Good Riddance 2016 (Krissie)

Photo on 1-2-17 at 11.13 AM That’s the sun shining in, celebrating the new year. I was going to list all the nastiness of last year, ending with a big bang on New Year’s Eve with one of my best friend’s marriage collapsing. But I’ve been hungrily reading everything on how to get beyond all the panic and grief and uncertainty and grab some positivity, so that’s what I’m doing. Tim is okay for today. Has been okay for a number of days. There’s no certainty how long it will last, but for now it’s good.

Daniel is heading back to work and is going to start taking over some of his college loans (over $100,000 of them and we co-signed them). I’m having fun restoring and making things for my American Girl dolls. My grandchildren are fabulous, my granddaughter particularly loved one present I got her, they went to Medieval Times (a present from me) and had a blast. Richie seems to be doing a little better.

And we have kitties! We’ve been without cats for a couple of years, since three of ours died. (Two that were ancient and my most beloved was hit by a car). Since cats tend to find us every fall and we were traveling a lot I thought I’d just wait until one showed up, but in two autumns they hadn’t. Then I thought I wanted kittens – we hadn’t had any in decades – so I checked with the local farms, etc. but none (which is a good thing – fewer unwanted animals around). So we went to a nearby (25 miles away) animal shelter that had kittens and applied for adoption.

Did we get kittens? Naaah. Everyone wants kittens – they’re easy to place. We ended with with Thunderpaws (originally Meat and then Zeke) and his half sister Olivia, age 8 and 6. And they’re fabulous. Originally they’d been separated because Thunderpaws hated the shelter and took it out on Olivia. I was going to take Olivia and a two year old fluffy black one but the Shelter really wanted us to try Olivia with her horse-kitty older brother, so we did, and it’s been so wonderful. Turns out Olivia is a feisty creature – maybe she’s just getting her own back, but she tries to bully Thunderpaws. He’s too big and ooofy to let her get away with it, though. They love to curl up beside us or on our laps – we now decide who gets up to get the coffee etc. by who has a cat cuddling. Thunderpaws sleeps at our head or between us, Olivia sleeps at our feet if Thunderpaws has gotten there first or on my stomach if she’s first.

Daniel fell in love with Thunderpaws and wept when he had to leave him. So we’ve got something very good in our lives.

Jenny wanted me to take a picture holding them but they’re still not sure if they want to be picked up. Like most cats, they decide on the cuddling (which is most of the time). This was my present to Richie (thought not a surprise and of course a present for me) and it may have a lot to do with his feeling better.

Rats. I took pictures with my phone and I sent them via mail to this computer but they’re not showing up. I’ll put this up and add pictures later.

So I’m … hopeful. Yes, I guess I am. Things are scary, for me, for my loved ones and friends (who are loved ones as well), for the country and the world, but living in fear is a waste of the soul. so I’m grabbing for the joy wherever I can find it.

In Denmark you go break dishes on your friends’ front steps as a sign of affection on New Year’s Day. Since none of my friends live near me I can’t do that, but I kind of like the idea. Smash the old year and open your heart to the new. So I’m opening my heart.

And I guess that’s my New Year’s Resolution. Don’t get so bound up in fear and anger.

So … how did you celebrate New Year’s? Anyone break any dishes? Do you have any resolutions or plans for facing a challenging year? Wassup?

All About You (Krissie)

Photo on 12-26-16 at 10.18 AM Happy Boxing Day. It’s a shame that didn’t become an American Christmas tradition like Christmas trees and Silent night.
I’ve been giving money to the homeless. I know, I know, it’ll probably go for heroin but they’ll find the money anyway.
I know what a good new tradition might be. A lot of people make donations at the end of the year – Boxing Day might be a good day to do that. Or go someplace and make a donation. Walk into Planned Parenthood, or the local Red Cross or homeless shelter and write them a check.
Richie’s already done our year-end donations (alzheimers, adoption & family home, cancer, heart disease, habitat. I’ve given to the theater group a couple of times, but I just got the pledge stuff from the church so I’ll do that. So go and give!

Christmas was quiet – I slept till ten and then woke up singing “I slept till ten on Christmas day” to the tune of “I heard the bells on Christmas day.” I had a long FaceTime with the grandchildren on Christmas Eve and made a big pan of ziti for dinner. Tim seems to be fairly stable – we put him in a historic hotel in Placerville since prices in Tahoe skyrocketed during the Christmas season.

Hmmm. Quiet and just slightly melancholy, but okay. The week’s gonna be Loki (low-key) too. Life will move into regular gear after the new year (or maybe after Daniel leaves on Thursday). In the meantime I have to concentrate on one day at a time, not panicking about Tim, etc. I’ll nap a lot, watch tv, listen to music, cuddle the new kitties – (more on that later). I’m looking forward to getting back to writing (and sewing). So I’m still in a foggy, post-Christmas (well, I haven’t been sleeping well) daze.

Too logy to talk about 2017 – I’ll come back in a day or two when I’m feeling livelier. In the meantime, Merry Christmas, my darlings! Tell me how you spent Christmas Day/First day of Hannukah.

