calling on my word

What have I been doing the past week? In a word: work. Han left for a mini-tour in NoCal with Flan on Wednesday night. On Tuesday night, we were going to have stuffed pork chops. I took the chops out of the freezer on Monday evening and put them in the fridge. On Tuesday night, even in the fridge they were still frozen. 😦 We brought something in and just hung out.

But then on Wednesday night? After he left? I worked. ‘Til midnight or so. And Thursday night? I also worked ’til about 12:30am. How could there possibly be that much stuff to do? It’s amazing when there’s no one to give it to how much you realize there is to do. Plus, I’m pretty anal when it comes to details so I’m checking and responding on every little thing.

Friday night, I fell asleep on the couch around 9 pm (shocking). So I puttered my way to bed. I fell asleep and then? 2 am – wide awake. ‘Til about 5:30 am. I watched a couple shows, looked at Facebook. Gah.

The thing though, all these nights, I’ve been kept company by the Australian Open. That’s right, tennis is back! It’s been so exciting! I’m especially happy that Venus is through to the quarters. Such an inspiration! Plus, Federer is out, and tonight Nadal got knocked out, too. Crazy!

Saturday morning I had acupuncture, which is truly a miracle. After that, I went to my favorite taco shop, El Zarape, for a shrimp burrito. I brought it home and ate. I watched several movies from various points in their stories. When one finished, I found another one that was in progress and watched it until the end, etc. And I worked. I’d take little breaks here and there, but mostly, I was working.

On Sunday, I never got out of my pajamas. And I worked, and pretty much repeated what I’d done on Saturday. While it wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t the most sublime either. Plus my sleeping issues continue.

Today, I physically went to work (not in my pajamas :). Things are really picking up. I do my first interview tomorrow to fill the position on my team. We have an onboarding meeting with a new vendor. Oh yeah, plus all the stuff to do.

I made a point to not bring my laptop home tonight though I could have. I wanted an evening to just sit or whatever. I did have some time with the kitties. Only 2 today. A returning kitty who is kind of a shit and a new guy who was the sweetest thing. I swear, I think about stopping my volunteering up there because it doesn’t really seem like I help them that much, but then today, I was petting that sweet cat and everything else just melted away for a few moments. It’s worth it, even if it is just for that 15 minutes of meltiness.

Han’s tour ended last night, but he took this day to drive down the coast and just have a day to himself. I’m glad he did. He texted me to say he’d hung out in Big Sur, walking, playing guitar, and writing, and he was going to stay tonight in San Luis Obisop. Good for him.

After the kitties, I came home and watched some tennis. I went grocery shopping and had dinner. As I’ve moved through my evening, my word kept echoing in my head: ease. I must keep this word with me. I have to let it work its magic. I have to believe in it. To keep me centered, focused, and grounded.

back to work, increase, and ease

It was back to a regular work week for many Americans. You sure could tell on the highways! It was crowded!

At work, a co-worker starts off every new year by making breakfast for the whole crew. He calls it a 49’er omelet. It’s basically eggs, sausage, and mushrooms. The rest of us brought sides and other stuff like bagels and donuts. It was a nice way to start off what promises to be a very busy, yet kind of exciting year.

I headed up to the kitties in the afternoon. Not many now as the humans, as I mentioned, are back in their regular routine. I did walk a couple dogs from the same house, Annie & Diana. Not very affectionate, but nice enough. They had matching shirts.

When I got home, there was a letter from our landlord that he’s increasing our rent another $100 starting February 1st. That dude, I can’t believe him. What an ass.

Still, this ‘ease’ business is still working for me (alright, two whole days!) When I start feeling stress or anger, I just say the word in my head, and just try to take it all in stride.

