naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Christmas Fuck You)
While making out the short list of folks to get holiday cards, I had this niggling feeling I was forgetting someone.

I was trying to save spots back for my grandparents and my uncle Jim.

Christ. It's like stubbing a mental toe.

At least it's no longer "Mom and Dad." It's just Dad. I can fucking remember that much.

Feh.

I'm really not ready for Christmas this year. My internal clock thinks it's 10 in the morning, sometime in August.

I'm only barely on the ball enough to make simple gifts, and a self-produced card isn't going to happen unless I get some truly badass pictures tomorrow. Some friends are dragging me out (thank GOD) to go to the Philbrook for the annual orgy of Christmas trees and gingerbread houses. I'm not even in the mood to put up the tree, even though that would be a very quick way to get good pictures of the cats.

It's not that I'm not feeling that festive spirit. I so totally am. I'm just bloody tired!

It's okay. December isn't for a couple of days. I usually don't hit Christmas panic mode until after the month turns over. There's still a chance for me to contract a raging case of holiday spirit.

Preferably after rubbing myself up against a dirty, dirty reindeer boy with a--

Oh, I am so not finishing that thought.

I'm going to bed!
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Christmas Fuck You)
While making out the short list of folks to get holiday cards, I had this niggling feeling I was forgetting someone.

I was trying to save spots back for my grandparents and my uncle Jim.

Christ. It's like stubbing a mental toe.

At least it's no longer "Mom and Dad." It's just Dad. I can fucking remember that much.

Feh.

I'm really not ready for Christmas this year. My internal clock thinks it's 10 in the morning, sometime in August.

I'm only barely on the ball enough to make simple gifts, and a self-produced card isn't going to happen unless I get some truly badass pictures tomorrow. Some friends are dragging me out (thank GOD) to go to the Philbrook for the annual orgy of Christmas trees and gingerbread houses. I'm not even in the mood to put up the tree, even though that would be a very quick way to get good pictures of the cats.

It's not that I'm not feeling that festive spirit. I so totally am. I'm just bloody tired!

It's okay. December isn't for a couple of days. I usually don't hit Christmas panic mode until after the month turns over. There's still a chance for me to contract a raging case of holiday spirit.

Preferably after rubbing myself up against a dirty, dirty reindeer boy with a--

Oh, I am so not finishing that thought.

I'm going to bed!
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Helpless)
I am so super-duper maxi extreme ultra not okay. Ugh.

Monday was hard. I knew it would be, but I had no idea. We went through the stuff at the grandparents' house preliminarily, and I came away with some things I'm glad to have. I thought I was fine, I truly did, but then I spent the rest of the day competely spacy, the way you are after you've taken a big hit. I think they still call it shock, even though that word implies both "sudden" and "surprising," and this was neither.

I was shaken.

I left the groceries in the car for two hours, I left my food in the oven for twice as long as it needed to be there, twice in a row I let water boil away in the kettle, and I found myself staring into space a lot. I only slept for about four hours that night, and only about four last night, too. Nightmares. (Interspersed with dreams of spanking Tom Welling, but we won't go there.)

Yesterday I was a complete basket case, which wasn't helped by the fact that I was starting out on a sleep deficit, and then everything in the world decided to piss me off.

First it was me finding out the movie I wanted on DVD isn't out yet, like Amazon said it was. They had The Covenant (the sucky version with Steven Strait) confused with another The Covenant (version the suckier with Edward Furlong), and the one I want won't be out for a good long time yet. Motherfucker.

Next it was the City of Tulsa coming down my street with huge diesel trucks to inspect the pipelines. Their engines were running outside my house all morning. Add to that the tree-sawing crew on the other side of us, and it was noisy. When you factor in the barking dogs, sent into Code Red by the workmen, it was apocalyptic. I am surprised that you, wherever you are, didn't hear it.

Then it was the dogs barking all by themselves. For two hours. No matter how much I yelled at them and no matter how many times I shot them with the BB pistol.

Then it was my own cats, tearassing around like someone had put peppercorns in their asses and howling at the top of their little lungs. For no reason at all.

Then it was TU. I am so. Fucking. Pissed. Apparently there was some kind of game – I really do not give a shit about sports, so I don't know what. Football, probably. The nonstop noise from the stadium started at four o'clock, and ended at eleven. It began with the marching band practicing – drums and oompah oompah music. Then it was yammering over the loudspeaker, and hollering, and fucking tornado sirens going off every time they scored a touchdown, I shit you not. And loud, LOUD country music blared over the loudspeakers at irregular intervals. What the fuck? Who CARES about that shit? Holy Christ! Die. All of you. DIE.

It's easier for me to deal with almost anything else than it is for me to deal with noise. It completely pulls me apart at the seams. I cannot function.

Now, add to all of this the constant feeling of being on edge, either about to attack someone or start crying at the drop of a hat. Maybe both.

Yeah.

I'm trying hard not to flip the fuck out, since there is no real reason to. I hate feeling like this, because it makes me feel profoundly weak and stupid.

"Oh, boo hoo. Look who doesn't want to go and sort quietly through piles of stuff for her own benefit. Wah, wah, waaah. Look who can't hold her shit together even though nobody's really asking anything out of her."

It's enormously frustrating. I'm not weak, I'm not stupid. I'm just dead tired, and treading uncharted waters. And I hate not being as tough as other people ("toughness" here describes a lack of emotional susceptibility, and is not to be confused with "strength," which is different altogether). I hate being sensitive.

But I'll be all right. I can honestly say that and not feel like I'm trying to wallpaper over a fist-sized hole in my chest. I don't feel hopeless, or feel like I'll feel this way forever. I expect I'll feel better tomorrow or the next day. And that, in itself, is a gift. For months I've had no expectation that I would ever feel better. This is a huge relief.

I found a tarot card on my walk yesterday: the five of swords.

It's a notoriously difficult card to interpret, from what I understand. It can signify a defeat, or a victory, or a Pyrrhic victory. It can mean you're too focused on the big things to see the small things that lie at your feet, and it can also mean that you're looking too closely at the little picture, and you need to broaden your concern a little bit. It can mean a minor setback or a great big one. It can mean that you've finally won an ongoing battle, or it can mean that the fight isn't over yet.

In short: a completely unhelpful omen that will no doubt only become clear in retrospect.

Goddamn, life is like that sometimes, isn't it?
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Helpless)
I am so super-duper maxi extreme ultra not okay. Ugh.

Monday was hard. I knew it would be, but I had no idea. We went through the stuff at the grandparents' house preliminarily, and I came away with some things I'm glad to have. I thought I was fine, I truly did, but then I spent the rest of the day competely spacy, the way you are after you've taken a big hit. I think they still call it shock, even though that word implies both "sudden" and "surprising," and this was neither.

I was shaken.

I left the groceries in the car for two hours, I left my food in the oven for twice as long as it needed to be there, twice in a row I let water boil away in the kettle, and I found myself staring into space a lot. I only slept for about four hours that night, and only about four last night, too. Nightmares. (Interspersed with dreams of spanking Tom Welling, but we won't go there.)

Yesterday I was a complete basket case, which wasn't helped by the fact that I was starting out on a sleep deficit, and then everything in the world decided to piss me off.

First it was me finding out the movie I wanted on DVD isn't out yet, like Amazon said it was. They had The Covenant (the sucky version with Steven Strait) confused with another The Covenant (version the suckier with Edward Furlong), and the one I want won't be out for a good long time yet. Motherfucker.

