Thursday, August 18, 2016

Revenge Spinach and Migraines

I have a very rare migraine brewing. It started last week before our day running away from all responsibility at the water park and rushing through Costco at the breakneck speed of light twenty minutes before they closed. It started before my discovery that some random person had ransacked my old car looking for money, dumping out the contents of the glove box and center panel only to find an expired bottle of tylenol and four old hospital bracelets. It started well before the almost unbearable din of the mid-August cicadas here in the Piedmont.

I am still laughing over the fact that someone searched my car for money because my old lady sedan does not scream 'Mega-bucks and drugs!'. It more looks like 'I keep a quarter to use at Aldi for a shopping cart in the cup holder' - which, coincidentally is the only thing missing from the entire car. I wish they would have emptied the trash at the same time.

August is usually a very sucky month for my health. The mid and late August weather always creates a week or so of very low oxygen levels, usually just as my pulmonologist is on vacation and unreachable, where I lay down a lot, take extra meds and trudge on through till the weather starts to cool off slightly.

Usually it does not bring a every few years migraine. This year it is. I've been eating tylenol on top of my usual cocktail of drugs like I am in a grudge match with my liver. It's not working.

By last night I was getting more pissed off with this headache, knowing it will eventually reach the point where I will need to take the imitrex and sleep it off in a perfectly silent dark cold room. It's getting close.

In the last few days I've been dealing with the huge overwhelming amount of zucchini that the garden is producing by cooking a large batch every few days. At least those I'm not canning for zucchini relish or baking zucchini bread, cookies, you-name it with. I was counting on not having to cook last night because I've cooked up a huge batch of seasoned and delicious zucchini, a big salad and a number of chicken breasts.

Get up to start dinner, headache like a nagging toothache and discover that Jim has gorged himself on that huge container of cooked zucchini. 'Is that a problem?' he asked me, mystified as to why I would be miffed. Damn straight skippy when I'm fighting this headache. I grumbled, I complained but I served him the remainder of the zucchini and then proceeded to make for myself and myself alone a batch of the most mouth-watering creamed spinach, brave with onions, garlic and the good cheese. I ate it all for dinner while he just stared. Revenge spinach.

Usually I'm not this petty, but this is just one of those triggering things, when someone cannot understand that they shouldn't inhale all of one large amount of foodstuffs because perhaps someone else might have wanted a few. I've dealt with this with my son when he was a teenager many times. Make enough of something for two meals, come back and it's all gone with the things you have in there for them to snack on completely untouched.

After all the fuming and spinach cooking I finally just gave up and took a small dose of imitrex and went to bed. When I'm sick with low oxygen levels and headaches I get crazy, as the above illustrates amply. Still have the headache today but I'm about to kill it with more imitrex and get in the bed.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Tomorrow Never Knows

The title happens to be that of my favorite Beatles song. An odd psychedelic one. "Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream" is much easier said than done. Particularly at night when you are trying to wind down and sleep and you're worrying about a multitude of things, like if you remembered to pay off your credit card yet or if your relatives in Louisiana are safe from the flooding.

But the other day I got to see a movie that used the song in a sequence 'Sucker Punch'

Not the sort of movie I would usually watch, but this one spoke deeply to me. If you've not seen it the film is set in an insane asylum/mental hospital and one of the patients, Baby Doll, goes into the most incredibly detailed disassociative states.  She even goes into a second state of disassociation that turns her and her fellow detainees into powerful warrior women on a mission to find the items they need in order to escape from the hospital they are all incarcerated at.

That's how I survived some of my childhood and young adulthood, when I was abused, completely disassociated and went somewhere else in my head. It wasn't as detailed, powerful or disturbing as Baby Doll's world is in 'Sucker Punch'.

But sometimes the memories that randomly pop up are every bit as disturbing and unexpected as a literal sucker punch.

Been a tough week. A friend has been threatening suicide because of the increasing pain of life. Another friend has been suffering the unkind slings and arrows of the willfully ignorant and I was sucker punched by these and other happenings.

