Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween (or Unhalloween?)


We have a list of hikes to do by the end of the year and today was Wallace Falls or Lake Serene and we went with Wallace Falls. It was tough but we got good views of the valley and the waterfalls and rivers were ragin'! It was Fio's first time on the trails (or out for any decent walk) in a long time but he rocked it, even garnering compliments from passersby regarding his dapper duds. :)

It was like hiking with Totoro today watching for the
umbrella bobbing along behind me as the hubs
took his time hiking with Bubba strapped to his chest

The river and the falls in the background

My favorite tree of the day

Fio in his yellow rain jacket by some yellow leaves


Creepy CSI photo or itty bitty cute mushrooms

It was a-gushin

And we were a-sweatin
 Today I had a lot of little angry outbursts. It's quite frustrating and embarrassing. Well, it feels good on some level but I feel like... a tantrum-y child or a separate personality. Thankfully today wasn't a sustained rage today, it was just blips.

The hubs and I were able to have some decent conversation on the hike, which is typical for us and definitely welcomed since we haven't been conversing well in the real world. We think that a lack of couple time is taking its toll on us. I said something along the lines that I used to feel that I always had our marriage backing me up, to fall back on, but lately I don't. I feel abandoned. Oh the woes of new parenthood.

Our dinner out to avoid the Halloween trick-or-treaters wasn't as satisfying since Baby Bananaface decided to be needy and one of the dishes we ordered was blah. Otherwise it was all right and despite some angry outbursts from me, we had a pretty good evening.

We're pretty tired. Hike. Dinner out. Baby feed. Baby bath. Baby bedtime. Baby, I need a drink, but can't have any! So rooibos tea it is.

Here's a bonus weather update video (if it works) ENJOY!


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Can't Sleep-So... Cheesecake.

I should be sleeping but I'm not. Heard the rain and decided to get outta bed (I was just lying there twiddling my toes and scanning FB on my phone, yuck) grabbed my robe and slippers and sat on the balcony. Love sitting and watching the rain.

Anyway. The cheesecake. Baked it Tuesday, chilled it overnight, put on the fudgy topping today, chilled, and then had the big reveal this evening. Hubs was impressed. Hell, I was impressed!

Oh that fudgey topping. So lovely!

Cross section turned out pretty well though I was
confused and concerned trying to bake it correctly.

The hubs soldiering through his last rich bites. Also featured, some
disappointing digestives. Stickin' with the LUs I like even if they are
difficult to track down at the market! Tangent done.

Good news, the cheesecake turned out well. Bad news, the cheesecake turned out so well that we now have a standard that excludes the convenient yet not-so-tasty store cheesecakes from our menu. Thankfully we have The Cheesecake Factory handy for any acute cravings when I'm not feeling up to making this labor intensive baked good.... which will be quite often. ;)

Words for Wednesday

Elephant's Child posted these words for writing prompts this week and while I wasn't initially inspired, I'm trying to work through the slow start and explore, experiment, write regardless...

TENT
AWE
WARDROBE
AGENT
MICROLIGHT
CHAIR.


And/or


HOUND
ROOF
TYRE
BEWILDERMENT
JOY
SHOE


Whew. Okay I can't figure out the formatting for the prompt words but at least I got this workin' normal!

---

Michael huddled near the center of his brilliant orange, leaf thin, six hundred dollar aerodynamic tent. The wind howled and screamed as if a troop of ghouls haunted the mountainside. The designer jacket designed to resist Neptune's more than frigid temperatures was zipped past his chin, the thickly woven, tight fitting cap pulled down low on his brown underneath the fur lined hood. His undefended fingers clutched a thin mountaineering manual as the roaring of his heart drowned out the winds.

What the hell had he been thinking? Didn't that salesman have an obligation not to encourage inexperienced idiots from climbing big mountains? Wasn't there some seminar about watching out for those middle-aged divorcees? Something about brotherhood and "doing the right thing?" No. Apparently there were pats on the back and employee of the month placards for every wardrobe foisted upon a man in crisis. 

He shook his head and scoffed at a sketch of a model mountaineer glissading in textbook fashion on the crinkled page. "Ain't no way..." he grumbled, then grinned. Yes, he was an idiot for buying all this gear. Yes, he was inexperienced and definitely the runt of the rag tag group of eight climbers. Yes, he didn't think he could summit, but another yes whispered in the back of his cranium: "Yes, I've made it this far." 

Michael had been lost in a moment of awe the morning before, staring up at the mountain. His gear was crisp, clean, bright, and new; everyone else in the climbing party looked decidedly worn. They hustled and joked, stashing energy bars and strapping on packs while he mooned at the snowy peak. Despite his greenhorn status they had welcomed him, encouraged him, told him it was a good mountain to start out with. "You can climb her 10 times and enjoy every one but you'll never forget your first," crooned a thin woman with graying temples and fuzzy curls, a perfectly timed wink and nudge of her elbow in his side had elicited appreciative laughter from the rest of the group. They had all climbed this peak multiple times, and then there was Michael. 

He was a fit person but not the type of active that actively scrambles up cliff sides or the type that enjoys the feeling of nature invading his personal space. Nature was for inspirational posters and fantasy movie sets. He would happily run half the day away downtown beside the pigeons and homeless camps before frolicking in the snow or mashing unknown biological mush into the tread of his shoes. Lifting weights, not packs, was his type of workout. 

Less than a week prior he had suddenly kissed those pigeons and concrete trails goodbye. Finalizing his divorce in a veneered labyrinth thirty six stories above the city did something to him. He stumbled onto the sidewalk and wandered for twenty minutes, finally finding himself at the local outdoor gear retailer saying he wanted to climb a mountain. Four hours and too much money later he was packing his bags and preparing to drive to the hills. 