For dinner tonight, it was kind of a do-it-yourself thing (though it doesn’t have to be). Again, Pioneer Woman. I put out the fixin’s for two things: pesto, tomato, and mozzarella sandwiches (I’m the only one who made a sandwich -yum!) and chicken & strawberry salad. I had marinated chicken tenders in balsamic dressing then sauteed them and cut them into bite size pieces. Then you have salad, strawberries (quartered), nuts (I used almonds), goat cheese, and the balsamic for dressing (or any other kind they wanted). Again, I just put everything in bowls and had them make their own salad – you never know who doesn’t want nuts or the what their right amount of dressing is. And finally, a quick round of frozen tater tots. It was a tasty, easy, and satisfying dinner.

I’ve been taking time after dinner to clean up the kitchen really good on account of the ants. We haven’t had any in the last day or so, or it’s just one lone ant that I quickly kill. Although it’s kind of a drag, I’ve found since I started this habit a few days ago, that it’s kind of relaxing. I ease my way through it (see, there it is again!) Plus I run the dishwasher at night before we go to sleep, and the kitchen is nice & clean in the morning. That’s a better way to start the day.

Tomorrow is the day of Epiphany. I remember one winter back in Idaho when my sister, my mom, and I stayed up to try to see Los Reyes Magos. We’d put out some food for them (don’t remember what), but we also put out some Corn Flakes for the camels. I was certain I’d be able to stay up, but I couldn’t and when I woke up, sure enough the Corn Flakes had been munched and there were gifts for me and my sister. It’s a gift-giving holiday in Spain, and it’s something my mom has continued into our adult years. I can’t wait to open my envelope tomorrow!

last day of November (long post)

My goal of NaBloPoMo went out the window. Ah well. I just published the wrap-up of my work trip to Atlanta (11/11-11/14). That weekend after the trip was okay. I was home by myself since Han was in central and northern CA to play a couple gigs. On Sunday, 11/16, I had my Third Poetry Sunday reading at Java Joe’s. My friend, Lindsay, came to that and we had a chance to chat a bit before people showed up. It was good to see her. The reading itself was fine, there two other poets and a guy who just came to listen. Later that evening, I asked Becky if she wanted to meet for dinner. She did. It was good to see her, too. I talked to both Becky & Lindsay about how down I’ve been lately. It was good to talk to them as I feel that they understood where I was coming from.

Han ended up getting home late Monday night. I’d gone to the kitties that day. On Tuesday evening, I helped him get the rental car back, then I went to Rebecca’s for their open reading. It was full. I read something fairly new, but I didn’t feel great about it. I grabbed some food on the way home, and Han and I watched Breaking Bad.

The next day was my birthday. 43. You know, last year, I’d dubbed ’42’ as ‘fortitude.’ That didn’t work out so well for me. I’m not sure what to call this year. ‘Forty-be’ or ‘forty-me’ come to mind so that I can remember to be in the moment and to take care of myself.

The day didn’t start out well. I woke up and knew I had a choice: to be strong and open to the day or to let all of the negative feelings wash over me. Sadly, the second ‘choice’ overtook me. I cried for a while. All of the terrible things people say to themselves when they don’t feel good about themselves are all the things I said. When I look at this episode from a place of relative contentment like I am today, it’s embarrassing to even admit. But I honestly understand and know those feelings are there. Most days I can rise above them, but that morning, I drowned in them.

After a while, Han, D, and I went to lunch. My choice. I chose Costa Brava, a Spanish tapas restaurant that I had gone to last year. It was truly delicious, and Han and D liked it, too. We had so much! Pan con tomate, tortilla espanola, cheeses, clams, mussels, patatas a la brava, and patatas con alioli. Plus a couple glasses of sangria. After that, we visited the little Spanish market then came home and I left for the DMV. Yes, I had forgotten to renew my license sooner so I spent a good hour among the sea of humanity that is the DMV. I had to take a vision test and get a new picture taken. It really wasn’t that bad.

