Archive for November, 2014

Bad dreams

One of the things about grieving is that it does tend to bring up some pretty freaky dreams.  I’ve spend the last few nights being lead on some not-so-pleasant choice-less own adventures by my brain.  It sucks when even in my sleep, I can’t get away from all this crap on my mind.

Do you have the same dream over and over again?  I can’t really say that I’ve ever had that happen to me.  Of course, if I dream every night, most nights I have forgotten the dreams by the time I wake up.  For the longest time, I simply thought that I didn’t dream.

So I’ve obviously heard of people having recurring dreams.  My father once told me that he had a recurring dream, years after retiring from the Navy, of being on a ship, and not being able to find one piece of his uniform, and therefore not being able to leave the ship.  He looked everywhere, all over the ship.

But I’m not one to put too much into dreams, and their meanings.   I think it’s probably just the last few synapses firing when you fall into subconsciousness, a random refrigerator casserole of whatever was going on in your mind, what was going on in the back of your mind that you didn’t even realize, and some random memories.

But I think that my dad’s dream is stressed related.   In fact, I think most dreams are stressed related.  Even when you don’t think you are experiencing any stress. It’s your brain’s way of spazzing out and trying to shake it off.

While I’ve never had the same dream over and over again, I have had certain themes that have come up over the years.   I dream about messed up bathrooms.   Once, the toilet is too big for me to actually get on.  Another time, there was a series of stalls that don’t have the in-between walls, so that when I sat down and looked left and right, I could see all the other women on the other toilets.   Feel free to try to analyze that.  I’d love to hear your theories.

There are also, recurring locations.  I used to have dreams that all happened in the same house.  It wasn’t a house that I had ever been in, and there were things about it that didn’t make sense.  There was a secret room that had to be accessed through a serious of tiny spaces, and hidden doorways, and stairways in the front and back of the house, even though it wasn’t really that big.  I found myself in that house over and over again, but the other people with me were always different, as was the circumstance.   Again, I welcome your thoughts as to what that might be about.

And then, there’s the bridge of my nightmares.   I have had so many dreams about having to get across this bridge.   There’s always some weird thing going on that prevents it from being a simple drive across.  Even times when it’s  a straightforward crossing, this bridge is whack.   It’s so steep, that I wonder if my car can climb it; it climbs high up into the air, higher than a high-rise in New York; it’s narrow.

But normally I can’t just cross it.  There’s usually something wrong with it, and I have to go through some trials to get across.  The bridge is out, so I have to get on a barge, but it’s only accessible via a rickety old dock.  Or there’s only one lane open on this already tiny, narrow bridge.

Last night I had to cross it on a zipline strung over the road of the bridge, hand over hand, all the way up and down.   No wonder why I keep waking up totally exhausted.  I keep getting that kind of workout in the middle of the night.

I hate that bridge.  I probably have not seen the last of it.

Rules of Cooking by PeggyLu

  1. Play some music really loudly, preferably something you kind of like to dance to.  Cooking is hella boring, so you’ll want something to take your mind off of how dull you feel.
  2. There’s probably no such thing as too much garlic.
  3. Always use broth or stock.  It makes people think you know what the hell you’re doing.
  4. Using wine when you cook also makes people think you know what you’re doing.  Bonus, you get to drink the wine while you cook.  Julia Child taught me that.
  5. In every bag of potatoes, there’s always that one that is pretty messed up.  Don’t waste your time trying to cut off the bad parts of that one.  Just throw it away.
  6. Use every dish.
  7. Try not to cook meat or dairy.  There’s less chance that you’ll give everyone food poisoning that way.
  8. Things you just have to leave on the stove or oven for an extended period of time are the best dishes.  It gives you time to do something else while you wait, like straighten your hair or remember where you left your keys.
  9. When it comes to vegetables, don’t peel them.  Not only are all the nutrients and vitamins on the skin, but it saves you a lot of time.  Also, potato peelers are pretty much just knuckle skin shavers.
  10. Impersonating the Swedish Chef from The Muppets is required.
  11. Doing the running man in the kitchen is acceptable.
  12. No one is going to know or even care if you mash the potatoes by hand.  Use a mixer.  Trust me.
  13. In the case of potlucks, don’t be afraid to buy something and put it in a dish.  No one has to know that you didn’t cook it.
  14. Cut every corner you can.
  15. Have fun

I hope you found this helpful.  Good luck getting through the holidays.

