Monday Redux (Krissie)

Okay, why is this computer being weird?  I’m bouncing between three computers and none of them are working right, but what the hell.  I’m trying to add media (as in, put a picture or two up) and it’s not working.  Grrrrr.

I’ve been busy!  After being so worried about my lack of energy, I seem to be able to do more, the more I push.  First off, I’m making myself turn off everything before 11 and start trying to go to sleep then.  While I’ve generally been sleeping till about ten, Yesterday I got up at seven and today at quarter past six.  And I did so much yesterday.  I scrubbed the kitchen – every bit of countertop, tossing things right and left.

I think it was Hoarders that did it.  I’d watched it a couple of times in the past and felt great sympathy for the people who were trapped by their possessions, the clear mental health problems that affected them.

And then I watched it a couple of weeks ago, and took a look at my house.  It truly is appalling.  I don’t know how it got so bad, but it’s really horrifying, so bad that when I showed Tim what my bedroom looked like when we were Facetiming he was shocked, and he grew up with my haphazard ways.

So I cleaned the room.  It’s an ongoing process, but I removed incredible amounts (5 bags to Goodwill) and in the following two weeks I keep chipping away at the stubborn stuff left, not letting it slide back into chaos.

Everywhere I look it’s horrifying, truly.  So I’m feeling really good about what I’ve been doing so far.  Last week alone I did the following:

wrote every day, worked on revisions for older books, made a dress, pants and outfit for the Wellie Wisher doll I’m giving Ali (You can find what I’ve been making on Instagram – I followed Jenny’s plan for posting an art project every day, but in my case it’s just my creativity for the day.  
Son of a bitch, it’s upside down again. That was my doll sweater which, while not perfect, is still useable. I added white buttons.

Sigh. 3 computers and none of them working well. So, made bread pudding, fresh bread and seafood scampi for dinner, went to church, worked on cleaning out the hall, squared up Ali’s quilt, went off to the big city, the shrink, crochet class (I’m taking a beginner’s course to work on the basics). Lots and lots of other stuff this week as well, all without ending up flat on my back in exhaustion like I was (technically I know I should say “as” I was but what the hell).
And I think a lot of it is my worry & anger about feeling so gobsmacked the other time that I was determined not to give in.
Let me tell you about my sister. Taffy was a beauty when she was young, but all three of us children were damaged goods. For some reason I survived and they didn’t. My sister lost her 18 year old son, and then her adopted away 38 year old daughter, and it was too much. She’d wanted to be waited on her entire life (her toddlers would bring her her cokes) and she basically got in a chair and didn’t get out. She had Chronic Fatigue (probably) and unbearable grief, even though she still had Mini-me, and when something hurt she gave into it. By the time she died she’d gained more than a hundred pounds and could barely walk, and her death was from emphysema complicated by obesity. I still have things I need to process about all that.

But I was starting to feel like I couldn’t move, like I was too exhausted to even try. So I rested a couple of days, and then got up and got moving. And I keep pushing just a little more every day, and the more I push, the more I can do. It’s logical – we all learned this when we were young, but it’s easy to forget as pain and age start to take their toll on our bodies. I’ve got something called Chronic Pain Syndrome, with two destroyed knees, fibromyalgia, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, replaced shoulder that is very funky (weak and painful) blah blah blah.
My sister, and a lot of other people, focus on that pain. But since you can’t really get pain-free (and people run into trouble with opioids when they try) you have a choice to cave and whine or to keep fighting it. (Taffy didn’t whine, but she was understandably hopeless). I’m going to keep fighting, and I’m beyond happy with the very fast results.

I think it’s a part of aging – you keep expecting to have the energy and mobility you had thirty years ago, but there’s wear and tear on the joints, and damn, you just get tired. But you have to push beyond your comfort zone, or be the sort of person obsessed by her aches and her troubles.

(I bet you’re rolling on the floor because I probably seemed obsessed by my aches and troubles on here. I’m not, but when I talk to you guys I’m thinking about my life objectively, so I may whine a bit. Mea culpa).

So that’s Sister Yoda’s advice for the day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. (Sister Yoda is from Wales). Or, as my role model would say, “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death. Live!” It is a banquet, full of wondrous (and horrible) things. You can wait for your food to be delivered on a tray to your hospital bed and you can go out there and wrestle it to the ground.

I’m all for wrestling.

Monday (Krissie)

I was born in Philadelphia. And I don’t like like Trump-loving, football-deflating quarterbacks no matter how pretty they are. So hurray for the Super Bowl!

Richie and I watch it every year, mostly for the ads. We aren’t sports people (except for the Winter Olympics) though I have a fondness for basketball when the players have long hair (ah, Pistol Pete!), but we get sucked into the super bowl game every year, despite our determination to only watch the ads. I was expecting the Patriots to clobber the Eagles in the last minute. Ha ha ha.

But seventeen years ago my son ran headlong into a truck while riding too fast on a snowmobile. He was thirteen, and he flew twenty feet in the air, it knocked his helmet off, dislocated one hip and gave him a compound fracture of the other leg. He could have died so easily, and I’ll never forget sitting in the waiting area at the emergency room and numbly watching the Patriots win.

