Sunday, October 2, 2011


Depression – it’s not all a barrel of laughs.

I woke up this morning with that thought, or something like it, running through my brain. It’s currently 6:49am and I’ve been wrestling with those thoughts for over an hour so I finally decided to get out of bed, write and get them out.

As you may have noticed, this has been a pretty crap year for me so far. Which bugs me because it’s supposed to be “my year” – it’s the Year of the Rabbit, and I’m a Rabbit! And Rabbits are supposed to be really lucky!  But nooooooooooooooooooo….

I was depressed before this year started, but I think things have gotten worse. I’ve been in therapy and on and off of a light dose of Lexapro for a few years now (ever since I had a boss who LITERALLY drove me crazy). It all started because I was just angry all the time. I’m a pretty happy type of person generally speaking, so when I realized that I was pissed off at everybody and couldn’t control it, I thought maybe, just maybe, there was a problem. Especially when I also realized that I was taking out my anger on my friends and for no apparent reason. (Yeah, depression is fun: you don't take it out on the people who really deserve it, you save it all up for yourself and your loved ones...)

My family have a history of depression which helped my self-diagnosis, but even more importantly, helped me feel comfortable seeking help. It was something like: I need help, therefore I will get help! It was also fortunate that I had been told "if one therapist doesn’t work for you, try, try again!" I had tried a psychiatrist years before and been told that my parents had abused me because I had been born in Hong Kong and moved around a lot as a kid. Funny thing was that the person who told me this was a foreign-born national who had moved around a lot as a kid. Hmmm, projection much?

ANYWAY – I was very lucky to find a great psychiatrist who has even become my talk therapist after a disastrous attempt with someone else who decided I had PTSD… because that was her specialty.  *sigh*

And I’m doing it again. I have a tendency to start talking about something and then veering off into tangents. They might be related, but they aren’t really the point with which I started. Ever noticed that? ;-)

What I started out writing about this morning was what’s going on with me now and how it’s not a whole lot of fun. I have gotten almost paralyzed socially, but I think I hide it well until something comes up that makes it impossible to hide. Like these last two weekends.u

Las weekend I almost backed out of going to (very good) friend’s birthday party because a) I might have to stay over night and b) a lot of people I don’t know would be there. I had really bad allergies and felt miserable, but I made myself get off my couch and get out there. Luckily, another friend offered me a ride so I didn’t have to drive OR stay overnight -- I had already gotten myself into “go to the party” mode on my own, but that helped a lot! I had a great time and even played horse shoes for the first time!

Last night I was planning to go to a party with friends I haven’t seen in YEARS for a semi-reunion of sorts, in honor of another friend’s birthday.  I was really looking forward to seeing everyone again and hanging out with them. So, I woke up yesterday with what I thought was a bad hangover. Yes, I drank a lot on Friday night, but I stopped around 12:30am and got food and drank water. I was home by 1:30am and drank more water, took Advil, and was asleep by 2am. I woke up around 9am, made Toad-in-the-Hole (my new favorite breakfast), then sat on the couch and caught up with work and stuff. And suddenly, I felt chills and fever and just felt awful. I took some allergy drugs and then a nap and still felt crappy. I again thought it was just a bad hangover and allergies (the weather changed considerably between Friday and Saturday), so I thought getting up and out of the house might help.  So, I went to a movie (“Money Ball” – quite enjoyable).

Enjoyed the movie, walked around the street fair a little, then got a coffee and came back home. And within 30 minutes was back in bed, under the covers, shivering and snuggling with my warm, fuzzy kitty. I took some cold drugs and then slept for a few more hours.  Woke up and called my friends and told them that I was just feeling too lousy to go to their party after all.

And today, I feel a lot better physically, but I wonder if all of that “illness” was just anxiety? Depression? 

My depression isn’t one of those where I have to convince myself each morning that I really should not kill myself. It’s much less demanding than that. Or maybe not – because it’s really more of just having to convince myself to get out of bed. No, I can do that when it’s work I have to get to, but if it’s a social thing, then it really takes an effort for me.  And I’ve noticed that it has gotten REALLY hard for me to get my butt off of my couch and exercise. I’m signed up to do the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) 10k at the end of this month. I’ve been signed up since June and I will be running with my nieces and nephew in honor of my brother… but I can NOT get myself to work out and train for it!


I don’t know.

And it upsets me.

Maybe I should do as Professor Hathway suggests and “up the voltage” heehee

Friday, August 19, 2011

Horsing Around

It's been a while, but I just haven't felt like writing. As my sister put it the other day, I'm trying to "recalibrate what 'fine' means". But - I was reading an old thread on my favorite discussion board and came across one of my favorite true stories from my childhood -- and I thought I'd share...

