't sure she'd last that long.  I asked if there was a chance I could come see her right away.  She said she'd talk to Cecily and get back to me.  

I was a mess.  So much of my experiences with death (and there have been plenty) has included me not being able to say goodbye.  If I could prevent it from happening with my dear friend, Cecily, I wanted that.  I wanted to be able to hold her hand and tell her how much she means to me.  How my life is richer because she's in it.  How much I value her and am grateful that she has been in my life.  How she has supported me through so many things and how I wanted to be able to support her as well.

Courtney got back to me the following morning saying that she seemed to be doing much better and would like to see me.  I did not hesitate.  I threw some clothes in a bag, grabbed my pillow and headed out.  I stopped by my apartment on my way down (I've been house sitting in Bothell).  Grabbed a sleeping bag with sleep pad and carried on down south.  Lots of listening to "Game of Thrones" on the way down and a quick bite at Burgerville (I couldn't believe Sean and Courtney hadn't heard of them!).

I finally arrived at about 4:30.  There is a main house, a small cabin where Cecily was staying, and one cabin, smaller yet, where Courtney stays.  I stopped by the main house first so I could rest my room.  Then I headed in to see Cecily.  She was fast asleep with her Comfort Goat (long story) at her feet.  Her mother was in the room.  I settled in and started knitting a hat I had been working on for her.  The softest rusty orange alpaca.  Grumperina pattern.  

Eventually she woke up and she groggily looked at me.  She smiled and told me she
was really glad I was there.  She said she very much liked the cards I'd been sending her.  She ate a bit and drifted off to sleep.  She woke up a few times, briefly, throughout the evening.  At one point I touched her hand.  She opened her eyes, looked at me, recognized me, looked down to her hand, held my hand.  She rubbed my hand with her thumb.  I was just overwhelmed with love for this amazing woman.  I stole a picture feeling weirdly conspicuous.  But I'm glad I did.

I stayed up pretty late talking with Courtney.  I really enjoyed getting to know her more.  We had both light and more serious conversations until the wee hours.  Courtney let me sleep in her cabin while she camped out with Cec.

The next morning I spent more time in the house.  I hung out with B, a close family friend (and fellow Tacoma resident).  She gave me some tasty beef bone broth and was making a giant pot of soup (wtih chicken bone broth).  We had a lot of great conversation.  I also got to chat a bit with Cecily's girls.  I went back into the cabin to visit with Cecily.

It's funny, I have a bit of more detail about everything that happened while I was there but the idea of sharing it feels strange. By all means, ask me more over a cup of coffee or tea.  I'll likely tell you more.  But Cecily is a rather private lady and I want to respect it.  So I'll just sort of give you some brief gists.

A couple times over she would wake up, kind of look around, make eye contact with me and smile.  I did some energy work on her.  Grounding, clearing blockages, pulling up and giving her white gold energy.  At one point she whispered, "I like that."  I worked on a few more places and was pleasantly surprised when I felt that her heart energy was strong and brilliant.  I told her this.  I asked if she felt it.  She sounded sad when she said, "No."  I assured her in the most confident yet gentle voice I could, "Well, trust me.  I promise.  It's strong."  Of course it makes sense to me.  She has never been anything but strong in heart.  Loving, passionate.  Heart energy she had in spades.  We concluded.  I believe other family moved in to visit and I went back in the main house.  Eating soup.  Getting to know her family.  Very precious.

All this time Courtney and Cecily's husband Sean were working together to figure out how to keep her comfortable and honor her preferences.  The love was there in spades.

That night, before I headed off to bed I said, "Honey," she then woke up, which surprised me, as she was both fairly sedated and seemed fast asleep, "I'm going to head to bed now.  I'll see you in the morning.  Let me give you a hug."  She surprised me when she hugged me back.  It was wonderful.

The next day, Friday, I came in and she was struggling with taking her meds.  I did more energy work, with her permission.  Then she took them.  Not analyzing whether or not it was a coinsidence.  I was just happy that she got her pain relief in her.  I sat with her, her mom and Sean in the room.  I was sitting there thinking about how quiet it was and how there were times she was in and out of consciousness and I thought it must be boring when you're awake and no one is saying anything.  So I first told her about how I woke up to snow and I told her how beautiful it was.  How peaceful.  This made her smile.  I started talking about her girls, and how when they were little they were so shy.  But how I wanted them to approach me in their own time.  I told her how I admired her respect for their autonomy.  I said how I feel she's such an amazing mother.  I told her how the girls were opening up with me now.  I talked about Marshall.  I asked if she wanted me to stop talking.  She shook her head no.  I talked a bit more about Marsh.  Then I got all serious and talked about how I never got to say goodbye to Tony, Sarah or Jen.  How I didin't know what it meant to say goodbye when my dad died.  And how it was very healing to be able to be there for her.  I teared up.  But then I talked about the snow that was falling outside at that very moment.  Eventually I sat quietly again when it was obvious that she was falling asleep fairly deeply again.  It was time for her family to come in to visit with her.  

This whole time I was battling a caffeine headache that regular coffee was not really helping.  I decided to trek down to Hood River to get some starbucks. I even got a little extra to stick in the fridge for the next day.  When I got back apparently the nurse had been there.  Sean took me aside and said that the nurse was giving her 24-36 hours.  He said that he would like it to be just family in her last hours.  I thanked him for letting me know (I prize honest conversation).  I told him I totally understand.  I asked when he would prefer I head out. He said I could sit with her later that evening and then in the morning I could say goodbye (it was already dark and with the temps dropping it made sense to stay the night again).  Sounded like a solid plan.  

I never did get back in that night.  The rest of the evening was spent with her family, more specifically, her daughters.  The way it should be.  I also got to spend some time with Ava (her youngest) and Sean's mother.  We played Sorry.  It was fun.  Eventually everyone went to bed.  Sean stayed with Cecily.  

I woke up and just sort of drifted in and out of sleep until I heard Courtney come in.  So I figured it was a good time to start packing up.  I'll spare too many details but Courtney said I could go in to say goodbye but to come back into the house before I head out so we could have our goodbyes as well.  

