Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Mouth Like a Trucker

I forget sometimes that I have different facets of my personality. Some of those sides are particularly unlovely. They tend to pop up when I least expect or desire them.

With extreme fatigue from the drugs and the fact that my emotions seem to be right on the surface these days I tend to be this girl when I'm tired, worn out, feel attacked, or just plain old vanilla scared. Even when relatively happy. Go figure.


Yes ma'am, that's me yesterday, mixed in with that hateful trucker with the mouth.


 Yep, me again, just add swear words. I can be a mouthy little thing.

Yesterday I got gripped by sudden fears when Jim and I were walking on the beach, as usual he stomped down hard to the more populately stretch of the beach and I veered the other way, off to the totally abandoned stretch of Playa Grande headed towards the estuary. I like my peace and quiet. I need time alone to decompress and think. I like to wander, stop and watch the sunning crabs and scuttling hermit crabs. I like to pick up shells and sand dollars. I like to pick up the alive sea slug like critters in shells and have them skitter across my hands. I like to pause long enough to watch the pelicans. Jim is all business, pounding out his walk like he's serious. I wander.

Two different walking styles for two different people with two different personalities. Unlike a certain fundytown female cultural enforcer we do not need to trot together in tandem over the sands. His legs are almost a foot longer than mine and he does not stop to wonder. Even if I didn't crave that stretch of alone time it would be foolish because he would be chafing to plung on ahead, while I would be annoyed to have to trot to keep up.

Yesterday, a full week since my ride in the helicopter ambulance to San Jose. I have been feeling a little more than slightly freaked out. If I express that in any way, whine about how utterly exhausted the meds are making me feel, or complain in any way Jim has shown how much he is freaking out by saying something like I'm throwing a pity party.

Dude, I had a stroke. If anyone is entitled to a little freaking out for at least a week or so I think it's me.

Does not help that the first hour we were away from the hospital that Jim asked me if he contributed to the stress that caused the stroke. I thought that was tacky and very uncalled for, even as I could tell he was very guilty feeling and wanted me to manage his guilt by telling him oh no, you are a joy to live with this hard 18 months. I wasn't about to assauge his ego like that, resented him even asking such a thing while I felt horribly shitty from the new meds.

I know, I know, he's dealing and processing too so I need to be patient. Except I have no patience. I'm Sweary the Truck Driver or Crying Girl or Swearing Crying Girl. I'm not capable right now.

He also told Mr and Mrs Satan before I told one of my kids or my mother. I was rather annoyed by that.

On our way to the beach he mentioned calling on the Fat Shaming Old Surfer Dude from a few weeks ago because he lives on that beach. I said I didn't feel well enough to be social and didn't want to hang around all day. We parted. He walked one way, I went to my own private beach that only had me on it yesterday.

I meant to walk only a half hour but noticed as I came back to the main entrance it had been a full hour. No Jim, No Jim anywhere. I was super stupid tired but went looking around the beach, the part he would have walked. De nada, nothing.

Close to an hour later out he pops from the bushes, coming from the area where the houses are. I am out of water, trembling exhaustion in all limbs, furious, crying, scared, and sunbured (just on the back of my neck). I ripped into him the second he got close. Sweary was back~

I don't walk with my cell phone, neither does he, so anything could happen and lord knows I was imaginging everything under the sun.  But the realization that he blew off my post sickness needs to socialize and leave me out in the sun with no way to get more water, or even simply into the car was like adding gasoline to my crying girl, triggering the truck driver in me..

The rest of the day was pretty dire, lots of sulking and pouting from him. I ignored him and behaved like everything was a okay because once the trucker mouth comes out, says her piece and moves on I'm so over it. Plus it uses up energy I don't have right now.

Today when we walked afterward I went into a nearby restaurant and had a drink and a salad so he'd have his time to putter about. This time he checked on me first before his extra things, and he arrived with a beautiful carved coffee cup of Guanacaste wood with a painted on hummingbird. His way of saying sorry, some small trinket. I accepted, of course. Sweary was already put away, but Crying Girl is likely to make a few more appearances. I got home from the beach exhausted again, floated in our pool before laying down to read.

One thing I've done a great deal of this week, read. Books consumed have been a weird bunch from Woodward's "Fear" to Tara Westover's "Education" to one about the serial killer Bender family on the Ingall's family Kansas Territory, to another Holocaust memoir, and the craziest one by a detective chasing the identity of a woman who died as a Jane Doe.




Monday, September 17, 2018

Just Does Not Get It

Today things came to kind of a head again and we had a squabble around noon today. I am not entirely up to speed, and someone seems to think I should be.

I knew when he asked me about if he caused my stroke that he wanted me to absolve him of any stress, but I could not do that, which really pissed him off. I don't care. I cannot pretend. It just takes too much energy.

Why are men so damn selfish? Why is everything in this world revolving around them in their mines. Life tends to disabuse women of the notion of their importance in the universe very quickly, and we realize we're one of many. Men? Not so. They mostly seem to think that the world literally rotates around their ideas, needs, and wants. Many never catch on.

I know he only asked because he was feeling guilty, but there is reason for him to feel guilty. He has been living in fantasy land for nearly two years while I get to do the emotional heavy lifting.

Hard times, man, hard times. But I won't back down.

He will get over it, or he will go.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sadly Familar

The medication side effects are still here, but not quite as badly.

We're still cleaning up after the water. The floor is fully dry, but it smells pretty funky still. Just mopped with straight up bleach so we'll see if that's good enough. Time for new furniture once the smell goes.

Went to church today even if I'm dragging ass hard still. The exhaustion is overwhelming.

Heard just as I was leaving that someone else in the expat community was having either a heart attack or a stroke. I think I saw them being airlifted from the same airport I was. The air ambulance took off and passed overhead in the afternoon headed for the hospitals of San Jose. I hope they make it.

Still spending a lot of time laying down. But it's kind of nice because Stinky is cuddling me.

What's not so nice is that Jim does not seem to understand that my new reality is a constant state of headache, dizziness and exhaustion. I'm not getting to do this or that, I'm guarding and measuring out my scanty energy for the important things. Like cooking so I can stay on the stroke protocol diet. There has been some yelling on my part.

The gal that sells essential oils immediately started spouting out her version of the stroke protocol of essential oils. I was not having it. Not everything in life is an opportunity to push your mlm. It's like some bizarre cult I have zero patience with.


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Saturday Morning Quarter-Backing

I am better. The drugs to deal with the side effects of the drugs I need to take for the stroke have finally started to kick in just a hair. Plus I realized yet again that I am not empress of the universe with the huge and awesome responsibility and duties to do everything.

Had to put down, and let go of the notion that my house must be perfect and rest. Who really cares that it literally stinks because of the water. I managed to get one of the rooms completely stripped and bleached. It's going to take me all week to get it done, and Jim is doing some of it too. No rush. Just us.

I did a few things yesterday and mostly, I rested. Which is apparently what I needed the most.

On a strict diet with no salt and not much good tasting but that's okay. I've been losing for a while now and will continue as it's become more important for my health.

Here's what I'm not doing. Officially 'dieting' with different nutritional fads. I am following the guidelines set by the doctor, not some goofy fad. Goofy fad dieting is likely what got me into this mess. How so?

When I had the stroke I had been on the Keto diet for three weeks. I liked it. I felt good and never hungry, but apparently my body rebelled against it. It works for some, but if you already have health issues you likely should not try it.

The doctors are waiting to see if by changing  my diet to a strict salt free low carb diet if my blood pressure will start to ease down on its own.

Here's the issue with Keto if you have problems. It's high fat, and if you do like I did and have some fermented foods with each meal it will drive your salt intake through the roof. Kidneys are very affected by salt, and regulate the blood pressure. At the time I was airlifted out I was drinking a good six liters a day of bottled water and sugar free drinks. Six. Liters. Now I'm down to just under two per day, which is closer to normal. Clearly something was going haywire in my body and it was not my sugar level, which is normal now.

So now we're in wait and see if changing the diet and taking the drugs will work. I am hoping as I have changed the diet that I'll be able to gradually taper off the drugs and stop them. Too many horrid side effects if yesterday morn when I was ranting here is anything to go by.

Here's my takeaway from the experience.Better to just eat healthier and smaller portions than try to game your body by eating only certain things. Moderation is more the key. Fads are fads, and they make work for some, but can harm you if you are not careful.

I feel like such a stupid sap, virtuously sneering at that awful high salt Jilly Juice diet while cramming my maw with high salt items. No one needs that much salt.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Not So Vile

Right after I threw out that whine it occurred to me that I don't have to do anything but stay white and eventually die. I put down everything and rested. It was what I needed to do. Feeling much better. Still having crappy medication side effects but I'm not bawling or thinking about death.

Vile

The medicine is making me feel vile. That's the only word for it. Every simple motion, from taking the clothes off the line or just folding them exhausts me beyond belief.

I do have a lady that comes in and helps part time, but she has a bad back. I get her to clean the bathrooms and dust the furniture and the woodwork. The rest I do. Now I cannot because of the medication side effects.

Jim does some. But sometimes just creates more mess and chaos than he addresses.

