Depression packs a punch

Brain fog, depression, body not wanting to cooperate with me; I keep pushing forward day by day. Just hoping to do better, feel better each day.

It’s Monday and I woke up at 3:30am. I haven’t been able to sleep much more than a few hours at a time. I managed four hours this time. I’m not even having the groggy. I just pop wide awake. I don’t know if I should be annoyed or not. I’m rolling with it, though.

Last few months have been mentally taxing. And my profile watching produced a most interesting thought. This 19-year old who I thought might be getting in over their head might actually be a 60ish something who’s having a blast trolling on the internet and being anything they wish to be. It’s a classic old school internet scam. The thought gave me giggles and relieved me a bit of my concern. Because if that turns out to be true, I’ll be glad of it.

Chances are, have no idea but I suspect it’s a long shot. I don’t often met such high-level fantasy players nor get sucked into their games. But this time, this one time I can say I wish this was the case.

I wish I could save everyone but I can’t. It’s not my job even if I see the danger, placed all the road signs, bordered with caution tape and set out barriers. If you ignore all that and keep going, it’s hard not to scream in frustration.

I can stand on the edge of the cliff and lend a hand back to solid ground. But I can not protect you from your own choices. I want you to grow up, grow in strength, grow in maturity so I will not baby you. I will stand aside and watch you and scream when you make a painful choice. It’s these moments I wonder why humanity decided the gods were like super parents, watching over, sometimes helping but mostly not.

It feels weird walking about life without a safety net under your soul.

It feels like maturity.  So be kind to each other.

Mother and Memories

The kitchen has been my direct connection to my mother. It was in the kitchen she talked to me, told me tails of her childhood, her life story and I have come to understand it. It was where she felt the most useful and the happiest. It’s where I saw her smile the most.

I didn’t have a chance to learn from her or pick up her skills. She passed on when I was just a child. But she did leave me a legacy, an amazing legacy now that I think about it. Though her life she taught me that anything was possible if I so much as tried. My mother had about a third grade reading level yet she taught me to read and she taught herself how to cook. She has always been my hero.

When she died, all I had left was to take those same cookbooks and read. I taught myself how to cook, just like she had. And I too, am happy in the kitchen. I connect deeply with my past, with my mother while using the things that I have learned.

While I preparing diner the other day I became rather introspective. I occurred to me that a lot of people have lost touch with the basics of cooking. Either they don’t have the time, or the knowledge or something. But I felt a bit of a loss, here I was cooking in my kitchen and I had memories of my mother doing the same. She never made spaghetti sauce from scratch. But she did make other meals and memories. Her meatloaf, chicken and dumplings, cornbread, black eye peas, pancit, egg rolls, roasts, potato salad, grilled cheese, potato pancakes and even French toast. I remember her making them all as I sat by the kitchen table, eager to help if I could but I was always watchful.

Halfway though eating my bowl of spaghetti it occurred to me that my children are growing up with unique tastes. The sauce I make will never be found in a can, that taste can not be duplicated and stocked on a store shelf. There is no way for them to ever have home cooking like mom’s unless they learn my recipes and make it themselves. There is no substitution.

It brought back a memory. My mom used Prego spaghetti sauce when she made spaghetti. She never added anything to it, nothing to make it uniquely her own. I could cook the same meal she did to this day and the taste will not have changed unless the manufacture changes the recipe. It’s a flavor and a meal that’s been frozen in stasis, never growing, evolving or changing. It doesn’t really make me think of my mom either. Her touch isn’t there, her feel, her love, her creativity isn’t present. I just can’t connect with her though spaghetti.

But there are other meals, treats and deserts that I can. Mostly reliving memories with her as I do so. And I wonder. How would she take it if I could tell her I figured out how to make lump-less gravy? Or that I figured out her chicken and dumpling recipe that wasn’t written down? Or that I could really use the help in making pancit? Or that I only charred one roast, like she had done once too? Or that I mastered making grilled cheese without burning the bread and that I have a tomato soup recipe that I am sure would wow her taste buds?

