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Lady T. - "The Witch Is In"
28 December 2016 @ 10:39 am
A friend of mine who is a Reiki healer and all-around self-actualized cool person recently posted to facebook about the power of habitual intention.  That is to say, every day for a month he's dedicated a moment to meditate on his intentions, to reaffirm and reinforce them -- just a small ritual, but one that has manifested real, positive change.

This resonated with me, as someone who desires change and believes in the power of thought but has found herself stuck in self-destructive cycles of inaction.  So last night I spent the moment before sleep (which is my only consistent opportunity for meditation) to affirm my intention to self-heal.  I imagined myself carrying that intention today and using it to make small changes - a moment of reflection during daytime hours, maybe a little yoga (!) and, above all, leaving the last two cloves in my last pack unsmoked. Knowing that The God-King planned to take the kids to his parents for the entire morning, I figured this would be an excellent opportunity to take those first small but concrete steps towards my goal.

And yet here I am, sitting on the porch in the cold even though the house is quiet, smoking my last cloves (including several partials I found in the ashtray) and not ruling out the possibility of going out to buy more.

However, I'm not counting this as a failure.

This time of year is a natural time for reflection. 2016 had some real highs, mostly in terms of my writing career, but overall it was a bitch.  One of the worst I've survived (to date).  The Kinglet took a nose dive, and that's been the hardest to bear: worry for him, fighting the world for him, exasperation with him for not fighting too, having him under foot, watching him self-destruct, trying to cope while he takes his shit out on me.  PTSD from all the shit his abuse brings back, stuff I thought I'd put to rest a long time ago.  And then the medical stuff, all the appointments, the condescending doctors, the non-answers, the worsening symptoms.  And losing my job, feeling victimized and ignored.  The lack of friendship and emotional support.  Watching my parents get sicker and weaker.  And that's just my personal shit, not even touching on the damned election and my disgust with people in general.  Fuck 2016.

But the upside of surviving hardship is you get to decide the takeaway.  What have I learned this year? Specifically, what have I learned about myself?

The fact that I am smoking, and justifying it, is a lesson about my natural response to hardship.  When life knocks me down, I don't make lemonade; I make mudpies.  I smoke, or I eat my feelings.  I stop exercising, I stop going outside, I seek comfort under a blanket in a comfy chair.

This is not to say that I give up.  I mean, I DO give up -- I get depressed, I weep, I contemplate ending it all.  Sometimes I quit things: jobs, clubs, friendships.  I burn bridges.  But I don't give up on life, at least not for long.  I lick my wounds for a day or two, but then I do things.  I take care of my kids.  I make the dinners and the phone calls and the appointments.  I send out new batches of writing to get rejected (or not).  I do the things.  I just do them in shorter bursts, I guess, and with less energy, until the harship goes away and the depression lifts and I lose my taste for mudpies.

The question that's been rolling around in my brain today is whether, given this habit, am I a fighter? Does it still count as fighting if you're doing it from under a blanket, or while chain-smoking, or saying to hell with the diet and putting on fifteen pounds of cookie weight? Or does it just make me a *survivor*?

The secondary question I'm asking myself is, should I fight this part of my nature? This embracing of self-destruction as a means of survival.  Should I be ashamed of myself, should I work harder to deny these instincts? Should I strive to be someone who responds to hardship by saying NO to the cookies and the cigarettes and the blankies, should I do the yoga even if it has to wait until 9PM after the kids are finally in bed and the house is quiet, even though I'm freaking exhausted and all I WANT to do is go to sleep?

As I face the last six months of my thirties, mortality is staring back at me.  I look at how sick my parents are after a lifetime of surviving on mudpies.  I think of all the celebrities who died young this year who struggled with substance abuse and unhealthy choices. I tihnk of my brother who was dead at 37 because of drugs and drinking and smoking - the way he used to cough and vomit every morning, the way I cough and vomit after a month of smoking.  He literally coughed himself to death, I know that.  Tore a hole in his aorta.   I know what I do is not good for me.

On the other hand, life is fucking hard.   Self-care can be a lot of things.  Sometimes medicine is destructive; like chemo.  Sometimes healing is not a straight line, but a zig-zag, full of setbacks but, overall, a push forward.

One thing I know I've got going for me is that I don't stay down here in the mud.  I've quit smoking many times and I will do it again, when the switch flips and I'm ready.  I know I'll start stretching again, go for walks again, start counting calories and take off the weight one more time.  I always do.  I just don't know if beating myself up for my choices in the meantime is fair.

We do what we have to.  We get by.

