Archives for category: health

Here it is, your day! I mean, if you are a mother, this is it. A day on the calendar for you. I hope it is delightful!

Today is potentially fairly grim and meaningless, perhaps, if you did not choose motherhood. Just saying; that may unfortunately become much more common. And although women who do choose (even embrace) motherhood may not understand this, for those that do not choose motherhood, the idea of being forced to endure it is not a “small detail”, and no, their feelings on that may never change, even if they find themselves in the position of having to raise a child (or children).

I chose to be childless, and I am grateful to have come of age at a time when I could make that choice.

Anyway – if you did choose motherhood, here’s to you, and my best wishes that your child grows to become someone you can be proud of, and a value to community and society, and that you thrive in your role as Mother. It’s a worthy endeavor to commit to motherhood, for those that choose it. You have my respect.

Happy Mother’s Day.

I woke in a sweat, uncomfortable and shaking, tearing my consciousness from a nightmare that I had gotten pregnant – at 60, post-menopause – and unable to terminate my terribly risky and thoroughly unwanted pregnancy because the law had changed, and my bodily autonomy as a human being was utterly lost. My heart was pounding. I paced restlessly for a moment or two, feeling vaguely unsettled and with a persistent “uncomfortable” feeling in my guts.

I laid back down, fighting sensations very much at odds with each other; the sweats and discomfort, the fatigue and sleepiness. I felt peculiarly averse to going back to sleep. I wasn’t exactly nauseous… but I felt suspiciously as if I might feel better if I got sick and got past it.

Predictably enough, I was quite sick moments later. Something I ate apparently did not agree with me. The stressful nightmare was likely a byproduct of the combination of physical and emotional discomfort – one from whatever I ate that did not agree with me, the other from the recently leaked not-quite-official-yet Supreme Court document regarding the likely end of Roe v Wade. My physical discomfort was greatly eased by vomiting. My emotional discomfort… well, it’s no surprise that it persists.

…Tell me again why someone besides me, myself, has anything to say about whether or not I carry a pregnancy to term? I’ve chosen to be childless. Period. Seriously. I did not want to be a mother. Why would my choice be out of my hands? When I hear people spouting bullshit talking points about the sacredness of life from the moment of conception, I reliably find myself wondering how they are so easily able to overlook the sacredness of the life of the pregnant person, herself? How do they justify what is fundamentally a position that states women should be coercively required – forced – to bear a child? Forced to bring a pregnancy to term that they do not want. Forced to endure a potentially life-threatening pregnancy for months. Forced, potentially, to go through all that and the trauma of giving up a child for adoption in order to avoid motherhood? How is that acceptable?

I hear a lot of religious arguments against abortion. My thoughts on that are basically… by all means, if your faith restricts you from terminating a pregnancy, definitely do not do that, then. I get it. Your religious freedoms absolutely permit that choice for you. My religious beliefs do not in any way restrict me from choosing to end a pregnancy. My religious freedoms should ensure that I continue to have access to a full measure of reproductive medical services – including abortion. I know, it probably sounds like I am taking this damned personally for a woman on the other side of menopause… doesn’t even affect me, directly, right? I am taking this personally. Having abortion available to me ensured I was able to choose to be childless by intent. My choice. I was able to graduate high school. I was able to join the Army once I did. Both of those would have been beyond my reach, without having been able to terminate a pregnancy while I was in high school. I had birth control measures available. I used them. My birth control failed – which is not uncommon. I was fortunate to live at a time when abortion was available to me, when I needed it.

I needed to get that off my mind. Thank you. If I’ve upset you, I regret the distress I’ve caused you. Not enough to change (or withhold) my thoughts on this topic, but it isn’t my intention to cause you suffering if we disagree.

…But… can anyone tell me why it seems acceptable to tell someone that they must be forced to bear a child against their will, or potentially under life-threatening circumstances? Why is the not-yet-viable-outside-the-womb fetus “life” worthy of respect and value – but the living breathing human person with that fetus in their body is less so? I don’t get it. Like it or not, that’s really what is being proposed; forcing people who do not want to bear a child to go through that process because someone else is not okay with an abortion that they have nothing to do with at all. Yes, I’m unreasonably angry about this, and taking it personally. It feels personal.