"Oh yeah, just drive out to Beckett and you'll be able to find a guide and climbing crew no prob." They were right and now he was over halfway to a peak he'd only seen from the tops of skyscrapers on a clear day. 

Halfway. A shiver slithered under Michael's layers and he laughed in a moment of bewilderment. He was on the side of a mountain and he had walked, climbed, dragged himself there of his own accord. There was a long way to go, no doubt, but as he smiled in satisfaction a hint of joy weaseled into his thoughts. He began wondering at the feelings summiting would bring; joy, relief, wonder, pride, and maybe empowerment? The endorphins and tall tale to tell were one thing, but regaining a sense of control over his life was what he really craved. 

Michael felt the warmth of embarrassment rush to his stubbled cheeks at finding himself thousands of feet above sea level on a mountainside in freezing temperatures looking for a sense of control. No books. No internet search engines. No beers with his father at their favorite tavern. He was a rogue agent. "What the hell, seems like I got better shot here than a damned studio apartment." Mashing the manual into his pack he wriggled into his sleeping bag, snapped off the micro LED light attached to a net dangling from the roof of the tent and laid back in the deepest dark he'd ever experienced. 

"It's always darkest before the dawn," he whispered into the polyester dome half covering his face before closing his eyes, unsure if the moisture he felt were tears or condensation from the hot breath pressed to his face. 

---

Super hard to get this done today but I'm glad that I did. In other news, the cheesecake was a success AND I remembered to take pictures. I will post that all tomorrow.

Mood: still low, still tired, still trudging.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Warning: Graphic Photos

Today I decided to keep myself busy and active to try and fend off the sadness that has been dogging me.

Part of my "busy-ness" plan was walking to Fred Meyer's and getting a few things for a chocolate cheesecake recipe and on the way I came across a dead bird beside the sidewalk. At first I thought it was a hawk, then I saw the face... it was an owl. For some reason, it seemed more meaningful when I realized that it was an owl. 

I'm not sure if I've ever seen an owl in the wild and I had never seen a dead owl before (outside a museum) so... well, I'm glad I decided to walk this path today.


when I found you 
I looked away
as if your death were a private affair
not a tactless shrine 
beside the cars' path that killed you
but when I looked back and found your eyes
dull silver-bronze like your talons
I knew that I must look upon you
honor you
behold you 
since I couldn't hold you in my arms
cradle you and whisper 
congratulations and commendations 
 and endearments into the wet feathers at your ears
as I lay you to rest somewhere shadowed and quiet
 you fell along a congested state route
 upon sodden weeds and bits of broken plastic
I will think of you in the sky dear one
among the stars
above the trees


The talons were a breath taking metallic color and quite surprising. 
Had a creepy moment when I looked up and found 3 nearly
identical cats watching me after taking photos of the owl.

To top it off there was a dead rat in our parking lot. That was just too nasty to take pictures of but let me say that it appeared someone was benefiting from the rat's death. 

Offsetting the death I encountered, I  was delighted and shocked to find these blooms on the rhododendron by our parking spot.



The cheesecake has been quite an effort and I hope it will be worth it... won't know til tomorrow.

OH, Baby Bananaface has started saying "mummamamamomma" when he wants me :) We're calling it his first word! Momma for the win!

Also, the hubs spotted a rat on our balcony evening last after I had spotted droppings last week so our bird feeding is a little... limited at the moment. Still have the little suet up and getting my good visitors along with some obnoxious starlings... *sigh* At least the hummingbird feeder is no strings!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Just for the record

Postpartum depression is...

Lying in bed, staring past your spouse to nowhere as you tell him about your suicidal thoughts and then being interrupted by a teething babe that can't sleep.

Slightly different from plain ole vanilla depression.


Life is sucking. Meds smeds. Stupid drugs. For some reason I want to blame them. Trying to get back into a healthy groove but as it is I've backslid into poor sleeping habits, bad eating habits, and dark thoughts. The sadness is notable this time. I haven't felt this sad and teary in a long time, maybe this is the saddest I've ever felt.... it just follows me everywhere just beneath the surface and occasionally wells up and overtakes me.

Therapy sessions twice a week, Monday and Thursday. See the psychiatrist Thursday as well. Couples therapy Wednesday. YMCA classes thrown in there too...

I'm so tired of carrying this burden. This mood crap makes the rest of life nearly impossible.

Trudging on.

Ugh.

Thinking of Linda and wishing her a fabulous birthday, I will check out the birthday blog post tomorrow! My meds are making my limbs anrsy at the moment and I gotta skedaddle to bed.

Monday Missives #9

Another in my series of never-to-be-sent therapeutic letters....

Dear Little Girl,

I'm sorry you are in so much pain right now. I'm sorry that you've known so much pain for so long. I know you have been made to feel as if there is something wrong with you, that there is something you have done to bring this pain upon yourself, that it's your fault, but that isn't true. 

You're a simple, sweet, innocent little girl. You are caring and honest and always driven to be genuine despite years of retribution and abandonment; you still strive to keep an open heart and that is a wonderful thing. You must remember this, internalize and cling to this: an open heart is a wonderful thing and you are a wonderful thing.

I hear you moaning in the afternoon, whimpering in the evening, and crying into the night. I hear your sobs and feel you cringe under pressures to reform yourself but you must not give into the whispers between the words. Shed your burdens, let those alien expectations go; rot, crumble, vanish. I offer you permission and gentle guidance to leave these tarnished thoughts behind. Come with me, come to a safer place, a lighter place, a happier place. We can only make it there if you leave those weights behind and I so hope that you do, Little Girl.