In the course of writing this post, I finished off the pack and the butts.  They're all gone.  The house is still quiet (except for the damn whining cat).  I'm back inside, and I've still got a couple of hours to myself.  Not sure how I'm going to spend it yet -- maybe I'll quit smoking now.  Maybe I'll make some other mudpies.  Or maybe I'll Do Things.

We'll see.
 
 
Lady T. - "The Witch Is In"
25 November 2016 @ 02:41 pm

I'm not sure why creative non-fiction and essays seem harder to me than poetry and stories.

I've been blogging for years.  I actively chronicled "The Kinglet's Quest" starting back in the days when we knew something was up with him, but not fucking what.  I've often thought about polishing it up and turning it into publishable essays to submit to parenting magazines and disability websites etc, and eventually compiling it all in a memoir.  I mean, that's the plan.

But I have yet to do it.  I've said it's because we're still (still!) in the thick of it with him, and I'm too close to it to write it with perspective.  Like reading tarot for people I know too well is problematic, and reading for myself all but a waste of time.  The words just get muddied with my own ick.

But that's not the only reason.  I certainly COULD put some words out there that would be informative and consumable and maybe useful to someone out there.  But I don't, because--why? Because it seems too hard, maybe.  Because, with non-fiction, you've got to be extra sure you've got your facts straight.

But that's not really it, EITHER, because when writing fiction I am meticulous about facts.  I do my research, and everything in my power to make sure what I'm portraying is realistic.  It takes extra time, sure, but not so much time as to make it impossible.  And it's not like I'm aspiring to write an academic treatise.  With creative non-fiction, particularly personal essays, the writer's POV is central.  It doesn't have to read like a text book full, is what I'm saying.  I could run with a few truths, including the truth of my own experience.

It's really not as hard as my stubborn muse makes it out to be.  About a year ago I paired up with a fellow who was seeking content for his websites: food-writing, to begin with, though I later branched out into holidays, history, wellness, education, and pop culture... it was hard for me at first because it was new, and there were deadlines, I had to learn to balance regular writing practice with the daily life of raising kids and keeping house and all the Kinglet shit which is a full-time job in its own right. But I got better at it -- I got GOOD -- and I got PAID.  Up until he stopped paying me, anyway (which, blah, sucks --dude still owes me like $200), but even still I gained some skills and realised, hey.  I can DO this.

So I've wanted to do it.  I made a laundry list of topics I could write on with authority, and I researched possible markets where I could shop them, and I started teaching myself more about content writing as a craft--SEO shit.  But then I didn't do it.

Partly, I stopped because of the Kinglet, who fell apart again in May.  We're still struggling to put him together, and that's a valid reason.  It's extra hard to write when you've got a houseful of kids and therapists and daily phone calls to teachers or doctors or lawyers or schools, plus chronic PTSD because the little psycho is constantly bombarding me with insults and assaulting his support people and trashing rooms and triggering all the Bad Things I internalized in the house of anger I grew up in (same house, btw).  I mean, under these circumstances not writing so much is a total legit thing.

But that's not the only reason.  Even with all of that, even without a regular practice, I still get shit done.  And not just the administrative, left-brained shit that I do instead of actual writing (submitting, editing, SFPA cat-herding).  Since the Kinglet left school in May I've written dozens of poems, a 10K word story which sold to freaking F&SF Magazine on its first time out in the world, plus dozens more pages of what will, hopefully, be other decent shorts.  I'm not slouching.  Not having time is not an excuse.

But writing non-fiction FEELS different.  There's something about it that intimidates me.

For example: Jim Hines is putting together another INVISIBLE anthology, and put out a submission call for essays on representation of marginalized people in SF.  My first thought was, OOooh, I could write something about pagans in SF.  Or mental illness/disabilities, or bisexuals, or, hell, parents of special needs kids.  I mean, there are lots of ways that I identify that are outside of mainstream.  I even scrolled back through my entries here and found multiple entries that COULD be a launching point.  And yet I've done nothing with it.  Nothing sticks.

Maybe it's because I'm thinking that my voice as a "marginalized" person is not as urgently needed as some others -- POC have a lot more shit going on in 2016 than I do.  And if I'm trying to think of specific examples of representation in SF that have moved me to speak out and I'm drawing a blank, then maybe this call isn't meant for me.

But still. I could try.  I've... HAD stuff to say.  Why couldn't I say it NOW, if only for the challenge?

There are other possibilities. There's a particular website dedicated to disablities that seems to have regular contributed content, including essays I could have written -- but I've never even searched out their guidelines.  I've seen TWO calls for content writers in working writer forums.  One was even for food-writing, which is completely in my wheelhouse. I went so far as to put my name in the hat, but not send anything.