Next it was the City of Tulsa coming down my street with huge diesel trucks to inspect the pipelines. Their engines were running outside my house all morning. Add to that the tree-sawing crew on the other side of us, and it was noisy. When you factor in the barking dogs, sent into Code Red by the workmen, it was apocalyptic. I am surprised that you, wherever you are, didn't hear it.

Then it was the dogs barking all by themselves. For two hours. No matter how much I yelled at them and no matter how many times I shot them with the BB pistol.

Then it was my own cats, tearassing around like someone had put peppercorns in their asses and howling at the top of their little lungs. For no reason at all.

Then it was TU. I am so. Fucking. Pissed. Apparently there was some kind of game – I really do not give a shit about sports, so I don't know what. Football, probably. The nonstop noise from the stadium started at four o'clock, and ended at eleven. It began with the marching band practicing – drums and oompah oompah music. Then it was yammering over the loudspeaker, and hollering, and fucking tornado sirens going off every time they scored a touchdown, I shit you not. And loud, LOUD country music blared over the loudspeakers at irregular intervals. What the fuck? Who CARES about that shit? Holy Christ! Die. All of you. DIE.

It's easier for me to deal with almost anything else than it is for me to deal with noise. It completely pulls me apart at the seams. I cannot function.

Now, add to all of this the constant feeling of being on edge, either about to attack someone or start crying at the drop of a hat. Maybe both.

Yeah.

I'm trying hard not to flip the fuck out, since there is no real reason to. I hate feeling like this, because it makes me feel profoundly weak and stupid.

"Oh, boo hoo. Look who doesn't want to go and sort quietly through piles of stuff for her own benefit. Wah, wah, waaah. Look who can't hold her shit together even though nobody's really asking anything out of her."

It's enormously frustrating. I'm not weak, I'm not stupid. I'm just dead tired, and treading uncharted waters. And I hate not being as tough as other people ("toughness" here describes a lack of emotional susceptibility, and is not to be confused with "strength," which is different altogether). I hate being sensitive.

But I'll be all right. I can honestly say that and not feel like I'm trying to wallpaper over a fist-sized hole in my chest. I don't feel hopeless, or feel like I'll feel this way forever. I expect I'll feel better tomorrow or the next day. And that, in itself, is a gift. For months I've had no expectation that I would ever feel better. This is a huge relief.

I found a tarot card on my walk yesterday: the five of swords.

It's a notoriously difficult card to interpret, from what I understand. It can signify a defeat, or a victory, or a Pyrrhic victory. It can mean you're too focused on the big things to see the small things that lie at your feet, and it can also mean that you're looking too closely at the little picture, and you need to broaden your concern a little bit. It can mean a minor setback or a great big one. It can mean that you've finally won an ongoing battle, or it can mean that the fight isn't over yet.

In short: a completely unhelpful omen that will no doubt only become clear in retrospect.

Goddamn, life is like that sometimes, isn't it?

Emptying.

Oct. 2nd, 2006 10:43 am
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Emo Icon)
In about twenty minutes I'm going to meet my sister at my grandparents' house. The empty house. We're going through and divide up all the paintings done by my mother and my grandmother. We're going to take the photographs, the childhood artwork, all of that. I'll be photographing and measuring furniture, in case I want it. And it's going to be horrible, because Nanny and Kaw Kaw aren't there any more.

I'm not saying I'm in a bad place, or anything. I'm just saying there is no good place, no good time, to have to deal with this sort of thing: the dismantling of one's own past, the loss of one's own childhood, in addition to the loss of close family. There's no guidebook, no rules, no accepted procedure. If the terrain of Anger is familiar to all of us, a place we can go back to again and again, then the terrain of Grief is like a bog, ever-changing, never stable. It can't be mapped, it can't be charted, it can't be navigated via a shortcut. It can only be slogged through.

I don't know how or when it happened, but a door closed on my childhood, and going back into parts of it to poke at things is uncomfortable, scary, and weird.

I am about as strong as I could hope to be, and I'm damn sure tough enough to take it. I have plans drawn up, I'm not going into this flat-footed. I know this year is going to hurt like hell, but it's going to happen anyway so I might as well orchestrate things so that I enjoy the holidays as much as I possibly can despite all that. Celebrate what I can, and take the opportunity to mourn what I can't celebrate with as much joy around me as possible.

Grace does not come naturally to me, but I'm damn well trying to finish this year with as much grace as I know how.

It's frustrating. I know I can count on a slew of comments saying "You're so strong!" and "I admire your strength." I know I can count on support, sympathy, offers of light or hope or gifts or a simple namaste. And I love that. I love that you care, even though we barely know each other. I love feeling connected, feeling with you, even if it's only for a moment, a single spark.

But a part of me is frustrated by the fact that strength not a sure thing. I'm not as strong as everyone makes me out to be – nobody is. Others' confidence in me is no guarantee that I will succeed, or that things will come out okay.

I really want to close with something pithy and wise, but all I can say is that I know this is going to be hard, but I don't know how hard. And I just don't know how well I'm going to take it.

Emptying.

Oct. 2nd, 2006 10:43 am
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Emo Icon)
In about twenty minutes I'm going to meet my sister at my grandparents' house. The empty house. We're going through and divide up all the paintings done by my mother and my grandmother. We're going to take the photographs, the childhood artwork, all of that. I'll be photographing and measuring furniture, in case I want it. And it's going to be horrible, because Nanny and Kaw Kaw aren't there any more.

I'm not saying I'm in a bad place, or anything. I'm just saying there is no good place, no good time, to have to deal with this sort of thing: the dismantling of one's own past, the loss of one's own childhood, in addition to the loss of close family. There's no guidebook, no rules, no accepted procedure. If the terrain of Anger is familiar to all of us, a place we can go back to again and again, then the terrain of Grief is like a bog, ever-changing, never stable. It can't be mapped, it can't be charted, it can't be navigated via a shortcut. It can only be slogged through.

I don't know how or when it happened, but a door closed on my childhood, and going back into parts of it to poke at things is uncomfortable, scary, and weird.

I am about as strong as I could hope to be, and I'm damn sure tough enough to take it. I have plans drawn up, I'm not going into this flat-footed. I know this year is going to hurt like hell, but it's going to happen anyway so I might as well orchestrate things so that I enjoy the holidays as much as I possibly can despite all that. Celebrate what I can, and take the opportunity to mourn what I can't celebrate with as much joy around me as possible.

Grace does not come naturally to me, but I'm damn well trying to finish this year with as much grace as I know how.

It's frustrating. I know I can count on a slew of comments saying "You're so strong!" and "I admire your strength." I know I can count on support, sympathy, offers of light or hope or gifts or a simple namaste. And I love that. I love that you care, even though we barely know each other. I love feeling connected, feeling with you, even if it's only for a moment, a single spark.

But a part of me is frustrated by the fact that strength not a sure thing. I'm not as strong as everyone makes me out to be – nobody is. Others' confidence in me is no guarantee that I will succeed, or that things will come out okay.

I really want to close with something pithy and wise, but all I can say is that I know this is going to be hard, but I don't know how hard. And I just don't know how well I'm going to take it.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Lucian No Going Back)
Finished another box, a needlessly cute Egyptian-themed one featuring a winged baby cobra and several dancing dung beetles. I photographed it yesterday morning, along with the angel box I finished last week, so there should be pictures soon. I'm already 2/3 of the way through roughing out the design for my next project, and once paint hits wood it's all downhill from there -- a week, tops, for this one, even though it's big. I'm very excited about it.

I'm almost at the point where I have enough stock to bother with a website. I'm dreading the entire design process, as I know less than nothing about it. I excel at graphic design, but my coding skills are rudimentary at best, and I don't know a server from a submissive. Thankfully, first things have to come first, which means all I have to do right now is paint and take pictures.