When I came up to the cabin Sean told me she had already passed.  I let him know I could head right out.  He invited me in to sit with her.  He and Courtney gave me a moment.  He opened her door on the way out, so that her spirit could leave.  It's a beautiful tradition and I thought was so very lovely.  I sat beside her.  I held her hand.  I could feel her spirit gone but her body was still buzzing with Cecily energy.  It makes sense.  It was her human suit for nearly four decades.  I sat there quietly.  Then I cried.  I said goodbye.

When I walked out I hugged Sean and told him to please lean on her community, to tell me if I can do anything to support him and the girls.  He asked that I not leave until I felt okay to drive (emotions + icy roads = extra caution needed).  I took his advice.  I made one more run to the bathroom.  I hugged Courtney.  I left.

I didn't finish the hat.

As I started down the mountain I paused.  I needed a song.  This is what came to me..


Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free
Blackbird fly blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night
Blackbird fly blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
I listened to it about 2-3-20 times.  I sat for a moment.  Then I cried.  A lot.  And being that I was driving I thought it wise to pull over. The very next exit was the exit for Multnomah Falls.  Here is a picture.

I got home.  I checked the mail.  I got back in my car.   I headed back up to Bothell. I tried to be present for my Aunt's annual Christmas Eve celebration with Marsh in tow.  I didn't last long and we headed back to Bothell.

I'm grateful for the time I was able to spend with Cecily.  The time I shared with her was valuable more than words can express.

And sweet, Cecily.  She is already missed.

Perhaps I'll write more about Cecily's life and our friendship.  It's likely far more interesting than her passing.  It's sure a lot more cheery and I'm sure how she'd want to be remembered the most.  I know it's how I choose to think of her.  Like that first picture. Beautiful girl, beautiful smile, beautiful heart.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Shit not to wear when you're over 30

I will be 40 in November. Today I ran across an article with a list of things women shouldn't wear over 30. I won't link you to it because fuck that blogger. I won't give you the list because it's dumb. Instead here's my take on it.

Suggestions for What Women Should Wear When They're Over 30

1. Clothes that make you happy. Unless you want clothes that reflect another emotion. That's cool too.

2. Clothes that are temperature/weather appropriate. Unless you're in the mood to not be comfortable. It can be an adventure in sensation.

3. Clothes that feel good. Unless you think those clothes are worth wearing despite comfort. I know I've found shoes that hurt like hell but were worth at least a few days of misery.

4. Clothes that don't get you kicked out of where you want to be. If you want to be somewhere and they don't allow what you want to wear? Make a choice and move forward in peace. Different strokes for different folks. I consider it like respecting the friend who doesn't want you to wear shoes in their house.

5. Clothes that cover your fun bits when you're in non-naked friendly public places. This is a suggestion based on the comfort of the general public and laws. I doubt you want to be arrested. I personally don't think there's anything wrong with nudity. But society has collectively agreed to keep certain parts covered. Agree or not this is where you choose to live. Like being naked? Join a naturalist community! Be naked at home. Find friends that are like, "Hey, you can be naked at my house!" 

6. Clothes and body products that don't harm you. Unless you want to, regardless of risk. It's your body and even if I don't agree I respect your decisions.

Summary, wear whatever the fuck you want. Be it giant bedazzled screen print unicorn shirts with hot pink booty shorts that match your hot pink hair, or clash with your bright green hair, or tube tops with overall shorts and sparkly kitten leggings, platform flip flops, and hoop earrings that rest on your shoulders. It's your world, yo.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Just a little while ago I pulled the trigger on deactivating my Facebook account.  Not sure for how long.  I just find myself getting lost in Facebook for hours at a time.  I'm fairly sure that it's nearly entirely due to finding ways to distract myself from my current living situation.  Marsh is primarily with his dad and Brett's in Alaska.  It's really my first time truly living alone.  And you know what?  I can't say I like it.

As for Brett, I haven't seen him in just over three months. He's finished with the Academy and now he's back in BFE.  No clue when I'll see him again.  He should finish his FTO training mid-June.  I miss him more than I can express.

And now, it's pretty late.  I haven't been able to get to sleep before two in I have no idea how long.  Meh.

On a good note, bills are getting paid.  And now have a goal of moving to a rental house within the next six months.  I look forward to all that entails.  Goals for the new place: fenced yard with an element of privacy, a tub I can fill WAAAAAY up and soak, craft space, room for the kiddo, ideally no carpet or minimal, and also ideally I'd love to be able to paint the inside.  Also, more rural.  I'll enjoy my last summer in Tacoma's Stadium District and with my friends/neighbors.  But I look forward to this next step.  I planned for six months here and by the time I leave I'll have been here about 4 years. :O

That's it for now.  Time to get to bed.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015


The weight of Brett's departure is starting to weigh on me. Of course he's working stupid hours before he goes. Feast or famine with the zoo. Couple weeks ago there wasn't much in the way of shifts to be had. But we're facing this long distance relationship. And I want to spend every minute available with him before he goes. But instead nearly every day is like today. He's working 14 hours.  I think he said originally he'd be working 50 hours this week. Pretty sure it's gone up since then. No days off together between now and this upcoming Tuesday together.

Tuesday morning I'll wake up, barely, to the sound of Brett getting last minute things together. Dim lights as he tries not to wake me. About 15m before we have to walk out he'll officially wake me up. I'll drop him at the official drop off. He will insist I don't park and come in with him. I'll hug and kiss him. He'll tell me to go home and sleep. I'll drive home with the music on and I won't hear a word. I'll climb into bed and force my eyes to close. Sleep won't come. He'll call before they fly away. He'll either call or text from Anchorage.

He'll only be gone for two weeks, then home for just under two weeks, then gone for who knows how long. February until may for the academy. Then a year in Barrow.

I'm afraid of increased isolation. I already struggle with it. I hope I do ok. I hope Brett does too.

Friday, November 20, 2015


So I have this cousin...

Let me back up...
I have a mom. Her family was close to another family. The Kelley family. My mom was best friends with the oldest child. That oldest girl grew up and married my mom's youngest brother. This is how she became my Aunt Gail. Aunt Gail has two sisters. Because our families were close I grew up knowing them as aunts as well. Aunt Sharon and Aunt Karen.

Those aunts had children. I grew up knowing we weren't biologically related but like my brothers are just simply brothers, despite their "half" status, these cousins were just cousins despite the "in-law/by marriage" status.