Instead, I've spent the time I've had (which is substantial) over the last week to: work on SFPA stuff.  Submit.  I wrote a flash fiction story and polished some new poems.  And update Livejournal (for the first time in ages).  When I take pen to paper again (metaphorically--I type almost everything now) it will probably be to work on stories.

Why?

Maybe the fact that I still don't know the answer is the answer.  It just seems like so much.  Pondering this question, I looked at the calendar in my kitchen.  The Kinglet has therapy every day but Friday.  Wednesday we're taking Wiggles to storytime.  No holidays this week, so the God-King won't be home as a buffer.  Don't know if the therapist found a support person yet.  Don't know if the lawyer is going to call with an answer.  What's going to happen? What will the kids throw at me? When is this chapter going to be over, what will be the new normal and when, when? Don't know, don't know.  I've never been good with unknown futures.

Maybe that's why fiction seems so much more doable.

 
 
Lady T. - "The Witch Is In"
24 November 2016 @ 05:50 pm
Well Carolynn brought me back here, and that's kind of cool.  I was looking at old entries the other day, just to visit.  I came again today looking for inspiration for an essay I'm thinking of writing.  No such luck there, but I'm happy to say I still find what I have to say quite interesting.  Like lalala, you know what? This chick makes some fine points.
 
 
Lady T. - "The Witch Is In"
20 November 2016 @ 06:27 pm
So I've started smoking again.  I cracked on Friday, which at least was a lovely day for chain-smoking on the deck.  But the weather turned, as it is wont to do, so now I am freezing my fingers off at the picnic table in the screened-in porch while the wind throws a hissy-fit outside.  The chimes have a lot to say, as well.
Why do I always seem to do this in winter? Maybe bad shit happens mostly in winter.  Or maybe I'm just more beat down by the time winter rolls around, I dunno.
On the bright side, I am historically more productive as a writer when I'm smoking - so there's something to look forward to.
Not sure what I want to be working on yet, though.  I hesitate to start anything because I am still in the thick of the life that has pushed me back to smoking, and that doesn't leave me much headspace to work on things creative.
I dread tomorrow.  Tom says he'll recruit his folks to take the kids at some point, so that might help.  Alone time with the kids is really when I've been falling to pieces.  I could use the break.
He's been really great through this.  I remember times in the past when I've had downswings and thought I would lose him because of it.  Maybe he's been through enough of them now that he knows I always come back out.  He keeps saying I have every right to lose it, with everything that's been going on, so he doesn't blame me.  I know he's right, but it's nice to hear someone else say it.  I have every right to feel the way I feel.  This shit is damned hard.
2016 is a year for the record books, innit.
To be fair, I've had a very good year in some respects.  I've hit new highs in my writing career, and the retreat at the beach was more than just restorative from an emotional POV.  I'm still processing this sea change in me, still internalizing, but the takeaway is an important one in my growth as a writer.  It's no longer about trying to get my work recognized, trying to get noticed, because that's happened.  I think now it will be more about refining the work, but also being more authentically myself. And focusing on the communities where my voice belongs - because that isn't everywhere.
Where do I want to be? Not here.  This house is bringing me down.
I keep dreaming about moving.  Every night, another house, a new place.  Decisions- where to put the sofa.  Where to put the kids. I wish that were literal; I wish for a new house with lots of natural light and a bigger yard (along with a me that has energy to maintain it).  I'd like to live somewhere where I am not always in the view of other people.
And maybe with less stuff.  Maybe a pipe dream with two kids underfoot, but still.  Imagine lots of empty floor space and open shelving.
Last night I dreamt I was back in the townhouse with my ex, trying to gather up my things to move out.  Damn, so much stuff, mixed in with his.  Decisions.  Right at the end I remembered my hope chest, which is of course too big to fit in the car.  Which is, in real life, a problem: it's so full of memorabilia I can't close it properly.  A box for every lover - well, the main ones.  Scrapooks.  Pretty much every letter anyone ever wrote me.  All the wedding cards and the Kinglet's baby shower cards, a newspaper with Dubya's fat face on it announcing war.  It was all crammed in like a jenga puzzle, just so, but last week I took everything out trying to find the bet I made with my brother about whether a woman would ever be president in our lifetime.  i haven't spoken to him in almost five years, but I was going to male the fucker a copy and tell him to pay up.  Couldn't find it, though.  Which is for the best, I guess, since it turns out I didn't need it.  Godzdamn it, America.  WTF is wrong with you?
2016 can kiss my ass.
 