I realize I haven't been posting much, and the truth is that I miss the contact. I really do. But lately I've just felt better only posting if I have something to say. Three or four days in a row of nothing but pictures of my art and BPAL reviews feels self-indulgent even to me, so I've been sort of stretching it out, trying to find things to say or talk about. And I have a lot of things to say and talk about, it's just that a lot of them aren't all that funny, and some of them are pretty personal, and for various reasons I've felt less comfortable posting intensely personal stuff here.

That said, because I'm a horrible, hypocritical bitch who can furthermore do whatever she wants because you lot are a captive audience, I now force you to look at a picture of the Fish curled up in a straw cowboy hat. With her feet sticking up.

Fish Hat 01

I'll post the pictures of the new boxes later; the shots I took are just incredible and I am by-golly going to make you look at them. And maybe I'll post some dreaded BPAL reviews if there's time.

Right now I have to go put on some makeup and make myself presentable for my granddad's memorial service. I'm trying very hard not to be sad today, but the truth is that I miss everyone I've lost, and nothing brings home the emptiness of the places where they should be like seeing what's left of the family all gathered together.

You guys hold down the fort until I get back.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Lucian No Going Back)
Finished another box, a needlessly cute Egyptian-themed one featuring a winged baby cobra and several dancing dung beetles. I photographed it yesterday morning, along with the angel box I finished last week, so there should be pictures soon. I'm already 2/3 of the way through roughing out the design for my next project, and once paint hits wood it's all downhill from there -- a week, tops, for this one, even though it's big. I'm very excited about it.

I'm almost at the point where I have enough stock to bother with a website. I'm dreading the entire design process, as I know less than nothing about it. I excel at graphic design, but my coding skills are rudimentary at best, and I don't know a server from a submissive. Thankfully, first things have to come first, which means all I have to do right now is paint and take pictures.

I realize I haven't been posting much, and the truth is that I miss the contact. I really do. But lately I've just felt better only posting if I have something to say. Three or four days in a row of nothing but pictures of my art and BPAL reviews feels self-indulgent even to me, so I've been sort of stretching it out, trying to find things to say or talk about. And I have a lot of things to say and talk about, it's just that a lot of them aren't all that funny, and some of them are pretty personal, and for various reasons I've felt less comfortable posting intensely personal stuff here.

That said, because I'm a horrible, hypocritical bitch who can furthermore do whatever she wants because you lot are a captive audience, I now force you to look at a picture of the Fish curled up in a straw cowboy hat. With her feet sticking up.

Fish Hat 01

I'll post the pictures of the new boxes later; the shots I took are just incredible and I am by-golly going to make you look at them. And maybe I'll post some dreaded BPAL reviews if there's time.

Right now I have to go put on some makeup and make myself presentable for my granddad's memorial service. I'm trying very hard not to be sad today, but the truth is that I miss everyone I've lost, and nothing brings home the emptiness of the places where they should be like seeing what's left of the family all gathered together.

You guys hold down the fort until I get back.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Helpless)
My granddad died at about 11:30 Monday night; in other words, about the time I went berserk and had to leave the house and go for a 70-block walk in the pitch darkness. I came back, wrote last night's largely incoherent entry, and then collapsed into a senseless slumber, which I hope to resume shortly. He was already gone, I just didn't know it. Except for the part where I pretty much did, but that's another thing entirely.

He went about as peacefully as could be expected. They think he was sleeping.

I'm wrung out and exhausted, but the loss itself comes as more of a relief than anything. If you had been watching him decline, and if you had seen him on Monday, you would understand. He was . . . no. Just . . . no. It's better not to even remember. He's not suffering anymore, and that all by itself feels like having the roof lifted from overhead, and looking up into the clear, dark sky. Big and scary and exposed, but free.

I've had enough, I've done enough. I'm tired. I'm going to call a halt on being helpful and friendly for a while, I think. I just don't have the energy. Not that I've been helpful, friendly, or energetic much the past eight months or anything, but really. I think I've earned a respite from whatever life is demanding of me just now.

I feel awful, but the past year has just fragmented me too much for me to offer much support to anyone, even my own family. Even my own husband.

Hopefully once I surface, the storm will be over. This was the last thing, the last bad thing I was waiting to deal with, and soon it will be over, too, and I can clean my wounds, bind them up, move on, and be of use to someone. We're different people when we're stressed or in pain, and I have damn near forgotten who I am when I'm not this angry, hurt, tired person.

Three relatives in a year. Christ. That's more than half the family that raised me.

The single saving grace of all of this, the ironic silver lining, is that I'm bad with numbers and have no time sense. At least I will be spared ever waking up and thinking "This is the anniversary of the day that so-and-so died." I never remember anniversaries. It's more like, "Oh, yeah. This is the month."

I don't think that I will remember this part of my life with any fondness, when I look back on it. It tastes bitter enough now. I think I'd have picked a different apple, if I could.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Helpless)
My granddad died at about 11:30 Monday night; in other words, about the time I went berserk and had to leave the house and go for a 70-block walk in the pitch darkness. I came back, wrote last night's largely incoherent entry, and then collapsed into a senseless slumber, which I hope to resume shortly. He was already gone, I just didn't know it. Except for the part where I pretty much did, but that's another thing entirely.

He went about as peacefully as could be expected. They think he was sleeping.

I'm wrung out and exhausted, but the loss itself comes as more of a relief than anything. If you had been watching him decline, and if you had seen him on Monday, you would understand. He was . . . no. Just . . . no. It's better not to even remember. He's not suffering anymore, and that all by itself feels like having the roof lifted from overhead, and looking up into the clear, dark sky. Big and scary and exposed, but free.

I've had enough, I've done enough. I'm tired. I'm going to call a halt on being helpful and friendly for a while, I think. I just don't have the energy. Not that I've been helpful, friendly, or energetic much the past eight months or anything, but really. I think I've earned a respite from whatever life is demanding of me just now.

I feel awful, but the past year has just fragmented me too much for me to offer much support to anyone, even my own family. Even my own husband.

Hopefully once I surface, the storm will be over. This was the last thing, the last bad thing I was waiting to deal with, and soon it will be over, too, and I can clean my wounds, bind them up, move on, and be of use to someone. We're different people when we're stressed or in pain, and I have damn near forgotten who I am when I'm not this angry, hurt, tired person.

Three relatives in a year. Christ. That's more than half the family that raised me.

The single saving grace of all of this, the ironic silver lining, is that I'm bad with numbers and have no time sense. At least I will be spared ever waking up and thinking "This is the anniversary of the day that so-and-so died." I never remember anniversaries. It's more like, "Oh, yeah. This is the month."

I don't think that I will remember this part of my life with any fondness, when I look back on it. It tastes bitter enough now. I think I'd have picked a different apple, if I could.

Dammit.

Aug. 1st, 2006 02:36 am
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Emo Icon)
I am exhausted.

This morning I went to go see my granddad in the hospice. He's developed pneumonia, and they don't think it will be long now before he goes. Maybe two more days.

I said goodbye, but he was not lucid at all -- the dementia combined with the pneumonia and the drugs has him pretty much out of it. It's horrible seeing someone you love like that, so close to death. I'm getting tired of doing this. I care about the people in my family; I hate it when they suffer.

So I mostly wanted to stop in here, let everyone know I'm not dead, and let everyone know that I will not be around much for a while. If you've emailed me, I'll try to get to it, but non-critical stuff is getting shoved to the back burner. To anyone with a commission pending: I'm still working. I'll just be a bit slower. Anyone who knows me in person, I just don't expect to be on the phone much for a while. I really, really need to just be away, and sometimes even the kindest demands are too much to deal with. I've hit the point of fragile and tired where even answering the question "Are you okay?" is painful. So I'm going to go into my hidebox for a while and just stay there until it quits bothering me so much. I'm okay. Really. I am.

