Monday Mundanities — Life, COVID and Cerebral Angiograms

Last week was one of “those” weeks. You know the ones that have you so stressed out you want to scream about something that really doesn’t have anything to do with anything at all. We met with the new Vascular Neurosurgeon (nice guy, oh so young) to discuss the findings of the latest brain pics (cerebral CT scans). Probably nothing but there is a slightly enlarged blood vessel that he wants to get a better look at. Yeah, I really hate it when they use words like “further evaluation is needed” and stuff like that. Now because it’s COVID year 3 and my Knight is a LADA diabetic, this procedure requires significant prep work.

First there’s the COVID test. Must have a negative covid test no more than three days prior to exam. O….. K….. oh yeah and can’t get it at the drug store, have to drive into the hospital for theirs. Then, must be off metformin (diabetes med) for two days prior and two days after. Then, must reduce long-acting insulin day before and day of procedure, and …. a twelve hour fast, prior to. And this is the “simplified” version. Transradial cerebral angiography is no little thing although complications are less common than with the femoral artery. Yeah, OK. You’re shoving a catheter into the man’s brain for pete’s sake don’t tell me there’s a “slight risk of complications”. Kind of reminds me of when they first started talking about “routine brain surgery.” EXCUSE ME but how is that not an oxymoron? Routine and Brain Surgery should never be used in the same sentence. Add to that the simple fact that my Knight had every. single. complication. known to happen as a result of the embolization of six cerebral arteries, and you’ve got a totally stressed out JP and a whole lotta anxiety tears.

Long story short, we made it through and although the procedure took MUCH longer than expected (3 hours expected vs. 7.5 hours actual), everything is OK. The enlargement appears to be benign and likely left over from the original AVM, or a simple congenital factor. Get another angiogram in two years and if that shows no further problems, he’s as good as new, or at least as good as it gets.

That’s all from Castle Serenity for now. I’m off to open my January Surprise box and see what fun creative activities I have in store.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

A bit of Silliness

Couldn’t resist this bit of fun from Di at pensitivity101. C’mon and join in.

How would you describe your partner as:

1.A flower — a hibiscus because he’s beautiful, healthy (makes a wonderful tea) and comfortable
2. A vegetable — sweet potato – healthy and kind of sweet
3. An animal — a TRex, I call him Rexy
4. A fruit — Apple because he’s sturdy, reliable, good for me and yeah, sweet
5. A car — a Merkur – he’s sleek, handles well, easy to drive and well kind of obsolete
6. A drink — green tea, warm, healthy and perfect
7. A colour — tan he subscribes to the Einstein theory of wardrobing … if everything is tan you never have to think about what to wear
8. A fragrance — warm red brick, river water, and cinnamon
9. A dessert — brownie because he’s like the ultimate comfort food
10. A language — Russian, because he’s hard to read and sexy as heck

Til next time ~stay safe y’all ~JP

Friday Funnies – Bluegrass Vernacular

Our lake starting to freeze

It’s funny in a way, but my accent seems to have returned with a vengence. It’s more “drawly” than it was when I lived here for 25 years. Probably because I’m much farther south. My speech is rapidly deteriorating into a kind of “valley surfer drawl.” I use “y’all,” “Duuuude” and “totaly” with equal frequency. It’s weird, I hear these phrases coming out of my mouth and my brain is like “where did THAT come from.” Ah, but I digress. Here are a few “totally Kentucky” phrases I have noticed creeping into my vernacular and their translations.

“Y’all” is singular. “All Y’all” is plural. “All y’all’s” is plural possessive.

“Bless your Heart” is a nice way of saying you’re an idiot

“Dirty Bird” is KFC

“Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit” – translation “holy cr*p”

“Fair to middlin'” means doing OK

“slicker’n snot on a doorknob” – really slippery and … ewwwwwww

“I reckon'” – I think

“Fixin to” – getting ready to do something, does not mean something’s broken.

“Have a gooden” – have a good day

“T’other day” – can mean any time in the past several months

We had record breaking snowfall yesterday with 9-10 inches of the white stuff. I’m off to watch the ducks in the ice-free parts of our lake.

Til next time ~Y’all have a gooden ~JP

Thursday Thoughts – Icy Fingers

“Her laugh was like diamond glints of sunlight on snow, icy fingers of crystalline perfection.”

There is snow outside my window. Here … in central Kentucky. The “Winter Weather Advisory” is calling for 1-3 inches and recommends that we not travel unless necessary. Really? For three inches? I know that it’s just unexpected and folks here really don’t know how to drive in snow and ice. I mean afterall, why would they? That’s fine, I have no plans to go anywhere today and am totally content to just bundle up with a good book. Maybe later I’ll get ambitious, make some tea and do a little coloring. 🙂

Til next time ~Stay trippy hippies ~JP

Monday Mundanities – Home

“She was an adventurer at heart; but oh how she loved drinking this tea, from this mug, in this chair. Oh how she loved to be home.” ~Unknown

Misty fog on the lake today. Ethereal whisps, chirpping birds as I open the windows and let the fresh air and moisture cleanse my home and my spirit. A few score starlings alight on the tree outside my window, picking winter berries. I see clearly for the first time their backs and wings spotted in patterns of black, brown and white. Nature’s artistry camoflaging their small bodies. Something startles them and they are suddenly in flight joining hundreds of others in a small murmuration. A thousand dark shapes dance across the misty air. Intricate choreography on wings. The sun has lightened the world but I can not see the sky for the low clouds, just the reflections on the still water disturbed only by the leisurely paddling of ducks.