Women from the chuich have offered to help, but I cannot allow them to see the sink filled with dirty dishes and the muddy floors now that Jim's removed the floodwaters. Mopping is way way way out of the question right now and I know I would fret and end up going behind Jim.

Fifteen years ago I popped a couple of 130/85 blood pressures and the doctor put me on the lowest levels of blood pressure meds. In the three months I was on the meds I felt th is horrible and it never lifted. I was taken off the meds when I fainted at the doctors office and the top number on my blood pressure was well below a hundred.

They keep telling me that this is feeling normal.No it is not.I will not be able to stand these side effects long before checking out.

They added a drug to deal with the side effects. It worked well last night, but not today. I feel worse than  ever.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Backstroke

If you've not read about my crazy week I suggest you go here and then return.  I can tell by the high number of shares that Rachel Coleman's fans, the ladies that love Jinger and Fundytown  are all talking. Good. Gives them something to do for today. Everyone deserves to be amused.

Yes, yes, I had a mini stroke.

The funny of it all is that I just do not take myself as seriously as others have. Example? Monday morn, right in the middle of this ridiculous crisis that I was initially refusing to accept was a crisis a handsome young man stood over my prone almost naked body. He held an industrial sized jar of KY Jelly, dabbling it here and there while I laughed and thought too bad he's just attaching EKG electrodes. This was not the scenario I ever imagined with a handsome guy and KY Jelly.

I felt fine before, during and after the stroke. Now I don't feel so fine at all. The medications are screwing with me horribly. How horribly? Well I am out here eating sugar free yogurt and a salt free rice cake for dinner while Jim's in the house tucking into a New York strip steak and steamed veggies,.. and salad.. and rolls. I'm not forbidden from eating those foods, in fact I made sure I cooked super healthy, no salt, plentious veggies and those cracked wheat whole wheat rolls I make. It's just the moment I started grilling the steaks my stomach started doing some very queasy barrel rolls inside my torso.

Since they started the meds I've been barely able to eat, and sometimes cannot hold much down. Which made our bus trip back from San Jose, erm, 'interesting' Imagine a five hour bus ride with nausea and random dry heaving into a plastic bag.

I was also pretty upset. The hospital demanded a nearly 5K deposit last night before they would release me, which I found out today was not supposed to happen since our insurance has a catastrophic illness clause that is picking up the hospital bill fully.

Jim chose the second we were sitting in the bus station to hostilely question me over if he was adding to my stress levels. Like that is not going to add to my stress levels?

 I told him truthfully that he was before melting down in tears. Hostile words exchanged about the huge hospital bill. I knew it was wrong, but had to wait until this morning to verify that with the insurance company. I was released too late in the day to call the U.S. to ask.

Why is it that men always seem to chose the exact wrong moment to have those big discussions? Nothing he could have said would have been appropriate in that moment as I felt beat up. How beat up? My arms are a hot mess from the vein hunt by the nurse to insert the IV, plus the five zillion automatic blood pressure tests bruising up my arms.  It got so bad that during that first night they had to switch the blood pressure cuff to my foot to get a reading and not bruise me any longer. Are not bleeding disorders a barrel of fun?? I had no idea you can get a blood pressure reading from a foot or leg, but you can.

I cannot blame him however. It seems like I've spent my entire life fending off men doing stupid things like suddenly stammering out "I have always loved you!" at the exact moment I am freaking out over something at work.  Or other inappropriate inanities at exactly the wrong moment while I have my "Are you mentally deranged??" glare going on.

One thing did go very right in last night's ride home. Jim had made sure to call and schedule a taxi for the rest of the way home. Because we were leaving so late last night we were only able to take the bus as far as Santa Cruz. about forty minutes from Tamarindo.

We also found out that the banks here shut down their ATM around ten pm to hold down on robberies, which meant it took every penny both of us had to pay the cabby. But it was a pleasant ride, we talked to the driver and his sweet teenage daughter.

Once we got home, got in the security gate and hit the front door it was obvious something very bad had happened. Stinky was at the glass door wailing, it wasn't the usual 'How dare you leave me alone for three whole days with a big bowl of food and a clean litter box!' and more 'OMG I AM SO CONFUSED AND FREAKED OUttttttttt!!!!!!!!!' Opened the door, he shot out and water flowed out.

The pipe that pumps fresh water into our toilet tank ruptured and the entire house with the exception of our master suite was a good inch deep in water. And I've just been told by the neurologist to keep calm? From about midnight to nearly 2 am we shop vacced, swept and mopped water out of the house. It finally dawned on me I was not doing my stroked out self any favors so I went to bed, leaving the rest for Jim. He's gotten much of it out, but will have to finish tomorrow morn, while I have to throw out all my crocheting yarn, a tv, and assorted other things that got drenched and will never be right again.

We will have to replace most of the furniture, which I'm not upset about, I'm pretty happy about that as it was mostly worn out leftovers left by the previous owners. No bad thing happens that does not have a good result somewhere.

Today was all follow ups with the doctor, getting additional meds to try and kill my med side effects and going to the grocery store to get things I now need I didn't before, like an industrial sized vat of Mrs. Dash. I'm about to pop the first of the anti nausea drugs and hop into the bed to read. My vision is back.

Tomorrow we will be at the custom furniture place to start the task of refurnishing the house.

I  did discover one thing out of this. I think it wasn't helped by the fact I'd been eating Keto for three weeks and downing a lot of fermented (and highly salted) foods. Yep, I may have seriously exacerbated this stroke by the way I was eating. Apparently the diet is hard on the kidneys, which in turn control the blood pressure. Which might explain how I suddenly have high blood pressure after 58 years of low blood pressure issues.

I did freak out the poor little physician's assistent at my doctor's office. My oxygen levels are bouncing around too. They had to put me on oxygen the entire time I was in the hospital. The girl kept muttering there was something wrong with the O2 stat measuring device. I had to point out it's just my crappy lungs again.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

My Eyes Have Had It

I'm a little better after my Thursday night hissy fit over rehearsals.

It's funny but Friday morning Jim was out filling up our car (looming general strike here) and ran into the worship team leader who immediately started ranting about my voice. I was glad to hear that because I could hear I was not at 100% even if we got a good blend in our voices. When the asthma's bad I get bad tempered, plus I have no patience with men.

We are in waiting mode to see if there is going to be a general strike. If it happens we will not be able to get gas, take a bus or taxi, go to the doctors offices, and a host of other things. It's going to shut down the entire tourist industry, so there is that, which means I'll have to encounter less folks on the beach.

I hope it does not shut down the cat\s doctor's office. He was bitten by a big iguana a few days ago and so far it's scabbed over and looks like it's healing, so I'm hoping we don't need to take him in.

The guys of the church left for a spear fishing trip this afternoon, a full day before scheduled to avoid the strike. I plan to stay home and paint.

Likely a good thing considering I kind of had words with a new lady in the community. She made the mistake of trying to spam me requests to buy essential oils from her, and pitched it again after church. I cannot tell you much I hate these MLM essential oil companies. Exploiting people up and down the line.

Friday, September 07, 2018

When the Tumblers of the Universe Align Both Good and Bad

Yesterday was that odd mix of good and bad. We had some big successes, one of which was going into the bank to buy another CD. The exchange rate yesterday afternoon at the bank was 588 colonies to a buck! We were freaking out because the rates usually stay pretty steady between 560 and 565, but we were able to catch this week's upward trend and get much more bang for our buck.

Add in me having to do something hard I do not like, going to confront a merchant that had overcharged us. Yeah, that restaurant I was talking about a few days ago. It went smoothly, got my money back and an apology. Lesson learned I have to eyeball my receipts closer when I am out. I get confused with the exchange rates and tipping.

But then things went haywire quickly. Late yesterday afternoon I attended for the first time the worship team rehearsals. I'd been asked to join months ago and unsure I wanted to do anything because I was busy with voice lessons involving other churches.

I think the best way to describe what I took away was something that David Hayward the Naked Pastor said today on his blog - “I can’t explain the science behind it, but when you act in your freedom, the universe aligns to support your decision.”

In the run up to this rehearsal I'd encountered stumbling blocks like an afternoon flareup of my gall stones, first time in three years and only three hours. Things have happened to prevent me from showing up, from a flat tire, to a doctor's appointment, to you name it.

I took note of what the universe was trying to tell me, but went anyway. Big BIG mistake, as I just realized anew how little I have in common with those involved and a pile of other ugly things.

The girl I've referenced a couple of times in my talks about church showed up for her first worship team rehearsal ever. I like her. Between she, I and the only other vocalist we did an impressive three part harmony, I sang soprano, she did alto and the other lady hit the middle harmony between us. It was good to see dropped jaws of the musicians and onlookers at the vocals.

People frequently dismiss me because I look like an old granny until I open my mouth somewhere and sing. I'm not Mariah Carey, but I'm not too bad. I'm bad at many things. Singing is not one of them.

The whole thing was very fubar, except for the singing. Two different worship team members brought their dogs. Yeah, brought their dogs without asking into someone else's home. I love dogs, but there are some types I have bad reactions to the fur. Yep, reacted quickly. Not good, had to medicate like a fool and go into rescue breathing.