We spent many holidays together. But they were all younger and super close with one another so, really, I was cousin adjacent. Along with my actual cousins, all of them are good natured, loving people, of whom I still get to see each Christmas Eve when I crash their holiday celebration.

Being this weird extroverted introvert I find these gatherings both wonderful and exhausting. I feel a bit shell shocked afterwards but it is totally worth it. You will never find a more loving, fun, awesome crowd. They, to one another, are "The Cousins." I feel lucky to be able to have my adjacent status. It's a pretty cool thing to bear witness to.

Well, one of the cousins, Carmen, left this world last night. In her passing a whole lot of hearts are hurting. And I hurt for them as much as the loss of her presence in this world.

I can't say we were terribly close, but I can say I care very much about her (present tense, I still care). I always thought she was "so cool" even though she was several years my junior. And more recently, she reached out when I was dealing with some of the darkest of my depression. I wasn't in the space at the time to turn it into a real conversation, but rest assured that it stuck with me and it meant a lot.

My heart has been heavy this last week while she was in the hospital. Yeah, she is who I was vaguebooking about, and who I was talking about in asking for prayers/thoughts/love/healing.

And as for "The Cousins", please don't hesitate to ask for anything. I want to be supportive of you. I love you guys. I really do. Thank you for letting me be cousin-adjacent.

And the rest of the family, Aunties and others, the same goes for you. Please let me be there for you. Reach out, to me, or to someone else. But reach out all the same.

(And I know you're all awesome friends out there, and loving but this isn't me needing sympathy. It's just me speaking from this soft, squishy part hidden beneath my rib bones. All that intent, please send it to my family, they'll need it in the days to come.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


My mind around eating and around my body and around my value is disordered. Why?
Why do I think this way?
What is wrong with me?
I'm not looking for sympathy or to have someone try to convince me I'm valuable. I wouldn't believe you anyway. That kind of shit has to come from yourself.

I'm 90# overweight. I don't say that easily. I cringe when I see that number. The majority of people in my life have never seen me thin and that sincerely fucks with me. I feel I have to explain to them that I once was thin. You know, I used to be a valuable person.

Where do these pervasive thoughts come from? I remember being told I was young, thin and pretty and smart. The same person, my mom, called herself old, fat, ugly and stupid. First feeling that came up was I hated how she was abusing someone I love, herself.

But a deeper message rooted itself within me. If I ever gained weight, wasn't as pretty, wasn't as smart as I felt I should be or got older, I would have less value. And the first thing that came up was weight. It also seems to be the one that plagues me the most. in my head my weight has to do with my being or not being pretty. My being pretty is more important than whether or not I'm a good person. Well, hey. Doesn't being thin and pretty equate to being valuable?

As a young girl, like most, I was overwhelmed by my developing body. I didn't have time to admire older girls and their.. womanliness? I got my first bra at 9, and hips, too. The shame started. By 12 I was the height I am now, weighed about 110 and wore a 32D bra. I received a lot of unwanted and inappropriate attention. The only time in my life I looked older than I was. It solidified that I was there for other people's approval.

I also freaked out when my doctor told me (at 110#) that I needed to watch my weight. My brothers also teased me. The word "chubby" came up. I started to restrict my eating and over the next four or five or six years I was obsessed with my weight and was actively, increasingly, restricting my food.

Luckily I didn't have the internet. I didn't realize the food I was eating was calorie dense. Now I know more I'm grateful. Eating nothing but a tiny bag if Doritos and a can of "fruit juice" as my nutrition for the day was better than the same volume of lower calorie food. Never got gaunt. Plus with large breasts and frumpy clothes no one was the wiser. Around 15 I started eating more but exercised like mad. Got down to about 101-104 at 16 (and with 32Gs). I also convinced myself that the hungrier I felt the prettier I was.

Knowing what I know now I should have been around 125-130. I still struggle saying I was anorexic. Didn't you have to be a waif with no breasts and be like 75# to be anorexic?

Then I gained a little. Was actually healthier than ever. This was short lived. I met and dated a guy who sat on his ass all the time downing giant boxes of chicken nuggets and a large fry. I ate a quarter of what he did and gained. And he wasn't very kind to me. So between him and the weight gain I was convinced I was worthless.

Few years later we split. I lost some weight, got a new boyfriend and the weight creeped back up. He dumped me while pregnant. I lost weight while being pregnant, got fired, gained it back from being depressed.

Got married (he married me fat! Who does that?). Kept gaining. Lost weight when I decided to micromanage my diet for a while (I cried at a gathering because of my self imposed rule, I wasn't allowed to eat past 6). Stopped the diet and gained most of it back (still 15# lower today).

Today I was trying on clothes I got from a friend that passed away. The sight from the mirror was horrifying for me. Gravity plus existing fat equals things I can't even verbalize.

And I'm getting older. One day I'll be old. I don't learn as quickly as I once did. I am no longer young, thin, smart and pretty. I can't be valuable.

Where do I go? Diet and exercise, right? I have fear in me that I can't fully express. I don't know exactly what is holding me back but I know it has to do with fear. I'm terrified to even try.

So... Yeah.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Depression.. Anxiety... visiting again.

.. worst company ever.

I am loud about my depression and anxiety not because I want attention or for people to feel sorry for me.  I do it because I know I'm the minority.. Minority in that I'm talking about it.  For every one like ME there are hundreds or thousands or whatever, of people who do NOT speak out.  I'm putting myself out there for every single person who struggles with these issues and can't say it out loud.  For every one who feels alone in this.  Like they're the only one.  There are times I just want to clam up and shut the world out to everything and not let anyone know of the stuff going on.  But then I remember the people who reached out to me with their own stories (more than a couple).  There are people who have told me that it was comforting and they knew they weren't alone.  So I'm here, making myself vulnerable to a shite-tonne of people (if I was going to say "shite" I *had* to say tonne).  It is terrifying, for the record.  I realize it will effect how people react to me in my life and not always in the best ways.