 
Lady T. - "The Witch Is In"
12 October 2016 @ 08:36 am

I just need to lay all this out so that when I finally do lose it, people can look back and say, "Oh, well, yeah, now I get it.  It makes perfect sense, I would have gone bananas too."

Last xmas I decided in 2016 I was going to be pushy about figuring out what's wrong with me, neurologically - be my own advocate, finally get some answers.  What actually happened is I saw a lot of doctors, endured a lot of tests (some of them quite painful), endured lots of people's opinions, and was made to feel bad about myself and question my sanity while my symptoms continue to get worse, all the way here into October, where I'm hanging out with a little more information but no real explanation. And this post isn't even about all that, it's just to set the stage.

Because here's what I want you, dear reader, to understand: for every one of these appointments (and we are in the dozens - intake, test, meet to talk about it, that's typically three per doctor, not counting my regular providers, who I see on either a semi-annual basis for maintenance or as-needed for problems, and always with a follow-up) there is an average hour and a half out of my day (driving to/from, sitting in the waiting room as the clock ticks past the appointment time, sitting in the exam room waiting to actually see the doctor, and then actually seeing the doctor).  That's also an hour and a half out of my husband's day, which includes his lunch break if we were lucky enough to schedule somewhere between ten and noon so he could watch the children, unless I brought the kids WITH me (so that Wiggles can tear apart the room and scream and make the doctors look at me with annoyance or outright scold me), or unless he took the whole day off OR we recruited his parents to babysit.  Always his parents, who also watch the kids during the IEP meetings and every other kid event or crisis that comes up.  It takes a village, is what i'm saying.  Every single time.  Also, it takes a co-pay.  And usually there's some sort of insurance flub that I find out about a month later and spend hours on the phone or writing appeal letters over, but that's a WHOLE OTHER rant.

So anyway.  This is all just to give you a frame of reference for my state of mind while this OTHER medical ridiculousness unfolded.

In June of 2016 (about the time that I was nursing my son up out of a bipolar depression and getting circles of skin cut out of my leg for my birthday) I realized I'd been having a problem of, let's call it, a womanly nature.  This womanly problem had gone on for over a month and had not been resolved in the usual manner of things, so it became clear that I needed to see my womany doctor.

Unfortunately, my womanly doctor (or more accurately, her womanly minions) failed to resolve this problem over the course of three or maybe four visits (I lost count.  I think there was at least one in there where I didn't have to pay anything because it was a follow-up/call back for something they were supposed to have done earlier).

This brought us into July, when, even though I'd been swabbed and milked of all kinds of bodily fluids, I developed a raging fever from a UTI that they had not detected.

So, mid Julyish, I'm now at my GPs seeking help for the 104 degree fever.  The doctor tries to get hold of the womanly doctor minions for results of the test I'd had like a week prior so she can determine which medicine would be best suited to my particular germs, but she can't, so she prescribes a broad-spectrum antibiotic.

The fever gets better, but the womanly problem does not. Also I get a bill for testing my pee from an out-of-network lab that I have to appeal (in addition to the $11,000 bill for my skin-circles, but, remember, that's another rant).  So  I make yet ANOTHER appointment with womanly doctor (we're in August now), spend almost an hour (while Tom is home with the kids, waiting to go back to work), waiting to see someone for this problem they still haven't fixed.  And then I leave, because fuck them.  Fuck everyone.  I'll find a shaman or something.

Fast-forward about month.  We're in September.  I've attacked my womanly problems with probiotics and over-the-counter salves and Behold! They got better.  However, the cheap bottled water that I bought tastes funny.  Oh, no, wait, it's not the water.  It's my tongue that tastes funny.  Oh, ew, there's like a white coating on my tongue, with livid red spots underneath, and this taste is getting worse.  It's like licking rusty metal.  Ew.


So I go back to my GP.  It's probably thrush, I'm thinking.  Antibiotics tend to cause yeast infections (because the God of medicine hates women), and, well, there were other womanly reasons, so yeah, says the doctor, it could be thrush. I'm not going to test for that, though.  Here's some liquid anti-yeast medicine for you to drink four times a day for ten days (and some more insurance bullshit to deal with.  Lucky you!)  Also, it could be acid reflux, so take some OTC antacids.  Ok, cool.

