*insert title here*

the end of the year has been pretty good. i still cry if i start to talk about Obi Wan but i have managed not to think of her so often.

i worked thanksgiving and christmas as i have the last number of years. there has been a pay debacle so i am not doing that again. i always offered because i don’t have kids. but not if it isn’t appreciated. i did make 4 pies for thanksgiving and 5 for xmas. we have a chef who has SUPER food allergies. she is on an AutoImmune Protocol. but she makes yummy stuff for us all the time. she just cannot eat it too. so she and i found some recipes and i made her an AIP cherry pie with AIP crust. she said it was delicious. i basically ate a pumpkin pie all on my own like i normally do.

working hospice at the holidays tends to be a nice experience. while the therapy miniature ponies did not arrive this year, patients and families tend to be warm and inviting. everyone enjoys sharing the food and the time. we nurses disconnect from patients and families a lot of the time to bond together. of course, the minute a pt or family needs anything, we are completely connected to them again. but the cliche little family is quite nice.

i read entirely too many books last year. i say that because it means i stayed at home reading too much. i am going to at least try and read other places this year. perhaps even a library? i am sad to be single but i suppose that is just as much my failure as anything. i get to start seeing my grief therapist again next week. it feels weird to say, but i am excited! it felt good going to see her. not just Lucy, but loss throughout my whole life. loss of parts of my life. while, again, i made the decision to read all these books at home alone, i hope in feeling better with speaking to her, i will be more open to more connections.

one funny thing that has changed about me lately. perhaps this is lucy. perhaps it is coming out of depression (at least i think i am. i feel better.) i get easily overwhelmed by loud and/or boisterous people. mansplaining has gotten much harder to tolerate. and not in the “i am not listening to this bullshit anymore” way. in the, i feel beat down way. i have always been one of those people who had no problem speaking up equally. to telling a man he is mansplaining. but i don’t have the energy for it right now. i would say that is a good thing, why fight an unnecessary fight. but the feeling i get in these moments is of being overwhelmed. why must they be so loud and oblivious? as i think about it, every person i have every met probably thought the same thing about me. i appreciate you all not being so overwhelmed by me as to still be my friend. but it is really all more than that. it is SUCH a strong feeling. i want to shrink so no one sees me in these moments. i wince when they hit a high pitch. i have started to avoid these people. is this because i am finally acting on something that i innately know is good for me but have failed to do in the past? or is this another sign of being 50, feeling older, fearing the future, my job, the recent (and not so recent) losses in my life? i like it and i don’t.

my hair stated going grey in the front in july. wtf? was it in anticipation of turning 50? i had an abnormal mammogram in november. i kept thinking how happy i was to have made it to 50 intact. then this fear started to grow in me. i have always had a “too good to be true” streak. but it ended up just being dense tissue (which is a good thing). i have this other weird feeling. well, probably not weird but certainly unhealthy. i feel a lack of time. i have all these clothes i want to make. sewing skills i want to acquire. things i want to bake. raclette i want to host. trips with my new luggage i want to take. but i feel like i am too old. not too old to do these things, but too old to get to do enough of them. i will never be able to retire. i cannot afford it. and at some point i won’t be able to work as much so i won’t be able to afford as much. so i feel this pressure to do it all now. if only that rich uncle that patrick and i made up were real! we had this elaborate story of an unknown very wealthy, very mean and horrible but having lived a life he enjoyed, uncle, dying, at a ripe old age, and leaving us a large inheritance. so we didn’t have to worry about money. it would be in the form of a trust that only allowed for home and food costs. so we didn’t have to worry about that. it was a strangely elaborate story that just got bigger and bigger.

gandalf and snape are fine. snape only chewed on the gothmas tree to annoy me (and then ended uo throwing up the plastic bristles). i have two more lights to fix up under my kitchen cabinets. it makes a world of difference while baking at night. this year i hope to work only 1 extra day per pay period. i am still not in a position to cover all of lucy’s rent. and work is weird because we are having to move and management has no idea what is going to happen. looks like a PRN job for me soon. had my first raclette soiree last night. it went well considering i was coming off 13 hours at work. but i still look cute!

but, things are things and they don’t feel as emotional as they used to. is that age or medication?

well, that is enough of that.

i am ready for a holiday

oh gothmas tree, oh gothmas tree! how ever dark your branches!
my first american raclette. i am proud of myself.

is it menopause? regret? fear? yet another story?

