Archives for category: autumn

Sometimes the things we need to do aren’t easy. Humans do some amazing things, from truly enormous undertakings like building a civilization – or raising children who grow to be competent, wise, adults – to small things like going to work on a Tuesday and coming safely home. Sometimes the truly complicated things we take on practically coast toward an amazing seemingly effortless wildly successful finish. Sometimes the simplest practical endeavor seems beyond our abilities. Real. True. Human.

Yesterday, I got that flat tire from over the weekend repaired. I felt fortunate that it was repairable – I didn’t need to replace all 4 tires on my AWD vehicle. I happily got into my car this morning and went on in to work on a very typical Tuesday (which I’ve been doing in a co-work space these days). Totally the routine, ordinary thing. Only…

I did just make pretty significant changes to the medications I take. Not just adding a new one – I added two. Not only that, my doctor changed the dosage on one I’ve taken for a decade without a change. Not enough change? I also needed to change the timing on that one so that it did not conflict with one of the new ones in a weird way. So, okay. My meds are all switched up, and I need to give myself some patience while I get used to all that. Sounds reasonable. Hell, the effect on my physical and emotional experiences are very much improved in most regards – which is great news! Here’s the thing, though, one of the changes seems to be having – at least for now – an “unintended consequence”; I feel more relaxed and chill moment-to-moment and have the subjective perception that I am, indeed, more “relaxed” and comfortable, and my partner seems to (generally) find me easier to be around… but… I have much less emotional “runway” from the moment I become impatient or annoyed with something and when that impatience or annoyance overcomes my (very) limited ability to provide “top down” control of my reaction. I feel fussy, and I’ve got a short-fuse, and I honestly have a very limited capacity to “deal with shit”. So… there’s that. On top of the changes. I mean – it’s part of those changes, but it’s a part I hope fades as I sort myself out on the new meds. (If you can, try to hold on to what I’ve said about where I’m at, for just a little longer.)

My work day was a good one. I feel valued and appreciated. I walked away from my work at the end of the day, headed to the bank to run an errand for my Traveling Partner (well, in support of his new business, so, yeah). No problem; he was crazy busy receiving a shipment in several packages (also business). Cool, cool. No big. I’ve got the room in my day to do it. About half-way there, I felt very much that the car was not handling the way I expected it to, though I had some trouble putting my finger on quite what was going on with that. As I passed the tire place I’d spent part of my morning at yesterday, I thought to myself “maybe I should ask them to check that tire they replaced…?” I pulled in to the bank parking lot less than a mile further on, eager to be done with the day’s work and headed home to hang out with my partner. As I parked, the “check tire pressure” light came on – again.

Wait… a different tire is flat??

I got out of the car hearing a hissing sound that was pretty loud and turned to look. Flat tire. Fucking hell – seriously?? I felt my entire body tense up. My jaw clenched. I felt my body begin the first changes that signal an incoming panic attack or hysterics. I took a breath, then another. I called my partner and told him I had a flat – another flat. I told him, feeling almost desperate and very much “on the edge”, that I wasn’t even a mile from the tire place! I wondered if I should “just drive it over” but that tire was already even flatter than when I first looked at it. Shit. I can’t drive on that. He confirmed and reminded me “they have a truck” and suggested I call them. So, sure, okay. That makes sense. My stress level immediately dropped. Wow. Real progress and change. This works! I phoned the tire place and they assured me they’d get someone over right away. I went into the bank, and rescheduled the appointment I had (it wasn’t urgent, just needful, and I had had that time available). I settled myself down for the wait…

Is that a fucking knife??

As I waited, I looked closer at the pictures – then at the actual tire. My Traveling Partner had noticed first, and I admit, I was skeptical, but yeah… that looks like a knife broken off in my tire. What the hell?? How did that happen? This is not that kind of community. I don’t live that kind of life or keep company with folks inclined toward this sort of violence… wild. What the hell? “Weird spot on the tire for that sort of thing… wouldn’t that take a lot of force?” I thought to myself.