Conestoga 10 was also this weekend; I hardly slept at all and spent most of it severely overstimulated, so now I'm hitting the crash from that in addition to dealing with the extremely unpleasant prospect of losing another family member.

But it was a killer show, despite the following laundry list of upfuckery:

1) Major-name artists who sadly wound up having to cancel, and couldn't send their art.

2) The hotel double-booking the art show space for a breakfast meeting Friday morning. We were supposed to have the room that morning at eight, and usually the hotel lets us in Thursday for panel setup. We were not able to set up this year until ten. Which is when the art show is usually opening. We were going in circles like chickens with the heads cut off who've been tossed into an industrial tumble-dryer. The hotel also screwed a number of other unfortunate pooches, so I'm not so much feeling the love for them right now.

3) An honest-to-god fire alarm going off as soon as we got all the art hung. Thousands of dollars worth of art. I never heard what caused that, but it wasn't us.

4) Losing a piece at the beginning of the show and spending the whole time wondering how the fuck it could have escaped from a sealed box. (It was stuck to another print.)

5) Most of us manning the art show didn't even knew what we were doing! This was not poor planning, it's just a matter of this year's staff (including both chairs) being a mostly-new crew.

Ugh. There's more. Undoubtedly I'll remember some heinous trespass and feel obligated to recount it later, but for now those are the only memories I can concretely dredge from my sedimental brain.

Still, we had a record year. There are pictures, even some good ones, but those are going to have to wait. There's a lot I want to share with you, including pictures of two gorgeous new boxes, and a mess of BPAL reviews, but I've got a lot to deal with just now. I do appreciate your patience. No, I was not put on Earth to amuse you lot. I realize that. However, if it didn't concern me at least a little bit, I'd have a private journal, wouldn't I?

Right now, I'm going to bed because I am too tired to type for much longer. My brain is seriously disjointed and if I don't stop now, I'll start either writing porn, bad metaphors involving red, red ponies, or possibly both.

It's happened before.

Dammit.

Aug. 1st, 2006 02:36 am
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Emo Icon)
I am exhausted.

This morning I went to go see my granddad in the hospice. He's developed pneumonia, and they don't think it will be long now before he goes. Maybe two more days.

I said goodbye, but he was not lucid at all -- the dementia combined with the pneumonia and the drugs has him pretty much out of it. It's horrible seeing someone you love like that, so close to death. I'm getting tired of doing this. I care about the people in my family; I hate it when they suffer.

So I mostly wanted to stop in here, let everyone know I'm not dead, and let everyone know that I will not be around much for a while. If you've emailed me, I'll try to get to it, but non-critical stuff is getting shoved to the back burner. To anyone with a commission pending: I'm still working. I'll just be a bit slower. Anyone who knows me in person, I just don't expect to be on the phone much for a while. I really, really need to just be away, and sometimes even the kindest demands are too much to deal with. I've hit the point of fragile and tired where even answering the question "Are you okay?" is painful. So I'm going to go into my hidebox for a while and just stay there until it quits bothering me so much. I'm okay. Really. I am.

Conestoga 10 was also this weekend; I hardly slept at all and spent most of it severely overstimulated, so now I'm hitting the crash from that in addition to dealing with the extremely unpleasant prospect of losing another family member.

But it was a killer show, despite the following laundry list of upfuckery:

1) Major-name artists who sadly wound up having to cancel, and couldn't send their art.

2) The hotel double-booking the art show space for a breakfast meeting Friday morning. We were supposed to have the room that morning at eight, and usually the hotel lets us in Thursday for panel setup. We were not able to set up this year until ten. Which is when the art show is usually opening. We were going in circles like chickens with the heads cut off who've been tossed into an industrial tumble-dryer. The hotel also screwed a number of other unfortunate pooches, so I'm not so much feeling the love for them right now.

3) An honest-to-god fire alarm going off as soon as we got all the art hung. Thousands of dollars worth of art. I never heard what caused that, but it wasn't us.

4) Losing a piece at the beginning of the show and spending the whole time wondering how the fuck it could have escaped from a sealed box. (It was stuck to another print.)

5) Most of us manning the art show didn't even knew what we were doing! This was not poor planning, it's just a matter of this year's staff (including both chairs) being a mostly-new crew.

Ugh. There's more. Undoubtedly I'll remember some heinous trespass and feel obligated to recount it later, but for now those are the only memories I can concretely dredge from my sedimental brain.

Still, we had a record year. There are pictures, even some good ones, but those are going to have to wait. There's a lot I want to share with you, including pictures of two gorgeous new boxes, and a mess of BPAL reviews, but I've got a lot to deal with just now. I do appreciate your patience. No, I was not put on Earth to amuse you lot. I realize that. However, if it didn't concern me at least a little bit, I'd have a private journal, wouldn't I?

Right now, I'm going to bed because I am too tired to type for much longer. My brain is seriously disjointed and if I don't stop now, I'll start either writing porn, bad metaphors involving red, red ponies, or possibly both.

It's happened before.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Helpless)
Ugh. I feel crappy like whoa. If I were a superhero, my name would be General Malaise.

I did, however, finish the absinthe box. She ees beeyotiful, my little petits fours. All that remains is for the enameled glass to be baked, glued in place, and then left to dry for a couple days. There should be pictures on Thursday or Friday.

I still feel cruddy, and I think that it's largely stress. Between the art show and writing and painting and trying to keep up with friends and dealing with family crap and trying to assimilate everything that's happened/is happening/will happen soon, I have about slipped off my goddamn rocker. I have to find time in there, too, to clean house, care for my pets, and be present for my husband, not to mention time for me to relax and throttle back. I have no idea how I keep up.

It's hard to explain why, if I'm so frazzled and fried, I don't want to go out and do something fun. Most people relax by going out, after all. But I relax by staying in for days at a time, preferably wearing earplugs. Now more than ever.

An unpleasant truth about grief has been driven home to me over the past couple of weeks. See, when you lose someone, you mourn and you move on. But then, later, you lose someone else, and in addition to the pain of that new loss hacking up the soil of your soul, it brings up painful memories from last time like buried bones. Grief is never all gone, and it will come back to haunt you. So you're not just feeling the one grief, but both of them, together, like a double ear infection. And when the losses come so close you can't properly mourn them before the next one begins . . . that's just brutal. And that's where I am now. Staring down the shotgun barrel of #3, and not knowing when. So I have all these feelings and memories whirling around crazily, and it's frightfully confusing and scary. It's like waves, undertow, riptide.

My grandfather is doing okay. News is guarded. He appears to be holding out, and possibly improving a bit. I know it's still only a matter of time, though, and it's hard, knowing he's going to go. I feel like my childhood is dying all around me, like everything that I was is being stripped away like a cocoon, like old skin, and leaving me with only this strange adult life I seem to have developed as a defense against the shitty events of the past year. It's cold and hard and frightening, living like this, without the cushion of my loved ones there. I didn't think it would bother me this much, but it does.

My mom and my grandmother were my two biggest playmates as a child, my best caretakers. They're both gone, and my grandfather is gone, too; gone from his mind, from that house. My grandparents' house, a cornerstone of my psyche, the place where I got married, will be sold, eventually. It's already empty of the people who made it my second home. It's like a big piece of what I am was just cast loose. I'll only ever have it in memory; it will no longer be a place I can visit in reality. That time itself is dead, gone. And without it, I feel less sure of myself.

