A Work in Progress

Monday, August 3, 2015

weekend socializing

Saturday morning we went downtown for breakfast and food shopping. I think we've finally learned our lesson about stopping in at the Palace Cafe. Service is usually slow and if you're there before the lunch menu is served the food is just not that great. Maybe we'll try the cooked food stalls at the farmer's market next time. Or maybe next time we'll do what everyone sensible does and wait a day to go the next town over for a farmer's market with actual fucking brunch options nearby. Anyhow, we picked up produce for the week and then the rest of what we needed at Sprouts.

I woke up too early that day, so Nate ended up doing most of the prep for this dinner round (veggie and bean pasta with rosemary focaccia and tapenade). I did a dessert of poached peaches, strawberry sauce and whipped coconut cream. Other-Nate blended up a limeade cooler thing from the Thug Kitchen cookbook which was quite tasty. It was a smaller crowd this time, and we ended up forgoing games in favor of just talking. Also, Other-Nate invited us to try out Exploding Kittens at his place, and that's what we did today. After all the goddamned hype I was really wondering what everyone would end up getting. I'd say I enjoyed it and would definitely play again, so I'm less grumpy about the millions they made on this. It does feel like adding the whole NSFW expansion pack to the deck makes the beginning of the game a little slow for 4 people, but just one or the other seems like it would have been too quick. For that number, half that pack added to the main deck would have been the right amount, but you'd have to check which cards you were adding so as not to potentially mess up the matching cat cards.

We had grilled hot dogs, more boozy limeade, and a ton of chips and kettle corn this afternoon so I was in no mood for food when we got home. I eventually just fixed a kale and lentil salad at the end of the evening. I guess my body is compensating for everything else. I get kind of grossed out by junk food now days, not sure if that's just the IBS or if my attempts to re-balance my gut flora are working but with unintended consequences. I am still losing weight, which is something I'm kind of keeping a watchful eye on. I don't know if it's good or bad yet.

Friday, July 31, 2015

where did this week go?

Yesterday and today in the morning folks from the EPA were by to collect some samples for their survey of the local superfund site. I was trying to upload my photos from vacation to Google plus and gave up on trying to get them in order after Google Photos, their new app, kept confusing me and mixing them up. I dusted off my flickr account and now I'm planning to upload everything there, another daunting task to add to the long list of daunting tasks. I want everything off my phone and somewhere else because it has a hard enough time with the photos that are on there now. But it's just... exhausting sometimes. I spent an entire day on just that. I've started taking more pictures as my memory gets bad, but then I have to struggle with storing them somewhere, which takes up more time and makes it feel not worth it. Who am I even doing this for? I don't have enough people in my life who care about this shit, and if it costs me more in time and energy, I'm not sure it outweighs the anxiety and existential issues I have when I look at a photo and don't know where or when it's from.

In the evening I hung out with Omari. He apparently knows people who live two blocks over, so I went with him and listened to them do their quartet rehearsal. Brings back memories. They have a lovely carp pond in their backyard, I'm jealous. I still can't decide if I ever want to play again; officially declaring myself done seems too extreme, and yet I can't imagine myself having the spoons for practice anymore...

I haven't done much today except clean a little, whittle down my plant list further, and do some depression research. Maybe I'm still too tired from being angry yesterday.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

and back again

It's taking me too long to write up my trip post, so I'm skipping over it to do the subsequent days before I forget them.

Yesterday first thing in the morning I got a voice message from the bank that the third-party checks I had purchased were no good. I kept calling the number they left, but no one was picking up. I got really upset about it because nothing goes right for me these days and since Nate was home he took me to the nearest branch so I could go talk to someone in person. This bank's website is terrible, their phone service is not great... but when you actually show up they're really nice. The problem is that it's hard to show up with limited hours and locations. It turns out no one told me about the extra security measure they take with their checks--if I had been paying closer attention, I might have noticed this in time to correct my third party order, but I can't be that sharp these days. But they waived the check ordering fee and gave me temporary checks. And in the parking lot there was a farmer's market going on, so we got some produce for the week. Finally, something turns out better than expected.

In just the few days we were gone I had more plants die on me, and a few that very suddenly took a turn for the worse. I had to put up a shade tent for a plant that was perfectly healthy when I left but in the meantime had dried up into a husk. I seriously wonder how much effort I should expend on the garden for the next eight months if things are going to be this comically bad. In the afternoon, I had therapy, and I was pretty much exhausted after that, mentally and physically. In the evening, I started reconsidering taking the plunge on Mucuna because I'm getting a bit ragey. Anger coming back can be a sign that the anhedonia is receding, but I can't go out like this, I'll punch someone in the face.

Today I've been trying to finalize my plant list for the front yard, despite no real hope for that happening this year. I've also been trying to find another to-do app that doesn't make me rage when I use it. I think I've settled on Todoist, but only reluctantly. It does have the expandable drop-down subtask lists I want but it is a little glitchy in the Chrome browser extension. I almost gave up and used Google Sheets but it would just be too messy, with no guarantee of access outside of wifi range. I hate having to write everything out so that I have instructions to follow when my fibro fog is really bad, but it's what I need. Of course, right now it's really hard to remember half the shit I'm supposed to write down and flesh out instructions for, so I'm getting really pissy about the amount of time it takes for me to just plan things.