I made it safely to the tire place after their truck showed up and reinflated the tire. It was only a half mile drive, but I could feel the tire “softening” as I drove, and I cursed the rush hour traffic under my breath, fearful that I wouldn’t make it before the car was rolling on the rim. I did get there before that happened, but minutes after I parked the car, that tire was entirely flat once more. I’m glad I wasn’t doing any freeway driving!

The tire folks were pleasant, efficient, and brought me the bit of metal that punctured my tire. Sure enough – it is the snapped off end of someone’s no-longer-very-useful Gerber knife. The tip was quite gone, though, and the tire technician pointed that out and also the thickness and sturdiness of the metal generally; it seemed unlikely it was a hostile act. More likely, he suggested, it was a bit of debris fallen from a trash truck or work truck that I ran over. He suggested the front tire might have popped it up, making it more likely to pierce the rear tire, and becoming embedded, then driven-in as I drove on, unaware. Seemed reasonable. They put an appropriate “loaner” tire on the car and ordered a replacement. I am grateful that the minimal wear on the tires made that feasible at all. I’ll go back tomorrow or Thursday, when the proper replacement is in, and they’ll put that on and rebalance my tires and I’ll be on my way. Fine.

It just doesn’t seem like “all that” now…


I got home. I brought burgers. We relaxed until a neighbor came around with some work my partner had offered to finish tonight, and he took off to do that, and returned a bit later. Somewhere along the way, I don’t know, I just … finally didn’t have anything left resilience-wise, and a handful of interactions later, and I just could not maintain the facade of doing my best. I mean… I guess that was all I had left “doing my best-wise”, in spite of fancy new medication, and improvements in self-care. I just wasn’t able to accommodate even one more critical observation of any sort, however well-intended or legitimately helpful. I managed not to lose my temper, but my frustration was growing more evident by the minute, and I found myself no longer willing to wrestle my emotions into compliance. I just wanted to be left alone with my problematic experience for a little while. I found myself needing a lot of nurturing and emotional support – way beyond what would be a reasonable ask – and just gave in to being alone with my bullshit for a little while.

So many times we fail to be kind to each other when we’re “going through changes” – it isn’t easy. Even something like changing the timing on just one prescription, depending on what it is and what it does, can have profound effects on our emotional resilience, ability to manage our mood, our executive functions (or disfunctions), or our experience of the world around us. (Don’t be a dick to people – you may not know what they are going through.) (While you’re at it – don’t be a dick to yourself, you definitely do know what you’re going through, and you could use a break from your own bullshit.)

I’ve got a mug of very excellent drinking chocolate. There’s soft holiday-ish jazz playing in the background. My pain is decently well-managed, and the mild vertigo I woke with this morning has dissipated. It was actually quite an excellent work day, and I’m making room in my awareness to really savor that. My Traveling Partner has a lot going on this week, and I admire his ability to balance all of that with… all of me. It can’t be easy. (I’m annoyed by the feeling that if I try to say that to him right now, instead of “thanks for understanding”, I’ll get a short lecture from him on why it isn’t easy, instead, and I’m irked with myself for letting that hold me back.)

…I’m still holding back tears, but I think they’re just an artifact of the ups and downs of the day I’ve had, and an expression of frustration and fatigue, and the complexity of changing my medications. It’ll pass… or I’ll cry myself to sleep later. Either way, tomorrow is a new day, and I can begin again.

The prompt on this blank page suggests I share 5 of my favorite things. Thanks, I’ll pass. lol I mean, I could, but haven’t I got a mind of my own? Thoughts of my own? A direction of my own to take this “conversation”? I’ve got my ubiquitous cup of coffee beside me – a treat, in this case, an eggnog latte. 😀 (These ridiculous things have has many calories as an entire meal, so I don’t have them often, in spite of the holiday seasonality creating false scarcity that tends to suggest to me I should have them as often as I can. lol There’s something to learn from this…)

It’s very early. I woke ahead of my alarm, but I don’t know what woke me. Whatever it was likely also woke my Traveling Partner. As I dressed quietly in another room, he got up and came to see what I was doing (…um… getting dressed to make an early, quiet, departure as we’d discussed the night before…?). He went back to bed, curiosity satisfied. (And shortly after I had departed, sent me emoji kisses and let me know he was awake, after all. So much for him being able to sleep in!) I quietly got my things together for a new work day (and week) and headed to the co-work space I frequent, and here I now am; set up and ready to begin the work day after I’ve had my coffee and done some writing. 😀