I want to say I'm taking it okay, that I'm coping, that I'm all right, but I deeply feel like I am not okay, that I'm working hard and mechanically because right now it's all I can do. I'm too hurt, still, for the sensitive work of writing what lies close to the bone. I'm too frazzled to hold up my end of most relationships -- a perpetual state, maybe, but worsened by all of this.

I've had too much loss. Each individual thing . . . oh, I can do anything once, and cope. But so close together, it's too much. I can't get away from it, I can't make it not happen. I could handle any one thing, but the weight of all this is virtually unmoveable. And there are days like today when I come into the house from outside and smell kitchen smells and I realize that it smells just like my grandmother's house. Or I find my mom's handwriting on a postcard she sent me. A picture album my grandmother made me when I got married. Or, god help me, I go back and read journal entries where I talk about being with them before they were sick. And that's when I feel the lack of their presence most strongly. Oh, call it pennies from heaven if you like, say they're reminding me that they're with me still by putting these things in my path. That's not how it feels.

It feels like a big, empty wind. It feels the way it feels out on the plains on a hot summer day, when the sun is like a weight atop you and everything feels leaden and dull, and then a wind kicks up out of nowhere and brings with it a smell of grass and dry earth and distant, distant rain. Suddenly you feel the whole emptiness of the prairie unfurling all around you, the miles and miles of nothing between you and the roof of the wind, and yourself a tiny speck of nothing in the middle of everything, the only witness to the events in your particular patch of emptiness.

That is what it is like.

Like standing in the cracked and brush-torn field that used to be the drive-in theater you went to as a kid.

Like getting up one morning and going to visit the half-block of fragrant, deeply green trees and brush where lived the foxes and raccoons and possums that you wrote childhood stories about, and finding it has been torn down and paved to make a parking lot for a church.

Like standing on Mt. Saint Helens, looking at the horse-kick crater and the blasted trees laid down like matchsticks in a river of destruction still visible decades later, and realizing that no matter how green the new growth is, it still lies atop death.

Like standing anywhere that used to be something else entirely, and was happier that way. And it's as if the old was never there at all.

I know it isn't so, but it's how it feels, and it's why I need to be alone a lot. It's like trying to hold the words of a song in my head, all the time. If someone talks, I'm afraid I'll drop it, forget. If I can just be alone for a while with these memories, while they're fresh and alive, if I can just sort through them, maybe I can keep them a while longer. If I stop living, maybe I can manage not to make new memories, and keep hold of the old ones instead. It's not the right thing to do for a long time, that's avoidance, denial, but I haven't really been free to do it at all. I need the time out.

Emptiness is what I've got. Space is what I need. A vacation. And I can't have one. I can't shirk my responsibilities or let things go. Not without making things worse.

I hate complaining, but I have to put this out where I can see it, where other people can see it. I don't know why it has to be so hard for me when other people carry on just fine with their burdens -- much greater burdens. I don't know if I'm weaker, or just not meant for this kind of work, or what.

Ah, I'm tired. I'll stop. I just . . . sometimes you feel the knife twist, you know? And I'd give anything just to stay the hand that's holding it. Just a year. A year of quiet.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Helpless)
Ugh. I feel crappy like whoa. If I were a superhero, my name would be General Malaise.

I did, however, finish the absinthe box. She ees beeyotiful, my little petits fours. All that remains is for the enameled glass to be baked, glued in place, and then left to dry for a couple days. There should be pictures on Thursday or Friday.

I still feel cruddy, and I think that it's largely stress. Between the art show and writing and painting and trying to keep up with friends and dealing with family crap and trying to assimilate everything that's happened/is happening/will happen soon, I have about slipped off my goddamn rocker. I have to find time in there, too, to clean house, care for my pets, and be present for my husband, not to mention time for me to relax and throttle back. I have no idea how I keep up.

It's hard to explain why, if I'm so frazzled and fried, I don't want to go out and do something fun. Most people relax by going out, after all. But I relax by staying in for days at a time, preferably wearing earplugs. Now more than ever.

An unpleasant truth about grief has been driven home to me over the past couple of weeks. See, when you lose someone, you mourn and you move on. But then, later, you lose someone else, and in addition to the pain of that new loss hacking up the soil of your soul, it brings up painful memories from last time like buried bones. Grief is never all gone, and it will come back to haunt you. So you're not just feeling the one grief, but both of them, together, like a double ear infection. And when the losses come so close you can't properly mourn them before the next one begins . . . that's just brutal. And that's where I am now. Staring down the shotgun barrel of #3, and not knowing when. So I have all these feelings and memories whirling around crazily, and it's frightfully confusing and scary. It's like waves, undertow, riptide.

My grandfather is doing okay. News is guarded. He appears to be holding out, and possibly improving a bit. I know it's still only a matter of time, though, and it's hard, knowing he's going to go. I feel like my childhood is dying all around me, like everything that I was is being stripped away like a cocoon, like old skin, and leaving me with only this strange adult life I seem to have developed as a defense against the shitty events of the past year. It's cold and hard and frightening, living like this, without the cushion of my loved ones there. I didn't think it would bother me this much, but it does.

My mom and my grandmother were my two biggest playmates as a child, my best caretakers. They're both gone, and my grandfather is gone, too; gone from his mind, from that house. My grandparents' house, a cornerstone of my psyche, the place where I got married, will be sold, eventually. It's already empty of the people who made it my second home. It's like a big piece of what I am was just cast loose. I'll only ever have it in memory; it will no longer be a place I can visit in reality. That time itself is dead, gone. And without it, I feel less sure of myself.

I want to say I'm taking it okay, that I'm coping, that I'm all right, but I deeply feel like I am not okay, that I'm working hard and mechanically because right now it's all I can do. I'm too hurt, still, for the sensitive work of writing what lies close to the bone. I'm too frazzled to hold up my end of most relationships -- a perpetual state, maybe, but worsened by all of this.

I've had too much loss. Each individual thing . . . oh, I can do anything once, and cope. But so close together, it's too much. I can't get away from it, I can't make it not happen. I could handle any one thing, but the weight of all this is virtually unmoveable. And there are days like today when I come into the house from outside and smell kitchen smells and I realize that it smells just like my grandmother's house. Or I find my mom's handwriting on a postcard she sent me. A picture album my grandmother made me when I got married. Or, god help me, I go back and read journal entries where I talk about being with them before they were sick. And that's when I feel the lack of their presence most strongly. Oh, call it pennies from heaven if you like, say they're reminding me that they're with me still by putting these things in my path. That's not how it feels.

It feels like a big, empty wind. It feels the way it feels out on the plains on a hot summer day, when the sun is like a weight atop you and everything feels leaden and dull, and then a wind kicks up out of nowhere and brings with it a smell of grass and dry earth and distant, distant rain. Suddenly you feel the whole emptiness of the prairie unfurling all around you, the miles and miles of nothing between you and the roof of the wind, and yourself a tiny speck of nothing in the middle of everything, the only witness to the events in your particular patch of emptiness.

That is what it is like.

Like standing in the cracked and brush-torn field that used to be the drive-in theater you went to as a kid.

Like getting up one morning and going to visit the half-block of fragrant, deeply green trees and brush where lived the foxes and raccoons and possums that you wrote childhood stories about, and finding it has been torn down and paved to make a parking lot for a church.

Like standing on Mt. Saint Helens, looking at the horse-kick crater and the blasted trees laid down like matchsticks in a river of destruction still visible decades later, and realizing that no matter how green the new growth is, it still lies atop death.

