Voicelessness and Emotional Survival Message Board

Voicelessness and Emotional Survival => Voicelessness and Emotional Survival Message Board => Topic started by: sKePTiKal on September 13, 2017, 04:01:55 PM

Title: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on September 13, 2017, 04:01:55 PM
No, it's not really a list. But it started with one!  :LOL:

For three months, I've pretty much had contractors here 4 days out of 7. We're not done yet - but it's getting CLOSE. All the windows and new doors are in; there's some trim yet to complete. The front door mechanicals - the latching system - was screwed up at the factory. So it's boarded, to keep it shut until the new door can arrive. That's not till the last week of the month.   :grumpy:   My front porch is my second living room. I have to walk around - through raindrops sometimes - to get to my covered porch right now. Inconvenient; not what I wanted... but not permanent, either. All in due time.

Contractors have moved on to upgrading the deck railings (they can finish trim in the rain) while the sun is kinda shining. Painters are sealing up the old logs, the new wood and slightly changing the colors. It's gonna look nice. I'm doing the poly on the inside of the windows - it raw pine; and have stained the lower bits of new wood in the living room. The upper part of that former big wall of windows... can just be what it is. It'll age. LOL.

Wood insert & new woodstove are installed. I have another bat in the firebox of the woodstove downstairs. I'm waiting till he's good & dead, before removing him.

I got up way too early this morning, because the arborists were here to take down about 8 trees before 7:30 am. They were done by 10 - brush chipped; logs sawn to size and stacked. Very impressive. So, assuming I can get my buddy to get HIS buddy with the bobcat to get my shed location squared away - I can call Texas and tell 'em to send my barn & shed on the truck up to my area.

Well company is going to inspect the submersible pump on Monday. Electrician coming Friday to replace GFI outlet outside that's exposed to weather. Then I just have to deal with ordering wood (most of what was cut today is NEXT YEAR'S wood; it has to dry)... deal with the water quality in the studio... and move a bunch of stuff into the new buildings so I can work in the garage this winter! LOL.

You know it's hard to find 63" long curtains now a days? I need to try searching again. (THIS is why I sew and need to get my studio set up.)
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on September 14, 2017, 06:14:38 PM
Your to-do, am-doing, gonna-do, planning-to-do lists absolutely flippin' amaze me, PR.

It's an exhilarating Action Journal!


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on September 14, 2017, 09:38:45 PM
Wowsers, Amber.  That's quite a list. 

Sorry about your front porch, but hey.....


You have a really great porch! 

I'm so channeling lovely outdoor space in this cool weather.  I took all the light things off my back porch, and it's still in my keeping room, which means I have two messed up spaces right now.  I'm ready to have my porch back too.

Yesterday my back went out so I did some research on creating a moss yard.  I found a local gal who has a moss nursery, and she had a site consult cancellation that fit my schedule.  All the news is good, basically, but I'll post the detes on another thread.

I'm glad you're getting your porch back soon.  The fall is such a lovely time to enjoy it, IMO: )
What are you doing with all the milled wood?  Are you using it for the shed?


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on September 15, 2017, 03:23:39 PM
Firewood, Lighter - I have two new woodstoves to break in before peak heating season.

I MOSTLY have my porch back now. The painters are done here and the deck railing fence is up. I just have to hike from the back of the house around the deck to the front now. LOL. And yet this morning, I STILL tried to open the front door.    :shakes head: - that Pavlov sure knew what he was talking about!

I spent 11 hours in bed with the heating pad last night. Woke up somewhere in the middle to worry about various & sundry nonsense, and went back to sleep. Electrician was here - found an additional outlet to make safe - it's all done and we had a nice chat while he was working too. He totally is easy to be around - oozes that calm, it's all under control male energy. Not bad looking either - but he has a really sweet wife, too. (Just my luck!!)

Moving freshly cut to length logs after a crazy busy week was just about all my poor body could take. That wood needs to season - NEXT YEAR'S wood. I'll buy pre-split this year. So I talked myself out doing a single useful thing today, while I recharge the tank. I will get around to the list of things that's my part of these projects - soon enough. And I work fast too. So, I don't have to overdo, and can rest when I need to. A big huge list of important things got taken care of this summer - and we're real close to the finish line. There's more to go - but these were the essentials. The rest will happen at a more leisurely pace.

I'd like to get a massage, a haircut, new glasses and find a new dentist. In that order. And finish up the "little" projects I have hanging around, half finished... from this year's list. My arms hurt from moving the logs (in a good way) - the back is fine after supine application of heat. But it's clearly time to empty my brain of everything it's trying to file into "complete", "ongoing/WIP", and still yet to get done categories... and just embrace cabbage-head-hood. LOL.

Time for a sappy afternoon of chick flicks or an epic historical drama. Popcorn. Graze all day... and replenish the calories I've been burning.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on September 15, 2017, 09:27:19 PM

I have to admit, I love splitting wood.  Especially when I'm splitting it with people who're really good at splitting wood, like my brother and BIL, from Canada.   I learn so much.... things go so well... I don't have to worry about watching someone put their hand in the wrong place over and over, etc.  It's another form of walking meditation AND you get all those lovely stacks of wood to burn!

I didn't have time to split all the logs we had last Christmas, so left them under the shed roof to dry out all summer.  The guys move the trees, and cut them, with heavy equipment.  It drops right at the splitter so I don't have to worry about anything but splitting and stacking.  I think BIL tried to teach me to handle the chainsaw last year, but I have too vague a recollection to trust myself without another lesson.   

Next project at my father's is sealing the decka.  I decided on the clear Flood product again.  I hate researching it every 3 years or so, but it has to be done.  I haven't found anything that impresses me more. 

You sound really good, Amber.  It's nice to read your updates: )  How is kitty doing?

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on September 16, 2017, 11:56:22 AM
Mio-mio is better. Uses the box to pee in - I'm still finding "presents" other places, but sometimes she'll even put them in the box. She's been confined to my bedroom most of the week, because the contractors have been in/out - and of course taking out a window or door and there's no way to keep her in the house, otherwise. Queenie is settling in - and has been adopted by the painters while they're here. She's been on flea/tick stuff this summer and just got her first dose of wormer. THEN, when it turns cold and the contractors are done - I'll try introducing her into the house.

I'm still having "Michael dedication music nights" - about once a month. Last night was another. It's kind of amazing how fresh the grief stays. But I just dive right into it now... wallow till it's time for bed... and get up the next day and go on. It seems to work out OK to do this - and kinda feels like I'm taking care of my self in the process. Not that I'm fit for human company during those times, mind you. I know I'm definitely open to another relationship some time down the road - but I'm not actively "looking" either.

I did sign up for Our Time - the over 50 online dating service - and so far, haven't seen any reason to subscribe. LOL. I don't have any interest in dealing with most of the kinds of guys I see "looking". Kinda seems like shopping in a thrift store, of old worn-out clothes that I have wonder where that shirt or pair of pants have been... and not sure I even want to touch it! LOL. Maybe it's kinda like grandkids, too - I enjoy them when they're around - and am really relieved to give them back. I have set Holly to keeping an eye out in the city for me, too. I'm not sure we really have the same taste in men - but she's got a pretty good idea of what I might find interesting.

I'll be getting out more and doing things again, when these projects are done. The long list of essentials (to my way of thinking) has provided a reason (or excuse) for me to take my time processing the grief and practicing interacting with guys again. A big part of that practice - is simply just getting to know ME and how I respond to different guys; what I find interesting or attractive or reliable in them. I don't if there are any guys (my age) who might entertain a more casual relationship than "going steady". They all seem to want mommys, housekeepers and nurses... and I've done my share of that in relationships. Not attractive to me anymore. So, I'm kind of my own worst enemy at this "dating project".

With Ronnie around - and his crew of younger guys that are all willing to help out around here for the place to stay during hunting season (and some of my improvements in that area are for them too)... I think it's do-able to try what I want to do here, by myself. His brother was here this morning with the backhoe, and build a shale pad for my little shed -- and fixed up the road into the "huntin ground" too. He said to call him if I need help with anything and Ronnie's not around. It seems like a good deal to me... I might have to throw in some breakfast and cold "beverages" once in a while. And I keep an eye on the wildlife for 'em.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on September 17, 2017, 09:14:27 AM
Checking into Tupp's thread, I realized how seldom I actually experience guilt these days. It's kinda like losing 200 lbs. Guilt pulls in - like some kind of black hole - all kinds of other mixed up, homogenized emotions too. I used to put it on in the mornings, like my underwear. It was constantly with me.

I wonder when that happened?   :shock:

I don't think I really worked at trying to get rid of it. I didn't even spend a lot of time over-analyzing it, like normal. Only way I think it's explainable, right now... is that coping with my grief about Mike helped untangle all my emotions into those separate threads of yarn. So I could now point out each one individually, they have their own distinct colors and flavors. Yeah, it took a lot of TIME. Time processing the feelings - by just feeling them. While I kept busy with other things.

The other thing that helped maybe - was putting myself on the "right path" for me. In my location, activities, and giving myself a great big corner of these hills to create my own "country"... things the way I envision them, that I tend, nurture, improve, and help become an oasis of tranquility. I have been given full "command authority" here (from my doc friend) to "make it so". And that seems to be affecting me in some really positive ways. Only now, just noticing.

I'm making more intuitive decisions - and have stopped second-guessing myself at every step of the way. I no longer worry if I've expressed myself in "an acceptable fashion" - or if what I'm expressing is socially acceptable or politically correct. I just AM, me, warts & all.

HUH. Who'd a thunk it? I guess I don't need to know HOW it happened, but I sure am glad it did.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on September 17, 2017, 10:39:52 PM

I was thinking today about getting out of one's own way, and what that means.

Putting down the worry, for me...
you put down guilt, Amber....
let's call it whatever negative stuff we're carrying... if we can put it down, we free ourselves to pick up other things, IME.

My step father always said never to pick up anything when your hands are full, and I think about that a lot. 

Worry was a habit for me. Part of my identity, and who would I be without it, right? 
It's nice to find out.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on September 30, 2017, 07:53:18 AM
Since the contractors have been gone, I'm finally slowing down to MY pace again. Room to breathe, relax, think, process, design/plan. Sleep!  ;)

There is a direct positive feedback loop, between getting things done to put the place in order; beef it up for the coming winter; do the maintenance that keeps it secure from the elements... and all my interior sorting and processing.

I can tell when I've finally caught up on my sleep. I'm not greedily falling back asleep to get 8-9 hrs anymore... after 7 or so, I'm already fully conscious and starting to get "moving" again. I do seem real connected to the sun - up with it, and winding down with it - and that seems to be the best schedule for me to keep. Fewer aches & pains, and difficulties with facing the "list" and choosing which of the things seems most important. I only write them down because it doesn't take much for me to get distracted by something and go off in a completely different direction for one reason or another.

The "list" involves my participation in the things the place needs, the nurturing it wants to become what it has the potential to be. We're still in the early days in that process. That will need another winter of just "looking" and "seeing"... "hearing". Most of my tasks are indoors now. I still need to mow again and trim out some shrubby trees... get the weeds down. There are some more purchases required - equipment to help me be capable of doing what's needed by myself without hollaring for some help; some new furniture to provide storage that will fit in my space; serve my purposes... and still a good-sized pile of things to "get rid of".

Time to indulge in taking care of me, too. I need a haircut and the usual round of appts to get new glasses, a new dentist, doc... etc. Some warmer work clothes... new boots (hey, I've been slacking! I don't even have a dozen pair right now!!! LOL)

Summer stuff is on sale right now and I've been thinking a lot about my "outdoor living room" - the front porch. Contractors have left me the materials that were left over; I've got better than 1/2 roll of the fencing they using on the deck railings... and I have plans to build a few things with that.

The traditional tai chi form starts at section I, in January. I think they're only offering this at night - which doesn't work for me anymore. So either I suck it up and go anyway - which means driving back over the mountain at night thru whatever weather; or I figure out something else. It will be almost full dark an hour before the class starts by then... so I'd be night-driving both ways. An hour each way. We'll figure something out. Always do.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on September 30, 2017, 08:56:06 AM
...barter for a ride to class? Younger member with wheels?

I like Tai Chi. It's been started up at my church but I haven't gone yet.

Kudos on your energy, drive, and list-discipline, PR....so much I could learn.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 01, 2017, 05:35:38 PM
The list does get tedious Hops. And I have to take a few days off in a row. I've just now realized that except for getting some wood in for the winter and the usual mowing/clean up chores... there just isn't much that is truly important to get done. I'm using my "power of want" - wanting something done, so I can think about other things - to make it seem more important.

Since most of the tasks are indoors - it's not like there's a big rush. I can afford to take some down time.

Being so far away from the class, chances are there aren't any younger class members out my direction. But I don't know that for a fact yet.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on October 01, 2017, 10:21:03 PM

I don't like the idea of driving over a mountain  at night, esp in the winter.  When I was renovating a condo on Beech Mountain, it was a very dark time for me.  SO much fog.  So much fear.  So many long drives to SLows, as the locals called it.

So much hoping I wouldn't drive off the mountain with little kids in the truck.  I just won't do it again.  I don't want to, and I don't have to.

Maybe you could find an online class, or a DVD or something else that works on your schedule?


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 09, 2017, 08:37:29 AM
Back to the to-do list today.

I took some days off to just slug around and tackle watching the Ken Burns' Vietnam War series. Only up to episode 4. It's a mental exercise I'm putting myself through - to see if I can detect any patterns from then, that haven't changed yet, in how decisions are getting made. It's highly depressing and even tedious in places. A number of emotional hooks are used, that are unnecessary, IMO for normal people to understand the impact of events on the US, Vietnam, and geo-politics. It was also the continuous background to that traumatic time in my life, too. No nightmares, yet. Burns is doing a decent job of reframing things... but I'm hoping that the raw truth isn't getting filtered. My opinion is still changing as the episodes continue.

I'm at the point in the to-do's, where I'm finishing up the big house re-do. The outbuildings should get delivered and assembled next weekend. That will shift things to another phase of sorting & purging - a good winter project. I'm also starting another project - it was the first one on my list - the kitchen upgrade. Sink, counters and a new range. I've lost the igniter on one burner... and that kind of decided the issue if the project could wait or I just wanted to get all that stuff over with, since I'm kind of still in that mode anyway.

Lots of shifting gears around here and another level of settling in. Tai Chi's section 1 won't start till January. She's altered her schedule; used to be end of September. But it does make sense, especially for me, since the expected snow days won't fall during the more difficult complex sections. The days will start getting longer too - so not as much night driving. That sounds like agreement from the universe to head down that path to me.

There's a new level of grieving going on. Or maybe it's self-pity and acknowledgement of how much I depended on an intimate relationship. Acceptance of lonliness, which to be honest, is a feeling I never much had an opportunity to feel - except within one relationship. I worry a tad, about how all this solitude encourages me to revert to more feral ways of relating to other people - loss of the social graces, I guess you'd say. The contractors were a good diversion from noticing that and Allan was right - I do miss having them around. They'd help out with moving heavy things, if needed, and they were here.