Blondie posted a calculator for finding your real bra size, and according to it, after all the size changes I went through in the past year I am a 30E. Have you ever even seen a 30E size in the non-expensive department stores? And that's only slightly below (the properly sized) average, but no one actually buys their proper size. Man, fuck this shit. I'll have to go to Nordstrom's just to verify the size assessment in person. And very few bra stores, even online, stock very much in the lower band sizes. Why do the stupid looking bras with lace have to be cheaper than the plain bras I actually want? And why must we have underwires in everything? Though I suppose a better fitted bra will give me less grief with underwires. Still, with as wide a breast root as I have, I don't appreciate that stuff being the default.

I only skipped one workout day, but it already feels like I've got catching up to do. I'm having a little trouble keeping my walking rhythm, like I forget I'm walking for a brief bit and I have to catch myself.That's a little worrying, because I'm pretty sure I haven't ever had that problem before. But it could also just be a product of trying to multitask too intensely while on the treadmill.

Friday, July 24, 2015


At the end of the day Wednesday I got some mineral spirits and some steel wool and scrubbed down the panel of wood that had gotten caked in wood stain. Amazingly, I got almost all of it off and the next morning I re-stained it properly. Thank goodness. Now though, I can't work on that project for another three-ish weeks because the EPA is coming through to test the air in our home. We're on the edge of an underground TCE plume and they want to see if it's affecting the houses in the neighborhood so we signed up for the study. I'm not too worried about the pollution for us, as we're not planning to have kids and we don't have a crawl space for the fumes to accumulate in, but I'm happy to be a data point.

Thursday I watered the plants, a departure from the usual routine, though I'm thinking of watering them tonight because I'm a bit worried about what the weekend will be like. I did a bunch of random chores and I went downtown to get a cheap haircut since I totally failed this week at making an appointment with a nice place. It just kept slipping my mind, so I said fuck it and got an okay, quick haircut for $12. The drawback to such places is that they tend to fight you when you want to do something too stylish or butch, so you can't have high expectations.

Today I've been packing for the trip and trying to find a new to-do list app that I won't hate and stop using. Gave Any.do a shot, though I'm already annoyed that it won't let me re-order my sub-tasks and that's enough to make me question my commitment. Being able to order my sub-tasks is really important. I need to give myself unambiguous instructions in case I'm in a heavy brain-fog.

Finally got my new shipment of supplements to try. Amazon delivery is getting ridiculous. I'm really going to have to try GNC or Vitamin Shoppe in person from now on, they're deliberately making regular service unbearable to get people to buy Prime.

I've also been having faint nausea again, and I can't tell if I am just upset about the trip, or if something was wrong with the leftover curry I've been trying to finish off, or maybe the bread?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

for now...

I had a few days in there where I felt emotionally better but my fibro has been flaring, making my overall level of misery about the same, just in a different form. It feels like so many things are a double bind. Things I can take to alleviate physical pain may irritate my gut, things I can take to make me feel better may make me worse in the long term, things I can take to heal my gut could make me more depressed. To top it off, this weather is once again killing more of my plants. I'm glad I saved my owl clover a few weeks back by digging it up, but I can't do that for everything else that's in danger. If I do any fall planting it will likely only be trees. Not sure if it would be worth it, but they say we're halfway to forming El Nino for next year, so it might be okay. This, of course, still hinges on successfully killing off the lawn by the time October comes around.

Yesterday I started to sort our hardware into all those plastic organizers leftover from my mom's bead collection. May as well put them to use. I also cleaned the studio up a little (was that yesterday?) and tried to scrub the rust off the stainless steel shower hardware. And I had therapy. It's hard not to laugh bitterly at the fact that I am shit at self-care. When you grow up as a child in a house where no one sees you as a person, you don't learn it very well. The weird thing is that I used to be capable of it years ago, I'm pretty sure. I think being sick has ruined what little cohesive sense of ego I'd managed to build.

I realize therapists are not supposed to have the answers, and moreover I know that the thoughts I'm having are a product of the emotions I'm feeling, but it's hard to hold back a near-existential sense of dread and also an anger at the fact that I exist. Why is it that the best I can hope for is to simply ignore the fact that everything is unfair and life has no inherent meaning? I was created to solve my parents' narcissistic hunger for meaning and that turned out just peaches for them. Was it worth it? Not for them, I'm guessing. And now I have to deal with literally being sick and in constant physical pain because their little experiment went horribly wrong.

I tried to stain the boards for the cookbook shelf today. For some reason I couldn't mentally make myself wipe down the stain in time and it caked over unevenly. I have to go buy mineral spirits and try to undo the mess. I should have had mineral spirits on hand to begin with, but tried to buy a less toxic brush cleaner for my brushes, which by the way did not work. It worries me a little that maybe being tired and in pain all the time has worn down my judgment this much.

I think I should just start drawing again. Even if it makes no sense to me right now, at least I'll have filled my time with something that I project will be useful to me in the future, whenever that comes.