I hoard all these precious memories of her in the kitchen because this is where I remember her at her happiest. And after her death, it was breakfast that haunted me for months. The smell of fresh bacon, eggs and toast with orange juice, I woke up hungry every morning until one day it was gone. I didn’t notice it at the time. It faded like a memory in a way.

It wasn’t long after that I took on the task of learning how to cook. I was eleven years old and I had more than enough TV dinners to last me the rest of my life. So,here I am. Here’s to you, mom. I can finely eat bacon without crying. It’s a good day for a BLT.

How’s to Not whack a Spider

Never ever kill a spider with your index finger stretched out inside the shoe.

It was the ugliest spider I have ever seen. My guts wanted to puke and all my instincts was to kill, kill, kill. In fact that was quite strange as I am one to move the buggers to a better location. But that thing, well was destined to die.

I asked for a shoe and got handed a flimsy child’s slipon. Without even thinking I whacked that reddish brown disgusting spyder into the next dimension. My hand came back up to hold my finger as a scream was stuck somewhere under my breast bone as I was trying to draw in breath. Ouch.

I’m pretty sure I fractured my index finger.

So I’m sporting a splint and trying to type with my nine other fingers. And don’t you just know my luck, I signed up for Camp Nanowrimo this year. I even have plenty of erotic material to distract myself with; clears throat, I mean to write.

Oh well. I might as well work on some of my other projects. Being down a finger, having pain fuzz out my brain, maybe I can edit?

Oh yeah, I’m really sorry I whacked that spider. I mean it was like it was me or it and I choose me. I guess I need a light some incense and say my prayers. But honestly, that was the first spider I ever met that I lost my damn mind over. How was I to know spiders came in ugly?

Yuletide Greetings to You from Me

It’s not writer’s block this time. I’ve been chewing on what to say this year that’s either profoundly Pagan in nature about Yule or more focused towards being a Pagan mother. I’ve come up as bare as a leafless tree waiting for snow.

I haven’t focused on religion or spiritually in my personal life. That part has been coasting along just fine. I’ve had my head buried in writing and working on some graphic art projects while being a better mother and wife. And grieving a bit too, as half of my heart family moved away.

Yet Yule is a few days away now and I didn’t even register it until my husband and my girls were putting out the tree and my Yule log came out. It’s even lighter this year than it was last. It’s drying out bit by bit. Holding it now makes me feel I am holding on to a frail old woman whose bones could break too easily. The vitality that the log once had is gone.

I watched my girls accept all of this as normal. The tree went up, covered in lights and decorations. The log was placed in a prominent corner of the room, decorated and treated with far more reverence than the tree. And I was lost in melancholy thoughts. Questions such as “did your mom do this too?” and “have you seen Santa?” quickly passed as excitement was pushing them forward towards exciting pursuits.

I was floored. How do I explain I have no real connection with Christmas? My last Christmas I remember was when I was four years old. That memory is very vivid, of making paper chains, popcorn and cranberry strings, of snowflakes and paper stars, and hearing my mother’s laughter and smiles. I have no idea what presents I may have gotten beyond a rocking horse that I loved. I can hear her voice, her words and her laughter when I got on it for the first time.  smiles

A four year old’s memory. I didn’t understand why something so good, so pretty, something that made her so happy had to go. I didn’t understand why it was so evil, so bad, so dreaded pagan that I would not be able to participate in it throughout my school years. How do I explain to them the drastic religious conversion my parents went through? How do I explain why I have trouble with Christmas?

So, I smile and nod. Pat their little backs and encourage them to hang up one more ornament and let their father field the questions. At least he grew up with Christmas and won’t choke on these questions like I have. And they know I have Yule.

It’s as close to celebrating something in the winter holidays I get, outside of trying to stay up till midnight for New Year’s Eve. It’s a solemn celebration for me. In reverence I’ll help my little one light the candles and let their light shine in the night as I watch over them. Later after everyone is tucked in bed, I will go outside and stare at the few stars up above, listening to the quiet night contemplating what makes this night different than all the other nights of the year.