It's okay to be angry, darling child. Sometimes the memories will burn but we can't undo the unfairness, we can only rail against further victimization. Life isn't fair and you've been wronged, but better to become an advocate for your rights through injustice than to never realize your strength. I'm sorry this is your truth but it must be so and accepting that doesn't mean you approve or that it is "right" or "wrong" it just means that you are acknowledging where you have been as you proceed to your desired future.

I love you, Little Girl. I'm sorry if you felt that I forgot this. I'm sorry if you haven't seen much love lately, that you've forgotten what warmth and security feels like, but you are loved. Some don't know how to love you in the way you need, but that's okay, others do know and that matters more than any slights or misses.

You are beautiful, Little Girl. You are beautiful and talented and special and cherished. I believe that you have a bright future full of sharing and creating and caring and honesty and I so look forward to seeing you dwelling in those possibilities as they become your reality. You deserve that happiness, Little Girl, you deserve joy and acceptance and pride and peace. If I could give them all to you in one big present I would, with a slick, violet silk ribbon and thick silver wrapping paper with the raised designs that your fingers love to trace and caress, I would give this most precious gift to you without delay-but I can't. There is no finished product only pieces and pages of instructions, nuts and bolts and expansion sets. You have to do this on your own. 

But, oh, what a creation it will be, never completed of course, but stupendous and marvelous. I imagine a sequoia stitched together out of bark, sheaves of papers penned with your stories, thick wool with whimsical designs and flowing colors and such soothing texture, sparkling baubles sewed into the seams and shining art glass hanging from every branch's elbow, all your favorite birds visiting and commenting on the new digs. I imagine a monument, a life well lived, favored memories instead of sorrow and regrets. 

Let's do this, Little Girl. Please. You and me, let's make a future.

Trying to love you more than ever before,
Your Older Self


Friday, October 23, 2015

Forcing It

This week I've been getting up late, peeling myself out of bed very much against my will. I've also been staying active at the gym and on the trail but I'm not feeling the usual "up" feeling post-workout. It's disappointing. I'm usually someone that gets a little cheer from being active and now I feel like one of those "I have to workout but I hate it" types. I think it's the depression rather than some huge alteration of my personality.

The sadness has been lurking just beneath the surface again. I'm peeved at these medications that don't seem to be doing much for me yet make my limbs feel antsy and upset my stomach unless I eat a hearty snack at pill time which isn't fun since I have no appetite of late and have been forcing myself to eat. 

I've upped therapy to two visits a week, starting next week. For homework I'm supposed to be tapping into my anger and free writing to try and exorcise some of the tension and sadness that's been haunting me.

I'm struggling. I've been conditioned to hide my feelings, never to let loose, and now I desperately need to let loose these emotions that are turning rancid and eating me alive.

While I figure out how to force myself to express those feelings, I'm drinking some peppermint tea and popping an Ativan to try and conquer the nausea that has settled in-I think it's from anxiety over expressing my anger. Ugh.

Put me back in labor with B.B. instead of birthing these emotions! 

Sad that I didn't get out Wednesday this week, instead I went to couples therapy. Not exactly fun. We have an appointment this upcoming Wednesday too, but I think I can fit in an outing in the morning. 

The hubs and I have been in survival mode and some days we don't seem to talk at all unless it's "business." Since therapy we've played cards and consciously attempted to talk. It felt good. Still feels like we're both in our own worlds barely keeping afloat. 

Turned on the heaters first time, it's getting chilly but not unbearable yet, we just turn on the heaters for a little bit.

I'm babbling in blog form! Back to my tea. Happy Friday to everyone. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Words for Wednesday

Elephant's Child has provided another set of prompts for "Words for Wednesday" and I'm going to give it a go. This week the prompts are pictures.

The prompts are:



---

Maisie eyeballed the intricate dashboard idols and brightly colored fringe that decorated the inside of the musky cab. Incense, sweat, and traces of a cigarette smoke and vomit whirled amid waves of hot street scented air rushing through the windows. As her gaze swept over the open portals she noticed that the cab's left side view mirror was missing, not the frame and housing as if there had been a collision that swept the entire fixture away, only the mirror. It appeared to have been carefully removed. Curious, she leaned to the right of the back seat and looked at the driver's side mirror. Gone. The hairs at the back of her neck prickled like a peeved hedgehog's quills as she looked up to find the rear view mirror missing as well, the housing was exactly as it should be, simply without a mirror.

The sweat on Maisie's face cooled as a pit formed in her stomach like one of the sinkholes she had read about that could consume an entire house in seconds. Her breathing became shallow and harried as she double checked her seat belt and dug her fingers into the worn fabric of her bench seat, the honking and rumble of hundreds of cars suddenly amplified.

"So you have noticed my mirrors." The cabby grinned over his shoulder, looking like a cat with a caught whisker forcing a grimace into a grin. "Do not be worried, we do not need them."

Maisie shook her head, her eyebrows reaching toward the swaths of jewel toned fabric pinned to the ceiling. "It's not safe to drive without at least two mirrors." She licked her dry lips and looked around at the traffic slipping in and out of lanes like a bundle of snakelets slithering over and under each other, "You can't see behind you-"

"Oh you Americans, always so concerned with what's behind." The cabby laughed heartily as he zoomed around a stalled tour bus, dipping in and out of traffic with barely a glance. "So much time you spend looking back, you miss the most important things."

He crushed down the brake with both feet as traffic halted in front of him for a slew of pedestrians forcing their way across the street, Maisie felt the belt dig into her belly and braced her hands against the front seat of the cab. "Like them?" she gasped.

"Ha! No. The people come, they go, we go. That is not so significant."

Maisie frowned, "But you could run them down if you didn't stop. That would be significant."

"Ahh, so you suppose every driver, every day chooses to not kill." 

Traffic lurched forward and she sat back in her seat. "Well I would hope."