Ten days plus some more later, I'm back at the GP saying, yeah, no, it's not all that better.  In fact, my tongue feels numb now, like when you burn your mouth on too-hot pizza?  It also kind of feels like when you suck on strong peppermints, and your mouth gets burny-numb. In fact, I've been sucking on a lot of peppermints because it's the only thing that makes me forget how awful my mouth feels. Do you think it could be related to my neuropathy (because i'd googled, and yes, that's a thing).  No reply to that, but here, we'll swab now to see if it really is thrush, I mean, I'm not sure this is the right kind of swab, but I'll ask someone, and here, while we're at it, have some presription-strength antacids. Come back in two months.

Two weeks later, I'm calling the doctor again: yeah, I'm not better.  Yes i've been taking the pills, but there's this coating on my tongue, everything tastes awful, I tried dousing it with mouthwash but it didn't go away and now I'm out of mouthwash.  Did you maybe get results from that swab? No, it's not thrush?  Could it be neuropathy? You know, like I have, and you've been helping me not find answer for? Still no reply to that, but we want you to go see a dermatologist now.  Or, no, wait, a dentist. Yeah, a dentist.

Dear reader, have you been counting along? At this point we're at the end of a chain of seven-maybe-eight doctor's appointments just for this one thing.  Not counting the other things.  Like the aforementioned unexplained neuropathy or now the lump they found in my left breast earier this month (that's one mammogram, one pre-op exam, one biopsy, and one follow-up, assuming everything turns out to be normal).  Seven-maybe-eight appointments, and now I've got to make another one to see a specialist, a derm-I-mean-a-dentist.

And then, well, insurance.  The dentist I've seen since I was a teenager doesn't take our current dental insurance, so I hop onto the insurance website to pull up dentists near me who DO, and end up with a list of one hundred doctors in Chicago, even though it says "Near Newark Delaware" right at the top and, yeah, that's about when I had my nervous breakdown and posted pictures of spotty tongues on facebook.  Let's roll past that.

Cuz the story's not done, see.  I spent ten minutes on hold to the one practice in Newark who employs like twenty dentists  - do you see what's happening here, America? McDoctors offices gobble up all the providers and then you can't get service because one office houses twenty dentists to serve an entire city.  No wonder I was on hold for fifteen minutes... fuck them.  Fuck everyone.  I'll just live with pizza-burn tongue.  With my shaman doctor.  In my backyard.  Growing our own corn.

But no.  What I did was google "what kind of doctor should i see for my tongue", and then googled "ENT and tongue" (because it's "Ear Nose and Throat", not "Ear Nose Throat and Tongue", but yes, ENTs will treat tongues, and I HAVE one of those.  So I made an appointment with my ENT - well not my ENT, because McPractice has like ten ENTs but mine is on vacation, but I don't want to wait until he comes back because now it's been two months without relief, so fine, I'll take whoever is open, even though that means I can never go back to my previous ENT because that makes perfect sense? Fine. Whatever, just fix me.  I have Tom come watch the kids and go see my brand new ENT (appointment # eight-maybe-nine), and here's what he tells me:

You have "coated tongue".   It's totally a thing, though not really, because we don't know what causes it, except that antibiotics often cause it.  There's no treatment.  It goes away on its own.  Usually a lot faster than this, but you've been using a lot of mouthwash and sucking peppermints, and those can irritate it and make it worse.  Oh not a lot of mouthwash and just mild peppermints from the candy aisle? Still.  Stop doing that.  Go home, do nothing, read about it on google but don't take any advice from google. don't try to make it feel better, and maybe it'll get better.  If not, come back in two months, because it might also be a nerve thing (note that I didn't mention the neuropathy).  It might also actually be thrush, but since they checked for that, meh, it's coated tongue.  That'll be $25 please.

So yeah, this is how I spent a quarter of my year.  It's my life in a nutshell, because everything is like this, really.  A big complicated chain of ridiculousness that gets me nowhere but worse than I started, waiting for something to get better.  Maybe.

On the bright side, two months without mouthwash and peppermints will put me in mid-December, exactly one year from when I decided this year would be the year I solve my medical problems.

Maybe 2017 will be the year of Fuck It.  I'mma just wear a tinfoil hat and hope for the best.
 