But what was happening after the rehearsal is the most disturbing of all to me. My allergies are my allergies and I try not to inflict that on anyone, I just steal away quickly without making a scene. The new girl is beautiful, beautiful and young, maybe thirty, with a shaved head and perfect figure. She still models locally. She wasn't the problem.

It was the men in the group. Baptist men that supposedly do not lust. No true. There was much gushing praise and fawning going on towards my friend with an easy to read subcontext.Ugh! As if anyone of those middle aged guys had a chance with her. It was all kinds of uncomfortable to witness.

The rest of the vocalists were completely ignored. I slipped out without anyone saying a word to me beyond the leader praising my friend and putting her on the schedule for the next Sunday before turning to me and saying I could sing in two weeks. I was surprised at that because the harmonies had been so tight for three people that had never sung together that I'd assumed we'd all be singing together this weekend.

I am thinking now that I've been given a pretty good sign that my many years on worship teams are over no matter how I sing. Between the dog fur and the other stuff I have the complete freedom to not put up with the bullshit of these guys.

Wish I could say I was surprised, but one of the guys has said a pile of inappropriate things around me lately, right down to asking again and again if Jim and I swim nude in our pool. This has no business in church. I'm too old to put up with these shiesse.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

My New Maths

I have a confession to make. I am terrible at math. I seem to be totally incapable of properly balancing my personal and business check books and frequently end up running crying to Jim to fix it. So now he balances my checkbooks.

I can read a P&L (profit and loss statement) and pick stocks that will do well more of the time. I can budget (sort of), and do tip math and dollars to colones conversions (sometimes). But today isn't that day.

We had lunch at one of our favorite restaurants here before I went for a beach walk and Jim got a massage. He left me with the restaurant bill. I was so busy talking to one of the waitstaff I know well, struggling to do tip math, that I signed for someone elses bill. Someone that had a pile of beers and another meal we did not have.

Here's the sucky thing about this. Jim has already mentioned it in passing a dozen times in the last hour. He's not going to let it go, even if we know the restaurant owners really well, and this has almost happened a handful of times in the past. We're talking maybe twenty dollars more. But Jim cannot choke it down, even if twenty is largely meaningless in our monthly restaurant budget.

I'm going to go back to the restaurant tomorrow, explain what happened and see if they will refund the twenty. If they don't I'm not going to do anything like stop payment on the bill, but I will remember. And I'll remember to check the bill closer, which I didn't do.

Now if I could just get Jim to shut up about it. I guess I'll have to mention all the times lately he's backed into other peoples cars and what we've had to pay out. It's way more than twenty bucks.

Don't be like Jim. If someone you love makes a stupid mistake don't be like a broken record about it. It just makes the other person resent you.

Dog Days and Bull Nights

Not doing too well right now. I'm having widely flucuating oxygen levels. That usually only happens in the States in mid=August. I get so low I can barely function, going to the ER sometimes for oxygen between days flopped down in the bed. I'm there again.

But the improvement is that I managed to recognize it was happening before measuring my oxygen. Started at church, just as Jim was packing up the t-shirts he sells every Sunday. I sat there, watching everyone else chatting with each other and I started thinking dark thoughts. Things like 'you don't belong here', 'none of these people are your friends..' and so on. I stopped and immmediately checked my stats. I was at 86 percent, low enough to head to the hospital. I didn't. I went  home, dosed up with the asthma meds and lay down reading for the rest of the day. I downloaded the newest Mad magazine because I've learned that humor helps when I get into this state.

What hasn't helped is the fact that the last week through two days ago our tiny village was running their annual festival of the bulls. But,,, Suzanne,,, I hear you say, you liked the bullfights last December? I did. But I've amended my views on the bull fights. A couple of reasons.

  1. The bulls are all from local farms and they look so confused. It's kind of cruel to subject them to the display and whooping drunken crowds.
  2. I've now seen a bull fight where the bull gored a beautiful Palomino horse that ran around and around the stadium in pain while tangled up in its own guts spilling out. It took them a good ten minutes to capture the horse and shoot it.
  3. Seen a bull flip over on a rider, crushing the rider to death. Again a gory spectacle that took a long time for the cowboys to catch the bull and remove the body.
  4. These things bring loads of drunken theiving people who do not live in the village here. I was unaffected because we have that ten foot tall security wall with it recently raised to near 20 feet on the small section that is the only real access point. But I heard the stories of others that were robbed. I've seen the drunken crowd. 
One of the bad parts of fiesta is the noise levels. The last night of the festival they were shooting off a cannon every hour all night and all day long. They started firing it at 5 am, continuing on about twenty hours.  They finally stopped the next morning, but it was also the time they were driving the bulls using horses and motorcycles off to some local farmland for roping and chasing. Poor, poor bulls.

Most of the time I love it here. The wildlife, the beautiful greenery and flowers, the kind people, the peace and quiet. It's when the peace and quiet get stripped away that I feel anew that I'm in a strange place.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Lessons From Shells and Sand Dollars

I've been ruminating this week. First at the beach and later while felled by some annoying stomach bug yesterday. I've been ruminating over the nature of families, faith, grace, mercy and kindness.

On Monday during my beachwalk I was touched by the unmerited kindness of strangers. There I was, dipping my wrinkled old toes into the surf while shell hunting, and not having much success.As I drew near two young Hispanic males they each bend, picked up a cowrie shells (I call them purse shells) and when we were abreast each handed me the shell, with some sweet banter calling me "abuela".

Abuela is Spanish for grandmother, fitting because of my gray hair, but here in Costa Rica there is a sweetness about the people, a kindness we seriously lack in the States. A type of kind respect. I was very touched and thanked them before moving on.

I have those two shells sitting on my nightstand even if they aren't very good cowrie shells, the surfaces of the shells scratched and blurry. But I keep them there now to remind me of unearned grace and kindness, along side of the monsterously huge dark cowrie I found minutes later in the surf, washing up on my feet.

Largest cowrie I've ever found while shell hunting! Photo does not do it justice.

And I have to ask myself, why is it that some people can be so accepting, loving, giving so
spontaneously without asking anything in return? So many times we run across only those that want to take or use us in some way.

A little farther up the beach I ran into some other less pleasant types, a group, a family group either from Canada or the States. They were squealing and digging up live sand dollars. Giving nary a thought to the fact that they were harming a living creature.

It's unfortunate because this was the largest field of sand dollars I've seen, at least several hundred laying barely tucked into the surf and sand. I think it was so many only because we were having the low, low, l-o-w tide we get once a month during full moon. Lots to see when that happens including lots of sand dollars and star fish.

I had to struggle with myself to be kind to them, to point out that the white and light gray sand dollars were perfectly fine to harvest (if you avoid the shell police! It is against the law to harvest shells without a shell harvesting license, but if you only pick up one or two you can usually get away with it, which is why I only take premiums now like the one above) What's not fine is picking up the live sand dollars with their hairy undersides and fine hairlike tubes coming out of their sides. I think once I explained what was going on, showing the kids how tickly the hairs on the bottom can be as the sand dollar moves on your hand, it was fine. The kids were fascinated by the sand dollars, laughing to see a small one moving his appendages in such a way it looked like he was hopping in the surf.

Walking back to meet Jim, watching the crabs sunning themselves like they are wont to do on sunny morns I could not help but think that reaching out kindly to educate others is a lot better than going ham on them, like I really wanted to do. We do so much out of a lack of knowledge that we sometimes genuinely need a gentle lesson.

I struggle daily to be nice, grant grace and mercy, and I'm not real good at it yet, but I'm hoping with time I get better and I learn to see the lessons around me.



Wednesday, August 29, 2018

When You Realize Rather Unpleasant Things

This morning was I had an ephiphany.  Not a good one. It came out of last  night's karma rant. I was talking with a friend of mine about the times my ex purposely tried to screw me over, and I realized it was many, many times, not just the two examples I listed.

Thinking about it put a huge amount of things I've struggled with through the years in their proper perspective. The very last time he attempted to mess with me happened back in January, and took place through my kids. Forty years after the divorce he is still trying to get some sort of revenge. Sick.

But it was good to realize this. The puzzle pieces finally clicked together in my mind, and things make more sense.

While I managed to mitigate and lessen his influence after leaving Louisiana, it does not mean he ever stopped. It just went underground and happened through other people, usually family members. This last time it caused a rift with a family member. I realized he has at times weaponized this member of the family against me. He can have it because I do not engage, I'm not engaging and I'm not even speaking to this person.

This is why you have to be careful who you share your heart and your bed with, because you might be living with the consequences a very long time. I married him when I was all of 16, and he was considerably older. We got along fine when I was acting like his perfect teenbopper brainless sex robot. But the minute I started to mature a little bit, and realized I wanted more out of life the marriage fell apart.

We divorced very quickly, but I made the mistake of not packing up and moving far away, which is what I should have done in retrospect because he kept turning up like a bad penny at the worst of times. Even convinced me twice to give him another chance, but both times I released anew, within a week, how unsuited we were for each other.

Like I like to say, I gave him my heart, he gave me an std for our wedding night. Charming. This was all well before I joined the church too. So my judgment wasn't any better pre-fundytown either.

Selfie for work

just ignore. This is one of those Patheos things that I need to put a photo up of myself.