There's still a lot of dust settling from the construction - and the annual invasion of stinkbugs, which was unavoidable while windows and doors were out of the walls. I'm sealing up all the holes, cracks and possible entry points as I find them but it's clear that replacing the windows and doors was a wise decision. No drafts in here; and it's QUIET - to the point that I no longer hear people on the driveway. I have a remedy for that to put up, as soon as it stops raining. I'm cleaning up the little piles of left-over wood, etc... as I go along and have a half-day's sort down stairs too. Until I get to the movies and music library. That's going to get pared down too.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on October 09, 2017, 11:14:25 AM
It sounds so very very satisfying to me, Amber...I vicariously enjoy so much hearing about your projects and house transformation.

I absolutely yearn to do that stuff. As of now, budget doesn't permit, but even on a micro scale. What I personally need to do is stop watching people do it to perfection on HGTV and simply take steps to beautify what I have.

I am frustrated that I DON'T accomplish, so it's good to read your accounts of how you DO. (And don't give me the caveats. You are incredibly productive and un-lazy.)

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 10, 2017, 08:13:08 AM
I think it's my mind that's so busy Hops... the body often wants to tell it to STFU - it's TIRED! LOL.

Maybe just a couple pillows here, a plant there... rearrange these couple drawers... would be enough for ya Hops. Tablecloths... I have a solid wood table in the dining room. It has a pad to protect it, so a tablecloth is necessary. I switch those out on a regular basis to change the "temp" in here. And I'll be rehanging pictures in different locations too - I just used nails where they already were and it was OK for awhile.

Yesterday Murphy and his laws got in my way. I tried walking away for awhile and then trying again. Yesterday used up all my patience. And I just accepted that it was "one of those days" and gave up. I get to try again today.

These projects and the "list"... are interesting, because while it does serve as a distraction from wallowing in all my still-fresh emotions about Mike (and not kicking myself for it)... there is a real benefit as well. I'm doing stuff that's important to ME. Making what I can see in my mind "real". I'm re-learning the creative process and how I relate to it... because no two processes are alike. I'm relearning what it means to take care of myself, too. Feeding myself - mentally, emotionally, and in creating my own little "empire" on this mountain. In this case, being "empress" means I'm the sole caretaker, nurturer, landscaper, and human input into this one spot and it's energy. I'm the servant of what this place wants to be, in full bloom. The stewardess.

It certainly needed "the touch"... and this was just Phase 1. I picked out the most important items on the list of what people need to live - and fixed those first. Phase 2 is going to be more outdoors and the other buildings, no doubt. When the kitchen is complete... that just leaves a few places where some furniture needs be added for functionality and storage. And I'm still "seeing" too much clutter because I don't have things spread out enough yet. The longer I look, the more ideas I get about what really makes sense in the space... and no one makes those; I'm going to have to. Along with my "helpers".

I've neglected giving attention to the other places in the process and I feel badly about that. But I can't do much about the beach house - which is still for sale. The cabin I've mostly decided that I will clean out the personal stuff and tools... and probably sell that too. Proceeds might go to a family LLC. Still exploring that. A lot of stuff we've taken for granted all our lives, the institutions... seem to be so stressed they're in danger of coming apart at the seams. Maybe it's a kind of rebalancing.

But as I'm "looking"... I try to scan for big picture changes and realize that while they're going to be "different times" - it's just change. Some unpleasantness; some new joys... and I'm looking to be on the forward curve of that change. So lots of thinking, feeling what "works", is simple... and useful in the long run. That's a lot of deciding and choosing - LOL. Which is why brain occasionally needs it's cache cleared. Manual labor is one good way to do that.

PS: I've caught myself yet again doing something silly. I've created a bunch of silly "have tos", false urgency - even false anxiety - about certain things on the "list". It wasn't really necessary, to motivate myself. I just had to want things enough - for me - to "go do". I had to matter enough to ME.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on October 10, 2017, 09:36:40 AM
I had to matter enough to ME....

That's where I have been stuck for years. I've told my T, over and over and over, that my best explanation for my own dysfunctions (in terms of Getting Things Done) is that "I have lost interest in my own life." I know that what did it was the long long long ordeal of Nmother, Nboss, Nbrother (well, NSociobro) and, more sadly than I can say, I think Ndaughter. I mentioned her to my PCP a week ago--he had seen her several times. He said, "When I met her I thought that she was an extremely troubled young woman with a personality disorder." First time any professional has ever said that to me. (Well, no, Doc G PM'd the same thought to me once. I couldn't bear to hear it.)

It's a little less stark these days. I slowly feel as though some life is coming back into these tired limbs. But some days it's a terrible battle to get up and Do It. Eat right. Exercise. Hell, do the dishes. Some days (because I have three days off per week) I lose it entirely. Only the job, old folks depending on me, forces me Up and Out.

It is so so so stupid. I had lost so much of my ability and willingness to TRY.

There's been a nice recent development, though. A male one.

But I gotta go to work now and will start a new thread about that later.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 13, 2017, 12:44:49 PM
Ya know Hops... it must take a huge amount of despair and hopelessness (ie, soul/ego pain) to develop that internal "I don't matter". It really is at the bottom of the things I've struggled with.

Furthermore, I think in my case - I became convinced of that pretty early on... in the form: I don't matter, unless I can find the ways that someone ELSE thinks I matter. My mom was totally absorbed in her victimhood... Dad gone. I fortunately sought out other adults to start at least trying to intellectually understand how this (not entirely accurate) conviction was at the root of self-neglect, self-destructive tendencies.... and poor relationship choices.

Making "I matter" conditional on someone else, is one mistake I made. Choosing older guys instead of someone closer to my own age for relationships. Intentionally over-looking the obvious warning signs in their personalities of quirks I simply couldn't live with long term - like emotional unavailability, arrogance to the point of Nism, but not quite... and people with their own life-impacting issues - despite their STRENGTHS and that they were essentially good people and good men.

And I'm STILL looking for the same thing: approval of my self and choices from older, "wise men". Not because I haven't already made my decision and I need a boost to confidence to go ahead - but confirmation. And I also need the "atta girls" and "good job" when I succeed. 50 years of trying to change this... and it's still there. Change just isn't going to happen for me, at the soul-essence level.

It's part of "me"; who/what I am. Instead of not liking it and wishing it would stop or that I could "fix it"... I think it's probably past time I told myself, on a daily basis: OK. It's OK that you are this way. But KNOW THIS about yourself and keep it in check; keep it on a short leash so you don't make any MORE mistakes out of trying to fill that hole and trying to find someone you can depend on to fill this need.

After all, there's no way I could ever know if someone who grew up with two normal parents isn't looking to fill some bottomless pits of need too. Or that they actually matter to themselves enough to breeze through what I struggle with - but am getting better at doing: taking care of me.

Day 4 of painting my front door today. It's been rainy and turned cooler. I'm in-between contractors right now (stuff planned for next week)... and while I "should" put poly on the interior of the windows upstairs... it's just not happening, because to me, it matters MORE than I finish the front door, that I use all the time... and get my paint stuff cleared out of there and think about where my "design" for this main living space is going to go.

Been ruminating on lots of things lately... but in a productive fashion.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 14, 2017, 11:04:08 AM
Painting the front door has provided me hours of non-verbal "thinking time". The color choice is how I'm tying the rustic of the logs (and the new lighter pine where the windows/doors came out) with the crisp modern/industrial touches. I did make one design change - originally thought I'd paint the window trim on the door & sidelights the same as the very wide trim around the door... and that just pushed me past the amount of patience I have for this project - 4 days of painting, is pretty near enough. And it would be too much contrast; too much linearity - too "graphic"... so the window trim will get one more coat of the door body color today.

I've decided that it's probably not such a bad thing for me to seek validation from the "wise men" that I seem to attract and am attracted to. As long as I don't sell myself out in the process - just for the attention. Yes, I do seem to be yearning for some attention... that intimacy of a close relationship. And given the fact that I've spent my life in a relationship of one sort or another... that's to be expected; pure normal. Speaking of which, Freddy has just now decided I need to give HIM attention, LOL. He seems to know when I'm confronting the inevitable sense of aloneness... versus loneliness feelings.

Sometimes, it's scary just how alone I am. Yeah, Ronnie always says he can be here in 10 minutes and I'm to call him ANY TIME, if I need him. He's away a lot too. But it's so quiet here I can hear very very well things in the woods, and people around - long before I can see them. I've got a good driveway alarm to set up, too. I don't hear the outside stuff nearly as well, inside now - because the new windows and doors are that much of an improvement. I'm not afraid nearly as much now.

We have a real casual relationship. He has a couple jobs; family - and his hunting buddies and while he promises to come help, he really doesn't have the time to be my "go-to"... so I find other ways/people to help. On the other hand - he likes to have the company when he goes to spread corn or just look at the ground he hunts on and I like have a "tour guide" of that area that is essentially my "back 40"... even though I don't own it. Except for his crew - there is never anyone back there. I don't think his wife is the outdoors type. So it's friendly... boundaries in place... and it's working out well.

His brother is also interesting. A good guy to know - and also offered to a "call contact" if Ronnie is out of town. I lust after his front loader/backhoe.... LOL. But he has the skill to use it and I don't.

My friend Debbie is desperately in need of a blow-out, kick back & relax, let it all hangout therapy weekend. Her birthday is next weekend, and that's the plan - I've been her "escape friend" for awhile now... and she's "been there" for me in some rough times, so we're "on". We shared the same N-boss way back when so we do know each other pretty well. That's one kind of intimacy.

The Hol and I can finish each other's sentences; fight and argue scaring anyone within the vicinity and just stop and go on doing what we were doing with no hard feelings. I've had the pleasure of her company - and Matt's too, with & without Holly - a LOT for the last 2 years. They're still hanging in there as a couple; still struggling financially - but still in better shape than a lot of their friends and acquaintances - and IMO, have their own life to attend to. So, I'm supporting that. Holly is just about done with big city life; we've talked about that a few times... and mom has some ideas if the beach house ever sells.

So, what's happening - I think - is that "space is being made" now in my life for something else; new; human; and expeditionary. This kind of thing can't be "planned" out; doesn't need a direction or goal; it's like taking a drive... and choosing to find out where a road might go. Time to explore, in other words. Without timelines, lists, plans or any pressure.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 22, 2017, 09:26:43 AM
Very frustrating week. My out buildings still aren't' here. I can't seem to contact the person I've been working with since the order was submitted. I've left messages, voice mails and have been promised a call back - which hasn't come for 2 weeks. They need me to be here, when they arrive to put up the buildings to write the check. I can't really PLAN to do any of the other stuff I want to get to, as a result. I was so ready for Debbie's and my "old lady blowout weekend".

In preparation for winter, I've ordered doors and windshield wipers for my UTV. I have to load it up on a trailer and drive it south to the dealer for the install and an oil change... since I still don't have room in the garage (where the jack is for it) to be able to see where through the skid plate the oil drain plug is. I don't have room because 1/2 of what's taking up space is slated to go in those past-due buildings.

What Holly, Matt & I have done in the studio means I can finally see the floor in there. Another good couple of days in there, and I'll be ready to "play".

I decided to move some phase 2 projects up on the timeline, that aren't weather dependent and I might as well spend the money now and have that in place. So, the plumbers have been back to replace my water filtration system - that's all done. In the process, it dawned on me that I have a gas line to the garage for the furnace and I could replace the electric water heater with a tankless. The studio doesn't need constantly available hot water... so they'll come back after I get a quote for that. Gas company is going to be here tomorrow to look the situation over and decide what all I'm going to need.

And my "simple" kitchen remodel will happen around my birthday. I wasn't in any hurry for it. I did ask for a timeline of what needed to happen when...... and never got it, until the designer called and said they'd be templating the counter TOMORROW. At which point, I knew I needed to get my new range ordered... which I did over the phone. The installer - an independent contractor for the appliance people - immediately threw a wrench into the process, with whining about being required to come out 3 times. He thinks I'm too far from the "big town over the mountains". And the appliance people (who have worked with this kitchen place for years) had never heard the requirement for 3 hookups/disconnects in the process before... sigh... and the designer is fielding my frustration about communication/process steps and timeline... so I asked her to work it out directly with the appliance people and get me out of the middle. I think she might be new. The counter guy... may have helped some while he was here and we were sorting it all out again.

There's no reason the old range has to be disconnected on the day they demo the counter tops - that range is getting hauled away on the next day, when the new range arrives. It's going to take at least 3 guys to navigate both ranges on the steps in/out of the house. So the installer only needs to be there one day. (To my way of thinking.) The idea about moving the range 3 times must only apply when the range is getting put back and isn't being replaced.

But I can't seem to get Amanda to understand that. I'll try another email to her Monday. This doesn't have to be that hard. LOL.

That would leave only one more large project on my "list" of must-haves, and ought to haves. That would be a whole house generator with it's own propane tank - to keep my furnaces running and the well pump running. Not having lights isn't that big a deal for me. Maybe the outlet the coffee pot is on... LOL. The electrician needs to come back anyway to run power to the new building (there's that requirement to HAVE the building again) and he already knows about the generator project. I've talked to the gas company too.

Replacing the carpet downstairs with a vinyl laminate won't be much of a project. Insulating the garage for my extra "pantry space" won't be a big deal either - but that's time-relative, with cold weather about here.

But my brain is real tired from trying to juggle all this stuff. I need more regular doses of "real connection with real people"... and even though I am friendly with a lot of my contractors... it's not quite the same. So, I'm seeing the "end of the list" in sight and wondering if I have the patience and stamina to get there... since I'm running into "people problems" in this part of the process.

Then next summer, I'll tackle some fencing.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on October 22, 2017, 03:14:46 PM
Wow, Skep, I'm only just catching up with this, oh my days you've been busy!  They make TV programmes about projects like this over here!  Lol.  It sounds like an amazing amount of work but it must be soooo satisfying to make headway and see things coming together.  I'm glad to read that you're taking time to watch films and sleep - so easy to keep go, go, going when there's such a long to do list.  It all sounds incredible, I'm so glad things are moving along :) xx
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 23, 2017, 08:51:57 AM
Tupp, all this started in March when I picked up my UTV. It's a side by side utility vehicle for working around the place... and I can back down the end of my road, to drop off trash or pick up the mail. It's a mile from my house to the mailbox. And the entrance of the road to the highway is VERY dangerous. Even my UPS man was concerned enough, that I had to suggest his office call the county to see if there's any way it could be made safer. My state just passed a highway bond... so maybe there's money for a project like that. It won't be easy.

The one thing all this stuff has done, is allow me to be around people - mostly guys - without any serious connection. The connecting has still just happened with my usual group of people. Some face to face; much of it online with my virtual "big brothers". And I'm past the point of craving a connection like that... it's a little more serious now.

Some of that is no doubt, because I'm coming up on the 2nd anniversary of Mike's death. But as much time as I've had to look back and ponder, I realized that our relationship was changing years before that. He knew he was sick... and found ways to hide it from me. And since it was a sore subject between us... I couldn't "go there". I had to leave him be with whatever he was choosing. That was one reason I came up with the idea that we could look for a place closer to "home" - where we moved from to the beach. It was something we could do together that I knew he enjoyed and it helped connect us somewhat again.

It's that issue of intimacy with "another", at the heart of it. Being able to chat about or empty all the stuff in my head to someone who cares... and can "fill in the gaps" in my thinking. Physical touch, is secondary to that... but no less important.

Even when I'm not up doing...... it seems I'm pretty busy and fully engaged with this thing called life. Still trying to figure it all out.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on October 24, 2017, 03:10:59 PM
Wowsers, Amber:

You've been very very busy.  I'm tired just reading your thread.