 
 
Lady T. - "The Witch Is In"
28 April 2016 @ 08:20 am
I want to update and explain.  Archive where we are now so when I write about it someday it's here, fresh, to remind me.
But I'm so fucking tired.
He's not good.  At home's he's my boy, frustrating at times but charming, sweet, earnest.  I put him on a bus and make a stab at the day and then the phone calls come.  He trudges back in the house deflated, sullen, folders stuffed with notes about what happened, what he did or refused to do.  What they had to do to keep him safe.
He tears apart rooms.  Flips desks.  Runs away.  Terrorizes his friends.  Goes after women with angry hands.  Snores at his desk, lies down on mats, tells them he'd rather live where there are no people, or not live at all.
Yesterday we had to bring him home, because apparently now he has a speficic plan for how he'd do it.  That's a different checkbox on the paper work, a tick towards urgency that doesn't actually change how they service him, just how I feel, hearing about it, a little pocketknife in a mother's heart.
"Why did you say that?" I ask him at the Chick-fil-A that night.  His father takes us all out for something easy, something nice.  Mouthful of fried chicken and ketchup, I'm hoping he'll say "because someone put the words in my mouth," someone gave him the idea, but instead it's "because then I wouldn't have to be angry anymore."
I can't breathe.  I'm choking on grief as I type this.  My house is littered with toys and papers and I can't find anything I need, used dishes in the sink, my hair unwashed, I can barely move through my day.  It's all so dirty and heavy and exhausting.
We've been holding our breath since the fall, our one meeting with the lawyers.  Now they won't answer my questions.  How do you shrug off a mother whose nine-year-old wants to die?
The doctors, the fancy ones that the district paid for, tell us our son is unwell.  Well, that's swell.  Now what?
Now what.
 
 
Lady T. - "The Witch Is In"
07 April 2016 @ 08:46 am
It's been several months since I turned in a story to my critique group, so I decided that my writing goal for this week would be to complete a draft of something - I've got three stories I could conceivably wrap up and pitch for feedback.  But nothing's bubbling.  I'm hitting a road block.  I know, big surprise.

I checked my files and realize that the last story I completed (other than flash fiction) was in 2013, before I found out I was pregnant. Sure, having a baby is an excuse, but come on, three years?? What the hell, Lady?

This is not to say I haven't been writing.  Flash is something.  Lots of poems.  Content writing I got paid for.  Those three unfinished shorts have over fifty pages between them, plus I added several chapters to a novel-in-progress and did revisions on existing stories as I continue trying to find homes for them.  All told that's pretty good for me, given how little writing time I actually have.  I've been working.

Still, three years without a finished story is enough to make a girl wonder.  Am I kidding myself, with this author business? I mean, it's all I've ever wanted to do, and I feel like I'd die if I weren't trying, and I've earned enough almost-awards and acceptances to say with reasonable confidence that I don't suck as a writer, but Jeebus Crisp, Lady, three fucking years? At this stage it really shouldn't be so hard.

I realize it's psychological.  I realize that my muse is still bruised by the resounding non-response to my novel (after all those years and all those tears), and that rejection after rejection for my short story babies doesn't help, but, really, girlie needs to get over that.  The only way to move on is to write more, write more, and I'm trying, so why the hell is it so fucking hard?

Coming up with ideas is hard.  My ex-best friend with her idea-a-minute merry-go-round mind.  Fuck her and all the bunny writers out there, I'm happy with just a handful, but even that is a struggle.  I have three - THREE - to show for three years, and, really, one of those is just a half-idea.  More like a couple of character sketches, a setting, and a monster (no wonder the story isn't moving, right?).  The other two are dream-spawn (where would I be without dreams??), but they're dead in the water because dreams don't usually translate to fiction without a lot of elbow grease - you've got to fill in the gaps.  Apparently I can't fill in the gaps.

So here I am, bitching in my journal processing the problem and not actually writing anything, and the seconds of my sliver of writing time speed by.  Wiggles is stirring in her crib.  We have a doctor's appointment in an hour.  I have to change the cat litter.  I don't see this turning into a draft of anything but more disappointment.  So maybe it's not just psychological, after all.  Maybe I'm just meant to be doing something else, and all this ado is wasted time.

Either way, something has got to change.
 
 
Current Mood: bummed
 
 
Lady T. - "The Witch Is In"
01 April 2016 @ 10:53 am

There were two letters waiting for me when we got home yesterday.  One was a second notice from the State of Delaware Dept. Industrial Affairs, telling me that my former employers would not be held liable for discrimination because 1) they only employe two people, which isn't enough for discrimination to count, and, anyway, 2) since my job was not the same job as the other employee (How could it be, with only two people??) they can't make a legal parallel to show I was discriminated against.

The other letter was from the hospital's Patient Relations department denying my request to have Wiggles' Emergency Room visit re-coded so that our insurance company would cover it - even though the doctors who treated her used a different code which IS covered.  No explanation for why the request was denied, why one code is better than the other, just basically, sorry, and fuck you, pay us $900.00 because we said so, that's why.