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Revenge, Personal Responsibility and Karma

I'm fuming tonight. I've spent a part of today dealing with the management company that I helped pick and hire back when I was on the HOA board. All those fruitless, angry, threatening to mud wrassle meetings that ate my brain.

So what's the deal? We sold our house almost a month ago, on July 31st, and a month before I let the HOA management company know that as of August 1st I was no longer responsible for any HOA monthly fee. I let them know well in advance not to debit my bank account any longer.

What did they do? If you said take the moolah out of my checking account on the first of August you would be right. They took it. I called them again, and they told me this time that they had not received any of the paperwork or payments from the settlement company, meaning I was still responsible for the payments.  Told me I could have a refund when they got the settlement payment, which had the August HOA payment rolled in with the deposit the new owner had to put up.

It's not like we're talking much money. Nobody is going to go hungry, or miss paying the electric bill if they didn't return the funds asap. It's the idea of the entire thing, a clodhopper flimflamming version of the financial Virginia Reel.

Call a couple more times and get the answer they are processing the paperwork. Call today to ask them to be sure and not take any more payments, asking about the status of the refund. I was told that they were keeping my August payment and crediting it to the new buyer. Not at all what we'd discussed any of our previous calls. She told me if my account was hit in September they would credit the new owner and offer me no refund, yet they claimed they could make no changes to the online portal where our information was.

Starting to sound like a sloppy scam, because I'd been in the online portal many times trying to close my account and remove the info and all I got was error messages. So I ended up pulling something of a fast one because there's more than one way to skin a kitty. I called my bank, who gave me the name of the  bank running the online portal and contact information. And they removed the info, closed the account and sent me an email confirming it!

Part of me is still miffed over the little HOA dues, another reason why we refused to look at any houses here in Costa Rica with HOAs.  I have yet to see or hear of an HOA that didn't fall apart like one of those 5Guys burgers when you load it with all the options. It ends up a mess.

The way I see it is that I could take them to small claims court for the money, I could contact BBB and file a complaint, I could complain to the state agency that regulars HOA management boards.  I could blare out my problems with their sleazy scammy ways to the masses on the various consumer complaint sites that already have them down with a D minus business rating. Or I could do nothing and wait for universal reciprocity to kick in.

So how does that work, you ask? I've experienced it a few times, the worst universal asskicking I witnessed was of my ex husband and his years of ducking my attempts to collect child support. We took him to court again and again, he kept ducking out of the state for six months or a year, and not paying a dime. He was harder to nail down than greased jello, and twice as slimey.

After a few years my lawyer pointed out I was just running up a legal bill I was struggling to pay, telling me because Dan didn't have a regular job, he was a traveling musician, that I was unlikely to see a penny ever.

He did give me a useful peace of parting advice. He told me this: "Some day you're going to meet a man who'll treat you right, who'll love you and love your child by extention. That's going to capture Dan's attention when he thinks you're seriously with someone else and your child might call this other man 'Daddy'. When that happens Dan is likely to try and sue you for custody. All you have to do is show up in court with evidence of no child support, his lack of contact, his many marriages, his lack of a stable home, the time his third wife beat your child and the judge will toss him from the courtroom, likely ordering him to pay all the back child support in a very short time. He will get no say over your child and if you make decisions for your child."

I cried when Fred, my attorney, told me this, but it turned out to be the best advice ever. I got engaged to marry Jim and we were moving to Germany mere months after the wedding for three years. Can you guess where I'm going with this? Dan tried to legally stop me, taking me to court to take custody. It didn't go well for Dan, the judge ended up severing his parental rights based on the non-payment of child support for nine years. Not a leg to stand on, and I had to do nothing.

Two years later he tried to come to Germany to see our daughter. I had complete control, a court order saying that visitation was strictly at my descretion. He tried to legally force me to not only allow him to see our daughter the week I was due to have my son, but tried to say in court that because I'd moved to Germany I had to allow him to stay at my home. That time the military lawyers stepped in and suggested if he came anywhere near any of us during that month that there would be a restraining order in place. We were fighting about this in court six months before my son was born. It was definitely a hostile act intended to screw with my mind while I was pregnant. Little did he know I never did more than chuckle over his presumptin and awfulness, knowing the military would handle this, and they did. It was the very last time in a long list ot times that Dan tried to screw up for me. Again I had to do nothing.

I am thinking that perhaps this is another one of those very bad karma things, and if I try to take revenge it will not go well,but if I sit back and let it happen it could be very bad indeed.

I'm just happy to be finally done with the stupid HOA that was always the stupideous collection of people fomenting weird drama. No more do I have to referree when neighbors try to sue each other. No more nasty letters on my doorstep threatening to kick neighbor X's ass because they refuse to cut their bushes into cubes. No more going to meetings and gritting my teeth as the treasurer tries to scream that everyone is giving her a hard time because she's black, convienently forgetting that half the board is black, and half the home owners.

Here the worse thing I had to deal with is the monkey peeing on me the other afternoon while I walked under a tree. I'll take that any day than having to put up with scamming corrupt venial people.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Changes, - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Actually I think all of my recent changes are positive. Been a hard week of changes. Change is never easy even if it is a necessary thing.

We've gone back to walking on the beach four times a week in the monring. This is something we used to do when we first moved here that I really enjoyed. We used to walk everywhere. Then the car arrived and we rode. It's not been so good for our health, so we're back walking the beach for an hour every morning. Last Monday morn I walked and it was hard, so damn hard. I was exhausted the rest of the day after coming back to swim in the pool too.

We're rotating between different beaches, which is both good and bad. On Friday I didn't get much walking in because I ended up in a battle with the sea at Playa Langosta. I decided to cross the estuary to walk towards Playa Pinellas not where I usually do, in the shallows of the river, but by the sand bars on either side of the line between the river and ocean. It was only a ten foot channel and I could see it was only about two foot deep. What I could not see is that the force of the tides and waves were concentrated in that narrow channel and that the sands were loose, friable and shifting.

Getting in was easy, but climbing out was an entirely different ball game. Every time I attempted to climb the bank up to the sand bar I was pulled back by the waves and undertow. I'd crossed wearing my backpack filled with beach towels, swimsuit coverup and water bottles and once I sank into the shifting sands the backpack was drenched and weighted a lot more.

I'd just managed to get up on the sand bar, and lay there panting while Jim strolled up and asked if I was ready to head home. Was I? Wrestling the tide took it out of me. I crossed back in the shallows of the crocodile lagoon.

Another change is that we've gone more Keto than ever before. Which means I have to spend more time cooking. I'm not in love with the cooking more part, but we already feel much better after just a week. I think this is part of the puzzle for us. Jim's been upset that his weight keeps going up and up. This will help.

This weekend I had an epiphany about NLQ. I spent the better part of last week in a secret space with others verklempting about The Transformed Wife's Lori Alexander. She's starting to get in my head, in not a  good way, and has started to take over the focus of NLQ far too much, so I'm putting her on almost ignore, only posting anything by Lori once a week. Her husband Ken went nuts this weekend, ranting and chewing the scenery on Facebook answering many of her detractors. I don't wish to add to Lori's mental illness or martyrbation complex. Just say no to Lori and Ken. It is already helping my mental health.

Which needs helping. Found out yesterday that my son quit his job to start his own company. He's doing great so far, and I pray he continues to have success. He's doing something very similar to what he did for a big company for five years, so I think he stands a better than average chance of making a huge go of it. But it still worries me as a mom. I always want them to have success, but at a very low risk.


Friday, August 24, 2018

The Spite Afghan

I just finished crocheting up a project I started late last October - my spite afghan.

What do I mean my spite afghan? I started it out of spite, to be a pain in the ass. It's exactly the kind of ridiculous passive aggression that is one of a woman's few weapons in the forced submission in fundigelical town. I'm almost ashamed I regressed to it in a moment of irritation.

Back in mid October when we were traveling and missed my maw in law's death we were driving around aimlessly doing various things to distract ourselves, like visiting a Japanese tea garden in San Antonio, going to the LBJ museum, going shopping.

I don't remember what point of silly assholery my beloved was engaging in but he really got on my nerves, so I announced that I immediately needed to go to Michael's craft store on our way back to the hotel because I had this, uh, thing, crochet, yeah, that's right, I had to start on. Remember being so annoyed with the men in the family that I decided to make an art supply stop just because I knew it would be something that my husband would definitely not want to do.

So I left him sitting fruitlessly in the rental car while our daughter and I went into Michael's and I got a pile of Caron Cakes in shades of grays, whites and turquioses to fashion an afghan for our Costa Rican house. I'd seen one on a pattern site that was ocean colors going from shades of sand to shades of water with tiny turtles, starfish and other aquatic creatures on it. I didn't want the creatures, but I did want the almost ombre shades going from beach to water. Took my time picking out the colors.

On the way back to the car my daughter turned to me and said, "You did this to screw with Dad, didn't you?" I hated to admit it, but that's what I did, without thinking, because this was the kind of minor rebellion that was acceptable in the old church, one of those manipulative things you did instead of being an adult and telling the other person you were getting sick of their behavior and it was working your last nerve.

Later that night I was sort of self-shamed after a lot of reflection into confessing to Jim why I'd behaved badly in reaction to his own peevishness, like we're both back in middle school. I hated having to do that, but it was due. I have no desire to ever behave like any of those women. Better to talk immediately and deal than to be passive aggressive.

