Fiera's Diary

Productivity wave continues...

Mammogram this morning (all clear!)
Dental cleaning and oral cancer recheck (all clear!!)
TJ groceries
Scheduled fog light replacement for tomorrow AM

Was steady at dentist mentioning KDog passing, saying that I was looking forward to a break from the caretaking and being able to travel. Then her song came on the radio and I started crying as I asked them to turn it off. Caught me off guard. I am generally handling it well, but sometimes it just hits me so hard. Music has not lost its ability to trigger my emotions.
It's so natural to grieve for your dog. I occasionally feel teary about my last little dog who I had from a puppy until she was 17. I loved her so much.
Well done on getting so much achieved, Fiera.
Oh...last night I attended a rare online session of my old Thursday night "pirates" meditation group. It was very good, and coming after an afternoon of significant reflection on CPTSD, was expansive. I already used the practice a few times today ('are you seeing the river, or are you IN the river' for example). It helped me to quickly shut up the inner critic and the part of my brain that wants to question my decisions around KDog's euthanasia. Very useful.
Conked out last night after attending an Ann Lamott live freebie on writing. I turned Proggy on to her and suggested he read Bird by Bird.

So think I was asleep by 9/9:30 and woke up at 5. Pretty rested, but chilly in the den, so put the space heater on. Piriformis syndrome is not resolving, in fact a bit worse last night, improved after sleep. Stupid. Hobbling around house. Difficult to gingerly shift positions ( though having a large belly is contributing to difficulty level). Have done stretching and heat therapy. I can't figure out where the exact spot is which needs massage.

Here in subzero land am getting no walking in last couple of days. Fog light hopefully will be repaired today and then I can drive in salt and snow to the indoor track. Hopefully a little gentle walking will be OK.

DDog's adopters have invited me to get together also, so after car fix will get that planned. Extreme cold weather will limit what we do. Everyone and everything is limited. I don't want to go to movies as the theaters are too cold. TV is overrated though.

Have one hour before I need to go warm up my car. Going to make an omelet and meditate to start my day on the right foot,
Fog light fixed
Bank account closed/cashier's check
Regular grocery store
Amazon return (IPad keypad used-musty)
Ordered calendar, humidifier, matcha while waiting for car.
Car seat heater helped piriformis temporarily...hobbling and hurting generally
Getting little things fixed and the house picked up makes me happy.
Had free coffee and hot chocolate at car dealer yum.

Used meditation practice tools again today. Such a blessing,

One of my old scene dj friends started his day with this nugget which is new to me, and I instantly loved:

Magazine - The Light Pours Out of Me

According to a write up the chorus/title can be taken to mean enlightenment or creative energy and other lyrics suggest the latter, as encouragement against a conspiracy of silence. Given the time (1978) place (Manchester), and genre (post punk), there is little question it is intended to evoke letting one's own radiance flow unfettered in a world which conspires to silence us.

Well EFF YEAH that is a great song to start the morning. 😍👍

Shovel new snow
Cleaning lady
Piriformis massage/exercise/relief
Orthotics pickup
Deposit cashiers check
Trash and recycling out
KDog meds repost

Proggy may delay coming up til the weekend. He has inertia due to cold snow and ice. No matter to me the alone time has been so good for me. Sorry Proggy.

Laura G came over with her dog yesterday to on some booties for size but really I think to visit. I was Ok and happy to see her dog, which is same breed as KDog. She also asked after my Dad and I noticed that answering that question felt tiresome, so I plan to shortcut it in the future, No one could understand without living it anyway.

I am happy my house was semi organized/clean enough to have someone over. At least clean enough for a dog person. :)

I feel more content and comfortable lately. The only thing I feel stressed about is making travel plans with Proggy (due to his job search there is ambiguity and difficulty making decisions) and corresondingly making travel plans to see my dad and also Irish friend. Partly because I think the rest and relaxation has been so healing. Why do I want to go dashing off again? But also because everything is getting to be more difficult with the excess weight. No doubt I willl get past this little sciatica and the indoor track is waiting for my arrival. Meantime, the little physical efforts to get trash out for example (expired canned goods today) and shoveling will help.

