Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Savoring the last days

My houseplants woke up someplace new this morning.  They and my books are staying at Mark's house till I can get into my house later this week.  I have two more nights to sleep in the treehouse.  I watched the fog over White Park this morning as I made my coffee.  How the first time I noticed the phenomenon I felt like I had moved into Ravenloft (D&D setting that is separated from the real world by an impenetrable magical mist).

We painted the first room in the bakery yesterday.  Tyler and I did it all by ourselves.  We are not trained painters, but I think it looks ok.  Only four rooms left.  Mark brought us pizza, and then red velvet cheesecake "muffins" because that sounds healthier than "cupcake."

I fight this creeping fear, this underlying uneasiness that exists all through my life, with my breath. I slept poorly last night, I woke up terrified as if from a bad dream, but my head was empty of dreams. I practiced breathing till I could go back to sleep.  I don't know how life is going to unfold, but nobody does, really.  Letting go of the need to know, maybe that's what's terrifying.  But leaving my sanctuary is sad and I have to let myself experience these feelings of loss for what they are.  They maybe turn into terror for the future when I deny the sadness of the present.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Getting Ready To MOVE

Saturday Morning, and I woke up at 4 as usual, then dozed uncomfortably till 6:30.  Coffee, and juice with chia seeds was my breakfast.  I find it really difficult to eat when I'm nervous, and nervous is my new normal wake up feeling.  Not fun.  But I think the chia seeds are maybe magical, and they fueled my actions for the morning, which included packing some clothes, most of my dishes, and sorting out a few more bags for the goodwill.

I got to the goodwill and the bank and back before D even started to stir, and spent the rest of the morning sorting and packing, tossing things and just generally moving stuff around my apartment. It was fine once I got going, and I barely felt nervous at all!

I am going to miss this place.  I love this apartment!  If I hadn't lost my job and been plunged deep into financial uncertainty by factors outside of my control, I would have loved to stay here.  The room where I sleep is made almost entirely of windows.  I will definitely miss that when I go back into the dark depths of Edgehill House, but I hope I can lighten things up in there now that it is all mine.  Paint the walls white, hang some mirrors, and maybe even put in some bigger windows someday.  I am trying to get excited about the move and the potential for fun decorating.  Maybe I will pick out a new mural for the living room or cover the wall in mirrored tiles like my Grandma Bea had in her parlor.  They had yellowish veins in them, like marble, so you couldn't really see your reflection clearly.  But I did love looking at room reflected in them.

I found some interesting things while I was cleaning and sorting.  There were a couple of unfinished objects in the knitting piles - fingerless mitts that I only knit one of the pair.  I think I'm going to throw them away.  A blouse I made from a pillowcase with a knitted yoke - I distinctly remember the feel of the yarn and the slip stitch pattern.  The top never fit, because the pillowcase was too small to go around my body to begin with, but I separated the pieces and tossed the pillowcase.  The chance that I'll get around to sewing a new bodice onto the yoke is slim, but the memory in that strip of knitted fabric wouldn't let me throw it away.  I found the hospital bracelets from when I delivered Delia.  Those seem like something I should keep, but I really kind of hate them.  My memories of childbirth are almost totally unpleasant, as are my memories of her infancy.  Part of it was certainly postpartum depression, but a lot of it was the unspoken resentment my spouse held for me getting pregnant in the first place.  A resentment I could certainly feel at the time, but he did not get around to explaining it to me till I left him last year.  So I kinda want to throw them away.  Maybe I'll ask the kid if she wants them instead.

I found a framed picture of Harley and 3Jane, the cats we had so long ago.  They're both gone now.  Sometimes I feel like when Harley left I lost some of my ability to love things.  If it were true then maybe I could find his remains and make a potion out of them and somehow get it back.  Though really, since he left and never came back I wouldn't even know where to start looking.  I put the picture with the other pictures I have framed over the past year.  Precious windows into the past. I resolve to hang more pictures in Edgehill House this time.

I also found plastic bags with locks of hair.  One is Keith's, and I think the other one is probably mine.  I don't know why I kept them, I'll probably throw them away too.  I feel like throwing everything away sometimes.  I gave a lot of things to the goodwill, things that someone might find useful or interesting.  But not plastic bags full of dyed purple hair.