I've only ridden about three times in my life, but the first time was a WONDERFUL experience!

I was in 6th grade at British school in HK, Black Beauty was my favorite book and those plastic horses were my favorite toys.  Two of my friends had riding lessons every weekend (as you do, if your British) and they invited me to join them one weekend, saying they had reserved the quietest, sweetest horse for me to ride. However, when we got there we found a birthday party for a bunch of six-year-olds in progress... using "my" horse of course.

The only other horse available hadn't been exercised yet, and they were worried that he might be too antsy for a new rider. Well, he WAS the only horse available, and I wasn't going to go out to the riding place and NOT ride, uh uh no way!

SO... they got me up on his back, and walked us out to a little paddock with a well-trod circle in it, and gave me lessons about the paces and how to ride in a circle.  I enjoyed it, but I honestly never got the bouncing thing (until later) -- ANYWAY, after about 30 mins of this, my friends wanted to get out and really ride, so we headed out of the training paddock and turned right onto a short path that joined with the main path to a much larger paddock that adjoined the one we had been using, with a large gate/hedge in between.

But, as soon as we turned right again, my horse looked down the path and went "SPACE!!! I'VE GOT SPACE!!!" And took off at a gallop down the road! Other than that morning's training, my only "riding instructions" were from watching movies like "National Velvet", so I hunched down and leaned forward over my hands like a jockey, and the horse (not surprisingly) took this as "GO FASTER"... so he did. It was BEAUTIFUL, if just a mite scary!

My friends were screaming "Pull the reins, pull the reins" and I noticed the entrance to the other paddock coming up on the right, so I started pulling hard right. The horse pulled into the paddock and did a u-turn and headed straight back down ... and OVER the hedge into the training paddock! Where he calmly trotted around the training circle again. I stayed glued to him and alternated between gasping for breath and laughing out loud. Brilliant!

I'll never forget Fiona Hutton's injured tone when she finally caught up with me again: "You never told us you could jump!" :lol Of course, *I* had nothing to do with that jump, it was all horse... and I thank him for an absolutely exhilarating experience! And after that, he had gotten his ya-yas out and he was just sweetness and light. :biggrin

Man -- just remembering that story makes me all happy inside. I really need to ride again!

 Thanks kaspinet for the awesome ani!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Life, interrupted

It's been a while since I last wrote here. Why? Well, life got in the way. 

On April 27, as tornadoes bore down to cause massive and unprecedented destruction in Alabama, my brother called 911 and was driven to the emergency room at Jackson Hospital in Montgomery, AL. He was alert but "wheezy" and they were concerned that he had a serious case of pneumonia. He gave the ER nurse his emergency numbers: his wife Marla, his commanding officer (CO), and me, his baby sister.

For some reason, Marla's phone kept going straight to voice-mail so the ER manager called me instead. I was in Georgia with my parents, watching Jeopardy! as usual. I almost didn't answer the phone because I didn't recognize the area code, much less the phone number. But I'm glad I did. I didn't really understand what the nurse was saying to me at first, but it finally got through that my brother was seriously ill and needed family by his side as soon as possible... and they couldn't get in touch with his wife! 

I got the phone number and said I was going to try all the numbers I had and then would call them back in 30 minutes regardless. I had already decided that I would drive to Montgomery if I couldn't get in touch with anyone.

I sent text messages to Marla and her two daughters (in their 20s), and was actually on the phone with the hospital again when Rachel called me back. Apparently Marla had been packing up their house in GA so they could move officially to AL the following weekend, and she had left her phone in a "dead zone". But now they were all getting together to drive from the Atlanta area down to Montgomery... through the tornadoes. (Meanwhile, my brother's eldest, Sara, is a flight attendant and was on a flight which was delayed on the Atlanta tarmac because of the storms. The pilot decided he had to pull the plane back to the airport for gas - so she could get off. Nice pilot!)

Marla, Rachel, Sara and Dan tag-teamed driving and made it to the hospital by about 12:30AM (ET), much to the relief of Dad, who had been tracking them through the tornadoes, and me, who had been waiting to see if I needed to drive down myself. As they were safely in Montgomery (in a house with no furniture), I decided I could finally go to sleep, and then suddenly noticed there was a massive storm outside!

Anyway -- It took several weeks, but they finally figured out that my brother had ARDS - Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Probably a result of a flu bug that turned into pneumonia, plus the facts that he had been spraying bee poison recently and he had been smoking for about 40 years. He had not been feeling well the weekend before and he went to a doctor on Monday with a 103* fever -- and was sent home with allergy pills and cough medicine. And two days later, his lung x-rays showed both lungs completely clouded.