Proggy arrived Thursday afternoon and stayed about 48 hours, He is certainly struggling with depression, inertia, winter S.A.D.

I tried to keep busy but he doesn't bring footwear for being outside; conditions were cold and snowy, And the sciatica got bad at points. So we took a couple of drives. Did a bunch of errands. An hour of live traditional Irish music. 2 new restaurants, both sadly disappointed (dinner-Mx-FR, Breakfast A pancake house). [It doesn't help the depression when you have paid good money for food and it disappoints - esp when you are out of work.] Did a mile at indoor walking track. That plus aggressive stretching and buffer/rolling made the sciatica worse Friday night. Sat was much gentler with it, and plan to repeat today. TJ shopping. Friday night we just had tapas and that was fun, it has been a while. Turned him on to an episode of Terrahawks Sat AM.

I asked Proggy if he feels like he has trouble making decisions. BecauseI feel like he does, and I do, and then nothing gets done, He seemed almost relieved at the question. He agreed and then said that "especially now" he isn't functioning well and he would like it if I would just take the lead and make decisions. Where to go, what to do, how to spend time...,it was exhausting him. I understood. I tried to take the reins but it was hard to determine what to do in such weather conditions Neither of us wanted to be indoors with the sun shining so bright yet his shoes were not adequate for even a short hike. We took his hand me down jacket from my dad to a cleaner and they wanted $30 to dry clean so that was a hard no.

We did also attempt to meet up with DDog's family but it wasn't good timing for them.
possibly this week.

We have talked about a quick getaway but It is hard to get anywhere warm due to financial constraints, The challenge with Proggy is that everything has financial constraints, I have my own needs to attend to also and they involve actually DOING things and not wishing about them. It is so sucky what has hapoened with his jobs, but I did the same thing with AN, not doing anything because the other person can't afford it. Eff this. If I can't get a man of resources (and I am not trying) then I need to just get out there with some other independent women and go.
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I am feeling ennui this morning. A bit tired, having had my sleep disrupted from trying to sleep on the couch while Proggy was watching tv. I need to get a radiant heater for my bedroom but was avoiding spending the dough and adding another large item to my small house.

About now, I would normally have gone over and cuddled with KDog. The simple comfort of cozying up to a pet always provided a bit of comforting distraction. It's not enough to make me want the constant responsibility of taking care of a dog. Yet. I just feel restless. No doubt the sciatica getting in the way of taking a walk is adding to the feeling. Guess I will appreciate it more when I am up and moving again.

I have tried twice to find a taker for the $200 worth of arthritis meds leftover from KDog. It is sitting on the coffee table and it needs a home. Careful about offering it on social, as there are surely laws against prescriptions being transferred. Maybe the vet knows someone.

Meditation group meets online in an hour so I plan to do that.

I will go make some coffee and put on some music or tv. The quiet right now is too quiet.
Life has been full of little discoveries/reflections the past week or so.

This morning the leader of the meditation session, who is a licensed social worker, mentioned verbal abuse and the childhood trauma conflict of "Acceptance vs Authenticity" as per Gabor Mate. She said "faced with this trade off, a child will choose acceptance EVERY time." After group, I watched a 4 minute video of Gabor Mate talking about the topic, and found a lot which resonated.

There was a comment on the video about how we tend to review our childhood experiences from the lens of an adult. Some things which we see as minor now, might have had a great impact as a child. As I am further able to dig into, and recall, some moments, thoughts, and feelings, both from childhood and adulthood, it starts to pull everything together into one continuous sad, tragic narrative on a life, never fully lived, a flower never blossomed. If I sit with it i will get depressed and I much rather would say "okay that happened, now lets get on with it." I think about AN and how for YEARS he viewed himself as the victim and blamed much anger and much MORE time lost...I find myself silently giving him compassion and hoping that he finds some personal peace.

With Jason too, and BG, and even Proggy...,I wish them peace without wanting to bear the burden of their sadness or mental health issue. There was an email on compassion practice, and separating giving compassion from taking responsibility for someone's feelings. It is a great reminder and a good time to practice.

While I caught up on sleep a bit, I still feel a bit tired today and so have given myself permission to put the to-do list aside and read, rest, practice, be present without pressure to perform for myself or others, My pirifomis seems to be slowly improving with rest. I had a nice hot shower. Did a bit of laundry. Cleaned up kitchen and bath.