I went home and Han & I watched TV and talked. It was a good talk. He had a rehearsal that night for a show that he was going to be in the following Saturday. I went to a movie. I saw “Gone Girl.” That was a really fucked-up story, but it was done well, rather riveting trying to figure out what was going on. After the movie and after rehearsal, we had Mexican food. I do want to say thanks to Mia for the Amazon gift card, to Mom & Dad, Mary & Dewey, and Jeff’s mom for the birthday money, and to Sandy for the new planner!

Back to work on Thursday. My employee was also back from his 3 week adventure in Europe. I realized I didn’t miss him hardly at all. My boss got bundt cakes for me which was nice.

Friday after work, I drove to Heather’s house and we went out to dinner at a place called Sublime. It was good. We had mac & cheese croquettes, then I had a grilled cheese with ham. It was great to see her. I admire her so much. She deals with a lot of stuff with her family and her job, but she remains so classy about it. She’s not snooty, she just handles herself so well. She’s a good egg.

Then I drove up to my parents’ house. It was probably 11 pm or so when I got there. Dad was in bed. Mom and I talked a bit, but I was tired. On Saturday, I took Dad to dialysis and when I got home, Mom talked to me for a while. She has been looking into depression online and gave me some things I could try. It’s true that I need to get in touch with the therapist I had seen for a while last year. It can’t hurt.

Then we went to lunch at Cha-Cha’s, which has THE BEST french fries. So good. The rest of the weekend was pretty mellow. Mom made maccarones for dinner, then waffles and bacon for breakfast on Sunday. For lunch that day we had breaded pork and asparagus. I finished the Hosseini book. He’s such a good storyteller. You really get to know the characters. This one had a lot of different stories from different points of view, but they all connected in one way or another.

That afternoon, I headed down around 3:30 pm and went straight to the Belly-Up where there was a Flan show that night. It was my first show of the music season, and it was good to see everyone. I had dinner with Barbara, Becky, and Julie at the Wild Note which is attached to the Belly-Up. Barbara & Becky got my dinner as a birthday present which was so sweet. I had the filet mignon sliders with fries. Pretty good!

The show was good. There’s so many people in the band, it’s a little crazy sometimes, but it went well. The MLB network was there to film Flan and parts of the show. I left shortly after the show was over and was asleep when Han got home.

Monday was fine, I went up to the kitties. I don’t remember much about Monday. On Tuesday, Flan announced that he was stepping down from the Giants. It was not really unexpected news, Han had mentioned something about it after the Belly-Up. He didn’t know it would happen so soon. Flan had asked me on Sunday to write up a new bio for him. He said ‘mention the baseball thing, but then talk more about the music.’ That was my direction. I didn’t get around to it until yesterday, but he loved what I put together so that’s cool.

On Wednesday, we had a Thanksgiving potluck at work. Last year, I made pies. This year, I brought cups. I was not into baking this year. Anyway, then we got let off early so Han and I went to the store. Oh, before that I went and picked up the new acoustic duo Christmas CD. It’s really good! We went to the store for what we would make the following day. It was just going to be the two of us, but we bought as if we were feeding more. It’s always the appetizers, right, that are too much?

On Thanksgiving morning, he made breakfast and we watched the Macy’s parade. We watched TV. (We finished Breaking Bad and are now watching House of Cards. Breaking Bad was excellent. House of Cards is good, but I just don’t really like anybody.) We had appetizers around 3:30 pm and had dinner around 8 pm. We had steak, brussels sprouts, funeral potatoes, and green bean casserole. Tasty. We were so full, we didn’t even have any pie.

Friday was a holiday for me. The Animal Center had asked if anyone could come up during the holiday that they could use the help. That morning, I did some chores and errands, then I headed up there for three hours. In that time, I did services for 13 cats. There were about 20-21 total cats but some didn’t have services and others had been done. Usually when I go on Monday, the services have been done so I can do whatever I want. Services are TLC (brushing & cuddling), cuddling, or feather/bubble time. Most of the cats were great. There was a little blind kitten who is just so sweet. It was nice to be able to give that time.

The rest of the day was pretty much a bust. I got into a mood and couldn’t get out of it. I think I went to bed at 9 pm.

