depression/anxiety, Obsession, whatever

Self therapy session redux

These are some random thoughts around the theme of connection, which has been on my mind very much lately. Expect some curmudgeon-ish talk.

Last night I went to our Tiny Pricks Project gathering, and I was thirty years older than the other three women there. I enjoyed it thoroughly. There was even a baby photo and conversation about teething. And that put my thoughts to work: my angst right now is as much about aging as anything else.

For most of my life I have been the youngest in the crowd. I was a late-in-life surprise baby and my siblings are 8-9 years older than me. I dated boys and men who were older. I married a man who is nine years older than me. I have always preferred the company of older people. So here I am and my friends are increasingly younger. I feel the generation gap. The graduate students often see me as a mother or grandmother figure. Of course their experiences and concerns are different from mine, and if I let myself, I can enjoy listening to them and learn from that, and I will have to get over being shocked if they aren’t familiar with 70s bands and didn’t live in a pre-Internet world and have a definition of sexism that is far more sensitive than the blatant sexism and harassment I experienced. I am not the youngest in the crowd any more. OK Boomer!

I will probably never understand the obsession of some people with being connected to other people constantly on their phones. What’s with the earbuds that are permanent installations on some heads? When I worked for a call center I couldn’t wait to get off the phone so I can’t imagine being wired in during my personal life. Often I don’t answer the phone. If it’s important, they can leave a message or text or email. I don’t get helicopter parenting. It’s funny how those parents don’t see themselves that way. It is such a different world than the one in which I grew up.

My first forty years were cell phone free and somehow we managed not being constantly connected to everybody else. I resisted getting a smart phone until a few years ago and my main reason in finally getting one was for GPS and being able to upload photos. My other influence is my mother, who was more than willing to let her kids go and I doubt very much that we were on her mind every minute of the day. In fact, I am pretty sure that she probably went for hours not thinking about us. In return, she created three very independent adults.

Any kind of loss is very difficult for me, but I can be separated for a long time without anxiety. Friends have broken my heart much more often than lovers. About thirty years ago I decided not to chase after friends who had disengaged and let them come to me if they wished. Most of the time they didn’t, and I was better off. I recently reconnected with one of those friends.

I can also admit that I have been that friend who disengaged. And those who let me go were better off as well.

So I simply feel lost in this century with its constant distractions from what is directly in front of us. I am a victim of these distractions as much as anyone. I have to find a way back to the here and now of my life, and I need to find a way to connect with others without making myself crazy.

The joys of social media are real, and have added a positive dimension to my life that could not have come from anywhere else. Those few folks that don’t do it ask me, where do you find out about these workshops and retreats? Facebook. How did you find out about this artist? Instagram.

Where do I draw the line? Giving up Facebook and Instagram is not an option, not only because of the positive aspects, but because Facebook is part of my job.

I need to get outside more often and leave the phone and camera behind. I love photography but experiencing life through the lens of a camera or the potential shot is not fully connecting. I am very, very tired of technology right now.

coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, whatever, whining

Self therapy session

My recurring dream these days is that we are living in a rental condo in a very quirky wonderful community but we have forgotten to pay the rent for months and it would take all my savings and then some to pay the back rent. I am afraid of getting evicted because I love it there and often I am planting seedlings in the yard that I raised indoors, and I want to see them grow. I remind myself that in fact we live in a house that we own towards the end of each dream but it repeats itself almost every night.

Despite my absence here I am not in the hole. Lately I feel a bit like I am bobbing up and down as I float in a stream. I keep forgetting to take my meds and I need to figure that out. Sleep deprivation and game addiction are problems. I lost a friend in a terrible car crash a couple of weeks ago, and that was shocking, especially because she was so vivacious and that she was convinced that humans could live far beyond their normal life spans. We had much in common. It made me think deeply about my lack of connections to people “in real life” and the opportunities I have missed by putting them off. I need to find a balance between my need for solitude and my need for in person human friendship.

Work has been busy. I am about to finish one major project and start on another. Much of my mental energy is devoted to reminding myself that this is a great job – it is the best job I ever had and the people I work with directly are fabulous. The university, however, is a frustrating place to work. Because I am fatigued it is difficult to make myself get up in the morning and go to work. When I come home at night I usually don’t feel up to doing art work or cooking dinner. I don’t know how parents manage. It’s a very good thing that we chose the childless life. I fantasize a lot about retirement and I’m only 58.

It feels as if I am living in a band of low static on a TV screen most days.

I don’t like small talk. I often come away from these kind of interactions feeling like I have talked too much or sounded idiotic and I kick myself mentally instead of sleeping. Conversation with younger women often bores me and I find myself thinking about how soon I can get away. I don’t understand a lot of cultural references because I don’t watch much TV. I don’t care about fashion. Every time a friend gets pregnant I know that I am about to lose a friend, because I am horrified about that child’s future on this planet and I don’t think that it would be appropriate to express that. When I see those baby photos, my heart breaks. My talk of cats and travel and books and art probably bores the crap out of these women. I love conversations with the graduate students and faculty and listening to their talk about history and politics. I am addicted to art retreats where I meet other people to whom I can relate.

