Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bit of a letdown.

I made sure I ate a good breakfast this morning so that I could take all my pills this morning, including the first HRT. I guess I was expecting instant results but it isn’t what I got. Right in the middle of grocery shopping this morning, I was hit with the heavy chest, hard thumping heart, and numb lips that accompany the anxiety/panic attack I’ve been getting so much lately.

I started to breathe deeper and kept myself calm as I finished the errand. When I got home and put everything away (or it would be sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor until I did regardless of refrigeration requirements) I sat down and took my blood pressure. Still feeling a bit anxious, my rate was 116/76 with a pulse of 79. No, it was a solid anxiety/panic attack.

So I’ve been spending the last 3 hours or so online looking for a way to enjoy a tiny bit of a vacation away. Looks like it is not going to happen. Many great ideas for possible future vacations, but not in the next decade, I fear.

Time to start buying lottery tickets, I guess!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Write the Truth

What is it for me? I haven’t had any horrible gut wrenching things happen to me. Unless you count the time my first serious boyfriend went on vacation.

We’d been seeing each other hot and heavy for about three months. He was about 12 or so years older than I was. A Vietnam vet who flew helicopters for the medical rescues. He was sure of himself, good mechanically, and he took care of me. He’d even designed a solar water heater for his pool. I was always chilly in his house so he bought me a quilted pink robe with a satin belt to wear. We’d make love the every other weekend I’d stay over at his house.

Then early one Saturday evening just before we were leaving for dinner, he got a phone call. He took it outside in the carport where I couldn’t overhear and the conversation lasted close to an hour. I was so naive that I didn’t think twice about it and we didn’t talk about it over dinner, either.

That’s when we stopped making love and he stopped having me spend the night but we continued seeing each other. Then about two weeks later, he told me of his vacation plans to Alaska. I noticed he was buying gifts, but thinking that they were surprises for me, I didn’t let on that I saw them. I had no clue in my young brain.

His vacation was two long weeks. My girl friends (who were co-workers and much later proved they had been no friends of mine) kept asking me if he’d called. I didn’t even realize that perhaps that was the proper thing for a young man to do with his girl. No calls.

No calls until two nights after I knew he’d returned. He called to tell me that he’d gotten married to his high school sweetheart and that we ought to go out to celebrate. I hung up on him. My chest felt like a building was sitting on it and I couldn’t breathe. My tight throat was choking me and the tears came so fast I thought I was going to die.

When I gained a bit of composure, I started dialing those friends. No one was home, not even my mother. I was all alone with the worst agony I could have ever imagined.

It took weeks of over-the-counter sleeping pills and telling my tale to whatever poor person made the mistake of stopping long enough to listen. I even blew a date with another nice young man by telling my story.

I wish I had turned to the page instead.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Whew!

What a week it’s been. I dealt with overtime, a migraine, extreme fatigue, and family demands. Interspersed I’ve continued to deal with peri-menopausal symptoms that make it difficult to work. The night sweats and hot flashes I can deal with but the sudden racing heart, anxiety attacks, and the lightheaded/dizziness episodes tend to run me on the edge and I lose what little focus I have left.

Sunday begins the HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and I cannot wait. This next week starts an even busier time at work and I won’t have relief until next Sunday (May 4). I probably won’t be writing much until then.

Two of the three fig trees are leafing out. The third is probably dead. I don’t think that I’ll follow up on getting a replacement as it is getting in the 90’s here and will be too hot to plant. So, new name: The Sisters.

I’m listening to German heavy metal rock music. Rammstein and Eisbrecher mainly. It sounds pretty much the same – funny. They don’t sing very much but instead they deliver deep guttural poetry (very repetitive words) in a heavy grim mood. (Try www.pandora.com and customize your own free radio station.)

I’ve also been reading more books on writing in order to try get myself back to the page. My “office” in the corner of the laundry room got a massive cleaning and re-organization to make it feel free and open instead of claustrophobic. When I went through old stories I found a gem entitled “Chapter 1” that I’m going to try work on and see where it goes. Sunday may be a good day to do that. Sunday morning when the house still sleeps.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Epilogue to the Staff Meeting

Nothing happened. Apparently the “Big Check” arrived in the nick of time and the only budget saving item announced was that we will no longer purchase the bigger bottles of water for the staff. Only smaller bottles will be purchased for meetings. Since we have a terrific reverse osmosis filtration device on both “kitchen” faucets (one upstairs and one downstairs) this is no big deal.

But. The “hub of discord” remains. I figured it out this morning when I was watching the dogs eat their breakfast. I thought of the Snopes family in Faulkner’s short stories. It’s been many years since I’ve read him, yet the premise remains with me. One family inadvertently acts as a catalyst of calamities with everyone they come in contact with but they remain unscathed.

