Thursday, September 08, 2011

Well, it's officially 30 years today my father died.

I remember I was playing with my friend Shawn Brown. He lived up the hill from me. I would cut through the Truhan's yard and trudge up the hill to play with him. We would feed the turkeys his family kept or sometimes we would play with his older brother's acoustic guitar. 

I don't remember what we were doing, I just remember his mom telling me my mom had called and I had to go home.

Somehow I knew something was seriously wrong. 

I got home and my mom was sitting on the plaid couch sideways with her back against the arm of the sofa with her back to the open door. It had been warm enough to warrant just the screen door. I could hear her crying as I peeked around the door. At that moment, I knew for certain my father was dead.

All I remember was thinking I wanted her to stop crying, stop being sad. I hugged her and started crying even before the words came out of her mouth.

The last memory of my father is him being wheeled out of the house on a stretcher two weeks prior. My Grandma, his mother with her arm around me, told me everything would be alright. I would see him again.

My mom didn't have a car so his parents would get her and take her to the hospital to see him. However, they never let my mom take me. It would be 'too traumatic' for my young mind.

I never got to see him again. I never got to say 'I love you," or "Good Bye."

It was a slow suicide by alcohol. I had watched him take seizures on the kitchen floor, laying there with my mom trying to hold his head in her hands so if he jerked the wrong way, he wouldn't split his scalp on the edge of the bottom cupboards or the table and chair legs. I have so few memories of him, but the ones I do have are emblazoned into my brain. They're not all good, they're not all bad.

He was a human. I can't imagine how much pain he had to be in, mentally, to choose the bottle over his family.

It's thirty years ago today and I'm sitting here crying like I just lost him again.

Friday, August 26, 2011

PSHEW! Day 1 done!

Well, day one of class is done. It went pretty well. Got my student ID photo taken, got my parking permit (#0420. hah) and got my class schedule.

Thankfully, my "Intro to Microsoft Windows 7" class is only 6 weeks instead of 12. *hangs head* I'm going to have to try REALLY hard to stay awake in class. After helping run a PDC for CSE

(granted, it's been a number of years ago at this point) I think learning how to minimize and maximize windows is going to drive me batty. "Click this button to empty your Recycling Bin."


Easy A, Easy A, Easy A... I'll just keep repeating that and I should be fine.

The other classes include 2, 3 hour studios and a couple 2 hour studios. I really like the humor my two art instructors exhibit. It's still a feeling-out process with the other students, but the teachers seem to be awesome! I really hope I can grow a professional portfolio that does everyone proud.
I finished Cephalogal's shawl yesterday on her birthday. The down side is I've not been able to block it. I have a certain little kitty cat that keeps interfering. Some photos of my handiwork. I'm actually really proud. I think it's the most EPIC thing I've ever knit. I am jonesing to start another one, but I have Choperena's belated birthday present to finish first. *does happy dance*

OK. I'm off to go knit and dream in Prismacolor pastels thanks to Nanonukie

**HUGS to you all**

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Changes and observations

Hi Everybody! (Said in Dr. Nick's voice =)