I started working on the piece when we got back to Tamarindo, crocheting an hour or two here and there when I was watching television.But once my friends arrived in mid January and we went on a hunt to buy a house I shelved the spite blanket until this week.I've been whipping my way through my huge box of yarn since, making bath mats, a rug for just outside the door to hold our shoes, spa clothes for those impossible to find decent washclothes here. I've turned out a literal pile of crocheted housewares since February.

It was time to finish it, just like it was time to put an old learned at my old church passive aggressive stupid move to bed. At least I got a pretty blanket out of it.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

More Nest Feathering

The security wall to the north and west of our property has finally been properly raised to nearly twenty feet so Jim can skinny dip at night with impunity. Our property is bounded on 3 and 3/4 sides by denada. The neighbors on both sides are on the other side of vacant lots and there's nothing behind us,  just one back corner with a small two story apartment building unfortunately overlooking the shallow end of the pool. Not any longer!

The new garage is in, built adjacent to the house instead of up by the front gate a far piece from the house. I really did not want to have to buy a golf cart to get from the garage to the house. In the rainy season that could be a problem, so we've been parking next to the house under the mango trees where the monkeys rain down excrement and half eaten mangos. No more.

Jim and I cannot agree on what to do with the bare slab inside the security fence where the old garage used to sit. I wanted to add a few potted plants and chairs, have an area to sit near the gate since this is where we have to go to catch a decent cell phone signal. Jim wants to use it as parking for the guesthouse.

Just like that set of different ideas on what to do with a concrete slab we're not in complete agreement over the new hot tub either. We agree that it should be built it, tiled to match the pool, square and big enough to hold six to eight people, what we cannot agree on is flush into the ground with the pool or raised. Jim wants flush into the ground and I want raised. We'll likely go with the flush because I'm just not that passionate. I am more concerned with hot water to soak in and a bricked or concreted patio to put my chaise lounges on for sunning.

I want to start repainting the inside but I have a feeling we're going to knock heads on that too. I think Jim just wants to repaint the rooms in the colors they are now, but I'm not wild about that. Our bedroom is a 1970s gold, the living room and kitchen are a shade between orange, yellow and gold, one bedroom is lightest pink, the other lightest green.

Tempted to go with gray, turquiose, white and various blues in the house, but I think there might be a fight over that. I painted the inside of the guestbook the lightest of turquioses and Jim complained about my color choice for a solid month, right up until he saw how the place looked with new paint. I recently overheard him admitting to a friend that he'd been very wrong about the color choice and I'd done a good job. Note that. Getting a man to admit he was wrong is a rarity indeed.

The other issue with paintingis that every room has gorgious custom draperys made just for the house. The one in our room is the same gold so the color has to either coordinate or contrast ina good way. I still think the right shade of turquiose would be lovely with the gold.

Still might go with pure white in the kitchen and living room just because it would make the already large space look even bigger and would be so clean and tropical looking.

This is another one of those things absolutely wonderful about dumping our old religion. We're allowed to spend on fixing up our house without guilt, or the pastor trying to guilt trip us into giving him the money instead. We don't have to agree, but we do have to work it out and we will somewhere in the middle. No crazy manipulation or submission watusi while resenting the other partner.  Life is so much nicer outside of that tiny box.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

When Your Friends Aren't Your Friends

Title does not involve me, thankfully, all my friends are still my friends, even if I'm ignoring some of the typical archetypes at church.

I'm talking about a friend of mine. I'm worried for her. We've talked a couple of times recently and she's had the hard awakening that not all the people that say they are your friends are actually your friends.

How? She went to take care of  someone she thought was a friend during their recent surgery and it went haywire very quickly. I don't know for sure what the problem of her friend is, but I suspect it's parts mental, parts physical and could be medication madness of mixing of pills and potions. I only know that she hurt my friend with her behavior.

I hate that, because my friend is very sweet and helpuful to everyone, loving, kind, caring. But for now my friend is grieving and doing that thing we do so well as women, particularly women who have come out of spiritual abuse - Monday Morning Quarterbacking what happened. This is also how my sweet friend processes. I get it. I sometimes do that too.

There's not much that hurts quite as much as a betrayal by someone you thought was a sister=friend, closer than regular friends. When I left my old crazy toxic church I lost a great deal of friends, and yeah, it hurt. But not as much as a friendship I had online nearly twenty years ago with a lady named Gail.

So many huge waving fields of red flags during my few years of close friendship with Gail. She made sure to insult or attack most of my other online friends, isolating me, and demanding larger chunks of my time than was emotionally healthy.

I think the worst thing she did in that time was she made me seriously doubt myself, everything about my life. She was a photographer, living in a rundown tiny apartment in one of the biggest economically depressed areas in California. But her conservations with me after a while were all the same, only she was a 'true artist', those of us, like me, were not. We who have married after studying art in college and working straight jobs betrayed art and artistic sensibilities. It didn't matter than I had worked part time for years at the local art studio, taught lessons, taught art in the local public schools, still painted and other arts, or that I taught art in the homeschooling community.  I still was no artist. I hadn't suffered for my art. I didn't live, sleep, eat, dream art. She said that I'd settled for mediocrity, middle class house and 2.4 kids with a literal Buick in the driveway.

Here's the most shocking part.I believed her. I felt bad about my lack of artistic drive and I started to question every single major decision I'd made in my life.

It was a miserable time. I grieved that which I'd not done.

We were close friends for a couple of years while she worked her poison into my brain. In retrospect I think she was jealous, jealous of the three bedroom Cape Cod house, jealous of the husband, jealous of the 2.4 kids, and (maybe) even jealous of the Buick. The serene normality of my life.

Quite ironically we fell out over a  man, a man I didn't even want, that I didn't think was attractive. Another online acquaintance who had a dying 20 year old daughter. I'd started talking to him about a year into my relationship with Gail. He approached me, and during the times his daughter was in the hospital I talked to him and later his daughter Julie. I literally cyber held that man's hand and spent endless hours on the phone with him as his daughter slowly died of cancer. I did it because I felt like I was supposed to do it as some service to God, since I was still involved with my old church.

Naturally I'd told Gail about David and his daughter Julie and right before the end when I'd been hospitalized with another miscarriage she talked to both of them instead of me. I picked up talking when I was out.

I noticed that Gail had not very nice nicknames for the people in David's life, his wife, his ex wife and Julie's mother. I didn't say anything to her about being uncomfortable as she sniped, I just ignored it. I knew she was snarky, figured she was venting about the screwed up situation, and boy was it screwed up. David had a mess on his hands with family antics during Julie's last days.

Made the mistake one day of expressing to Gail that I was worried about David's relationship with his wife because he would not talk to her at all about what he was dealing with. He was instead pouring it out to both of us. I told Gail that if his wife wasn't careful in the aftermath of the death any sympathetic woman could likely snatch him up and end his marriage.

After Julie passed we did continue to talk, but less frequently. I did notice as time passed that David was increasing withdrawn from me. I thought that was a good thing, he was beginning to move on. Both he and his wife were in therapy to deal with what happened.

A few months more passed and I saw him pop up on my messenger. I sent him a message and asked David how he was doing. Big mistake! He went off on me! Turns out that Gail had told him a large batch of ridiculous lies. She told him that I'd called his wife nasty names and bragged I was going to take him away from his wife! I told him how crazy that all was, and that Gail was the one that was name calling, not I! I logged off, shed a few tears and could hardly believe anyone would lie like that.

I'd mostly stopped speaking to Gail around the same time. She was busy, my schedule was crazy, so I didn't think anything of it until David exploded. I sent Gail a message telling her I didn't appreciate her lies and heard nothing back.

The huge irony of all of this is that I was still living so religious that I normally would not speak to any man in messaging  apps because I considered it a violation of the Pence Rule. I did not want to dishonor my husband. I only did with David because I heard what I thought was God telling me that this man's name was David and he needed a friendly ear. I still cannot explain how I knew his name, because it was sure not his chat nom de plume. One of those weird things.

FYI. I know there are tons of cancer fakers online, but this was not one of them. I saw the obit, I spoke with the father and the daughter.

I'm not perfect, I'm far from it, so when things like this happen I tend to do like my other friend is doing now. Endlessly runnng the tape on what happened, trying to figure out where I screwed up and how did I misjudge so badly. Torturing myself when I was merely trying to help someone suffering. My motives were good, so how did I screw it up so badly? It took a long time to realize I hadn't done anything wrong other than befriend someone with deep issues, allowing her to make me doubt myself and her to gaslight me. You hear that old expression with friends like these who needs enemies? Yes.

I did hear from  David much later. Turns out Gail made a play to snap him up herself. She told him she's always loved him and blah, blah, blah with David recoiling in horror. He realized Gail had ulterior motives in demonizing me to him and he wanted me to know how sorry he was that he'd not believed me. Gail messed with his head too.

Gail died of cancer about 12 years ago, still furiously blaming others for not being committed artists like her, mad with the world, still gaslighting and slinging shit on others. What a miserable way to live and die.