There is only one person who has conflicts with others. She has problems with four other people whose only real fault is that they make her work instead of letting her read her book or play computer games. That person, if removed, would solve 90% of the office tensions.

Do you have such a person in your office?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It’s 10:40 a.m. Do you know where your job is?

An ALL STAFF meeting has been called by the Executive VP at the non-profit company where I work. I usually don’t think that much about it but I’ve passed by a few desks where whispers of worries drift to the floor. Faces strained behind the smiles as we share dismal stories of gas prices and broken items waiting to be replaced or repaired.

Worse than this is the critical, nit-picking attitude that is creeping in to some of my co-worker’s blood. They turn against each other instead of supporting. It won’t mean a thing in the whole picture except the other co-workers who aren’t participating hope the ones who are will be felled by “the axe” just for relief alone. I have to say that I’m in that group. I get tired of politics no matter what arena it is in.

So head down, mouth shut, nose to the grindstone, and all those clich├ęs that follow, I will persevere and do my job as best I can.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Write about flowers

I miss the huge geraniums of my childhood. The circular scallop-edged leaves ranged from solid green to green with bands of crimson. The peppery scent would never be included in a perfume, yet the smell sends me back to Minnesota.

Eye-popping red geraniums are my grandmother going to visit her mother’s grave in the rural cemetery on the Fourth of July. They are the lone mausoleum that carries whispers from my sister, “The gypsy queen is buried there.”

Warm pink geraniums are summer on the farm with chickens staring at the blossoms waiting to peck at any bugs that dare to show themselves. They are farm cats plopped into baby doll buggies yowling as they bump across the farmyard followed by a barking farm dog.

Glowing white geraniums are sweet watermelon juice running down my chin as my sister and I start a spitting contest with the seeds. They are the black and red box elder bugs that decorate the trees in the dappled sunshine. They are the easy laughter from my grandfather as the transistor radio hisses another run scored by the Twins.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Three Tarts

Hearty thanks to a dear friend for giving me the name for my fig trees. While the original intent for the name is different, I think it is great for my trees as the fruit will make excellent tart filling. Note to self: search for a recipe.

On a more sober note: day after day is one big abstract painting for me at the moment. Blurred edges, different colors/moods, and interpretations change constantly. I hope it settles down soon. I need something solid to grab onto now that my rug has been yanked. I've been distracting my thoughts by reading Terry Pratchett novels. ("Guards! Guards!" made me laugh so hard I had tears running down my cheeks.) Eventually I will have to sit down and really think about my life and where I want it to go from here. I hesitate even writing that sentence because I've learned the hard way that even the best laid plans are written in goop.

I read some advice in a daily inspirational e-newsletter that I receive that said to go with the flow. While that is easy to say, it is really difficult to actually do. It is human instinct to want at least a bit of control over one's own life, isn't it? Nevertheless, I will keep that as a low-level mantra and give it a try. Go with the flow. Go with the flow.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Larry, Moe, and Curly: an Update

The “boys” have been planted! But since they bear fruit, perhaps I should give them feminine names. What is a good trio of ladies that would lend their names to a set of fig trees? I’m thinking of some of the girls I hung around with in high school. But there were more than three of us. We were the Silly Seven. That’s out.

I lean to the feminine in matters of creating and strength. We give birth at great pain and then we raise the child with little sleep and a whole lot of creativity. I remember tape recording the clothes dryer’s rumbling sounds that put my daughter to sleep and playing it by her crib so I could take a quick shower. I remember using duct tape and cardboard for childproofing electrical cords because we couldn’t afford expensive gadgets. Remnants of duct tape adhesive still scar my old end tables that I still can’t afford to replace.

Anyway, I think I’ll do some more research to re-name my fig trees. They should be the “girls” instead of the “boys” especially when they become laden with their gentle sweet treats. There are few things in life that are so satisfying to the spirit than picking fruit off your own tree and savoring it immediately.

Only one mystery remains: why am I always left with so much extra dirt after digging and re-filling a hole? The trees were bare root and there wasn’t THAT much to them. Hmmmm….

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Daydreaming Again

I don’t know why, but daydreaming always makes me feel better. When under great stress or turmoil, I am unable to sit and access my dreams, but when everything settles down, I dream as much as I can.

My future ex-husband (who has been very attentive lately – hmmm...) said I should stay in the house after we divorce. Of course then he made the remark that he’d like to be able to continue to use the workshop. (No.) The house is falling apart due to lack of money to get someone to do the repairs. Yes we have a new roof on the main part of the house, but our patio roof is bowed and leaking and won’t last too many more monsoons. It needs painting inside and out and new floors. I can do curtains slowly via Walmart. And that's just the start.