Just sayin’.

Ferguson, Missouri and Oakland, California

I hate that this was so predictable.   Tonight the grand jury announced that they would not indict the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown.

Meanwhile in Oakland, there’s protesting that seems to have turned into vandalism, broken windows, and bonfires.

As I type this, it seems that there’s a large group that is blocking the freeway.   I don’t really think that’s such a big deal, but it’s gotta be frustrating to anyone who might be stuck in traffic trying to get home.

Of course this is a big deal in Oakland because of the long history of police officer misconduct and brutality in Oakland.

And the precedent in Oakland is that a group gathers to peacefully make their point known, and at some point, it turns into this situation where damage and destruction begin.  It’s actually not this bad this time.   But every time this happens, most of the people who are arrested are not from Oakland.   I wish they would stay home and break their own stuff.

I believe in demonstrating.  I believe that people have a right to be upset, and it makes perfect sense.  This is not an isolated incident.

Breaking windows won’t solve it.  Setting fires won’t solve it.

 

Stay angry, but stay safe, Oakland.

And don’t break my shit.

Hiking.

As part of coming back from my broken leg in March, I have joined a hiking group.  I found them on Meetup, and I’ve been out with the group about four times so far.   Two of those hikes have been pretty significant in terms of length and ascent.  So I’ve been getting a good workout, and every time I go out, I feel a little stronger, which is great.   I feel like my endurance is building, and I’m getting back into shape.

And then the thing that shall not be mentioned happened.   As with any sort of extreme grief, I have become somewhat detached, and closed off from the world.  I’ve wanted to stay inside, stay quiet, stay indoors.  At a certain point, though, going outside is just the thing for a broken heart.

So, I was back at it yesterday, hiking more than 8 miles.   It was good to go out.  It was good to get warn out.  It was raining a little bit, and I got a bit wet and muddy.   And I laughed a little bit, and got to talk to someone about Star Wars and Star Trek.  It was a good day for me.

And today, I want my buffer from the world back.  I don’t want to leave the house, and I don’t want to see anyone.

So, just like with the leg and the hiking, I am slowly making progress.  There are good days.  There are bad days.  There are good moments.  There are bad moments.  There are moments when I think about her, and I just can’t stand how much it hurts to think that she was taken away, and there are moments when I think about her, and it makes me smile.   And sometimes even laugh.

There are moments on the trail when I feel like I can’t take another step, and breathing is hard.  There are moments where I am breathing deeply, and every step feels like I’m conquering something.   And there are moments on the trail when I am skipping with my arms outstretched, because I feel like I’m flying.

I just wish she could do it with me, is all.

 

Coping.

One of the hardest things about going through the grieving process, for me, is coping with other people’s reactions to my grief.   Everywhere I turn, it seems, there are people trying to hand me their own grief and issues.  Or just expecting me to get on with getting on.

I can’t carry that for you.   Not right now.   Probably not ever.

I can’t take on what you need right now.   I can’t be what you need me to be in this situation.  I’m struggling just to keep afloat myself.   Getting out of bed is herculean.   My legs feel as if they are 100 pounds each, and walking is a chore.   My brain keeps crashing, or rebooting without warning.   Answering questions is excruciating, in particular any questions about anything having to do with making a decision or planning anything.  I will do my best to be as invisible as possible, and to not speak up, and not volunteer.   And I’m lazy and avoiding the hell out of everything right now.  I’m struggling with trying to have patience.   Crowds are weird.   Corners are lovely.   Mostly, simple video games are addictive, soothing, and consuming.

And Catholic churches are the best place to cry.