Friends don't treat friends like disposible paper plates. They don't undermine everything about you. They don't try to destroy you. And when they start doing those things your best action is to get the hell away from them asap, and know it's really not you. It's them.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Everybodys Talking At Me

Seems like I'm getting lots of unsolicted comments and advice, real life and online.

I freaking hate it. Particularly people that have no clue how my asthma works with very high IgE levels. Particularly by people who have never had to deal with chronic illness.

List of stupid shit I've been told I must do to heal my asthma in the past week (an illness with no cure)

  • Use essential oils (usually right before telling me that they sell doTerra or Young Living)
  • Yoga (numbnuts, I already do water yoga and I have for years No balance, I fall down on land when doing for reals yoga.)
  • Taekwondo (hard to do when you have nerve damage that makes your balance crappy)
  • More yoga (See above!)
  • More essential oils (Did I mention I am horribly allergic to them? No, that's not 'detoxing', it's a true allergy to something about them. Lemme show you photos of the time I broke out in hives the time I got a massage with scentless Young Living oils)
  • Take the suppliment they are selling (Look at my kitchen countertop at all the unuseful suppliments I've tried fruitlessly)
  • Eat kale/urine/whatever crazy diet they are promoting. (Again, look in the kitchen. I have tried it, all except the urine, oooh no too gross for me! But I'm not sure piss doesn't taste better than kale.)
  • Lose weight (Yeah another been there and done that. With the high dose steroids through the years I used to go up and down more than a yoyo. I'm down 80 pounds from my fattest and I know I'm not exactly skinny. But I refuse to yoyo any longer. Slow and steadily losing very gradually.)
  •  And a million other random things...... 
Here's what I do to stay healthy:
  • Get a solid 8 hours of sleep a night.
  • Drink lots of water
  • Eat three balanced meals per day with lots of fruit, veggies and high quality protein
  • Swim/water aerobics/water yoga every single day I am well enough to get in the pool
  • Walk several miles at the beach four times a week.
  • Try not to freak out over things I cannot control
  • Talk myself down when I start finding myself in repetative negative thoughts.
  • Maintenance medicate by taking those things I need,  both suppliments and prescriptions, that help me head off the asthma and allergies
  • Remove myself immediately from allergen triggers.
  • Remember to bring my portable neb, medicines, Wynd filter, filtration mask, epipen with me wherever I go.
  • Stay alert to how I'm feeling and changes in my body.
  • Do rescue breathing exercises daily and when needed to breath.
  • Take care of my needs.
  • Rest when ill without feeling guilty
  • Refuse to allow others to try and make me feel guilty.
  • Avoid people smoking like my life depends upon it because it does.
  • Avoid open fires, smoke and chemical scents.
Friday was a perfect example of a buttinski with unrequested advice. Jim and I were down at the pool supply place picking up the final signed contract on our hot tub when we met an elderly surfer guy. We all got to talking and he started lecturing both Jim and I that we needed to take up surfing if we were going to stay here. I pointed out that I used to surf many years ago, but I cannot now because ot that pesky balance issue relayed to nerve damage.

Jim started talking to the lady running the place while the older surfer and I wandered off still talking. As soon as Jim stepped away surfer dude started lecturing me about my weight with the 'You have such a pretty face' rant. He, like other super skinny people, have no idea about my health struggles, my unending battle to keep losing because a smaller body takes less oxygen. It's like a teetotaler lecturing someone hooked on oxycontin because of intractable pain to just stop taking the pills. I smiled, and didn't tell him off, but I ended the conversation quickly. Ain't nobody got time for fat shaming.

It used to trigger me horribly when someone gave me the 'Such a pretty face' lecture, sending me into wanting to eat something super bad for me immediately. It no longer has that power, it's now a mere annoyance, like a buzzing fly that will not leave you alone. Many asthmatics, likely myself included, end up bigger than they should be because of the medicines.

And it's not just health related things people are busy talking to me about. I got it a little at church today. I'm about to take over a ministry position and one of the other newer ladies at church wants to join me. We talked today after church, and she told me that the pastor will not approve her for it. I knew that because I'd told the pastor I'd encouraged her to join and he told me he didn't think her faith was strong enough so he'd rejected her. I gently told the pastor that allowing her to operate in the ministry would likely be a faith builder for her.

As we were talking another friend came up and told her to suck it up, go to the pastor and say the sinners prayer even if she didn't mean it so she'd be allowed on team. I laughed and said, 'Well there goes my chance to join that team because of what I do for a living surely disqualifies me.' Our mutual friend told me that there'd been a church leadership meeting where I was discussed for this position, and they'd looked at NLQ before deciding that my snarky take on fundamentalist Christianity did not mean I didn't believe, or was doing anything wrong or sinful.

I walked away shaking my head because I am so not the rabid believer I once was. But apparently the fact that I'd said the sinners prayer years and years ago is good enough.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Omarosa and Triggering

I'm in the middle of reading Omarosa's book 'Unhinged' and it's seriously warped. I figured it might be. Here's the comedy of it. Throughout the book she brays about her status as a licensed trained minister and lifelong Christian while backstabbing while ignoring Trumps foilables. In other words a typical Fundigelical crap-tosser.

It reads like a dragonfly orgies. What do I mean? Her entire relationship with Trump is one of symbiotic use. Dragonflies when they screw both attach the tip of their tails to the abdomen of other fly. Mutual screwing. Omarosa and Trump have been mutually figuratively screwing each other while ignoring the other person's sheer awfulness. She realizes this and refers to it.

But one of the most disturbing parts of the book so far has been Omarosa's reaction to a woman that she claims was a crisis actor in the wake of Trump's 'Grab them by the pussy' remarks. She talked about the lady trailing her around at acampaign event, screaming, crying and raging that she had been raped.

I get that. I've been raped as a teen, sexually molested as a child and hearing Trump's remarks on women and sexual assault also triggered me mightly. Okay, so I wasn't trailing her around screaming about rape, but I was reliving, suffering and mourning yet again what had happened to me. I believe it was a very surprisingly triggering moment for many women. I'd venture to say so triggering that the Women's March and the #MeToo movement were birthed in that moment.

No, Omarosa does not get to judge who is and isn't genuinely affected by Trump's remarks any more than she gets to dictate to us that it was okay for her to ignore the dastardly doings and words of Trump for over 14 years before she came out against him.

Make no mistake about it. Omarosa is only out for herself.

I severely dislike Trump, but at least he is who he is, not a changable being looking to climb the ladder of power by metaphoricially sucking the most powerful person's dick. Omarosa would do and say anything for power. That's sad because her story could have been a powerful one of climbing out of the projects to work in the seat of our government to help the citizens. Instead it's just one sleazy power grab after another with zero morals involved.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Better Here

Monday morning we had to drive down to Nicoya to get our yearly car safety inspection. They call it the Retive here. And boy do they do the inspections differently here.

Back in Virginia just about every mechanic shop would do the yearly state safely inspection, and many were not very thorough in that inspection. You'd wait in the shop, not able to see what they were actually doing or testing, only to be passed or failed. Usually on some silly ridiculous thing that the shop immediately wanted to fix for a high price.

Here in Costa Rica they take those middle men mechanics completely out of the mix. The inspection stations are government owned and run. Professional. We stayed in our car the entire time and I have to say that they ran tests on things that are clearly not part of the Virginia state inspection. Took awhile, but we were soon on our way with our new Retive sticker for another year at a much lower inspection fee.

Today is Mother's Day here in Costa Rica, so it's worked out I've had two  Mother's Days this year, roses on both. Cannot complain.

Everything was shut down even if it is a Wednesday. There are more small holidays here where they roll up the sidewalks and everyone uses the day to cook and be with family. The only place open was the grocery store and boy was it crowded. I was surprised to discover that the store had a guy serving up homemade soup from a kettle right inside to all the mothers. Beef soup with carrots, onions, potatoes, cilantro, plantains and these starchy things that I cannot remember the name of. It was delicious!

Beach tomorrow morning for a walk and we have a contract signing tomorrow for the new patio, hot tub and garage. Life is sweet!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Beat to Peaces

I have to say, and I'm somewhat chagrined about it, that I'm actually glad I went to church today. Particularly after that crazy night on Saturday. Where both Jim and I got chewed out by a lady because I didn't stop to talk to her because I was having a moment where I might puke. Yea, her.

When I got up this morning I felt out of sorts still. With the asthma meds I had a hard time settling down to sleep so I was up late, wondering how bad my resting bitch face had been to provoke the reaction I got, wondering if I should have paused to puke on her shoes, or tried to smile and talk. Feeling guilty.

Running late for church, hair up in a big old messy bun and throwing on the first clean swimsuit cover up. No time to do more.

When I got there the pastor's wife and I spoke for a little while before the service. I was still feeling guilty by turns and defiant. Knowing I did nothing really wrong, but also knowing that it would have cost me nothing to smile at the angry lady Mary Moonbeam. Not her real name but oh so close.

After the service the singer of a local band I go see occasionally and talk to came up to ask me why she was hearing my strong singing voice from the back of the church and not up on the platform. I had to whine about my asthma impinging my voice, plus I've been too busy to be on worship team. For the past five months I've been working with training the singers of four other teams, and some with this team, to sing on key. I'm getting paid to run what are essentially group vocal lessons. I've done this ever since a number of people saw and heard me sing at the local talent show.

