Summer

The night is filled with the dancing light of fireflies. It’s something I’ve missed. Unfortunately that’s the only light show this Fourth of July. Fireworks were canceled due to Covid-19 for the first time in my memory. Fireworks over the water or at the park are a standard occurrence and each little town has its own light show. It’s something everyone goes to around here and the Fourth isn’t the Fourth without them. You eat steamed crabs or you grill out, then you watch fireworks. That’s how Maryland does the Fourth.

I’ve been trying to keep my pain to private posts. My life is ruined and I see no way to get back what I’ve lost. I still wish with all my broken heart that it would have worked out, but I did everything I could. Anyway, I can cry about it all day and it doesn’t change what happened. To add insult to injury though, the savings I worked and saved for all my life is gone. My house is gone.

It’s beautiful if hot, bunnies live in my yard, and it’s dark at night. I’m growing tomatoes, zuchinni, corn, carrots and cucumbers as well as a variety of herbs and flowers. Look at the positives, I suppose. There’s a toad that’s moved into my pots. During the day he burrows down into the soft dirt and at night he comes out to hunt. He’s a smart little thing. He hippety hops up two levels of decking to get to my pots and dig in the soft soil instead of digging through grass and dirt. Other toads are not worthy.

 

There are photos of me standing at my mother’s grave after the funeral. A lot of them. I’m wearing a fuzzy hooded coat over an ankle length skirt and I’m holding my little brother’s hand. It was three weeks before I turned eleven.

When I’ve run across these photos over the years, I always wonder why anyone would want to take so many  photos of two grieving children. It’s bizarre. I had been caring for my brother for a couple of years at this point, so he had very little memory of our mother, and he was too young to really grasp what was going on anyway. I remember being told she died and then time started to skip. One skip and my Grandmother was there, speaking to me and looking into my face. I was having trouble focusing on anything, let alone understanding what she was saying. Another skip and I was in the bathroom at the funeral home with my aunt. Then there was a big skip… one that went right past the funeral and into the next week. I dissociated badly, so I don’t remember much of the funeral. That’s probably a blessing. So when I look at these photos of two shell-shocked children in coats against a cold November, there aren’t any memories attached to them. I just wonder who the hell thought it was a good idea to take ten, fifteen photos of us staring down at her grave.

I think I dreamed of it, which is why it was on my mind.

It’s been a long, depressing winter, one in which I could barely function I was so depressed. However, with the arrival of Spring I’m feeling a bit better. My old kitty had to have surgery for cancer but I am hoping there won’t be a recurrence. He’s healing well. He lost weight and now for the first time, the vet wants my 20lb cat to gain weight. Seriously… he’s a very big cat and the vet wants him to gain a pound. He used to be heavy but at his size, 20lbs makes him skinny. I finally have enough motivation to start working on the house doing the things I should have done over the winter. I’m mostly through painting the bathrooms, I’m in the midst of getting furniture, and I’m looking into multiple repairs that are needed. This place is still a long way from my cozy old house but since I’m here I need to make it better.

I’m told I need back surgery again. I have to have more testing and see a specialist. If there’s any way to put that off though, I will. Now we have the  Coronapocalypse wreaking havoc with everything just to complicate matters. I haven’t been able to visit my grandmother since this started and they locked down the nursing home.

Things with the divorce have started moving. The whole thing is just too depressing and at this point I just want it to be done with so I can try to rebuild some sort of life. I’m still hurt and pissed that he acted the way he did but am trying to let it go.

This weekend my brother came over and helped me get a garden bed together so I can grow some veggies. That is, if the bunnies don’t eat it all. I saw three of them out there, two of which were mating, so I imagine there will be more baby bunnies before long. All those bunnies will be eyeing up my tasty garden I’m sure. So I’ll have to put up a fence or something to keep them out.

