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Saturday, December 31, 2016

It's New Year's Day!

Somewhere, anyway.

I'm in the Pacific Time Zone, so by the time I finish this entry it will be midnight in the UK.

As you know, 2016 has been a right royal little shit for me and mine.

In more ways than one, of course, but anyone who has read this blog knows the biggest reason.

I'm having a hard time looking forward, as they told us to do at my first widows' support group meeting. As they tell us to do every week at Weight Watchers. Don't dwell on the past, remember, but don't live there.

I get that.

Having a little trouble with it, but I do get it.

So this year, the resolutions for the New Year are a family affair, because I just can't do it alone.

We're all going to be eating better, sleeping more, moving more, even when we don't want to.

I'll spend the extra money for food that's good for us, be the bad guy and make them go to bed on time (as well as going myself), getting up and walking my ass to the school bus stop to pick up Lizzy instead of driving there.

We'll cook more and eat fast food less.

I've got the tools to do these things (although I have to get the dishwasher fixed, and there are still medical bills leftover from Laston's last illness). I'll make sure Lizzy gets her counseling and I my support groups (Abby seems to be doing okay right now but if she needs them I'll do that too).  I'll get to work on time (and as that schedule will change in February, it may be easier then, schedule willing). I will make sure we do a little work a day to clear out the constant clutter. These are my worst habits, and they need fixing.

With the exception of the work schedule and the decluttering, all this begins Tuesday morning as the kids are out of school until then.

And the swearing? Fuck it. A girl deserves to have one bad habit.

Monday, December 19, 2016

'Twas the Night After Christmas

At least as far as Studio East's kids' show is concerned.

As much as I love it there, I think I was maybe biting off more than I could figuratively chew this year. I mean, the idea was to distract us all from our grief, and while that may have worked for the kids, during the last week or so I have been on the edge.

Like tipping over the edge.

As in, if anything else went wrong (the Studio wasn't something wrong; it just added stressors to the pile), I was going to run naked and screaming down the (chilly) streets of suburban Seattle.

That would not be pretty for anyone, although it might be good for my fitbit.

And it might still happen, although I made it through today without melting down, even though the same rule as yesterday applied. By the end of today, I (half-seriously) considered answering the phone with something like, "Thank you for calling Jenn's Sympathy for Lost Loved Ones Service. How may I empathize today?"

Or maybe, "Hello, Jenn's Whose Dolly Did I Bust, how may I help yooouuuu?"

Because seriously, it was like all the calls from customers who had just had a death in the family were being routed to me.

In any case, all my Facebook friends already know this, as do several people in Real Life. And so I'd like to mention all in one "thread" in my blog (where most people I know will see it), what my plans are to get myself back in some sort of decent emotional shape.

I know it's not a quick fix or a solution, but there may be a means to an end here.

I'm going to use the Thinking Putty my lovely colleague gave me to keep my hands busy (rather than biting my nails). I'm going to get my own bottle of the essential oil formula a coworker lent me (yeah, yeah, I don't care about the science (or not) behind aromatherapy; it helps me feel better). I'm joining a local Widows' support group. I'm continuing Weight Watchers.

If I need it I'll get separate therapy, but I suspect a lot of the extra stress will subside after the First Christmas Without Laston.

Hey, scratch that; something bad just happened and I swore a blue streak, but there was no naked screaming or running.

Friday, December 16, 2016


At this point, just the title sounds like a novel about the Beginning of the End, the prologue to the Rebuilding Civilization arc of the bulk of the story.

I sure hope it is.

Because previous posts notwithstanding, even with the good days now (generally) outnumbering the bad, this has been a hell of a week.

It started with a neighbor kid telling Lizzy something so hurtful that her grandmother and I are still angry about it a week later, though Lizzy herself seems to be doing okay, based on observation and her teacher's and therapist's reports. I'm not going into the details here; the neighbor kid is after all a kid, and while I am still very pissed off, the issue has been resolved by parents, apologies, and whatever punishment his folks doled out over and above the apology.

But it set a bad tone.

Saturday was Abby's birthday, and day three of four 'Twas the Night three-show days (the last one being this Sunday). It was a Good Day for the most part; I wrangled the toys for two of the three shows, saw one of the shows, and then we went to Grandma's for a birthday dinner and gifts for Abbs. Fun times.

Sunday I woke up with a fever and a sinus headache - oh joy - and spent the day in bed.

Monday there was less fever and I went to work, with a doc appointment in the middle of the day. Yeah, whatever, viral, blah blah blah. Stress. You think?

