Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Le sigh: knitting edition

I have this amazing skein of yarn I bought on impulse, it's bright, it's colorful, it's bursting with so many colors. I could not resist it.

But it's about impossible to knit up. It looks like technicolor unicorn puke. It's horrible. I hate it.
That's all I got, really.

Oh and I finished a hat on Sunday. Need to get decent pics of that.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wash, rinse, repeat.

So it's OPK time here at chez Old Fart. So this evening I held it as long as I could to try and get a good sample to test the dipsticks. I managed to pee all over my hand and then drop the cup into the toilet. The cups are little tiny solo cups like shot glass sized, I think. And plastic, not paper.
I somehow managed to grab a second cup and catch a sample.

And then I flushed and remembered there was still a plastic cup in the bowl.You can't unflush the damn thing so.....I reached into the swirling water and snatched the cup out. The horror of that was nothing compared to the thousands of dollars in plumbing bills I envisioned when that little bastard got caught in the sewer lateral and the whole house started to back up.

I've mentioned the OCD a couple dozen times. I'm a handwasher. Not extreme, but I enjoy a good scour. I have only allowed myself to wash twice for this incident.
I would very much like to wash more.
I would like to reassure myself that I did a thorough wash with hot water twice and that is clean enough.
But instead I have to think "maybe they are clean, maybe not." Because them's the CBT rules.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Hide and Seek: Post Office Style.

So...four weeks ago I ordered a few simple summer tops online, after careful shopping and using of coupon codes because my clothing budget is so tight that it squeaks. Three weeks ago it said it was delivered. I looked all around my front door: in the flower bed, behind the stoop, under the chairs, under the table, in the flower boxes. Nope. I looked at the back door. Still nothin'.

I emailed the company and asked if they had access to any more detailed tracking info to give me a lead on where to look. Or maybe it went back to the PO and a slip wasn't left for some reason. Anything. They said to ask my neighbors. So, I spoke to neighbors. It was really not anywhere to be found. I called the post office that serves us and asked if it was just hidden really good. They checked around. No one had any idea. I spoke to our new carrier who said Monday was his day off so a float delivered it and had no recall of a parcel.

So I contacted the company again and said I did all that stuff and it's really just gone. The parcel was insured, they gave me my $80 back and some generous coupon codes. Friday, I went shopping in a real store and scrounged the clearance racks and got some new tops after my refund was processed.

The Man and I went to sit outside today and I was spinning yarn and he made a latte run. He got back and sat down on the patio furniture and it crinkled. Well, that is odd....He took the pillows off the chair to see what it was and hello MIA parcel. It's been outdoors for 3 weeks under the chair cushions, through some seriously hellacious thunder storms and lots of sun and birds and squirrels and chipmunks and it's still in perfect condition.
Well. OK then.

Monday, June 23, 2014

This shit never happens on Martha Stewart.

So, it's summer and now I have the urge to make things and can them. And then  the OCD compulsion to not allow anyone to eat them. But I'm trying.

Last night I hulled a shitload of strawberries and mixed up some vanilla strawberry jam and stuck it in the fridge to macerate overnight. And then I pulled out some rhubarb I had picked and chopped and froze a few weeks ago. I tossed it into the crockpot with vanilla beans, really strong chai tea, and a lot of fresh ginger and let it cook down all night long.

This morning I woke up with big plans. I boiled the strawberry vanilla goop and then jarred it up and canned it. It didn't set, I thought it probably would not. So it's strawberry sauce instead. Then I blitzed the stewed rhubarb with the stick blender and put it on to thicken up. When it was ready I got the jars all ready to go and filled with super sour, but oh, so good rhubarb butter. Went to process the last couple jars and noticed the water level n the canner was low.

So I picked up the other large pot full of very hot water (boiling ten minutes ago) and went to add it to the bigger pot.

This was a mistake. The second I picked it up I knew some shit was gonna go down. And yet....I carried on. Like a DUMBASS. Yeah, I spilled it. On my wrist. On my leg. On my belly. And then I thought I should put the damn pot down.

I got my burns under cool water and then used vinegar to help take the sting out. Then I finished the stupid rhubarb butter. Then I called my doc's office and hauled ass over there to see one of her colleagues who had an opening. I have second degree burns on my belly and leg and a nasty scald on my wrist. I have the magical silver burn cream from the doctor and a lot of bandages. And I am not allowed in a pool for a week, possibly longer if she doesn't like how things look next Monday.
I think things will look just fine. :D Mainly because I want to be back in the pool, man.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

I am not very good at Father's Day. I used to be. Or I used to think I was. Because I just didn't let myself be sad about it. Because that would been showing vulnerability, which was a bad idea. So it was just another day. And somehow showing any sadness for my father was taken as a direct criticism by my mother. She so often pointed out that he chose to leave, he chose to die. And she stayed with us. And when she said that it really didn't feel like it was her choice to stay, but she got stuck with us because she didn't get out of it first. And she used to tell us it wasn't fair. She never got a break. She was never going to get a break from being a mother because our  father died and left her with us and being a single mother was so much harder when the kids don't get to go to their father's house every other weekend. Those things are undoubtedly true, she was on 100% of the time with no partner to pick up any slack. But it just made me feel like a burden. 