Marla called me that Friday so I ended up driving down to Montgomery that Saturday, ostensibly for one day, but I didn't leave again until the following Wednesday. It was supposed to be my last week in GA, and I *had* to drive back to DC no later than May 8 because that's when my dealer tag expired (yes, after 10 car-less years, I bought a car)! Also, Rachel was graduating on May 7. So, I drove back to Eatonton, then drove my mom to Atlanta and back on Saturday for Rachel's graduation, and then drove to DC on Sunday, May 8. The good news was that Dave was off the respirator! He came off the day I left, and he seemed to be improving!

I spent the next week at the DC DMV or sleeping. Or, occasionally, working. I got my temporary DC tag and was starting to get back into my regular work routine when I got another call from Marla. Dave had developed a staph infection and they were going to have to put him back on the respirator.

Two days later (May 20), my cat and I were driving to Charlotte to spend the night with my sister and her husband before heading back to Montgomery. During the week I had been gone, Marla and her daughters had gotten everything moved from Carrollton, GA to the new house in Montgomery.  They still had a lot of boxes everywhere -- but at least they had furniture! 

We woke up early every day to get to the hospital by 9am (Central) so we could talk to the doctor before the 10am visiting hours. Eventually, I worked it out that if I skipped the 1pm visiting hour, I could work a full 4 hours before the 4pm session. (Thank god for the flexibility of my job!) And then we would go back to the hospital for the last session of the day at 8pm. In between, we picked up necessary (and some unnecessary) items at Target, Walmart, or Publix, had lunch, and/or watched TV. It was exhausting, but I am so glad that I was able to spend that time with Marla, Sara, and Rachel. I also got to know Dan (Sara's husband) and Revas (Rachel's boyfriend) better. It sure beat being by myself in my effiiciency apartment in DC wondering what the hell was going on.

And then came the Thursday when the doctor gave us bad news, May 26. The doctor some of us nick-named "Dr. Gloomy Gus" because he tended to be bound and determined to give us no hope at all, told us that morning that Dave was not going to make it. There was a lot of confusion then because other doctors said they still had tests to do, and Dave's "sats" seemed to be doing better. The nurses were convinced that Dave still had a chance, but we sent out the word to the whole family that it was time for them to come say Goodbye.

One of the deacons from my parent's church drove them down from Eatonton; my sister Karen and her husband Carlton drove from Charlotte; and my other sister Cathy flew down from DC and then drove from Atlanta. Marla's twin sister Carla, and her daughter Ashley, drove down from Little Rock, AR. Cathy's flight was delayed in DC, but everyone else got to Montgomery by Thursday night (she got in around 6am on Friday). Mom and Dad were able to visit Dave in the ICU, but Dad was not physically capable of staying too long.

We all met for dinner at Mom and Dad's hotel and it was so good to have the family together - we all laugh so much, even through tears! And Dad got to meet Dan and Revas for the first time. :-) The dinner service was interminable, but it turned out OK because we were all there long enough for the travelers to arrive.  And one of Dave's buddies in the National Guard, Gardner Perdue, came by and was just a gem. The next day we were all in Dave's room and he started doing magic tricks and telling jokes - not like "LOOK AT ME!!!", just kind of "hey, have you seen this?".Soon, the entire family was laughing and smiling - and Dave's sats went up considerably. It was just what we needed.  I wasn't there for the whole show because I figured 75 people in an ICU room was a few too many (OK, 10 or 12), but the rest of the crew could not stop talking about it.

Dave survived that weekend, but he wasn't actually getting any better. My parents had to get back home because they needed their medications, so Cathy drove them back and stayed the night before heading back to DC. Karen and Carlton stayed in Montgomery for few more nights, as did Carla and Ashley.   I'm very glad that I was able to spend one of those nights watching bad movies with Dave. That's what we do. :-)

We learned on Monday that Dave's blood oxygen percentage was very low, and had been for a while, which caused a lot of concern. They did an EEG to check his brain function, but it would take a few days to get it analyzed. The nurses bent over backward fighting for Dave to get better - but, they had been reducing his sedation and he wasn't coming out of it... There really wasn't a lot we could do except wait, pray, and hope.

Meanwhile, Dave's new neighbors had started providing meals for us every night, except the night the guys decided to throw a cook-out in his honor. These were neighbors who, for the most part, had not met Dave. But they knew he was military and they cared and helped us anyway. There were just so many people who cared.  Dan and Sara's friends came down to keep our spirits up (emotionally and liquidly), and it helped SO much!

On Wednesday, June 1, we got the results of the EEG: not good. Not good at all. We realized that we had to make a decision about Dave. With a lot of tears, but also the knowledge of what Dave would want, we made the decision to remove his ventilator the next day.