All About Christmas (Krissie)

Photo on 12-19-16 at 9.15 AM #2 So … I’m celebrating Christmas. The house is in chaos, haven’t sent the presents off yet, have to do last minute shopping, but I’m celebrating anyway. Tim is stable for now, Daniel is arriving tonight (complete with beard). The grandchildren are tucked all snug in their beds – last minute change means they’re not coming, but that’s best for them, so it’s okay with me. Better for a low-key Christmas.
And tomorrow we get two new cats from the animal shelter! We need furry ones to snuggle – we’ve been without for more than a year, and that’s not good for our mental health.
So I’m lighting candles against the darkness, hanging in there.
I want to hear all about your Christmases! Details, please. Everyone has different rituals, whether they’re in the US or elsewhere, and I love hearing about them. So spill, guys.

Oh, and Merry Christmas!

Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life …. (krissie)

Photo on 12-13-16 at 1.13 PM Argh! That’s my anthem and my life – not Jenny’s website, but every bit of aggravation and frustration that word means.
Thank you all for your posts of hope etc. It was wonderful to read them. And yes, I know he’ll never be “normal.” I just want some stability and hope. Crap.

Anyway, had a good weekend. We did a staged reading of Katharine Paterson’s (she of The Bridge to Terabitha and others fame) play “Good King Wenceslas” and I got to be the romantic lead! It’s a ensemble play, but I got to play a mousey little woman (whose name is Mouse) who finds true love and bravery. I did the first act in a baggy sweater and my hair in a bun, did the second half with makeup and long hair and a flashy red shawl around my neck. And I was good!

Interesting thing – up until this summer I thought I was an adequate actor. With the right role I could be very entertaining (the Mayor’s wife in Music Man) but generally I was not distractingly bad – I did the job. But I actually got good this summer in To Kill a Mockingbird, and I was good in this one too. Which is cool. Trust me, I have no false modesty – I do think I’m glorious in many areas, but I recognize my limitations. So actually beginning to get good at this is a treat.

It was also a good thing to keep my mind off worrying. We’re going into a NAMI meeting tonight and having dinner in the big city, so that will be nice. We’ve got Tim in a decent hotel for now, but he’ll have to leave on the 23rd and we’re not sure where he can go. Of course, that’s ten days away and who knows what will happen with him. He missed his appointment (the one he was supposed to do when he got out of the hospital) which comes as no surprise but it doesn’t bode well. He’s still not terribly with it, but that could be the new meds (assuming he’s taking them).

Ah, but I made the dress for … I keep renaming her. Now I’ll call her Leslie … anyway, I made her a charming dress and I’m going to do some more sewing. it makes me happy. My grandchildren aren’t coming for Christmas after all, which is okay. It simplifies things and it’s much better for them and their mom, so I’ll just do without them. But it makes Christmas simpler.

dolls That’s Kirsten in the St. Lucia outfit, Anna in the chair (with a tiny vintage Mr. Spock by her side) and Leslie is wearing the dress I just made. Now I just need to get back to my book, which I’m loving. It’s just so hard to get things done when you’re being pulled apart and worried.

So, today shrink and support meeting. Tomorrow make an apron for my SIL and bake pans of ziti for a thing our theater group is putting on for the school. Thursday I have lunch with a friend (Miranda Neville is her pen name) and go to the school dinner. Friday I curl up in a ball and scream …

No, it’ll be okay. I’m going to celebrate Christmas, damn it!

All About You (Krissie)

Photo on 12-5-16 at 8.39 AM Obladi,oblada life goes on.

I did the Krissie Show at church this Saturday – we have an annual Christmas lunch for all the women in the community, and I’ve been involved with it for the last 35 years. I used to cook (one year we made crepes for 100 women, which is insane) but more often I host the half-time activities (while the tables are cleared and dessert is brought out). I wear ridiculous Christmas-y clothes and offer trivia contests and then, during the carol singing I bellow in my bell-like soprano to get the stragglers to join in. Which is great when you’re feeling Christmas-y. When you’re dying a little inside it’s tougher, but I carried it off.

But my efforts to keep Christmas in my heart continue. I’m really making progress on clearing out the bedroom, I’ve started putting out various Christmas pillows and table runners, etc. I think I’m going to whip up a Christmas dress for one of my American Girl dolls – I have the St. Lucia outfit for Kirsten and I’m really enjoying playing with dolls. Think of me as a hobbyist, not immature .

I’m getting a cup of Starbuck’s Christmas Roast (of course) and heading into my office to write for the first time in a week. Then I’ll do some sewing, damn it (I’ve been planning to for weeks and things keep coming up).

The elephant in the room is my son in Tahoe, who had a psychotic break about ten days ago. He’s getting out of the hospital today, and he sound good and calm, That’ll last until he starts smoking weed again and stops taking his pills. He was kicked out of the apartment we found for him when we went out there this fall, but we’ve managed to find a hotel room for him, so at least he’ll be warm and dry, and we’re now sending him Visa gift cards to help with his food (can’t buy weed with credit). It’s so hard to accept that there’s nothing more we can do for him at this point, but we’re trying to save ourselves. Gotta fasten the oxygen mask first so you can help those around you — we can’t do him any good if we’re already passed out from lack of air.