And then sometimes she would tell me how lucky I was that he was dead. Because if he had lived we never would have had the opportunities we had because we never would have left Ligonier, Indiana.
And for a while, I agreed with her. I thought I was really lucky that my father died. Like he did us a favor. And that is pretty fucked up. But it made her happy to hear it.

So for the past 30 years I have ignored it, gutted it out, acted like it just wasn't happening when at all possible, and today I just can't do it. Maybe it's because last month it was 30 years. A fact I realized randomly while driving to an appointment. I only know it's sometimes in the end of May, because I don't think we ever knew the day he died. We only knew the day he was found. Today, I think I miss him.

I had a father for 25% of my life. And he was a drunk for about 50% of that. I think of that 12.5% and wished I'd paid more attention to things. I wish I had made some better memories. Sat still and listened more often. Learned how to make paper airplanes. Liked fishing more so I could have hung out more.

I know so little about him and I forget more every year. I haven't been able to remember his laugh or his voice for years. Sometimes I kind of think I can, but I know it's just me trying to hang on to something. I only have one picture of him taken when I was 2 or 3, that's all. Sometimes I look in the mirror and think I have his blue eyes. But then I can't remember anymore. I know I flick dirt or crumbs off my fingers the same way he did. I. know he could build things and fix things, and he loved airplanes. I think he loved flying more than anything else in the world. I think flying a plane was probably the only time he felt happy. And I was too scared to go with him when I had the chance. I stayed home and waited for him to fly over our house a few times and "wave" at us with the wings.

That's all I have now, and I know I will have even less in the coming years as the memories get worn away.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Talk dirty to me..

It's finally spring and finally time to play in the dirt a little bit.
I planted up my window boxes and planters on Friday, made a plan and bought some more petunias on Sunday and stuck them in the dirt this morning after pulling a huge yard waste bag full of weeds. I still have several beds that desperately need weeding but I don't think there will really be much more to plant this year, unless I score a sweet deal on some perennials. I may need to hack up the lamb's ear I have growing in the front, it has taken over and doesn't look like it can be stopped.

I have forty-eleven craploads of rhubarb in the back, too. I need to rhubarb all the things. And my husband needs to trim the hedges that are totally out of control.

need to bring the rest of the bricks up to use as the border, it's coming along!

cannot wait till these fill out in a few weeks

that green crap in the front planter? It just showed up, it's cute. I left it.

my lavenders lived through the brutal cold!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

I have a second blog that I ignore slightly less than this one.
It's all TMI, all the time over there though.

I mainly started it to just kind of keep track of my thoughts as I continue on this journey and I am narcissistic enough to think someone else might want to behold my navel gazing.
Or read about bodily misadventures of a TMI nature.

I mentioned the TMI, right? Because it is there.

You have been warned.

Confessions of a Mama Wannabe

Yep. My hat is tossed in the ring. Which, now that I think about it, reeeeeeeally sounds like a euphemism.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

This day

This day is like a minefield for me. And I feel selfish even saying that. My mother is still alive and I choose to keep my distance. No, it's more than choice. I have to keep my distance. I have to. Because I have worked far too hard at putting myself back together again to let her come in and pull out my still healing stitches. And she would.

She sent me a letter a while ago. A handwritten note. I handed it to my therapist who read it with arched brow. And then went to photocopy it for my file and instructed me to go home and put it away and just not think about it anymore. Which is hilarious since a large part of my work now is to stay present in the moment and to feel my feelings when they happen. Because I learned to not be present on her watch. I learned that when someone was hurting me that the best thing was to just not feel it. I learned that I wasn't safe and that there was nothing I could do about it. There was no parent who was going to protect me. So I got very good at not feeling it. I got good at acting normal. I would crack a joke to hide my pain. I didn't dare show a vulnerability to be turned against me later. I learned that she could really give me something to cry about if she wanted, and sometimes she wanted. 

I had a nearly full on panic attack in session a few weeks ago and my therapist had no idea until I confessed the next week. We sat, 5 feet apart while I fell apart inside with my heart trying to race, the room spinning, my stomach churning, my mind racing. And I couldn't pipe up and say that I was not OK. To someone who is there to help me. Who isn't going to hurt me. And who is a clinician who deals with trauma and knows how to spot these things a mile away.

And that's why I have cut ties. I can see no version of my life at this time that includes being well and having a relationship with her. I can have one of those things. I picked me.

This year there is a new layer to the day. An emptiness that I haven't quite felt before. The kind that catches in my throat and makes it hurt to swallow a little bit. Because I am not a mother. And before I found out that was even remotely possible I was OK with it and I accepted it was part of the hand I was dealt. Sure getting wished a happy mother's day just because you look old enough to have kids has sucked pretty much every year for a decade. But by not being a mother I was also not going to risk becoming her, I was in control. It was my choice and now, it's not.