Thursday was interesting. I went to Third Thursday Spinners with Choperena (it was her birthday!! =) out at The Knitter's Underground. I didn't do much knitting, but I did do a lot of talking and listening to Anne Grout. She's the woman who makes beautiful drop spindles that Molly sells. She's so kind, generous and KNOWLEDGEABLE about so much! We were talking about Fibromyalgia and then we ended up on a long discussion of Hypermobility Syndrome as well as Ehlers–Danlos syndrome (EDS). SO MUCH MADE MORE SENSE in the context of my health problems. For example, symptoms I posses:
  • Never broke bones, but have shredded my ACL in my left knee, dislocated and popped my ankle back in to place (one day when I was 'skating' on a freshly waxed floor in Willard Building while wearing wool socks), I can remember being on crutches in 5th grade, having sprained something quite badly
  • Have Bursitis in multiple joints including both shoulders and possibly my hips
  • Even as over weight and out of shape as I am, I can still bend over and put my palms face down on the floor
  • I have a documented 15° hyperextension to both knees
  • I can sit on the floor with my legs stretched out and still put my feet flat on the floor at the same time
  • Certain ways I sit on office chairs, I can actively cause my hips to rotate out of the socket and "catch" when I try to stand up. This is quite painful when I stand, so I have to be conscious of how I sit.
  • One doctor told me I exhibited lumbar lordosis that appeared to have been congenital
  • Raynaud's fits as well as having been told by phlebotomists that I seem to have more 'gates' in my blood vessels than normal. I'm a difficult 'stick'.
  • I have a special power with my fingers... Observe:
I can, essentially, lock my finger tips and cause my fingers to bend backwards slightly. My mother can do this as well. It was great fun to do that to me as a child whereby I would commence screaming because it freaked me out something fierce.

Of course, once I discovered I could do it too, I could go around freaking other people out. The only problem is the longer I hold that position with my fingers (all 8 fingers can do this, only my thumbs are exempt, but that's partially because of the CTR surgery) the more they become locked, to the point I have to forcefully unlock them. They will try to return to that state for a few seconds afterwards. It's not painful at all, just annoying. The important thing is that I can do it at all. Compare my photo to the one from Wiki on the topic of hypermobility... All this time I just thought it was just my family that were freaks!

So, having established that I'm quite Hyper-mobile, I go on to do more research about EDS. Interestingly enough, I was on to something back in the beginning and spring of '04 when I was physically my most broken. I had done some research on Ehlers–Danlos syndrome even then. At that time I even tried to talk to Demented about it, but... well... the conversations never went well... I still have the print-outs from the medical abstracts and informational sites about the condition. *shakes head* even at my most mentally borked I was sussing out this medical jargon...

After educating myself more, I postulate that I experience Type 3. However I have strong suspicion that my Pap Carson [mother's father](died from massive burst aneurisms) and Uncle Jay [mother's baby brother] (died at 21 from end stage Lupus complications; organ failure) had Type 4 because of the vascular involvement in the nature of their deaths. What I find most interesting and more frightening is this is also appearing to following the PPK line of inherited chromosomes.

EDS could potentially be the root of my fibro! What I do with this information is beyond me at the moment. I'm still trying to digest it all.

So, after that brief medical treatise, I move on to my family life. I found this hiding on my laptop and thought, "you know what? just post it." It's me thinking through my life as a child relative to my parents... I wrote it back in February of this year:

I think Dad's death broke me so badly that emotionally I sort of died too. The concept of death had hit home the previous year when Uncle Jay died from lupus complications. I understood that people go away and we don't get to see them again sometimes. but then Dad died and it was a whole other thing now. I was told that Dad and Uncle Jay were up in heaven drinking beer and fishing

Mom was seen as the authoritarian figure in my life growing up, possibly because 1) after Dad died, she had to be the only one to discipline me and 2) she worked in a prison. Working in that prison as the Night Nurse for so many years began to take it's toll, negative energy and the bad side of people, she became even more misanthropic, if I think about it. She was usually withdrawn into her self. very "even keeled" in front of me, occasionally angry, sometimes sad, and rarely genuinely happy. That's what I saw life was expected to be, you should be rock steady 99.9% of the time. Wavering for traumatic events is acceptable, however, but only for a very short period. The practical adage "Life goes on." is sorta the mantra of my mom's side of the family.

That has lead me to have formal relationships with people, but not know how to get close to them. Physically, there was always a huge personal space issue and and in mentally, I didn't know how to connect with someone. I had already disassociated earlier in order to deal with the Dr Jeckle/Mr Hyde father.