Tuesday was work and was tolerable. But now my dishwasher won't drain, just to add to the pile of death-of-a-thousand-paper-cuts that is my life this year. And oh, goody, more medical bills (as Washington is a Community Property State, I get to pay medical bills for a deceased spouse... unless the creditor is feeling generous. Most of them don't). So I have a likely dishwasher repair or replace and a bunch more medical bills to add to the new brakes of earlier this month. Terrific.

Wednesday was nice in the morning ("Mom, you're a lot less shouty after your massage," says Liz) and fun in the evening, as Leanna came over and we decorated the tree. The in-between times were good for Lizzy (her grief counseling session was really good) and very very blah for me. The anxiety is ramping up here, and I don't really know why (except see above). I keep jiggling my legs and twisting my fingers. Ask my mom sometime what that means.

Thursday I worked all day and then took Lizzy to brownie scouts after a short drive (so we didn't arrive too early) to see Christmas Lights. It was fine but I'm still all finger-twisty and weird.

Today's my day off. It's Weight Watchers (and our meeting was good), and I'm still in that up-and-down-five-pounds I've been in for months (because stress, you think maybe?) and now I'm just trying to get this all out on "paper" so I can escape into silly books or BSU or sleep until Abby gets home from school and I have to put my game face back on.

After I wash dishes by hand.

And fold yet more laundry.

Maybe I'll just go back to bed.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Better Days

I'm having them, for the most part.

Lizzy is not.

She complains of not feeling well, of various limbs hurting, and every tiny ding or scrape or boo-boo needs treatment. She's spending too much time in the nurse's office at school (one school nurse, no matter how good (and she is good), can only do so much), and she scared the playground teachers the other day by complaining of her "tongue feeling like it burns."

No, it was not an allergic reaction as they feared; it was simply too much kiwi fruit, which - like pineapple - can make one's tongue burn from the citric acid.

In any case, I'm sure it's all of a piece with the other symptoms of grief in a nine-year-old who - while very bright - can't really describe the feeling of general malaise involved in depression/grief/anxiety, not to mention probable fears that every little thing is, well, an indication of cancer. Like her daddy had.

So she complains of things that make sense to her, in the same way that she has reverted to baby talk and preschool TV a fair bit of the time.

She's already in therapy - pediatric grief counseling being actually a thing - and her teacher and other school peeps are being so proactive in helping her out, but we're taking her into the pediatrician this afternoon as well. If we find nothing physically wrong, it will give Lizzy (and me!) peace of mind. If we do find something (for some reason Lizzy has it in her head that she may have allergies like Abby does... and has always kind of wanted them; I guess they make you special in her mind), then we have a more concrete thing to deal with.

And... as I am feeling better overall (although today kind of sucks, I have had a good almost-week), I'm going to try to be more positive when I'm with Lizzy. I can fake it 'til I make it in her presence too if I have to. And in Abby's.

I can use my role playing skills with them, and let out the bad crap after they go to bed at night.

Friday, December 2, 2016

A Good Day

I had one today.

And my mom said it's the happiest she's seen me in months, maybe even in a year or so.

Even a couple weeks ago, the events of this morning would have thrown me for a total loop. But even with the scary brake noises, and not getting any of the stuff I wanted to done - this laundry won't fold itself - because I was stuck at Goodyear while Scary Brake Noises were repaired, and the cost of said repairs, blah blah, blah. Even with all that...

I had a good day.

Part of it was the Weight Watchers meeting this morning, which was excellent, even better than usual (and that's saying something; I usually enjoy them). Our topic was self-compassion, and it was the best discussion I've had in several years of on-and-off attendance.

I was inspired, and apparently inspiring, in my two stories - one about how Lizzy doesn't think I'm fat; she thinks I'm "soft" - and one about how there is more to me than fat.

That first is important, because it shows that soft - a much more positive adjective without all the baggage of fat - is how I am perceived by someone who loves me. I think that's a good jumping off point.

The second is important in a different way. I've been trying to explain to some of my online friends that just because someone is Muslim, or gay, or Christian, or transgender, or Mexican, or Black, or female, or whatever, that is never, ever all they are.

And the same goes for fat.

I am fat, it's true. But it's just one of a list of adjectives I - and others - use to describe me. I'm fat, but I'm also female, intelligent, motherly, unpunctual, basically honest, depressed, generally kind, anxious, and geeky.

There have been hours I have spent trying to make this point about others. But only today did I consciously say it about me and fat. I am more than my adipose, thank you very much.

This whole good day actually started yesterday, when the big boss of the call center where I work said, "Jenn is back," upon hearing about my November stats.

Not all the way, not yet. Today's adventures exhausted me, and I usually need a nap about lunchtime when at work.

But I'm getting there.