Neither of these letters was new news.  They were just reminders, as if the Universe wanted me to be extra-aware of how unfair things are in order to prepare me for more unfairness yet to come.  Because, really, why should I ever have thought the universe was fair?

This has been the nature of my faith for going on a decade now - while I believe in God or forces that can save you or sway you, the extent of Her/Their inclination to do so is unpredictable and inexplicable, leaving us, for all intents and purposes, at the mercy of chance.  The free will of mankind is a blessed and ugly thing.  Young girls are raped and sold into slavery.  Mountains crumble, burying shanty towns.  Teenagers get killed by drunk drivers.  Small town non-profits are run by the whim of volunteers; devoted bookkeepers get ousted by minor shifts in power, petty little people driven by grudges and self-interest.  Babies swallow nails, or don't. Single-income families get stuck with huge bills because hospital coding queens protect their mistakes like precious eggs. Life's a bitch.

My mind is not a pretty place these days.  Like the God-King said this morning, "I really need something good to happen."

*

The Kinglet just finished three days of intensive testing for his case against the school district.  The testing all took place in Pennsylvania, about an hour from home.  The God-King took off of work so I wouldn't have to navigate and deal with both kids on my own, and we took Wiggles so as to not burden his parents with three more days of babysitting - they've already watched her through all my doctor's appointments, of which I have at least two more upcoming, plus the inevitable IEP meetings that will follow the evals.  So we made it a family event, driving up together all three days.  It was exhausting.

I had to bring copies of the report from the Kinglet's last medical eval, the one from the children's hospital when he got the Autism dx.  Reading through it, I was struck by how little has changed in two and a half years.  Then, too, he barely made it through all the interviews; he threw temper tantrums, became non-responsive.  I had to sit with him on the couch to keep him calm and focused, and even still the doctors had to cherry-pick which tests to use because he just couldn't tolerate the whole battery.

It will be many weeks until we have the official reports in hand, but after speaking with the doctors afterward (and given my current existential crises) I'm not hopeful for the outcome.  Their consensus is that my son has signficant mental health issues - well, no kidding.  One will likely recommend that we focus on that rather than any academic concerns, which is the opposite of what we're asking.  The other was pushing for us to get him a new psychiatrist, I guess? It was a strange and upsetting encounter and i'm not entirely sure what to take away from it.  I told her we have, literally, the only child psychiatrist left in our area.  We've either seen everyone or been turned away because no one else is taking patients.  But I'm supposed to supply her with a list of providers in our network so she can tell me whether or not she knows them - I'm confused as to how, even if any of them are taking clients now, it would benefit us to switch to one of them (all of whom are in Wilmington), when the doctor we have has been working with the Kinglet for two and a half years, has gotten to know his issues and his reactions to meds, and is located just five minutes from our house.

So I don't know.  We were really hoping these specialists would have some amazing insight into what will really, truly, finally help the Kinglet, but my fear is that they'll just rehash what we already know.  They might even make things worse.  The argument that he's so depressed or disturbed that he doesn't need level-appropriate academics is bone-headed.  His issues are going to be there whether you offer him basic common core math (repeated over and over and over until he wants to kill himself from boredom) or slightly accelerated math, which at least offers some stimulation and a sense of specialness and puts him on a career path.  Access to enrichment programming gives him access to other gifted children, their influence and society.  Denying it makes him feel like he's not good enough, and leaves him in the company of other autistic children, which teaches him how to be autistic.  There's absolutely no reason we can't attend to his mental health AND his mind.  I mean, what the fuck, people.

But given the recent lack of justice in my world, I'm afraid the people with the power to influence my son's future won't see it that way, and won't have anything to offer.




 
 
Current Mood: defeatist
 
 
Lady T. - "The Witch Is In"
09 February 2016 @ 08:13 am
When life gets overwhelming, you can taste it in my food.  It's rushed, sloppy.  Boring.
I'm happy when I have time to try new recipes, pace things so they're done on time, do them right.
Time being relative, of course.  Time being a mindset.

On Sunday I made some tenderloin steaks in my new stainless steel pan, and they came out beautifully.  Exactly the kind of sear I was hoping to see when I moved away from teflon.  I was even able to make a proper sauce from the fond for, like, the first time ever.  It wasn't a particularly good sauce, but it was quite lovely.

I also braised some cabbage in apple cider vinegar, another first.  Unfortunately the Godking didn't love that one, so I have to find another liquid to try, but I like having a way to make it other than fried (don't get me wrong - Alton's fried cabbage is amazing. Just, you know, variety.)

