Filed under: Uncategorized
So, there are a couple of anxiety-inducing events upcoming. One involves immediate family and will remain unsaid, but trust me when I say it causes anxiety. The other is my grandmother. She’s 100 (as of August) and slowly fading away due to congestive heart failure. I have a ticket to fly out there next weekend. I am pretty sure it will be the last time I see her, and I want to let her know she isn’t forgotten, and that I love her. This is also an anxiety causing event on several levels.
First, driving to Atlanta to get on the plane is a 3 hour trip. I’ve done it before and I kind of like the drive. However, leaving everyone here, where I cannot be in COMPLETE control of everything makes me nervous a little. Yes, I am a control freak. If I can’t keep my eyes on it, or have it within reach, I am pretty sure there might be a horrible disaster.
Then, I am flying into an unfamiliar airport. Typically I fly from Savannah to Houston, then to Amarillo. The Savannah airport is small and logical. Houston is big, but the Continental flights use the same terminal, so getting from one gate to the next is easy. Amarillo is as small as Savannah, and very familiar, since I was stuck there 2 days once due to snow and ice. However, for some reason this time the flight out of Savannah was $950, while the one from Atlanta was $305. For $645 I will definitely make the drive. The flight I have goes to Denver, and according to the website with the layout of the Denver airport, it looks easy enough. I will be getting to Amarillo quite late, and will see Grandmother the next day.
So, there is anxiety about that trip. Will she live long enough for me to see her? Possibly, but not definitely. I hope so, tho.
I just don’t like being out of control of things, and when other people are added to the mix, whether it’s children, parents, or grandparents, a certain degree of control is lost. I have to come to terms with that, and it is getting better.
If I can remember that in the grand scheme of things, it’s all going pretty well. Grandmother’s passing on will not be a disaster or a horrible surprise. As she’s been saying for several years now, “I am tired and ready to go whenever God wants me.”
The situation with immediate family, while anxiety inducing, is not the end of the world either. It is, in fact, expected…but that doesn’t make it easier. And no, I am not giving details because I do not have the permission of those involved. If I can remember that it’s going to be ok in the end, then I will be ok in the end as well. That’s not the easiest thing to remember, tho, when you’re in the midst of it.
This is where the “maybe it’s all finally coming together” comes in. Maybe finally I have a handle on this rampant anxiety. Maybe whatever it is, whether it’s the new medication or mental maturity or who knows WHAT…maybe it’s finally working and I can live like a normal person instead of one eaten from the inside out by philosophical parasites.
Filed under: bits and pieces | Tags: Coping mechanisms, Home and hearth, Kids, solving personal problems
I saw The Good Dr H on Monday. He, being a medication minimalist, said he wants to give the new stuff another 6 weeks or so before deciding if the dose needs to be increased. I am ok with that. Brain stuff ain’t aspirin, it takes a while to show signs of working and it has only been 2 weeks. I am feeling a bit better.
CJ (21) is moving to Alabama next weekend. My parents have a largish bit out in the country(about 35 acres) with a trailer hookup spot. He and Dad are making plans to build a small house there. He will live with them and stink up their guest room for a few months, until that house is built, and also look for work. There is a lot of industry in the area, and Dad knows basically everyone, so we are not concerned that he won’t find a job. With his skills, anything from changing oil at a Pro-Lube to maintenance on heavy equipment and factory stuff is open to him. He is also looking really hard at taking courses in HVAC, plumbing, and electrical stuff at the local Vo-Tech school there. I will miss him but knowing where he is and who he’s with helps with that a lot. A while back he made noises about going to Alaska and looking for work on a pipeline. That did not please me at all.
Terry took #4 to school this morning. It wouldn’t hurt my feelings a bit if he did this every Friday. He will get a bagful of chicken biscuits from Uncle Shug’s, which means I don’t have to cook breakfast (not that I mind cooking it, but a break is nice) and he’ll get catfish from The Red Barn for lunch, and #4 gets pizza for lunch, so no fixing those either! In fact, it means I can sit here in my bathrobe pretty much as long as I want!