"Yes, we all would hope but I do not see this. Drivers, they drive and follow rules, they don't think I have the power of death at my hands or I'm flying down these streets in a tin can that could be my coffin. That isn't on their minds. They follow rules. Traffic moves on. It is not so significant."

Maisie sighed, the tangle of anxiety and confusion leaving her feeling agitated. "Then what in the world do you call significant?" She bit off the words as she readjusted her place in the backseat, yanking on the seat belt to tighten it once more.

The cabby softly chuckled, "It is not so hard to understand. Traffic stopping for people to walk is very different from tasting your first fresh mango. You-"

"Mango. Mango?" Maisie scoffed and shook her head.

"Yes, Miss, mango. Now listen please. When you first eat a mango, you are overwhelmed, covered in sticky juice and your brain spins with the delicious taste in your mouth. Then you think about how it tastes, how you want more, you wonder how to eat without making a mess. All those thoughts following a novel experience, your brain is learning. Now that is significant. Watch your brain and body and mind learn something new, honestly relating to something not auto-pilot right past. I stop for those pedestrians on auto-pilot. So much on auto-pilot. Compulsively looking behind us is auto-pilot gone too far. Being able to experience the new in each moment, that is important. " The cabby gesticulated his left fist and forefinger, gold chains glinting with each assertive jerk of his arm as he drove with traffic over a narrow bridge across a trickle of a stream.

Maisie continued to shake he head but felt a smile creep over her face. The cabby had a point, and she felt much better thinking it was simply eccentric that legitimately crazy. "So you don't have rear view mirrors because you would rather be eating strange, new fruit?"

He beamed at her over his shoulder, "Miss, it seems you have finally got at the core of it and much faster than my licensing officer. Much faster."


Well that'll do. Baby Bananaface is calling. Good enough is enough :)

Against my better judgement...

Here's another random video from my phone. There seems to be a lapse in my videos with the sound being off just a bit from the movements, but it's a problem that's above my pay grade! I just think of it as a charming flaw, like bad dubbing :)

You'll hear more of my voice, or should I say one of my voices?


I call it my "Attenborough/Statham" voice.

Now I will return to working on my writing prompt writing :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

3 Years

For our anniversary we went to the Salish Lodge at Snoqualmie Falls and spent a couple hours in the spa. It was great. I got a hot rock massage for the first time and loved it. We also got to see the falls which I never had before. Good food to boot and heading home. Happy anniversary us! 

Testing... Testing...





Monday, October 19, 2015

Out and About and About and About

The chalkboard from a favorite sandwich place in downtown Olympia where we had lunch with my dad last Thursday. We then had drinks with my brother and dinner with the hubby's sister and eventually made it home in the cover of darkness and exhaustion. 

The picture of the white rock is from the hike we went on Saturday, Lake Twenty-Two. It's been quite a while but I kicked this hike's butt this time (it's kicked mine before so I think it's only fair).


These pictures are from our date day on Sunday; the hubs dealing cards at the local brunch spot we stumbled upon, the hub standing by a slug's poopy afternoon snack on a trail in the sea grass, and then a rather intrepid fuzzy caterpillar rippling it's way across the beach sand.




 I am quite fond of these caterpillars as I remember them from my elementary school years, we'd find them all over the school campus and "save them" from the concrete stomping grounds of our peers :) and ya know, I never knew til just now that they turn into these guys?



Our date day was nice but exhausting. We were down south Thursday and then to be doing that drive again and then some on Sunday was a bit much. I think we figured that Sunday was close to 8 hours of driving. !!!

In addition to seeing an awful lot of the inside of our car, we also saw a movie together for the first time in many moons. I actually enjoyed myself (once the nausea from my initial anxiety wore off) and I can recommend "The Martian" to those interested-even if you don't think you are, you'll probably enjoy it!

I'm pretty tired, read fatigued, and my shoulders are causing me grief almost constantly lately but it was good to get out. Sad to see that I am struggled to really feel happiness at the moment though. Tomorrow is the hubs' and my 3rd wedding anniversary and we have decided to hit the spa and get a couples' massage and soak in some hot waters etc. Looking forward to that but more than a day's respite I'd like to feel like our little family is in a safer, healthier space and that I'm making progress... as it is I'm feeling frustrated and discouraged and disappointing. 

Anyways. Maybe I can get on top of things and do a Monday Missive next week! OH-and the birds went through my sunflower hearts suet like it was cotton candy. I think I'm going to expand my bird feeding arsenal and try to keep them occupied a bit longer.... I'll try to get pictures of the visitors :)

Friday, October 16, 2015

Blargh.

I feel bleh and argh, so blargh.

I have no appetite today and ate hardly any dinner. At the moment I feel on the edge of tears, my back aches, and I can't decide what to do with myself. I will probably go fold some laundry.

I've been sad. Even when I'm going for a walk or doing errands or otherwise keeping busy and doing the good ole "fake it til ya make it" I'm sad underneath. I don't feel well, I don't feel content, and feeling that way leaves me feeling like a failure.

I feel like I've taken so much recently that I can't complain-that I've used up my tokens for complaints and sadness-but I'm still sad. Lonely and empty. I can understand some of the bad feelings but others I don't understand; why is what I have not enough? Why aren't I happy as is? It seems like I should be. This blasted disease. That must be it. It's the only thing that makes sense in the nonsense.

Ah, one bright spot was my exceptional bath bomb tonight. It was this one. It turned the tub green then a wine-ish purple, I loved it (as much as I can love at the moment) and was sad to see it drain away.

Whatever. As if this feeling wasn't upsetting or obnoxious enough, it has to feel familiar. That familiarity in infuriating and suffocating, sad quicksand for my heart.