It has been a thankless task. Most of the singers have never sung before, decided to join the worship teams of these various churches in about a 90 minute radius. I've trying right now to teach them to listen to one another and harmonize with some success. It's taken five months to train them on how to not let the monitor throw you off, how to hit the notes squarely with none of that melisma that some do better than others. How to project your voice, how to hold and sing into the microphone, what to do when you start sliding off key. A lifetime of singing mechanics. I guess all those voice lessons, torturous rehearsals and long long conferences prepared me for this. It's not something I sought at all, and I don't get much enjoyment out of it. But I hate even worse when I go to visit some area church and everyone is horribly off key. It needs to happen.

Funny because I definitely no longer have the same fervent insano faith I used to. Now I'm more the agnostic. But all five pastors know that. They know about NLQ and they're fine with it. I'm not getting up and preaching, just tweaking the singers voices and untraining a bunch of sloppy bad habits.

Talking to Stephy I started crying, still feeling kind of beat up in the body and spirit. Turned out to be good to be so humble and broken with her. It took down some walls between us. Turns out she's been considering joining the worship team, but felt weird about it because she and I have some very similar ideas about the Bible being not literally true. I encouraged her to join. Her voice is lovely, and I had to encourage her that it's okay to have doubts. Everyone does even if they will not admit it.

Talked to Maggie quite a while too, trying to encourage her to keep on going. She's gotten some new clients so I think that money will be somewhat less tight this month. I hope so. I still don't have a clue what is the best way to help her, but I think I've figured out one way. I'm going to buy her a weeks worth of groceries tomorrow, just very basic things that 13 year old boys eat. I know her son has to be eating his own weight in groceries now.

But the conversation that flipped my crappy mood took place after these. I was talking to the pastor's wife Tracy. She'd been at the school dinner the night before, asked me if I had a good time. I had to confess I hadn't. Told her just a little bit of what had happened and Tracy started telling me about some very aggressive woman that tried to pick a fight with her over religion, and who had behaved horribly with others there, trying to pick fights and belittling everyone around her. It was the SAME woman! Mary Moonbeam strikes again!

It was good that we were able to talk about this because we had both been feeling somewhat personally attacked right up until that moment.

Not even sure what Mary was doing at the party since she was loudly shouting out that she was homeschooling this year because the Peace School wasn't peaceful. The school named after a salad and hotel was anything but peachy, and this new school, named the same name as an 80s rock band was likely to be screwed up too considering she couldn't figure out what curriculum they were using. Don't stop believing! Mary please go to that fictional place South Detroit.

It's pretty obvious now that we'd all run up on someone with big issues that was delighting in stirring the pot last night. So I guess my gut reaction to keep my mouth shut, and people watch from a table behind a potted plant with the restaurant cat was the right one after all.

It's amazing how one horrible person circulating their poison that spoil the evenings of some many folks at the same time.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Only So Much

Relearned yet again that I only have so much tolerance and energy for other people, parties and crowds.

The day started well. Our main man we turn to for building projects showed up early and gave us an estimate for installing a garage, a bricked patio and a hot tub. We've decided to brick or tile in the area between the kitchen windows and the pool, have a 6 person hot tub custom built right below the windows and put a couple of teak loungers on the rest of the patio instead of the rectangle of grass there now. Landscaper stops by and we point out trees that need to come down, which need serious trimming and bushes we need. Another estimate. We spend more time in the pool and on the covered patio than in the house. Makes sense to tart it up a bit more. Outside is where it's at.

Jim's weird sleeping patterns caused him to nap much of the afternoon while I was in the pool and later reading in the hammock out front. But in the late afternoon I had one of those horrible episodes that belongs in a gross out comedy involving bodily functions too off putting to discuss. Much cleaning ensued and I felt, quite frankly, very crappy afterward.

Which wasn't such a good thing. We were due at a combination fundraiser and welcome dinner being held at Bula-Bula in Playa Grande for a new private school opening. A school opened and run by some of our friends here who moved to the area the same time we did. We all met our first week in town.

As someone with seriously introverted tendencies I'm only good for a short stretch of time being 'social'. Jim is a raving extrovert and could happily stay all night. Add in feeling not my greatest and my time tolerance for a large cast of others drops proportionately.

We arrive, and see a pile of folks we know, like Maggie and son and others from the church and the community. Immediately after arriving I find out that the fruit/water being served at this party all contain copious amounts of cantaloupe, something I am very allergic to, so I have to belly up to the bar and figure out something to drink. I can't do their sweet tea because of the sugar, and their lemonade is out because fresh lemon is a lesser allergy for me, making my throat and the inside of my ears itch.

Got the drinks issue sorted by buying an icy bottle of Coca Ligero (diet coke) which I am not allergic to, one of the few things on the drinks menu I can have before I'm confronted by someone's very hairy dog. The wheezing starts. Down the damn drugs and move far, far away from the cute doggie.

Talk to a few people and feel my reserve of energy for dealing with others slipping with my breathing and others colognes, so we slip away to sit in the shade, in the rattan chairs around the pool. There are tons of kids in the pool and that's not a problem. What is a problem is that the bigger boys, 12 to 15, are playing with a football, making a game of throwing the ball as hard as possible across the pool to each other. The first time I'm hit by the ball I'm startled, but smile sweetly at the boys as they apologize.

But it happens again, and again. I ask them nicely to scooch on over about ten feet. They say they will, but they don't. The fifth time the ball hits me it lands right on my burned torso. I jump up, and beat a hasty retreat to the restroom to make sure I'm not oozing blood while trying not to shriek in pain. On my way I have a lady I have met exactly twice tries to stop me, greeting me and I shoot on past her wtihout acknowledging her, clutching one hand over my burn and the other one over my mouth because now I feel like I have to throw up, something that happens with the asthma.

Once I shed a few tears and take wound stock I emerge and that lady is there again. Asks me how I'm doing. I tell her I'm not doing very well, and slide on past her without responding to her other questions. Like I said I've met her twice in the last year, so it's not like we're friends. I have lost all ability to be 'nice' by this point. Puking and pain tend to kill nice.

I walk off, walking around the grounds of Bula-Bula and huddle with thei hotel's cat for about thirty minutes, petting it while sitting on the steps of the hotel. The boys come apologize again for the football mishaps and I tell them I'm not hurt. They are kids, they clearly did not mean to do it. I stay outside now because of all this and the fact that the people wearing heavy cologne are causing me to wheeze. Best to totally remove myself. I came back once dinner was served and everyone seated. Pick at my food, stare at my plate, still sick, interacting with no one now, just counting the minutes until we can gracefully leave.

Jim sees that I'm not well at all and suggests an after dinner walk. We start the walk out of the restaurant and the SAME DAMN WOMAN tries to talk to me. I nod and walk on by. Jim stops and talks to her and she goes off on him, wanting to know why I hate her.

Ugh! It's not about her. I'm sick, and I'm just trying to endure a social obligation enough to slip away asap! I don't hate her. But I don't know her!

I felt better once we got down to the boat landing on the estuary where I didn't have to deal with anyone else, and I could breath deeply without allergens making me wheeze. Immediately after the walk we made our excuses and left as the meds weren't helping at all. After interacting and talking to about thirty people I was just out of social energy.

Pictures of the estuary park at Las Baulas National Marine Park.







I have to start doing a better job of balancing my needs with the expectations of others as long as I have this lung crud making me pretty miserable. It's so hard to figure out how to do that.


Friday, August 10, 2018

Polishing a Turd

Jim has hurt his back, so there's not much happening at our finca. It's been rest, run a few errands and more rest. Today during one of the periods he was napping I finally broke down and watched PBS Frontline documentary on last year's Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally.

Last year when the rally took place I cried for days afterward, even telling our landlord in my horrible pidgeon Spanish why I was so upset over this. Charlottesville was a mere 40 minutes from my house and I was all too familar with much of the town. We were only 60 miles outside of Washington, D.C. but I quickly learned that for shopping purposes I was much better off heading south to Charlottesville.

We also ended up going to Charlottesville very regularly from the time my youngest was four years old and developed immunio problems. At first we were at the UVA hospital every few days for months on end for platelet counts and treatments, gradually tapering off to once a month, then three months, six months. I get treatment there for my asthma and other issues. We got to know the city all too well, the downtown, the university area around the hospital and everywhere else.

And I always loved it. The city was progressive, a place that felt hopeful with a legitimate cultural life. It was listed more than once on national ists on the best places to live in America.

But then the rally happened, outsiders flooding into this very peaceful liberal city bringing violence and chaos with them. Of all the places in Virginia I could see this happening in it would not have been Charlottesville.

Here we are, a year later, and thankfully the city of Charlottesville has learned not to issue rally permits for violent racists. But that does not mean we're getting away free, this Sunday there will be an anniversary 'Unite the Right' rally in Washington, D.C., just up Route 29 from Charlottesville. I fear for what the Alt Right might do, but know that the various law enforcement (Capital police, D.C. Police, Park Police, etc) are prepared and, I think, perhaps a little more willing to knock some neo Nazi heads together if they start attacking peaceful protestors on the left.

I hope so. One of the things the most sickening about the violence in Charlottesville was the attacks on the clergy peacefully assembled wearing their clerical robes and praying in the downtown area. Meeting peaceful protest with beatings IS illegal.