Chili for supper. It isn’t officially cold enough for chili, but I am not a patient woman and will at least pretend that it is. Chili on Fritos, people. That’s how it’s done. I’ll put the recipe up on Rootie’s Kitchen maybe tomorrow.
and now I am HONGRY (which is Southern for nearly ravenous). I made the mistake of taking some time this morning to peruse Foodgawker looking for soup recipes. Also, supper last night was rare sirloin, sliced thin and served on top of chunky mashed potatoes with a creamy gorgonzola sauce and a side of sauteed spinach and now I want more. At a restaurant, not home or I’d totally have that up on RK as well. I am going to find a good recipe for the sauce and make it for my family because dangum it was delicious.
The top on my convertible is misbehaving…talk about First World Problems. Terry said it sounded funny a while back so he thinks it might be low on hydraulic fluid and will see if he can’t fix it himself. Naturally, the warranty expired 4000 miles ago. We both think cars are rigged with AutoDestruct 5000 miles after the warranty expiration thing. Not being able to put the top down right now isn’t as tragic as, say, being a single mother with 3 young kids and no car…or a case of Ebola virus…in fact it doesn’t really even qualify as mildly irritating…but it is a (ok not sad…let’s call it…about as bad as wanting to make clam chowder and there’s no cream)…well ok I don’t know a mild enough perjorative. But I do wish I could put the top down on these cool early Fall days.
At least I can open the windows.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Autumn in the South, In the Southland
Fall in the Deep South is pretty spectacular. Oh, we don’t have the variety of color you see in New England or even in the North Georgia mountains. About the best we can do here will be the burnished red of the dogwoods, and the rusty gold of cypress trees if you happen to have a nearby swamp, or maybe the lovely Japanese maples lots of people have in their yards. Pecan trees turn an unfortunate brown, and oaks don’t really turn at all. And never mind the ubiquitous pines (the cockroaches of the plant world). So many pines around here, all green every last one of them, all of them throwing pine cones on the ground and generally making a mess.
HOWEVER, we have the most marvelous weather. Coming after the oppressive heat and humidity of the Summer, it dries up. The days are warm, but not scorching. The nights are cool enough to open a window and throw a blanket on the bed. Occasionally a Football Saturday will be cool enough you can actually wear that pretty Ann Taylor cardigan and those awesome Prada boots you’ve been waiting for just the right Saturday to parade out. For those of you Not South Eastern Conference, we dress for our ballgames. No t-shirts and blue jeans (unless they’re designer). Team colors, to be sure, and huge tacky jewelry, but expensively done.
I love an open window. I despise both air conditioning and heating, tho I recognize they are necessary evils. I love a breeze through the house, and lately since the roses are hitting their Fall Bloom Extravaganza, the breeze advertises their exuberance.
The grass doesn’t need as much mowing, now that the daily thunderstorms of the Summer have tapered off. This is a good thing because the riding mower is incapacitated. Oh sure, we have the standard Troy-Bilt pushmower, and an abundance of young men to push it (for a fee, of course, tho sometimes that fee is “food, clothes, and shelter”), but using that thing when it’s 100 degrees and 80% humidity is something I don’t like to ask.
The goldenrod is gearing up to explode into all it’s glorious, riotous yellow in the bar ditches all over the county. I love the stuff. It’s terrible to bring inside for a bouquet, due to it’s pollen exuberance, and goodness knows how I hate to dust, but to see as I’m driving is a delight to the eyes. Lots of stuff blooms this time of year, buttery coreopsis, deep purple stiff verbena, and if you’re lucky and on a back road, you might get to see some towering ultra-violet Joe Pye Weed. Good heavens that stuff is amazing. And it DOES make a lovely cut bouquet in the house,if you can wade through the mud to get to it.
Autumn is kind of like a rebirth. Everything is so worn out from not dying in the heat, and the cooler air is a relief that allows us all to let go of the weight of heat and humidity, and stretch. We shake off the torpor of the Summer and start making plans…all sorts of plans…what to cook, where to go, what to do for the weekend, where to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas.