Sun was streaming in earlier but it seems like snow clouds are coming in. Thankfully a warm up is coming (into the 20's and 30's). For today, peace and solitude are quite welcome.
Well, roadbump assembling new humidifier, seems like a part is broken, have to call the company tomorrow.

Was looking at browser bookmarks, one took me to a page for Nick Drake guitar tabs. Has been a while since I listened to his music (since music has been difficult to access) but today it seemed accessible. Of course the mournful melancholy of a few songs and lyrics drew me to AN and Jason and after soaking in a few I knew I needed to stop, Today already feels like one of those unstructured "free" days which were open to having some alcohol to numb / enjoy / release. Is it an escape from boredom, or an escape from unsettled thoughts and emotions? I am aware more than ever of how business has served as a way for me to escape powerful emotions in times past. If you are staying occupied, if you keep moving, then you won't fall apart. If you drink, you don't feel tired. Etc. I'm just listless. Even a jigsaw puzzle would be better than my current state, Reading would be good, I can try, I just bought a memoir that might be the right speed. Not too deep, not trite, doesn't require as much effort as self help or a mystery or a novel.

I sure as heck don't feel like making catch up phone calls or working on computer stuff. Guess I'll try the book.
Thanks Cate. Read around 100 pages tonight in a couple of spurts....certainly a good first step.
So, I am not a believer in spirits or afterlife, but past few days a few things have occurred so I am going to keep track.

Last Weds, LG brought her dog over, his first time here. Around 3PM in the afternoon. Twice in succession while I was attempting to engage, he was not paying attention to me, he was staring from the entry of the den towards the kitchen ceiling. Possibly drawn to something about the light fixture, the sun was out, but noted. Didn't think more of it.

Proggy was here Thursday and Friday nights.

Last night, Saturday night, I was alone again in the house and almost asleep on the couch. Maybe around 9P? I heard a decidedly loud clatter from front of the house. With some trepidation I slowly explored and found that the smoke detector I had cleaned on Tuesday and replaced somewhat half axxed had fallen down. But why did it suddenly fall after 4 days/nights? No breeze no wind, no fans, no activity in that part of the house....contrasted with Proggy being in and out of the bedroom next door and closing the bedroom door the prior 2 nights it should have fallen then if at all...

Tonight, again falling asleep on couch around 9PM. Suddenly, right next to me an sound of something falling. The notebook it seems slid off the table and onto the floor, Again, it was there for hours, no drafts, no wind, no why did it just move out of nowhere?

I then thought back, also, on Wednesday-ish noticed an unusual problem with the lamp in the den, the incandescent bulb filament bounced a few times from bright to less bright or out and I futzed with both Weds and Thursday before finally settling on leaving it on the lower setting. Coincidence right?

Except on Thursday the long light LED in the front torchiere also went out. I noticed it was out when Proggy and I were leaving for dinner. What are the odds both bulbs would go at the same time?

Is it all coincidence, weather changes having to do with the cold/lack of humidity?

And what about the fact that the house doesn't feel empty, it feels like it always has, KDog's comforting presence still palpable.

I tried talking to "it", just in case, If there is a spirit here, and if it is KDog or someone/something else. it could be her, but it could also be a longstanding presence that has stayed away as long as there were dogs or other people around. I haven't lived dogless since 2012ish, and then I was travelling quite a bit and often had companionship.

But it's not the first time I had a feeling I was not alone in this house.

Also, when I first moved in there was a hex sign over the doorway where LG's dog was standing, looking up towards the kitchen ceiling. I don't recall the exact sign or meaning though.

Just going to try to pay attention without getting myself freaked out.

Whelp. After seeing forecast I decided today would be a better day to go to kennels than tomorrow. I put out an email two nearby retired transport ladies seeing if they want to come with, figuring they would jump at the chance, but nothing. Also put out a message to a kennel day manager to see if they need winter coats or anything, but so far no call. Given I am still experiencing some sciatica (getting better though) I could justify postponing til Weds, and perhaps Proggy would come with. But even though it is a long drive I just feel like I need dog therapy today. I don't want to go on the long drive by myself 90 mins each way).