The thing I learned this week, though, is that all those people who are trying to hand me their “stuff” and wanting me to carry it for them.  All those people that want to somehow make all of this about them, the people who seem to not understand that I need time, that I need space, that I need a little help; all that has nothing to do with me.  I can’t take it personally.   Anyone who has expectations of me that seem too high or who seems to be oblivious to what I’m going through and what it means, that’s just their “stuff”.   It’s not even any of my business.

I just have to do what I have to do to get through this, and people will get along without my help, if I can’t give it.  They’ll carry their own grief or fear of grief or whatever it is, and we’ll all get on in our own time.

I really do miss her, and I wish she were still here with us.  The world is less fun, less magic without her.

Rethinking A Few Things

I spent last week in New York.  It was a work trip that had been planned for a while.  It wasn’t really good timing, and it wasn’t really a thing I wanted to do, really.   I thought perhaps that it might distract me from some things which will remain unsaid.   It was distracting, and it did put certain things out of my mind, but yet, the things that replaced those thoughts were perhaps not what I was expecting.

It wasn’t so long ago, visiting for another work trip at a different job entirely, that I thought that I could easily move to New York at any time.  In fact, I even envisioned myself going to NYU for grad school.  I didn’t even care what the field of study might be.  The point was that I would be living the student life, probably sharing an apartment in an exotic borough, like the Bronx.   I always thought of it as a sojourn.  I felt that I would spend a few years in The Big Apple, but eventually the Bay Area, specifically the East Bay, was where I would end up for good.  I have never felt that I belonged anywhere the way that I feel that I belong here at home.

As the years went by, it was a dream I sort of forgot about.  I knew I wouldn’t lay down permanent roots somewhere else, so I just settled into my roots here, and forgot about moving away.   I explored more of the world, even further outside of New York and the United States, and everywhere I’ve ever been, no matter how much I liked it, I always was happy to come home to California, to Oakland.  I am more Oakland or East Bay than anything else.

So, it didn’t surprise me very much to find myself not really digging New York.  I mean, strongly not digging.  I could not wait to get the heck out of there.  I didn’t want to listen to the endless honking, and I didn’t want to get bumped and jostled down the street.  I had no desire to squeeze myself onto an overpacked rush hour subway train.  I didn’t want to wear a hat, a hoodie, a coat, a scarf, and mittens. Every part of my body seemed to be screaming in protest to my surroundings.  And at the end of the day, I was so tired.

New York City is exhausting, and it wears my soul out.

When I finally got home, and walked to work on Monday, the sun was shining, I was wearing a light hoodie, no one bumped me as I walked down the street, and I think maybe I heard one car horn honk.  I am so happy to be home. Home, sweet, peaceful Oakland.

dorothy

Just sayin’.

I’m On An Airplane

Okay, so it’s not quite so cool as being on a boat, but I’m in the air somewhere over southern Minnesota/South Dakota.  And I’m on the internet.   So, technology is sweet.  I like living in the future.

I’ve had a rough couple of weeks, so having to travel to  New York for work wasn’t something I was really looking forward to.   I had to give a bunch of presentations and meet with a bunch of people I had never met before.   That’s not necessarily my strongest suit, but from what I was told, I killed it.   I hope I did.  I also hope that I don’t have to do that again any time soon.  Work trips are exhausting.   I was exhausted before I left California.

But my trip wasn’t all bad.  I got to spend some time with a friend who I had been missing quite a bit.  I like hanging out with him because I feel like we learn from one another.  Also, I feel like every time we see each other, we understand each other better.   He’s an important friend to me.

So being on this flight is a little bit bittersweet.  I am so looking forward to getting home and sleeping in my own bed, and showering in my own shower, and spending some time with Mr. Darcy.   But I’m going to miss my friend.

However, I’ve realized that missing someone isn’t such a bad thing.  It means that you have someone who you share good memories with.  There’s someone who has mad you happy, and that you maybe even have loved.

Applicable to my life in more ways than just one right now.

Just sayin’.


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