I don’t really feel much like writing on a theme this morning. Nothing much to troubleshoot of my day-to-day experience. I remind myself to make a follow-up appointment with my G.P. now that my lab results are back. I think ahead to dinner, and take a moment to regret with some amusement that I forgot to bring my lunch today – and Tuesdays are mostly meetings through the midday – hard to walk away at “lunch time”! My mind wanders through thoughts and ideas the way my fingers dance across the keyboard. I’m not yet entirely awake, I suspect. Still working on this first luscious cup of coffee, excessively creamy and smooth compared to the clean bite of a properly made Americano or pour-over served black. The morning feels vaguely celebratory. It was a lovely long weekend, and in general I’ve got what I need in life and then some. I’m honestly still not entirely used to that. There are moments when I find myself “waiting for the other shoe to drop” in a most peculiar way that likely isn’t at all healthy – just very human.

I think about a recent email from a friend (responding to an email I sent over Thanksgiving). I feel fortunate to have so many very good friends. I’ve got a fair few long-standing friendships of many years endurance that I cherish. There are others that are perhaps somewhat less close as the years pass, and I’m delighted when such friends also allow the years to melt away when we again connect. It’s nice. I enjoy my friends. We don’t spend much time together in each others actual company these days; life has blown us hither and thither and the big get-togethers that once characterized some of these associations have either slowly discontinued over time – or I’ve simply gotten too far away to easily attend, myself. Funny where life takes us. I still think fondly of those gatherings and the many friends I’ve made over the years (although I am admittedly really pretty bad at staying in touch). I add an item to my to-do list, “email friends”, and another “do some snail mail”. I enjoy making hand-made cards and writing letters in ink.

The office music this morning is holiday music. A rather glum version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” tinkles away in the background, strangely grim and suggestive of spooky doings in the night far more than gifts under the tree. LOL

Yesterday, unexpectedly, I found myself feeling rather blue and specifically about the holidays. So many family members gone now. Friends, too. Moments that could once be shared with joy are now nostalgic touch-points, poignant and wistful and sometimes hard to bring up. I am disconnected from most of “my generation” of family, far flung lives that don’t intersect mine anymore that continue somewhere… “out there”. I wonder who my cousins have grown to become? Where life has taken them? Most of the familial sources of early-life trauma (in my life) have died. We are mortal creatures. I was surprised to note, when I did, that their passing did not immediately ease the lasting damage done. I remember being supremely annoyed by that at the time. It’s less interesting as observations go, where I stand today. Doesn’t stop me from wishing I could show them how far I have come in spite of them. I’m not sure that’s really a healthy thing, though, and I guess I’m okay with letting that go. (What choice do I have? It’s tough to schedule a meeting with the dead. LOL)

…What a lovely quiet morning…

…Good coffee…

I pause writing for a few minutes to read the news. It’s the usual dreck. I set it aside and sip my coffee; it’s starting to cool down and this particular coffee beverage is fairly off-putting once it is no longer hot. I’m not inclined to rush it along, just making a point to savor it at its best. 🙂

It’s not really time to start work, yet. I mean… I could, but I am not expected to do so at this early hour. The morning is a mild one, although chilly, and I decide to get a walk in along our “main street”, a good opportunity to enjoy the holiday lights without dealing with crowded sidewalks. 😀 A nice way to begin the day, too…

It’s a good Saturday morning. I’m listening to Megan Thee Stallion reminding me to be who I am without fear or shame. Easier to do when my anxiety isn’t a major problem, and my pain is well-managed. Today is a pretty good day. My recent doctor’s appointment was… surprisingly productive? Better than typical? I feel… hopeful. I’m also on new medication (not even a psych med intended directly for my anxiety, it’s a beta blocker that addresses some of the symptoms that follow prolonged chronic anxiety like my blood pressure). I’m pleased that it is, so far, actually helping – it’s even obvious to both me and to my Traveling Partner. We’re comfortably hanging out again without triggering each other, and without him seeming actually “allergic to me”. It’s super encouraging when medicine works.