Obi Wan (my new kitten) died on Tuesday. she had some sort of CNS disease or defect. we had hoped that it was just toxoplasmosis. but the antibiotics didn’t seem to be helping anymore and the titer was negative.

and i cannot remember the last time i sobbed so hard. or so many times. or still.

Obi Wan wanted nothing from me but to purr in my ear and she sleep on my shoulder (or across my throat, which was awkward from a breathing standpoint). she didn’t rush me and paw at me the minute i walked into the house. she didn’t break things or knock things over or attack her sisters. she was just happy to see me and there to snuggle. she just loved me and wanted to be near me. she didn’t ask anything of me. she didn’t insist i pet her every moment i was sitting down. she didn’t fight me when i clipped her nails (though i only got two chances). she was with me for a little over a month and she made me SO HAPPY.

it is like i finally found someone who would love me without asking anything of me. it just felt like the easiest love. she loved me for me and not someone she needed me to be. sure, she was just a kitten, and she needed my home and food and water and litter box. she greatly enjoyed the tuna fish i hand fed her the days after she got back from her second trip to the emergency vet. the last night we slept in my bed she laid on my shoulder and purred into my ear while we both fell asleep.

everyone forgets me. not permanently. but they forget me. the worst way to hurt me is to forget me. you told me you would do something with me. be there for something. and then you are not. and it really matters to me. it is the most important thing to me. i think the last time i sobbed this hard was when someone i trusted so much, forgot me on christmas. we had plans. and they forgot and made other plans they wanted more and left. and though Obi Wan is gone, she didn’t forget me. i know it sounds insane but she made me feel loved. she made me so happy. i haven’t been that happy in a long time. i haven’t felt like i mattered so much, just for me, just to sit a purr in my ear in as long as i can remember. there was just this little cat who didn’t need me to be someone for them, to save them from something, to carry them, forsake myself for them, to wait in line for them. she was this little cat that made me #1. i don’t know why, but after losing Obi Wan i feel like the only person left, like i am the only person left, alone, anywhere. and i miss her so much. she was so young. she didn’t deserve to die. i couldn’t tell her what was happening to her. and then she stopped breathing. and she is gone. why does it hurt so much?

little by little

i am down to just under 150lb. that means i have lost 13lbs since Lucy died and i ate everything in sight for 6 months. i cannot remember if i mentioned (and am too lazy to go back and look at previous blogs) that my psychiatrist put me on Adderall for depression. it has helped a ton and has the side benefit of helping me lose weight. 13lbs since April. i am sure if i exercised more i would lose it faster. more than anything i want my flat stomach back. i bet sit-ups would help ;>

i find myself really missing physical contact lately. not just hugs, but true holding. sex would be nice too. i have started a new book series where the main character is fiercely loyal. he loves someone he has previously been with but cannot anymore, and yet remains loyal. some may find it foolish, but i appreciate someone knowing themselves. knowing that they cannot give themselves to someone else completely, so not being wiling to offer less than everything. i don’t want someone to be miserable because they love me but something keeps us apart, i just want someone loyal to me. my birthday proved there are people who love me fiercely, who care about me, who want to celebrate my birth. who are willing to take the time out of their lives to spend my birthday with me. but no one wants me. no one has stayed loyal to their love for me. i think everyone should have that.

as soon as the new year starts, as soon as i have a pre-tax health care account balance again, i am going to start seeing my grief therapist again. i just cannot afford it right now. if someone wanted to anonymously pay off my unsecured debt, then i could afford it. that not being a realistic possibility (i got myself into this, i will get myself out) i gotta wait until January.

i have started to talk to Lucy, it started the day after San Le Muerte. had she been there, had she still been alive, she would have been totally happy and totally hung over. i got up late that day and started talk about how we would have talk endlessly about how brilliant it was and how the music with amazing. how she would have left that afternoon to meet with Alecs for a hair of the dog session. how happy were both were because of our awesome lives. though i wasn’t number 1 in her life, though i never would have been, Lucy was loyal to me. we were a team. i like talking to her.