It’s late. My guts are no longer churned up. I’m no longer sweating. My breathing is relaxed and even. It’s quiet in these wee hours, and I am alone with my thoughts in the night. I’m okay, though. No despair. Just quiet. There’s no stress to these sleepless hours; tomorrow I return home to the welcoming embrace of my Traveling Partner. I’m definitely homesick. I’m eager to be at home all through the month of June.

A yawn unexpectedly splits my face. I’m tired and sleepy. Time to try that sleep thing, again. Tomorrow is a new day, and plenty soon enough for new beginnings. 🙂

Awake again in this noisy place. The lights here have a hum. Each light has its own. Most of them fall just enough outside the frequency range of my tinnitus that I do hear them… and more or less as if my tinnitus has somehow expanded. Super annoying, but in the darkness of night that is not what woke me. It wasn’t even the occasional mechanical grinding of the parking garage door opening, then closing. It wasn’t the talkative folks in the adjacent room; they’ve finally settled down to sleep. It isn’t even the acid reflux that seems to be along for this trip to the office.

…I think I’m just homesick…

I miss my Traveling Partner. He’s getting some uninterrupted work time, which is likely pretty helpful right now. I know he misses me, though. We exchange text messages through the day. Gentle pings. Reminders of love. I appreciate this practice quite a lot. I’m eager to be home, though, and the week feels long and fatiguing.

I’m fortunate to have so much to go home to. I’m eager to return home. I miss that place. I miss my garden. I would miss these things even in a solitary life, sure… but what I miss most is the love that waits for me there.

I sit quietly awhile, writing paused. I reflect on love. I think of my Traveling Partner’s soft breathing as he sleeps. I wish him a good night’s rest from afar. I sip on this bottle of water, waiting on the acid reflux to subside a bit. It’s not quite 2 a.m. this time. I woke around 12:30 a.m., and I’d very much like to get more sleep. lol The work days feel long on these visits (they are), since I’ve little else to do (I tend to be rather focused on purposeful on these trips). I haven’t done much sightseeing, so far. It just seems to require more of me than I’ve got available, energy-wise. So, the work days run longer, compounding the issue. S’okay, though; I’m here to work. So I work. 🙂

In another time and place, I might have gotten dressed, put on my shoes, and gone out into the night to walk awhile. Pretty healthy choice for dealing with insomnia, but Seattle is a big city, and this is not a great neighborhood to be a wandering stranger in. Times have changed and the world feels less safe for that sort of thing, generally. So, I don’t go walking. I consider the small gym downstairs… but the lights there are ridiculously bright, and that would likely result in further sleepless ness.

…I try not to spiral down dark mental alleyways, and avoid looking at the news…

I’m feeling pretty over this acid reflux nonsense. I try to remember why I did not go to the corner store at the end of the street for antacids, earlier… I think I was just tired. Short-sighted. I’m regretting that I allowed fatigue to put me in this situation a second night.

…I can’t believe there were no Tums in my toiletries (there generally are)…

There was a time when I had acid reflux so chronically, even in spite of taking a prescription strength treatment, that I developed a hacking little cough, and was perpetually distracted and bad-tempered with it. My mind mentally wanders through what I recall of the sundries here in the hotel, while I am wondering if a delivery service may provide relief… then I remember that the hotel does have “the pink stuff” in stock. That’ll do, I guess. Some relief – in exchange for the potential that it may “turn up the volume” on my tinnitus (taking aspirin or other salicylates does seem to have that as a temporary consequence, especially with prolonged use).

I dress and walk down the hall, get some Pepto-Bismol, and some Benadryl (because my spring allergies are going nuts here in Seattle). I pick up a cold bottle of sparkling water, too – it sounds refreshing. The night crew in the lobby have the music turned up, playing something with a thumping beat… Beyonce? Could be. I smile as I return to my room. I’m glad they have a good time in the wee hours. Night shifts can be difficult, and a bit of fun helps.