The documentary was hard to watch, but at least it exposed some of the roach-like critters weilding the weapons, and some of them lost their jobs for their participation. Very bad behavior in a public forum must carry consequences with it.

But, my great-grandmother used have to have  a saying in Cajun French, her only language, that roughly translated meant "You can polish a turd but it's still a turd" This saying came to mind tonight as I was working on NLQ and ended up on Ayla Stewart's website. Ayla has a completely different Charlottesville narrative and was outraged by the same documentary, claiming everything was a huge lie.

All I can say is video does not lie. The men did commit those crimes on camera.

Ayla then proceeded to give her 'speech' she was originally scheduled to give at the Charlottesville rally, which I have a  very hard time  believing. She's claiming now she's not involved with the Alt Right Neo Nazis and that her speech was just going to be on the blessings of being a stay at home mother raising her pack of white babies.

I doubt it. I SERIOUSLY doubt that was what she was going to say. It fits not at all with the stated goals of the rally. It's just more changing your narrative to fit whatever history you are trying to impact.

The true is that Ayla is like one of those polished turds my great grandmother The Triple Lused to talk about. Polish your turd elsewhere Ayla because I'm never again giving you one little bit of publicity by featuring your white supremacy stylings at No Longer Quivering.

Keep lying and hating and polishing your turd.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Wednesday is For Weirdos (Especially Me)

Up in the middle of the night. Between Jim elbowing me hard in the boob in his sleep and my sudden realization that I'd washed a load of towels right before bedtime but not put them in the dryer I'm up. I hate it when I wake suddenly, sit bolt right up and remember something I left undone. So I'm up finishing up laundry at 1 am local time.  Plus my burn is hurting spectacularly so I'm waiting for the pain pills to kick in so I can get part two of my sleep.

Yay! Insomnia! Yay! Pain!

This afternoon Jim had his meeting with Pastor 'Whoa Dude' as I think of him. Turns out my sixth sense about Maggie was right. There have been many attempts to help her from the church and some of those rich sad sacks she was complaining about. She apparently has some, uh, habits and hobbies she spends her wages on a little too freely, and it's the same old song every month. I feel bad for her, but I knew there had to be more to her story than people ignoring her. I was sorry to hear this as I like her a lot. I hope she gets better for the sake of her child if no one else.

Jim was relieved. He'd started to fret and worry about her situation, but after hearing the history of her and the church has realized you cannot help everyone. She's got something of a victim mentality that's also in play here, and has resisted mightily real help for her problems.

One of the things I realized during our trip back to the States to evict our tenant is that people can get into these crazy mindsets, cannot see they are shooting themselves in the foot and resist change mightily. When we did a walk through inspection of the house I was dismayed to see that our tenant had been camping in our house, beds all mattresses sitting on the bare floors, pillows on the floor instead of a couch and chairs, a few folding lawn chairs and plastic table. It was sad. Not one photograph or wall hanging, or posters, not one personalized touch anywhere. She'd been in the house seven months at that point, and she was literally camping.

One of the big things that sort of shook me up was a cheap pressboard shoe rack in the middle of the bedroom, lined up with immaculate expensive athletic shoes. She had something like a dozen pairs. Not a literal pot to piss in, but she had her Air Jordans and Kanye West kicks. I was reminded anew of my years doing child abuse investigations and visiting homes that had no real furniture and scanty food, but always had a huge television and the latest video game system.

For me those very expensive sneakers while her kids were sleeping on sloppy old mattresses on the floor is just wrong. What's that Bible verse about what we love we'll store up? I wonder what type of mind thinks spending money on piles of sneakers, cigarettes and cell phones, of which there were plenty, while living like that is a good thing? 

I think it's things like that which reveal our problem mind sets. Everyone has them, but for most of us we have enough self-pride, don't know if that's the word, or just cannot live that way, to have ourselves squared away enough that we have those family photos, real beds and furniture. Living like humans instead of bare bones existent.

All I know is through the years, through Army housing, BAQs, through rent by the month apartments, our cheap plastic paneled bedroom in Dota and rentals here I've always had to do what I could to make each of those temporary places our home, to make them home-like. I guess I don't do camping and I don't understand it. A bedside photo of family, a colorful throw over a worn sofa, matching towels. It's always been important to me to have order and that attempt to be a home.

Maggie is another camper whose mind set isn't serving her well. Must give this more thought and see if there is any way to help her besides funding her. I don't get it, the chaos, the drifting and the lack of home. Like I said I'm always trying to make every space like my home.

Jim's been attending a language school all week so our weekly sojourn to the grocery store was delayed. The funny bit about that is by going later than usual we got to see all the American expat eccentrics we know, even the sofa pee-er J.A., his next door neighbor Derwent (with his shopping cart filled with vodka and no food, just like J.A.s yet they accuse each other of being crazy alcoholics) and Jerry. Jerry cracks me up. He's in is mid 60s like Jim, but unlike Jim I think he must have burned out a few more brain cells back in the 1960s. Sweet but dingy. A few days ago we spotted Jerry getting into a cab, taking it exactly a block before getting out. I asked him today what that was all about and he said he didn't like the vibes the cab driver was giving off. The wrong aura.

I don't know nothing about auras, Willis, just mindsets. I do know one thing, there seems to be a large pool of functional alcoholics in this area and drugs are everywhere. I'm not sure how I feel about that because with my upbringing I'm sometimes very triggered by the antics of alcoholics.

The store nearest our house has the four for the price of three special every Wednesday and it brings out all types. We see them all down at the Mega Super. But it's better than shopping at the gringo-ridden Auto Mercado with high prices and hordes of very entitled Americans.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Burned Shipping and Language Lessons

I realized yesterday after hitting the publish button that I sound rather mean girl in regards to Maggie's problems. No, not at all. But I am cautious about helping people in the church because of past experiences, particularly when they turn gossipy about others.

For as long as we've been here and attending this church *around a year now* Maggie has interrupted every prayer meeting, womens group, retreat, volunteer picnic, you name it, with cries about being an impoverished single mother. Copious crying and complaining. I get that, having been one myself. The difference is that I didn't think others owed me anything because of my status, and I didn't tell everyone I met about my struggles most loudly.

While I do think the church should help her, I cannot assume that they have or haven't. Maybe like the Smiths so many have tried to help, but been rebuffed when they offer real solutions I have to wonder if this is that again. Better for Jim to talk to the pastor, and formulate a plan around past history I think than to leap in and give her tons of money willy-nilly. Besides, that money Jim gave her yesterday is enough to pay her rent, and not enough that it would impact our budget. Meet the immediate needs first, and then go from there.

I hope beyond hope I am wrong about all of this, but I have a hinky gut feeling about all of this. I cannot even began to tell you how disgusted I am by the gossip. It is the reason I rarely participate in any religious groups beyond simply attending to make Jim happy.  It's been good here for making friends and contacts, but that's about it. I do laugh over the pastor's language 'Like whoa dude!' Whatever it takes to reach the surf culture here I guess.

Yesterday was trying to decide if I needed to be back at the doctors office seeing I'd somehow managed to give myself a big blistering burn on my stomach. I swear, I have to be the most clumsy woman on the Gold coast here. Happened when I was cooking pasta, a few nights ago, tried to drain it, slamming down the drainer in the sink only to have to bounce up from the bowl someone (Jim) put in that sink and bouncing the water up onto my torso. It's blistered and supperating, but I decided ultimate against going because at this point there's not a lot they can do.

What did happen was a quick run to the bank to pay a fine on our shipping snafu. I figured the government would hit us with a fine, but wasn't entirely sure. Just like I ended up having a pay a five hundred dollar fine for importing filters and masks for my VPAP machine this time I was hit with a five hundred dollar fine for the things not listed on the bill of lading.

Jim started to go into his shouty mode about spending money, but I just had to point out anew that we knew we were in for the Gingo Shuffle with  dealing with the government import people.Importing your belongings here seems to be without rhyme or reason, you are completely at the mercy of whatever import company you use and the variables of the mood of the import agents. It's a crap shoot. I'm talking to piles of gringos and the import experience vary so widely. Mostly the company will throw up a few roadblocks, asking for monies you didn't agree on first, like this 'fine' and last times 'fine' to the Dept of Health, before asking for storage fees because they've drug this out so long that it has gotten stupid.

The worst case I've heard of involved  a lady I know importing everything they owned in a 40 foot shipping container and being stymied by one thing or another for a full year. By the time she got her things after a six thousand dollar storage fee rats had been inside of all her major appliances and had eaten all the hoses and rubber gaskets, things almost impossible to get here.

The best case is another friend of mine, but one that is wealthy beyond the wildest dreams of avarice, who is the daughter in law of someone rather famous in Hollyweird. She hired one of the big international movers to come to her home, pack everything, bring it in and deal with customs and it happened very quickly without any stress. But she paid an obscene pile of money to make that happen. When she told me what they charged her in impuesto, taxes, I had to gasp. It was way more than we even paid for shipping our container. But then again I know her things are nicer than mine. She likely has things from Hammacher Schlemmer while about half my stuff came from Wal Mart. Heh.

Shipping, like life, depends on too many variables.