Saturday, December 29, 2012


If you are by chance lucky
enough to wake up in the morning and
the first thought you have is the
unbelievable one about how we all die
and you inhale deeply and consider crying out but
instead place your hands firmly on
the back of the person laying
next to you and make your recovery pulling
in breath avoiding those tears and
then you realize it has been a long time since
you felt fear about dying and so you turn the disc
that is you around and realize that you feel good
really good for a change and that is what makes
death seem so appalling and even though
you are shaken you turn again and try to focus your
closed eyes on what feeling alive is.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A new path.

12/12/12. An auspicious day perhaps. I picked up this book after clawing my way through a particularly bad week. I was stuck in the throws of an anxiety attack that was making it hard to walk when I went into the local library and spied this book. I sat and read the first 30 pages and confirmed that I was not in fact losing my mind, my memory, my ability to speak, and to walk. I felt hopeful for the first time in a long time. My hormones are out of whack and I have to take control of the situation because the toll it is taking on me is ridiculous. I had a flash a few days before the 12th that maybe I was missing the point of Perimenopause, that maybe it isn't an end, it's a beginning. A chance to really experience our collective wisdom as women. This book shares that notion. The book is very straightforward in its approach. 6 easy steps including detoxification, diet, exercise, treatments and supplements, and mind body work. It all makes good sense and presents this phase as manageable if not even potentially filled with opportunities for greater understanding of ourselves resulting in less depression and anxiety and fewer health complaints in general. So expect to hear more about this. It's a pretty closeted subject I think and it's a pretty tough experience for many woman who choose not to medicate for the individual complaints, or are unable to recognize that all of those component parts make up the whole picture of Perimenopause. It's baffling to begin with and then shocking how extreme the symptoms can become. So I am going to start to document a little more closely what I am eating and how I am feeling and try a few treatments and supplements as well as exercising a bit more. Let's not kid ourselves, being happy and alive is a lot of work.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

It's Here!

Jesus, if it isn't Christmas again. Next to school and summer break, Christmas is my daughters absolute favorite time of year and while I am not prone to overdoing things I try to make it as special as possible for her.  She would have us get a tree directly after Thanksgiving but my waspish reserve dictates we must wait until around the 20th of December. Now that she is older and busier we have to be flexible and look for opportunities to fit it all in. We got the tree on Friday afternoon, we trooped next door to my neighbors personal tree lot and sawed one down with his permission, of course. We decorated it Saturday morning whiling away the time before Pearl's dad came to get her for a weekend visit. As we decorated we talk about the decorations. Where they came from or who made them, which are our favorites and why. We talk about the approach to decorating the tree, the logistics and physics of it. I was not one of those parents who let my kid decorate the tree so this comes up in conversation too. I can't help myself, aesthetics are important to me and yes I am a control freak. Christmas is going to be a bit thinner this year but we'll have fun anyway repeating the old standards and introducing a few new tricks. I'm grateful for my kid, my husband and my improving mental health.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Having just exited the crazy train and arrived safely in the arms of my ever understanding husband, I am able to reflect on the week. So here's a quick round-up.
Monday. Total blur, involved dance class and a Jamie Oliver beef stew, I also designed two book covers for a new project.
Tuesday. Mark went home to have Acupuncture, a first and I went back to work on a 3rd cover of the book. Afterschool we drove to town for vital supplies; hair conditioner. Fell asleep early. Uneasy dreams.
Wednesday. I turned 49. Pancakes and bacon for breakfast. Worked on designing some collateral pieces for a client, cleaned the house and had a little tea party with a friend and her darling son. It was pleasant but I could feel myself slipping, weakening. Watched Survivor. Slept poorly. Convoluted dreams.
Thursday. Worked a little in the morning on I don't know what, did laundry. It rained hard and was really dark and very cold. After lunch and a little activity I tried to work again but felt exhausted. I tried to nap but couldn't relax my body. After an hour a friend appeared bearing birthday wishes and we sat and talked a bit which sort of helped but my eyes twitched on. The rain stopped and I went for a walk and felt better. In the evening I took Pearl and a classmate to see another schools band play. It was very pleasant as was the ride home through the county, the roads were dry and the sky was filled with fluffy clouds that were illuminated by the lights from Canada to the north. We drove home and enjoyed the artificial lights of christmas on the various homes and farms along the way. Sleep was fitful.
Friday. Tylenol, coffee, water, strange hot beverage combining emergen-c and apple cider vinegar, toast. Worked on some new logos that I have had rolling around in my docket list. Went to town to meet yet another friend for brunch. Had a good chat. Went food shopping. Felt physically shitty. Took a walk when I got home, it was sunny and I almost felt good. Chopped firewood post walk and felt I had broken the spell of whatever was gripping me. Designed an ad and came to Canada.