I'm curious how you decided on the vinyl flooring for downstairs.  Is it very damp down there?  Lots of tracking in water? 

I wish I could see pictures of your progress.  The front door, and windows.

Reading about making space in your life, and looking forward to what comes next is nice: )

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 24, 2017, 05:08:39 PM
The vinyl laminate is very durable and easy to care for; simulates hardwoods. That's my main entrance in and out... tracking in mud and snow. So easy to care for is important. Most of the space is utilitarian and mudroom. My office is down there - but a thick rug and nice curtains will soften it a lot.

Let's see if these pictures will upload:

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on October 24, 2017, 09:43:47 PM
OH, the wood is so beautiful.
Rich, warm, varied.

Thanks for this look, Amber! What a treat.
It looks as though you have gorgeous light too, and plenty of it.

I can't remember anything lovelier than when I lived in the mountains
(Appalachian Kentucky, miles into hollers) in a tiny house on the hillside.
Mountain light is different to me in a way because it's so appreciated.

With mountains all around you, when/as the light is shining through,
I always felt and appreciated its presence.


I wanna sit down and put my feet up and breaaaaathe.

The air too, the air is so much better there!


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 28, 2017, 09:33:56 AM
LOL... thanks Hops. I do love being out here; and it IS a lot of work to live here. Even after the projects are all done. But that's what I wanted. Something to "tend to".

Lighter has her moss; I have lichens. Partly because of how much sandstone and shale there is at the surface of the soil, in most places. Researching these last winter, come to find out that lichens don't grow where the air is polluted... or where there is a high amount of acid rain. Given how MUCH I have around here, seems to be an overall positive sign.

The area where my garden will go is full of dense, deep green long grass. It slopes to the pond and has a wet weather creek as one border. I don't "need" a large garden, but I'm going to be planning for one in any case. Orchard will likely go in that area too. Again, not big - because I have to plan for old age, and with planting it now and babying it - it should produce enough that I'll likely have extras to share around.

The hunters have been here the past few days. There is a story in that - but I'm still processing it at the moment and have to accomplish a couple of things before the rain comes. No confusion, just chagrin at my natural tendencies and maybe a little wishful thinking that my temperament was a little different than it is. I'll have to come back later and explain.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on October 29, 2017, 03:26:47 AM
Wow, Skep, those are beautiful pics, what a lovely place to be.  It's great that you've made something that looks warm and cosy but can still withstand the rigours of that outdoor lifestyle and function as you need it to.  You must be feeling very proud of what you've achieved, and so quickly as well!

I hope the processing of the hunters' story is going okay! xx
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 29, 2017, 10:16:00 AM
So I mentioned above that Mike had been withdrawing from me for a couple years, even before things reached the terminal stage. I didn't understand, at the time - and yes, I would occasionally imagine a few possibilities - but I was going through a lot of flashbacks to the rape simultaneously. I wasn't feeling all that comfortable being intimate, either. Thank god for menopause, right?

And now, it's been 4-5 years since I've had a relationship at the level a guy could put his arm around me and I could sink into that feeling of being wanted and safe. I've been noticing that I'm feeling drawn to - almost compelled - to seek out validation/confirmation/acknowledgement of "me" from my wise, older, "useful brothers". (I decided to call that "Daddy Issues" - but after looking around, it would seem that's not quite accurate.)

In the process of packing to move - I found hundreds of items that Mike had purchased and hid from me with an unmistakable message to not deny myself physical contact and pleasure. It was embarrassing, in a way. I'm really not that adventurous sexually. I crave touch, contact, intimacy and true caring more than any physical release... which, IMO, is a lot like flossing. And it's something I can do for myself. But I can NOT give myself those things I crave that only come from a guy in a relationship. (Thank god for black trash bags... many of those "toys" got purged.)

So, the farm came with a "caretaker" - Ronnie. He is the main "hunter" around here. The first few months, he acted like a chaperone too... giving me pointers about various local things; bugging me ride back into the woods & up the ridge with him. Which I have done a couple times - once in his truck, and the other times in my ranger - me driving. He is deeply connected to the land around me... and I think wants to share it with people. His wife does not appear to be interested in outdoors stuff.

Ronnie has helped me out a few times, more than that really - getting stuff done around here. We have an open agreement about letting him & his buddies use my little garden shed and space behind where the barn will go as his "base camp". There have been a couple times, he's made me uncomfortable by being physically too friendly. Hugs and smooches on the cheek kinda thing. I've handled those right at the moment by giving those unmistakable female physical signals, that he's just crossed a line.

I'm not afraid of him, btw. He is a good guy. And a family man... as are his buddies. I can trust him, I think. (Just a little doubt there; planted by my useful brother - the SF doc. I can tell David just about anything and we can talk it through.) So, I AM happy to see him when he's around. He can come & go back into the woods as he pleases - sometimes he stops to see me; a lot of times he doesn't. Ronnie never presses the boundary I set awhile ago... except...

I must be giving off a lonely, needy vibe. Or he suspects that I am - and he does like hanging out here, with me, relaxed... no pressure... too. Thursday, he asked if he could spend the night at the house, since he hadn't cleaned out the little bunkhouse yet. It was supposed to be cold on top of that (it was! I broke out gloves) I thought a second - taken aback; it was pretty bold for him - and said, sure - I have a spare bedroom. (Mind you, at the beach house, I've had plenty of company in the past... Holly's Matt stayed with me a few days, alone. Autumn's TJ spent a week with us, bringing the kids along. And Mike's brother Chris spent a long weekend with me after Mike had passed... and stayed with us many, many other times. There wasn't any problem with all that.)

After dark, when all the other guys left, Ronnie showed up at the door... letting me know they were gone for the evening... and said he was going home to eat & shower/change clothes but he could come back if I was going to be up and wanted company. My "out" - I wanted an out right then - was that once he got home, he should just crash out there, since we'd already figured on Friday night.

It's at that point, that the old subconscious imagination broke out of her cage.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 29, 2017, 10:43:50 AM
Friday night, he begged off with some excuses - his best friend couldn't hunt Sat morning since he was a couple counties away hunting with his brother; and Ronnie had a wedding to go to Sat afternoon. It was the comment: "I'll come and stay though, if you NEED me to" that pushed my buttons. But I was relieved that I didn't have to have a frank talk with him; which is what I'd come to after pondering a good bit.

Thursday evening, right as he left... he leaned over & hugged me and kissed me on the cheek. Right below the ear. And damn, if I don't know what that energy is (I'd have to be dead)... and that it wasn't just me feeling that. So the starved for physical contact subconscious and physical need for touch fueled a LOT of imaginary possibilities. As I tidied up the house and refreshed the guest room that day... I discovered all those little places in life, where a man used to be. And it was fun and happy to be visiting them. And I got all involved in creating little scenarios in my mind -- all driven by the empty spaces that used to have someone special there.

I maybe shouldn't be watching Outlander. Last week's episode reunited Claire & Jamie after 20 years, and I thought it was absolutely "spot-on" that the scene where they go to bed the first time in so many years... Jamie head-butts Claire's nose. Laughing and crying at the time, here - that was terribly true to life. And it's just that intensity of intimacy... that is just GONE for me. So perhaps I really am a lonely, needy old widow after all.

But the rational mind decided to slap some sense into the subconscious fantasies. Crossing that line, with this guy would NOT have a good outcome for either one of us. I do not want to "go there" with someone so much younger - with a wife and family. Even if he IS interested and maybe curious. Lots and lots of booby-traps in there. Even given my response to him and I do like him.

On the other hand, it would appear I have a new aspect of my life that I had set aside for some time, that I'm going to need to explore, take some risks, and this is going to require "getting out more" because there aren't that many men who just drop into my remote little corner of the world, without an invitation. So, now I need to figure out a way to do that in a safe and reasonable fashion.

And I'm not entirely sure if I can restrain that needy subconscious under the circumstances.

This is rediculous to be facing at 60+. LOL.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on October 29, 2017, 02:31:17 PM
You're still a woman at 60+, Amber....age doesn't change that.
NMom had a gentleman caller well into her 90s and that sexual spark didn't go out.
She wasn't sexually active in the literal sense, but male attention was important to her.
I am in my late 60s and this is important in my life too.

I agree with married-David that you should stop playing with married-Ronnie. It could go bad in so many ways.

My reason's simple. I crossed the line once with a married man and will always regret it. I understand why I did it (loneliness, his attention, soulmate matching, plus the chemistry....etc etc). Eventually I forgave myself. But I will always regret it.

Because I harmed another woman and had no right to.  No matter how he described his wife, or how I fantasized I offered what she lacked or withheld, I had absolutely no right to violate HER life. I judged myself for that strongly because I knew exactly how it felt to me when I was married, when my husband's sexual focus strayed. My choice later when I was single but the man was not, damaged my personal integrity and it took me years to rebuild it. When my spouse made clear he was disloyal it HURT. And the fact that other women would willingly participate in creating my pain doubled the hurt. (In time, ironically I also lost respect for this later lover, for his willingness to dishonor his wife.) And know what? I was intimate with him ONE time. Yet it took years to heal from the pain.

I completely understand how lifelong monogamy can't work out in every instance. It's sad but it's true. But I retroactively created a firm new boundary for myself. It was simple. Dating online, if I heard from an interesting man who was separated, I'd respond: "I'm sorry but I don't date men who are married or separated. I'd be happy to hear from you after your divorce is final." Etc. That way, he finishes his own marital experience however he must, but I am not part of the decision or the process. Huge relief.

Your isolation on the mountain is romantic, Amber. That's where the danger of hurting others lies. I hope you will find regular group experiences that bring you out of your fantasies and into community. There will be good men there, who maybe haven't come to you on the mountain like Rapunzel's suitors...but who are divorced, or widowed, and would welcome a chance to get to know you.

It takes time and loneliness is like gasoline on sexual sparks. I so so understand it. And so hope you do eventually find a new relationship that you can enjoy openly in the light on your beautiful mountain. You deserve it. Just not at the expense of another woman, who would be so hurt by your actions. You're no villain and neither is Ronnie, but together you could be cruel. (Personally, part of my healing was to challenge myself about entitlement. Ouch. But there it was. My desire and loneliness translated into, but I WANT him...and there it went. Integrity.)

I think it will take patience and time, and perhaps joining some group of women will help you maintain your perspective on community. You'll always interact with "mountain men" but you also have sisters you haven't met yet. Maybe there are other unique and determined women nearby who'd really value a new friend?

The friendship of interesting women, here and in 3-D, has kept me sane and in my lane for many years. I am grateful to be a crone!

I've been single since 1995. And surprisingly, there may be a new man in my life. More on that when/as it becomes more solid. (I have that don't-jinx-it feeling.)

love to you,
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on October 29, 2017, 02:57:22 PM
PS--I think one of the reasons I allowed myself to become involved with someone married --even for that one night--was that I really had no clear sense of boundaries. My Nmother invaded my sense of self throughout my childhood, and she had no "rules" about respecting my separateness. I think that having had to painstakingly learn about not just constructing, but also respecting, boundaries was a major task of my adulthood.

I think people raised in more normal settings don't struggle quite as hard to accept that "this is where I end and you begin." I think it's also possible that the same could be true for another's marriage. "This is where my right-boundary ends and yours begins." As frantically lonely as I was at that time, it was not as hard as it should have been to overwhelm my very porous sense of boundaries.

I'm relieved I see them and obey them now (for decades). But I do not judge others who struggle to, because I was there did that. Lonely damaged women, and I sure was, can be hurricanes in other people's lives.

My former boundaryless self? But if it feeeeeeeeeels good....I'm a REBEL.....and I'm DIFFERENT. Oh that's a long song. Siren songs are real. The rocks are real.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 29, 2017, 03:01:24 PM
Hops - it was the voice of experience that was smacking common sense back into me. Been around that block a few times myself. It never ends ends well for anyone.

I think I'm going to handle it by just coming out and saying it: You're sweet, and I'm glad to have your help around here... and if I can do ya a favor or so in return, I will - but it won't be THAT kind of favor and that's as far as it goes. I'm encouraged that he kinda came to his senses and backed out, too. I'm definitely not feeling entitled to being anyone's "a little on the side".

I think I'm surprised and shocked at my inner huzzy, to tell the truth. LOL. But there it is. Didn't help that somewhere in my undisciplined thinking, fantasizing and reminiscing... I remembered the most flaming flirtation, attraction of my life. He's long passed away now. But he pulled me out of my shell in ways that only ever happened again, with Mike.

I think it was a reminder that I can't neglect this part of myself. Just a little more intense than my usual "reminders". Jeez. And maybe putting me on notice that's "it's time" be a little more available, to those who are, as well.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 30, 2017, 09:58:20 AM
When I told Holly about this... she interrupted to ask if I might not be projecting my fantasies onto this poor guy. I can see how she came to that perception. I'm not TOTALLY sure, myself.

Maybe his intentions in making the requests were totally innocent. But the fact is, he did ASK. And it was the request that got my wheels turning off in fantasyland. I'm sure that does say a lot more about me, than him.

So, that'll take some thinking about... quiet feeling out those spaces... and more processing. Pretty sure it's not that far out of the range of experience after my loss. But as usual, I forgot it was something I needed to watch and notice about myself. And like a gawky teenager... I will likely swing around the extremes a bit before I find a more graceful way of navigating this part of life.

What on earth convinces guys to post shirtless pictures of themselves to online dating sites???? What a turn off. I just tell the database, they're not a match and move on. I took a quick tour of what "our time" considers a match for me - bleck. It reminds me of the old "meat markets" of the 80s. It's more fun to cruise the dog adoption sites... and the dogs & puppies are way cuter and look more interesting.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on October 30, 2017, 10:11:14 PM
Oh, I hear you.
I especially love the selfies some of these good gents take in their bathrooms.
It's mighty brave!

I mean...some are willing to share not just their chests, but their medicine chests!

I am not a bathroom snob.
Nor a naked chest snob.

But on websites, in combination...my stars and garters.


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on November 04, 2017, 03:22:56 AM
When I told Holly about this... she interrupted to ask if I might not be projecting my fantasies onto this poor guy. I can see how she came to that perception. I'm not TOTALLY sure, myself.

Maybe his intentions in making the requests were totally innocent. But the fact is, he did ASK. And it was the request that got my wheels turning off in fantasyland. I'm sure that does say a lot more about me, than him.

So, that'll take some thinking about... quiet feeling out those spaces... and more processing. Pretty sure it's not that far out of the range of experience after my loss. But as usual, I forgot it was something I needed to watch and notice about myself. And like a gawky teenager... I will likely swing around the extremes a bit before I find a more graceful way of navigating this part of life.

What on earth convinces guys to post shirtless pictures of themselves to online dating sites???? What a turn off. I just tell the database, they're not a match and move on. I took a quick tour of what "our time" considers a match for me - bleck. It reminds me of the old "meat markets" of the 80s. It's more fun to cruise the dog adoption sites... and the dogs & puppies are way cuter and look more interesting.

Ha, the perils of internet dating, Skep!  Yes, it's an eye opener.  I think this guy is just waking you up to the possibility of a man being part of your life again - not him, for all the reasons you've already said, but it seems his attention, whatever form it is taking, has made a little something in you wake up and think okay, maybe this part is coming back to life.  I think that's a good thing, even though it's not a path you want to go down with this particular chap, but it seems to be sending a signal that that part of your life is coming into focus.