The kid finally dragged herself out of her cocoon around 3, and we had a chance to talk in the kitchen while we each made our own foodstuffs.  She made herself a breakfast of English muffin and fruit, I made some lunch out of bacon and zucchini.  There was a photo album from D's babyhood in the pile of stuff I was sorting, and I asked her if she wanted to look at it, which she did.  She is not ashamed of her baby pictures, which is good.  I got the feeling from talking to her that she remembers her childhood as happy.  There's a meme going around the FaceBook that says "My goal is to give my kid a childhood she doesn't have to recover from."  I understand the sentiment, but I really hate that meme.  Nobody is perfect, and all parents are going to influence their kids both negatively and positively.  My childhood was mostly safe and happy but I have to understand how it made me who I am. Part of growing into a functional human is changing the negative patterns or behaviors that I carried away from it.  I look at some people in my life and wish that they would just start trying to recover from their childhoods.  And I guess that meme stings me a lot because even though I did the best I could, I know my daughter is marked by my failures.  I can see them in her teenager attitudes, and I can't do anything about them now.  The only thing I can do is be the best person I can be, trite but true, and God damn if it isn't so very fucking hard most days I just want to lie down for a while.

So, the apartment is about 40% packed I'm estimating, and I have to live here for another week, but I'm going to try to get a little bit more done today.  I have this feeling that if I just accomplish enough I will start feeling good about myself again, but Mark says that's bullshit.  There is some kind of spiritual breakthrough I have to make before I can just love myself.  I thought I was ok with myself before I lost my job but it turns out I wasn't.  I'm absolutely terrified about going into business, and I wish there was something stronger inside me to help me stay upright while this business thing tries to come together.  I feel like a moron when the money people start talking, and I can bake bread for hours at a time but I don't know anything about financial projections - even though people are trying to help me I still can't make one.  And I have to be strong and stay positive and be a light, right?  Even if we fail in our venture the very worst thing that can happen is that my house gets foreclosed on and I have to move in with my Mother.  We would have a lot of fun watching all five of the cats learn to get along with each other.  :)

When you are feeling down, Count Your Blessings

It is important to see the joy in the world.  So Today I am grateful for these lovely things:

My wonderful kid chose to speak to me like a human being when she started her week with me.  She even told me what she was reading before I had a chance to ask her.  We split a candy bar.  It wasn't long before she was in her air conditioned room, but at least for an hour I felt like she could see me, I felt like we could see each other.  Being a teenager was the worst time of my life, and I can't imagine her life is much better, since she has two parents who have more than the average portion of life challenges right now.  She is kind, and that is something that matters a great deal.

My business partners are my friends.  This venture we are embarking on is still pretty scary - having to make decisions about things we don't completely understand.  But I know that we are all in it together, and at the end of a morning of brain-wracking work we can sit around and watch a show about ancient aliens and laugh together.

The sun is out.  I have a place to move to in a week. My houseplants are thriving. Kai Lan likes to play with binder clips.  My Mother loves me, and always helps me.  My boyfriend loves me, and is there for me. I have plenty of Coffee.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Waking up in the morning

I used to love waking up in the morning.  My alarm would go off at 3:30 or 4 am, or if I was letting myself sleep in, 5. When my senses came out of the fog of sleep, I was happy to be alive, and even if I was sleepy still, I was ready to go do my best.

Since the New Day closed, I have been sleeping in later, but I still wake up around 4 in the morning.  The odd thing is, I wake up with a real sense of unease.  I wake up feeling like an imposter in my own life.  Like someone is going to find out today that I am not a grown-up, I am not certified to be living here, in charge of myself.  Most unpleasant.  I have read that other people sometimes feel this way too.  That doesn't make me feel any less scared about it tho.  Why is my unconscious mind thinking these thoughts?

My life has started to feel very small, like I am being squashed by the weight of my responsibility.  This is nothing new, but I wish I could breathe in and expand my life like I fill my body up with air.  I am torn between trying to figure out how to be comfortable and happy with myself when I am alone, and wanting to be around other people (even though it is hard for me to feel like I am PRESENT when I am with other people).

This morning I woke up feeling scared and unworthy.  It is a real challenge to remind myself of my Buddha nature, that I am worthy just because I am alive and I don't need to prove it to myself.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A little Deer

Things at the bakery have been going pretty well.  The boys and I managed to scrub every wall in the joint, and the ceilings too.  The only room left is the oven room, and we don't have a whole lot of that left, although I imagine it will take another day or two to eradicate all that grossness.
Our business license came through at the end of last week, we are now all legal to open a bank account and start paying for stuff like our Point of Sale system and our accountant, and the ten dozen other things we have to get in place before we can get to the business of making bread and pizza.