This is not a poor me thing.  Mental health issues are devious bastards who tell you lies.  It's like I have a physical chronic illness, but instead of aches and pains (although, you'd be surprised. It does come with a certain amount of physical ailments) it's just my head telling me how terrible I am.  It is not logic. I  don't even feel like it's ME.  But it's there.  And saying things like "grow up" or "focus on the positive" translate into terrible voices saying "You can't even be a grown up!  You are a failure at adulting!"  and "You are so ungrateful!  So many people have it worse and you're just feeling sorry for yourself."  There is something especially horrible about not being able to trust your own thoughts.  That's where I am.  I can't trust my thoughts or even my interactions with friends around me.  This compounds things during a deppresive/anxity ridden moment.  It's what makes it hard to reach out.

The factual stuff......
So.. I was doing so much better.. why, now, am I back sliding?  Well, it likely has to do with the fact my hair started falling out.  I looked up a couple of my supplements and two could have been the culprit.  One was the lithium.  I had just lowered the dosage because I was getting a nice side effect of apathy.  It was rocky.  I felt I was just finding new balance.  A little more emotional.  A little more sensitive.  Not a bad thing.  Just had to get used to it... then the hair falling out thing.  I admit.. totally vanity.. but I also thought maybe it meant I was getting too much.  So I didn't take it for a few days.  Yeah.  Here I am.  I'm two days in to taking it again.  I also had stopped the st johns wort and lemon balm tea.  Dude, you can only drink so much tea.  Oh, no worries. Also, two days ago I started taking both of them in tincture form.  That is one of those that will take time to build up in my system.

I'm spent.  I need rest.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


I haven't been able to breathe, much less talk the last week.  As of tomorrow it will have been a week since the memorial.  It was so amazing and beautiful to see how many people showed up (they ran out of the little hand out things!).  There was SO much love in that room.  I laughed a lot but only because she'd want me to.  She'd want me to see the silly stuff.  She'd want me to whisper and share stuff with Heather to make her laugh too.  This joyful creature didn't want to bring anyone down with her trials, do you think she'd want us to sit in a big room and cry?  OH, by all means, tears are necessary.  But if you can laugh and remember her with joy don't you think she'd want you to?  My tears show themselves at weird moments.  Probably dangerous, too.  Lots happen in the car when I'm driving.  Could I get pulled over for distracted driving?  This really was about me saying it's okay to laugh or cry or whatever you need to get through this.  No wrong way to grieve.  Lots of life has taught me that.


She gave me a Buddha.  It was on her altar and now it's going on mine.  Big, fat happy, Buddha.  I'll post a pic here.  This does good for my heart. It was meaningful for her and it means a great deal to me.  Thank you, Sarah.

Okay, so I'm going to post what I wrote for the memorial.  I mentioned on the book of face that I defaulted to writing something, vaguely poetic because it kept me together and helped me express what I was feeling.  I wish I could have done the off-the-cuff speeches that others did.  But I'm trying hard not to judge my stuff.  I just wanted to do her and Julie justice.

Here we go....

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

good times.... good times

Too often I come to my blog to get out some pretty strong emotions.
Often of the negative kind.  You know, I'm really not that depressed of a person.  I've had my bouts, especially recently.  I got to a very dark place recently (shortly after the post when I said "clinical depression").  It took me a while to climb back out.  I've been feeling so much better recently.  I'm glad I got much better before I heard the news about Sarah.  It is really a blessing to start off at a better point than I was.  I just wish I had recovered with enough time to spend some time with her.

Her memorial is coming up in a couple days.  I really want to focus between now and then on good times.  There's one challenge here.  Oh, we had plenty of good times.  But even though we had a few special events a great deal of our hanging out was just casual fun.  It's hard to pinpoint just one funny, fun or fascinating time.  You know?  They all blend together.  One great, big ball of awesome.

How about the one Thanksgiving she invited me and a few other people to? I bought a gluten free pie crust and she made the pie.  Pumpkin.  She was pretty dang thoughtful that way.  And it was a full on yum-fest.  It was a great turkey day.

How about the time we went late night shopping and picked up weird foods?  I turned her on to slices of cheddar cheese with peanut butter and bread and butter pickles.  She was delightfully amazed.

How about the Fourth of July where we made s'mores and I used tortilla chips for mine (gluten free, remember?).  She even tried it and it was okay.

How about the Fourth of July before that where someone worked at a fireworks stand.  We couldn't even let off all of the fireworks!  Marsh had a blast.  So did the grown-ups.

How about bringing Marshie over with some floaties and Marsh and Julie hung out in the pool for hours?

How about her teaching me the little weave-y things?  Hard to explain.  It was one of those times she said, "You know, sometimes I buy you stuff from Walmart and just don't tell you where it's from."  HA! (she knew I don't dig on Walmart or their practices.. but how could you be mad when she put it like that?)

How about how EVERY time we went to Shari's she would engage the waiters/waitresses into long conversations?

How about how she tolerated me brow beating her for using Splenda ("Oh, Johanna.  My hippie friend").  Hey, I *tried* to not show it bugged me!  I cared about her health :P

How about her reading her gypsy cards for me?

How about me reading my Herbal Rider Waite deck for her?

How about her having sharing a table at the holiday bazaar at work?  Or when she had her own table beside mine just this last year?

How about long conversations on the phone despite the fact she didn't like talking on the phone?

How about all the times those conversations were interrupted by children or significant others?

How about how Aliyah (sp?) liked me, then hated me and it wasn't until my hair grew back we realized she hated my haircut.  Damned judgmental dog. (actually, she had been abused by an adolescent boy so, yeah.)

How about how Blanca was a spaz when I came over (in a lovey way)?

How about how much Karma loved her?

How about how much Lila loved her?

How about how much I loved her?

And I still do.

More to come, I'm sure.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

My Sweet Silly

Silly was who I knew her as when we met as teenagers on a BBS (holy shit!  20 years ago!).  We lost track of each other over the years.  Then we reconnected on another online community.  Total fluke.  She was hilarious.  She was a drug and alcohol counselor.  She was an adopter of animals of all sorts.  She seemed to especially drawn to those who fell through the cracks be they animals or people.  Ones that were a bit odd or had issues.  You could say the same about a great deal of those she kept company with, myself included.  She took the broken and battered and loved them back to wholeness.  Unfortunately, too often it was a one way street.  But she gave and she gave and she gave.  She had a positive attitude about the things she could not change and changed the things she could.