Snape still hasn’t accepted her new sister Obi Wan. we tried sharing the whole place but it didn’t work. now Obi Wan has something wrong with her hips or back legs. they give out or start going the opposite direction as the rest of her body. a trip to the emergency vet and $609 later (visit, labs and X-ray), there is no clear cause. i don’t really want to take my cat to a feline neurologist and the $4000-$5000 MRI is out of the question. i hope it is just a temporary malady. her energy level is back and that is good. an extra shift will cover that vet visit. thank goodness i keep an emergency credit card around. here is me and Obi Wan snuggling last night. (she likes to like noses, she was just turning her head to like my nose)

i am 50

and it is ok.

had a great birthday. started with breakfast tacos in the cemetery. followed by a nap. then coffee with friends. then a dinner with an amazing surprise of a bunch of people i really care about and who really care about me. really. it was just amazing. followed by a haunted tour of downtown austin. the only bummer about the tour was our tour guide didn’t know enough about the servant girl annihilator (austin had the first serial killer in the US, even before H.H. Holmes in Chicago – highly recommend reading “The Devil in the White City” about Holmes and the Chicago World’s Fair). she should bone up. it would set her tour apart!

the group meeting me for dinner really meant the world to me. i have been feeling so isolated and alone since Lucy died. i am just not close to anyone. Lucy was my conduit. she was also my partner in home life. and that is a big hole. one i do not want to fill with a roommate. but a partner, partner. anyhow, apparently a lot of people bitch about me at work (cause i won’t help you for the 3rd time if you aren’t going to bother to learn how to do it yourself. and i might be night about it one, but by the third time, forget it). and yet we all complain about the same thing and nothing changes. blah blah blah. having people take their time to be with me on my birthday. without me having to organize it, was amazing. just amazing. it is funny how much it means to me to have someone offer to do something for me, with me, instead of me having to ask, arrange and plan. is this what happens as you get older alone?

get my first coloscopy on wednesday. woohoo 50!

have gotten myself in a little bit of a financial hole. i want to get out of that. and i want to work less. and i want to see my grief therapist. gotta pick which 2 out of 3 i want the most.

i do love my home very much. it is my space. it is all me and my style. it is so very comfortable as a result. a safe place.

breakfast tacos in Oakwood Cemetery

what makes me happy

when i came home from work last night, i was sad. all i could think that would make me happy was reading a book. i read murder mystery almost exclusively. lately it has been set in regency england. and, i am embarrassed to say, i seem to read those with a male and female lead that end up romantically connected. (don’t worry, i am not reading bodice rippers. i have no interest in reading sex scenes.) i like hearing about relationships that work. (somehow, couples i know that have relationships that work just make me sad).

it seemed wrong that the only thing i could imagine that would make me happy was escaping reality to a book. set in a different century. with people i don’t know. that don’t actually exist.

tonight when i came home, i thought to myself, “nothing has changed since i left this morning”. and that is because i live alone. and i am single. and i have 2 cats. (ok, it is a LITTLE different when i get home because i DO have cats. they didn’t fold my laundry though.) (which is actually good, because i really enjoy folding laundry. weird, i know.) that felt weird. i won’t go as far as to say it felt wrong, but it didn’t feel right.

i am seeing a new therapist who specializes in grief. my old therapist suggested i see a grief therapist because of Lucy.

my new therapist and i talked about the difference between demoralization and depression. have i mentioned this before? she thinks that perhaps i am more demoralized than depressed. (below is a blurb from a study, albeit old an old one, 2007, that helps to define the difference). we talked about my life in general (i am very practiced at this story) and she said, “you have a lot of grief in your life. not just Lucy.” she was referring to the things that i have lost and/or have never had (and i am not saying, neither was she, that this is all someone else’s fault, a lot of it i did to myself, or with someone else, but not all of it.) but, the two big things, lately, are my job and Lucy. we talked about how demoralizing my job is (how much it has caused me to become demoralized? how does one work that?) and when Lucy died, it pushed me over the edge into depression.