May this Yule be a bright one for you and your families.

Children learn how to hate from their Parents

I don’t do reblogs but this is one time I really really want to. Simply because this one blog posting needs a wider audience. If you have children facing any form of non-conformity in school, please take a read. The issues need discussing because this level of hate is unacceptable. It is Not acceptable. I don’t have solutions to change the hearts and minds of such hate filled people. All I know is that this needs exposure to the light.

The Last PTA Meeting I Will Ever Attend

To The PTA Moms at My Son’s School

And I’m on my lunch break, so this is an awful short post. But please read.

Incense, Oil and Scented Candles; Is it safe?

26wk preemie
My daughter five days after birth.

How safe are these things? How safe are these things around our children? What about babies and our pets?

Parents make a lot of sacrifices for their children. They change their lifestyle, child-proof their homes and try to do what is best for their children. And sometimes parenting advice from experts conflict with other experts and even with common sense. It’s not easy being a parent. Mistakes happen. Hopeful the mistakes are minor and no lasting damage is done.

But I’m a preemie parent and a Pagan. Before I brought my daughter home a lot of things had to change in my life. I had to give up my cat; allergies run in the family as does asthma. And that still hurts even six years later and I am still petless.  The smokers in my life had to smoke outside and strip off whatever they were wearing to come inside. I even gave away my cacti; my only houseplants, due to fungi and mold issues that I have.  I stopped painting my nails. I stopped using air fresheners. I switched to unscented dryer sheets.  I stopped doing and using anything that effected the air quality in my home.

Looking back, I remember reading an article about the dangers of scented candles and oils back when I was on several mommy forums while pregnant  It scared me. Candles were bad, candles were good; nobody agreed which was which. I didn’t use air fresher sprays, kept all airborne sprays to a minimum, banned perfume and cologne and cleaned a lot with Lysol. Everything that goes into the air could effect her ability to breath. I was determined to give my daughter the best chance of being healthy by keeping a healthy home.

I changed the way I practice, drastically. I used joss sticks in my daily practice. So much so that it required daily dusting to remove the buildup of incense dust. Back then, that was a small price to pay for those moments I stood before my altar lighting the incense and saying my prayers.

For me it was a no brainer to stop using incense for my daughters well-being.  I didn’t switch to candles or oils in my practice because it felt too risky. Watching her struggling to breath in the NICU during her three-month stay, it didn’t make sense to continue that aspect of my practice. Even today, despite her being a healthy and active six-year-old I haven’t returned to using incense unless it was an outside ritual and away from my daughter.

This experience makes me wonder what other Pagan parents are doing. Do they cut back when their babies are born? Move their practice outdoors? Or eliminate the use of these items for a while?

I stand before you to say…

I have a problem.

I’ve thought of it as a time management problem, a priority problem, a procrastination problem, a depression problem, just plain lazy problem (that one did no good for my self esteem) or anything else that got close to describing the problem.

It’s a priority problem alright, just not the one I thought it was. I thought I had lost my time management skills. Forgotten how to set list, check off the to-do’s, and plan my day according to a schedule. But I don’t think that’s the issue.

I haven’t valued myself enough. I haven’t been taking care of myself. I’ve tried to do too much for everyone else, ignoring my own needs in the process. My kids were on the top of the list and I was on the bottom. And I never got to the bottom of the list because I’d flip right around and start at the top again.

My problem is far deeper than just a need to take five to take care of myself. I need to learn how to be selfish, how to put myself first and take care of my goals in life without the guilt of not taking care of everyone else. I need to stop avoiding my needs and address them head on.

Realising what exactly the problem is explains a lot to me. I never could understand what happened to the “me” before I assumed a lot of responsibilities. I was driven, goal orientated and a planner. I had not planned for what happened. I tried to roll with it but I see now that I lost myself in the process. I did not value me enough.

I resolve to value me each day.

I resolve to take care of my needs and not ignore them.

I resolve to “mother” myself.

This all ties into several mantras I’ve practiced for the last few years;

I deserve to be Loved.
I am free to be Me.