I lacked the mother who was involved in my life, other than reading together or shopping… there wasn't that 'softer' side that some people have, where they take a detailed accounting of everything that has gone on during their day, TALKING on the phone (now email, chats- people are still connecting but the medium by which they do it has changed. Skype, iChat, etc.) and discussing details and gossip of the day. She wasn't active \in/ my life, we did that for a few minutes only, the rest of the time, I was in my room puttering around and she was out in the living room with a book or her diary and the TV set to channel 4 which is our local information station that plays a local radio station over the TV. Remember, this is the 80's and early 90's so it was kinda high tech…

That's not to say she didn't praise me when I did well. She did. I remember a painting I made in 92/93 on the back board of a HUGE mirror I had. I took the mirror out of the frame, and on the thick pressboard back, I finger painted. a dark background with brighter colors tipped with white all swirled. I have to admit. I'm kinda proud of that. I remember making it and Mom went kinda crazy about it. We bought white spray paint and painted the frame glossy white. Once everything was dry, she took it and hung it on the wall. I remember feeling for the first time that my mom REALLY understood and appreciated me and what I do.

Just thinking now about that statement, that she understood me for the first time. It makes me realize that a child's independence must be a hard thing for parents to deal with. Knowing that this child you are interacting with is learning all the time what to do and how to be, till at some point, after having mimicked the behavior, adopts that behavior as acceptable and amalgamates it into their personality. It's hard to know exactly when they understand the nature of things like love, and morality.

I never learned how to deal with anger or confrontation because I learned at a young age it's irrational and you get hut when someone is angry. So to this day, I generally cower when someone gets angry. I don't know what to do about it because my brain goes into flight mode almost automatically. Even when my neighbors are fighting (yelling loudly at each other about something) I feel the need to curl up in a ball and cry. It's really fucked up.

When MY anger comes out, I feel like I turn into the Incredible Hulk. I feel like Billy Bad-Ass. I can take on anything and beat it. Unfortunately, somehow my anger turned in on itself and feeds on my heart. My anger and need for destruction, pain, anarchy, all the thug-like tendencies attack my self confidence. My image of myself is distorted through shattered and crazed glass smeared with burning napalm.

I have no voice. I am like a peacock, I display my plumage and expect that to explain who I am. The clothes I choose to wear any given day, what I eat, what I listen to, with the things I pick to surround myself, even what I do. It all speaks volumes about who I am.

As always, it's stream-of-thought so it's a tad disjointed, but even that says something about how my mind works.

Finally, I'm busily working on Cephalogal's shawl. I declare it the most monumental thing I have ever knit. I must say, I have a tiny bit of smugness that I've been able to do it. =) It's got literally 5 more rows left then The Cast-Off of Doom. A little over 600 stitches to be cast-off. It's EPIC!! and I'm completely psyched up about it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Comedy, zombies, knitting and school

I've been on an Eddie Izzard kick as of late. I'm so jealous at how fabulous the man looks. The orange crushed velvet jacket with the black leather pants has got to be my favorite outfit of his (1996's "Definite Article") I'm just now watching his latest show from Madison Square Garden. I've also been watching Bill Bailey. That's a man who has more musical talent than almost anyone else I know. And speaking of Bill Bailey, that makes me think of Hot Fuzz (Nobody tells me NUTHIN!) which leads to me Shaun of the Dead. Shaun of the Dead leads me to "The Walking Dead" which I got to watch while I was puppysitting for KlrWombat. Good good good tv show! Well, if you like zombie things, it's good. I'm currently waiting for World War Z to come out. Yay JMS! I can't think of anything that man has touched that I don't consider golden.

Anyhow, I've been knitting like mad. I'm so close to being done with Cephalogal's shawl! It's only taken 500+ yards more yarn than the pattern called for. I'm trying to figure out what I did wrong that it's taking so much more yarn. I never swatch (digs toe in the dirt and whistles innocently) so that could be part of the problem. I probably should have gone down a needle size. The shawl is going to be monstrous when it's finally blocked. I've made a pair of fingerless mitts to help with my Reynaud's, and I'm tearing apart a shawl that I made for myself (but never wore) because it's a wool silk blend in a gorgeous dark pine green. I'm knitting it up into another pair of fingerless mitts, but making the pattern up as I go along, taking stitches from other projects and ideas from other patterns to build my own. I'm probably going to post it on Ravelry when I'm done.