But after all that, and what felt worse in the intervening years, he’s good. He’s strong, he’s handling things. He made it. I don’t understand why some do and some don’t, and I expect I’m not supposed to understand it. But hurray for Tim and hurray for the Eagles and hurray to me who survived it all.

Anyone else hate football but watch the game anyway? I even looked up how to make potato skins (last year was the first time I did chicken wings).
Do you notice something missing from all this? Friends. We’re not that interested in drinking (though we have nothing against it) and sports don’t particularly matter, and we live in a very small town where we’ve always been out of the mainstream. So we have our little super bowl party alone and enjoy ourselves tremendously.

Friends are a difficult issue once you’re past fifty. Everyone’s already got their own circle, and changing isn’t easy. I have very mixed feelings about the whole thing – on the one hand, I enjoy people, I find them interesting. I love to talk with them, hear what’s going on, share things with them. But on the other, I need vast quantities of time alone. I was going to say I always did, even before I became a writer, but I kind of always was a writer. I need time to live in my head, with my stories.

I don’t worry about it any longer. I’m a little off-beat – a little colorful, a little different, a little over the top, and some people aren’t comfortable around me. (I do figure it’s a grave moral defect on their part but I forgive them – not enough people embrace their own fabulousness in this world and they’re uneasy around people who do).

So fuck ’em. I want you all to go out and embrace your fabulousness. The world needs it. We’ve had two impossibly shitty years – it’s time to make this year amazing, despite the evils in Washington. Do something fabulous! Wear something outrageous, put on bright red lipstick, a dashing scarf, and a smile and go out and greet the world. If the world won’t be fabulous we need to go out and make it so.

Live, my children!

Apology

I just checked the “Pending” link and found eleven comments there.  About half were spam, but there were real comments in there, too, some dating back to September.  Krissie and I will do better.  (Krissie, when you come to stay, I will show you how to clear the pending file.)  SORRY.

Monday, Monday (Krissie)

It’s Monday, I’m still energetic (though in a shitload of pain, but hey, chest la vie. Or Det er liv, in Danish, but I imagine there’s an idiom. I have been studying Danish for 307 days straight (I’m doing Duolingo and it keeps track – it’s a free app and has tons of languages if anyone’s interested). I’ve also finally been watching the Craftsy courses I bought – I particularly like one on using precuts of Jenny the owner of Missouri Quilt Co. or whatever it’s called. there’s another on creative quilting with a walking foot, plus several others. I’ve been bouncing around, watching a lesson here and a lesson there.

Which brings us to the point that learning new things, or refining old things, is fun, rewarding, and really good for your brain. Yeah, it takes time, though for me it’s just part of my nighttime ritual. Instead of surfing or playing solitaire (well, I do a little of that) I do my dansk (the Danes don’t capitalize much) and Craftsy. The only drawback is that I do Pinterest and other craft ideas (look at patterns, etc) and it gets me energized at 11 at night, when I need to be falling asleep.

I might humbly suggest that you guys might consider taking a class. If I lived in civilization I’d love to take a hands on sewing class, but at this point my main options are on-line. (Though I’ve love to learn excel and they do sometimes have courses on that. I imagine I could also learn that on line).

I’m also relearning the guitar and learning new songs. I used to play a lot when I was young … I mean, really a lot. Guys would always get me to sing with their bands or just with them, I wrote songs, sang at weddings and benefits, etc. Richie and I first met over music. I’m slowly getting my fingers toughened up and can even play my Martin D-35 (which is a really stellar acoustic guitar). I stopped playing in my early thirties as writing became more demanding, and there have been so many wonderful songs since then that I never learned to play. Fortunately I have a decent ear for figuring out what the chords are for various songs, so it’s been fun and satisfying. I’m even learning “Elle a les yeux revolver” which inspired Black Ice and the ice series, arguably my most popular books.

So guys … any of you play the guitar when you were younger? Do you still have it around? Failing that, ukulele’s are easy and fun. In fact, back in 1963 I taught myself guitar on my father’s baritone uke – the four strings are the same as the top four on a guitar. I learned “Blowin in the Wind” and “We Shall Overcome” in the key of A. Ah, youth. Kennedy was still president and I was a sophomore in high school.

I digress. If you’re musical, drag out your guitar or buy a ukulele. Singing is really good for you physically and spiritually – the breathing, etc.

And learn something. I want you guys to do some research and find a course/class you want to take in the new year. Fuck losing weight – it never works and in the beginning the main reward is vanity. Check your local colleges and community centers, etc. Check on-line – Craftsy and tons more. If you’re not into it, tant pis (don’t know a Danish equivalent) but I don’t care. Choose something, and report back.

On a mixed note. Speaking of music, Mel Tillis just died. I used to sing “Mental Revenge” – one of his songs. And I’m sorry, but I saw that Charles Manson had died and I cheered. I don’t know if I believe in evil – I tend to think it’s sickness instead – but if evil existed there was a lot concentrated in that pathetic creature. I hope next time around he can expiate his sins. (No, I don’t want him roasting in hell if I believed such a thing existed).

Enough wickedness on my part.In the meantime, happy Thanksgiving. Richie and I will do it alone again (alas), but we’ll have fun. I’m going to try a canola oil piecrust – my aunt Ailie use to make fabulous pie crusts with cooking oil, so I’ll see how I far.

What are you doing for Thanksgiving? I know, too many questions, but I’m curious.