Yesterday afternoon was the hardest. My SIL has tried to reestablish contact with us, not in a fun happy or even asking forgiveness sort of way, but complaining about my maw in law. She emailed us to recount an incident with the maw in law supposedly throwing a tantrum and tossing something to the floor of her room when the SIL was trying to interact with her.

We're not replying. We've gone no contact on the recommendation of my counselor. But it's disturbing. My maw is law is in her nineties but I've never seen in all the time I've known her a moment of frustration so intense and illogical that she strikes out in a physical way or in a 'tantrum'.

I'm not buying it. I'm thinking there is a heap of bad feelings, possibly even some abusive words or speech being directed at my mother in law. This is just not something she's doing for 'no reason'.  Guess it's time to talk to the attorney again and talk to the maw in law to see what legal pressures can be brought to move my maw in law up here. She deserves better than the barely concealed hostility and rage of a mentally unstable woman.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Church is Always Drama and Historic Floods

The Naked Pastor - David Hayward posted a drawing the other day about, a Venn diagram of church and drama and I have to say it's all too accurate. I like David, we've both been harassed by the same gang of not very nice folks masquerading as social warriors. Big old intolerant cry babies.

But I'm not talking about those people today, nor am I bitching about the scads of people that treat the gym like gossip central or a pick up joint. I got to church today and discovered that one of the people in leadership I've never been very comfortable with either stomped away and quit or was fired. People are all atwitter and gossiping about it left and right. I fended off a few folks that wanted to know what I knew, which was exactly zero. I stay far far away from this guy and most of the people not on worship team.

This fellow was the youth leader, and he held some ideas just slightly to the right of those at my old church. One of the things he did that led me to express some concern to our pastor was that he taught
I Kissed Dating Goodbye' by Josh Harris, pushing courtship as The Way at our mainstream more liberal church. That, and other things, made me feel uncomfortable about him. He seemed nice, but every time I talked to him our conversation devolved into shades of Fundytown. So I kept my distance and most of misgivings to myself beyond questioning the wisdom of teaching that awful book.

Now I'm watching a bunch of other folks verklempting about whatever it was that happened over on Facebook. Why can't everyone just mind their own business. It was announced by the pastor that he left and no details discussed. That should be enough.

But it never is. This was one of the big bugaboos that disgusted me the most at my old church Possum Creek. There was constant drama, people stomping away or dramatic things happened and scads of idle speculation going on. I was telling my friend that went to the beach with me that one of the most hateful hurtful things that happened to me at Possum Creek was each and every time I had terrible problems with my cycle and ended up having to go into the hospital and had a D&C to end my massive bleeding that someone would end up saying I'd had 'an abortion' even though I had not been pregnant. More than a few times it ended up on the email prayer list as an abortion. Why they couldn't just understand that I needed the every three or four month D&C for my period problems I don't know.

Gossip like that hurts. Hurts badly when it's about you and it tells me something negative about the persons around me trying to engage in it. I end up having to break out that hateful snotty elitist attitude of Thurston Howell III every time someone tries to gossip with me. It's safer that way.

I've gotten much better as time has gone on about not taking offense at the ideas and words of others. In fact my friend on the trip said a number of things I think are ridiculous, such as supporting Donald Trump and I managed to not argue with her or take offense. I was more amused by her words and antics than offended, with the exception of her more racist moments. She is who she is (an extremely conservative former Ben Carson supporter), I am who I am (uber liberal politically) and we don't have to agree on everything, even if I find her love for Donald Trump puzzling. I asked her what she liked about him and all she could say is that she liked the things she heard him say. I asked for specifics but she could not come up with any. It was an enlightening peek into the mind of a Trump supporter.