Yesterday was pretty lackluster, too. I watched TV most of the day while Han worked. I did laundry and cleaned up the house. I did Flan’s bio. I went to the grocery store and for dinner I made meatloaf, broccoli, and mashed potatoes. It was good.

Today, Han got me watching a few episodes of Sons of Anarchy. It’s just fine. No big whoop. I went and got us some sandwiches for lunch. Now he’s working and I’m going to head to the store. Oh so exciting, right!?

Now it’s on to December. It means wrapping up 2014, looking ahead to the new year, my mom’s birthday, and of course, Christmas. Let’s hope it’s a good one!

Kitties & puppies …

… soothe my soul.

Today there was another reduction in force, and my requisition to hire another employee next year was cancelled. That means it’s just me & my one person for the foreseeable future.

Sigh.

Only one pettable kitty today (the other two were hissing & growling). The one that was amenable was so sweet. She got up on my shoulder for a while.

Then I spent some time with a lovely Golden Retriever and another pooch (don’t recall the breed). Both were incredibly sweet & loving. I needed that.

what happened in September & hello, October

Let’s see if I even remember. 🙂 But first, a kind and welcome hello to October, this poet’s favorite month.

I’ll start where I left off in late August. On the 26th, I went to my dermatologist who proclaimed the vasculitis to be over. The skin discoloration, she said, would fade over time. My mom gave me a formula to mix to apply of shea butter and lemon. No, Mom, I still haven’t done it.

That same day, but in the evening, I went to my friend, Barbarella’s book release and signing. She is the sister of one of my best friends, Heather. It was a fun evening to hang with all the sisters, 4 in total, and their mom, plus many of her fans. She writes a weekly column in the San Diego Reader, and the book is a compilation of some of the articles from the past 10 years. They’re categorized into different sections, and one of the great features is that her husband, David, also adds his commentary. He is very often a player in her articles, so it was awesome to read the inside story. I read the book in about 3 days then gave it to my mom. She’s getting rave reviews on Amazon, and they are well-deserved. I’ve got to write mine!

The end of August also saw Han & I putting the finishing touches on the garage room. We painted the room, but that involved a lot of ladder work (tall ceiling). Then on Sept 1, D moved back in with us full-time. It’s been good. She is very independent. She has her own entrance (back door) and she has her own car. She’s either in her room or at church or with friends. She even buys her own groceries and cooks her own meals, though she’s eaten with us a couple times. She will graduate from high school at the end of the year, and she’s trying to find a job to help with her expenses. It’s all good.

Starting on Sept 2, I did round 2 of my nutritional cleanse in an effort to get rid of any residual steroid gunk in my system and just to help make sure the vasculitis stays away as much as I can. It was so much easier the 2nd time. I did cheat just a touch, having cheese on a couple things, but for the most part, I stuck with it.

The first weekend of September, I drove up to LM to hang with the folks. It was a good visit.

On Tuesday, 9/9, I went to the Cafe Cabaret reading, and it was great. That next weekend, I went back up to LM because the bathtub was finally going to get reglazed and the rest of the bathroom finished (door sanded, repainted, and rehung so it closes right and the walls repainted). The visit in LM was another good one. When I got home, I realized that the bathroom was as done as it’s going to be. The tub was reglazed, It’s now white so everything matches. The door was fixed so it closes, but that’s it. The walls got a touch-up, but weren’t repainted. Sigh.

On Sept 15, my aunt Mia celebrated her 60th birthday. Her family had thrown a big party for her over the weekend in Sweden. I’m glad she was able to celebrate in style.

During all of this, I should mention that it was extremely hot in San Diego. This happens every year. People plan vacations to San Diego in June or July. But it’s August and September that are hot and beautiful times to be here. In fact, on Tuesday, 9/16, I went to Rebecca’s coffeehouse for the open reading, but it was cancelled. The host was stuck in traffic, but it was so amazingly hot in the coffeehouse, I don’t know that I would have stayed anyway.