And yes, I think clear, no messing about statements about what is and isn't on the cards is best - saves any future misunderstandings or anyone crossing the line so much that the nice helpful quality of your friendship is affected xx

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on November 05, 2017, 11:54:15 PM
How will you seek out male companionship for yourself?  It's tough to be so isolated, and want to expand your social circle I'm sure.

Your cabin reminds me very much of my father's house.  Pecky Cyprus ceilings and walls with hardwoods....so warm and cozy.  You have so many great vinyl flooring choices these days, and it's a no brainer in wet areas for sure.

About this younger man.... I'm glad he's creating sparks, but I agree with Hops and you.  Too many pitfalls,and ways it could go wrong.  Cultivating connections with potential seems a better use of your time, and there's no moral wrestling match.  Even if it was easy and casual and super convenient, it might get weird.  Possibly very weird, but you're a big girl.  I trust you'll make decisions that are right for you.  You deserve to be cherished and honored.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 06, 2017, 02:41:55 PM
Well, I'm still looking at all this.

On the one hand, I'm clearly not dead yet - in that I can still feel all those feelings - and for someone besides Mike. Quite the revelation, actually. That's good news.

But this other guy already has his hands full. I'm pretty sure I didn't "project" his request to spend the night... or his other comments that gave me pause. (Even while the fantasy-machine was cranking up...) So, I'm not misunderstanding anything here. And maybe he's just "playing" and doesn't mean any of it. (Which is possible since he begged off.) I just have to more ready the NEXT time, and shut it down faster. (I guess I need the practice, too.)

My over-protective "useful Big Brother" keeps warning me about the special things to watch out for, being a pretty well-off, widowed hermit. Especially in the rural areas where people don't have a lot to talk about except each other. And one is being taken advantage (emotionally) by someone for their own agenda. David's 10 years older than I am (more or less) and went through some of the same things when he moved out to the boonies in South Dakota. I quite like him - but he's taken too - and he will NOT come back east at this point in his life. So, we've navigated that really well to where we're both comfortable.

What Ronnie is up to, I'm not entirely sure... but I'm not imagining things (except my own little fantasies). So, I'm choosing to be flattered... but "not interested" in that kind of relationship and I have a lot of experience scaring guys off. So, while I do like the offers of help - he doesn't follow through that well or I see other things about him, that give me pause. I have reminded him more than once, that I'm also "country smart"  - wise to some of the hustles people use.

When I told him the other day about hurting my back moving the trailer by myself - out of my own foolishness - he asked why I didn't call him. I told him it was because I was stubborn and hard-headed and the fire was shooting out of my eyes... as I was fighting the pain trying to do something else that had to get done. LOL. I can still make guys back up. I guess I pulled muscles on Sat... but it wasn't until Tuesday - when I had to leave during "school bus" hours in the morning and deal with my wretched intersection with the highway that the problems really set in.

I was driving down to the little cabin to inspect things and bring back some stuff I didn't want to leave there - including Mike's ashes. Planned to meet someone who'll take down some trees and work on my driveway, too. And I think I went out without being dressed warm enough... then drove the 2 hrs home - again having to "turn my rig around" up the hill - across the highway during the pm school bus time frame... to be able to pull into my road. And then of course, having to unload everything... put the trailer back in it's spot... and THEN the old muscles started to really hurt.

I just have to be able to do stuff like this MYSELF. I can't be calling for - and waiting on help - all the time. But I think I probably have a lot to learn about what I can/can't physically do still.

Kitchen remodel is this week. Guy will be here to unhook the current range pretty soon. Demo tomorrow. Install early Wed morning; then plumbers & gas inspection Thursday. No word on the buildings yet, but I did hear the SOONEST it could possibly happen is Wed. I'm not holding my breath.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on November 06, 2017, 09:38:25 PM
Awww, Amber. I'm so sorry you're hurting.
If anything amplifies loneliness, pain does.
((((((( )))))))

Sometimes when I've been in an awkward, uneasy situation like yours with Ronnie, I find the solution is not to wait. Not to wait for his signals, not to worry about decoding him. But to take ownership of myself, and step up, by saying directly: "I have a rule about this, and I am not going to cross it. So thanks for the help and here's your check, but I don't want this to be so personal."

And small town or no...there are other Ronnies. If this relationship is tainted now, it's okay to move on. It sounds as though in your hunger, you reveal and risk quite a lot with him even in dialogue. Giving him that memorable a look into your core is something a lonely person does. (Happy to share my Tshirt collection....). It's a power to display and if one's a bit reckless, to hand over.

I think you need to be your own guardian, and guard yourself not out of a sense that you're bad or dangerous, but out of respect for the vulnerability of where and how you live, and that you're a newcomer there and don't need to be the scandal of the valley, and that you haven't yet spent enough time in the town to actually bond with other rings of this complex circle of community.

I hope you find other new friends there. It'll take effort. But plugging into community life in some way, and regularly, will help ground you in a positive relationship with the ecosystem you've entered. You're not an invasive plant.

You're a wonderful interesting woman who deserves to be enriched by other people, plural. Be wary of fixation on male energy. You have plenty of your own.

love to you,
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on November 08, 2017, 01:01:43 AM
A lot of the time when I read through a thread and want to reply I realise all I need to write is, "Yeah, what Hops said".  Lol

I hope your back muscles feel better soon.  I get a lot of problems with my back so I understand that feeling very well.  And I hope the kitchen plans go well, it sounds like another big step forward
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 08, 2017, 11:03:43 AM
Yes Lighter, our Hopsy has a way with words, doesn't she? LOL...

Thanks for the support Amazons. I guess I'm slowly realizing that this is also a "two steps forward, one step back" process. And while parts of "me" are more than ready to take on something like this... there are other parts that really AREN'T.

I'm fixated, of course, on my relationship with Mike... and thinking I need exactly THAT again. But that's not going to happen - and I knew that a long time ago. Plus, I am completely different than I was when that relationship blossomed (rather quickly) into a marriage. We were both coming from the same kind of life... incomes... etc. And then we adjusted together, to my new financial situation. It was very lucky that my biggest complaint about him was his "collecting stuff" habit. I haven't been so lucky previously.

And that scares the crap out of me. A "smooth operator" can definitely take advantage of that "need" and then flip into a controlling, greedy, possessive -- and financially, serious risk -- to me, my business and the kids. I CAN'T trust my perception and instinct, because I've gotten myself into "fixes" before... not seeing all the signs of problems... which of course, I've learned about in the course of being on the board here. (How many years is that? Would I be considered "slow" in developing confidence in myself?? LOL)

So, I don't want that kind of relationship. And except for my smooshy, marshmallow-y, needy side which just wants to swoon and trust that a new hero will swoop in to catch me... I need to start writing an outline for myself... and ask myself some questions about what would/wouldn't be OK with me in a relationship. I need to KNOW this for myself before I can risk being open with someone at that level. Just because: once burned twice shy.

---------------- New topic and tale... and some thinking out loud --------------

All spring & summer, Ronnie was scarce around here. He pointedly avoids direct interaction with me if my friends or the kids are here - even when I've invited him to join us. He definitely only wants a one on one interaction. And there is a clear attempt to ingratiate himself into my "good graces". Yesterday's was a phone call with a piece of information that we both have an interest in - the guy who owns the land behind me and that Ronnie hunts, is thinking about selling it. Out of the clear blue sky. And of course, Ronnie is offering to be of any help he can be... to help me buy it.

Obviously, I don't want a subdivision to go in there - and at the moment the only vehicle access is MY DRIVEWAY. In some cases, when something like that happens, I've seen instances where the developers feel entitled to tell me what I can/can't do on my property. So, I told him I'd do some research - and take some time to think about it. I'm real estate poor as it is, until the beach house sells. But yes, I could buy this large parcel of land outright and yes, it would enable me to do a few more things IF I had some additional physical help. (See where that could work out good for Ronnie? I can also see him asking me to sell him a chunk too.)

What he doesn't understand, is that Mike was the black belt at this kind of thing -- but he didn't engage in it with ME. At all, ever. He taught me how to think like that... to protect myself. What I'm good at, is appearing to be the naive, and unsuspecting female... to find out what I need to know. Getting enough information that I can read what the "pattern" in front of me - even if it's confusing - is telling me.

So, it's about 24 hrs later. I DO have a really strong self-interest in initiating contact with the owner and opening a discussion. (For all I know, Ronnie offered to run it past me with the owner. He does things like that, but would never let on to me.) So, I have the owner's phone number... and left it with Ronnie, that he didn't need to be in the middle of this, and thanks for the heads up. I've run the picture of the opportunity past BOTH of my useful big brothers and Doc said to not think about it; just buy it, if I'm not going into debt to do so... LOL. My bankers are already drooling over being able to invest that amount of money for me... if I DON'T do something with it. But I've also been throwing out ideas to the kids about ways to help them, in the here and now... without waiting till I'm compost.

So, it's at this point in all the crazy casual "relationship" - which it doesn't quite rise to that level in reality - that the steel gates come down and I don't chat about the goings on with him, beyond his "need to know" and same goes for my reasons for wanting that land. And maybe I'll get a chance to have my little talk with him about the other stuff. Sometimes, it's nice that my marshmallow morphs into a Viking at the drop of a hat.

I also have run this "Ronnie problem" past my widow friend who lives further downstate. She is pretty perceptive, and told me to consider that Ronnie might be having "marriage problems" and to dig out my 10 ft pole, too. Just like you guys. So that appears to be the consensus. And my distrust of his motivations is now strong enough, to be more on guard. So that problem is solved, settled in my own mind. I just need an opportunity to make that black & white for him.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on November 08, 2017, 12:32:49 PM
and then flip into a controlling, greedy, possessive -- and financially, serious risk -- to me, my business and the kids.
PM me if you'd like a very trustworthy and worth-the-drive estate attorney with a ton of experience with large clients and small. He also goes elsewhere in the state for consultations. This is what trusts are for. Bonus: his British accent.

left it with Ronnie, that he didn't need to be in the middle of this, and thanks for the heads up.

BRAVO. Yes, exactly.

What I'm good at, is appearing to be the naive, and unsuspecting female... to find out what I need to know.

Why pretend to be someone you're not? Why "trick"? It can feel SO good to speak straight up to those you trust, as you have with your friends. You can do the very same thing with professionals. What Ronnie offered is a straightforward real estate tip. Good to know, and you may choose to act on it. But that's all it was. It doesn't get to be embroidered into any form of enmeshment or intimacy or deeper relationship unless you invite it to.

Exciting you might get to preserve some land you'd enjoy protecting. For the land, for your family. You might even keep a protective parcel and develop part in a way you'd feel good about. Or not.

it would enable me to do a few more things IF I had some additional physical help. See where that could work out good for Ronnie?
In rural communities, there are many physically strong, skilled people familiar with land and trees and equipment, who need work. Side jobs or PT jobs or whatever. Ronnie is not the only available helper where you live. Whack a line drive and you'll knock over 10 of them, without the vibes.

All this advice should be sifted for what rings sensible to you....ignore what doesn't....
You could go find out where women, firefighters, volunteers, vets gather. But don't look at hiring male help as a reason to act "naive and unsuspecting". You can be direct and clear. Describing the kind of help you need and asking for recommendations. It can be good to get recommendations from women who seem non-manipulative, experienced and decent. You can even mention, I'd like to hire some trustworthy help that I can feel comfortable around. Any woman who's lived a while knows what that means. Whether or not you're religious, a church community might be a good place to look, too. It's no guarantee, but you can find men who wouldn't cross boundaries.

And then you do need (I know you know this) to shore up your own. One day you will be able to melt and be vulnerable again. It'll come when it's right and you're ready. But wouldn't it be wonderful to meet someone* in the community, not just as the Lady of the Mountain? (My last lover was a friend who'd gardened for me, and in my loneliness, watching his muscles, etc. All very nicely Chatterly, but we had too little in common by a long shot.)

He definitely only wants a one on one interaction.
That's guilty behavior. That's not married-man behavior. It means fantasy, and likely future harm.

I can also see him asking me to sell him a chunk too.
Oof. Installing a problematic person (or a person who stimulates your own problematic side) permanently nearby. "No, not in my plan, sorry." No further explanation required.

When I was in grad school, the most strikingly talented and beautiful woman I knew, who could be slaying men and making them swoon right and left if she wanted, spent a ton of time in a rural quilting circle. Local farm women, artsy types, ordinary women of all sorts got together every month and did old-fashioned quilting...and talking and talking and talking, plus a potluck....together. It was my first glimpse of the strength and support and astonishing comfort women could give each other.

It wasn't what I experienced from other females when I was young. But as an adult, it changed my life to recognize and celebrate the power and significance of female friendship. I hope you find that too. It's steadying, balancing, comforting, encouraging. (There are always competitive or insecure women to avoid, and that's okay. People are still people.) It just took me a long time to discover how my fear of liking and trusting female friendship had meant I was cheating myself of the strength and support of sisterhood.

Hmmm, more I think about it, more I think that CRAFTERS, who populate a lot of mountain areas, might be where some of your as yet unmet sisters are. Of course! Potters, weavers, bread bakers, quilters and painters. Many are female and many build community. Instinctively trusting and helping each other.

Aww heck. Hope some of this is helpful. And not too annoying. I'm so cheering for you in your new life, Amber. I see it wonderful and see you happy.


*SINGLE (ie, divorced or widowed. Not "separated...").
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on November 08, 2017, 01:42:37 PM
Aw, Amber.  Back pain.... so debilitating.

I use bio freeze, a back vibrator, and a lot of bending forward allowing my spine to lengthen, and hang.  I also do what appears to be dirty dancing against a wall, or on the floor to work out lower back muscle tightness.  If that doesn't work I swallow hard and ask retired chiropractor for an adjustment, which I hate to do.  I'm a bit like you... I want to do things on my own, and not have to ask for help, esp male help.

It looks like you have the Ronnie thing in hand.  The property will be a great deal you'll feel is worth considering, or it won't, IME.  Heck, the owner might be interested in owner finance that works out well for both parties.  Hard to say till you've dug around, and collected the details, IME.

I want to say that the sparks with Ronnie are really useful information, IME.  It doesn't have to be anything more than that.  You can file him away somewhere safe, and wash your hands of the ick factor, or you can allow it to keep coming up, and bugging you.  I'd re file him gratefully, and not give it another thought unless he requires a quick correction that makes clear your position.

In the meantime, how are you dealing with your back?  Is it getting better?


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 09, 2017, 09:10:44 AM
I don't want to jinx it - but yes, my back is better this morning. So far - later in the day, it seems to kick up again. But the plumbers are on the way now, so I've got most of the day being comfy still and not trying to do much. New stove is a dream btw. I'm anxious to bake in it and get my thermometer going in it to learn how much I can trust the controls/temp.

Hops - I'm afraid I totally confused you with "naive" comment. I DO, in most cases, make initial contact with someone straightforwardly, and as clearly as I can. I ONLY play that part (intentionally) when I suspect someone is trying to BS me or has ulterior motives in play or when I think it will generate some more solid clues about what that person really wants.

Sometimes, the role jumps out instinctively, protectively - and while it sets off an internal argument about just WTH I thought I was doing - it still produces solid results I can work with. Remember, I've been here a year now and Ronnie's been here - coming & going from the hunting grounds as he pleases - during that time. He does stop and talk to me, again - when I'm here alone and not when anyone else is around.