And so I trudge.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A boy and his dog

As the hubs put it,  "Butts were touching, that's bonding!" 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Words for Wednesday

Elephant's Child has provided another tempting writing prompt and I'm biting again ;)

The prompts are:

A little of what you fancy does you good

and/or

Absence makes the heart grow fonder


----

"Twelve ounce Americano."

Lindsey spun toward the barista with a shiny smile and cheerful gratitude only to find herself startled by the peripheral image of a man standing in line. He wore heavy multipurpose boots a tad too utilitarian for his casual jeans and tidy zip-up sweatshirt, he was taller than average but proportionally so with broad shoulders. The glimpse set her ablaze.

Panic robbed her of breath as muscle groups tightened from her toes up to her neck; each wrenching knot of flesh clanging like a bell, an ancient alarm system bringing her body to alert. Her heart pounded, the hubbub of the cafe faded from her ears, the tiny blonde hairs at the nape of neck quivered as she felt a chill creep past the collar of her sweater.

Six years since they last spoke or saw one another, maybe two since she had stopped watching for him at every store, stoplight, and cafe in town. How many times had she thought she'd seen him? How many times had she gasped for breath, fought back tears, calmed her throbbing heart for a fake? Today was no doppelganger.

Tears trembled at the edges of her lower eyelids as she shied away. She struggled to suck down breaths deep enough to calm her heart without choking on spit and erupting into a conspicuous coughing fit. Her hands shook as she forced her gaze to the small counter before her, a spill of thin red straws, random bursts of sugar crystals from the inglorious efforts of the addicted. She gingerly removed the plastic lid of her molten Americano and focused on aiming the spout of an ungainly carafe of half-and-half over the steaming black abyss.

They had met in a cafe. He came late to the study party, catching her eyes as he settled into the circle of debating juniors and seniors. When their eyes met she knew at once what the romance writers meant by "electricity." The dense feeling in her chest wasn't quite a thunderbolt, but a heavy premonition. It was the type of chemical and physical reaction to another person best kept to the pages of romance novels. If only she had known the toxic capacity of such attraction, if only they had walked away after those first torrid weeks. Instead the relationship was carried on, battered and bruised and thrashed into existence until she was poisoned.

She had never been as lonely as when she was living with him. The sex was one thing, everything else was another. He was a man with whom you take to bed, not share a bed. If only she'd known. He was manipulative and controlling, subtly violent and undermining. He would skip hellos and step confidently into deep kisses and foreplay but misfired when it came to emotional needs. She had been well sexed but otherwise left barren and starving for emotional nourishment, it was never meant to be a long term relationship.

After a therapist dropped the word abusive her perspective shifted; she wanted out. The breakup had been more than messy, it had been shameful. She remembered moving out, the long talks, the sex they knew they shouldn't have, and both of their tears. He thought that he loved her. He brought flowers. She knew better. One night, instead of calling to see if she was willing, he called and he said he was in a new relationship.

It was finally over, yet something new began to grow from the discarded husk of the relationship; this fear of seeing him again. Irrational and powerful it followed her everywhere. She was not sure what the fear was. Was she afraid of confrontation? Rejection? Seeing him happy? Seeing him unhappy? A resurrection of the chemical confluence that hijacked their lives?

Don't look, don't look, don't look. The desperate thoughts pleaded within her, connecting with some internal superstition, a dark cousin of karma, anything but a prayer, just something to help swing the odds in her favor of avoiding him. Put the lid on the coffee, turn and walk, he'll never know you were here. Her body urged her to avoid him, her mind tumbling memories and fearful projections as she picked up her coffee and made for the door.

"Lindsey?"

Fuck.

---


I kinda turned the prompts on their heads but this is where my mind went: better to have moderation and sometimes absence make the heart grow fearful.

Once again, I'm letting "good enough" be and just getting it out there so please pardon my drafting :)




Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Good grief, yes, indeed, the prunes worked.

We've seen blowouts but today was the first "real poo" diaper mudslide, melted chocolate, "oh dear God, give me another wipe" blowout.

True to form, Baby Bananaface was totally chill and reserved despite the massive load between his legs. He'd crammed poop up the front and nearly out the back and so thick it was solid brown front, sides, and back. Even as the hubs and I were gagging on the stench of processed prunes, carrots, rice cereal, formula, and breast milk, we were pretty impressed and proud of him.

In other news, today was a rough day but a good day to some degree.

I got my hair done early this morning and from there went north to a La Leche League meeting (cue trouble). I was afraid to try the valet parking and ended up parking in the "same olde parking garage" which would've been fine but I was already 15 minutes late and found myself driving to the next to last level (aaahhh!) and then I got confused and a bit lost trying to find my way to the right building and got teary despite a lovely lady helping me out. By the time I got to the right place and the friendly security guard asked me if I was all right I lost it (AKA box of tissues, multiple wads, racking sobs at the security desk lost it). Eventually I made it to the meeting, red eyed and shaking. I changed the babe off to the side and then kept mostly to myself, avoiding eye contact and shadowing B.B. as he crawled everywhere. I chimed in a bit at the end but was mostly fragile and embarrassed. Nobody inquired and pressured and we went from there to a drive thru for lunch and from there to therapy back south.

Therapy went pretty well, a few tears but not a totally breakdown. We talked about schedules and for my family's sake getting a schedule figured out and stuck to. We've been pretty "free and wild" as far as following baby's lead but the hubs and I need a bit more.... nurturing (?) carved out for ourselves, individually and as a couple, so .... schedule. Tough thing for me, but gonna try to work on it.

Went to a restorative yoga class this evening. Quite late for my schedule but I was very glad that I went (invited by a friend).