It’s a good thing.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: bipolar disorder, Depression, Oversharing, solving personal problems
In case you couldn’t tell by the tone of several recent posts, I’ve been in a Mental State lately. The Good Dr H listened to my pleas and prescribed a pill. Oh sure, you might be thinking “PILLS. Bah. Pills are for weak people who can’t manage on their own.” 25 years ago that’s exactly what I would have thought.
Damn right. That’s what I say to that. When you get to the point that you’re drinking (like a stevedore on Saturday night), and having massive anxiety for NO REASON…it’s the NO REASON that bothered me. As long as there’s a reason I can deal with it, but my life is actually going really smoothly, all things considered.
I think that pill might be starting to work. It ain’t aspirin. It doesn’t fix the symptoms 10 minutes later. It takes a good 2-4 weeks to see a difference, and I’ve been on it not quite 2 weeks.
HOWEVER. Yesterday I had the sort of anxiety that would typically send me straight into a bottle of Absolut Pear and Club Soda…and I didn’t. It was the kind of situation that I would have been frantic about (for no real reason), and I didn’t get frantic. I was able, for the first time in nearly a year, to talk myself down from it. Was it the pill? Or was it rational thinking? Or was the pill making it possible to think rationally? Who knows, who cares? Whatever it is, it worked and I am grateful.
It’s still a one-day-at-a-time situation. I am not ready to throw confetti and go YAY I’M ALL BETTER , but having one day, one event of anxiety that simply wasn’t THAT BAD, it was a relief.
The pill doesn’t solve anything. It doesn’t make me float away on a pillow cloud so I can ignore life. It calms the voices enough so I can think rationally. I still have anxiety, but it isn’t all consuming. I still have depression, but it’s not a demon whispering in my ear.
I am getting better, and this is a very good thing.
Terry got ahold of some spare money the other day (which in itself is awesome- who doesn’t love a bit of spare money?) and spent it on Woodworking Supplies…mainly, LUMBER.
Lumber to him is as fabric to me. So I know how he feels. I love being able to walk into the sewing room, with a mind to make something, and being able to look on the shelf and go “hm…skirt or blouse? Red or white?” and having the option.
Now he can do that! He can look in his storage shed and go “hm…box or cabinet? hickory or walnut? dovetails or mortise-and-tenon?” He can look at the weather map and see that the weekend will be clear and sunny and not too hot, and sit down with the morning coffee and draw up plans for a cabinet.
He found this great place in Pooler (near Savannah) that carries fancy wood in both boards and plywood. He talked to the owner about what he likes to make, and the owner said “Great! Most people don’t like shorts (that’s shorter boards and smaller pieces) or highly figured stuff, so I’ll set it aside for you!” and then he brought home this AMAZING piece of walnut (a dark brown wood) that looks every bit like a piece of agate. Gorgeous. He’s going to set it aside and come up with Just The Right Thing for it. Also a bunch of hickory and a big piece of hickory plywood that looks like a work of art. Seriously, I think you could brush on some varnish and hang it on the wall just as it is.
Do I sound silly for getting excited about wood? Probably, but it won’t be the first time.
You see, I am a Form Follows Function type. I like pretty things,but not for the sake of pretty things. If there is a tchotchke on the shelf, it has to have more purpose than just being a thing on the shelf. It needs to be a vase that’s interesting. Or a candleholder. Or something that was a gift from a child, or a memory from long ago.
So yes, I like pretty things and to me, wood is a very pretty thing. It’s natural, and it’s beauty is inherent, not contrived. Terry feels the same way,and looks for pieces that are interesting. They may be harder to work with than the smooth grained boring old white-bread stuff, but he has the patience and sense of artistry to make the most of it. I am anxious to see what will come of this stack of lumber. Oak for a Mission chair, hickory and knotty pine for cabinets and tables, and that amazing piece of walnut, for who-know-what-but-it-will-be-spectacular.