I also started unpacking my art. This is a bigger job than you think. I did not realize how much art I had until I got it all drug out to the living room. Now I have some of it hung. Some of it I need to get rid of. Other pieces I want to swap out for something new. But even just with what I’ve hung so far the house looks so much better. I have my familiar favorites up again. Pre-raphaelite art has always been a favorite. As such, I have some Edward Burne-Jones, Waterhouse, Collier, Draper and a few others. Then there is my collection of art photography in the hall. Victorian fairy painting gets a small section of wall. I have a few art nouveau pieces I’m going to hang, and a few mixed media pieces. Then I have a few posters of comic book art. 🙂 I hung a couple of those in my library. It’s nice to break up all that white space with something interesting.

It’s late and I can hardly see. Goodnight.

Coronapocalypse

Welcome to the apocalypse. All those re-reads of Stephen King’s “The Stand” are about to pay off!

Or not. It’s going to be bad, we know that. The virus is spreading exponentially and considering the mixed messages, beliefs, and general stupidity of some people it’s going to keep growing. I have previous conditions, making me high risk if I get it. So I’m stocked up for supplies for at least a few weeks. I don’t think I’ve ever had so many groceries in the house in my life. I’m hoping predictions will be wrong and things will start to go back to normal in a few weeks, but the worst hasn’t hit us yet so I doubt it. I just read that Kansas canceled school for the rest of the year. I’m sure the rest of the states will follow.

I started round two of Buying Shit For The House. Supplying a new house is an expensive and tedious affair. Spring is coming so I’ll need to get lawn mowers and yard stuff. I need a new furnace and a stove. I’m trying to fix this place up the best I can but it will never be up to the standards of my old house. I wish I had taken more time to shop for a house but things were bad and he wanted me gone. I worry about him, because he has previous conditions also. I still miss him, but I’m doing my best not to think about that. So while I’m under quarantine I’m doing a deep cleaning of the house, painting the bathrooms, fixing some odds and ends and starting some seeds for a garden. Those are my plans anyway. Today I cleaned and started taping off the first bathroom in preparation of painting. It’s a start.

I’m supposed to see a neurosurgeon next week. They want me to have back surgery again, but I’m not sure I’m going to do it. Surgery is a risky business for me since I had necrotizing fasciitis. The same day, my cat is scheduled for surgery to have a tumor removed. I fear both will be canceled due to the Coronavirus. I’m fine with postponing my Doctor appointments, but not with my cat’s. I guess all I can do is play it by ear and see how it goes. I have an appointment with my pain Doctor as well next week, and will need to go to the pharmacist. I feel like I should be wearing a biohazard suit to visit either at this point.

I was texting with my brother this morning. He said his boss told him that the Coronavirus was no big deal, that he probably already had it and recovered, and that there were 18 others of the same virus out there so they would not be missing work. The dude clearly doesn’t science, and what worries me is that there are a lot of these idiots out there. They figure if they don’t have symptoms, it must not be a big deal, and the concept of being asymptomatic is just beyond their reach. In case you can’t tell, this pissed me off. I told my brother that if he got sick because of this asshat that I would come down on him like a fucking plague of biblical proportions. And I meant it. You don’t fuck with my baby brother. I don’t care how old we get, he will always be my baby brother.

Anyway, you could see the current mess coming, so I went to Walmart and bought a load of crap a few days before everyone else started hoarding toilet paper. I’m glad I did, but it wasn’t enough so I’ve been twice more. Yesterday I finished up and have no intention of going back out until it’s a bit better, unless  it’s for something that can’t wait. Yes it sucks, but being sick sucks more. I wish I had someone here to cuddle with, but my cats are happy to stand in, and I have plenty of food, nip and treats so they could care less.