She was also the mother of a girl with autism and other mental illness issues (what their names were was debated until the end).  Sarah did amazing with Julieanne.  Julie was obsessed with stuffies and video games.  She could be super stubborn and also super sweet.  Sarah had a way of downplaying the intensity of how things were.  I think often times not only to others but to herself.   But you should have seen her with Julie.  She knew what to do.  She figured out what natural remedies would help and wasn't afraid to try different routes in the pharmaceutical world.  I realized how much she played down Julie's situation one time I was over for some sort of summery gathering.  Julie was annoyed by something and became very agitated.  She was swearing in such ways she could have made a trucker blush.  She was trying to hit her mother.  Sarah restrained her by holding Julie in a way she could not hurt herself or others.  The whole time she was loving to her daughter.  Her calm was palpable.  It didn't take long for Julie to calm down.  She sort of melted.  Once she could control herself again she apologized to her mom and everything was okay.  Business as usual.  I knew Sarah was very capable but I never had an idea about the intensity that cropped up and how cool, calm and collected she was.  It was beyond impressive.

Now a little about our friendship.  For whatever reason we could be competitive.  I think both of us were often seeking validation and wanting to be valuable to one another.  I know I always want to give everyone information about stuff and provide emotional support so that I am valuable to others.  I think she did the same thing. But damn, she really was good at it.  I know she literally saved other people's lives as a drug and alcohol counselor.  She was very good at calling people on their shit, in a loving way.  Us both needing to be smart and capable, that was the hardest part of our friendship.  But it was far outshined by the rest.  Really.  It was minuscule compared to the full breadth of the friendship she gave me.  She was silly (apt name for her online persona).  She was hilarious.  She was smart.  She was intuitive.  She was ridiculously crafty.  She could learn any skill she had a desire to.  She was amazingly friendly...  She was also pulled into too many directions.

We used to go late night shopping.  Wandering isles and being goofy.  We would find fun food to bring back to the house (weird combinations).  She helped me bleach my hair (remember the year I had blue/pink/purple hair?).  She would find little things in her adventures that reminded her of me and couldn't NOT pick them up for me (one of her love language was definitely gifts).  She provided me with a couple of my Monster High dolls to repaint.  She would find cute little owl-y things for me.  I helped her get kombucha started.  She grew herbs for my tinctures.  I gave her tinctures I'd made.

And there was Julie.  I loved Julie immensely.  I still have a bracelet of squinkies she made for me.  I was informed how important this was because she didn't just give away squinkies.  She would often tell me she loved me and I told her I loved her too.  Her calm, clear times she was funny and sweet.  Often when she'd have a rough time it would be followed by things like "I'm sorry," in her sweet way. And, "I didn't really mean it. I was just upset."  That was reserved for when she said something unkind in her grumpiness.  She meant the apology.

Now, because of Sarah and our competitiveness and our wanting to be the master "fixer" we had a few, short lived, rough times.  I really believe we finally came to a point where we could just be there with each other instead of trying to fix one another.  We admitted vulnerability.  We could just *be* together.  We leaned.

So, we were good.  But with my latest pregnancy loss along with some other tremulous life stuff I fell apart and became horribly depressed.  In the last few months I pulled away from everyone.  Sarah included.  I didn't want to be around myself much less inflict myself on others.  It was a rather scary time in my life.  Counseling, coaching, herbs and supplements.  Things have been getting better in the last couple of months and I've started talking to people again.  We had a few near misses on hanging out.  I was happy I was able to go to her daughter's 16th birthday party with Marshall in tow.  She seemed frazzled and I sort of stood back so she could do her thing instead of overwhelming her with seeking her attention when she was obviously pulled every which way while entertaining.  I did hug her.  I did tell her I loved her.  She seemed distant and stressed.  Julie was really having a difficult time.  Sarah got her to come around for a little while.  If I remember correctly Julie was feeding quarters into a claw machine for a time.  And before we knew it it was time to go.  We said how we should get together soon.  And we almost did.  She had to cancel due to illness.  Lame but okay.  We can always do it another day. And with me working more hours I'm not too far from here when I work in office.  I can just swing by. That almost happened too.  But it didn't. She was feeling off when I was going to stop by to pick up D rings to make my pup harness type thing.  I didn't realize that the disconnected, hectic party was the last time I'd get to see my friend.

Saturday I was on my break at work when a mutual friend, Heather, texted me with some screen capture.  I thought I knew what post it was so I didn't open it just then.  Then I did.  It said something about "sorry" and "RIP".  I was like, "Dude!  Did something happen to one of the cats?  Or her dogs?  Is Julie okay?"  Heather said she'd call Sarah and check in with her and get back to me.  I never could have guess what happened next.  I went back in to work.  Heather tried to call me.  I was on a call with some guy talking about Patagonia Capilene long johns.  He was... rambly.  Heather texted me.  Sarah was dead.  Julie was dead.   It couldn't be right.  I was trying to keep my mind together while trying to comprehend these inconsequential questions about long johns.  The guy really just needed to spend some time reading the descriptions and thinking.  I suggested he take time to look at what we had to offer and call back if he has any questions.  Meanwhile I'm messaging our Support Center with "When I'm off this call I need to go.  My friend just killed herself."  So surreal.  I was really close to actually just saying to the guy that there was an emergency and I had to go but I finally got him off the phone.

Half way down the hall to leave I started bawling.  I got on the phone with Brett and headed over to his work.  I sat with him for a while and he held my hand and listened to me.  I talked to Heather more.  I sat up and watched Scrubs until Brett got home (4:30AM).  I called in to work before I went to sleep.  No way was I going in.  The next day Brett kept me company until he had to work.  Then I drove up to Bothell to spend time with Heather.  We talked about Sarah.  We tried to make sense of it.  We both saw how things were only getting worse with Julie and how no one knew what to do.

In the last several months Sarah had taken Julie to a children's hospital so she could get off of her meds safely and they could try something else.  She did this twice.  A whole mess of doctors and psychologists had no insights. Sarah got reassurance that she was doing everything right.  They tried new meds that helped temporarily but left Julie with more unwanted side effects.  And then she got worse again.

Julie had become a full time job and I don't even know how Sarah was surviving.  She was suffering from fibromyalgia and chronic back pain.  Julie was getting bigger and stronger and I saw hints of Julie becoming more aggressive.  Sarah had been joking about getting things lobbed at her head on more than one occasion.  With how Sarah always down played everything I couldn't help but wonder how bad it really was.  I really have no clue.  Maybe it was just on occasion.  I somehow doubt it.