On Thursday, June 2, I held my brother's hand, and Rachel and I stayed with him. We knew that Dave really hadn't been "there" for a few days, but I still felt the need to hold his hand. It just broke my heart that he really was gone.

And he was. I still can't quite wrap my head around it...

Edited to correct a time reference from 12:30pm to 12:30AM. Doh!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day

It's Earth Day?

Who knew?

Well, I didn't at first, I just knew I officially had the day off. My body did anyway.

I had planned on getting up at 7:30 and working for a couple of hours so that I could then spend the rest of the day helping Mom and Dad haul books to the truck so we could then haul them to the PCS (Putnam Community... uh... Something - local version of Goodwill but Christianish... Services? maybe? WHATEVER! moooooving on...).

HOWever, my body decided that it was a day off DANGIT! So, I slept until 9:30ish, at which time Mom and Dad should have been back from the salon (Mom gets her hair done on Fridays -and sometimes Saturdays when Dad forgets what day it is...).

But they weren't. The car was there, but then I noticed that Dad's truck was gone. In it's place was Mr. George's truck. He's the guy who does the lawns for both houses and trims up Dad's gorgeous back-yard garden.  And he's only about five years older than Dad! Just had cataract surgery last week. Sheesh, I just wish he'd get out and do something. :-)
Dad's gorgeous back-yard garden

So, I said Hey to Mr. George as he mowed the lawn and I walked up to my parents' house, petting a wet and whining Hero along the way. All I found at the house was a whining 12-year-old puppy who really REALLY wanted to get out and find my dad! I figured that they had gone to the store after the hair salon, so I decided to let Hogan out on the leash,and spend the time making myself an omelet (cheese and broccoli) and toast for breakfast. It was delicious, and Mom and Dad came back just in time ... in the truck, of course.

But our original plan of hauling books was foiled because Dad's mail-order plants came in! So he and Mom were opening up the boxes and figuring out what went where and putting the potting soil out. And then... you'll never believe it! I actually planted something! Not sure what, but I was down on my knees with hands in soil, planting stuff. I think it was azaleas. It was a joint effort: Dad directing, me placing the plants where he said they were supposed to go and Mom starting off the planting with a trowel in hand. I took over the planting because a) I wanted to and b) Mom was overdoing it as usual and getting tired. And then Mom and I spread bark all over the back of the row and in between the plants. It was a good morning.

What I think I planted will look like someday. I think.

Afterwards, Mom went in to get the dirt from under her fingers and rest a bit before heading to church (her church is having Noon services all week because it's Easter week) and Dad explained what else he wants to do in the garden while I brushed Hogan. Dad had saved some fleurs for Mr. George, so we three had another planting conversation (because I'm a planter now, you know...) I helped get the pine straw out of the truck and Dad's threw the rest of the bags of potting soil onto some very hardy plants that get bright yellow flowers everywhere at the end of the summer. He told me what it was but I have no idea what he said. (See? Complete gardener here, aren't I?)

I was about to head back to my house to take a shower and do that work I hadn't started yet, but Mom asked if I would drive her to church. So, instead of a shower, I spent about 10 minutes carving the dirt out of my nails with the hooky thing from the nail clippers (I like to use the correct technical terms), and then drove her all two minutes over to the church.

When I got home, I turned on the computer to do the two hours of work I had planned on doing, and saw the "Earth Day" references and thought, "Well, I certainly celebrated it properly!" I still haven't taken a shower yet, so my knees are still stained with the black potting soil. It's kind of fun! Reminds me of being a kid...

And I think I'll be spreading pine straw this afternoon. Or napping. 


Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I bought a car a week ago, and immediately drove it 100+ miles to Atlanta because I had to go back to DC for a week.  It's funny - after nearly 10 years of saying, "I don't need a car" and "I'm SO glad I don't have a car", I am SO excited to have a car!  And it's the car I always said would be my next car: a 2002 Honda CR-V.  OK, I didn't predict a 2002 version, but I love it!  It's green and it's got low mileage (well, until I got a hold of it), and it completely suits me.

I left it in my neice's gated parking lot instead of the airport because it's still got the dealer tags and I was warned that it would get stolen immediately.  That worked out very well though - my niece and her mom picked me up at the airport last Sunday and we went back to her apartment so I could pick up my car ("Charlie").  I asked if we could go down to Pizzeria Venti for their Bocce Balls™ (YUM), and I even decided to pick up some Bocce Balls to take with me because Mom & Dad need to get in on this deliciousness. 

And then I drove down the highway with all four windows open to get the yucky car shampoo smell out, radio rocking to "11", and my hair FLYING out the window (took about 10 minutes to get all the knots out when I finally stopped... heeheehee).  It was a great ride.