I did have great fun telling her about a recent encounter I had with a member of her new church at our local Starbucks. Went through drive thru, saw that the car ahead of me had their church's bumper sticker on it, pulled up to the window to pay and found out that the car ahead of me had paid for my coffee. That was nice, I thought, right up until the cashier handed me a Chick Tract the people had left for me and mumbled out something about 'God's blessings'. Chick Tracts! I growled, grumbled and tore up the tract right in front of the cashier while inwardly thinking some very dirty words.


On a somber note I'm watching the flooding in Baton Rouge Louisiana and have been on the phone with many of my relatives down there or connected with them on Facebook. So far everyone is relatively dry. My mother swears it's not that bad, but I did see drone footage from her neighborhood and it looks pretty dire. This is concerning. In all the years I lived there I've never seen such huge stretches of interstate 10 shut down before. I hope the waters recede quickly.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Race, Racism and the Beach

Back when I was a child my family used to visit a restaurant on the shores of Lake Ponchatrain that I cannot remember the name now. It was a beautiful large white Victorian style building, brave with as many swirls and sculpted shells as a white frosted wedding cake.

I don't remember what we ate there, but I will never forget the interior of this dining establishment, also all in white, white linen tablecloths, turning white ceiling fans and a large crystal chandelier. I'm sure it was quite expensive, I seem to remember the adults in the party having shrimp cocktails, raw oysters and martinis.

The other two things that stand out in my memory was first the dessert. I always had a scoop of plain chocolate ice cream in a fluted cut crystal goblet.

The other thing was the waiters, all black men dressed in white tail coats, as servile and ubiquitous as black men serving whites in a fancy place could be. I remember being puzzled as to why all the waiters were African Americans and asking, only to be told by an elderly family member that this was the way things should be.

I hadn't thought of that particular restaurant in many years, at least until this last week. I knew when we booked our hotel we were staying in a primarily black city, Norfolk, Virginia. I have no problem with that. The area was primarily black and the hotel had a largely black population. Again, no problem. I've worked, worshiped and gone to school with people of many different races and try my damnedest not to hold preconceived notions about people groups (unless they are Christian fundamentalists or old ladies trying to engage me in conversation in the gym. Those folks I will always think the worst of immediately, particularly fundamentalist Christians and their hate.)

I fail at this, oh so many times, but I still try. One of the deepest desires I hold for this world is that we all finally move past racism, to make color or race not matter. I think it will happen eventually but I think it's going to take my own generation dying out to accomplish that goal. Racism seems to be less endemic in the younger generations.

What was surprising about my beach trip was some of the racist reactions I observed in some of the people around me, both in the hotel and outside, on the beach and in the area. There were loads of white people acting like it was still plantation times and saying and doing some surprising things. Like watching an older white lady clutch her purse to her side when a smiling black man passed her on one of the beach paths near the Norfolk public beach. He hailed her, speaking out a friendly greeting even as she pressed her bag hard to her side. Overheard another complaining that she wasn't using the same restroom as 'insert your favorite racist epitaph here'. A thousand small actions, observing people changing sides of the street or making some small remark. The person I was with exhibited many racist comments, attitudes and behaviors, which sort of made me feel sick. I think this is going to be my last jaunt with her because I end up biting my tongue over her behavior and attitudes so many times. It requires more energy than I have now.

But it was also unnerving to find myself on the blunt tines of the opposite reaction. I experienced a very uncomfortable few minutes in the breakfast room with a large group of blacks, I walked in and all conversation stopped before I experienced what it was to be made the object of hostile glares. I still smiled, spoke to those nearest the door. What else could I do?

But it was just one bad moment for me, not much of a comparison to what many African Americans experience every single day at the hands of other Americans.

I don't blame them. If I've learned anything through the years of growing up in South Louisiana it's that the systematic racism of many people is so deeply ingrained that they are not aware of it on any meaningful level. I've questioned most of my more racist relatives. They gasp and swear they aren't racists, it's just this or that group of folks does this or that stereotypical negative thing. Yeah, then they start griping about our President being a Muslim. It just never ends.

