Monthly Archives: August, 2011

Yard Photos and Life

Well, I finally got some yard photos taken and there are too many to put in a blog post so I’ll just give the link to my My Yard and Sasha album on Picassa.  Meanwhile, today I cleaned out my closet, getting all the clothes that no longer fit off to Granny’s Attic where they can be resold for charity.  I have had to learn a difficult lesson.  Over two years ago I was quite overweight, a problem I’ve had most of my life.  One of the benefits of chronic sinus infections is that I didn’t have much appetite, so as my life improved and I healed, I started eating only when hungry.  The pounds melted off and I was finally at the weight my father said was my ideal weight.  And I managed to maintain that for a long time by simply not eating much and watching absolutely everything I did eat.  There was no joy in any of my food and finally my doctor and my therapist convinced me that I was not at a healthy weight.  I was actually too thin.  So I’ve tried to eat more sensibly now and actually enjoy what I eat.  I stay off the scale (for the most part), and I still eat when hungry, but I’m not afraid to enjoy a sandwich or a piece of Amy’s gluten free chocolate cake.  So, of course, I’ve now gained weight, which again both my doctor and my therapist assure me is a good thing.  

So I sorted clothes this morning and I also realized that when I first lost all my weight I tried “new looks,” just the way an adolescent would, but then that is about where I am now.  I enjoyed the change for a bit, but truly it wasn’t me in a lot of ways, so sending most of the clothes off was a recognition not only of my changed size but my discovery of what works for me.  I was never allowed to try out different looks.  I was just told what I had to wear to compensate for my short legs, bad build, etc., etc.  So it was fun to have the freedom to see what actually does work for me, and I have a much clearer idea now of what I like.  Healing is always a lengthy learning process and I’m just going with that now.  It would be easy to say that I could have known from the start that my father’s idea on weight and looks would be as flawed as many of his other ideas, but I had to go through the process myself to see first, that I could do it, and second, that it was unhealthy to live like that.  It seems that this old lady is finally growing up, and that is a very good thing.  Hope you are having a splendid day!

New Photos–Long Overdue

Well, I haven’t posted photos in way too long so this post will be mostly photos of the way my Great Room is shaping up.  I hope you enjoy them!

Thackeray, Oliver, Poosa in kitchen 
Great Room 


Notice all the lovely art on my Great Room walls!  All have been painted by my friend Allison and I am truly lucky to have found an artist whose work I enjoy so much!
Great Room

Ok the photos are already out of date thanks to the electrical mess we had recently.  I now have new sheet rock to the right of the front door and across the ceiling toward the laundry area.  That meant I had to move my loom out of the way and so the loom is now where you see the piano in the above photo and the piano is below the clock in the photo below–where a couch usually is but the couches are thankfully still in storage because of Chauncey’s back surgery.  Much easier to remove anything he could jump on than it would have been to keep him confined!  But at least you can get an idea about the room.
Computer/Desk Area of Great Room

Great Room

You can see the area to the right of the door where the sheet rock was removed.  It also was removed across the ceiling and both lights are currently in the garage.  But the good news is that the circuit has been rewired, new sheet rock has been installed and mudded, and I only have to survive two sandings and one mudding (I think).
Kitchen Area

The handles are on my fridge and freezer.  Vertical handle is the refrigerator and the four horizontal handles are the freezer drawers.  It is a really nice look, I think!

Thackeray, Laoise, and Sasha

Queen Bee Mating

Queen Bee Mating

Sasha, Laoise, Thackeray

It is rare to find my three cats so close together!  Sasha has decided that my bed needs to be made over my stuffed Koala so she has a lovely perch.
New Soffits Being Installed

Fabric for a New Quilt for Me

Since Sasha has devised a new way for me to make my bed I need a wider quilt to cover everything so I picked out all this Kaffe Fassett fabric to use.  Thanks, Sasha, since we should end up with a spectacular quilt!
Island Quilter Bounty

Went to my very favorite quilt store, Island Quilter, yesterday and came home with all these treasures!  I would never have gotten into quilting if it weren’t for this fabulous store and more importantly, Anja and Paul, who have been so encouraging and helpful!
Quilt #145

This is the first quilt I have finished in four months! Thank heavens I am feeling human again.  It is for a friend’s mother-in-law’s 85th birthday.

So that is the current state of me and mine at the moment.  Hopefully more current photos, especially of the yard, will be forthcoming soon!  Have a lovely day!

Apathy or Drug Side-Effects

Apathy: I have recently discovered that the main reason why I wasn’t feeling alive or human was due to apathy which was a side effect of the 5-HTP I have been taking in fairly large doses for a number of years (doctor prescribed, by the way).  When I mentioned to my therapist how much better I felt even though all my “normal” chronic medical problems are still with me, we figured it had to be a result of taking a “drug holiday,” specifically from the anti-depressant stuff.  She told me that one of the side effects of most anti-depressants, and one that isn’t mentioned a lot, is apathy.  Well, it all makes sense now.  I just had no interest in anything and for ages I’ve had to push myself to do anything even when I knew once I got going I would enjoy it (like quilting, tutoring, etc).  I have just been forcing myself to care for me and my companions and to do what I knew I ought to be doing.