All the little intuitive things about him have added up over time. Confirming my suspicions/worries... until this last thing made it perfectly clear. He KNOWS now, he can push my lonely button and that in an offhand moment that I'll cave. I'm kinda hoping that since he backed off that weekend - only asking if I "needed" him to come and stay and hangout - that it's the end of it. I know I'll be having that chat, at our next opportunity, if he stops talking long enough for me to get a word in edgewise.

As for buying this property - we'll see. It's an opportunity for me, but Mr. Owner has forwarded his phone and all I get is a busy signal. So I can't even leave voicemail. I know people in DC are busy and when they have downtime, they totally unplug... but if this continues, I guess I'll wait till he lists it. The only other option, is that he might answer Ronnie's phone number. And I'd rather not have to ask him right now.

You're totally right about hiring other "help" than Ronnie. I've done that all summer long... it doesn't have to be Ronnie. That hit me yesterday thinking about all this and what I might do with all that land. As for the next Mr. Right... while I'm going to keep my options open... I think I do have some criteria that are non-negotiable. I'm not going to go off latching on to the first possibility that comes along, either. Never fear.

And sometime, when these big projects are done and the other stuff is under control... yes, I'll get out again. I'm really looking forward to that - as soon as I'm free to "move about the planet" again. LOL. I have multiple ideas/plans actually. Just not at that point in time yet.


Twiggy's "really awful bad day" has been coming up for me a lot lately because of things in the news, and people talking about... and the fact that Holly works on the special effects crew of House of Cards. I was just able to write the whole story in one paragraph - and NOT relive it in the telling. That's a milestone I think.

But I think writing out my brother's situation... I realize that just below the conscious level, for all 3 of us... lurks our individual experiences of Twiggy's "really awful bad day" and the fear that this is another situation that could be like that. Bro has never, ever mentioned it and I'm not sure what, if anything, he remembers -- and my mom knows better than to go there with me. I've mostly forgiven her... so any more BS excuses about her behavior to me in that situation will just wake up the anger that I know is still barely simmering.

My T made me understand that it was critically important that I did not share my story and memories with the Bro. I think, because his reaction the first time, was to regress and pretty much cease to function as a "self". I'm gonna guess that it's even MORE important right now, since his current situation is closely enough parallel to the level of trauma from the past it almost looks like he & mom are living a deja vu of that time.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 10, 2017, 09:23:54 AM
I'm up, and moving slow. It's frigid and getting colder today outside. I need to break in the woodstoves today. The good news is I was able to turn over in bed, with only minor grumbling from my back. So... one more easy day today... which lets me think and spew things out my fingers.

This year, I got a card and a phone call from my mom, for my birthday. Go figure. Card was totally out of character for her, and her writing is starting to look like my brother's. Of course - the call was typical, same old same old... but I am starting to observe little signs that she's giving up some of her victim-complex. My brother's divorce is likely part of that - so I don't expect it to be permanent.

My brother called later in the day... and we talked for a good hour. This is a new bright spot in my "family" situation. It helps add some to my empty cup of "intimacy" with another person. While he is looking for commiseration and support because of his divorce process - and some advice here and there - I'm no longer feeling the subtext of "can you fix this for me"? that I used to. He finally made his decision, he's not second-guessing himself at all - while still mourning the dream of "what could've been", and he's being really open about his feelings in a way that I've not seen for years & years & years.

At this point, his lawyer is advising him to leave the house before Thanksgiving - because it's not safe for HIM. Wife is completely off her rocker and physically violent - and extremely abusive all the rest of the time. He has the same natural self-defense mechanisms I do... but under the circumstances understands he MUST keep them completely in control. The problem is Mom. He's recognized that it wouldn't be safe to leave her behind (I give my mom the odds over the wife, but then mom will have another breakdown) - but he doesn't want to share the space with her either. And I know I can't. At 84, she couldn't deal with all the steps at my place.

So, while he's found a couple interesting places to buy - he doesn't want to do that until the divorce is final. They don't have their first sit-down mediation meeting until January. So, he's having to find a place to rent. I am pushing the social interaction of an assisted living community for my mom - especially one that can adapt to more nursing, as needed. Guess I'm on the hook for half the cost... and likely doing the legwork to find something in the area she's living in - and is familiar with. He didn't ask that... I'm just realizing it this moment. He doesn't have time to do both. And he's sleep deprived because of the abuse at home.

The oldest kid is in college now. She refuses to go back to the house - whether her mom is there or not... because mom will call her screaming at her, if she goes home and hangs out with Dad instead of her. The youngest will graduate HS in 2 years. I've seen firsthand how she treats him - but he seems totally immune to it - like water off a duck's back. But it may not be safe for him to continue to live with mom either -- the wife transfers a lot of her anger at my brother onto the boy. I need to mention that to the bro... in case the marriage counselor, which bro is still seeing (wife quit a few years ago) hasn't done so. Counselor has diagnosed wife as "characteristically hostile"... among, possibly also sociopathic and bi-polar.

So, something else I need to figure out now is "what's best for mom"... Mom is getting pickier and more complain-y in her old age... but does like having someone around to talk to even though she claims she doesn't. LOL. She was always impossible to please... nothing was ever good enough for a grateful "thank you". And of course, there is the problem of all mom's "stuff" which STILL matters more to her than anything else.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on November 10, 2017, 11:44:57 AM
Oh my gosh. Those poor kids. Their mother is ensuring they will have long scars from the divorce. And your brother...it's good he's moving forward to divorce but I hear you saying it feels perilous to everyone. I'm so sorry. It's wonderful that his reaching out has brought you closer, though. Has he been to see your new place yet?

Good news that assisted living will happen for your Mom. After the adjustment, she may become surprisingly happier. I notice every day how the residents at the place where I work create "family" for each other. They're in and out of each other's simple apartments all the time, they check on each other, and have dinner together at tables where they build relationships. These folks are in a setting of "independent living plus" kind of thing. Shakily, but they're still mobile. They get basic housekeeping, dinner every night (but only brunch on weekends, so need to manage other weekend meals), and emergency checks. Transportation and various outings are available. There's a very active bridge group, even a writing group. And it's in a pretty setting.

It's not a palace, it's mid-range. (There are a couple of retirement places here that ARE palaces.) But I've noticed how much they care for each other, and that's a piece I hadn't anticipated.

Once there's a need for actual assisted living (help with ADLs, or Activities of Daily Living, like dressing, bathing, meds) there's a new building with one-room apartments and that higher level of care. Plus a separate memory unit.

What bugs me is this place is NOT adding skilled nursing in their mammoth new facility we've all been watching go up. So, it must mean the real profit is in the assisted living and memory care...both of which are relatively easy to run and nicely expensive. But for people who become seriously weak or ill and need NURSES...they have to move somewhere else. Pisses me off that they all live in fear of that trauma--having to move away from their friends and familiar staff--but I'm sure running a nursing unit is more complicated and thus less profitable for the corporate owners.

Ugh. Those who die in their sleep before the end stages of American "care" are lucky.

Now that I've cheered everyone up...ta for now.  :?

Glad your back pain is better Amber...we've been synchronized with that this week. You be careful, hear? A true thrown-out back would be worse misery than normal if you're stuck in pain alone for long. I'm really glad you've found other helpers and hope a good friend will visit soon. Sounds like it might be time for some company.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 10, 2017, 06:03:07 PM
The kids show up tomorrow for a couple days Hops. They're eminantly useful and loads of fun. I am breaking in the new stove... made a cheesecake today and cooking lamb ahead of a shepherd's pie tomorrow. I haven't been much of a cook lately... so I feel like spoiling them a little. Might break out the grill Sunday morning for pancakes. There aren't any big jobs for them to do.

The hunters also arrive probably Sunday; maybe Monday... for the opening week of rifle season. I might have to think about doing some Christmas shopping that week... LOL.

oops not done yet - LOL -

I have to take & post a pic of the cutest little Lodge cast iron dutch oven I got - just right to cook for me! My big one is either 4 or 6 qts. This is a lot easier to manage.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 14, 2017, 08:17:40 AM
Had a really good visit with the kids. There was some wood stacking happen, and Matt struggled through problem-solving the mounting for my living room sconces. I got to meet their new puppy - Knuckles. He's pretty cute and a snuggle-pup too.

I haven't seen the hunters for the "big week" like I did last year. I also haven't seen/heard that many deer either. Ronnie's been in/out a few times, but didn't stop. I know he didn't recognize Holly's new car. Had a chance to discuss that situation with Matt & Holly - she didn't tell him much. No firm decisions made there... except for maintaining distance.

No contact with the land owner either, who questioned Ronnie about why I haven't called. Which now reads to me like something is being "brokered" behind my back... so while I put on my naive and innocent hat to find out just what is being wanted from me... and WAITING... I'm having a chance to seriously think about the decision on my own instead. And figuring out just what I WANT to do. I have a few more people to talk to and consult with before deciding.

I've pulled the last card I have to try to get my buildings delivered and installed - the sales person, who is a local. The company said it would be at least 2 weeks out after I called because I heard nothing while the LAST delivery date passed... which is what I've been told for 3 months. As it happens, he's going up there on Friday to talk to people higher than my customer service rep. He's been promised one more delivery in our area and he will have my order in hand and make sure mine are on the truck... he says. We'll see. He doesn't exactly have that kind of control. The only other option I have is to cancel the order, ask for a refund of the deposit - and try to find some other company.

I won't be happy about that. The buildings are really nice and I NEED them for the storage space, to get equipment under cover before the snow really flies... which most likely requires lining up extra hands.

Other than that - it's Christmas shopping season... enjoying my kitchen... doing some writing to my "self" to chart Phase 2... and hibernating.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on November 15, 2017, 02:54:26 AM
Aw, Skep, I love puppies!  They can just make the bleakest day seem brighter :)  You are so busy.  I'm glad that kids coming up has been good and that Mr Ronnie seems to have understood the situation.  I'm sorry for the situation your bro is in - very difficult when you have to sort out finances as part of a split.  I hope things get sorted as quickly as they can.  And that you find somewhere for your mum to go.  I am hearing more and more about the 'problem' of where people need to live as they age and I do kind of wish people would be a bit more open to making plans whilst they don't need care, or at least talking through what, when and where so that other people don't have to sort everything out for them.  It's certainly made me think about 'what if' for the future.  The state system just doesn't support and even with a close night, loving family (and how many of those are there?!) 24 hour or nursing care just isn't practical without professional involvement.  So I hope you and bro are able to sort something out relatively easily.  Hard situation to be in xx
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on November 15, 2017, 07:51:13 PM
I'm sorry your buildings are delayed, yet again.  I don't know about metal buildings or competition, but you might find better service and comparable quality if it comes to it.  Just such a PITA, I know.
Hopefully delivery comes soon.

Can you post a pic of your kitchen updates?  I'd love to see.


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 20, 2017, 08:36:51 AM
I'll try to get some pics posted Lighter; remind me if I forget. Running into the big city today... coming home & starting a batch of crusty yeast rolls for Thursday - laundry - hunters are here all week - and Wed Holly's driving out to pick me up for the holiday with them and Matt's family. It's an experiment on my part. Anxiety about getting lost in a big, mean, dangerous city is my biggest deterrent to getting out and being more social. Even though I used to live in the same city. Her driving me, is the workaround, for now.


Now, for the past 10 years or so... mine have been relatively "drama free". To the point that even though we do things "unconventionally", we still have a good time. The city trip means I'll be spending Thursday with people I've mostly met before - but don't know WELL. They are nice people and I'm not working myself up into a tizzy over it. It should be different from my normal stuff - but fun.

So last night - while I was really busy juggling the woodstove, the hunters, and my dinner - my mom calls. Given the ugliness happening with brother & his (hopefully very soon to be) ex-wife... despite my instinct to NOT answer, I did anyway. I really need to listen to my instincts more often - even if I regret them later. She doesn't often call at night.

She was working herself up into a panicked snit, indulging in all kinds of imaginary stuff, and mind-reading my brother... to the point of totally convincing herself that she "knows" what he is/isn't doing. She even went so far as to question whether such a thing as "no fault divorce" exists in her state - or our home state - and when I confirmed that it did, she insisted that it wasn't that way when she got divorced. I pointed out that laws can and do change in 50 years... and she wanted to argue that laws don't change.

Then came the defiant ultimatums about what she would/would not do... the excuses... the worries about her "stuff". No matter how it would complicate things for my brother, no matter who became collateral damage in the process... I could not get her to simply accept the facts of what she MUST or MUST NOT do, at this time - whether she liked it or not. She couldn't possibly understand why the wife wasn't being forced to leave the home instead of brother. Because of course - wife is the "evil one" - and in a no fault divorce, there is LEGALLY no blame, no "bad actor" to punish. I deflected, at that point... and tried to stick to concrete advice to make things bearable for her.

I didn't exactly lose my temper, but I was having to shout over her rediculousness. Till she hung up on me, basically. She "had to go now". I was advising her to get together what she needed to have, to be able to pack quickly - including her "sick cat" - because the wife is inviting her family and a lot of other people for Thanksgiving and has gotten a lot more unstable and violent with my brother and his lawyer advised him to be out of the house by Thanksgiving. It is not safe for brother or mother to be there anymore. And it isn't possible to for her to take all her "stuff" at a moment's notice. The "stuff" - honest to god - is what she cares the most about.

I need to find time to talk to brother today and at least warn him what kind of crap stew she has waiting for him. Mom SAID that brother suggested driving to my place and staying with me over the holiday... but of course, nothing like that came up when I talked to him last - and he didn't know I wasn't going to be home. I can see some triangulation starting up... in her "other world" as evidenced by her conversation. He mentioned a "someday" visit... and I explained that I have too many stairs here for my mother. (OH.... was that a subconscious choice??  :evil grin:)

Well, his job involves a lot of travel. Two weeks to find a place to rent isn't much notice. He can't leave Mother behind - because she is another of wifey's targets. I put the facts out there for her. Commiserated that it sucked, but it is what has to be done at this point. And she kept flipping back & forth between blaming brother for what she was "sure" he was thinking and doing (she doesn't know that; I got tired of repeating that) and telling me (not HIM) what she would/wouldn't do.

I stopped myself short from using the "command voice" to state that NONE of this was "all about her", like she was trying to make it, and I didn't like that she was going out of her way to make a difficult situation even more difficult for my brother. I guess she was mind-reading everyone, she might've picked that up.  :another evil grin:  I did tell her, that neither she or I are ALLOWED to have an opinion about brother's choices - it's NONE OF OUR BUSINESS - and neither of us can "tell" him what to do.

I guess she forgets that brother will be 60 next year... and has a mind of his own.

Enmeshment, projection, triangulation, blame/victim cycle, hoarding syndrome, panic/anxiety, defiant resistance, passive-aggressive.... she threw the whole stew of shit at me. And like water off a duck's back... on my side. I insisted on reality, facts, and that she is not in control. I pushed those buttons until her brain locked up. Maybe when she reboots herself, she'll be a better state... but I doubt it.

Yep, one of those communities that go from independent living to assisted living to full nursing just might be the ticket here.

(Sorry - I'm thinking out loud I guess. Still upset - rattled - by having to field this crap that isn't my problem and I don't want it to be.) Just had to vent that all out.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on November 20, 2017, 11:31:35 AM
Wowsers, Amber.  Your brother better be researching retirement homes, if he isn't already.

And.....your mother likely heard nothing you said.  You may as well shout into a storm.  She's uncomfortable not knowing what's coming, and that's normal.  Nothing anyone says will make her feel better, IMO. 