On Thursday, 9/18, I went for my follow-up diagnostic exam on my left breast. Thankfully, they didn’t see anything of concern! I was so relieved. I had been sitting in the waiting area with 2 lovely women. When the doctor came out to see everything looked fine, they both said how happy they were for me. I didn’t realize how worried I had been until they expressed their happiness for me.

That night, I went to Elevated! open reading. It was good. On Saturday, I had acupuncture for the first time since mid-July. The reason for the break is that my acupuncturist had a baby! I’m happy for her. Everybody’s doing well. Boy, I had missed acupuncture.

Another thing I should mention that was pretty much a constant through the month was that I had several bouts of depression. Work is very stressful. It’s just me and my one employee. I am regularly working 10, 11, or 12-hour days. As I had texted my mom and sister: Very stressed. Short-tempered. Prone to crying. But all of it prompted me to do something I’ve never done: I asked for a raise. I knew my boss was working on the budget for next year, and at the urging of a work friend, I did it. I am so terrible at shit like that. I had a list of stuff I’ve done over the 4 years since I’ve gotten a significant increase (there are annual increases based on performance), but as I was trying to make my case, I cried. I hate that! But my boss is so nice. He said he appreciated that I could be so emotional and said he hasn’t cried in 10 years! I’ve cried 10 years’ worth in September alone, it feels like. Anyway, I asked for a big raise. It’s not approved, but my boss did put it into the budget. With the three people I lost, there was actually enough to propose my raise, plus another salary to hire a new employee, plus keep the one I have. I have no idea if it will go through, but I asked, and that’s all I can do. He didn’t balk at it or say he didn’t think I deserved it. He’s a good guy.

On Sunday, 9/21, I went to Java Joe’s for my Third Sunday Poetry reading. One person showed up. I waited 15 minutes, then I left. I was so bummed. I was having a bad day that day anyway, and that didn’t help. I’ll do it through the end of the  year, but if it doesn’t pick up, I’ll have to talk with Joe to see if it’s worth keeping up.

I had a day last week that seemed normal, even good. Han & I got Chinese food, watched Breaking Bad, went for a drive. Somewhere along the way, I just went into a funk. I can’t even explain it. I just started crying. And I couldn’t stop. I wasn’t upset about anything in particular, I wasn’t angry, or sad. I just cried. That’s weird. Or something.

On Saturday, 9/27, I did some volunteering for my work. It was a community relations event, and we beautified a park area in San Diego. I did some painting. It was a nice way to spend the morning.

On Sunday, I was on the verge of another funk. To try to beat it, I went to a movie. I saw “The Skeleton Twins.” I had never heard of it, but it has Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader. It was a great movie. It might be seen as depressing by some, but I could relate to many of the points it touched on. It’s mostly a drama, but there are a couple scenes where the two SNL alums just go crazy, and it’s hilarious. It also has Luke Wilson. I really liked it.

Yesterday, my mom sent some great news. N has been told by his neurosurgeon that he’s okay! When I was up in LM, Mom had said that her recent conversations with him had been a lot better and that he seemed more like himself. It’s truly amazing. This man has now beaten leukemia and a TBI. He should play the lottery.

Coming up this month: Han has a lot of stuff going on. He’s going up to Northern CA twice, for gigs and a conference. He’s got a CD release show in Poway with the group he went to England with over the summer. And there’s the San Diego Music Awards. He’s not nominated personally, but a few of the records he produced are up for awards. As for me, my TX friend, Barbara will be in town this weekend so I’ll get to see her for a bit. I’ll get an oil change for my car, have acupuncture, I’ll go to some readings. Plus, it’s October which is just good all around. Janis Joplin’s death anniversary (44 years), Halloween, and other ghostly things. Maybe I’ll take the Whaley House tour! Hopefully, there will be no crying jags.

One thing I’m not looking forward to is that my one employee is going on vacation for 3 weeks at the end of October. I have no idea how I’m going to handle the workload, but I’ll have to figure it out.