Anyway, the thing is, I was sitting on the back patio catching my breath after mowing and weed-wacking the back yard and thought about all I’d do to the place if I had the money and a free independent hand in it. I’d put on new doors, put up a block wall all the way around the property (try burn that, arsonist), and I’d re-do the back patio into an indoor/outdoor room, etc. By the time the husband came out to check on things, I was feeling pretty darn good with a resolution to start buying lottery tickets because that was the only way any of this would ever be done.

The after glow continues this morning and I sit at my writing desk that sits in a corner of the laundry room and I dream on. Maybe I’d turn his dirty, dusty, unfinished workshop into a writing studio...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Write About Your Mother’s Cooking

Mom made simple food. In the later years all she did was fry things. It was faster, easier, and less clean up. But I best remember the nights that Dad was working. She would make breakfast for dinner. We would have pancakes, scrambled eggs, French toast, or oatmeal with cinnamon and raisins. Comfort food for me now, but it was to stretch the food budget back then.

We always had a garden and since my dad’s folks had a farm, we would have access to eggs and chicken. The cows were originally milk cows but later became feeder cattle. I don’t remember getting meat from them. The pigs were the same. Our pork came from the grocery store.

Summer's long days meant canning and freezing the produce from the garden and sitting on the front steps of the farm house in the long evening's twilight shelling peas and tossing the pods to our dog to chew like gum. Mom would chastise us when we would eat more peas than were put in the bowls. Sweet corn was the same. We would cut it off the cob after it had been blanched. Raw sweet corn is a treat that will never have its equal.

The funniest was when Mom over-planted cabbage. She decided to use the bumper crop for a new recipe of freezer slaw. It was the job of my sister and me to grind up the chunks of cabbage in the food grinder. We literally had buckets of cabbage juice sitting around the kitchen. The slaw was a delicious treat that appeared on the table frequently the next winter.

Another year found us buried in tomatoes. My sister took the opportunity to lobby for homemade ketchup. I still harbor ill-will over that. The process of putting cooked tomatoes through a manually pressed sieve not once but twice was agonizing. I made sure that I did not do more than my share of that job. The finished product was not memorable but that could be colored by my resentment of the sieve.

I miss those carefree days of summer that smelled like vinegar, sugar, and spices.
You can never go home again but I sure do think about those magical days - especially now that I'm getting older.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

“I Would Like to Make an Exchange.”

I beg your pardon, Ma’am. What did you say?

I said I would like to make an exchange.

An exchange. Of what, exactly?

My life. I would like to exchange my life.

Ma’am, we can’t just exchange your life. It isn’t that easy.

Why not? You give people new lives all the time. I want one.

Yes, we do give new lives here at the Karma Kash and Karry, but that is to people who have, well, passed on, so to speak. You don’t seem to be...

Dead? No, not yet. Listen, can I speak to your supervisor? This is somewhat important, you see.

Yes, I’m sure it is. Unfortunately, Mr. Dharma is away at a conference.

Oh. I’ll wait.

Ma’am, you can’t wait. He’ll be away for some time.

That’s all right. I need a new life. I will wait.

Why do you need a new life, if I may ask?

Sure, you can ask. My life isn’t what I wanted. It isn’t what it was supposed to be.

For example?

Well, my marriage, for instance. I was supposed to be happy ever after. I’m not. We’re not. He wants a divorce and I’m not sure I don’t agree.

I see. Just the marriage?

Oh, no. There’s the lack of education. There’s the huge financial debt. There’s no retirement in my future and I just can’t face working until I die at my desk. That just doesn’t seem right to me. What do you think?

No, dying at your desk isn’t very desirable, I agree. But, think now, Ma’am, surely all this didn’t happen without you taking some part in the decisions. I’m sure you had to say yes to the marriage proposal.

Yes, I guess I did. But I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into, you see. There wasn’t full disclosure.

There never is, Ma’am. There never is.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fool's!

Google, as usual, had a couple of funny ones today. On the iGoogle site it had a new feature you could use to back-time your emails. You can send emails with a time – say 6 hours ago – and even mark them as read or unread in the recipient’s inbox.

On the main Google site is “Virgle” pioneers. You can fill out a questionnaire to find out if you are eligible to join Virgin Airlines founder Richard Branson and the founders of Google on a 2014 trip to colonize Mars.

Too funny! And worse, no place to send feedback that you “got it!”

Ah, yes. It is good to laugh. I need laughter in my day or it becomes bleak and pointless. I’m lucky that ½ of my working day gives me that pleasure. Although lately it is evident that vacation time is coming and I can point out the people who had better take one! Sheesh!

Oh! My fig trees arrived at sunset. They are sitting in a bucket of water as I’ll be digging a hole tomorrow evening. Yay! And BONUS – they are far from perfect. Just what I was looking for.

By the way, I read on a professional blogger's site that Google's Blogspot - this vehicle that I use for my blog - is a ghetto blog site. Yeah, but the "rent" is right - free!