In 1975, Schildkraut and Klein3 defined demoralization as a state separate from depression. Whereas patients with depression experienced anhedonia, patients with demoralization lost their sense of efficacy. In the 1980s and 1990s, Frank and De Figueiredo further refined the meaning of demoralization.4The term demoralization remained distinct from depression and was characterized by 2 states: distress and a sense of incompetence that results from an uncertainty about which direction to take. Individuals with depression and those with anhedonia cannot act (even if they know the proper direction to take).

i think i have struggled a lot longer than i realized. a LOT longer. and that struggle is even some of the reason why i have lost things. is this too vague? i have been so many things most of my life that i don’t think i realized. like adjectives. sad, angry, depressed, frustrated, scared, embarrassed (actually, i think i always know when i am embarrassed, it is a state i have had to master), hopeless, happy. i am not even sure i realized when i was happy. like inside happy, not laughing with friends happy. that sounds crazy though. therapists ask you “what are you feeling right now” when you share something traumatic or get tearful (sometimes when i get angry, but not as much as when i am sad) i often say “i don’t know”. and i don’t. maybe that is new? i always felt like i over shared how i felt. then after my divorce, i stopped sharing, and maybe i stopped feeling? and maybe i am just turning 50 in august, am single and have 2 cats. (i don’t want to be a stereotypical single 50-year-old woman. i don’t want to become a “get off my lawn” Xer. but maybe that is exactly what this is? i hope not. if i am, i almost feel more hopeless. i don’t want to be that woman, in that episode of “6 feet under”, who died and no one really realized it)

i feel the weight now though. i thought to myself this morning, before work, i don’t want to go and get beaten-up. i had a therapist, when i was in college, that said to me, “if you know, if you go there you are going to get beaten up, don’t go”. that has always stuck with me. i think it has taken me a long time to realize (sometimes) i was feeling beaten up. (my dad sent me to this therapist after my step-mother tried to kill me. sounds extreme, i know, but my youth was weird). it seems now like i am feeling it and it is overwhelming. like put my hands over my eyes and push back the hurt so i can go back to work, overwhelming.

we have changed my meds twice since april. it isn’t working yet. but maybe it won’t, really. maybe the help is to change what started this all in the first place. not an easy change. NOT AT ALL.

a volunteer at work, today, told me that i reminded her of Exene Cervenka. i was SO flattered! OMG! to be compared to Exene?! dream come true.

songs change mood

i drove around in my car for like an hour tonight listening to music. my car has a fantastic speaker system. it had stopped raining by the time i started to drive. did slide on water a few times on 183. some songs can make you feel really good. the right song makes me feel powerful. i always skip all the portishead and massive attack songs because that is what “the boy that broke my heart” and i would have sex to. some songs make me sad too. songs that remind me of unpleasant events. obviously songs remind me of people. i need to send an email to my micro teacher as i heard a few songs by nouvelle vague and i had shared their album with him. i wish i got the same feeling on strength listening to music in my house as i do in my car. Lucy would DJ when we were getting ready to go out. i want to roll my hair tonight. listening to music would be great. but it is a little late for that. also, cannot wear headphones while putting in curlers.

bought my own axe for axe league. love this axe. throw GREAT with this axe. i will NOT finish in last place next season.

i now weight 162 pounds. i am kinda of freaking out about it. though obviously not enough to do anything constructive about it. i still eat all the things. my new psychiatrist started me on a new anti-convulsant (good for bi-polar 2) and kyle says it seems to have taken off the edge to my depression, but i am still not myself. the new med (Trileptal) helps me sleep. i am sleeping great! so i stopped taking the Ativan and i wonder if that is why i am feeling increasingly off. the hope of me being able to fit into the 2 things i wanted to for vegas is basically dead. i think not getting to dress up is going to make the trip not as fun for me. but it is still great to get out of town. anyhow, while i feel a little better than in april, i agree with kyle, i am not myself yet.

i like my new therapist, but damn is it expensive. with jayme moving out, i will lose the rent i was getting. so, i guess i will have to work those overtime hours. but i am getting to talk about all the frustrating things causing stress in my life right now. my home situation will becomes less stressful next month. i don’t feel work will ever becomes less stressful unless we have a big change in management. but i also have no idea what other type of nursing i would enjoy. being single is stressful, in the lonely sense, but being my body hates me, it is probably better that i am single still. work stress, boy stress, soon to be increasing money stress, Lucy grief. i got a lot going on.

it is frustrating not knowing how to help myself. especially from a medication standpoint. i don’t know what will help. i feel like me and the medical community are sort of randomly trying things. i want some sort of full body test (physical and/or labs is fine) that will sort all of the things. i wonder if my tummy problems are a bug (literally). it all came on so fast, it seems hard to believe that it is my body simply changing with age. yes, my body is changing with age, but this happened so fast! it is like “sudden onset” dementia in older adults. it doesn’t happen. if they suddenly don’t know who you are from one day to the next, it is a UTI.