Especially when I got on the "Eatonton Road" (it's the "Madison Road" going the other way), and all the cows and calves were out in the fields, having a bit of a kip.  It reminded me of the Sesame Street bit when the announcer says "C is for Cow" and a cow comes out and says "Meow".  The announcer says, "No, that is what a CAT says, but C is also for Cat!"  So a cat comes out and says, "Moooo".  heeheehee  Of course, I just can't resist!

So, I felt somewhat Eddie Izzard-ish, driving along, turning my head and saying "Meow!"...

and laughing...

a lot!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wow! It's Been Awhile...

Wow, a month has gone by already?  I had no idea! Well, it's been a LITTLE busy lately...

As you know, I've been telecommuting from GA for a few months now.  I think my last post was when I came back to GA at the end of February.  I went back to DC for two weeks starting March 5 and stayed through my birthday to return on the 21st.  It was a great time, including a few days off to celebrate, and since my sister-in-law (M) was not able to drive me back to Eatonton on a Monday, I rented a car for a week.  The plan was for me to drive back to Atlanta the following weekend, spend some time with my brother's family and then return the car and one of them would drive me back to Eatonton.

And that is what would have happened if I was not an idiot!  I left my work cell phone charging on my bed.  In DC. Which makes it hard to use when you're telecommuting from GA.  SO - slight change of plans.  I drove to Atlanta and stayed with my brother and his family as well as my sister-in-law's sister, niece, and nephew.  What a BLAST!  Wine, beer, burgers, dogs and conversation outside on a beautiful evening, and LOTS of laughter. Then I drove myself to the airport and flew back to DC.  I stopped by Nanny's for a few drinks, then went home to crash out for a bit.  (First thing: put the phone - with charger - in my bag!)  I decided to take a 30 minute nap.  I hit the snooze for 10 more minutes and then woke up about two hours later!  D'OH!  But I got up, got dressed and went down to see my friend Damion play only a few songs before his set (and night) was over.  But I'm so glad I got to see him - otherwise I wouldn't have seen him play for almost two months!  Nooooooo! ;-)

And I woke up late on Sunday, but made it to the airport by 11:15am only to find that my 12:40pm flight had been delayed to 1:35pm.  *sigh*  I texted Marla to let her know, and then settled down to wait.  And wait.  And wait!  I bought two magazines, Time and People, and quite enjoyed them actually.  Haven't read Time in eons, and I thihnk I read every single article!  Well written and informative.  People however... not so much! LOL

My flight didn't actually leave National Airport until about 2:15 (about 15 mins before it was supposed to arrive in Atlanta originally!), so we didn't land in Atlanta until 4:00pm.  Luckily, M had been smart enough to look up the flight status before she went to the airport so she hadn't been waiting too long! I'm so grateful to her  for being willing to pick me up, drive me an hour and a half and then drive BACK about two and a half hours!  I wouldn't have been able to do this otherwise.

But now I'm back in the kitchen in Eatonton.  Mom and Dad put this house on the market about a week ago, and have already had someone come by to see it.  WHICH has made them get on the stick about cleaning it out... so they are in the living room going through stuff to figure out what to keep and what to throw out.  I've already given them an edict that anything hand-made or hand-painted MUST BE KEPT!  My sister and her husband (K & C) came to visit on Friday and spent that afternoon and evening, plus Saturday morning and afternoon, cleaning out the attic of this house - so now everything is in my living room for them to sort.  It's a great first step!

I'm trying to figure out if I can end up staying in GA for the whole month of April, but I think I will still have to head to DC for one of the weeks after all.  It's exhausting with all the flying and stuff, but it's never boring! LOL

I'll post some pics and memories soon.  If I remember. ;-)

Friday, February 25, 2011


I'm back in Georgia! It was a good week in DC because I got to see Damion Wolfe play twice (I heart Damion!), and I got a lot of work done, saw friends, etc.  But it was a long week away because I left on a Friday and did not return until the following Monday... and I missed my cat!


I quickly got back into the swing of things: waking up and working, sometimes heading next door for lunch, ALWAYS heading over for dinner, followed by Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy...

And poor arthritic Hogan always greets me at the house with his tail wagging a mile a minute and his doggy smile a mile wide. If I sit on the floor with him, he'll roll over or just scrunch up as close to me as possible, in obvious preparation for another full-body puppy scratch. (Yeah, he's 12, but he's still a puppy to me!)

Hogan, the cutest dog ever!

And the weather has been beautiful this week, so I've seen my dad a bit more. He and Hogan came over to visit the other day so I was able to get pics of Hogan, as well as my neighbor dogs, Harley (Jack Russell) and Hero (German Shepherd).