Heard on the radio about a Danish zoo doing a live dissection for school kids. Apparently it's causing a fuss (just not in Denmark) and I found myself sort of disgusted but supportive. I guess I'd like to be the kind of person that supports that sort of science-y sensibility full bore but I'm not sure I'll ever have a stomach for dissections. I got queasy cutting up a worm in biology class. Yes, we did dissect worms and yes, I really did get queasy. Seriously.


Egh. To bed with me. Again, so tired, so through with my day!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Rainy Day, Busy Day

This morning we slept in til glorious 7:43 AM then had our brekkie, loaded up our thermoses, leashed the dog, and hit the trail for a family walk. I had no hat, the hubs had no jacket, and the babe was riding grown up kid style and partially exposed.... to the rain. Caught us by surprise and by the time we got to the car we were dripping. It was wonderful except for the fact that I could feel all the pleasure I knew it was trying to give me. The hubster reached for my hand and I avoided him, he bent to give me a rainy kiss and I looked away, the kiss glancing off my cheek. I couldn't feel the joy, but I knew the stage was set, I suppose that's something of a positive step.

The best defense against rain? Napping. 
A good portion of the day we spent in Seattle. First at the Burke museum fondling dead birds (it was a birding event) and then at Northgate for lunch and a stroll.

Later we gave Baby Bananaface prunes-he loved them! And I'm currently on "poo watch." He got a little backed up when we introduced cereal and such. Anywho, poo sighted! Good night all :)


Thursday, October 8, 2015

What a day.

Today was exhausting. Draining. Wringing. Like a stinky wet kitchen rag.

Drove south for my psychiatrist appointment this morning. Baby Bananaface was crawling and poking and gumming all over the place, running me ragged. I cried and fessed up to all my sadness and skepticism. My doctor was supportive and helpful, a touch of encouragement but not enough to overwhelm me. I really like her. We're gonna do lab work Monday for my first lithium check then probably move up the dose from there.

She was also helpful in recommending some couples therapists through the Lytle Center. I don't think the hubs and I are in the shit but I definitely think we've been in survival mode for far too long, keeping things from each other because we know that we're both tapped out and falling out of our normal mode of communication and frequent bonding.... it's getting lonely and frustrating. I feel like I'm disappointing him by not being better yet and not being up to motherhood and wifedom. I'm so heartbroken over it I have a hard time talking about it-enter therapy.

So. After a few tissues I hit the road and headed back north. Stopped by Chick-fil-a for the second time this week (the hub's hasn't gotten to go and is a little jealous, it's a new restaurant for western WA). Ate in my car while the baby napped. Got home and slugged around, played around, then napped and nursed until my second appointment for the day.

Got the babe, drove the 7ish minutes to my ND and got my thyroid results. Still hypo. Still outta whack. Changing dose and medication again. Back to levothyroxine, trying 100 mcg. I like this ND, my usual one is out on maternity leave, but her talking about childcare and support networks was a little much for me today. The idea of finding a babysitter or a daycare is beyond me and frustrating (our previous foray has fizzled and we're back to family only). I do think her idea of therapy twice a week is a good one. The hubs thinks I should try someone at Lytle, I just don't like the idea of driving that far and paying for parking....


Anyways. That is some of the nuts and bolts of my day. Just add more crying, some back aches, head aches, slack face and confusion. Baby Bananaface was good, but exhausting. He's so go-go-go....

To bed with me. I'm done. No plans for tomorrow. I'm torn between a trek and a day home with hot brews and laundry. Maybe a mix? But for now, the pillows. Oh! Sweet pillows!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

My Wet Wednesday Outing

I want to do weekly outings every Wednesday to make sure I'm seeing new places and doing new things. This week was my first "Wednesday Outing" and I decided to explore a part of the North Creek Trail system I had yet to trek.




It was raining steadily the entire 45 minutes or so I wandered the boardwalks, some of which floated and moved under me where the water was really high. I enjoyed the sound of the rain and the flowing water, although there was a moment or two when I imagined the boardwalks breaking up or sinking-a little anxiety moment or two but it didn't take long to get my breathing calmed down. Baby slept for the most part and just got a little wet around the edges, seems like I might need to get the big old plastic stroller condom rain shield thing after all.. grumble grumble.





And a lovely RIP to the banana bread... you were delicious.


Words for Wednesday

This is something new for me but it sounds like something I desperately need, so I'm going to dip my toes in and see if I like the water.

Elephant's Child posted some writing prompts for this week and I selected the following words from her lists to do with as I please:

balancing 
caustic 
despondent 
equanimity 
blunder 
set 
warmth 
ubiquitous 
epic

The groundskeepers beneath my condo balcony give a rundown of the property's vegetation to the new guy. They're not sure why the hedge at the back has so much grass in it or why 401 has so many lawn sculptures-just don't break them.

It is early fall and the leaves are still changing; not yet descending to the ground in such hoards as to become a ubiquitous presence in our lawns and gutters but still perched high above, pondering their faltering chlorophyll and what glorious hue they will soon adopt. They've lived the lives were meant to live. A batch of leaves bonded by the record breaking heat of the summer like a wartime generation. This fall a VE day of sorts. They can die happy leaves.

I wonder how the landscapers perceive the shift. If the leaves falling from the trees blend seamlessly into the piles of leaves chopped from hedges with their gas powered trimmers or if the season's leaves will pounce upon them like a coup.

I sit above the hums and buzzes of their tools, feeling like an intruder. Unsure if my presence is perceived I carefully set my coffee mug on the empty cardboard box that once contained my son's high chair, as if the motion might give my position away to the crew below. Amidst the work noise I read, sip, and scribble, my toes clenched deep in my purple velvet slippers. I'm trying to relax. I think I am relaxed then I find yet more tension in my body, my jaw clenching, my shoulders knotted. The landscapers don't stress me, the noisy work that upsets my equanimity is all in my head.