My phone buzzes at me and I realize I was so tired when I crashed for the night (quite early) that I never silenced it. Could be what woke me in the first place, although the acid reflux would have, eventually. I’m already less uncomfortable, now, and soon the Benadryl will have me thinking of sleep… the trick now is to be sure of going back to bed with no less than 2 hours yet to go – otherwise I’ll wake groggy and stupid, and struggle to “restart my brain” when the alarm forces my attention to the new day. lol It’s not yet even 2:30 a.m…. I think I’ve got this. 😀

There’s something to be learned from this; my reluctance to compromise on my solution-of-choice resulted in two nights of poor quality sleep, and two days of discomfort. Was it worth it? It was not. I chose poorly. Something to think about, as I head back to bed.

Sometimes business travel is fun. Other times it’s “just work”. Sometimes it is stressful. Other times dull and tedious. This morning, in the wee hours, awakened by acid reflux, it is… uncomfortable. And also, surprisingly noisy. lol There is a busy urban street just beyond my (unusual) first floor window. My room is near the elevators, too, and apparently directly above the gym… and the automated parking garage door. LOL This trip won’t be a quiet one, apparently.

So, here I am. Awake at 3 a.m…

When I originally woke, I went to Guest Services to see if there was an antacid available in the assorted “sundries” for sale there. Nope. Nice hook where that’s generally found, though. LOL Fucking hell. No Tums. Nothing of the kind. Well, shit. I go back to my room, and sit up awhile. That helps enough that I suspect the pillow/bed arrangement of being the cause of my discomfort. I drink some water. Maybe sitting upright for a little while will help…

…And this is where I find myself, awake in the wee hours, writing and not sleeping. Realistically, I probably got enough sleep… I crashed hard around 8 p.m. LOL

Meh. I’ll watch a couple videos, and before I know it, it’ll be breakfast time here at the hotel, and time to begin the new day in earnest. Back to work after a long weekend that has felt eternal, and wonderful… will the world have changed? Well, if I take notice of the report that the overturning of Roe v. Wade may be imminent… yeah, it just may be actually (and rather terrifyingly) different for a whole lot of people. (That’s an angry tale for another moment.)

For now, let’s just assume it will be time to begin again. 🙂

I’m in a strange headspace this morning. It’s a long weekend. My anniversary with my Traveling Partner coming up. 11 years married. 🙂 Worth celebrating. Where would life have taken me if I had not taken this path? I don’t know, and never will know; it is the path I took, and the path I travel now. I’m okay with that.

The headlines in the news are pretty grim. Every day more terrible news about the war in Ukraine. Nearly as often some terrible family killing or murder-suicide or mass shooting or femicide or report of a child killing someone with a gun left too easily accessible is the story of the moment. If you’re reading the news in America, you’ve likely got a news feed filled with violence. It’s fairly shameful that this is who we are. (Oh sure, “not all Americans…”, but we vote, and we put the people in power who do nothing to make the changes we need to keep people safe and free. We each have a chance to do better.)

So, today I sip my coffee. I figure I’ll help out today by not killing anyone, by refraining from acts of violence against others, by embracing calm and contentment and making merry with my partner. I’ll treat passing strangers kindly and with courtesy. If I run an errand, I’ll drive gently and considerately, and I’ll refrain from flipping off stray asshats who drive like they own the fucking road and have nowhere to go other drivers. Choices. I’ll do better, myself. It’s a place to start.

The seedlings on my windowsill are doing well. Promising. New life. Fresh vegetables grown at home. 🙂 I’m excited to have “a real garden”, although admittedly I begin every gardening adventure with maximum enthusiasm and commitment and I acknowledge the variable outcomes. lol I think my own best previous gardens were the balcony garden I had in my first apartment with my Traveling Partner (herbs and roses, and later some wonderful tomatoes), and the garden I had in the garden at #59. That one was lovely – just steps away from my apartment, with water right there easily available. I grew tomatoes, carrots, and some salad greens, that I recall were delicious, but bolted quickly in the summer heat.

I rarely took pictures of my vegetable garden, and the few pictures I had were lost when #59 was burglarized (my laptop was stolen). So… here’s a squirrel visiting my container garden on the patio there.

I sip my coffee and think about my parent’s garden when I was growing up and still living at home. At the time, I felt like an involuntary laborer most weekends. The whole family would have breakfast, usually my Dad would cook. Then we’d all go out and work in the garden in the mid-morning, on weekend mornings. It was a lot of weeding, as I recall. As kids we didn’t do much of the heavy work, or planning. I had my own 4″x4″ square plot to call my own, too. I rather foolishly planted it in Jerusalem artichokes, which thrived beyond my wildest expectations, filling the bed and coming back year after year. lol Why was that a problem? No one in my family ate them. LOL There’s something to be learned there.