All those days hiding in the shadows
all those years living in the past
all that time never understanding
what was meant to last

Now I’m here on a misty morning
standing here I am not alone
by your side at last I know
I’ve finally come home

Til next time ~Stay trippy hippies ~JP

Welcome January

“And now let us welcome the New Year full of things that have never been”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Welcome January, don your grandest gown of grey and white. Come weave your wonderous spell of sparkling cold, sweater and mitten days and savory supper nights. Winter beckons me hearthside for steaming tea, lively conversations and solitary joys. Outside, the world is quiet and still. Nature is at peace. Let us be also.

Happy New Year


Reflections on Life and PTSD


Reflection on the lake, taken from my porch

This time of year brings about a tendency to “reflect” on the years past. While reflecting can be helpful and even enjoyable, it’s nasty stepsister “ruminating,” not so much. Like a lot of spoonies, my sometimes overactive mind can jump down that rabbit hole in a New York minute. I start out thinking about something innocuous and pleasant, my mind jumps back to an event that happened 30 years ago. My brain then proceeds to create a massive retaliation response to some incident that is long over. Then I spend time considering how I “woulda, coulda, shoulda” responded to the imagined rebuttal, ad infinitum.

Friedrich Nietzsche is quoted as saying “When you gaze long enough into the abyss, the abyss will gaze back at you.” And therein my fellow spoonies lies the danger. Unchecked, ruminating negative thoughts can worsen depression, anxiety and PTSD episodes. Reliving and rehashing traumatic experiences without good cause increases stress. Now, I’m not promoting denial as a coping mechanism but a plethora of research shows that stress, as a physical response to feeling threatened, worsens any number of medical conditions and has been known to cause autoimmune flares. The question is, what the heck to do about it.

I have some personal tricks to stop ruminating or invasive negative thoughts.

Tea: I was definitely British in another life, because my first, and best, response to any crisis is usually a cup of tea. There is no calamity so great, no heartache so wrenching that it cannot be improved upon by a hot cup of tea and perhaps a biscuit.
Quicky banishing: Turn around three times while brushing your body (shoulders and chest) with your hands like you would if you were brushing off dust. I chant “begone, begone, begone,” but you can just visualize all the negative thoughts flicking away from you. Then I clap my hands to end the banishing (some people spit but, ewwwwww). Do this in public with caution. I mean laugh and the world laughs with you, cackle maniacally and they back away slooooowwwwly.
Distraction: Do something … anything. I like to plug in my earbuds, queue up some rousing songs on my phone and clean (or sometimes dance). Gets the old endorphins flowing and seriously, it’s hard to maintain a negative attitude while dancing on a shiny clean floor.
Meditation: If the thoughts start to spiral out of control, I go to my meditation table, light a candle, and ask myself if these thoughts are truly my own, or have I picked up on something that’s outside of myself. As an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person)/Empath, I find that painful overwhelming emotions are often not mine and it is just a matter of releasing them. If they do stem from my own psyche, I find that a few minutes of mantra chanting usually interrupts the cycle enough for me to regain control.

All right Spoonies, I’ve waxed philosophical/medical long enough. A bit of poetry for you.

Reflections

Fire on the water
reflections of the sky
all the days behind me
vanish as waves roll by

Wind upon the water
ripples flowing everywhere
relieve me of the burdens
that were never mine to bear

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

The Story Begins

Deep in the heart of Bluegrass Suburbia, in a little house alongside a tiny lake, there lived a Witch and a Knight of the Old Code…

For the first time in a long time, maybe in my entire life, I have neighbors who introduced themselves, whose names I know, with whom I have had dinner. I’ve become almost … sociable (YIKES where did THAT come from). I have room for sacred space, I have windows with views, a fireplace mantle, I have a BATHTUB! We’ve been here a few weeks and I find I’m more at peace with the world and with myself.

There are no Christmas stockings to hang and I’ve done what little holiday decorating I do. A tiny poinsettia, a little lemon cyprus with a gnome. It’s simple, small, and me. This weekend we make our first trip to the northern part of the state to visit with family. Multiple holiday meals await, long drives, lots of laughter and love. I find that once again, I am feeling the joy of Christmas. Solstice has passed, the days grow longer each day now and my life is filled with more light. I begin, slowly, to lose the fears of the past and find the joy of today. Merry Christmas my friends.

Ghost of Christmas Past

On a dark and chilly winter’s night
when sleep had come at last
I had a dream of memories
the ghost of Christmas past

She placed her spectral hand in mine
and bade me come along
for I had naught to fear she said
from ancient memories and song

I heard the choir singing
their songs of love and light
I heard Christmas bell a’ringing,
over a landscape frosted white

“This isn’t how it was” I said
“This is not my memory”
“No, this is what you dreamed of”
the spirit said to me

“For memories are often dreams
wished for in our darkest hours
We tint them rose and decorate
with fragile tissue-paper flowers.”