I have plenty of things I can be doing at the house. It is overcast (and projected to be so for the next 10 days), so I need to keep moving and keep my spirits up. I could just get back on a plane to FL but Proggy is a retarding factor. Hm.
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Trudging pace today. Worked on piriformis and things continue to improve. Put away clean laundry and dishes. Coordinated probable kennel visit for Thursday, but think the early hour proposed by the kennel hand may not be acceptable to the volunteer who said she would come with me, TBD. Pirate meditation group tonight via zoom again due to freezing rain conditions in the forecast. Invited Proggy. Flat ironed my hair again after shower, it does look nicer esp with the dark color. Ordered defective humidifier part. Having trouble progressing anything consequential though. Going to try to sleep IN the bed tonight having put away the laundry and moved over the heater from Proggy's room.

Cried a few times over KDog and talked to her again to tell her to move on if she is in fact still around. The house feels more empty today so perhaps she did move on after I talked to her last night and told her I was OK and she needed to go. Not that I really believe any of that but just in case.

The grey grey grey day might have something to do with the slow pace.

The cost of everything might also have something to do with it. Try as I might I cannot find cheap enough airfare which meets the possible timeline for next weekend to get us someplace warm and sunny. We want to take a quick trip now and then a proper full week vacation in Feb or March. I have a feeling it is not going to happen, so we will have to come up with a plan b instead.

Well, I slept in my bed last night. Used a space heater but was uneasy about the potential for it drying the bedroom furniture out. Will have to see how things are after the new humidifier is up and running (waiting on replacement part). Sleep quality was OK. Found it challenging to get comfortable with piriformis stabbing. This morning I needed massager right away, ibuprofen, and CBD is doing better now.

Buckled down and got Proggy the best I can do on the immigration records/timeline. It may not be enough to get the citizenship application across the finish line, but now it is in the hands of the attorneys and we will see. At least it is in motion again.

3 of us are going to the kennel on Thursday to profile dogs from the other geography I don't usually cover. I still need to speak again with the kennel helper and the kennel day coordinator to see if any supplies that I have need to go up.

Also, coordinated with DDog's adopters and plan to see them on Friday afternoon. Proggy will be with me most likely. On the off chance we decide to go out of town we can reschedule.

Everything here is coated with a layer of frozen rain so will be soending the day indoors. With the sciatica, it can be draining to do even little things like take out the recycling, and with the ice it makes no sense to try. Conserving the energy.

Am about 150 pages in to the memoir now. The woman moved in circles and spaces I am acquainted with to varying degrees...clubs I used to go to (but I came along a bit later), bands I used to follow, record stores, restaurants, and other venues I also knew. L would have enjoyed it tremendously. That is one area that Proggy and I just don't align, don't have that shared history; it is not just about age but interests and influences. It perhaps becomes less important as I age and my life drifts away from that magical scene which existed during my coming of age...but it does evoke some wistful memories of what truly were the best of times. We had it so good. Now the clubs are all gone and the musicians are no longer touring (or touring on the same stuff they were playing 20 years ago). I have lost any sense of urgency to see them when they do come thru. Maybe that's depression, or fat shame, or not having anything to wear, etc,

I do find that I don't want to do a lot of things because I am fat. I don't want to go to the in person meditation group because I am fat and might have to sit cross legged on the floor. I discount the idea of taking a trip to Iceland because I don't have the stamina. I discount even the idea of getting another dog because how could I manage that physically? It is not all just about holding time/space for my dad. If I was in a better place physically, I would be capable of so much more.