Heather and I compared notes and Sarah had been talking a lot about "What would happen to Julie if something happened to me?"  Sarah was struggling.  What if Julie injured her?  What if something happened and she couldn't take care of her?  Who could take Julie on if she was unable to care for her?  How could anyone else agree to take that on.  I can handle a lot of things but I knew I couldn't handle Julie.  What would be the alternative?

And money?  Sarah had been out of work for sometime.  Layed off.  But she couldn't find more work because all her waking hours were typically taking care of Julie or sleeping when Julie was in school (we won't even get into what her night times were like).  She tried to see if the state could pay her as Julie's full time care but she never heard anything back.  My friend was exhausted.  When would she have time to follow up?  Then her van died.  She did not have the money to pay for the van much less it's repairs.  But she needed a vehicle to take Julie to appointments to try to help find some sort of solution.  It wasn't happening.  There were no signs of it being able to happen.  The subject had come up between us that how things were going were NOT sustainable.  Meanwhile Sarah was watching her daughter, this sweet soul, be a victim of her own mind.  Trapped in a body and brain that wouldn't let her be happy.  And nothing anyone could do was helping.

So really, I can see what led my friend to drastic measures.  She was a victim of poverty and hopelessness. Doctors and mental healthcare professionals had nothing to offer.  It was just getting worse.  I had just pulled myself from the fire and when my own little world had crumbled and I saw what escape looked like.  It was appealing.  And the honest fact of my situation is that things *would* get better.  Sarah's would likely not get better.  There was no end in sight.  Even I could see that even if she had some more happy moments my friend couldn't stand to see her daughter suffering anymore.  My friend was tired.  My friend couldn't keep going.  She couldn't stand to see her daughter in emotional pain, trapped.  She couldn't keep her own pain at bay either.

My head is full of should-have-could-have-would-have.  But I know anything I had to offer would have been a temporary band-aid.  I wish I could have given her even a small repreive (see, there, with the "could-have").  It's a crazy train I'm better off not riding.  And it can't change a thing.  I just wanted better for her.  I wanted better for both of them.

I wish I knew what she was thinking for sure.  All of this is speculation.  Just my perspective.  I'm no expert on why she did what she did.  I wish I knew what was in that letter she left.  I want to know that she for sure knew how much I loved her.  Because she meant a lot to me.  She still does.  This whole thing is still so surreal.  I don't want to believe it.  I hope she and Julie have found peace.  I hope she can get the reprieve now that she so richly deserved.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

What's the Haps, Paps?

It's been a while.  I've been spending the majority of my time as Depression and Anxiety's whore.  I got out to see Jen as planned.  We stayed the night out in Edmonds.  It was good spending time with my friend.  It was the last time I got to see her.  Jen passed away in August.  So much of it still feels unreal.

I wish I could relive my time off because I'd spend it actually being still instead of filling my time with *stuff* to keep my mind off of my feelings.  I want a redo.

I'm struggling a lot.  Brett has the potential to work back up in Barrow, AK. I would be staying in Tacoma.  We would visit one another.  It would mean him getting certified.  Extra funny because he doesn't care about it like he used to.  It would mean us paying off bills.  It would mean we could save up for a down payment for a house/property.  It would mean being even more alone than I have been.  I'd be a fool to say he shouldn't do it.

I also don't get to parent the only living child I have.  I get him 4 days a month on average.  This breaks my heart in ways I can't even fully express.  What's more I can't deny that his dad is doing a good job.  He keeps on him about his school work.  He feeds him good food.  Marsh has what he needs and many things he wants.  The school district is great.  He finally has a school that keeps him challenged.  How can I complain?  It's probably better that he doesn't spend the bulk of his time with a mother who is barely functional.

Oh, and the 20# extra I gained during the last year means I have apnea issues.  This is not conducive to actually losing the weight as I feel like I never sleep.  Everything is surreal and dream like.  Fatigue makes my anxiety worse. 

My counselor says she's pretty sure it's to the point of chemical depression.  Meaning it's not just a matter of "trying to be grateful" or "looking on the bright side".  It's my body, it's my brain.  Drugs do not do well with my body.  I need to find a good naturopath to help me navigate this.  Things have to change.

On a good note.. I have amazing friends.  This is not just a footnote.  This is amazing.  It's good to know people care.  My boys love me.  This is fantastic!  Oh, and I got a dog!  She's pretty spectacular.  I will do a post about her at some point.  She's a keeper.  Now she and Meems need to learn how to get along.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Getting outside of myself

I'm dragging ass this morning.  Today is going to be a busy one.  I'm about to shower and get ready for an overnight adventure.

As soon as I'm ready to go I'll be heading over to UW Medical Center to visit Cameron.  She did her round of chemo then she received her bone marrow transplant.  She ended up with graft rejection.  Then she found out the leukemia is back and as aggressive as ever.  She's back doing chemo and will have to do another bone marrow transplant.  This has been so hard on her and her family.  I'm so glad she has such an amazing little family to support her.  She is such a kind hearted friend.  This sucks.

After I visit with Cameron I'll be heading up to get Marshall.  Gotta love Friday traffic.  From there we'll head up to Jen's.

Jen's update is that her esophageal cancer is back and she keeps on getting the tiny tumors popping up in her brain.  They zap those whenever they come in and it seems to work.  But the stuff in her esophagus is a little more challenging.  She's received all the radiation there that she can.  She's about to start chemo again.  Her weight has dropped significantly.  BUT on a good note, we're going to have fun this weekend.  Marsh and I will stay over and then head over to Bastyr's Herb and Food Fair Saturday morning.  We both love herbal medicine.

As for me?  I started seeing my counselor again.  Well, one visit so far but now she's on vacation.  It's okay.  She gave me some good tools to get started on controlling my anxiety and we started some paperwork so that I don't have to worry about getting fired if I have a high anxiety day.  She also brow beat me in a very loving way to work on finding some closure.  I'm trying to put together some ideas for what would be adequate for a ritual.  Also, I need to find some good supplements to help change some brain chemistry for depression.