For most of my life, I have preferred the company of men. If I hang out with male coworkers and friends, I run the risk of rumors, and although I couldn’t care less personally I realize that it is probably a bad idea. This has recently jumped into my head. Sometimes I wonder if I was young in today’s world what gender I would identify as, where I would take that realization. Sometimes I wonder where I am on the autism spectrum. Anyway, I seldom have real friendships with men outside of work any more, and I miss that.

But other days, I feel great. I probably have more friends now than my personality can support – HA! The core group (three of us) of the Tiny Pricks Project Greensboro are getting tightly bonded. The small group of women that Carol and Leslie (our friend who died) began re-extended their invitation for me to join them, and I took the day off last Thursday to do so. The problem is that they meet for lunch on Thursdays, which doesn’t work with my work schedule. However, they do other things too, like go to the beach and the mountains together. I would like to join them. Most of these women are around my age or older. My Facebook friends are eclectic, artistic, and supportive. I feel fortunate in so many ways. I am involved in Tapestry Weavers South, considering the 50+ Artists Community here in Greensboro, and I could always go back to the local fiber guild and Sierra Club.

So I am conflicted and anxious and hopeful and grateful and feeling exceedingly weird.

Thanks for coming to my self therapy session. Maybe I will share some actual news next time! I really am doing some worthwhile stuff. This weekend I will go to Topsail Beach and take a book workshop with Leslie Marsh. So there should be some photos from that next week.

Blather, crocheting, depression/anxiety, Obsession

Underwater

Rain, rain, rain. Puddles everywhere. That’s how we roll in North Carolina – drought or drowning, seldom in between. For years I have remembered my birthday as being in the season of mud, so it must be usual for February. We sandbagged the basement entrance again.

I am in an odd mood this week. Probably because I am not drinking and I started a diet yesterday. An actual diet plan, with an app, not my usual hey, I know how to eat healthy and I’ll just do that. I do know how to eat healthy, but it is not helping my weight and cholesterol issues. I kept seeing an ad for Noom, and decided to try it.

So now I’m eating SUPER DUPER healthy. With a calorie counter and a pedometer. And I am hungry and miss my cheese and peanut butter! Ah well. It must be done.

Underwater. That’s how I feel.

The weaving project is going well. I’m still plugging away at it and I hope to have the second curtain panel done by the end of the weekend, since the forecast is MORE RAIN. It is great to be able to weave standing up at my Macomber loom. I’m very glad that I decided to keep it. I should sell my Baby Wolf, though. It is just collecting junk on top. Once I get that tapestry off the Shannock loom (don’t ask an ETA for that, please) I will consider selling or trading it also.

I ripped out the entire 2019 Tunisian crochet weather scarf, charted all the high temperature data for Greensboro (the airport) for 2018, redid my color scheme a bit, and started over with a 2018 scarf. It goes more smoothly than doing a day at a time. I was very surprised that our highest temperature for last year was 95. That cut out two colors from my scheme so I shifted them all down one and rearranged a couple of other colors that made more design sense to me. The results are more pleasing and logical to me, and you know, logic is a prime concern for me. It will be interesting to me to compare the 2018 and 2019 scarves. This project punches all my OCD buttons so I have to make myself take breaks. Thank God for work or my hands would be aching by now!

Even though I have avoided the greenhouse, I started some arnica, calendula, and a variety of lettuce seeds indoors a few days ago. I bought a little pot of parsley at a grocery store about a month ago and it had probably two dozen seedlings crammed in there, so I separated the strongest ones and replanted them in the planter by the front steps.

There are too many things that I want to do, too many books to read, too many places where I want to travel.

There is a faint dread underlying my days, and I am trying to keep it from bubbling up. Perhaps re-engaging in political discussion and reading has not been the best decision. But how can I not? And there has been a few bright spots, although these bright spots often are relief that something awful is being undone, when it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. I have no trust in anything any more since the 2016 election. I know that anything can happen, no matter how crazy and illogical. It is a surreal world, and I feel underwater.

coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, Solar energy

Saturday morning coffee pot post

I don’t think that there will be photos in this post. I’m just going to sip coffee and write about random stuff for a little while.

My birthday is tomorrow and I will be 58. Maybe it is because my job requires me to plan one year ahead but I’ve been thinking that I am 58 for several months now. I guess this year I will be thinking that I am 59. Retirement has been on both Sandy and my minds for quite some time. He is probably going to retire this year. I will see if I can retire at 62 so that we can do some retirement stuff together before he gets too much older. I will probably work part time or get temp jobs. We are lucky that I “should” be able to do this because I will have a pension and insurance from being a state employee. We’ll see as the time gets closer.