…There’s almost always something to be learned…

My Traveling Partner is making me a raised bed for our front yard. I’ve planned it modestly – a manageable size that I can count on myself to take care of. I’ve outlined an “L” shape that will “nest” within the edges of the flower beds, and give about a 30 inch (about 72 centimeters) walkway between the flower beds and the raised bed. I’m excited about it! It’s a very sunny spot, well-suited to growing food. The grow bags in the back are excellent for cooler weather vegetables and things that like a bit of shade during the heat of the day. I like having both. It’s not a lot of square footage in this new bed – just 20 sq ft, but I know I can manage that comfortably without help, and that matters. I get about 3 sq ft out of each grow bag (of the size I have), and the four of those give me another 12 sq ft of growing space. 32 sq ft doesn’t sound like a lot of garden, but it’s the most I’ve had since the 20 ft x 20 ft community garden plots I had back in the very early 00’s. I had two of those; they were completely beyond my ability to manage them, but I hung on to them year after year, puttering around and playing at gardening without much to show for it. I don’t think we ever actually ate any produce from my own garden there (it was mostly herbs, roses, and flowers). My greed overcame my ability. There’s something to be learned there.

So, this time, I am hoping I’ve found the right balance between ability and will, between sunshine and shade, between yearning and having, and even between vegetables and flowers. I’ve learned some things. I’m sure there’s more to learn. There almost always is.

I find myself thinking about my parents, their garden, and the things that motivated so many of their choices and practices. Their garden was not “just for fun” – they fed us from that garden. We often didn’t have a lot of cash resources, and were not “wealthy”. In fact, I’m fairly certain we were “poor” by many definitions of that word, but that garden fed us and it fed us well. It set my expectations of what vegetables taste like way too high to eat supermarket produce and be happy with that (it often tastes almost flavorless without a lot of seasonings). I miss those flavors! My parents were not “doomsday preppers” or serious survivalists, but my Dad had an interest in survival, bushcraft, and the practical details of life without “extras”. He hunted, and we ate game. I grew rabbits, and we ate those, too. We fished, and crabbed, and ate our catch. The house we lived in was in quite an ordinary residential neighborhood, crammed pretty close to other houses, but we explored the countryside through family visits elsewhere, and trips to see my Dad’s friends out in the rural areas of the state. Most of the backyard was garden. We had a complete set of the Foxfire books and I read them eagerly. There were often evening conversations at the dinner table (or in the kitchen or by the fireplace in the winter or outside while working on a project together) about “what if…?” – What if the power grid failed? What if we use up all the oil? What if there were a new ice age? What if there were a serious drought? What if there were a major food shortage? What would we do to live, survive, and thrive… if? We were encouraged to really consider it, and to develop useful skills.

I have my doubts that anyone is truly “self-sufficient”. We are interdependent, each of us contributing something to a larger whole. Family, community, workplace… it’s not just one person standing in a garden, selecting that perfect ripe tomato. Where did the seed come from? The garden tools – were those hand-crafted individually by that gardener? The water… what is the source? How much of what is being used in the garden has to be purchased elsewhere? I sip my coffee and think about self-sufficiency vs interdependence. I think about “what if”… and wonder what my own life might be like if I suddenly found myself without electricity. What if there was none to be had? (“Generators!” Sure, sure …and when the fuel runs out..?) I slide contentedly down this rabbit hole on a sunny morning, as a rather large gray cat makes his way along the fence beyond my window.

A stranger passing by, curious about what I’m up to on my side of the window.

I call out to my Traveling Partner to come look at the hefty visitor making his way along the fence so carefully. I haven’t seen this cat before. He moves on; he has things to do, clearly, and no time to waste on us.

Today I’ll finish cleaning up the aquarium and put it up for sale with all it’s parts. I’ve been slow to finish this project, less out of reluctance or sorrow than avoiding the effort involved. I’ve been working at it a bit at a time, but now the time has come to finish it off and get it gone, and reclaim that space for other purposes. Here, too, there’s something to be learned.

…There’s almost always more to learn. It’s time to begin again. 🙂