Harley and Hero

Harley and Hero are hilarious - whenever I walk over to my parents, I walk the length of their fence, and they follow me the entire way! Sometimes, it's just with their eyes, but other times it's with bounding joy and hopes for scritches. I love it!

Hogan chats with Hero and Harley

The other day, Calypso was "helping" me work again (i.e. sitting/sleeping on the kitchen table) when suddenly the dogs went crazy - Hero and Harley were barking louder than I'd ever heard them and I could hear Hogan barking up at his house too. Calypso arched his back and fluffed out so he looked about 50 lbs (instead of his svelte 22lbs... uh... ok, not svelte), so I looked out the door into Mom and Dad's backyard. There, calmly peeing on the trees and fences to mark his territory, was a beautiful brown Malamute-type dog,  Needless to say, the dogs whose territory it WAS were NOT pleased to be penned up or leashed and unable to defend said territory.

I went out and called to the free dog, "Hey puppy, what are you doing?"  He wagged his tail then came over and licked my hand, but when I tried to pet him, he bolted and ran a couple of houses away.  I didn't follow him past Mom and Dad's driveway, but think he felt sort of safe where he was because he kept looking back and didn't go any farther.  A few minutes later, a young man walked by the driveway carrying a leash, looking for his dog "Mac" who had somehow gotten out of their yard.  Turns out the young man had been a patient of my dad's before he (Dad) retired, so I got to meet Mac officially.  Beautiful, sweet dog!  I wish I'd taken a picture, but I have a feeling I might have more opportunities because apparently Mac has a tendency to go "on walkabout" on occasion. :-)

And now it's Friday afternoon... I'm off work because I work a half-day on Fridays and guess what?  I'm actually staying in Eatonton this weekend.  Mom and I are heading to Walmart this afternoon to get her pictures developed and I have promised to help her figure out how to email her book chapters to a friend who will edit them for her.  (I think I'll have to write about Mom's writing in another post...  It's pretty interesting!)  And Dad has promised to give me a tour of his life in Eatonton so I can take pictures.  YAY!  I brought my "fancy" camera down just for that purpose!

So until then...

Y'all be safe now, ya hear?


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Just ... get over it!

I can’t believe I said that to someone.

Especially someone who was obviously hurting, someone who is obviously suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome.


He was an asshole and he didn’t listen and he just would. Not. Shut. UP!

OK, back story:

I met this guy a couple of weeks before I started my temporary relocation to Georgia.  He’s somewhat attractive, and he seemed intelligent and interesting.  My first thoughts were “Of course! I meet a great guy RIGHT before I move 650 miles away!”  But, luckily, the other side of my brain kicked in and reminded me that I had just met him and didn’t know a thing about him and really shouldn’t jump the gun on thinking “he’s the one” or anything stupid like that.

I saw him the next week and laughed with him that we had both been somewhat inebriated that first meeting, so I was kinda glad to meet him semi-sober.  Haha, silly goose!  It was about 7pm, and he was soused already.  But, we still had a fairly decent conversation.  But he told me some more of his story and I felt sorry for him (alcoholic parents, one of whom commit suicde when he was young), and then he talked about being embedded with troops in Iraq and how that affected him.  I suggested that he try therapy since it’s done wonders for me, but noooooo, he’s not having someone “shrink” him.  I mentioned again how it would be nice to meet him sober, and he just looked at me and said, “Sober.  Yes, that’s what I should do.  Get sober.”

I looked at him, and said, “Maybe that IS what you need to do. “

As it happened, I had been talking to a now-sober friend of mine shortly before that and she had given me information on AA meetings and a hotline and stuff like that.  I mentioned some of this to him and he was just sooooo thankful… as he ordered another drink.

Boy am I glad I’ve got that other side of the brain.  That boy is MEEEEEESSED UP! (I actually use a more succinct yet not-PG turn of phrase, but… you get the drift.)  He’s a journalist who used to cover the wars, but recently took on a new job with some really rich Indians so that he doesn’t have to go back to the desert, but he hates that job.  He is depressed, but refuses therapy, and he self-medicates by getting drunk, really drunk, I’m talking slurred words, squinty eyes, loss of motor function/brain kind of drunk… every night.  But he still has enough brain power to argue whatever his point is by shouting down the opposition.

When I was back in DC last time, I saw him a couple of times and it just was not good.  The guy has serious problems, and I just don’t know how to deal with them.  Or, whether I *should* deal with them.  I mean, I’m no picnic, and I have been known to hoist a few here and there… but, I think I’m a responsible drunk, er, drinker (“hydrate while you dehydrate!”), and at least I’m going to therapy on a semi-regular basis!  I know I have problems and I’m working on them!  But, I made conversation with him, continued to suggest therapy, and just let him rant.