“Remember darling girl,” she said,
“there are few answers in the past
so celebrate the dawning day
and treasure it while it lasts.”

When I woke, I found more happiness
than I had known in recent hours
A new day stood before me, tinted rose
and hung with tissue-paper flowers

Till next time ~Peace ~JP

Witchy Wonderings — Holidays and Covid Boosters


Welcome back to the mishmash life of a couple of Spoonies navigating retirement in Bluegrass Suburbia. It’s been a month since we made the “big move” from a South Dakota RV park to a Townhouse in Central Kentucky. Our relatives say things like “well, you had a good long run.” Hey! We’re not DEAD, just retired and homeowners *insert shudder*. I admit it was the end of an era but the next chapter is just beginning.

We’re still dealing with a bit of culture shock. There are STORES and RESTAURANTS and ENTERTAINMENT, oh my. We ate lunch out every day last week. Yikes! And enjoyed every one of them. Double YIKES! OK, OK, my waistline can’t handle much more of this. Time to back off the pizza and apple pie!

I got my COVID booster shot yesterday. Once I actually got it scheduled it all went pretty smoothly. I got both booster and flu at the same time, no cost for either. I was in and out in about 30 minutes (most of which was spent filling out paperwork). My arm is pretty sore and I am slightly fatigued but over all I’m doing OK with it. My KOC (Knight of the Old Code) gets his on Monday. We decided to get them before we head up to the northern part of the state for Christmas holidays with kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. We’ll be spending 3 days 2 nights in order to get ’round to visit the families. I am looking forward to spending a holiday with the kids for the first time in 15 years. But oh my I am exhausted just thinking about it.

With the winter holiday season in full swing, many Spoonies, myself included, suffer from lack. Lack of sunlight, lack of energy, lack of funds, lack of joy. It’s easy to get caught up in all that we can no longer do. To look at the neighbor’s perfectly decorated tree shining through a picture window and feel something less than happy. It’s been hard this year. I’m in serious spoon deficit (exhaustion) from weeks of over-extending myself with the move. I’m easily overwhelmed by the glitz and hubbub that surrounds the season. But, with a few meltdowns, and several reminders that happiness is a choice, I’m content with my evergreen swag on the entryway, my wee lemon cedar “tree,” a tiny poinsettia and cards from prior years strung as a garland. It is enough.

As I prepare to celebrate Yule, the coming of the light, the return of the sun, I remember the words of that Zen Master of Magic – Albus Dumbledore “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

The sky wears a shroud
as the Sun hides his face
beneath a cloak of grey
Where is the blue
to brighten my day
A squirrel runs along a branch
outside my kitchen window
I watch as he scurries,
his long tail twitching
and quivvering with excitement
and I smile, I laugh
today I choose happiness

Til next time ~Choose to be happy ~JP

Farewell Wide-Eyed Wanderer

Fall in Rapid City SD

It’s been a tough couple of years filled with surgeries, strokes, pandemics, wild fires, floods, disastrous vacations and catastrophic hail storms. It was past time for a change. If you haven’t read about the hail storm that altered the course of our lives, you can read a little more about it here. It’s funny in a way but a friend, while discussing the damage from the storm, fired off that tried and true line “well at least no one was hurt.” Really? Define “hurt.” Because if you think no one was hurt you obviously have never encountered a PTSD episode. It’s tantamount to the well-meaning friend who when told you have an autoimmune disease replies “well at least it’s not cancer.” Make no mistake, an autoimmune disease will alter your life just as much as cancer and broken bones heal faster than psychological wounds.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD isn’t a mental illness so much as a psychological injury. The brain overloads on “fight of flight” hormones and coping mechanisms begin to break down under the constant onslaught. Healing is possible to varying degrees but there’s always a psychological scar and like any other wound, it can flare up leaving the patient hyper-vigilant, panic stricken and heartbroken. So it was for me.

There’s a fair amount of guilt and shame that goes along with PTSD, shame for the hours spent in gut-wrenching sobs for NO REASON AT ALL. Guilt that your loving partner has to bear witness to them. More shame because your eyes look like two boiled onions and your face resembles a tomato left in the sun too long. Yeah, it’s ugly. Anyway …

We gave up full-time (and even part-time) RVing, sold the rig, bought a townhouse and relocated halfway across the country in the matter of about 5 weeks. It’s been over three months since the Holy Handgrenade of Hailstones bashed through my roof and my life. I’m finally off the sedatives and pretty much back to functional norm (for a Spoonie).

I stroked the entry of Optimus Lite, our 5th wheel, with a silent blessing and a good spritz of peppermint spray. After 15 years on the road as full-time RVers, the time had come. I watched as the blue skies and vast umber grasslands of South Dakota faded in my rearview mirror.

Thus the story ends.

And another begins.

Deep in the heart of Bluegrass Suburbia, in a little house alongside a tiny lake, there lived a Witch and a Knight of the Old Code…