i get to redecorate my spare bedroom (into a spare bedroom). that will be fun. and i can feel comfortable about bugging people to visit me! kimberly needs some house stuff so we are going to hunt together. we shop well together. you know, except for the money spending part.

i feel like there was something more exciting i was going to share while i was thinking about this post while driving around in my car. i am at a loss.

my eating problem

i have gained about 25 pounds since Lucy died. i eat all the things. i do not fit into my clothes. all my t-shirts are too tight. people keep commenting on how big my boobs have gotten (my friends, not weird creepy people…oh wait…my friends are weird, creepy people, ok, well, not weird, creepy STRANGERS. yeah, that works). if it doesn’t have an elastic waste it won’t zip. i fit into 2 dressed. and one of those is one i bought at secret oktober today in a size large.

on monday i am starting a program call Fitgirls. it has structure and process. i need that. that keeps my interest. it keeps me busy. i am also still working to figure out all the food that hates me and eating more from the FODMAP beginner’s diet book. the simple stuff. like, roller out blueberry muffins. take less than 30 min to make start to finish and yummy snack. i use Freshly for lunch. it is sort of a challenge to follow the Fitgirls program in that stuff has to be done on certain days so that food is ready. AND you still make dinner at dinner time. when i work i have very little time between shifts so cooking is not easy at all. things are simple though. of course, i may find myself eating spoonful of peanut butter some nights.

but i have got to fit into more of my clothing by vegas or it will be a miserable trip.

started some new meds. i am better. i can get out of bed now. showering is still hard. and if i don’t shower i won’t leave the house. but better to move around the house awake than sleep 28 hours. may need to…UP THE VOLTAGE! (for all you Real Genius fans out there)

my dreams have been VERY detailed lately. and i remembering more than one a night. which is totally bizarre. normally i would contemplate what my dreams are trying to tell me. but, i am too tired these days. i had a super detailed dream where Christine and i were shopping (which is pretty common). this was SUPER detailed though. i remember the items we were looking at in serious detail.

started seeing a new therapist who specializes in grief. my first appointment was a background thing. but she did make a comment about grief that resonated. made me feel better. unfortunately, i cannot remember what it was. amusing, eh? still, i miss Lucy more and more. she mostly kept me from feeling lonely. i feel SO lonely now. i have all sorts of friends, i go out, i wet set my hair. I THROW AXES EVERY TUESDAY NIGHT! but i am lonely. i am going to be a bridesmaid. i need a date. no dates.

i am still awesome though.

here is a picture of me in a wet set. i do really enjoy playing girly with my hair like this.

april cannot come soon enough

april is when i see my new psychiatrist. my old one fired me. wtf?

this what my brain is doing to me these days. not even vaguely hiding things in symbolism. this is why i am afraid:

my most recent dream this morning. i was at work, my boss wouldn’t help a certain pt family member find a place to eat. i walked them out to a mall but got lost on my way back. i was only wrapped in a comforter (plus underwear) and there was a mountain lion and a mountain lion cub sleeping on it. no one wanted to help me because of the mountain lion and i was a nearly naked women walking around wrapped in a comforter. this was all happening in germany. i finally found a cop, but when i went to ask where there hotel i was staying at was, i couldn’t remember the german word for hotel.

i am not ok.

my dream means: i feel disconnected, i am unable to articulate when talking to people about what i need and something about me (something vicious or angry) keeps people away from me. the nudity means that i have gained all the weight back i lost for my 30th high school reunion and none of my clothing fits (again).

lucy and i made sure the other person got up every day and kept going. now i am alone in this. if people ask how i am, what do i say? i am struggling. how can they help me? i have no idea. seriously, none. one thing i have always done is keep going. it is just so much harder now after having had someone to help. i’ll keep trying. i do not know what else to do. i adore the offers to listen. i have no idea what else to say.


if i were to go back and read all my old posts (many of which are no longer up, i need to fix that), i bet most of them are complaining. i bet most of them are about fear. or hurt. sure, part of my not-secret blog is that it is easier to write it than say it to someone (sometimes i read my blogs to my therapist because it is easier to get it out that way). but there are many awesome things. honestly, my life is pretty rad.