Last night I made pan-fried pork chops, which came out perfect because I gave them enough time to rest in the batter before cooking them.  I also let the pan get hot enough, fried them 2-3 at a time instead of crowding them, and I monitored the temperature with two meat thermometers (since one by itself is likely to lie to me).  Then I let them drain for a bit and kept them warm in the overn until everything was ready to serve, the result being perfectly browned and crunchy chops with tender insides.  The extra time in the oven allowed my roasted potatoes to develop a perfect crunchy skin, too - Tom missed out on those because he's avoid skins right now, sigh, but ah well.  I know I did good. Served it all up with some sauteed veggies - frozen, but since I fully carmelized the onion first and browned the heck out of them in my stainless, they came out nice.  Even tossed mine with a dash of sesame oil, which is my new favorite thing ever.

Was also able to wash dishes while I go, and last night Tom washed most of what I couldn't get to after (while I gave Wiggles a bath), so my kitchen isn't totally trashed.  Always a good way to start a day.  And tonight I don't have to cook, because thankfully there are enough for leftovers, even though I personally ate two chops.  Good times.

It's the little things.

I got a lot done yesterday, too, which really helps.  I'd be feeling even better if I got some exercise in, but today I did a little stretching before breakfast.  If I can just nudge myself into getting away from the laptop enough during the day, without feeling like I'm falling too far behind...

We're going to order a cheap-o elliptical machine.  Just something to give me an opportunity for cardio during the day, maybe 10-15 minutes in between tasks, at first, or after lunch. Something that I can stash when I'm not using it so it doesn't become a secondary closet or a child trap.  I think anything at this point would be helpful. Hopefully the thing won't break after a few tries.

I am so far off the path of fitness, but given the health issues I'm looking at, I've got to change the paradigm.
Little things.

I brought my old altar out of the basement, where it's been since we moved into this house.  Never was able to find a spot for it, so it got shoved against a wall and collected dust.  I'm amazed it didn't suffer any water damage from the various floods.  But I spent a Saturday (now that I have free Saturdays!) organizing down there after the Godking built me some shelves for all the bins, and I saw it there and thought, I need to do something with this or put it out of its misery.  So I brought it up, cleaned it off, and spent another Saturday rearranging furniture until it had a place - front and center at the big study window.  Tom bought me some double-sided tape to secure the marble top (so the baby doesn't pull it over on herself).  I put a single silver candlestick in the center - the one shaped like a witch/crone - with a black candle.  This is me clearing my throat: a little nudge in, maybe, a magical direction.

Did a little meditation out there after my stretching, watching the candle and the snow falling behind her.  Then came out here to share some thoughts over breakfast.

Like I said.  Little things.
 
 
Lady T. - "The Witch Is In"
28 January 2016 @ 11:03 am
Ugh, the only writing day (half-day) I had this week, wasted.  Half the rest of the world's fault, half because I can't get out of my head.
Well if I'm not getting any work done, might as well come here and kvetch.

There are times when I'm in a bad mood but I know it will pass, and there are times when I feel the floor buckling and know the bottom is about to drop out on my mental health.  This is one of the latter.  It's like, I don't know, a switch goes off, things start to shut down, a shutter closes on parts of my brain that usually keep me going.

I can rattle off all the reasons why, this time, but what does it really matter.

*

I did have something interesting to share, though.  Might as well mention, since I'm here.

A couple of weeks ago I felt a presence come to me as I was doing my before-sleep meditation.  Can't describe it better than that, just - an awareness of something that wasn't me, coming in where it hadn't been a moment before.

But that's not the most interesting part: when I felt it, I recognized it.  I don't know *what* it was, but I knew it.  It was something I'd known when I was a child; something familiar and welcome.  I'd forgotten all about it, but then all of a sudden there it was again.

I think it actually came two nights in a row, though I might be misremembering that.  It hasn't been back since, though I've been hoping it would come.  I've been struggling to put a name to it - like I feel it's on the tip of my tongue.  But I can't remember.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the presence that "goosed" me in my son's room a few weeks ago, when I was making his bed.

There were presences in this house when I was little.  Not scary ones, for the most part.  Could it be one of them, come back now that there's another baby in the house? Maybe that's who she was waving to last night, while snuggling in our room.

I wish I knew more.  I wish it would come back.  I hate feeling so disconnected.  My awareness of the spiritual realm has been numbed and dull for so long.  I don't know if it's the medications, or if I've strayed too far from that path, or if I'm just old.  I feel like the lustre has all rubbed off of my soul.
 
 
Current Mood: dull