The day i went to Walmart I had tried to visit my grandmother. She is 93 years old and is very fragile. When I walked into the lobby they had  staff everywhere, frantically cleaning everything in sight. They took my temp and gave me a mask before telling me that they would bring her down. They told me the next day they were suspending visits altogether. I didn’t visit her that day because I didn’t want them to have to bring her down and put her at risk, so I spoke to her on the phone instead. I’m glad they are taking precautions because if it gets into the nursing home it will spread like wildfire. Normally the residents hang out in the cafeteria or social area or just in the hallways, but now they are restricted to their rooms. I pray she doesn’t get sick. She’s ancient and fragile, but still pretty lucid.

National  Geographic has an article explaining what the virus does to your organs. It punches holes in your lungs, giving them a honeycomb appearance. That’s horrifying. Hospitals are already running out of supplies and setting up tents for triage for the shit storm they are expecting. Nurses and Doctors working through this to help the sick are heroes, as far as I’m concerned. We are supposed to be getting test kits rolling out in the next week, so once we can properly test people the number of cases will skyrocket. Here in my state they are planning to turn emissions stations into drive-through testing centers to limit exposure. They’ve put off various penalties and deadlines and halted evictions. I just managed to get my printer working so I can print out tax forms. I’m worried about getting the taxes done and wondering if they’re going to extend that deadline. All we can do is take a day at a time.

For now, be safe, stay in, read a book, catch up on your favorite series. Or have a Coronapocalypse video day where you binge all the pandemic flicks you can find.

 

 

I haven’t been blogging because I’ve been in a bad way and trying not to cry all over the internet about it. I didn’t want to start with a therapist again but I might have to. I know I’m grieving, and depressed, but knowing doesn’t do a thing to improve things. I miss my husband every day, and sometimes I wonder if I should have stayed. But I would have if I had been able to. I wanted to, and told him that again and again. But if he valued me that little then I couldn’t. I feel like my life is pretty much ruined and it’s too late to start over yet again. I miss my old house too, because this one has issues and isn’t nearly as nice, but house prices continued to climb. I’d like to sell, use the rest of my savings to get a better one, but I’d need somewhere to stay in between. I’d been looking for a long time when I bought this place and things with my husband were degrading. I kept hoping right up to the end that he would help me work things out.

I miss the cat I let him keep too, and the dogs. When my orange fluff lays on his back I see my husband bending over to rub his belly and the cat grabbing his hand. But there are a million little snapshots like that. Nothing particularly meaningful, but still seared in my brain. My old boy Merlin is 14 and starting to have health issues. He has a vet appointment scheduled, so I guess I have cats on the brain right now. The girly is snoring behind me, the lovebug is snuggling and Merlin is bathing.

Here’s the thing. I let him blow up my life, in spite of having my heart shattered by him in the past. Part of me still loved him, so when he came around again maybe I wanted to believe. I let him consume me and he became my life. Unfortunately, I did not become his. I changed myself for him, and I don’t think I can change back.

Enough. Tomorrow I’m going to try to write a proper post instead of this drivel.

Little Red Riding Hood

I promote my redbubble shop on twitter. Specifically, I participate in #MythologyMonday, #FairytaleTuesday and #FolkloreThursday. This week’s #FairytaleTuesday theme was Red Riding Hood. It’s always been a favorite of mine, and I carry a good bit of Red Riding Hood art, from pre-Raphaelite to Golden Age artists. My biggest complaint about twitter is trying to compress information into what twitter allows in a tweet. Each character counts. This gets frustrating and really sort of kills the story telling cadence I want to get into.

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First, a brief history of the tale. The first recorded version we have was a poem written down by a Belgian priest in the 10th century. In this version, a five year old child was wrapped in a red baptismal gown. A mother wolf carried the child back to her den to feed her cubs, but the cubs did not harm the girl. The child called upon God to save her, with the moral being that God soothes savage souls. Since then, various versions have been told. They usually go like this:

Red Riding Hood, named for her cloak, is sent with a basket of food to her grandmother’s. To get there, she must pass through the forest. Along the way, she meets a wolf, and tells him what she is doing. The wolf goes ahead of Red, eats the grandmother, and dressing as her, waits for Red Riding Hood to arrive. She does, only to find her grandmother in bed. The frail grandmother calls for Red to come closer and the obedient girl does. Red comments on how big her grandmother’s eyes are, and how big her teeth are, only to get eaten up by the wolf. Some versions end here.