There is a disconnect between the life I *could* have, and the habits and brain cravings which result in me ignoring reality as I shove food in my mouth all day every day. I am not even trying to fight cravings. I don't have the will or energy to fight. But I keep getting bigger and bigger and it keeps getting harder and harder to move,

What is the tipping point? How or when will I reach that moment where I grasp how desperate things are becoming and find the will to do whatever it takes to get on top of my eating problems? Sad face. A life blunted by fat and depression. Doesn't make for interesting reading...or journaling,

Meditation group was online again last night due to the leader having a pipe issue in his building. Proggy came. It was an intro on meditating with emotions (as contrasted with meditation with thoughts). I feel like I am blocking emotions all the time. The perimiter wall, the one I felt with L, which is up w/r/t everyone it seems right now. It means I am not living authentically, I am not being authentic and open and vulnerable with others. It is not intentional of course, I just feel all balled up again. When was the last time I could feel my toes or my stomach? I am living in my head and the tops of my shoulders again. Some exercise or yoga would probably help.
Wrapped up the ancestry email/documentation for Proggy. Hoping it is good enough. Really doubting it though. Still, set the stage for a little momentum. Worked on on cleanup/reconciliation of bank statements, organized a few tax documents, cleaned up some emails til my laptop battery got low. Thank you note out to a donor for coats and toys.

Ennui creeping in again. Vague notion to have a whiskey. Bit tired of being in cold house under blankets w space heaters. If I turn up the boiler though I will make an already galling heating bill for January worse. Think cozy thoughts Fiera. lol.
Slept on the couch again. Not having a set bed time has its drawbacks. I should go flip the heater on about 8:30 and then the bedroom might be a bit more cozy and welcoming when I suddenly get sleepy.

I don't have anything to show for my evening. I watched an episode of Billions before chatting with Proggy. Woke up several times in the night, and broke out the handheld massager this morning pre-matcha for some relief from piriformis as everything was very tight and painful again. It helps, along with ibuprofen and cbd ointment, I suppose I will have to skip the ointment when we go to the kennel tomorrow due to the strong smell.

The outdoors looks much the same today...grey, overcast, wet, freezing fog even. Temps should climb above freezing today however and stay there.


Yesterday I came across the question of how would you live your life differently if you knew you only had a month (or day or week) to live. The point of course is provocative. Especially for me, as I have such a challenge deciding what to do with myself. I suppose I would drop everything and get on a plane to Ireland, and I would probably take Proggy with me. I'd maybe go see Irish Friend. I'd go see all the dogs and I'd ask my dog rescue friends to have a big get together so I could see all them and their pups. I'd maybe even get the guitar back out and finish something.

Overall, I think my sense is, and has been, that there is nothing else on this planet, in this life, that I need to do. I have done a lot. I have travelled. I have taken care of loved ones. I have had wonderful dogs. Frankly, I'm not sure I get why anyone wants to live into their 80's and 90's. Maybe children and grandchilden give the days meaning. Maybe they have a book to write or a mountain to climb. I don't really feel those powerful aspirations any more. Perhaps the health issues I have had, coupled with caretaking my dad, have shown me how limited the future is going to be.

I recall now that the email I read this in was from one of the Buddhist publications. It spoke to the inevitability of aging and ill health, of decline, of outliving your loved ones. The intent was to introduce impermanence practice as a way of finding peace and coping with the inevitable. But I just found it depressing. Kind of like that movie "As good as it gets"...what if this IS as good as it gets from here on out? Do I spend my days reading and working jigsaw puzzles while mesothelioma commercials play on free broadcast tv? Until at some point I need care and have to move into a facility where a stranger changes my diapers after I sit in them for 3 hours? Ugh. I'm not trying to be depressing, I'm trying to find some spark inside myself which is irate and inspired to say "no, I refuse, I will not go quietly". But right now I am not sensing it. I thought at one point that I owed it to myself to live an extraordinary life. And I did, to some extent. But these days I'm just a tired old washed up fat person with an eating disorder. There is a saying among people in recovery that they avoid slipping because they 'might not have another recovery in them'. I guess the same is true with an eating disorder. Yet, it was not all that long ago that I was walking every day down in FL, and I also can recall doing the 5 day fast and feeling MUCH better.

This is just a temporary state of mind. Tomorrow I will get out of the house with 2 other volunteer - retirees, get to know them a bit on the drive and spend a couple hours with the doggies at the kennel. It will be a far cry better than just sitting on the couch, spinning my wheels in my journal.

Also, I might put on some inspirational movies. I have gotten out of the the habit of watching the oscar-nominated films because Proggy lives so far away and we don't go out to the movies while he is here. They ARE rather costly to go to the theater. But I can potentially go see a matinee on my own. Today would be a good day to do that. I need some more retired friends lol.