School is looming on the horizon, zooming towards me at mach 9. I'm not sure what all supplies I need yet for the artsy classes (I have an email in to the instructors, but I sent it late, so no reply yet), but I have my books ordered and they should be here by Friday. 3 books come out to $240! eek! Thankfully South Hills has a voucher system whereby if you're expecting a financial aid refund they extend you 'credit' up to a certain amount (mine was $800) that applies to MBS Direct text book vendor.

So, not much else going on. I missed Pennsic this year. I have to admit, I feel a twinge of jealousy over the people who did get to go, but mostly deep, profound sadness. I didn't realize it would hurt as much as it did by not going. I think it's because Camp is literally my Family for a week or two. I'm going to do my best to be able to go next year!

I have a new therapist, Matt. It's the first guy I've had as a therapist since I was 7. It's a little weird, and yet it's a little easier to talk to him. It's going to sound really weird, but I think I can identify better with guys on some level than I can women (Woman Therapist = Position of Authority = Mom in some weird way) It's something I need to explore a little more, but I've noticed I've been able to talk about subjects with him that I never was able to bring up with any of my other therapists. Anyhow...

more later, maybe I'll have something more interesting than the fact I've run out of bird seed to report. =)

Friday, August 05, 2011

school, Alcohol talking, and friends

Well, I went to the school Introduction Luncheon on Wednesday. I got there late because I put the wrong time in my phone to remind me. I set it for 12:30 instead of just 12. DOH! Everyone assured me no harm, no foul, but I still felt like a doofus. I wasn't the only one with colored hair. Another woman in my arts track had crazy bright intense pink hair. It was beautiful!

I'm just a hodge-podge of colors since I was down to the dregs of the bottles and jars of color. SO, my bangs are green to light teal and then I've got electric purple on the left, fuchia on the right side and the back is cobalt and purple.

Had a falling out with JMW. Why does it always involve alcohol? When I get verbally attacked, I responded, asking about perceived character flaws. I get de-friended and ignored. Here's a hint Sweetie, NOBODY ignores me better than my Mom. She's had years of practice, to the point I'm immune to it now. Why is it some narcissistic people have such a hard time talking rationally about problems related to themselves? I can only guess that it's insecurity. "OH NO! someone sees through the walls I built up. I'll destroy them before they destroy any more of my walls." How sad. It's not as if this wasn't expected. It's just a repeat of being pushed away because something digs too deeply into his sense of id and ego. The problem is you can only push people away so many times till they say, "No more" and permanently walk away. Lonely people are lonely.

I could look at it from the eyes of a 7 year old Dory. I wasn't good enough to be something worth staying around for from my dad's POV. He drank himself to death. Booze was more important than his daughter. Than me. I'm not good enough for anyone then, I suppose. I'm not good enough to ask a rational, adult question and get a response, but I should sit there and take whatever is dished out onto me. "I am superior, therefore I have no flaws to be pointed out." Bullshit. 7 year old Dory would have curled up in a ball and cried for a while, but 30 years later, I feel sad for them.

I know I am allowed to have my own emotions, my own opinions, but I also know the adult thing to do is control them instead of them controlling me. I don't kick kittens who pee on the sofa. I don't bash a cat's head in a doorway. Because I can control my temper. Someone who lets their anger overwhelm them and then do these things has some serious problems. What's to stop them from doing that to a human they get mad at? Where does the rage end? And it's fueled by alcohol.

My dad was apparently one of the nicest guys you could ever want to meet when he was sober. He was a very different man when he drank. I have no reference for what he was like when he smoked marijuana.