But last weekend, some friends and I had been drinking all afternoon and it was pretty late, but we decided to go down to the bar where I had met this guy for a nightcap.  My friends sat at the end of the bar and I put my coat on the seat around the corner from them so we could talk, and then hit the ladies’ room before I sat down.  I had noticed a drink at the seat next to mine, but there was no one there at the time.  Until I came back from the bathroom and there he was.  Psychokiller, qu’est que c’est!

*heavy sigh*

So, I said “Hi” but then turned back to talk to my friends.  Of course, he kept pulling me back into his conversation, and I said, “I’m sorry, I’m here with other friends and I’m talking with them.”  Somewhere in there, he started on about how terrible his life is because he has seen war and seen people exploding and he went on into gory detail which, just by the way, I REALLY didn’t want to hear!  Finally, I just shouted back at him, “Would you just SHUT UP!”  He just yelled louder and got into more gruesome detail and finally I couldn’t take it anymore and I said, “Would you JUST GET OVER IT!?!”

He shut up.  The bartender, a good friend, looked at me, shocked.  My friends were shocked.  I was druuuuunk.  And angry.  And at the end of my rope.  I felt that I had done as much as I could for this guy and I didn’t want to be his punching bag anymore.  I feel awful for anyone who suffers from PTSD and I know full well that you can’t “just get over it”.  It’s awful, it’s terrible, and I can’t really even imagine it.  But I’m pretty sure going out and drinking yourself into oblivion every night isn’t going to help.  And laying everything down on anyone who will talk to you is just going to piss them off.  I like to help people, but I’ve got to remember that they have to help themselves before my help will do any good.

I just can’t believe I told someone to “just get over it”…

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Southern Life

So, I’m kinda settling into Southern life a little now.

I’ve got cable internet which is faster and more reliable than using the Wi-Fi from next door. Only thing is it’s only available on the kitchen table. I also have a 13” TV which my brother and sister-in-law very kindly donated to me – but no cable TV hook-up. But that’s OK, I can watch TV shows on my laptop. In the kitchen. Or I can watch the HD TV at my parents’ house next door. (It worked VERY well for the Super Bowl!) 

Or I could just read…

Anyway - Every day I wake up around 7am, wash face or shower, try to get some exercises in because I’m not walking my normal 1.5-2 miles just getting around DC, feed the cat, fire up the computer and coffee maker, and start working at the kitchen table around 7:30am. I’ve been eating oatmeal for breakfast, but I also have bread, butter, and jam if I want toast instead. And of course, there’s grits, with cheese and butter because I’m a good Southern girl, y’all!

Well, not really. Last Friday, I made an appointment to get a haircut at the same time my mother got her hair “done” and the woman told me the name of the person who would be cutting my hair. I said, “Leah?” “No, Leee-yunnnn”... *face palm* I felt rude for having had to ask her to repeat the name, but I’m just not used to “Lynn” having multiple syllables. 

But Lynn did a pretty good job of cutting my hair… until she got to the bangs. It’s pretty simple really – long straight hair, cut off about 1.5” to 2” to get rid of the split ends. Bangs, cut while dry and keep them just at the eyebrows. Somehow, the bangs ended up about a ½” ABOVE the eyebrows, so every morning I now wake up looking like Freddie Mercury.
No, not this one (thank god!):

(Edited because the picture could not be linked into my post, so here's the link instead...)


Ooo baby.  *sigh* Anyway – I spend the morning writing/revising documents, responding to emails, and generally doing my job (with the occasional peek at Facebook or DCist) until lunch. Most days I just grab a sandwich from my fridge and spend some quality time waking up my cat and annoying him, but today I grabbed my sandwich making stuff and walked ALL THE WAY (about 20 steps) to my parents’ house and had lunch with them. It was quite nice, and they seemed to enjoy the fact that we all sat at the table for lunch, and then we snarfed down our sammiches. Well, they had leftover KFC, which I couldn’t stomach (when did KFC start being so awful?) so I’m glad I brought my own sammich!

Yesterday, I went over a little early so I could take Mom to her writing group. Well, I don’t take her all the way there, but I take her to her friend’s house and then SHE drives her the rest of the way. It works out well because then I only take about an hour to get her there and I can pick up something on the way back. And Dad picks her up in the afternoon because we never know when the group will end and I generally have meetings on Tuesday afternoons.