My mind is whizzing with to-do lists, criticisms, lessons, and memories all while I reread a paragraph for the third time in a workbook designed to teach me a better way to cope with life as someone "who struggles with overwhelming feelings." This hapless blundering has been my mode of mental transportation for months. I had managed to maintain appearances of calm, collected parenthood for a while but beneath the cynical smiles my brain was flagging.

It started in spring with an epic game of mental Frogger as I darted between caustic self-criticism and panic inducing anxiety. My sanity was faltering. Slowly at first, sneakily shifting my perceptions while my body drummed up a continual dull ache. My worries turned irrational. The fears my mind adopted were strange: carjackers, stray bullets, child snatchers, home invaders bent on killing my child. I knew I wasn't getting enough sleep, I knew my addled brain was losing the balancing act of new motherhood, but I soldiered on. "When he starts sleeping through the night, everything will settle down. At six months everything gets easier, just wait."

It didn't.

Just before I reached the promised land of six months post womb my fearful anxiety transformed into thoughts of scratching my forearms until they were raw, red, and burning with broken skin, specks of blood but not a single drop. Oh no, that would be too messy. My brain formulated wicked plots to quiet my baby "for good." My mind compelled into dark imaginings of shaking him until his neck snapped, setting him in the diaper pail and shutting the lid until his cries faded away, dropping him across my knee like some dramatized wrestling villain breaking his tiny body over my jiggling thigh, drowning him in our tub. The thoughts kept coming. The peace of my sleeping child overlain with violent impulses, hatred, and tears. Even my quiet moments were torment.

The despondent aches of spring had a warmth like nostalgia compared to the searing of summer's pain. Early summer brought the harming impulses and dark thoughts. Not normal but I thought I could handle it, resist the thoughts, function nonetheless. High summer I couldn't handle shit. High summer had me with a plastic bag in my hand ready to make my husband a widower, leave my child motherless, abandon my life as a failed project, relinquish myself to the deep rest that I so desperately needed.

Rest came, but not how I expected. Rest came with a hospital wristband and a QR code just for me. Pills in those tiny paper cups I dreaded. Stigma folded in deep with every pleat. I was afraid of inpatient but in the end I was afraid to leave. The fearful epitome of "bottoming out" became my sweet retreat. I found myself feeling like a person again, not just a milk cow with Social Security number. I graduated, so they said, but two days home and my mind was hatching murder plots.

Off to outpatient I went. Two weeks tumbling out of the house at dawn to drive south with streams of employable people. My office a conference room full of high functioning broken hearts. I began again from the bottom and found myself graduating with a spark of my old self back. Again, the hope and again the crushing disappointment as my dark thoughts churned fourth within a few days back at home.

Now the weeks have piled on. The summer is behind us and I sit on my balcony watching the groundskeepers and their leaves. Their fall leaves and my fallen mind. I've lost count of how many times my mind has shed itself, left me standing barren at the beginning of yet another Reconstruction, shivering from shock or cold. How many times more will my mind turn on itself? How many times more will I have to fumigate my festering brain? How many times more will I shed myself and being again?

I wonder if those groundskeepers ever wish for just one autumn without the a torrent of leaves. Maybe they like the annual battle, their annual victory nearly guaranteed. Perhaps they don't suffer from my crippling fear of failure.

I sip my tea and resume my reading. Laying out a new grid, a new foundation in my mind is hard, harder still when my skewed mind wonders, "Why bother? It'll all fall to pieces soon enough." but I look to the groundskeepers, with all their perennial battles, and know that this is simply life. I hope that someday soon I will shed those tarnished leaves of fear and worry, leave my pain behind and clear space for verdant buds of hope and maybe, just maybe blossoms of peace.






Hmmm. I think I got all my words in.... that went places I didn't expect to go and I feel like it was a good exercise although I did get to edit it up as well as I would like, but ya know what? I think it's good for me to leave something not quite right. I need to embrace "not quite right" a bit more. So, I am leaving it at that.

Time for a hot cuppa. :)


Monday, October 5, 2015

A Good Read.

I love Brene Brown. She is a hero of mine and I'm sad to say I haven't read her past two books because of this damned funk I've been in  (read depression).

But I happened across her on the interbutts and found this post that really spoke to me.

I hope to read "Daring Greatly" and "Rising Strong" soon.



In other news, I saw the lactation consultant this morning and she recommended formula for the night feedings, laying off the pumping and letting my boobs regulate to just nursing during the day. It's a weight off my shoulders, a little mourning in my heart, but overall I think the right direction for my family right now.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Some Firsts

Yesterday was a busy Saturday for us.

It started off pretty shitty. I was angry, very angry, and then nauseated and snappy. Not very good. I read a little from "Feeling Good" (CBT book I have yet to really start to read) and it helped me get my anger under control. I popped an Ativan and sat on the sunny balcony until the nausea and anger subsided and then we undertook our plans for that day.... our first family hike.

We hit up Lime Kiln out in Granite Falls. Pretty easy little hike but enjoyable. Baby Bananaface did very well, napping most of the way!




Next up, I got an odd urge to check out the Lake Stevens Target. It was odd because we do not like this store, last time we were there it was extremely creepy, dim, and very.... red neck. Put us ill at ease. This time it was a better atmosphere and we didn't get the vague "shooting waiting to happen" vibe AND we found a good deal on a high chair (another one of our weekend goals). 

Soooooo.... B.B. had his first experience with baby cereal. He's a fan. Almost too enthusiastic-he couldn't stand relinquishing his spoon for refills!




I see the lactation consultant again tomorrow. I'm not sure exactly how that will go but I need help balancing breastfeeding with my mental health.