But man, it’s been desperately hard.

OK, enough about that, though I’d love reminders from you guys about people you’ve known who’ve gone on to live a good life despite mental illness. It just feels really hopeless right now.

But … Christmas. It’s snowing outside (of course), we’ve got Christmas music going, and I’m gonna make Richie leave the Christmas jigsaw puzzle he’s working on (he says that’s what he’s going to do all day – the combination of the election and Tim has given him a major double-whammy) and ask him to make me coffee, and then I’ll go back to Regency England and delicious sexual tension.

One day at a time. Tomorrow I go see a new psychiatrist to handle my meds (a geriatric psychiatrist – I was going to refuse on moral grounds but it’s hard to find someone who can do the meds) and then for the rest of the week I’ll write and sew take care of myself and Richie.

So what’s on your agenda? Are you enjoying the season? I am, even with all the worry. Tell me Christmas-y things. Tell me what you’re doing. Tell me about sick people who got better.

Talk to me!

All About You (Krissie)

Photo on 11-28-16 at 10.35 AM

So shall we do a tap dance and tell you everything is fine? Not my style, but then, there are times you gotta pull up your socks and move on. (Bad Tim stuff).

I’ll go with our first holiday tradition – Stoop Soup. A treasured recipes from the 1970’s made by yours truly when I was a cute young wife living in an old farmhouse in the tiny town of Stannard, VT (where Bernie used to live). First, you cook a huge, fabulous Thanksgiving turkey. Then you strip the leftovers off the bones and put the carcass in a huge pot. You throw in an onion, carrots, celery, any leftover veggies plus peppercorns and a bay leaf and you put it on the back burner of the stove and you turn it on. You let it cook – well, it’s supposed to take 4 hours but I usually forget about it and get back to it in 6, 8, or 12 hours. And you can’t cheat and use a crockpot – it gives it a mushy flavor. When it’s time to go to bed and you can’t cook it any more, nor can you put it in the refrigerator because there’s no room with all the leftovers from Thanksgiving, you put it out on the door stoop, where, because it’s Vermont, snow is covering the ground and the temperature is, at the very best, in the low thirties. You put the lid on and go to bed.
For the next three months you pass it every day and think “God, I have to dump that mess in the woods” but you don’t touch it, and by the time Spring rolls around you make your husband trudge out past the fields into the woods and dump the incredibly horrible smelling mess of bones and mold and rot. Bring the pan back, scrub the hell out of it and start all over again next Thanksgiving.

On rare occasions you can vary the recipe by bringing the stock pot back in the next day, draining it over a colander, toss in some turkey, more veggies, a splash of sherry, a splash of soy sauce, and maybe some leftover rice (though if you don’t eat it all the the rice will swell up even more and become slightly weird). But then you miss the winter decoration of the stockpot on the door stoop, and this time of year it’s all about tradition, isn’t it?

This week I’m meeting Miranda Neville for lunch, going into Burlington to drop off stuff for Goodwill, going to NAMI meetings (tonight and Thursday), start decorating the house, write, sew, and keep my fucking sanity. Also, not cry more than twice a day.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

So what’s on your agenda, my darlings?

Happy Thanksgiving!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Happy turkey day! The wild turkeys came to visit a few days ago — they’re sending a happy, wild and free thanksgiving to all of you in civilization!

It’s just Richie and me, but I bought a small turkey because, you know, you gotta have turkey. I’m watching the Macy’s parade, then I have to choose between the dog show or Shri Rama Lama Ding-Dong’s Mansion of Fun (David Johannsen’s program on Sirius-Xm The Loft — I adore the incredible variety of music he plays). You know, I think I might go for music – I miss dogs too much and it might make me sad.

The rest of you will probably watch football.

Here are just some of the things I’m thankful for, in no particular order:
The man I love doesn’t care much for football either, my children are alive if not well, my niece and her husband have a happy life, Richie and I are healthy, despite my fears I’m not sinking into a depression, the cold and snow keeps coming but it’s pretty, Richard Thompson, the house is warm from the firewood we ended up buying, Crusie, cats (even if we don’t have any right now), my grandchildren, Tom Hiddleston, Korean dramas, my iPod, American Girl dolls, quilts, tears, laughter, children, babies, dogs, life, ReFab, my new bathroom — man, life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!

The thing about that great quote from Auntie Mame is that some people are trapped, and it kind of feels like you’re blaming the victim if they’re not tap-dancing. I think the point is that even in the worst times of our lives we can find things of beauty, and it’s the only way we can survive some of the stuff that life throws at us. So to quote Auntie Mame, live!

Happy thanksgiving. When you get around to your laptop, tell us some of the things your thankful for. (You can be thankful for Tom Hiddleston too).