If your mom had control of the situation that might help, but she doesn't. 

I do wish we could honor our instincts iimediately and without doubt. 

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on November 20, 2017, 12:04:52 PM
Ai, yi, yi Amber....it sounds nightmarish, truly.

I remember being asked by my T when I'd rant about my mother's self-absorption, illogical, and especially her panicked monologues. I would respond to them with a rising spiral of panic of my own because (though I didn't get this then) what was happening in me was, if I don't succeed in reassuring and calming her, I have failed. If I don't succeed in getting her to be reasonable, I have failed. (Or, I'm a Bad Daughter.)

My T said, once I took a breath, there's another thing you could say. I go, what? He goes, "Oh my, that sounds very difficult, what are you going to do?"

You can't always stop there when it's a dependent (alas, many elders are) but it was the first time I got that I could teach myself to listen without imagining that I had to be the solution.

I am SO glad you put in steps. I think perhaps a moat and drawbridge would be nice adds...

Lighter's spot on, ime.

I'm really sorry. It's stunning that if your brother has known for a time that he has to leave the house (I didn't quite realize your mother was living with your brother and his wife) by Tgiving...that he doesn't have a plan in place for her.

Hope to god there is an assisted living apartment opening available near him right now.

Fingers crossed,
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 20, 2017, 04:10:22 PM
The immediacy of the problem may require a short hotel stay. Until he can find a place to rent. Which is more than enough for him to think about right now. I took it on myself to start looking at community options for my mom, so when the topic comes up - again - I can send him some links.

No matter what is decided or what is resolved - it will clearly never suit her. The venom against my brother is out of this world. Her assumption is that what she believes is what is really going on - and that she is, by nature of being her - "right" about it all - despite me saying: you can't possibly know that.

No matter the substance of what is going around her and how intensely it may affect others - it's always been all about her. And she believes she's in control, btw.

Pffffft. It's not like he can take time off from his job - he has scheduled track meets to chaperone, etc - until this week. And he's only had 2 weeks to try to resolve the "place to rent" problem, while still working 60-70 hr weeks and being sleep deprived. All he wants is a couple days peace & quiet to be able to think straight.

I think separate hotel rooms would make sense. 

Driving to town & back settled my brain down a good bit. She's trying to make all this my problem - and then it would get to be my turn for being the target of her venom. BTDT and have the t-shirt. Best thing I can do is still support my brother without telling him what to do - I can suggest options, leaving decisions up to him. Tell him I think he's doing a good job with the mess he's got on his hands. And do that legwork on places where mom can be on her own - but with help at hand, if needed - since brother will still be traveling a lot for the near future. He doesn't need to hear any more grief from anyone else about his choices and the reality he's facinig.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on November 20, 2017, 04:28:38 PM
You're such a caring sister.
That research and those links will be an enormous help for him.

Venom. Ugh. Belongs to her and nope, you don't have to hold out a hand for her to bite.

I think you're right it will make no difference what you say or have said. If she's full-tilt N, and sounds like she is...your intelligence, sense of fairness, and willingness to live in an evidence-based reality are all just drops of water on the umbrella of her self-absorption. She lives in a cloud of self.

(Now there's an overworked metaphor for ya...)

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 21, 2017, 07:38:34 AM
LOL. We probably shouldn't overwork the metaphors - they might not be up to the task when we really need them. LOL.

Here's a fun but horrifying factoid, for ya. My boundary-pushing flirtatious buddy Ronnie... is only a year older than Holly. (There is a tiny judgemental victorian crone jumping up & down in my brain screaming "what were you thinking?!" LOL  or maybe it's frowning Mammy from Gone with the Wind, muttering "It ain't fittin' ".) I am still digesting this.

Holly has always proudly introduced me to her friends. I'm usually embarrassed by how she shows me off. Feel like a pet unicorn trotted out to amaze her friends. But her friends are truly interesting people too. And over the years, I have gotten fond of some of them. Yes, she put out the word I'd be in the city for the holiday... and a few people will drop by to say hi to me. It's strange, and weird and wonderful in some undefinable way.

So in that context, looking at the confusion with Ronnie, I can kinda see how I would let myself drift away into some la-la land fantasy - irregardless of age - because of the flirting, his constant offers of assistance (and my real need for some), and the fact that we do connect over this particular little corner of the planet. I'm gonna have to conclude that it's possible I completely misjudged his motivation - even though there's no mistaking some of the words out of his mouth or the way I feel in response.

The other day I asked him if his wife doesn't like to hunt. He said she was planning on being here with the guys today. I'll be keeping an eye out, to beg an introduction. I think that's one of the safer paths to proceed on. Even though, I think perhaps I can keep a tight enough rein on my fantasy-imagination to allow Ronnie and I place to "play" and flirt a little bit... and not be in danger of going any further than that.

Went to the big city over the mountain yesterday to take care of banking and make another Costco run. It was crowded, I got a lucky parking space, and had a list - I didn't want to spend all day gawking at stuff or making an impulse buy. And yet... there were a couple times my "radar" picked up the proximity of a "being of interest" near me. One was at least 6'6" and as white-haired as I am. Well put together, especially the rear view...

... and given how calendar dates shift... today - Tuesday - is the day two years ago that Mike passed. I'm pretty sure that even though we were so close for all those years, he would encourage me to find someone else to be in a relationship with. (That seemed to be a mutual understanding between us.) That ain't going to happen unless I get off the farm more often.

I remembered the day this morning - just like our anniversary in Sept - but not grieving over it. I am noticing the "space" that exists, more often though. Even though I'm letting myself spread out into that space... there is still room for another person. But I'm not aggressively shopping - I still have plenty of things I want to do that keep me busy - and Holly's turning out to be a useless matchmaker.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on November 22, 2017, 05:13:24 AM
Skep, I'm sorry to read that it's Mike's anniversary, and sorry to read that your mum is being so exhausting.  Well done to you for holding your ground and keeping it out of your space.  That refusal to deal with what needs to be done, to find a million ways to blame everyone else (and therefore make it their problem to sort out) and that need to argue and be right, rather than trying to find a way through or just asking for advice (or a specific request - I need to look for somewhere - can you help me?) is just soooo tiring and is like reading about my mum!

One incident with her (which makes me laugh when I think about it because it really shows the craziness of the situation) was a time, many years ago, when we were watching TV and Madonna had just released a cover version of Don McLean's 'American Pie'.  I commented that I preferred the original and my mum started to argue with me about that - essentially her feeling was that, as I wasn't alive when Don McLean released the original, I had no right to like it and would have to like 'my generation's' version instead.  Lol.

I hope your mum gets sorted without driving everyone round the bend and I like the sound of the well built, white haired man in Costco :) xx
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on November 22, 2017, 07:09:17 AM
Well, Amber, your mother likely knows you want or need everyone to be ok.  Drawing you into this as fixer, if she can, is to be expected I suppose.

About rental situations for your brother, my sis found a site called Hot pads.  You plug in your particulars, and get ready for available options to flood your inbox.  It's lovely when you're under the gun, and need to move quickly, IME. 

A furnished short term option might be necessary or helpful at this short date.

As for the make interest at Costco....
Drink deeply, my friend.  And maybe dance.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 22, 2017, 10:41:10 AM
Lighter - I do believe you're right about my "need" to have everything be OK, and how that fits so neatly into this "game". I don't know if I've seen that before - or forgot it. Guess the "lesson" didn't take so well if I did forget.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on November 22, 2017, 03:47:44 PM
I think we have to learn it over and over till we're able to listen to loved ones complain without trying to fix anything for them.

I do it too.

Maybe if we train ourselves to automatically respond with a question....
"What are your options?"

Then we can do the "Gosh, that sounds difficult," thing as they respond with options, rather than us telling them what their options are, kwim?

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 23, 2017, 08:50:32 AM
Yes, that works OK with some people Lighter. However, my mom escalates & runs her circle of self-reinforcing panic, obstinacy, victim-hood, hopelessness and there is NO HEARING of anything else.

I wonder how many times we have felt voiceless, simply because someone isn't capable of HEARING anything else, except the negative feedback loop in their own head?

The other thing she's trying to create... is a deja vu of her own divorce/experience from that time Twiggy had a really bad day. As if she could somehow make things different this time -- doing exactly the same things, as before. As if this was HER divorce all over again. (Yeah, that's the classic Einstein definition of insanity, isn't it?)

I do recognize the PTSD markers in it too. But instead of trying to be and do things differently - so as to avoid a "reliving" of the experience - she seems laser-focused on helping re-create it. And THAT is precisely what I was trying to interrupt in her.

I heard a bit of news from the shop yesterday, that leads me to believe my brother has found a solution that will work temporarily for both of them. Not perfectly mind you... but good enough for the time being. I'm staying incommunicado because he's likely very busy and is taking the brunt of my mom's panicked desperation. He'll call me, if he needs to vent. I may text him later today, just to check in and see if he's OK.

Nope, not even the golden child is good enough for her. And he just laughs at her insanity - which infuriates her.

Another country/asylum heard from... the oldest D is going through another spate of problems & self-created dilemmas. Holly and I both believe that she's better than she was... but that's still not saying much... and we're both prepared to hear that there is another crisis again from her.

Yep, I think I like being well hidden back up a dirt road among the hills & hollows & trees. LOL.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on November 23, 2017, 05:54:38 PM
Heck, yeah. I'm surprised you didn't move to the moon.

Your mother's thinking and behavior is wrong, wrong, wrong. And incurable, unchangeable, and exhausting.

Best you can do, imo, is to stop caring that she's wrong, and just deal with whatever about her you absolutely can't avoid like you would with really unpleasant weather.

It will never, ever matter to her that you are right. When it stops mattering to you, there'll be more peace.

(Like, do I know how to remain untriggered? No. But I still get that it's the goal!)

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 24, 2017, 09:07:43 AM
I wonder if she could understand the "well, bless your heart" response, as wielded by so many Southern women with impeccable manners. Maybe as a "talisman" it's better if she DOESN'T get it, ya know?    ;)

Yeah, I think the more I fight/resist being triggered - the more I lose that battle. It's just one of those things that I'm going to have accept about me (the warts) - live through it - and then force my brain to pay attention to other things - it can ruminate all it wants subconsciously, but life is busy for me and I ain't got time to indulge. Accomplishing things seems to be the antidote, anyway.

My task, should I choose to accept it - and I think I shall - is to spend the winter relearning how to make bread again. When Mike's mom died, there was this instant panic between Mike & Chris about finding her yeast roll recipe (which didn't exist; not written down) and being able to duplicate the rolls. Hers were soft dinner rolls. I baked for weeks in the multiple ovens I had at the beach -- and consistently failed. Chris seemed to master it, though.

The recipe I tried for Sat's dinner was more like crusty, rustic artisan rolls. They came fresh out of the oven like hockey pucks from Bisquick. I know I used the wrong yeast - but thought I could compensate and consulted with my friend in culinary school. The yeast was the first mistake. The rising just never seemed to happen until I recalled the new oven has a proof cycle. It never seemed warm enough to me - but by then I was firmly in "what do I know?" uncertainty. THEN, for some illogical reason, it said to refrigerate the dough for a couple hours or overnight. Maybe let it rest at room temp, I could see... but cold kills yeast action... so whatever King Arthur Flour knows about this process, they didn't share.

I'll drag out the recipe I used to use when I was working. It's a rustic white bread (2 loaves) that rises 3 consecutive days - and I used to leave the dough in the utility at the other homestead. That was the furthest away from the woodstove I could get. Super easy; it used to be super yummy and lots of air pockets.

Thank you Pepperidge Farm - I have a dozen rolls in the freezer that I like, as a back up.

I've always associated Alice's Restaurant & Thanksgiving with some flamboyantly failed cooking adventure, anyway. There have been many over the years - and I long ago decided it wasn't worth being upset about. Most of them were hilarious, in any case.

Between the cooking adventures and learning how to make a proper fire in the new woodstoves, I feel like I never get a chance to sit down. LOL. It really helps slow down the gas furnace's use of propane to keep a fire from afternoon till bedtime downstairs. I keep the garage/studio minimally heated as well - and when the temps dip, have to fill that fire box too. Found a new type wood splitter for kindling, that holds/splits the quartered log - with the use of a sledgehammer, instead of hatchet. I probably have close to a dozen hatchets in Mike's mess, but could only lay hands on 2. One was too nice to use and the other, standard, ordinary and very good quality one - needs a lot of work to restore the cutting edge/face of it.

I learned a lot about using a file making etching plates. LOL.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on November 29, 2017, 10:46:48 AM
I remember your bread baking phase, Amber.  It was nice, and I'm glad you're revisiting. 

About your mom's chaos manufacture.... it's hers, not yours.  If you can put on an imaginary helmet and keep it OUT before it gets in, maybe that's the secret.  To just not process her words, but know what she's about.... that you must resist hearing the first bit. 

She's a grown up girl, and wouldn't allow you to "fix" anything the right way if you could, IMO. Let her spin on her own.... that's what she does. You can choose to do something else.  Something better: )

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on December 01, 2017, 05:49:49 PM
Amber, this is in reply to your post on Tupp's thread...hope you see it before it's sold!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/213930524/introvert-pendant-engraved-alder-wood?gpla=1&gao=1&&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping_us_d-jewelry-pendant-wood&utm_custom1=58510249-b875-4800-a351-2bfb5d5d232c&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIwOX1jvLp1wIVVoGzCh0jKQ3QEAQYASABEgKkN_D_BwE (https://www.etsy.com/listing/213930524/introvert-pendant-engraved-alder-wood?gpla=1&gao=1&&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping_us_d-jewelry-pendant-wood&utm_custom1=58510249-b875-4800-a351-2bfb5d5d232c&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIwOX1jvLp1wIVVoGzCh0jKQ3QEAQYASABEgKkN_D_BwE)

I'm sure this would really help in social situations. When we extros spot it we'll engage you in lively conversation about intro and extro!

Glad you made it through and sorry it was so uncomfortable. Your mountain move makes even more sense.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on December 02, 2017, 05:58:38 AM
Hops that's GREAT - like a medical ID - I should get 2, because Holly - for all she's comfortable in that kind of environment and seems to need a balance, gets into solitude too. She can use it like a mood ring.

Yes, I'm up way early because I went to bed when I was tired (way early) in the process of resetting "me". There's a list that's getting longer of the normal little things a person has to do that seem to "get in the way" of me having the kind of day(s) I want. Scheduling a bunch of things has gotten difficult because a person can no longer predict how long the first task might take - eye appt, oil change, shopping, whatever. Throw in the last few "projects" I want to finish up this year (before I start over with a new list after Jan1) and ACK! I wonder what happened to those days when I used to sit and just LOOK at things... and imagine what I want to do with it, etc. What I could make it into.

And I've been forgetting the normal list of stuff, too. My crazy inconsistent methods of "reminding" myself things works most of the time - but there have been some glitches lately. I think it's because things that should've been complete by now are still dragging on... it'll be another week before I was promised those buildings I ordered at the beginning of August, for instance. And by now, I was to be well into other things and just having a leisurely holiday month.

It will seriously be way too close to Christmas to schedule in those appointments, so I'm going to have to let them slide till after the holiday. There's another full week or two of hunting season out here (and my new driveway alarm just indicated that Ronnie is here already this morning - LOL) and businesses won't be making appts. The women out here are busy shopping, baking, decorating and freezing deer meat.