I may take atavan as the pharmaceutical equivalent of a martini, it's at least controlled. Why not do the same with alcohol? It does far more damage than my atavan does. Countless DUIs, abuse inside the home (both mental and physical), the list could go on. Marijuana, illegal at the federal level, has been shown time and time again that it has a great deal of medicinal properties.

Think about this: when dealing with weed only (not been laced with anything) how many people get violent? They don't. That's not how it works. But booze. oh yeah. Anger comes out 10 fold. You want to know crazy? Portugal decriminalized drugs (a new 'Amsterdam') and their violent crime rate actually went DOWN. There have been fewer deaths by overdoses and less HIV transmission. Think about that. Instead of running out of room for inmates, and contemplating allowing rapists and violent criminals out because of overcrowding (remember the 3 strikes law, you are found with weed 3 times, you're up shit creek permanently) we could tax and sell weed. THAT'S a way to make new jobs here on US soil. What's the worst thing I can think of if someone has smoked weed? Getting mouthy because someone took the last piece of pizza. They're not going to take a large kitchen knife and slash someone's bedding all to hell while stoned, but probably if they're drunk. Ask me how I know. Go on. Do it.

Because it happened to me.

GLAH. This turned into more of a rant than I wanted, but I just had to get it out. It's my blog and if you don't like it, don't read it.

Anyhow, after my school Luncheon Wednesday I met Matt, my new therapist. I wasn't sure what to expect at first, but I think it will be a good fit. This assumes I don't confuse him completely with my tangental talking. I asked him how long he was going to be around and he assured me he's going to be here a while. That's a good thing.

My back has been a steady 6-8 on the pain scale for the last week or so. Unfortunately, that means that I'm moody and cranky. I try to not take it out on Rykujin, but I don't always succeed. I'll be soooooo glad for that damn cortisone epidural come September! Walking around Walfart for groceries or waiting to get my meds filled, my left thigh goes numb. Today I also had numb patches on my right shoulder blade. *sigh*

Mostly I've been knitting. I have that pair of socks for KlrWombat I'm making, I'm soooo close to finishing Cephalogal's shawl and I have started a pair of cabled fingerless mitts for myself with yarn I was given, from Nanonukie.

Starting tomorrow, I'm going to be bunnysitting for Cephalogal and Griffin. I'm looking forward to it. I feel kinda spoiled because they have cable tv. I can even watch SyFy's bad movies! *does little happy dance*

so that's my life at the moment. One door closes, another opens.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Long, long time no type

So yeah... It's been a while. Too long, I guess. I need to do this more often, probably. Maybe I'll get back in the habit.

There's a lot of shit going on in my life at the moment. There's a lot of stress, many of you know most of it. Finances awry, submitted a portfolio for school for Graphic Design, my mom had a small amount of cancer that we're hoping was destroyed by chemo and radiation. Physically, my back is killing me because my cortisone epidural is way over due (that's a long story), and I've been diagnosed with Reynaud's in my feet officially. There's also some neuropathy in my toes and part of the ball of my foot. Guess that explains why I could wear Birkenstocks in a foot of snow and not feel the cold. =) My triglycerides are through the roof, so I've been put on Lipitor. Last night was my first dose. It's kinda contraindicated for people with fibro because one of the side effects can be muscle cramping. We'll see how it goes.

The list goes on and on. On a 'bummer' note, I won't be going to Pennsic this year. Boo hiss. I'll miss my camp mates so much. The campfires, the harp waking me at sunup... But that's the way it is. I wish everyone there a safe and happy time (KEEP HYDRATED AND SALTED in this crazy heat!!)

Anyhow, tonight I was talking with a friend and we got on the discussion of maggots. Don't ask. Anyhow, I related this story of my childhood. I've cleaned it up a little to make it more readable, spell checked it and removed names of the innocent... :) If you're squeemish, you may want to skip the story...
I know maggots are used to clean wounds in certain places where medicine is hard to come by, but EWWWW

I told you my mom's family had a farm, didn't I? Maybe I didn't.

OK. Story time.