I don't know what the answer is to end racism in this nation, but I wish I did. I guess I'll just keep trying my best not to behave the way I was raised. I am so thankful to no longer be living in the Deep South because I'm not sure I could keep my mouth shut enough to not get in trouble. Maybe that's the answer, not keeping silent about this.

I don't think until this trip I really understood how divided we are as a nation. Be afraid because I think this also means that these are the same folks that will be voting for Donald Trump. 'Make America Great Again' seems more like a coded language for 'Let's all hate and suppress various people groups again like we used to do..'

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Your Standards Are Not My Standards

One of the interesting things to come out of beach week was the fact that I was exposed to the beliefs of my old church and friends yet again.

Perfect example. On the second morning of the trip my friend who went with me mentioned that my husband had yet to call me and she thought that was a troubling sign that my marriage was not a good one. How could Jim ignore me like that, she smugly questioned while texting her husband repeatedly.

Bitch, whatever, is what I wanted to say, but I bit my tongue. We're both adults and both secure in each others affections, not needing constant reassurance or hand holding. We're not the couple that is sugary insincere fakey-pie with each other.

In fact, when I observe folks that are over the top mushy about their spouses, either on Facebook or handsy total public displays of affection in public I always think I should pull up a lawn chair, make popcorn, ice down the cokes and wait for the divorce and/or fireworks. It's the cynic in me that reacts that way every time.

Loving someone doesn't always mean you're going to be joined at the hip every second of every single day. Lack of calls and text messages are indicative of nothing. He did call and I called him a couple of times that week, just to check in mostly. But in fundytown it's a giant red freaking flag. Not cheating, or flirting, or Ashley Madison, just lack of pda.

I'm glad we're not like that because I would find is smothering to have someone lurking around like that. I'm too much the raving introvert to go for that.

But I'll be really glad when Jim gets home tomorrow from his high school reunion (very boring, I decided to skip it for the beach this year). I don't sleep well without him in the bed and I cannot lift the garbage bag of used cat litter without throwing out my back. I need him here. Just not acting like he's Romeo trying to flatter me with honeyed insincere words and actions.

One Very Popular Comedian Sucks Hard

I've been away at the beach and not updated. Now I'm back and I have mrsa again. This time it started because I had an allergic reaction that I could not help but scratch.

And just like that reaction on my eyelid I scratched instinctively I found myself regurgitating some ancient history between myself and a famous comedian who always seems to land in commercials and get his own television show. Was I triggered. Holy cow!

Not coughing up a name, many that know me well know exactly whom I'm referring to. Back, oh say, 17 years ago I did a silly set of websites for a very silly indie film that was never released save for a few film festivals. This unknown comedian was one of the stars of the film.

Through the websites and other primitive social media said comedian approached me. It didn't go well. This guy being pushed as a very clean, Christian and just 'good' comedian turned out to be anything but. Through the websites I got numerous complaints from angry fathers that the comedian had approached their young nubile teenage daughters begging and pleaded for sex, for a three way with him and his girlfriend who is now his wife.

Before it was over he'd sent me a naked photo of his pasty white glow in the dark ass, nuts and dick and I had heard from loads of women in the entertainment industry that had been subjected to his corny pick up lines, sexual innuendos and straight up sexual harassment.

Now we're many years past that and he's marketing himself as 'Father of the Year' just about everywhere. I have to wonder if he's still pulling the same creepy inappropriate behavior or did he straighten up. If he's still in super creep mode I predict he'll eventually be outed as a Bill Cosby level sexual offender.

I gag when people innocently mention him as a great guy and am triggered every time he pops up in those commercials or if I am channel surfing and land on one of his many television shows.


Sunday, July 31, 2016

No Sleep and Sermons

I've started having trouble sleeping again, but I think this time it's caused by the fact that I've been drinking coffee like a champ morning, noon and night in my battle against eating very bad for me things. Coffee kills the appetite and gives me enough energy to power through my daily workouts. Unfortunately I've been hoovering up the caffeine like Jessie Pinkman sampling his blue meth with about the same results.