There are a lot of grizzly details I have left out for the protection of the author but it was a rough week. I can trace it directly to hormones but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with or any less scary while I am in the middle of the thing as I hurl through time and space acting like everything is okay when I am certain it can't be. So when I walked in the door tonight and Mark asked me how I was I let it fly, knowing he was right there to catch me on my way down. The crazy train left the station a few wet minutes later and now I really do feel fine. Better than fine. I am alive.

And why to god is there a picture of a child's pinafore up top? I took this photo in a store in La Conner last weekend when I wasn't wrestling my psychosis. When I was a child and I would paint or help my mother with little domestic tasks I wore a pinafore. A pinafore is like an apron but more British, my mother generally made mine. I still think that they are a good idea and this one reminded me of the Marcy Tilton dress I made earlier this year which I would like to make again as I have been wearing this green one a lot. I thought this little pinafore was sweet in black with the peppermint piping, and then today when I was feeling better I read this about the appeal of the Shirtdress. This so-called Vintage French Country dress I made earlier this year is just such a garment. This is a dress but it's a working dress, part pinafore, part shirt, part dress. It feels great on and I can really move around in it or I can be quite comfortable in the fetal position on the couch, whichever.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Self at 49

I'm turning 49 tomorrow. Natural progress, there's no fighting it. The salmon are running finally, I saw two today during my walk, their red bodies listing right and left in the shallow pools beneath cedar trees. I am encouraged by the progression and vitality of nature, how it slows but does not stop, there is no dormancy as we perceive. Each day begins and ends as it should, I hold tight to the structure I place on each one and together we move along. The winter solstice is nearing. The darkness won't last forever. It occurred to me this afternoon while I was lighting the stove that I need to embrace this time of hibernation because in 2 short weeks we will have experienced the longest night of the year and will then embark effortlessly on the path to summer, the switch flipped. The days begin to lengthen slowly at first but lengthen they do and before I know it the afternoons will be long and light. Natural progress. I am not struggling as I have in the past, maybe it's this new age but I feel excited about everything again. I am hopeful and philosophical, I suppose I am always that way but often I feel like it might be a facade under which  is concealed something rotten and dying. That is only part of the story because even the rotten things make way for new growth. Look at the salmon coming up Kinney Creek. 40 miles they have traveled to these spawning grounds, their flesh, in some cases, falling off them. They lay their eggs and then die and rot on the banks of the creek. I can smell them even though the air is cool, rotten fish permeates the creek air. The smell of progress.

I made my first oil painting over the weekend with the help and guidance of my sister-in-law, Paula. The whole process is quite backwards to water color but I can certainly see the appeal and will try another one shortly. My mantra, dark to light, seems appropriate for the time of year. I have also been documenting my walks lately in greater detail as I am working on this sketchbook project. The portraits I envisioned for the sketchbook have not quite materialized but there is still time. The practice of walking daily and being observant is most pleasant and nourishing for this part of my journey upstream. Hello 49, welcome.
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