So my mom's parents have a small farm that they use to sustain them, the adult kid's family's to a degree, and they sold eggs, milk and meat This was in the '80s. Each fall the family would all take part in the chicken processing: Gramma, Pap, my mom and 2 of her sisters, me and 2 female cousins and 2 boy cousins.

Aunt R was executioner... Big wooden stump with 2 nails in it. The chicken's head went between the nails, she pulled it taut and WHACK! A big ax came down. She then would throw the headless chicken out into the yard and gets another one. Us young girls (~8-10) would have to catch the chicken and put it under the wheelbarrow so it couldn't flop around and bruise the meat. All the while blood is splurting out the neck, going everywhere.

Did you know chickens will still cluck without a head if you cut it off above the voice box? Well, now you do.

So once we get a small batch of dead birds, you took your bird by the feet, dunked it in a cauldron (no shit, a huge iron cauldron) of boiling water, swung it back and forth a couple times to get the excess water off and cool it just a bit, then you went over to the table.

The table was one of those HUGE wooden spools you see electric companies carrying wire on; about 6 feet in diameter and 4 foot wide... So tip it on it's side and it makes a great table. Pap worked for the electric company as a lineman, I think, so that's how he got one.

Once you had your scalded chicken at the table, you started to pluck it. You basically pull the feathers out the way they grow. And it's a huge pain in the ass. All the feathers get thrown in a box in the middle of the table (where the chicken heads got placed too)

The boys helped pull feathers too. But they sucked at it and left pin feathers galore. UGH.

Once ALL the chickens were plucked for the day (usually about 100-150 I think, and it would last all weekend or spanned over a couple weekends, doing about 400 total), the boys went off to the garage with Uncle John and got to ride the 4 wheelers. Bastards. ALL the girls and women went down into the basement to process them.

The 3 of us girls had a dish tub in front of us (sitting straddle on a long wooden bench) with a short paring knife that we would use to pull the pin feathers out (basically the quill part with out the feather). We could always tell which ones the boys did. My mom and her sisters (again, 3 of them) helped do it too, but they also started first by helping Gramma gut them, figure out which organs were kept and which went in the box. I think we kept the gizzard, heart and liver.

Incidentally, it seems to take about a 1/2 hour for a chicken to finally 'let go' with it's bowels. Dead chicken farts and shit is one of the worst smells I've ever encountered. It even beats a paper mill.

So there's this BOX that gets used and accumulates all the unwanted parts. Pap would take the box and put it out in the woods somewhere. One day I'm going with Pap on the tractor to put a box out and OMG, there was a box from the previous weekend (it was a large flock of chickens that year)

It was by this point a HUGE writhing mass of rice. You couldn't see anything but the whiteish writhing mass... since then I've had a thing about maggots.

I've been knitting, not so much spinning. HOWEVER, KlrWombat was kind enough to give me an entire fleece that I would desperately love to spin. It FILLS a feed-sack. 10-15lbs? It's dark, dark brown, about 4" staple with very tight crimp. I don't know what it is but it looks LOVELY! Unfortunately I'm in no shape to process it at the moment. Some day, maybe next year, when I get finances straightened out, I want to send it off to be processed. From what I gather by talking to other spinners, I'm looking at about >$100 to have it done (and by 'done' I mean washed, cleaned and turned into spinnable roving. the whole shebang!). I can dream, at least. My most recent project was a shawl from the pattern Summer Flies off Ravelry. I'm lazy and haven't blocked it yet. Now I'm working on a pair of socks for KlrWombat...

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Long time no type

Well, it's been longer than I thought since I last posted. A lot has gone on, but suffice it to say -today- I am doing well. I have some of the best friends I could ever hope to have. Thank you!!

I'm going to make this short only because I'm typing in the phone. I'll post more later.

Went to Erie this past weekend and got to hang out with family. My niece is getting SO BIG! Today I went to south hills business school to do NY in-take interview and placement testing. Yay!!