I may not try to visit anyone at Christmas after how long it's taking me to reset after Thanksgiving nor plan anything big here ON that day. Holly's birthday is the 6th - the 12th day of Christmas - so that whole week in between is "fair game" for get togethers.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on December 04, 2017, 09:02:49 AM
Busy first part of the week about to commence. Involves getting out of here for those days and going elsewhere. It's mostly exciting - but I'm not exactly looking forward to it either. I'm still in vegetable mode - today I think I've graduated from cabbage to carrot - it's chilly and fixin' to get yucky out.

Paying for and concluding formalities on purchasing the "back 40" acreage today. It's only a little more than we paid for "the little cabin"... and way more productive/usable. It also puts back together a tract of land into it's original configuration. I like that idea. Then perhaps a bunch of errands.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on December 04, 2017, 05:51:09 PM
Congrats on your buffer land, I can't imagine the pleasures of birds and wildlife there...and I hope views!

Sounds like time to breathe deep, put up your feet and enjoy some cider.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on December 05, 2017, 08:47:46 AM
Views from the front porch are a ridge completely blocking the eastward (toward NoVa) civilization - I can basically see my whole original 10 acres sloping up the hollow to there. The back has views, for sure - right across that additional acreage and up the next ridge to the west. The actual property line, is just over the top of that ridge.

Today, I take ye olde Rubicon out to be inspected & get the oil changed. Poor thing has a new battery, that won't start without a jump, because I don't drive enough. This used to be my daily ride, bought new in '06, and it still has less than 30,000 miles on it. Once it was paid off, I gave Mike free rein to customize it the way he wanted, so it now has a 4 inch lift and 35 in. tires - which makes it a little harder for me to get in/out of, but still doable. It also means, in WV, that I have a smaller selection of inspection stations qualified to deal with it. (shakes head at silliness of bureaucracy)

It's filthy right now - took it out in the mud for an outdoor class I took in May and has tree dirt on it. But it's still a decent "guy magnet" - not as good as the '78 CJ kitted out to the nines for rock crawling, mind you. That one turned heads everywhere. But after getting that one running and inspected last year, I realized I had no business driving it - it made me that nervous. So it's sold. I couldn't possibly drive 3 different vehicles as little as I "go" anyway.

The Rubicon will end up being my snow vehicle until I get better tires on the Cherokee - or trade that in for something better suited to conditions out here. It has a long list of recalls on it - but no parts available yet - and it was chosen to be my "highway travel" vehicle because it's an automatic and way more comfortable for long distances. Except for runs from the beach up here, it's only made two trips like that in the 3 years I've had it. It's GREAT on gas; usually it only takes 1/2 tank to go from here to the beach. So there's that.

Rubicon's going to need a new top soon; it should have a winch, too. But these are the just the things that rattle through my head, that I need to clone myself to take care of. No jeep dealer locally... so I really need the 2 vehicles. There is just so much "required" to take on the challenge of living out here, that I sure could use a guy for whom all this kind of stuff comes naturally.

But there's that wishful thinking without the commitment to stop being so picky again. LOL.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on December 05, 2017, 02:48:52 PM
Keep wishing, Amber.  It's good to think about what you want.

About new tires, make sure they have open treads so snow can squish out sides. 

Congrats on the new tract of land.  Your property sounds wonderful, even if it's a handful.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on December 07, 2017, 10:46:03 AM
I still feel on the edge of frazzled. So I decided to just tackle one thing a day this week.

Monday - signed the papers and paid for the new acreage.
Tuesday - got the Rubicon inspected & oil changed (it needed it; only drove 180 miles in it last year and the current oil was probably 3 years old.)

Wed - drove to the little cabin, paid the guy who took down several dangerous trees and cleaned up my driveway very, very well. Brought home a load of stuff to empty it out. And I still need to go back and get some more. Signed the listing agreement; so I can't wait too long to go back.

Realtor for the beach house is now trying to angle in a potential buyer who thinks he can offer over 100k less than listing and steal the house from me. LOL... I countered 125k higher than his offer. Two can play this game, and I enjoy it. My realtor also has my back on this and plays like Mike would. This buyer will either run away screaming (not likely; he's a car dealer) or we have a really wide range of numbers to come to an acceptable price... JUST so I can be done carrying the responsibility for it. I'm pretty good at this - Mike was way better, but sometimes would cut off his nose to spite his face. I never lose sight of my ultimate goal... and will surprise people at being ready to settle out of the clear blue sky.  LOL.

All I really want is to simplify the business side of my life - so owning just one property, having one insurance company to deal with, etc - is the goal. But I'm not giving the house at the beach away. I'm just realistic about the market/style of the house - which is getting a little dated and is just too "over the top" ostentatious and way too big for me. Mike loved it, so I tried to work with it, to make it comfortable for me too. The interior shutters helped a great deal.

So today is a lazy day for me. Even though my list of things "to do" and "should get done" are still there. Knowing I have to make at least one more trip down to the little cabin I just want a day off RIGHT NOW. So I'm having one.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on December 09, 2017, 05:37:03 PM
I assume you're buried in snow right now, Amber?  We sure are, and it's been a cozy lovely organization of the kitchen with my girls.  Winter wonderland out the windows..... Christmas lights reminding me if gumdrops on a gingerbread house.

Enjoy your new wood burning stove.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on December 10, 2017, 08:35:58 AM
It's COLD and it's windy too Lighter. We only got about an inch of snow yesterday. Some weather reports are calling for more today/tonight... but we'll see. New windows and doors are doing exactly what I'd hoped! I am so pleased - the gas furnace isn't running constantly today - and I'm sure there's a wind-chill out there.

So today I'm on woodstove duty - I hate emptying ashes on windy days, but it needs doing. And I MUST clean out the pile of cardboard in the downstairs garage today, because tomorrow I'm getting 10 packages of insulation for my "pantry" project. I've only been talking about that for a year now, and only now getting around it. I'm essentially covering one of the garage doors and turning 1/2 the garage into an insulated room. The plan is to not heat it - but we'll see how that goes. And I'll be insulating the floor under the kitchen/dining room. I know this isn't enough insulation to do the whole thing, but it should help.

Those long-delayed buildings get put up the end of the week.

I've had so much in my head, that I completely FORGOT that my second griddle kit for the stove came in and I need to go "over the mountain" to pick it up. I might can do that on Tuesday.

Little cabin is now listed on the MLS. I need to go back and load up/move some more stuff out, clean & spiff it up a little.

There's been some activity on the beach house too. I'm not sure (this morning) just where we are now, but I guess I'll find out in the next day or two.

I've been Christmas shopping - most of that will arrive next week too. And I've begged off a repeat of Thanksgiving for Christmas. I might try to get into Mike's D's new house one day... she's just bought what looks like a really good place for her & the kids; has a new boyfriend; and the house is older - so she's going to be thinking of projects too. Holly's birthday on the 6th, is when I'll be hosting the "big fling" of total chaos. She turns 40. Moooooouahahahaha!

I sure am getting my exercise with these wood stoves... upstairs, downstairs, down to the garage... more than once a day. When I start splitting my own wood (I have plenty of trees now, to sustainably harvest)... it'll be even more exercise. And plowing/shovelling snow...

I am certainly in no danger of becoming bored. As soon as I finish the last of the shopping, I need to start perusing seed catalogs. I still have a "stash" of seeds I've kept and tried to keep viable. But I'm starting all over in a whole new place... and I need to have a plan, so I don't "over" commit the first year. I know me; that'll backfire.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on December 10, 2017, 02:46:39 PM




Any part of yourself into the path of the log splitter EVER.

It's a rule, and there's no reason to ever ever ever ever ever break it.  Only stupid people do that, and you're very bright.

::nodding seriously::.. 

My BIL's father crushed 3 fingers last year, and he's been splitting wood most of his life.... it just takes one tiny moment to make a very big mistake with a log splitter.  Even the pros lose fingers when they get careless one time.  I won't split wood with people who don't follow the rule.  ::shaking head::

I think we got a foot of snow, and last year I shoveled my drive only to have the sun come out the next day to melt everything off anyway.  It was the elderly man shoveling his next door that drove me to such madness.  I shoveled next to him, then did my own drive.  It cost my back dearly.

This time all my elderly neighbors have shoveled drives, with me being the only one NOT to clear her drive.  It's sunny.  My truck is warm and dry in the garage with only one pass over the drive to freeze solid so.... it should be no problem to get out today and stay parked in the dry street, need be, IMO.  I refuse to put my back in jeopardy when I know the sun is going to melt everything soon enough.

Tell me if that sounds crazy, bc I fret, and fear about it. DD17 has a piano recital downtown, and I'll be on the roads, which are dry.  I have to get ready to go now. 

Carry on with the daily list.  You're getting so much done!


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on December 11, 2017, 03:30:08 AM
I don't shovel either.
I have a short driveway and an old suv, so can drive through most piles o' snow.
If a heavy snow's coming I just stock up and snuggle down.

Doesn't take much for me to retreat to the cozy bed anyway, unfortunately.

Although I do have an excellent memory of drinking whisky with a crazy friend and making a gigantic snow-woman in another state once. The major metro paper sent a photographer because she was huge and very impressive. We added a bit of spray-paint rouge, big curves, and a bottle of bourbon tucked in her arm. (They didn't choose her picture for the montage on the cover page, I think she might've shocked the locals....)
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on December 11, 2017, 09:30:12 AM
I am a crazy sicko I guess. I love shovelling snow. But if I don't really have to go anywhere I'm more than willing to just look at it and let it melt too. I won't do that, if it's forecast to put down more accumulation on top... because driving over it only causes ice to form. That's BAD here, because to get to the road, the very last bit of my driveway is pretty steep.

It's sunny but cold here - and my sinuses are reacting pretty violently. Or else I picked up a cold last time I was out. But I have a lot of non-physical work to do today... Christmas cards, bills, go find those links to assisted living for my mom again... (I reinstalled my browser trying to get it to function better without backing up my bookmarks - DUH)... plan Holly's birthday party. I need to talk to Matt.

So this is a good to day to be a little under the weather. I still have to clean woodstoves and light a fire later... and whenever my delivery arrives, move that inside. Tonight's weather is that lovely combo of rain/snow/sleet. Which in certain areas around here can be freezing rain. I don't go ANYWHERE in ANYTHING in that crap, if it can at all be avoided.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on December 13, 2017, 05:00:59 AM
Good, what a great snow woman image!  I that story.

As for my drive, I broke down and salted the tire track area.  Of course, everything melted the next day and now I worry about salt killing moss.  Drat.  I should have held my nerve, and course of non action.

Amber, sorry you lost your bookmarks.  I resist all things that muff up my groove like that.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on December 13, 2017, 08:35:15 AM
Dang it's cold out there! If the wind would stop, it might help. I picked up some cold bug but started treating it immediately, so it wasn't bad.

Meanwhile, I've been so busy around here I'm kinda stressing myself out. Had a pallet of insulation delivered (for the floor joists over the garage) on Monday, after dark. Driver helped me haul them inside. They're just piled up against a door for now - but even that much helps.

I told beach house realtor I was ready to beat the bushes and deal - just to get that responsibility off my plate. So he approached one of the first lookers from the past year - a slimy car dealer - who is making the process rediculously "fraught" with his BS. But, we've got him where we want him for the moment. So I'm letting the realtor - and everyone who's circling the wagons around me - do their thing. I trust John and he's aware of what he's dealing with.

The FOO crap continues. Lighter - your comment about my compulsion to fix things has been sooooo helpful. It goes back to the whole thing where I parented not just my brother - but had to do the same for my mom too. That all started back when she was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown*, after my gramma (her mom) died. I was in 2nd grade. Of course, that role reversal is heightened now that she's 84 - going on 85. My bro is in denial (somewhat) about her ability to live independently.

So, I only volunteered to find a good transition to assisted living situation for her. And I will pay half, if the beach house really does close, the end of January. I KNOW she's going to complain about everything, to everyone... and I KNOW that both my bro & I will be in the doghouse with her, probably for the rest of her life. And I KNOW, that she's going to be happier having her very own space with a community of brand new people to complain to, and criticize and even do some things with. Even though what she really wants is for my bro & I to buy her her own house. At her age? Really??

Boundaries are my friend in this situation, as are y'all. Meanwhile... she's complaining again that whenever she picks up the phone to call me - I don't answer. I have things I have to DO. My job isn't to be picking up the phone and listening to her broken record of the same complaints over & over again... whenever she wants to do this... for an hour or more. I don't have that kind of time in my schedule some days. No; she doesn't get that at all. She gets mad at me instead.

I hope she likes being mad.   :evil grin:

* almost forgot - I was "told" it was a nervous breakdown; I suspect it was clinical depression or worse. She never was herself, after that - and started having Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde episodes when she got home. Even complete personality changes where she didn't remember a thing from "before" she flipped.

This was why I had to pay bills, sign her name to my notes for school - to go on field trips, because I was out sick, etc. I took care of my brother, helped him with homework - fed him, made our lunches - cleaned house, did laundry... all after Twiggy's trauma. Because there effectively WAS no other parent in the household.

I think I remembered all this in time to keep myself from getting "involved" in the drama again. It was a close call, however.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on December 13, 2017, 05:50:37 PM
Amber, you've done your time in the parenting barrel, regarding your mother and brother.  It's ok to step out, and let that go now, IMO.  Yes, it will be uncomfortable.  There will be guilt, perhaps some panic, as you learn to put that piece away.

What an amazing child you were.  So strong, and so very devoted.  It's ok to parent yourself, only, now.  It's your turn, (((Amber)))



Embrace the new jobs.

 Watch old habits go by without taking action.

:: Nodding::.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on December 15, 2017, 03:47:23 PM
I am still struggling with the feelings of ALMOST getting sucked into the drama mill again. To the point that despite not feeling up to doing much this week, I haven't been able to go find those websites for assisted living again - resistance is mine, sayeth the inner child! LOL.

I realize boundaries are my best friend here. Even when my mom is trampling down everyone else's boundaries, eliciting anger from me... I know where mine are. And I'm dug in like the French Foreign Legion. I have the functional stuff down OK.

But the emotional toll is still there. It's all due to what I'm calling the "No good deed goes unpunished" rule, to wit:

At 84, and multiple health issues, I am still able to "hope" that my mom has at least learned the ability to make common sense decisions for herself. Yes, she's still able to putter around her bit of yard and constantly sort through her "stuff"... and is making lots of quilts & fleece blankets. She still drives. But she's 84, fer cryin' loud! Had a quadruple bypass, her sugar is always iffy, the bout of serious C. Diff she had, left her with colitis... and she has frequent kidney stones. She thinks she needs to eat completely different diets for all these things - despite what I've told her about just eating healthy, dropping the starches/carbs and eating reasonable portions. My brother says there is simply NO PLACE TO SIT in mother's little house.

So an assisted living apartment isn't going to seem small, but I guarantee you she'll pile her stuff around her again. And I'm not sure they'll allow that. I can see her getting kicked out.

Hope - not fear - is the mind-killer. Hoping for any change is madness. Yet, I can now talk to my brother without encountering the same old passive-aggressive stuff that was my main experience of him. Now, at 60 - he still has to have some normal life-things explained to him, that most of us know through experience. He's not experienced them. In his own way, he's piled his "stuff" around him - his work - just as high as my mom has her stuff. He hasn't really "lived" outside of the higher ed/coaching world. Normal banking & retirement stuff. He didn't even know what amount our dividends are a month when I spoke with him last... they are automatically deposited into a brokerage account and those funds are invested for him. I'm not sure he can read the statements and understand them.