Like standing anywhere that used to be something else entirely, and was happier that way. And it's as if the old was never there at all.

I know it isn't so, but it's how it feels, and it's why I need to be alone a lot. It's like trying to hold the words of a song in my head, all the time. If someone talks, I'm afraid I'll drop it, forget. If I can just be alone for a while with these memories, while they're fresh and alive, if I can just sort through them, maybe I can keep them a while longer. If I stop living, maybe I can manage not to make new memories, and keep hold of the old ones instead. It's not the right thing to do for a long time, that's avoidance, denial, but I haven't really been free to do it at all. I need the time out.

Emptiness is what I've got. Space is what I need. A vacation. And I can't have one. I can't shirk my responsibilities or let things go. Not without making things worse.

I hate complaining, but I have to put this out where I can see it, where other people can see it. I don't know why it has to be so hard for me when other people carry on just fine with their burdens -- much greater burdens. I don't know if I'm weaker, or just not meant for this kind of work, or what.

Ah, I'm tired. I'll stop. I just . . . sometimes you feel the knife twist, you know? And I'd give anything just to stay the hand that's holding it. Just a year. A year of quiet.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Still here, computer not dead.

Had a lovely day yesterday; dinner with friends, and lots of good talk.

Came home and finished the latest commission, which is still drying downstairs. This gryphon is quite the character, and he fought me valiantly before I managed to pin him down. I loved working on him (I haven't done a box yet I didn't enjoy) but I'm quite ready to send him on his way. His Person awaits, after all. It will go in the mail Tuesday, once it has had time to cure a little more. We got a deluge yesterday, and the humidity slowed up the dry time on the topcoat.

I've started a new box that I hope to squeeze in between commissions -- a green glass-topped box that I will probably paint in an absinthe/green fairy theme. So far it's nothing special; just a horrible green color somewhere between pea soup and toddler snot. Every box goes through a stage where it looks like merry hell. This one is deep in the throes of its fugly phase, but I hope to coax something attractive out of it out tomorrow. What I have in mind will either work incredibly well, or it will look horrible and I will have to start all over again.

I went to see my dad today, and gave him his Fathers' Day gift -- a painted box, what else? He immediately set to squirreling his stamps away inside it. I think it was a hit. Saw Mathurin while we were there. He's put on a lot of weight and seems quite happy, so I feel much less bad about taking him back there. He's doing well.

My granddad cannot be said to be doing well at all. He's going downhill. He can't swallow on his own, so they're tube-feeding him. I really don't know how much longer this can go on. We're all just exhausted from it. The third time in a year, for God's sake. My family members need to quit dying. There's not much that can be done; they think he has Lewy body dementia, but that diagnosis can't be confirmed until after he dies. It would explain the weird nature of his fugues, though, the ataxia and the visual hallucinations and the here and there lucidity. I feel terrible for him, and for my uncle, who has been having to make a great number of really difficult decisions essentially alone.

That about brings you all up to date; I promise amusing stories and more BPAL reviews once I have slept. And I really want to sleep. Last night I had richly detailed pervy dreams about Tom Welling and Kristin Kreuk doing unspeakable things to each other while Alice Cooper's "Poison" played in the background.

Yeah. Can't wait to see what my brain inflicts on me tonight.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Still here, computer not dead.

Had a lovely day yesterday; dinner with friends, and lots of good talk.

Came home and finished the latest commission, which is still drying downstairs. This gryphon is quite the character, and he fought me valiantly before I managed to pin him down. I loved working on him (I haven't done a box yet I didn't enjoy) but I'm quite ready to send him on his way. His Person awaits, after all. It will go in the mail Tuesday, once it has had time to cure a little more. We got a deluge yesterday, and the humidity slowed up the dry time on the topcoat.

I've started a new box that I hope to squeeze in between commissions -- a green glass-topped box that I will probably paint in an absinthe/green fairy theme. So far it's nothing special; just a horrible green color somewhere between pea soup and toddler snot. Every box goes through a stage where it looks like merry hell. This one is deep in the throes of its fugly phase, but I hope to coax something attractive out of it out tomorrow. What I have in mind will either work incredibly well, or it will look horrible and I will have to start all over again.

I went to see my dad today, and gave him his Fathers' Day gift -- a painted box, what else? He immediately set to squirreling his stamps away inside it. I think it was a hit. Saw Mathurin while we were there. He's put on a lot of weight and seems quite happy, so I feel much less bad about taking him back there. He's doing well.

My granddad cannot be said to be doing well at all. He's going downhill. He can't swallow on his own, so they're tube-feeding him. I really don't know how much longer this can go on. We're all just exhausted from it. The third time in a year, for God's sake. My family members need to quit dying. There's not much that can be done; they think he has Lewy body dementia, but that diagnosis can't be confirmed until after he dies. It would explain the weird nature of his fugues, though, the ataxia and the visual hallucinations and the here and there lucidity. I feel terrible for him, and for my uncle, who has been having to make a great number of really difficult decisions essentially alone.

That about brings you all up to date; I promise amusing stories and more BPAL reviews once I have slept. And I really want to sleep. Last night I had richly detailed pervy dreams about Tom Welling and Kristin Kreuk doing unspeakable things to each other while Alice Cooper's "Poison" played in the background.

Yeah. Can't wait to see what my brain inflicts on me tonight.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Renaissance Woman)
I should be sleeping. Right? Sleeping? Isn't that what people do when it's 4:30 a.m. and they have shit to do the next day like, oh, give blood and see friends and do art show stuff and paint and write and buy flea treatment for the mammals and feed snakes and . . . and . . . and?

Sleeping.

Right.

The birthday was good, as I have said. Just what I needed, just who I needed, just when I needed it. And that's . . . all I needed.

I had the added bonus of ridding myself of a pain in my ass the next day. I feel profoundly guilty, but also relieved beyond my ability to express, because I have given Mathurin back to Dad. I'd feel worse but he remembers the old house just fine, he has rats to hunt, and no other cats to fight with. He's happier. And we're happier too, without his howling and his mess -- he could not eat without smearing a four-foot area with wet cat food. I kid you not. He had to remove each individual mouthful from the dish and put it on the clean floor. Bastard. Dad is apparently coping. I really hope he doesn't change his mind. At this point, the other cats are getting along swimmingly, and I don't think they'd accept Matt back in. I think they would gang up and murder him the minute he came out of the carrier. Mostly I feel guilty because this was a decision that was made mostly for my sanity, not anyone else's. But, then, it was nothing but screaming catfights, howling for food, claws in my leg, stolen dinners, and broken plates. Anyone would have snapped. I'm surprised I lasted a year.

My granddad is in a really nice assisted-care facility. Nursing home. Raisin ranch. Whatever you call it, and however pleasant it appears to be, it's still pretty fucking awful. I haven't gone to see him yet, though I need to. It's just that places like that . . . I can't explain it. The taint of human suffering, the psychic aura of despair and death, it really gets to me. I often have nightmares after going into hospitals, no matter the occasion. Nursing homes are only a little better. They're less horrifying and more sad. Like an oubliette. "A place you put someone to forget about them." He is apparently not very lucid most of the time, and since by law they aren't allowed to tie up the inmates, he's always trying to get up and escape. He's fallen multiple times, and last time was bad -- he hit his head pretty hard.

There is no dignity to this. There is no fairness, no right sense of life or grace or continuity. I know without a doubt that were he in his right mind he would not want to continue like this, but the truth is that there's nothing to be done, and that he won't last long anyway; he's ninety, and he's taken a major turn downhill. How long can he hang on? It's fucking horrible and tragic. You don't want to see a strong man like this, but Intervention and Medicine are the lenses through which society understands death, so you just have to keep your mouth shut and pray that by the time you're old, it will be legal to have yourself gently put under, if that's what you want.