But it has been a continual uphill struggle.  I was raised with (or born with) the idea that one didn’t complain, one just pulled oneself up by one’s bootstraps and got on with what needed doing.  I have been fairly successful at that, but I get so tired from the forced effort.  But now that I’m off all those drugs, I’m finding that I actually want to do things.  I wake up in the morning now not bounding out of bed (I have never been a morning person) but with the thought that good stuff will happen and that I have nice things to do.  That is a real first for me.  I am still dealing with chronic pain, Hashimoto’s Thyroid Disorder, sinus/allergy issues, constant headaches, fatigue and low energy, etc.  But that is just part of me and life and I am amazed now that I thought the reason I couldn’t get up the interest to do anything was because of those aforementioned problems.  I see now that the real problem for me was the apathy.

I would never say that anti-depressants don’t serve a purpose and I’m sure I did need them when I was in what I call the black hole of calcutta, but I had no idea that they take so much of the edge off of both depression and anxiety that they can leave one totally apathetic.  I don’t plan ever to take such drugs again, knowing how they affect me (and again, they don’t affect everyone in the same way).  If I start sliding into that black hole again, I’ll work hard at finding other alternatives.  

Right now I feel as if I’ve gotten out from underneath a horrible cloud and that I am human again, and the relief is absolutely overwhelming.  I can deal with the other problems and now that I actually want to do things I have already found out that I will have to pace myself and pay attention to my limited energy levels.  I’ve started working with a chiropractor who I am hoping will be able to help me with a lot of my pain issues.  But some things I’m sure I will just have to accept and live with and actually that is ok with me.  I am just so happy not to be apathetic, not to have to fight to do anything.  The world is looking much brighter, thankfully!

Oh, What a Difference a Day Makes

I realized I haven’t posted here in a very long time–guess that’s one of the problems with having three blogs!  I post every day on Tanka Diary and also Daphne’s Haiku, etc. so I tend to lose track of this one, and quite honestly, this summer has been a rough one health-wise, so that hasn’t helped. First off, I do not recommend having 3 surgeries in the family in just over a month!  The surgeries began when I had sinus surgery, which I am still recovering from and the jury is definitely out as to whether this was successful or not (so far I say not).  Then Chauncey, my 13 yr. old cocker, had to have back surgery, which necessitated several trips off island to Tacoma, and his staying in Tacoma for 2 1/2 days, thanks to emergencies which delayed his surgery. And nearly simultaneously (as in just 12 hours later), Sasha (who will be 16 tomorrow) had surgery to remove a second oral cancer growth.  The surgeries for both Chauncey and Sasha have been extraordinarily successful, reaping better results than predicted, and they are both recovering nicely, but the stress has been considerable.

I am reasonably good in a crisis, but once the crisis is over, I inevitably collapse, and by the end of last week I was definitely someone to be avoided.  My back went out, my headaches have gotten worse, and then there were difficulties with the kitchen cabinets, and the net result was that I fell apart, was snappy and tearful, and definitely was someone to avoid.  For me, the worst was that I knew what I was doing but couldn’t stop it.  My therapist later told me that no one communicates well when they are in pain and that was certainly true.  All my old survival methods came into play, and it was definitely not pretty.  I’m told that the fact that I could recognize my bad behavior was a plus, and I guess that is the case, but I sure would like to have better defense strategies for such situations.

In any case, I apologized to all concerned for my knee-jerk reactions, explaining that my pain levels had escalated out of control.  I am one of those who lives with chronic pain, and much of the time I can set it aside as just a fact of life, but not when it gangs up on me from all sides and jumps up to 8 or 9 on the pain scale.

I spent the weekend in my recliner, barely functioning at all, doing the absolute minimum to keep me and my companions going.  Yesterday was only mildly better, but hey, I’ll take it.  Then this morning dawned as a new day!  My back was significantly better and that made the whole world look better!  I also had more energy than I’ve had for months, and I felt up to doing some gentle yoga.  As I was doing it I also realized that part of my problem might have been related to my going off 5-HTP.  I’d been on mega doses of that for several years, but started cutting back at the beginning of the summer.  I am now not taking it at all, but in looking on the internet, I read enough to realize that I might have low energy as part of the withdrawal from the 5-HTP.  I’m not sure if this is true, but it makes sense since it has now been 2-3 weeks since I last had any and maybe I’m coming out the other side of this.  

But what all this has taught me is that when any of us is sick or hurting, we can react in ways which don’t sit well with others.  I have been doing a lot of work over the last few years to learn better ways to communicate, and according to my therapist, I have made significant progress.  She also pointed out that the progress has happened in spite of my health issues, and I guess I can believe her.  But when things get too far out of control, either pain or energy or stress, I slip back into the patterns developed when I was very young.  So I need to have compassion for myself in this as in other areas.

I also think it was a valuable lesson to apply to others.  I live in fear of most of the world and most people totally intimidate me.  At some level, I’m still that small child who was convinced that whatever I did I would trigger an angry response.  But I need to realize that when someone snaps at me or reacts badly in some way, that it probably has nothing to do with me and that the person could easily be hurting or sick or under stress.  This knowledge may not make the actions feel any better, but at least I can show compassion and not just assume I goofed again.

And so, once again, life’s trials have taught me more about myself and have helped me see where I’ve made progress and where I still need to heal and grow.  I guess that’s what life is about, but at this point, I’m hoping that I don’t get anymore “major” lessons for a bit.  I would like what remains of August to be delightfully dull and uneventful so that I can rest and heal before the start of another school year!