It was important for me to be able to give my doctor an opportunity to treat me. To be open to change and to success – and sometimes that’s a more complicated detail than I am aware of. Learned helplessness over time, frustration with prior failures, anger and frustration, these can all get in the way of treatment (whether for physical or emotional ailments). I went to that appointment way more prepared for more frustration and failure than to communicate openly and honestly with my physician, and to be clear and purposeful in that communication. I got a lucky break by way of my relationship with my Traveling Partner. He was rather unpleasantly insistent that I specifically communicate some details to my doctor that he felt were especially relevant from his perspective. I could have dismissed that; my body, my doctor, my health & treatment! The thing is, though, he was on to something – I tend to minimize my own health concerns. It’s a long-standing bad habit developed during military service. “Go hard.” “Be strong.” “You’re a fighter.” “Don’t be a pussy.” “Endure and adapt.” I mean, that’s all fine for soldiers heading into a deployment, but, um, less than ideal in one’s relationship with a physician seeking to develop a good treatment plan for legitimate health concerns, for fucks’ sake. So. In spite of some internal resistance, I made a list. I literally read it off to my doctor, and answered her questions about each item. It was a tad comical, I found, but… I’m also on a new medication we’d never discussed previously, got a bunch of new lab work done (and have a plan to also adjust my thyroid medication based on the outcome of some of those tests), got a referral for a CT scan of my head (looking your way 8-year-headache – we’re coming for you!), and further, even got her wholehearted support of also treating my anxiety more directly (and a commitment to reach out to the clinician supporting that appointment, which is next week, to confirm which options are a good fit for the new medication).

I’m feeling myself this morning. I feel self-assured, comfortable in my skin, and happy to be who I am in this moment. Cardi B “gets it”. I’m not wealthy. Not focused on money all that much. It’s the wholesome (and obvious) confidence that resonates with me. When I am the woman I most want to be, I’m not mired in doubt – I know me. That’s what I want for myself, like, all the time; to rest comfortably in a sense of myself. Self-doubt is an insidious poison. I grin when She turns up in my playlist. I love the confidence of these women. I find myself thinking back to a younger version of the woman in the mirror… I wonder where Megan Thee Stallion will be as a woman of 50? 60? What about Cardi B? Where will their power rest when they are adult women farther along in their lives? Will it be in their financial power and economic influence? Politics? Intellectual endeavors? Philanthropy? How will they change the world from the other side of menopause? When life is less about a WAP than it is about knowing who they are and being that woman?

This coffee is good…

In 191 days I’ll be 60. Fucking hell, and still working to improve my mental health, resolve my chronic anxiety, ease the symptoms of my PTSD, improve my fitness and physical wellness, and become the woman I most want to be. The clock is ticking, eh? It’s a hell of a journey. I make a point of mentioning it because although I’ve made a ton of progress… I’m still walking this path, and there’s still a long way to go. It’s not “easy”. It’s not “certain”. Success is not a given. There’s no report card at intervals. There’s no trophy at the end of the journey. Is it worth the effort? For sure. It definitely has been. The incremental improvements are so very worth it. Yes, I still find myself frustrated, angry, or blue over ancient pain. Yes, I still find myself occasionally mired in my chaos and damage. Yes, there are still tears and they still fall. I’m just saying – don’t give up on yourself. You matter and you have so much to offer the world – and yourself. Get the help you need. Make small steps. Progress so infinitesimally immeasurably small is still progress and it will still get you somewhere, and it adds up over time. There will be interesting “a-ha moments” when you notice how far you have come, and how different (and better) life feels. There are verbs involved. Your results will vary. No one else can do the work for you. Just keep at it, okay?

Begin again. And again. One practice at a time, one step forward from a bad place, one new decision in favor of your wellness… it adds up, I promise you. Your darkest nights will be followed by a dawn – and a new day. (I mean, we’re mortal, so… yeah, but that’s a different conversation.)