Monday, July 20, 2015

shambling along

Can't remember much about Friday at this point. I remember my shoulder bothering me starting that day. I also remember thinking that I should really blog more often because I'm crap at keeping memories in my head for half a week, but of course that didn't translate to me actually trying to write anything down. I must have worked on the house model, I did that Saturday as a continuation of stuff I started Friday. I may have had an emotional breakdown. Can't say for sure, no memories.

Yesterday I was supposed to go to a housewarming but the shoulder pain had grown into a full fibro flare and I just ended up napping in the afternoon. Nate was sick anyhow, and it wasn't going to be terribly efficient to go by public transit. It's not often that my fibro flares get completely terrible. I forget how awful those are because my brain won't let me learn. I'm starting to wonder if what's causing my emotional blockage is in fact my brain trying to shut down parts of itself to shut out the pain signals. If that's true, I need to go back to actively treating the fibro so that I can function emotionally. Of course, the official first-line treatment for that and apparently everything else I'm dealing with right now is a SSRI. I don't like how this has become the great panacea when it doesn't even work for half the people out there, and works less well each subsequent time for a good portion of the rest. I don't know what's the right course of action here. If nobody can tell me definitively if or why a SNRI altered crucial aspects of my personality that haven't come back yet, why would I risk altering my brain even further? Unless the depression gets so bad that I can't function, it seems like the risk isn't worth it.

Today I hauled yet more dirt into the raised beds. It's going to rain tonight, so I then had to put the wheelbarrow and the sifter under the eaves after finishing the load of dirt. Next up is watering the place. I just found out that the City is supposed to cite you if you water your yard less than 48 hours before or after rainfall, but that is insane. "Rainfall" currently consists of about five to ten minutes of a light sprinkling, most of which evaporates when the sun comes out again. I can't imagine they're actually enforcing this except in neighborhoods where the busybodies are going around checking everyone's yard. And even then, this seems like a bit much for the busybodies.

I also matted and reframed my old orchestra pic, and a drawing by Ursula Vernon. Haven't hung any of these yet, but I figure it's never going to happen if I have to keep looking at them unframed.

I've started taking glutamate, in the hopes of healing my gut and giving me one less thing to worry about. Oddly enough, my mood is a little better today, although taking this is possibly, maybe, contra-indicated for people with depression, except that's just speculation at this point too. Yay for being a guinea pig for everything.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

thoughts are scary

Tuesday was a hard therapy session. Not because it was more emotionally intense than typical, but because I was emotionally... constipated? I realized my brain was just shutting down trains of thought and it may not have been the fibro. My therapist thinks there may be a connection between my creativity block and the emotions I keep tamping down. I agree this is possible, but that means that this thing got its start years ago and has been slowly building. I'm supposed to try and observe what happens in my head when I have those black-pit mood swings but I can't seem to pin them down now that I'm looking for them. Things well up when I'm busy, and then I feel like I have to tamp them down, so I fail to observe them. I did finally ave a cry, but that was definitely about missing Mayn, and not the other issues. Weird that that one made sense and none of the other ones have.

I've had terribly annoying shoulder pain since then, perhaps not a coincidence. Actually, no, it was probably mostly all the coloring... I'll get to that in a bit. Still worked on the stupid sink yesterday and today. I'm starting to get a little freaked out at how easily the stone sink edge crumbles into my hands. I think I need to find a better sealer product for it. The caulking has gone so much worse for this side than the other. I'm just going to give up on it after this, so long as I can actually get the masking tape off cleanly. What the hell did I do differently last time that it was so easy? Did I use silicone on the other side?Also this means that it's going to be even worse when I have to redo it in a few years. Can I even use caulk remover on a soft stone sink?

Can't really remember what else I did Wednesday. Ah yes, I finally sat down and tested all the "silver" beads from my mom's collection. Most of them were silver plated, some were nickel silver, as predicted. I did get a few surprises, though, so I'm glad I bothered. Nonetheless, most of it goes into the donation pile. I guess I also spent some time on dinner, since that was slow braised pork chops with cabbage. Watered things in the yard and worked out as per usual. In the evening I colored in a mandala printout that I downloaded from somewhere or other, since my therapist was suggesting coloring, especially coloring mandalas, as a placeholder activity until I can fully engage my creativity. Funny enough, it did kick something up in my brain because I remember thinking how unsatisfactory all these mandala designs were and wondering if I should make my own. I only had enough energy to get as far as re-researching how to construct mandalas (I should know this already, I've looked it up before) and then ran out of steam. I colored in a design with colored pencils for two or three hours until I stopped being able to color in the lines reliably, then gave up.

Today I sharpened and organized all my color pencils and matted and framed some posters and pictures for the house. That's pretty much it. I was exhausted by the middle of the afternoon and didn't recover, except to fuss over the sink. I ate dinner but I don't feel like I ate the right thing. I feel like I need something else even though I'm full. I tried meditating to put myself in a vulnerable spot for the thoughts I kept fearing last week but all I got was brain static. I'm just going to have to catch myself when I'm starting to feel bad and try to let it all happen. Not looking forward to it.