Others continue with a huntsman coming along, slicing open the wolf, and saving Red and her Grandmother. Another version has Red running away. A washerwoman helps her escape by stretching a sheet over a stream and allowing Red to cross. However, when the wolf tries to cross after her, she drops the sheet and the wolf falls into the water and drowns.

In still other versions, before the wolf eats her, he prepares her grandmother in a stew and feeds her to Red. He then has her strip before getting into the bed with him. As she removes each piece of clothing, he tells her to throw it in the fire as she won’t need it any more.

 

There is one version that has echoes of both Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs. That one is “The Wolf and the Seven Kids”. In this one, a mother goat must leave her seven children alone. She warns them not to open the door for anyone but her. The wolf comes along, but they won’t open the door. The wolf grows cunning and tricks the kids into opening the door, whereupon he promptly eats them. He’s so full he falls asleep by the stream. The mother goat comes home and is quite distressed to see what has happened. She cuts open the wolf’s stomach and rescues her children, replacing them with stones. The wolf wakes and goes to take a drink, but the weight of the stones pulls him under and he drowns.

 

Red’s age varies from a small child to a young woman, but most versions have her as a 12 or 13 year old girl. Red’s journey can be seen as a puberty rite. She begins as a child, but must pass through the dangerous forest of puberty to become a woman. Along the way she is met with sexual temptation and the possibility of rape. It’s a warning to young girls not to trust the men they meet, and not to trust appearances. The girl must learn this to become a woman. The red cloak can represent menstruation or sexual desire. This tale was a popular warning to well bred young ladies to guard their virginity, as it was necessary for them to gain a good marriage.

Red Riding Hood is certainly no anomaly. A thread of sex and violence ran through most if not all fairy tales before they were rewritten for children. Rapunzel was pregnant, Cinderella’s sisters cut parts of their feet off, Snow White was raped while unconscious, and her stepmother was forced to dance in red hot shoes until she died. The forgotten tale of Catskin involves incest. Bluebeard is about a serial killer and a bloody chamber full of dead women. Sleeping Beauty wasn’t woken with a kiss. She was woken to find she’d had twins in her sleep. This is what real fairytales are. They are full of horror and warnings and have been around for as long as we’ve had civilizations.

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I’ve had a lifelong love affair with them. There is always more to learn. When I was eleven I found my first collection of original fairytales. I was in love with the 398 section of the library and had already gone through all the King Arthur books they had. Fairytales was on the bottom shelf below the medieval section, and I remember sitting on the floor, reading this thick old book. I was enamored with them from the start. I think the first one I read was Beauty and the Beast, and I remember being surprised at how much there was to it compared to the children’s books.

I’ve dressed up as Red Riding Hood a few times on Halloween. There are multiple songs with a Red Riding Hood theme that I love, and if you haven’t seen 1984’s “The Company of Wolves”, it’s a gorgeous, surreal and symbolic take on the story. It’s a character I relate to, but I think a lot of women do. On the occasions that Red saves herself, it is deeply satisfying. What she loses in innocence, she gains in courage.

  Rosaleen meets the wolf

Sunday

I miss my husband and wish I could have stayed. But I’d rather die  alone than be somewhere I don’t feel wanted so here we are. Pretty much everything reminds me of him. I wonder how the animals are doing. I imagine telling him things and picturing his expression. A million little cuts, daily. Sleeping apart was the beginning of the end. Couples need that physical closeness and contact. It’s not just psychological either. Studies have been done that show it also affects you physically. Not that anyone needed to tell me any of that. As far as I’m concerned it’s unnatural and unhealthy and I never got used to it. I always hated it, but he sure as shit didn’t compromise.