To mark the 75th anniversary of the publishing of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, you are invited to participate in a global event;
at 11:00 am wherever you are.
Inspired by the ideals cherished by Hobbits everywhere: camaraderie, companionship, and of course, a love of good food. The Hobbit Second Breakfast is your chance to pop the kettle on, sit down with friends, family or colleagues, and take a moment to eat, drink and be merry.
So wherever you are in the world at 11am (sharp) on 21st September, come and join us for a Hobbit celebration. We’re looking forward to it!
Please, feel free to take the image of the invitation and PASS IT ON!!
Filed under: Anger management | Tags: Coping mechanisms, responsible adult, solving personal problems
You know, I never remember that the most therapeutic thing I can do, anytime there’s some sort of psychological/philosophical/existential crisis going on, is work. Labor type, work up a sweat, get my back into it WORK. It has to be a certain type, too. Something that requires a little bit of thought and isn’t too repetitive. Mowing won’t cut it (haw! see what I did there?). Scrubbing a bathroom works great. Weeding, prepping a garden bed, building a brick wall…those things are what’s needed.
So, I cleaned the boys bathroom. It was disgusting. I mean REALLY disgusting. It hadn’t been cleaned for months, and with 4 young men and all their engine grease and sweat and schmutz and things I don’t even want to consider…well. I probably should be ashamed for having apparently so little regard for the state of the house to let it get that bad, but it’s not like there was piles of poo or that sort of thing…it was just general schmutz.
But, not anymore! I threw my back into it, and worked up a 2 hour sweat scrubbing and toothbrushing the grout and wiping the
proceline porcaline porcelain bits and then bleaching the whole thing so now it fairly sparkles! Also threw away several thousand hundred empty shampoo bottles, shaving cream cans, things apparently only a female is allowed to put into a trash can because I am the ONLY one who does is…Ok Terry does it too but he had to be trained and only a woman can train a man to do it and it can’t be his mother.
And I feel so much better. My head is in a much happier place and there is actually some optimism brewing! How about that!
So, next time you see me getting whiny and precious about life, tell me to go clean something, or pull a weed.
Filed under: *eep!, Dewicate feewings, family, God Stuff, Sometimes she thinks too much | Tags: Coping mechanisms, Oversharing, perspective, solving personal problems
One of the things I have trouble with is perspective. I get caught up in the problems and issues of family, and how THIS CRISIS seems overwhelming, and THAT SITUATION is intractable but the reality is…it’s all kind of small, isn’t it.
When I am feeling overwhelmed (like right now…things are a blooming roller coaster), if I can remember certain things…like how BIG the whole of everything really is, and how in the grand scheme of things I am just a tiny thread in the tapestry of God’s great plan…it’s easier. I don’t like being all-important. I want my situations and issues and problems to be a blip on the map of life.
One of the things I am doing, in order to (hopefully) get a better grip on things, and maybe put it all in proper perspective, is give up the alcohol. The truth is, I have been drinking. A lot. 2 or 3 very stiff ones nearly every evening, and I think of them as sandpaper smoothing the edges of a rough day, when the reality is it’s been more like a set of blinders helping me to ignore the real issues that need to be dealt with. That’s no way to handle things.
I am nervous about it, letting go of the security blanket that was keeping me comfortable. I can do it, though. The crutch is purely psychological and one of the things The Good Dr. H has said is that I am very determined and one of the most self controlled people he has ever met. I guess that’s what the drink does, allows me to let go of the self control for a little while.
So for today, I am going to try to remember that I am a blip. I want to be a blip, not a supernova. I want to be able to remember that in the grand scheme of this life on this planet, the issues I am dealing with are small. They are important, yes, to my life and the lives around me, but they are just that thread, not the entire tapestry.
I need a clear head and strong resolve. I need to be able to communicate coherently with the people around me, so they will know that even in the midst of STUFF, they are loved deeply. That will not change.