My body is still not back to normal.  I have *NO* idea what my cycle is doing.  Cycle day 57.  I had one day where I spotted a couple weeks ago and now nothing.  Plus I'm still broken out on my chin.  Fun.

Well, that's where I'm at.  I am trying to really revel in every minute I can.  Laying in bed with Brett.  Yummy food.  Petting Karma who purrs LOUDLY in my ear.  Getting things done.  Great friends.  Really, I am practicing gratitude wherever I can.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Because I'm weird..

.... After this most recent miscarriage I knit a baby sweater.  Yeah, totally knowing it wouldn't be for my own baby....

What the shite was I thinking?  Don't know what the fuck to do with it now :|

Breaking Down

Fighting off crazy...

Monday, April 28, 2014

Looking for the Pretty Parts

So much is going on inside me now.  I am, by far, not my greatest fan.  I feel like I've been crawling through the mud for the last three months.

Brett and I had probably the strongest pregnancy I've had to date.  Strong symptoms.  Great early numbers.  Then the symptoms started waning.  I started spotting.  I went to some doctor's office for an ultrasound just to find out that the baby stopped growing at 6 weeks.  Funny how as soon as I walked out of the office it was like I was given the "go ahead" to accept what had been holding on by sheer will.  I bled.  Not spotting.  Bled. I passed my baby and an impressive placenta.

It sucked.  We talked about wanting to try (yet) again.  Sure, let's take one more stab at it.  We had done a round of clomid and I got knocked up first try!  The progesterone helped my body do what it was supposed to (yay placenta!).  That's gotta count for something, right?

Talked to my OB/GYN to talk about trying again.  She more or less says she's reached the end of her bag of tricks for me.  She doesn't know how to keep me pregnant.  She doesn't think it's healthy to have so many miscarriages.  She's washing her hands of me.  Well, we of course had to do the obligitory HCG test to ensure there wasn't placenta left, getting nutrition.  I wasn't.  It's official.  Back on my own.

Now do I have to worry about getting pregnant again without the medical support?  Do I rush in to a specialist the moment I get a positive if I do?  Historically it has been challenging, but not hard, for me to get pregnant.  So, do we avoid?  I'll tell you what.  Not like it's going to happen any time soon as my hormones are still all fuckered up and I've been spotting and off for a long time now.  Sort of a mood killer.

So... here I am.

Meanwhile I feel like the biggest fucking piece of crap.  I feel like I'm seeping poison into everything I touch.  I don't think normal people should be around me right now.  I think people should not waste their time on me as I am a gi-fucking-normous energy suck.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Letting Go

It's so soon. I only found out this morning. I will only be pregnant for another few hours. Another day at the most. Another frail creature slipping in and out of my life.

Sometimes my loud voice annoys even me. I wish I was one of those who carries her worries, fears, heartbreak and even extreme happiness quietly. Not entirely sure why I have the need to lay out my heart out for all to see. I don't know why.

I'm holding my 8th baby's lifeless form within my womb. Soon it will be gone. My 2nd baby, the only one I've been able to hold, now a sweet young man, lays beside me looking up puppies on I'm very grateful for him in so many ways. I feel like I'm somehow less of a mother for being sad while he's on the sidelines.

Funny, once I acknowledged the loss it was like my body was given permission to let go. The bleeding is already getting heavier. I passed some tissue.

I just got off the phone with one of my midwives, Tinneca. I couldn't hardly talk.

Irrational things keep going through my head. Ways to temporarily escape.  They're fleeting, though.

Earlier I got out of the car and was feeling nauseous. My belly still felt heavy. My uterus is still larger, pushing my organs up high. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I still feel pregnant but the baby in my uterus isn't alive. But I have a harder time with the idea that soon it won't be there anymore. There's no way to hold on and my little creature will slip away. For now my body is a mausoleum. A shrine to all the hopes I am having to let go of.
I prayed the whole way in. Even while stepping up onto the table. My last desperate pleas to not show what I most feared.  "It's measuring 4 weeks behind." "Maybe the dates are off?" "I'm not seeing a heart beat." She tried to be kind. She tried to be non-committal.

I feel like I was kicked out of a club. The one where women get to grow big and feel kicks. Where people look forward to meeting their little one. Where I routinely hear "Congratulations!"  Where people give me hand-me-downs. Where people knit my little one beautiful things. Where I think about what toys I want my baby to have (wooden ones and natural rubber teethers). What theme (woodland creatures). How we want to school (unschool). First foods. Car seats. Clothes.

I keep saying weird things. I keep focusing on stupid shit. I have weird moments of absurd normalness followed by gut wrenching sobs.

I know what I have to look forward to and I'm not exactly thrilled about it. Sorry for the TMI but I don't want don't want the baby to fall into the toilet. It really freaks me out. My baby isn't waste or rubbish. And I just want some sort of proof that this was real. That it's not in my head and I really was growing a child within me.

And the empty spot reserved for my little one? It's still there. Do we try again? How long should we wait if we do try again? My body, with the supplemental progesterone, seemed to do great this time. Will this happen again? Does it have to do with what happened to my other pregnancies?

I do acknowledge the good things. I got pregnant and even a little further than before. Even if it stopped growing at 6 weeks that's a week further than I got before. That's good, right? 

Also, both of my boys are being insanely comforting. All while trying to process the loss of child and sibling. We have all shed tears. I'm so grateful we have each other.

I've learned a lot of other things, too. But I think I'm still processing those things.

My head hurts. I think I want to be done for now.

Monday, January 27, 2014


Breathe in to the count of four.

You're so close I can nearly touch you.
Your spirit has been sewn in my soul now for years. For lifetimes.

Hold your breath to the count of four.

I'm holding my breath for you, little one.
I'm dreaming of holding you close in my arms.

Breathe out to the count of four.

With my breath I release my fears.
I acknowledge how very different this feels. It's so much more.. tangible?

Hold your breath to the count of four.

I'm living in this moment.
My little family one more step towards whole.
One inch closer to universal promises fulfilled.

If worry remains, repeat the breaths.
Continue to dream.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Too late for a coherent post

I've been yearning for something to read that really moves me.  Be careful of what you wish for.  We are manifesting creatures.

Recently I started watching the Vlogbrothers on YouTube.   Well, I found out John Green writes books! I just finished reading The Fault in Our Stars.  I said something about it on Facebook and my dear friend, Emily insisted on buying it for me.