Mark took me to the mountains this weekend to de-stress and regenerate my energy.  He'd never been camping, and I wanted to show him how much fun it could be.  I packed up all the camping gear and we loaded it into his little car and set off for Camp Horseshoe.  We stopped at a couple of farm markets and just generally enjoyed the drive.  Then, about 10 minutes away from the campground, something kind of awful happened.

Route 219 is narrow and curvy, Mark was driving extra carefully.  One side of the road was wooded and the other side was a steep drop off down the mountain.  A little faun, tiny and spotted, just bounded right out in front of the car.  I think it was as close as I have ever been to one of those baby deer.  It only took a fraction of a second, and there was nothing anyone could do to prevent the impact.  We ran over it.  My hands came up over my eyes instinctively, but I wasn't fast enough and I saw the poor thing get knocked over by the bumper.  When I pulled my hands away from my eyes the first thing I saw was a big cluster of bright red bee balm flowers on the side of the road.  I don't know what would have happened if I had been driving, but I was thankful that Mark kept us safe and didn't swerve over the hill.  It was awful.  He didn't see it in the rearview mirror, and when we went back we couldn't find it anywhere, so a tiny part of me still holds out hope that it was just stunned.  I didn't feel any sickening bumps as we drove over it, and maybe it escaped being crushed by the tires.  But we were going about forty miles an hour and it was only just as tall as the bumper of the car... It filled us both with sadness.

The campground was just like I remembered it, we camped in the site where my family had camped in years past, the one with a tree branch hanging out over the creek where I hang my SkyChair.  There were kids playing in the water, splashing and hollering.  I remembered watching the girls play there in years past.  Instead of feeling sweet poignancy, I just felt very sad.  The last time we'd camped there was for our anniversary - the last anniversary before I left my marriage.  I remembered how frustrated I'd been with our lives that year, and what a disappointment the trip had been in spite of the fact that I tried so hard to make it ok in my head.  I was overcome with sadness, I missed my family.  It was awful for me, it was awful for Mark too I think.  I wonder if I would have experienced those remembrances differently if my heart hadn't been filled up with sadness over the little deer.

Supper was pleasant, the campfire was pleasant (we said a benediction of love for the faun), falling asleep to the sound of the creek whickering over the rocks was pleasant.  Even the Thunderstorm that woke us in the middle of the night wasn't that bad, but the next morning in a sodden camp wasn't that much fun.  The tent leaked, all our clothes were wet, the chairs and hammock and everything was soaked.  I told him if we just left it all out and went to town it would be dry by the time we came back, but after a night on an air mattress that went flat, he wasn't sure he wanted to spend another night.  I wasn't sure I wanted to either, so we packed all the sopping gear into the car and bid adieu to the woods.

Thomas is a fun town to spend a day in.  We ate lunch at the Purple Fiddle and listened to a polka band play to a house packed with somebody's family reunion.  We wandered through the shops and got coffee at Tip Top.  We drove up to Blackwater Falls.  They have a little petting zoo there and we paid four dollars each to go into their tiny barn and feed kibble to the miniature pony, the Jerusalem donkey, two alpacas, a lonely little sheep, and a frisky mother goat and her kid.  They had bunnies and ducks and chickens too, and two lazy pigs who slept so still I thought they might be dead.  Mark wanted to get a room at the lodge, but there weren't any to be had on a saturday night, and none at Canaan Valley either.  So we drove home into the sunset.  We talked about how we both wished we were happier.  Being a grownup is hard, whether you're forty-one or fifty-eight.  Sigh.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What day is it anyway?

This morning WhiteFeather was waiting on the railing of the parking lot at 6:45, when I made it to the kitchen to start my coffee.  I looked out the kitchen window and he was just sitting there like a sentinel.  Mark usually goes down to feed the crows, but he wasn't here this morning, so I put on some pants and carried the hot-dog-weiner and a handful of peanuts downstairs myself.  WhiteFeather waited till I was well out the door before he flew away, which was kind of him, most of the time he hears the door of the building opening and takes off before I can see him.
The crows made short work of their processed meat breakfast snack, and there almost wasn't any left when I got back upstairs to the window to watch them.  WhiteFeather had been and gone, and two identical Mister Blacks were stuffing slices of hot dog into their beaks like greedy little children.