No, I don't want him dead. But I'm not one of those people who wishes life on others. I'd prefer someone step out, if they must, rather than linger in discomfort or dementia. I hate, hate, to think of them suffering. Of being locked in a broken body, with a broken mind. And I hate the people more, those who jail us in our old age. Doctors, relatives, caretakers. People who won't let us go, or help us. I'm not pointing fingers in this case, it's being handled as well as anyone could handle it. I'm just saying that the way our society is built, we torture our elderly. For ourselves and others, we value clinging to life more than embracing death. And there is no mechanism to allow us to simply step out. We're hassled every step of the way to do more, try harder, keep on living. For god's sake. It's awful.

I'm agnostic-bordering-atheist, but I wonder. If we have souls, and I think we might, the soul knows what our body knows, and more than that. Our soul, once we die, remembers what we once were, doesn't it? It has a perfect memory, of everything from the moment of birth right up until. So what about people like this, whose minds are fragmented, failing, fugitive? Is the soul imprisoned there, knowing, trapped like a moth in a lantern? Does the soul leap out on the moment of death, remembering all that the body had forgotten, and profoundly relieved to be rid of the burden of flesh? Or is the inner life of the soul itself a random kaleidoscope of memories and feelings, indistinguishable from the fugues of dementia and only hampered in some glorious expression by the shabby coat of flesh we all wear to our graves?

It's questions like that I have no tolerance for from other people, questions like that which make me believe that it's easier, if not more reassuring, to say that we're just animals, all synapses and neurotransmitters and vague fears and memories and bare naked instinct, with no more depth to us than that.

Arrrgh. I promised myself I wasn't going to get maudlin or philosophical. I'm sick of that shit. Makes me sick. I'm sorry.

At any rate, it's been much on my mind. There are no answers, not that I can accept from anyone else, so as always I'm left to find my own. I'm comfortable with that, actually.

Things have improved significantly. All the panic, anxiety, dread, fear, etc. that I've been wrestling with is retreating, or being held at bay. I am taking kava extract for my twitchiness, have been taking it for a week now, and it's fucking amazing stuff. It's a clear amber liquid, it smells of composted flowers, and when I drop it into my tea three times a day, it bursts into cloudy explosions, a creamy yellow louche like venom. It's my Potion. And it has restored about two thirds of my sanity and functionality. Which is more than any pissant SSRI ever did for me. Fuck your Prozac, the kavalactones have made me their bitch. With no side effects, I might add. Who's your daddy now?

And I've been reading a book, which is always a bad and boring thing to say in the context of feeling better about oneself, only this one has explained so much about me, and other people, that I can't even articulate the difference it has made. "The Highly Sensitive Person" by Elaine Aron puts a new face on parts of my personality I have always wrestled with: my dislike of noise, sensitivity to medications, vivid dreams, fear of doctors, inability to be out of the house for more than two hours without becoming hopelessly overstimulated . . . I could go on and on and on. Suffice it to say that if you go to this page and look at the questions, and it seems like you are a highly sensitive person, or your spouse or child is, get the book. Please.

Thank you, David, for getting it to me. It came at a very good time. And way back when, someone directed me to that very page, that very quiz. I don't remember who it was, and I'm so sorry. I tried to find the post and couldn't. Speak up, if it was you. I owe you a very big thank you. Without that, I would not have added that book to my wish list.

Anyway, I see I have a lot of work ahead of me, a lot, but I'm starting to feel like I at least know which end of the sword to hold. The pointy end goes into the other man. And that's a start, right?

I can't change what I am. I can at least understand it.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Renaissance Woman)
I should be sleeping. Right? Sleeping? Isn't that what people do when it's 4:30 a.m. and they have shit to do the next day like, oh, give blood and see friends and do art show stuff and paint and write and buy flea treatment for the mammals and feed snakes and . . . and . . . and?

Sleeping.

Right.

The birthday was good, as I have said. Just what I needed, just who I needed, just when I needed it. And that's . . . all I needed.

I had the added bonus of ridding myself of a pain in my ass the next day. I feel profoundly guilty, but also relieved beyond my ability to express, because I have given Mathurin back to Dad. I'd feel worse but he remembers the old house just fine, he has rats to hunt, and no other cats to fight with. He's happier. And we're happier too, without his howling and his mess -- he could not eat without smearing a four-foot area with wet cat food. I kid you not. He had to remove each individual mouthful from the dish and put it on the clean floor. Bastard. Dad is apparently coping. I really hope he doesn't change his mind. At this point, the other cats are getting along swimmingly, and I don't think they'd accept Matt back in. I think they would gang up and murder him the minute he came out of the carrier. Mostly I feel guilty because this was a decision that was made mostly for my sanity, not anyone else's. But, then, it was nothing but screaming catfights, howling for food, claws in my leg, stolen dinners, and broken plates. Anyone would have snapped. I'm surprised I lasted a year.

My granddad is in a really nice assisted-care facility. Nursing home. Raisin ranch. Whatever you call it, and however pleasant it appears to be, it's still pretty fucking awful. I haven't gone to see him yet, though I need to. It's just that places like that . . . I can't explain it. The taint of human suffering, the psychic aura of despair and death, it really gets to me. I often have nightmares after going into hospitals, no matter the occasion. Nursing homes are only a little better. They're less horrifying and more sad. Like an oubliette. "A place you put someone to forget about them." He is apparently not very lucid most of the time, and since by law they aren't allowed to tie up the inmates, he's always trying to get up and escape. He's fallen multiple times, and last time was bad -- he hit his head pretty hard.

There is no dignity to this. There is no fairness, no right sense of life or grace or continuity. I know without a doubt that were he in his right mind he would not want to continue like this, but the truth is that there's nothing to be done, and that he won't last long anyway; he's ninety, and he's taken a major turn downhill. How long can he hang on? It's fucking horrible and tragic. You don't want to see a strong man like this, but Intervention and Medicine are the lenses through which society understands death, so you just have to keep your mouth shut and pray that by the time you're old, it will be legal to have yourself gently put under, if that's what you want.

No, I don't want him dead. But I'm not one of those people who wishes life on others. I'd prefer someone step out, if they must, rather than linger in discomfort or dementia. I hate, hate, to think of them suffering. Of being locked in a broken body, with a broken mind. And I hate the people more, those who jail us in our old age. Doctors, relatives, caretakers. People who won't let us go, or help us. I'm not pointing fingers in this case, it's being handled as well as anyone could handle it. I'm just saying that the way our society is built, we torture our elderly. For ourselves and others, we value clinging to life more than embracing death. And there is no mechanism to allow us to simply step out. We're hassled every step of the way to do more, try harder, keep on living. For god's sake. It's awful.

I'm agnostic-bordering-atheist, but I wonder. If we have souls, and I think we might, the soul knows what our body knows, and more than that. Our soul, once we die, remembers what we once were, doesn't it? It has a perfect memory, of everything from the moment of birth right up until. So what about people like this, whose minds are fragmented, failing, fugitive? Is the soul imprisoned there, knowing, trapped like a moth in a lantern? Does the soul leap out on the moment of death, remembering all that the body had forgotten, and profoundly relieved to be rid of the burden of flesh? Or is the inner life of the soul itself a random kaleidoscope of memories and feelings, indistinguishable from the fugues of dementia and only hampered in some glorious expression by the shabby coat of flesh we all wear to our graves?