Didn't sleep last night and boy did I feel it today. I slide through my morning like a sluggish snail dragging her shell around, barely able to listen to our pastor's sermon, which to boil it all down the core message was 'Don't Be A Dick', something I guess I need to be reminded of while at the gym.

If you are impassive and non-verbal to others are you really being a dick or just merely rude?

Too bad that sermon didn't fall very deeply in others ears because I got my ass chewed out about ten times AFTER the sermon this morning by various self-righteous pontificators over very minor details. I ran out the door hissing and spitting that I was never coming back. Shades of my old church and I'm not putting up with that again.

As we left church this morning Jim and I were talking about that old Creek Fellowship we used to attend and he said something about why couldn't we see how crazy and toxic it all was. I don't know why we couldn't see it then, but now it seems like it does not take much before I'm triggered here at the place we're attending now.

I guess I'm not as far along in my recovery as I thought I was.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Intrinsical Value

One of my favorite possessions is a photo of my grandmother from back in the late 1920s. I'm not sure it's pre or post Black Tuesday, Oct. 29, 1929 but I think it's likely pre. I've heard horror stories from that grandmother my whole life about two or three of her brothers jumping out of windows after losing fortunes in the market. I know her family was wealthy right up until Black Tuesday. The only one to come out financially unscathed was my great grandmother, but only because she owned many rental properties and farms. She didn't trust in stocks.

My grandmother is wearing a flapper style dress in that photo, stockings rolled just below her knees, a long necklace and a feathered headdress. She's smiling, posing with one hand on her hip and the other behind her bobbed hair head and feathered headband. She could have been straight out of 'The Great Gatsby'. She radiates confidence, happiness and value.

Too bad I never knew her that way. By the time I came along in the 1960s she was a bitter, complaining, lost soul, someone who have had every morsel of self confidence and worth quashed within her for many years. She held a masters degree, was a debutante from a wealthy family, and taught school for many years, but behaved like she believed the sky might fall at any minute, sidling around like a whipped dog.

What happened to her? I don't really know for sure, but if I had to guess it was my alcoholic grandfather that happened to her. They married in the thirties because she was pregnant and I know from family lore that most everyone in the family thought she'd really come down in life by marrying my grandfather. He was the son of a preacher and worked at Jax brewery in New Orleans.

I loved my grandfather but I did witness all the times he simply cut the hamstrings of my grandmother Vivian's emotions, needs and self worth. A murder by a thousand million tiny paper cuts. I didn't understand it as a child but many times I remember him doing things like turning the lights off in the kitchen while she was reading a recipe to make and saying she wasn't worth the electricity.

Recently reading through the blogs of Lori Alexander, Nancy Campbell, Debi Pearl and Steven Anderson, among others, I can see that this is pretty standard operating procedure for evangelical quiverfull too. It uses up women and warps them terribly as much as anything my poor grandmother experienced.

When you leave that type of toxic faith environment one of the biggest struggles, at least it was for me, was to regain your self worth, to realize you are valuable in your own way, a way that cannot be measured against anyone else standard of value.

It's one of the reasons I started going back to the gym every single day now, even if I get annoyed with folks that treat it like a social club or deal with weirdos in the hot tub. I have come to realize that instead of sacrificing for everyone else I must carve out daily time to take care of myself because I have worth. It's self care I must do to help out my asthma. I do it for me. No one else.

If you cannot believe you have worth then you cannot possibly do the things you need to do to keep yourself healthy, physically, emotionally or spiritually. Listening to the cultural enforcers I listed above you will never be able to believe in your own self worth because they preach the dangerous chorus of sacrifice it all.

They don't even realize that by teaching that type of submission they're thinning their own ranks significantly. Don't you think if God wanted workers in the field He might expect them to realize their worth and maintain their own bodies and minds in a healthy state.