It’s a cold Saturday morning late in the Autumn. My arthritis is bothering me. I took my Rx a bit earlier than I would on a work day, putting my self-care ahead of any other consideration today. Later I’d like to get a walk in, once the sun is fully up, and the day a bit warmer. The holiday tree is up and decorated. There is a Giftmas plum pudding steamed and aging for the celebration ahead. It’ll be a modest holiday this year; we have chosen to put our attention and money elsewhere this year (without resentment or regret), and I’m still eager to bake shortbread, to enjoy the lights and the carols, and to spend this time with my loving partner. It means so much to have that option, and to feel so well-loved. 🙂

I’ve rambled long enough – it’s time to finish this coffee and begin again.

Thanksgiving kicks off my winter holiday season, and always has. Here it is the Sunday after Thanksgiving and my leggings are dusted with bits of glitter after being on the floor wrapping the tree stand with its skirt after I somehow failed to successfully vacuum up all the fallen glitter left behind from making this year’s holiday cards. I experienced so much joy and satisfaction making the cards, I imagine I’ll do it again next year. Maybe start earlier and rush less…?

Handmade holiday cards were a fun weekend project.

Thanksgiving itself was… fine. It was fine. It was a lovely warm holiday spent in the company of my Traveling Partner. At some point we quarreled. We sorted it out and enjoyed the day. Commonplace enough and it didn’t ruin the day. Later, I did an astonishingly poor job of dinner. Well, I omitted a dish my partner really likes, for one thing, (and I generally make it, but had been doing so without understanding the relative importance to him, and so… I made a menu change that seemed a small detail, and it was a big disappointment for him). The other miss, dinner-wise, was the turkey. Straight up raw. It wasn’t done when I thought it was done. I checked the internal temperature of the bird, and must have managed to stick into the one spot on that fucking carcass that was at “done” temperature – the rest of it? Uncooked. Literally everything else I prepared was ready for the table, and the table was set, and I’d pulled the bird out thinking it was done, and it just was not. Yeesh. The disappointing discovery was made as my partner carved the turkey. It definitely put us both off actually eating turkey. What a waste.

…What’s not wasted? Any affection between my partner and I. He saw how crushed I obviously was over the dinner failures, and quickly offered me these words “I’m not disappointed with you, or upset about dinner. I couldn’t care less about what’s on our table. I care that you’re here with me. That’s what matters; we’re here together.” I felt very loved. Also rather disappointed with my dinner preparation, but yeah – very loved. That does matter more. We enjoyed the meal together anyway – there just wasn’t any turkey or corn. lol The mashed potatoes were creamy and delicious. The stuffing… had too much garlic. (What the hell?!) This may very well have been the worst Thanksgiving meal I have ever prepared. No kidding.

Yesterday evening I made a second “Thanksgiving-ish” meal, using delicious leftovers, and instead of turkey I made chicken strips. It was a satisfying, excessive, and quite a delicious meal. It was… Thanksgiving. We were both even appropriately thankful, and with good reason. Delicious meal in each other’s good company. What about Friday? I don’t even remember. I was in so much pain on Friday that the day ended up lost in it. I don’t think I made (or ate) dinner at all… and I’m not sure I got anything done. I was in that much pain. It’s rare for it to be that bad, but it does happen, and I am most likely to have that experience during the cold autumn days and nights on the way to winter. Yesterday was better. Today has been better still.

Today I finished up the holiday cards and got them in the mail. Did some housekeeping. Stood the tree and checked the lights. Wrapped the skirt around the base. Next up is the garland and then the ornaments. I don’t have much hope that I’ll finish tonight – and I don’t have to. There’s no need to dress the tree trimming in an additional layer of anxiety and stress over that kind of foolishness. LOL There’s no pressure. This whole mess is meant to be joyous, so… yeah… I’m cool taking my time with it. 🙂

Tomorrow a new work week begins, and the year begins the speedy race to the end – with twinkling lights, charity bell-ringers, and holiday carols playing everywhere. I am grateful to be where I am, here at home, wrapped in love, ready to begin again. This is enough. More than enough.

I woke with a wicked headache this morning. I’m in an absolutely shit mood, too. I woke irritable and cross with the world – on Thanksgiving. For fucks sake. What a… headache. I snarled a warning at my partner, and took my coffee into my studio and closed the door on the world. I put on a video of rain – maybe the sound will sooth me somehow? Fuck this headache. Fuck having a headache on a holiday.