It baffles me that I am this old. Maybe everyone feels this way. I never had children and for years I was the youngest one in any group I hung out in (still am in some groups). I don’t generally feel the social constraints that I might feel if I was a parent or grandparent. But as I’ve said before, I have never felt that I really belonged here anyway. I feel at home with my artist friends but I seldom get to see them. They are either too busy with work or family or they live far away. Or I cocoon myself away to protect myself from hurt and bolster my energy and don’t make the effort I should to be a good friend. Introvert behavior in an extrovert world.

Low spirits this week with nightmares, an anniversary of a tragic event, and a political world emergency. My blood work came back and my cholesterol levels are the highest ever. I have to get my butt in gear or very likely have to give in to taking statins. At least for a little while. I’m going to try an Ayurvedic supplement called triphala in the next three months and pay attention to my diet again. Pescetarianism suits me pretty well, and I am a tofu/tempeh fan.

I also unfollowed and left a couple of liberal prepper groups on Facebook. I find them useful sources of information, but there is a lot of serious negativity and some wayout alarmist posts as well. I am sufficiently alarmed at humanity’s prospects already and don’t really need to uptick the anxiety.

The solar panels do make me feel like I am doing what I can in our little corner of the world. I refinanced them with my local credit union this week, along with an unexpected expense (new water heater). This is more expensive per month than what I had but it will force me to pay it off quicker and I feel more in control. The other financing was way too complicated – it turned out that the 0% for 18 months only applied to 2/3 of the loan. I was irritated about this misunderstanding and emailed the company about it. The owner of the company called me and sent me a check for 3% of the loan for the trouble I’ve gone to in setting up the first financing (a protracted, complicated pain in the ass) and refinancing. That was pretty damn impressive, and so I am again very happy with them. Duke Energy says they will be sending me a rebate check for 14% of the loan in the next few weeks, then I should get a 30% tax credit.

This weekend is a rainy one. I have not started any seeds yet! Today I am weaving and this afternoon will go to Gate City Yarns for the Tunisian crochet class and learn a couple more kinds of stitches.

Okay, back to weaving! Maybe I will post with photos tomorrow if I get around to taking any.

depression/anxiety, Festivus, Lake Waccamaw

Merry Christmas from the O’Neills!

Actually, we don’t really do Christmas in the good old Murican way any more. I’m much happier this way, and I think Sandy is too, as long as he gets to have Christmas with my sister and brother-in-law. We had a wonderful Festivus dinner with them at their rental house at Lake Waccamaw. Still too chilly to do any boat riding or pier sitting, but the sunset view was nice across the road. Lisa pinned Rascal on Christmas Eve morning so Festivus is officially over.

Today Sandy is working until 2, as he often does to let others have the morning off. He will be working the morning shift on New Year’s Day also, so I guess that means the Steampunk Ball in Saxapahaw is out for us this year, although he says he would deal with it if some friends decided to go. We enjoyed that last year.

We didn’t have a tree and I didn’t even bother to get the stockings or decorations out this year. Last year we strung up lights and two lighted Christmas balls on the front porch and never took them down, so I just plugged them in. Lights are my favorite part of Christmas anyway. I did not send cards. I am determined to unplug from the Christmas machine and do it in a non-commercial way. I am beginning to enjoy most Christmas music again, with the exception of very repetitive songs like Ring Christmas Bells and The Little Drummer Boy, which set my OCD a-twitchin’ and make me want to scream. I played bells in high school concert and marching bands and Christmas music is where I naturally got to shine. Sleigh Bells is one of my favorites because of this.

Being able to deal with holidays in my own way has been a key part of my mental health healing. It’s tough when your parents are gone or you have had other loss in your life. I’m not sure that you ever get over not having your parents during Christmas. I just saw a photo of Mama from Christmas five years ago in that house that a stranger calls home now and it was like a stab in the heart.

Anyway, I am nearly finished hand sewing the binding around the t-shirt quilt. I keep saying that it will be finished by this date or another, but I really think I will get it finished today. Then I will pull out all the quilting threads that are loopy or snarled and over time I will hand-quilt in those areas. I am very fond of this quilt. It is a nice weight and cozy. I doubt that I will ever do another one because ironing on all that interfacing was a big pain in the ass.

Once I finish that, I am busting out the big Macomber loom and warping it up. I’m also going to start back on the Cathedral tapestry. The tapestry diary is going to have to take a back seat, maybe for forever. It has negative connotations for me now. This tends to happen on the rare occasion that I weave a tapestry when I am severely depressed. If I manage to finish it, it is given away or rolled up and put in a closet. I was afraid that this might happen with the tapestry diary once I got my brain chemistry back in gear so I don’t see any point in finishing it now.

We have been invited to a Christmas party this afternoon at a retired history professor’s home, “to hang out with a diverse crowd for food and conversation.” I love this guy – he is known for showing up at music events all over the area and dancing by himself. So warping the loom may have to wait until tomorrow morning. I’m going to Susanne’s tomorrow afternoon for an afternoon doing creative stuff with the girls.

Then the rest of the week is gloriously free of any work, scheduling or obligation! I’ll do my annual yearly wrap-up blog post somewhere in there.

Merry Christmas, y’all.