Originally, I came down to Georgia to drive my parents everywhere because Mom had been the driver until she had a seizure and was told by the state of Georgia “YOU CAN’T DRIVE”. The good thing though is that Dad is actually getting up and driving Mom short distances. This is good because otherwise, Dad really doesn’t move. And that’s not healthy! He and his arthritic (and impossibly cute) dog are a total pair because neither of them wants to move too much, but at least Hogan gets outside a couple of times a day. I guess he has to, or it would be a really messy house! Heehee

SO – I am working four nine-hour days, generally 7:30am-5:30pm, unless I start early or have a shorter lunch. And then I have a half-day on Fridays, which is great! Last week, I gave myself retail therapy and went to Wal-Mart while Mom was visiting Miss Bonnie. It was fun! And I got some really great buys.

BUT… this weekend I head back to DC. And I can’t wait! Is that bad? I love my parents and I’m really enjoying my time with them. And I loved spending a night in Atlanta last weekend with my sister-in-law and niece and her gorgeous Border Collie, Jake. But… I’m a DC girl. And I want to get back home. Even if it’s colder there. I miss my city!

Of course, the drawback is that I have to leave the cat in Georgia...  meow

Saturday, February 5, 2011

January? What's that?

Well, apparently January did not exist for this blog. But it sure did for me! Many things have happened over the last month, the most important of which is the fact that I am currently writing this post in the kitchen of my Mom and Dad's old house in Eatonton, GA.

Wait, did you say EATONTON, GEORGIA????

Why yes, yes I did! I'm not sure I mentioned it, but my mother had a health issue late last year, from which she has pretty much recovered, but she is still not allowed to drive for six months (by GA state law). Wouldn't be much of a problem except that Dad doesn't do well on driving long trips. In addition, my company is running out of office space, so they are trying to convince people to telecommute more. SO, I took these combined circumstances and decided to temporarily telecommute full-time from Georgia for a couple of months.

A couple of weeks ago, I rented a car for a week and drove nearly 12 hours from DC to GA... with a cat in the back seat. Oh, let me tell you, THAT was fun! ... NOT! Well, it wasn't too bad after the first rest stop when I took him out of the carrier and put him in the harness with the leash tied to the back seat belt. I had (very cleverly) prepared the back seat before the trip with a tarp AND a thick blanket to avoid having white cat hair everywhere, and that actually worked out well.


Calypso was happier having a little more freedom, and he quieted down when he ended up on the "hump" between the two front seats with his head resting against my leg. I tried to get him to pee in a box of litter at some of the rest areas, but he just looked at me like I was evil.


And the other travellers laaaaaughed at the sight of someone trying to "walk" a cat. Oh well, I'm used to being the source of amusement! :-)

We finally got to Mom and Dad's and I set him up in the back bedroom (used to be their's but they live next door in what used to be Grandmother's house), with access to the little powder room next door with the litter and some food and water. Not surprisingly, he snarfed down the food and water immediately! And then crawled up the bed in between the sheets and the spread... and pretty much stayed there for a week!

The problem with that was that I had to go back to DC for a week to figure out the technical glitches (i.e. very low Wifi service) and my mom was going to have to take care of him. Apparently, he was peaches and cream the first two days. And then he realized the weekend was over and I should have been back... but I wasn't. MREOW pht pht pht... and he scratched Mom. Oh no! But she let him be and still fed him and cleaned his box until I came back the following Sunday.

I had to drive back to DC (rental car, remember?), but I made amazing time, mostly because I only had to worry about one being's bodily functions. I was smart and started off about 5am, so I got home about 4pm. Not bad! Coming back to GA, I was lucky enough to have a niece who is a flight attendant on AirTran AND who has buddy passes! Of course, I had to get up at 3am on a Sunday morning to catch the 6am flight, but hey - it was free! (AND first class!) And Sara, Rachel, and Marla met me at the airport and we went to have a fantastic Southern breakfast at the Flying Biscuit, and then they drove me back down to Eatonton. It was LOT of fun!

Now I'm in GA for two weeks, then back to DC for a week, GA for three weeks, DC for a week, GA for three weeks, DC a week, GA for two weeks, and then we decide if I need to continue and/or if my company will let me. Calypso has come out from under the covers and is getting more comfortable with the house, if not necessarily my mother.


He's been "helping" me work from the kitchen table...



But he still runs back to the bedroom if Mom or Dad come over. *sigh*

Today, my sister (in law) is picking me so I can spend the night in Atlanta. Yay! That's a side benefit of being in GA: I get to see my brother's family! Yay!

Another benefit is that my dad sometimes comes over and plays the piano while I'm working. Wonderful! (ok, he came over once and played Claire de Lune. Wonderful!) And, that I have access to a piano AND ragtime piano music so I can remember how to play!

I have dinner with my parents every night and we watch "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy!", and just in case you don't think we have any excitement, just yesterday I went to the Walmart and got some really cute clothes for next to nothing!


Groannnn... My life has changed sooooo much...