This is where I am going in my head today. It makes me remember how vast God’s creation is, and just how small I am. I will feel the wind and sun on my face, and listen to the rattle of the cottonwood leaves. I will smell the cedar as the sun beats down on it, and I will probably cry, because it really overwhelms me. I will pray, constantly, for wisdom, strength, and courage. Those are things I cannot have on my own. I can’t do any of this on my own, but with God’s guidance, and the reassurance that He is always there, I can do this.
I’ve started several posts, and quit. Too whiny, too self absorbed, too…something. So, I am going to make a list…of things I can see from my chair, going clockwise.
At 12 o’clock-the screen on the computer…duh.
1:00 Daisy in her dogbed,shredding something cardboard. Most likely a toilet paper tube.
2:00 Evidence of someone (likelyDaisy) having eviscerated a dog toy. Fluff everywhere.
3:00 Terry’s chair and a laundry basket full of socks. I think I might have given up on any sort of sock sorting endeavor.
4:00 a pair of shoes, neatly tucked into the corner of the living room, they have been there a while and I don’t know why.
5:00 that’s nearly behind me. There is a doorway there, going from the living room into the foyer (we say Foy-yer, not Foy-yay)
6:00 right behind me, the back of the chair
7:00 the other corner of the living room, with a basket theoretically holding dog toys, but not really.
8:00 a lamp on a table that also takes up 9:00
9:00 table and an open window looking on to the front porch, which is looking like The Addams Family front porch with a proliferation of spiders and a couple of mud dauber nests.
10:00 A chair and a window
11:00 The left side of the bookcase that takes up the entire wall of the living room. It has on it some candles, books, a few pillows, photographs, the TV,some clocks, and assorted collectible tchotchkes.
There, the view from the recliner.
Also, dinner tonight: pork chops smothered in onions and ro-tel tomatoes, brown rice, and a green salad with carrots. How exciting!
In 1927, The Family Letter was started. My grandmother’s mother’s family, the Cunninghams, started this letter so all the cousins and descendants could keep up with each other.
It is still going on! I received the letter on Saturday. When the person receives the letter, she/he removes the one she/he wrote last year and writes a new one, and puts it on the bottom of the pile. Then it is sent on to the next person on the list at the front of the letter. Also included are addresses and (now!) email addresses on everyone on the list. If someone wants to join the list, they simply write a letter, put their name on the bottom of the list, and send it on.
It is amazing to read. Our family has a very strong Presbyterian heritage, and the Christian faith runs through the family like lifeblood. Missionaries, pastors and pastor’s wives run through each generation. There are 3 generations of Cunninghams writing now, and I am trying to get #4 to join in as the first member of the 4th generation. It is encouraging to read what my grandmother’s generation has to say about politics and religion (essentially: not much has changed) and how they mourn their spouses and loved ones who’ve passed on, but are comfortable knowing they’ll be together again.
I really look forward to meeting them one day. I feel like I have gotten to know them through these letters.
What a treasure it is, this huge family. Grandmother loves to talk about the character of the Cunninghams, the qualities passed down through the generations. Generosity, a strong faith in God, a quirky sense of humor, and a love of practical jokes. Last time I saw her (in June) she told me how important it is to take lots of pictures of family, because one day someone will want to know what you look like. It’s interesting to look at pictures of her when she was young, because I look very much like her. One of the assistants at the home where she lives commented on how she and I have the same profile.
So now I have The Letter…or Letters, I suppose. It is about 50 pages long, with photographs and funeral announcements, graduation pictures. Most of them are typed and printed from a computer, some of them are handwritten by a shaky hand in what used to be a beautiful script. Some of them don’t have much to say beyond “I’m still alive” and some of them go into detail about daughters in Greece and sons getting married.
It is…I am not sure how to say it…honoring, I suppose…to be a part of a family that believes the past matters, but also that the future matters, and that no matter what happens, faith is strong, family is strong. I love that. It’s encouraging, like there’s this long line of people behind and beside me?, all sharing a heritage and a belief system…I reckon that’s what a family is, right?