So when I get particularly maudlin I remind myself of all the reasons I left and how much I pleaded with him to try to work things out. I did everything I could. I gave up everything but he couldn’t be bothered. I try to get angry about it because I’d rather be angry than sad, but the anger doesn’t last. Broken hearts do though. Sometimes I wish I’d never met him, but that’s hard to really feel about someone you love.

Then there’s my sexual frustration. I don’t particularly want to go hook up with some random dude, but it’s getting there. I’m not ready to get into another relationship but. But – without going into details, this is ridiculous. Ok that’s enough bitching for today.

Old movies

I’ve been on a Gen X movie kick lately. Highlander, Escape From New York, Die Hard(s), Edward Scissorhands, Nightmare Before Christmas, and I’m currently watching Gremlins. What they lack in finesse, they make up for in heart. I’m trying to get into the Christmas spirit and to pull myself out of this rut. I’m mourning the loss of my marriage and right now just about everything reminds me of him. I wonder how the animals he kept are doing. My Merlin is slowly going blind. He’s an old boy, but I pray he still has a lot of  years. The others are playful and active, but Merlin mostly wants naps and pets.

Things with the house are bad. I haven’t hung any art yet because I don’t want to have to stay here. I wish I hadn’t sold my house, and I’m trying to see what my options are, but damn it’s hard. I’ve been busy with the holidays so that’s been a blessing. It helps to keep my mind off of things. I haven’t been blogging because I don’t want to post this sort of maudlin shit, but here I am anyway. Well, it’s my blog and no one needs to read it, so there’s that.

On a different note – holy hell, this movie. I just got to the part where – spoilers on this 80s movie — the girl tells the guy about her father breaking his neck climbing down the chimney in a Santa suit, and that’s how she found out there’s no Santa and hates Christmas. Seriously… you cannot get away with the shit today that they did back then. It’s always fun to note the little anachronisms too. Giant phone booths, corded phones, casual sexism and everyone in the world smoked. And you know what? 80s kids were much better equipped for the world.

Christmas

I’m trying to quit blathering about my broken heart. No one wants to hear that shit, not even me.

Christmas is coming up fast, and I’ve been looking for presents. My husband never wanted to do festive, and I like to go all out this time of year. I haven’t had a tree for four or five years now. This year I’m planning to decorate everything that will sit still. Today I started dragging out some of the decorations. That’s about as far as I’ve gotten so far, but now I have bins all over my living room so I’m obligated. I’m not sure if he sent the tree or not. If not, I will probably get a real one. My cats will adore that, I’m sure. I have a feeling the new girl will be troublesome about sparkly, shiny things. As far as that goes, my boys have probably never seen a real tree, not even Merlin. I bought stockings for my brother’s entire family. I don’t know what their plans are for Christmas day, but whenever they get over here I intend to have a good Christmas for the kids. I used to collect ornaments, so I have a ridiculous number of them, ranging from traditional mercury glass to pop culture such as Star Wars and Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s a little bit of everything I like. I plan to make the kids come over to decorate and I’ll feed them cookies.

I have no idea what happened to my girl. She has always been really horrible about staying in touch. She’s thoughtless and is really on a bad track, but I love her no matter what. We didn’t have a falling out, she just quit talking. Her brother did the same shit a while back when he cut ties with everyone except for his father, whom he lives with. One day they will regret losing touch with the people that love them. I just hope it’s not too late. She was always the largest part of the Christmas presents I bought, and I always loved picking things out for her, so that’s going to be hard this year. I feel like I grow more and more isolated. The depression has been bad and I have to drag myself out, so it’s not like I’m doing much to relieve the isolation. I know that I should, but it seems impossible most days.