…Omg… so much cooking to do… fuck.

I went to bed looking forward to today, and yeah even looking forward to the cooking. Right now? Right now I am not “looking forward” at all. I’m sitting here in my moment, with this fucking headache.

The sounds of rain are usually so soothing… this morning this video just isn’t getting me there. Headache is that bad. What I find myself listening to is the sound of my computer’s fans spinning up to deal with the high resolution video. I pause it and leave the picture up on the screen. I have no fucks to give. I leave my padded noise-canceling headphones on. They don’t do that much to cancel the very nearby sound of the computer fans, or my fingers on the keys of my mechanical keyboard, but they provide a muffled perspective on everything else. Quieter. My tinnitus is very loud.

I try listening to music. All the songs I usually enjoy are just annoying me right now. So I turn that off, too. I alternate sips of coffee with sips of water. I make a specific point of not looking at the news at all; there’s no chance that will be actually helpful, and some chance it could make things worse (by way of anxiety).

It is Thanksgiving. I’ve got a lot to be grateful for in spite of this headache. I focus on that, bringing my thoughts back to things I am grateful for each time they wander back to this fucking headache. (It can’t last forever…so I’ll just keep at it.) What am I grateful for, sitting here right now, headache and all? I think it over and drink my coffee, which is quite good in spite of my crappy mood.

…I’m grateful for this cup of excellent coffee made from good quality Ethiopian coffee beans. I don’t really know how long coffee will continue to exist, so I enjoy it while it is available and make a point of buying from roasters that are at least trying to source their beans sustainably and also paying the farmers a fair price.

I’m grateful to have a secure roof over my head, a home to call my own, and amenities like indoor plumbing, potable drinking water, and heat. I know there are families that don’t, not only in far away places but also right here in my country, my state, my county, and my community. (Pretty appalling, frankly – use your vote wisely.)

I’m grateful to be so fortunate as to have the luxury of beefing about a fucking headache on Thanksgiving; I know I can head to the kitchen any time and start preparing an ample holiday meal of wholesome good quality ingredients. I have numerous excellent cookbooks for inspiration, and highspeed internet to catch the latest cooking videos from favorite content creators. I am fortunate indeed. Even with the headache.

I’m grateful to have electricity. Like… seriously grateful. I sip my coffee for a minute thinking about how different life would have to be without electricity… and how many of our luxuries (that we mostly take for granted) are entirely dependent on having electricity in the first place.

My sleep has been filled with nightmares for a couple weeks now. I’m not sure why. I’m grateful af though that I am at least getting enough sleep (and rest) to start each day fresh in spite of the content of my dreams. That’s not a small thing. Getting enough actual rest means that I can generally expect that my dreams will not linger in my consciousness for long, once I wake. That’s actually a pretty big deal.

I’m grateful to have so many friends. Sure, most of them are quite distant, geographically, and we often go years without seeing each other. Doesn’t stop us from caring and connecting in between times. I could be a better friend, though… I pause this writing and send some emails to friends, wishing them a festive holiday meal. I miss them – particularly on Thanksgiving. When we were younger and living closer together, we’d often get together for a holiday meal. I do miss that. I’m grateful to have enjoyed it whenever we could. Good memories.

I’m grateful to have a partner who – after waking up irritable himself over not being able to sleep – can drop everything to be comforting and to try to be helpful, when I alert him of my vicious headache and shitty mood, in spite of where he’s at himself. Not one word of doubt that we’ll have a pleasant holiday, either; he knows that we’ll both get our shit together as the morning wears on, and go ahead and do the needful. Good partnership. We’re both entirely made of human, and god damn do we love each other. (I feel tears start falling, streaming down my face… I don’t know why, and I just let them fall. We’re mortal creatures, and sometimes that is reason enough for tears.)

I’m grateful even for the tears; I can feel. That’s kind of a big deal, too.

Rough morning. Still Thanksgiving and I’ve got a lot to be thankful for – this headache does not change that truth. I put on a playlist of love songs and begin again.