Today (so far) I cleaned up the kitchen, plan on doing laundry and making banana bread, and I got a chance to drink from my new "special" mug and work in my DBT workbook that the hubs got me (all while sitting on my balcony enjoying the sun and birds).


My new mug-they're affirmations! I try to say them
to myself with each sip :) They had others too, but this
seemed most appropriate for me right now. Found it
at my local bookstore. 
Whew. Not even noon and it feels like a full day. I think I will have a few good rest and relax breaks as I'm more active-and the hubs is on me about not pushing it too so that helps.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Ha! I spoke too soon!

Teethies!

Teeth, Tears, Milk, and Poop

I'm still bobbing around the sad end of my mood spectrum. I've been very low energy this week which hasn't worked out so well with Baby Bananaface's surge in activity and decline in naps. Still haven't captured his two new bottom teeth on film, dang hard!

Not only is his crawling, climbing, banging, cruising, and drooling his way all over the house with a new fervor-but he's pooping like he's on overdrive. Maybe it's a growth spurt, I don't know. I'm so caught up in dragging myself through the day that I can't objectively view much of anything lately. All I know is I feel overwhelmed and exhausted quite often and he just doesn't seem to stop (at least not as often as he once did).

Hard fought nap, a damn hard fought nap.


Talking to my psychiatrist and my therapist I think it's time to change our breastfeeding routine. It's taking too much outta me (in more than milky ways), I feel too much pressure, I stress about supply too much, I can't get up and pump at night when I need to rest... something has got to give.

I'm seeing the lactation consultant again Monday to discuss options... I wanted to exclusively breastfeed to 9 months or longer, but now I don't think that's reasonable. I'm not well and I need to make life easier for myself. Pretty hard with my perfectionist tendencies to let something like that go, but I can see how parenthood will present this situation to me many times-ideally I wanted this and realistically with my child/life/situation I ended up doing this.



In somewhat better news I started the new drug, lithium. I'm taking 300 mg each night until Monday, when I'll start taking 600 mg for five more days and then we'll take a blood level. The plan is to get the lithium up to a therapeutic dose and then back the Seroquel off. Doc is hoping that with an effective mood stabilizer I won't need the sleep aid effect of the Seroquel or the anti-anxiety med Ativan as often or at all. Seems like pie in the sky stuff to me, but she's the doc and I trust that she knows what to expect of treatment better than I.


On a side note, donating blood Wednesday made me feel good about myself but didn't help with my exhaustion.


On another side note, I had my mother up yesterday (successful visit overall despite my fatigue and some quiet spells) and she only spoke obtusely about my aunt's situation. Today I saw my dad for brekkie down south and he and I spoke about it openly.

We're on a very similar page: saw this coming, just didn't know when, it sucks, the transition will happen, grief etc., then life goes on. It felt good to talk about it with someone that not only had my view but balances the matter of fact feelings with the deep, gooey feelings pretty well. We both felt a little callous for thinking "well, ya smoke and live that way for that long and this is what happens, I never expected her to go peacefully, it sucks, but that's the reality" but realizing we weren't the only person thinking or feeling that way was helpful and also made it easier to express the harder, sadder feelings that are more difficult to access when you can be honest about your experience first and foremost.

He made the simple comment, "She was a good aunt," and it made me remember all the good times when I was younger. She was my favorite aunt, Aunt Sally, the only aunt I felt I really had. She was fun. Then, as I got older, I got more sensitive to her smoking and the deception about my cousin really rankled me. Years of asking her to quit smoking, to be healthier... I finally gave up. It was too sad watching her kill herself like that. I distanced. I withdrew. I used to visit so often and now I can't remember how long it's been. I know that being in her house makes my eyes water and my throat hurt. Sitting near her in a restaurant makes my nose burn. She doesn't go out much and we don't keep in contact so she hasn't met B.B. and I haven't seen her since I was preggers. It's sad. But I don't want to make myself feel worse or responsible... Maybe I will try to arrange a meeting somewhere outside her house where I feel safe bringing B.B. .... Anyways...

Oh, the downlow: she has stage 4 cancer. What type, unsure, just that it's everywhere-lungs, kidneys, lymph nodes, and they've done radiation and are doing chemo trying to shrink it enough to be somewhat operable but as-is it's inoperable. I think the hub's said my mom said it was a 6-12 month outlook scenario (he asked her point blank what was going on and she responded but she has a hard time talking about it with me, I think she's afraid of overloading me). I just don't understand how it got that bad without them knowing, she's had cancer scares before so I would've thought she was being surveilled pretty regular but I guess not. Maybe it was just a fast-mover?

Anyways.

So.

I'm here. I'm moving along. Trying not to get swamped as I paddle my leaky boat through these rough waters, making repairs as I go.

Bless my birds... this northern flicker made quite a mess this morning.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

October, you're here!

It's my favorite month.

I still feel shitty. I'm still not myself-or at least the self that I like.

This week has been.... rough, but with bright patches. I've managed to do more than I have in weeks but I've also had really dark days and the bad thoughts toward baby and myself have returned.

Last night I started lithium. We're going to ramp that up and then back the Seroquel off.

It's pretty hard to be interested or enjoy anything right now. I feel so in limbo and my heart is just numbed out. It's disconcerting when I'm actually engaged or kind or enthused, because those bright moments come out of relative darkness.

Hoping life will make more sense soon. Til then I'm gimping along just trying to feed myself, not hurt myself or others, and stick to the plan even when I lose faith in it.

Oh October, I wish I could greet you with more cheer.

Thank goodness for birds. My balcony flowers and feeders have brought me much peace and joy the last few days. Stellar's jays, chickadees, dark-eyed juncos, hummingbirds, and even a Northern flicker. So glad I bought those feeders that I've wanted for years. Should've done this ages ago!