This year I am no longer childfree. For the first time in my life I am childless and so aware of it that sometimes it hurts. It hurts to breathe. My eyes sting with tears. My belly aches. I press on with the work I do in therapy, because forward has become the only acceptable direction for me to go. If the time comes, I cannot allow myself to be her. I don't want any child of mine to feel unsafe. To feel frightened of me. To feel so alone that it hurts. To be afraid to cry in front of me. To feel like I did.

Friday, April 25, 2014

If it were that easy....

Something that is not helpful whatsoever to say to someone with OCD is "Can't you just stop thinking about this?" 

Because what fucking part of obsessive and compulsive doesn't fucking make sense?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Well, that escalated quickly

One of the hardest exposures I had to deal with during my cognitive behavioral work was my pantry. Nothing was allowed to be tidy. I actually got angry and mentally cursed my therapist more than once about it. I hated it. And when I wrapped things up in January I didn't run right home and put all my crap away properly like I wanted.

Today i was looking for something, and put a few things back. And all of a sudden I was lining up cans with all the labels facing straight ahead, and then I got out my label maker to put some beans in tupperware. And then the tupperware cabinet was from hell, so I had to fix that before doing anything else....

Which ended up with me scouring the kitchen sink on the verge of tears. And then getting a wooden skewer out to get the tiny bits of crud out from around the faucet and sprayer.

I feel like I let myself down. I am just so not in control of some things in my life right now. I have to track them, but I can't control them at all. And it's hard. Harder than I realized, apparently.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Is this thing still even on?

I just walk away from my blog for 6 months at a stretch and then always come back with approximately the same not very witty title. I am nothing if not consistently inconsistent.

So, last I typed and you read I was working on cognitive behavioral therapy to get my OCD and panic attacks under control. In September, Team Annie gained a new player. Another therapist, this time a lady, to help me sort out some trauma and PTSD issues. Which is what I thought would happen all along from my initial phone conversation with  D about setting me up for CBT. Because I knew there was a well of pain I had constructed my entire life around avoiding. And right on schedule, once I began to have so much less fear about the minutiae of daily life, some of these bigger and more painful experiences started to slip up to the front of the queue. And they are ugly. And they are shameful. And there were flashbacks. And nightmares.  And awfulness. And instead of hiding, I said I needed more help. So for a few months, I was seeing two therapists weekly and The Man and I were seeing a third every few weeks.

At the end of January, I graduated from CBT so now I am just down to the trauma work and the marriage work. Both of which are going pretty well. The marriage work was to begin to make some new patterns now that I don't require as much care taking. Because being me was hard on my marriage. And as much as he wanted to protect me and keep me from being hurt, it wasn't healthy for him to have to take care of everything all the time, not healthy for either one of us. The trauma work is hard. There were times last summer when I was touching a bathroom door handle at Target, or watching the puke scene from Bridesmaids for the 500th time and I thought that was hard work. There were times when we began to move toward my discharge where just the thought of it would make me cry, because I was so scared. I wasn't sure how I was going to be able to live my life  without having to tick off banned behaviors. How I would conduct my errands when they weren't assignments? How would I stay accountable when I was the only one I had to be accountable to? Because I haven't done so hot when I am the one left in charge of me and I felt very sure that I wasn't going to be able to keep my shit together.

Those were hard things, but now they seem like a cake walk compared to the work I have to do. And there isn't much homework for this. Except that when something painful comes up, I can't pack it away in a box and put it away at the back of my brain. I have to live with it. I have to let it suck. I have to help my brain find context for the events so that it can be properly refiled so that I stop reacting to anything similar with full on panic. And I have to use grounding techniques sometimes to keep from flashing back or dissociating. At any given moment I can be somewhere and trying to appear calm and inside I am looking at the walls, the floor, listening to the music, whatever things I can see, hear, smell, or touch to help me stay grounded in 2014. And it works more often than it used to.

And as I repair damage, I sometimes feel at loose ends. I got so good at being broken that I forgot how to be anything else. Not that I felt like a victim, in fact I never felt like a victim. Which is part of my problem, because there were times when a victim is exactly what I was, but I was so unused to being allowed to feel my feelings that I stuffed it down and convinced myself it was my fault. Because I deserved what I got, because I should have known he was a bad person before it got to that point.. I refused to admit that this sort of abuse was something that happened to me. I wasn't sitting around feeling that the world had done me wrong, I was just broken. And now I am patching up the damage a little bit at a time.And I have begun to try and get on with the business of having a life. I meet with friends. I stay responsible for social contact. I run errands. I do stuff. And every day it gets a little bit easier.

My life has turned around nearly 100% from where I was last year at this time. I have plans. I have some good things happening. I am participating in my marriage as more or less an equal partner. We look forward to what the future may hold for us. I am beginning to sometimes feel normal. That I don't have to be other. That I am not only a pile of broken and sad and yuck, no matter what was drilled into me from a very young age. I can be sad and I can feel hurt and I won't have to cut off the world or cut or scratch myself to control the pain. I am a person who is learning to have a life, to allow myself to have hope and dreams again. And I am so late to the party for so many things and just trying to make up for lost time.