I've been having a lot of trouble eating for the past few weeks.  I'm just not hungry very often. Breakfast is easier since it is a habit, and even though I don't really want it I eat my egg sandwich every morning anyway.

Everything is really just very challenging.  Making myself shower, making myself eat, making myself look at my email.  I know I have to be at the Bakery by nine to let the workman in, and that's pretty much the only thing I do all day that isn't difficult - heading out to go to work.  I can't fucking wait till all this preparation is over and I can get back to baking bread.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sunday morning writing therapy

So since the Bakery shut its doors last month, and my income dropped like a medicine ball to the gym floor of life, I had to make a couple of really tough decisions.  The first one was to tell my landlord that I couldn't renew the lease on The Sanctuary, due to financial reasons.  So I have to move out by the end of this month.  Luckily I get to move back into Edgehill House, but still there is the stress of moving to contend with.  I put off packing for a couple of weeks, but it started to get really overwhelming and I had to address it.  My Mom brought me a bunch of moving boxes and a giant roll of Bubble Wrap (the old fashioned kind that you can pop like firecrackers) and several rolls of packing tape.  I still have a room full of boxes from the last move, and what I have to do now is fill them all up.  Becca came up from Virginia a couple weekends ago and took most of her stuff home, so I'm using her old room as a staging area for the packed boxes.  There are 4 in there now, mostly stuff from the hall closet and out of season clothes.

The bathroom sink here started showing signs of a slow drain about a month ago.  It was only annoying at first and required a weekly dosing with drain cleaner.  This past week I started seeing earwigs in my bathroom, and I wondered if they had hitched a ride home with me from my last trip to the river.  Yesterday I found these little black thingies in the sink, they looked a little like pine needles until I noticed they were moving of their own volition.  Took me a minute of horrified wondering to realize they must have come out of the sink overflow drain.  I tried to wash them away but the sink filled up and wouldn't drain, so I employed the toilet plunger.  Disgusting brown sludge (inhabited by more infant earwigs) sloshed out of the sink overflow.  I covered that hole with a folded paper towel and taped it in place with packing tape.  The fix wasn't exactly airtight, but I managed to get the drain flowing enough to pour the last of my drain-o down.  There is a certain amount of horror floating around in my brain, but I keep it from taking root and strangling me by repeating the mantra "bugs are our brothers and sisters."

My yarn stash also suffered in infestation of moths, and that is horrible and disheartening.  The $40 I spent a year ago on enough Ella Rae Lace Merino to knit a killer shawl, well, it's been chewed through by those little bastard moth larvae.  The hanks of yarn practically fell apart in my hands.  So much for that project, but at least I can throw all my yarn away now and not have to worry about moving it.  Let It Go, as the song says.  I haven't knit much this past year anyway.  At least they can't eat the needles.

I'm reading Hard Laughter by Anne Lamott.  It is her first novel. I have read her nonfiction and loved it, and this book is full of the same kind of humanity and humor.  The protagonist is dealing with her father's brain tumor, and the story so far tells about her family relations and how the siblings and friends come together to support each other through the crisis.  I'm thinking a lot about support systems and how important our interpersonal relationships are.  Taking my own measure, I find that I am lacking in strong personal relationships, and I don't know what to do about that.  It kind of sucks.  I know I have friends who care about me but at the same time I feel seriously cut off from them.  Keith told me once that it was my own damn fault, and I'm sure he's right.  I have a hard time felling like I deserve unconditional love, and I'm pretty sure that's what keeps me from forming deep supportive relationships.  I've spent the better part of my life trying to protect the people I care about from whatever nebulous badness makes me feel unworthy, and it has worked, to some extent.  I really only ever opened up to people when I was drinking, when the alcohol let my guard down for me.  Now that I don't want to be drunk anymore, I rarely see my friends.  Even when people call me, I don't know what to say.  On the rare occasions when I do see people, I still feel like there's an invisible wall between us - I have trouble concentrating, and making conversation.  I'm embarrassed by my own misery, it's something I can't even understand myself, let alone talk to other people about. Blah, Blah, Blah.

Plenty of work to do around here, I'm pretty sure I can get lost in it and stop feeling sorry for myself for a little while.  It's just hard to get started.