i have great friends and lots to do. places to go. experiences to have.

but i also feel so very lonely. it is really bad. my medication isn’t working anymore. i had hoped someday i would be able to stop taking anti-depressants, but maybe not. certainly not now. my psychiatrist fired me recently, i wrote him the meds weren’t working and i could not handle the side effects of one of the meds anymore. he said i should find someone with more similar treatment goals. what the hell? is the goal that i feel better? whatever, i see my new doc in April. which sucks, but oh well.

as i was saying, i figured something out today. i had been messaging with boytoy earlier (he is doing VERY well!) and i talked about being sad about Lucy. about what i lost when she died. all i have been able to say until now is, “we took care of each other”. but that isn’t quite it. today i realized what it is exactly. we made sure the other person kept going. now, Lucy’s family and friends might say “Lucy didn’t need help with that”, but i think we all do. and Lucy told me once, after she finally got a great job she kicked-ass in, that she couldn’t have done it without me. eh, Lucy was pretty awesome strong and resilient, but i think i know what she meant.

Lucy fed me. everyone knows how bad i am at feeding myself. always have been. Lucy made sure i kept going by taking away one of the most difficult things for me in life… feeding myself (i do not want to go into what this means exactly if you don’t already know the story. if you want to know the story, ask me in person next time you see me, happy to share.) eating is essential! eating well, regularly means life is better. all the studies say that! dinner was the only time my family got together regularly. it meant togetherness. now that i am Lucy-less and single, the reality of me taking care of me is painfully bright. i have GREAT friends! i have amazing things in my life! but someone used to feed me too. someone made sure i kept going. there is only me to make sure i keep going now. that is a lot of energy. that is something i liked sharing with Lucy. i’d like to share that with someone.

so, being single is even worse now. i turn 50 in august. the number doesn’t really bother me (other than i wish i were younger so i could do more nurse things before i die). i know that studies have shown sadness and feelings of emptiness and worthlessness peak in ones 40s, and then things go up from here. it isn’t that i feel worthless, i am awesome, but i feel lonely. and i know that it common, typical, normal at my age. my brain knows things will go up from here. and everyone knows my brain is still in charge (even if, perhaps, i should try and feel more). this will get better, i know it will. right now, though, all i want to do is sleep and i have gained back every pound i lost since my 30th high school reunion. food and loneliness.

for those of you that don’t ever get to see me in person, this is what i look like these days (ax throwing bday party!) (mod cloth skirt, death cafe t-shirt made for my by coworker Jade, black bartoli boot fluevogs (not shown); “Rock me like a Hurricane” – Scorpions)

how does one title it?

my roommate died Sept 13th. lucy called 911 at 7am. i was told her heart stopped when they transferred her to the gurney. they worked on her for an hour. couldn’t bring her back.

we had these rituals that are gone. the night before we had a perfectly normal conversation. no indication she was having health issues other than she had “heart burn”. could be a cardiac sign for a woman (women generally don’t have the tv classic, left arm pain, truck sitting on your chest like men do. that is why women die of heart attacks at a greater rate, the signs are misinterpreted).

i was the first they called because i was the first person they could find. please put an emergency contact in your wallet. mine says lucy. i need to change that.

family came. we celebrated her. they cleaned out her room. i listened to them find things that she had kept and reminisce about her, and them, and their lives.

i find myself saying “silly lucy” when i think of something i want to share. the night before was SO normal, that it still seems like she could walk back in. we just remodeled our kitchen!

i went in and held her hand at the hospital. she was wearing cute underwear. (i saw them when i lifted the sheet to hold her hand. women will understand why this is important)

she was the perfect roommate. we had already started planning our house warming part. we were going to make goth tapas! (and when i say we, i mean lucy. i would make dessert).

my friends are bringing me food because they are afraid i will starve to death. just like when patrick and i split. i really love being taken care of like this. it feels good. it feels like a big family. a place where i have people supporting me. maybe that place has existed before, but i really feel it now.

i may understand that death is not personal. but my patients are sick. lucy was perfectly normal the night before. sudden death is the worst. it makes no sense. when i die, i want a 6-month cancer. doesn’t drag it out, but people get to process it before i am gone.

man, i miss lucy.