Anyway. This next month will be my busiest time of the year in my shop, so I’ve been working ridiculous hours on it. Hey, I’m here in the house anyway, so at least I’m working. I do heavy promoting on fairytale, mythology and folklore twitter trends to help drive traffic to my shop. After Christmas I may start another shop so I can get another source of income. Maybe. The shops I have already pretty much suck up most of my time, so a third might be pushing it, and I need to get back to writing again. I was doing well with that.

Also, it’s freakin’ cold. I’ve been in SC for the last ten years and never needed more than a hoodie. Well,  MD winter is welcoming me home again with this year’s early appearance. I forgot about things like keeping a bag of salt and antifreeze and ice scrapers. I’m being reminded though. Tis the season.

 

I keep dancing around the breakup of my marriage. Part of that is habit. He never wanted me to write about him on here. I understand.. it’s sort of my diary and it’s only presenting whatever aspect is on my mind at the time. Part of it is not wanting to examine it very closely. Part of it is not wanting to post it. Occasionally I’ll write something truly raw and decide to post it privately. And still I’m dancing.

He broke my heart. and now I’m sitting here amidst the wreckage. I fear I’ll never fall in love again, or meet anyone at all. He also did a number on my self esteem, and it was always a fragile thing to start with. So maybe part of it is that, but mostly I think my concern is valid. I’m not twenty any more and I’m not outgoing. I don’t even want to think about signing up on some online dating site. I barely want to leave the house. I try to give myself pep talks and think of all the things I should be doing and then I don’t do them. That’s pretty much how depression goes. I guess eventually I’ll dig myself back out again but for now the sides are steep and slippery.

I met him and fell in love with him in my twenties. We dated for five years. It took me another five before I would date anyone else. I was with that man for five more years, until my husband came back into my life and we got back together, and that’s been ten years ago now. I would have given anything to hold onto that happiness I felt, but I couldn’t do it alone.

I started this last night. It’s afternoon now and I just got a box from him of miscellaneous crap. I’m done.

 

I have a dissociative disorder, depression, PTSD. I have a whole host of issues, many of which I have long since worked through, others that still arise from time to time. For the most part I’m ok and have been for many years now. I’ve dealt with this shit most of my life, and I’ve come a hell of a long way. I’m not missing time and I’m not hurting myself. So when I had something new, it took me by surprise.

Earlier this year I had my first manic episode. The thing is, I’m not bi-polar, so when I  quit sleeping and my sex drive went through the roof I didn’t know what the hell was going on. More importantly, I didn’t worry about it. I wasn’t tired, I had more energy than I knew what to do with, and I was in a good mood. It was great. When I realized what it must be, I was enjoying myself and didn’t want to come back down. When I saw my Doctor it was apparent to him that I was in a full blown mania and so he sent me to my GP who also confirmed it. Not that I went willingly. I didn’t, because I didn’t want to take meds, and thought I would enjoy it for a few more days before I did anything. By this time it had been 2.5 weeks since I’d slept and I was deteriorating. My inhibitions were hanging on by a thread. I was masturbating multiple times every day and I feared what the crash was going to be like. When I went to the GP my blood pressure was high, either from no sleep or just from the mania. I took the meds for about a month before quitting them, long enough to level me out so I wouldn’t crash and burn.

The working theory is that the episode was stress induced, and I haven’t had any more episodes so I suppose that’s right. I was incredibly stressed out over my marriage and trying to save it. My nerves were shot from the yelling he would do every night. So yes, I was really stressed out, but mania seems like an odd reaction to it. My understanding of bi-polar is that it’s a physical condition involving chemicals in your brain and that it’s hereditary. So why would someone with no history of bi-polar in the family suddenly manifest it as a reaction to stress? The kicker is, I almost wish I were bi-polar because that shit was fun. Who wouldn’t like feeling like that? And apparently that’s why it’s so hard to get bi-polar patients to take their medication.

What brought this episode to mind was the thought earlier tonight that I wished I could make myself feel like that again. I used to feel like that for short periods, but never for weeks at a time, and not for many many years.

For now I’m falling asleep. More lte.