I have been and will continue to volunteer with the kitties. It’s one place where I completely forget about work and other stuff. Those sweet purring machines are good for my soul.

As it’s October, and I love it so, I will strive to write more frequently this month. We’ll see how it goes!

And one last thing, go Giants!

 

Han’s home & the bathroom is mostly done

I ended up staying at Chez Beth through Saturday morning. I owe her a big bottle of wine! I don’t really remember everything I ate, but it was pretty much the same as other days. Not a lot for lunch, then something for dinner. I think I splurged one night and got rolled tacos.

Oh yeah, I remember. On Thursday, I went to see my friend, Cathy. We had yummy snacks of hummus, goat cheese, and seaweed crackers. Then she made a delicious salad with tuna. Super good.

Friday was the rolled taco night, I’m pretty sure.

Then it was Saturday. Han’s homecoming day! I got to the house around 8:30 am and started laundry. The water was turned on, but the toilet was not usable. Doug came over around 10 am and he and his wife worked on finishing and cleaning up as much as they could. There’s still work to do. Baseboards, painting, sanding and repainting the door, refinishing the tub, etc. Doug said he’d give Jeff a few days to readjust and then would try to work out a schedule with him.

I went grocery shopping, to the post office, and to Goodwill. I cooked some white fiber pasta with turkey & zucchini in marinara. Han’s flight was delayed a couple hours, which was good for me. It gave me more time to get stuff done.

The landlord came by to check out the bathroom with nary a word of thanks or apologies for my patience or having to move out for a week. Sheesh!

But then it was time! I went to the airport and picked up Han! Nearly everything had gone really well! We celebrated with Mexican food which he had missed (another bit of a splurge). We watched a episode or two of The West Wing, then went to bed.

We had a great day on Sunday. First, though, I should let you know that I have begun the oral steroid treatment. I haven’t had any outbreaks of new spots, but there are a few here and there so I just want to wipe it all out, then do the cleanse again about 10 days after I finish the treatment. I hope to be completely done with the cleanse by the first weekend of September.

Anyway, back to our good day. We went to get his money exchanged but decided to go through the bank (he ended up getting the full exchange rate). We went to Target for new bathroom stuff to match the new color scheme, then we went to sushi for lunch.

We came home and watched more West Wing (finished it up! I was a mess!). Around 7 pm, D came over and we went out to eat Indian food. Han took a liking to it in the UK. I had never had it before. We went to a place called Taste of the Himalayas. I got Chicken Chilly. It was spicy (I only got 4 out of 10). Han’s Balti was so spicy (8 of 10) that he couldn’t finish it. D got lamb (2 of 10), and she really enjoyed it. The garlic nan bread was delicious as was this spinach cheese mixture. We’d have it again, but dial down our numbers. It was a great day!

Today, up early to go to work and then to the kitties. It was different today because none of the kitties had had their services. Since I go so late, their services (feather time, TLC, or cuddling) are usually already done for the day so I just do what I want with who I want. But today, I actually had tasks! It was great. Lou is still there, and he will be for another 2 weeks. There were some other kitties, too, but Lou is totally my favorite.

I got home and started on Han’s laundry from the trip. I also roasted some chicken breasts. Han has some clients over, but he’s almost done.

~~

On a sad note, my mom got in touch with me yesterday to let me know that her dear and best friend, N, is in the hospital in ICU due to a brain injury. He was unconscious as of yesterday. What she can gather that happened was that he was doing some work for one of his tenants and fell and hit his head. He was alone, and the police said the 911 call was anonymous. I am so saddened by this turn of events. All of my healing thoughts go to him and to his sister and my mom, I wish them great strength to help him get through this. He’s already battled and beat leukemia. May he pull through this setback just as well.

 

p.s. Mom – I can’t access your blog for some reason. It says I have to use a different account? I had been signed in with Google in order to leave comments. Not sure what to do?