It's questions like that I have no tolerance for from other people, questions like that which make me believe that it's easier, if not more reassuring, to say that we're just animals, all synapses and neurotransmitters and vague fears and memories and bare naked instinct, with no more depth to us than that.

Arrrgh. I promised myself I wasn't going to get maudlin or philosophical. I'm sick of that shit. Makes me sick. I'm sorry.

At any rate, it's been much on my mind. There are no answers, not that I can accept from anyone else, so as always I'm left to find my own. I'm comfortable with that, actually.

Things have improved significantly. All the panic, anxiety, dread, fear, etc. that I've been wrestling with is retreating, or being held at bay. I am taking kava extract for my twitchiness, have been taking it for a week now, and it's fucking amazing stuff. It's a clear amber liquid, it smells of composted flowers, and when I drop it into my tea three times a day, it bursts into cloudy explosions, a creamy yellow louche like venom. It's my Potion. And it has restored about two thirds of my sanity and functionality. Which is more than any pissant SSRI ever did for me. Fuck your Prozac, the kavalactones have made me their bitch. With no side effects, I might add. Who's your daddy now?

And I've been reading a book, which is always a bad and boring thing to say in the context of feeling better about oneself, only this one has explained so much about me, and other people, that I can't even articulate the difference it has made. "The Highly Sensitive Person" by Elaine Aron puts a new face on parts of my personality I have always wrestled with: my dislike of noise, sensitivity to medications, vivid dreams, fear of doctors, inability to be out of the house for more than two hours without becoming hopelessly overstimulated . . . I could go on and on and on. Suffice it to say that if you go to this page and look at the questions, and it seems like you are a highly sensitive person, or your spouse or child is, get the book. Please.

Thank you, David, for getting it to me. It came at a very good time. And way back when, someone directed me to that very page, that very quiz. I don't remember who it was, and I'm so sorry. I tried to find the post and couldn't. Speak up, if it was you. I owe you a very big thank you. Without that, I would not have added that book to my wish list.

Anyway, I see I have a lot of work ahead of me, a lot, but I'm starting to feel like I at least know which end of the sword to hold. The pointy end goes into the other man. And that's a start, right?

I can't change what I am. I can at least understand it.

Grrr!

May. 27th, 2006 03:39 am
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Lucian Bite Me)
Jesus. BloodRayne sucked. You should all rent it immediately and watch it with three or four of your best friends and lots of booze. Best fun I've had all week. Seriously. Sargon and I were hollering at each other in shock and disbelief at the overwhelming tsunami of stupidity. I want to send Uwe Boll some kind of award for making a movie so fucking inane that it singlehandedly both destroyed my remaining faith in the existence of God, and reassured me that someday I will be famous. Nothing I produce will ever stink like that pile of crap.

I spent three hours today painting on a box, and realized that, no, blue is just not going to work on red. What was I thinking? So it's gonna have to be golden-yellow over red, with highlights of some other color. Naturally this means repainting everything I did today. Why this one is giving me such a pain in my ass is anyone's guess. It has me pissed as hell, though. I quit when I stopped thinking National Treasure was funny (hey, I had to watch something good after that pile of steaming cat barf). If that movie fails to crack my shit up, my chi is seriously fucked. Riley, the sidekick (sorry, that's "hero support"), is the most entertaining character of his type I've seen in ages, and even he was not enough to keep me from wanting to bite something.

Don't get me wrong; I like it when my work fights me. Makes things interesting. But I don't like it when it's already been paid for, and I'm wasting my client's time. It should have been done by now.

Gaaah. I'll get more done over the weekend, and hopefully have that slight color issue corrected to my satisfaction -- and hers. At least the design itself is a little bit different from anything else I've done, and I'm pretty excited about it.

Other than that, today was good. Or at least, nothing got worse overnight. So I'll call that a victory. I moved off the boxes and onto the computer to decompress, and played with my graphics for a while.

Behold my new cranky icon. I'm loving my newfound PhotoShop 7 skillz, and am manufacturing a slew of industrial werewolf icons. When I have a few more, I'll let you fuckers caption them for me.

My granddad is still really, really loopy, and spent about a day and a half building something in the air that of course nobody could see. My guess is he thought he was working on an oil rig or laying bricks. He fell asleep after that, though. I . . . uhh . . . I hope he was finished with whatever it was, and didn't lose his place. Man. Poor guy. They're starting to think that he isn't going to come out of it anytime soon, and I am not inclined to argue.

For fuck's sake, I can't blame him for slipping away. He lost a wife and a daughter within about six months of each other; nobody should have to do either of those things, let alone both, and let alone both together.

My problem with insomnia has become a running joke. Nothing fucking touches it, because it's not physiological, it's entirely in my head. I'm holding on, but I don't know how long I can last. Right now, though, I feel like I could sleep. So I'm going to go try.

I'll be around. I owe you all some BPAL reviews anyway, and probably a vitriolic rant or two. Just wait. Something's bound to piss me off around here.

Grrr!

May. 27th, 2006 03:39 am
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Lucian Bite Me)
Jesus. BloodRayne sucked. You should all rent it immediately and watch it with three or four of your best friends and lots of booze. Best fun I've had all week. Seriously. Sargon and I were hollering at each other in shock and disbelief at the overwhelming tsunami of stupidity. I want to send Uwe Boll some kind of award for making a movie so fucking inane that it singlehandedly both destroyed my remaining faith in the existence of God, and reassured me that someday I will be famous. Nothing I produce will ever stink like that pile of crap.

I spent three hours today painting on a box, and realized that, no, blue is just not going to work on red. What was I thinking? So it's gonna have to be golden-yellow over red, with highlights of some other color. Naturally this means repainting everything I did today. Why this one is giving me such a pain in my ass is anyone's guess. It has me pissed as hell, though. I quit when I stopped thinking National Treasure was funny (hey, I had to watch something good after that pile of steaming cat barf). If that movie fails to crack my shit up, my chi is seriously fucked. Riley, the sidekick (sorry, that's "hero support"), is the most entertaining character of his type I've seen in ages, and even he was not enough to keep me from wanting to bite something.

Don't get me wrong; I like it when my work fights me. Makes things interesting. But I don't like it when it's already been paid for, and I'm wasting my client's time. It should have been done by now.

Gaaah. I'll get more done over the weekend, and hopefully have that slight color issue corrected to my satisfaction -- and hers. At least the design itself is a little bit different from anything else I've done, and I'm pretty excited about it.

Other than that, today was good. Or at least, nothing got worse overnight. So I'll call that a victory. I moved off the boxes and onto the computer to decompress, and played with my graphics for a while.

Behold my new cranky icon. I'm loving my newfound PhotoShop 7 skillz, and am manufacturing a slew of industrial werewolf icons. When I have a few more, I'll let you fuckers caption them for me.

My granddad is still really, really loopy, and spent about a day and a half building something in the air that of course nobody could see. My guess is he thought he was working on an oil rig or laying bricks. He fell asleep after that, though. I . . . uhh . . . I hope he was finished with whatever it was, and didn't lose his place. Man. Poor guy. They're starting to think that he isn't going to come out of it anytime soon, and I am not inclined to argue.

For fuck's sake, I can't blame him for slipping away. He lost a wife and a daughter within about six months of each other; nobody should have to do either of those things, let alone both, and let alone both together.

My problem with insomnia has become a running joke. Nothing fucking touches it, because it's not physiological, it's entirely in my head. I'm holding on, but I don't know how long I can last. Right now, though, I feel like I could sleep. So I'm going to go try.

I'll be around. I owe you all some BPAL reviews anyway, and probably a vitriolic rant or two. Just wait. Something's bound to piss me off around here.

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