The Fault in Our StarsNow, I had to finish the last book in the Uglies series.  It was entertaining but not moving.  But I finished it and started on The Fault in Our Stars. I was rather surprised at how fast I whipped through it.  And I layed in bed and read and read and read.

My mind has been absolutely swimming with thought.  Obsessing a bit, I know.  I'm sure on a subconscious level I picked the book for a reason.  I mean sure, John Green mentioned it in his vlog (it's going to be a movie in late spring 2014).  And it has the theme of cancer which is playing a pretty big role in my life as of late.  Not me.  I'm okay as far as I know.

The swarm of thoughts has been consuming me.  I'm sobbing, reading about the characters.  One thing it talked about having a desire to leave the world changed.  To have made a difference.  To have someone remember you.

So I have some friends who have been fighting the good fight.  Jen was diagnosed two years ago?  She has been talking a lot about her life winding down.  Tomorrow.. er I guess today, is her birthday. She's having a celebration.  Asking for no gifts.  That may sound like just a thoughtful request, but I can't help but believe it has everything to do with the "can't take it with you," thing.  I've been battling some illness and I'm debating on not going.  I'm going to sleep ALLLLL day and pray that I feel well.  I have been feeling crummy for several days so I'm hoping it's all working it's way out.  I can't imagine not going :(

The other friend is my friend Cameron who is newly diagnosed with leukemia.  She was VERY bad off when she went in the hospital.  I know they moved her somewhere that is more sterile as she kept getting fevers.  I was visiting a bunch but once my asthma lungs started feeling more like congested lungs (and congested sinuses) I decided to back off of visiting her in the hospital.  She has more chemo to do and then eventually will be getting a bone marrow transplant.

Then there is the fabulous Dori.  We're not close, per se.  She is a lovely lady from the doula group I used to attend.  She is in remission from her breast cancer but has had the craziest amount of side effects and horrible health shit ever since.  She is living proof that life is not exactly fair. But I admire how she chooses to handle it all.  She is pretty amazing.

Not all that long ago my friend Aimee was taking her son up to Children's in Seattle as he battled leukemia.  He is now in remission.  She has been such a trooper and strength to her family, and her son has been, also.  We haven't been all that close although I know her better than I know Dori.  She's been in my thoughts plenty, though.  Her family is so blessed to have her.

Of course my dad.  *sigh*  16 years gone now.  Esophageal cancer that spread.  Eventually his lungs just stopped working.  He is still so very missed.

Now as for me...... Everything these people have been going through dwarfs my petty problems.  But I know my problems are still problems but I can't help but feel like a total dick for being all whiny about my crap when these amazing people are fighting for life.

My thoughts disintegrated into a clusterfuck of morbidity.  And now?  I'm feeling some HUGE gratitude that I could pull myself out.  For a great many years reading the book would likely have sent me in a crazy spiral complete with some pretty awful morbid thoughts.  Not that they don't play their tricks on me a bit.  Why them?  Why not me?  You see, I see the biggest, ugliest parts of me.  The selfish, cold, self righteous, asshole.  I think about all my horrible habits and how I feel like I take WAY more than I give in this life... I wonder why not me?  Parts of me wonder if I need to go through something like that in order to suffer enough to make up for my being a jerk.  Where the hell do these thoughts come from?

Well, I wrote them down.  Now I can try to focus on something else.  I won't erase them on the offhand chance someone else reads it and says, "Holy shit!  I feel that way all the time!  Maybe I'm NOT an asshole!"

I'm trying to take it all and learn from it. I want to appreciate what I have. I try to keep it all in mind, how fragile it all is. I try to always appreciate my husband sleeping next to me. I try to savor the time I have with Marshall. It's all fleeting and I don't want to waste it. I am so very aware of my blessings.

But I think my crazy cyclical thinking is slowing.  I am trying to get well for the party.  I better get to bed.

As a side.  I'm hoping to get more John Green books.  Will be buying my ebooks through King's Books' website so they can get a nice little kickback.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Big Ole Vent

I like my ob/gyn.  I do NOT like her nurse.  She was mean and condescending in her messaging and treated me like I'm an asshole.  " said you are averaging 50 day cycles but then you said that you are menstruating several days early??"  She was confused and snarky when SHE didn't understand that I'm trying to lengthen my luteal phase but shorten my pre-ovulatory phase.  I'm sorry that she was over reactive because she has NO clue about cycles.  Apparently she should not be working for a gyno... or with people, really.

THIS, my friends, is why I am so effing apprehensive about seeing a provider in the allopathic world for my fertility challenges.  This is not the first crappy experience I've had and, sadly, not the worst.

Who knows, maybe if I had just tried an RE after the first year of trying I would have had 3 more kids by now.  But I apparently have this foolish notion that for ME, the natural route is preferred (no judgement of others here. it's just my own path).  Apparently I should throw myself into the allopathic medicine world and just let them treat me like an idiot.  Is being treated like you're stupid part of the package?  WHY?  Apparently because I'm not allowed to have any more than one child and I'm not even getting to enjoy him now except for two days, every other week.

Everyone says "adoption" or "fostering".  You know what, I would LOVE that.  Apparently I'm not good enough.  Why do I have to be a perfect house keeper, with normal working hours, great finances and a perfect relationship to have another child?  Crack whores don't seem to have to follow those rules.  Maybe it's childish but it is NOT FAIR!

Some days I just wish this feeling of someone being missing in our family was gone.  If it were gone I'd be one of those people who just are happy to have an empty home.  Happy to be still relatively young when they are child-free.  Praising the fact there are no more sleepless nights or dirty diapers.  No crying.  No tantrums in the grocery store.  But nope.  I just see family photos and someone else should be there too.  Imagine having your very loving husband and child with you but still feel like someone else is missing.  Like you left home without a kid.  Where is ?  

I long for sleepless nights.  I long for helping a child through their emotions of tantrums (I don't expect to enjoy them, of course).  I long for dirty diapers and toys taking over.  I long for trying to find a babysitter so I can get one night out with my husband.  I want sibling rivalry and mediation between them.

Okay.  Guess what.  Bad day.  Yes, I have so much gratitude in my life for what I do have.. but today?  What I have is bad fucking day.