I want so much for "connection"... that easy, relaxed, "we know each other" interaction, that just like Charlie Brown, I keep falling for Lucy's football trick. So I KNOW what's happening with me... it's just sad, frustrating, confusing, depressing and even anger-generating... to go through it YET AGAIN.

Sooooooo... my Christmas shopping is done. Now I get to wrap presents. My buildings are finally here, and the big barn looks almost closed in. They'll be here tomorrow yet, to finish the little shed. I've been getting frequent updates from Holly on her sail to St. Augustine. She'll be offshore for about the next 48 hrs and isn't sure she'll have service - and with just the 2 of them - one person is always on watch. I invited Ronnie & his wife to Holly's birthday party on the 6th. He says she probably won't come. (Or he won't tell her, so he can party too?? LOL... Dunno. I still need to throw myself into devious plans... maybe this requires a phone call to Matt or Autumn... for ideas. It's more fun if there are "secrets" and secret plans involved.)

I WILL have a life that isn't drowned under all that drama-ocean. I said so.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on December 15, 2017, 08:47:50 PM

Maybe it's easier to shift away from worry if we realize there's zero payoff for our efforts.  Only waste and loss to be had.  Is that something we can make peace with as time keeps ticking away?

I hope not.

Get mad.  You have better things to do with your time than repeat patterns that accomplish nothing, IME.  Putting heavy nonsensical habits down can feel light as a feather if we learn to laugh at the guilt and worry.  Thumb your nose at it as it comes up, and let it go by.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on December 16, 2017, 01:04:45 AM
I'm so sorry about the mama-drama, Amber.
One of my elders is JUST like that with the stuff. Obsessive, burning up her last months or year with endless fussing over her stuff, spraying clothes and clutter all over her little apartment. I just pick up stuff and put it on her bed and leave her to it. She's too far gone mentally for me to organize her (because she also is in denial).

But I wouldn't worry about what assisted living will "allow." If the place has progressive levels of care and includes a memory unit, they'll manage fine. They're used to this kind of behavior. I DO worry that you'll hope that she doesn't physically last long. The old woman I mentioned has one failing kidney and a bad heart, and lives on and on and on. Two crises in the ER when I began working for her...

I remember mentally saying goodbye to my mother about 6 times. Ambulances, falls, infections, demented raving with a migraine-cum-stroke. Then home again, to clutch the remnants of her routines with a ferocity I couldn't comprehend. Such is the life force...for those we may like as well as those we don't.

Glad you're protecting yourself and hope you can ... let go of the outcome. It sounds extremely frustrating.

Wow, you invited Ronnie to a family party that's about your daughter. Intimate just because it's about family ... that's a huge step closer inside your inner circle. Is that pull of temptation still worth the risks?

Not judging, feet of clay here, just a bit worried for you.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on December 16, 2017, 07:51:32 AM
Nope, not that intimate Hops... my friend Debbie will be here, and Holly wants to invite some of her friends too. Ronnie and I started from the beginning, with him being close to the "inner circle" because I really needed someone to rely on. And he has gradually given me more space over time to do "my thing" the way I want to do it. His real interest is in having access to the new acreage to spend time hunting, getting away "from it all", and so his offers of help and ideas/suggestions are in return for that privilege. He is a good person to bounce some of my ideas for this place, off of.

I'm owning the confusion about the possibility of any more than that, with Ronnie, because after long reflection (and much discussion and pondering over the latest "sensational" news about "harassment" and how that's defined) I've settled on the idea that there are some types of guys who are just playful, protective, and if they're not encouraged - will just go their own way - it's like a "mannerism", their outward personality. The feelings I feel are mine; I know why they're active when Ronnie is around now and I can set a boundary for myself.

For contrast/comparison, Holly has an old friend, who for all intents & purposes, would seem to not be her type at ALL - Danny. He is a military lawyer; extremely cosmopolitan; travels a great deal and has suave & debonair down to an art. (Think: Sean Connery as Bond.) His voice is perfect for the Sinatra he sings at karaoke. Again, about the same age group. And he flirts with EVERYONE - and I'm one of his favorite targets. It's total flattery and there is nothing serious to it at all - but there is that same "singling out for attention", being sweet and "interested", protective and looking out for "his girls". Different types of guys - but the same outward guy characteristics.

It's my neediness that can get the better of me - that need for connection at a deep level, particularly with a guy.  Not that I would throw independence away for the connection; I'll always be fiercely independent. (Even aggressively so; another primal aspect of me.) EVEN in a relationship; Mike could tell you tales about that, if he were still around. And that confuses some guys who are expecting to dominate me - thinking that's what a relationship is - a "transaction" where women trade away their independence/freedom for security & protection. Some can be taught the reality; some can't.

For me, a relationship is a whole different animal than a "transaction". LOL. I wonder if words exist, sometimes, to define that in a way that others (including my left brain) can understand?
I'd be doing wrong to take either of them seriously and "expect" more from them than was really being offered - despite the flirty, playful, and very masculine strength & protection on display. It sure is attractive though! Gets my attention, since I'm built to connect with that kind of guy. Key/lock kind of thing.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on December 16, 2017, 03:05:13 PM
I hear you about the attractiveness and the vibe, Amber. You know yourself well and if anyone's thinking hard and paying attention, it's you. Sounds like you are going to keep your attraction to Mr. R. harmless. And you're right, private thoughts are just that. One idea might be to call Mrs. R yourself and invite her directly. That makes it a transparent, positive situation whether she can attend or not. And respecting her existence that way would send a signal, not incite/abet Mr. R's drift into disloyalty. (I'm projecting; in your shoes would be paranoid about deceiving myself as I once did.) Dang. There must be a SINGLE manly man in the area! You deserve one who's as delicious as you like and honestly available. Fingers crossed.

I tend to squirm under protectiveness but that's because in my experience, it can morph into paternalism. When I have a specific situation where protectiveness is wanted I accept it gratefully; as a continuing aura it makes me itch. But one woman's manliness is another's mansplaining and we all have different tolerances for different things. After all, you chose WV -- not AK! (I'm obsessed with Life Below Zero-type shows. The manhood of subsistence hunters is, errr... very clear.)

Thanks much for the insights on my Heist thread, I'll pick up on that over there.

The birthday party sounds like a very happy thing! So glad there'll be people and food and laughter filling your mountain home. Yay. Happies to ya!

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on December 17, 2017, 07:22:10 AM
It seems I've found my professorial pontificating mode again. LOL. Sorry for that long blob on your thread Hops... maybe you'll get some gleanings out of it that are helpful.

Yes it's early am... and yes the coffee's almost gone. This is THE best time for me to think, sort and nudge my feelings about things to move along... when I'm starting to get stuck. It was always the time when inspiration struck after an all-nighter while painting, too. Now, I prefer to sleep in the dark and work in natural daylight.

Everyone will be glad to know: both buildings have arrived; are UP; and now I can move stuff into them AT MY LEISURE. I won't be complaining about the delay anymore. LOL. Both the beach house and little cabin are set to close on Jan 26th - barring complications there.

It's been a productive year. LOL. I had to make a promise to myself to not think of anymore projects for at least 3 months. I might even throw in a quick beach vacation in the spring, too.

I'll need to piddle around with stuff in the garage/studio building and decide what MIGHT be necessary to make that place more functional for me, make the list and then prioritize. The house isn't quite "done" yet - I want to replace the carpet downstairs with an easy to care for commercial vinyl laminate - simulating barnwood planks, I think. And I need shelves, cabinets & bookcases up and down... the bunkroom "solution" still hasn't popped into my head (I can sleep 4 there now... but the room is awkward). The hanging lamps in the main living space need to be replaced - the living room one has all but two candelabra bulbs burnt out and it's so high in the air that even my contractors were iffy about dumping out the bugs and bat that were in the bottom of the open, pointing up bell globe. I'm going to be seeing a lot of my electrician next year - to replace those lamps, get power to the garden barn, and PROBABLY do some work in the garage.

And there are gardens to get started. But these finishing touches and "phase 2" projects are less essential to function and energy efficiency (except possibly windows/doors in the studio building). They are less time sensitive too... and can get done when they get done. There is all the new land too. And my engineering friend has encouraged me to just spend time on it - looking; survey the features and trees and plants - and doing nothing for the time being. Because it's always harder & more expensive to "undo" things that are "wrong" for the area. And that suits me just fine I think.

I have very clear, bright line boundaries on the FOO situation - and what I'm willing to do to "help". And what I WON'T do anymore, because it's such a trigger for me. That mostly relates to my mother. And it is, what it is - I'm tired of pretending to have a relationship, when it's this costly to me.

As for Mr. Right... LOL. I'm not holding my breath. Yeah, he's probably out there somewhere. I might even run into him someday. And I might be more open to having a "playmate"... someone to have fun with and a trusting relationship... without all the traditional stuff involved that complicates things for people my age. I'm still thinking about that.... seeing how it "sits". Wondering if I have the courage to take on another marriage at this age - KNOWING what comes with age and how it complicates life legally - and yet, is pretty much what I'm built to do. I've been in that kind of relationship, pretty all the time since 1975. This is different; it's not BAD at ALL. And I get to see the difference between true "lonely" and "seeking acknowledgement/validation/connection" loud & clear.

The sky is red this morning. So, rain coming. But it's going to be a lot warmer today; almost 50 and in that range for the next week. That's going to help a lot. I have so many "little things" to do that got shuffled to the back of the line, bottom of the list while working on the big stuff this year.

And shopping to do for me/the house.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on December 18, 2017, 08:05:39 AM
Me again.

I'm kinda giving my big brothers a break from listening to my "out loud" mental processing. I'm nowhere near "planning" or "prioritizing" or even ideas for "phase 2" around the farm. I want to DUST; vacumn up the stink bugs & ladybugs... maybe re-arrange some furniture... clear out some more floor space - find a place for the things I'm keep "to live". Sometimes that's going to involve shifting things from one building to another. Recycling yet more cardboard from boxes I empty out and decide what to do with the crap inside.

Making a trip to the little cabin to finish cleaning it out.

But I'm mostly feeling like a cabbage; I just want to sit and vegetate. For now. No pressure; no lists; no choices/decisions... just drift... breathe... do a lot of "nothing" for a change.

Going "over the mountain" to drop off more salvation army donations of clothes I don't wear and some more of 3 kitchens worth of stuff. Getting the cherokee inspected - and maybe an appt for better tires for my new environment.

Sleeping good; I'm working my way through the original episodes/seasons of Twilight Zone in the evenings instead of making a flailing desperate effort to connect with "anyone who's out there" in internet land. Reading. Just breathing.

Trying to find some fun, sick & twisted ideas for Holly's 40th birthday party. Which is directly opposed to the "come as you are" and totally relaxed day I have in mind. A strange mix of people who probably have nothing in common with each other - except for Holly - LOL. And this is going to entail cleaning up the studio some more. (Good beneficial side effect.)
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on December 21, 2017, 05:17:26 AM
You always sound so busy, Skep, do you have some chores that you find more fun that others?  I love re-arranging furniture and clearing out cupboards and sheds; posting loads of items on Freecycle and giving bags of stuff away to the charity shop always makes me feel much better.  I work better when I've got plenty of time.  If I've only got an hour and I have to prioritise I always feel that the job's not done.

The birthday party sounds like fun!  Have you had any ideas you can share with us? xx
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on December 21, 2017, 05:34:28 PM
Tupp, mostly I just let the OCD take over and work for HOURS without consciously thinking about it. I forget to eat, even. It seems I "know" - without making a conscious decision or going through any elaborate thought process, just what needs to be done. Most of the time, I poop out physically before the OCD considers the job "done". It's very much like being in a creative "zone". And it's honestly very good for me. But other people around usually disrupts that process. Holly's seen it all her life, so she knows to just stand back & watch. LOL... she does the same thing herself. And when she's doing it with my "stuff"... there's usually a hissy-fit about to burst forth on my part.

Last time, I explained to her that I'm worried I won't be able to find anything because I didn't "put it" where it is now. She adjusted and said: you can SEE it all... I'm not hiding anything on you. Our brains organize a tad differently. It's nice we can each have those moments - exposing our anxieties, quirks and oddities - and even yell at each other... and 5 minutes later just sit down and talk rationally about the issue, once the emotional bubble has burst. I don't think either of us can do that with anyone else.

This whole week, I've been operating at hyperspeed. No idea WHY. There is a lot going on, and I'm forced to multi-task, like it or not - I have to take phone calls, answer emails and sign docs online for realtors. In between cleaning toilets, wrapping presents, making shopping lists for baking and getting cars inspected. And yes, I've screwed up and forgotten things I was going to do - just because it seems I'm on some different wavelength than when I made the plans in my head. Wacky.

Then, an old song comes on the radio and the tears are leaking again - more missing Mike.

And I'm sleeping well, my kitties are just delightful lately, Holly's adventure is coming to a close and she'll be headed home soon. I've decided she's living her life in total denial of her age... or maybe it's disdain, I'm not sure. (But I know I will hear ALL about it...) So I've decided it's a F*** Forty Birthday Party. "Pizza" was one of her first words... one of her friends makes great pizza dough... so Matt & I have conspired to pull together a "make your own pizza" party with all kinds of toppings. Matt's been experimenting with making filled soft pretzels... and that's the perfect food for one of our "free for all" house parties. I guess I'll make rum cupcakes or something rediculous like that.

All the women in Matt's life have unintentionally gotten on the same wavelength for his Christmas presents this year. He is the "grillmaster"... and Thanksgiving's smoked turkey was as moist as anything I've ever tasted. His mom is getting a really good chef's knife, Holly found some sauces/spices I think... I've found him a good "hot ash" can... smoking chips... cedar planks... some dry rubs...now he just needs some exotic meats to cook. LOL.

Matt & I get along pretty well - we get on a creative wavelength and can push each other along. Having them around is almost ALWAYS (not always) fun. They have relationship issues they're trying to work out. And Holly is working out her conflicted brain/feelings to some kind of resolution. I try to guide, not overstep my bounds, and make gentle suggestions here & there to both of them.... and DUCK. I'm much more inhibited about letting the inner Viking run loose than Holly is. She's been journaling on her sea voyage... and that's a good good thing for her.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on December 21, 2017, 10:09:28 PM
Oh wow. What an amazing post.

1) Your productivity absolutely dazzles me, and I so loved glimpsing how it actually feels not so much like work as like...flow. I am glued to these works-in-progress stories of yours and maybe that's why. I can get a vision of a person who has that very strong current of productive flow going on, amidst whatever's also good or bad, in her life. The flow is truly remarkable and the productivity absolutely awesome to me. I am grateful to read these stories, of your rootedness in place and thing and movement.

2) The song and tears for Mike break my heart for you. But I get sweet grief. (((((((((Amber)))))))))

3) You've still made awesome family. The energies you describe, and the moments, and the sharing (and caring, even seeking out the right chips for Matt) are heartwarming to read about. And insightful.

I hope it's joyful all around.


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on December 24, 2017, 05:54:27 PM

We are now past the due diligence deadline on the sale of the beach house. So, it's good as sold. It's the only mortgage I've got... so the first champagne flute I grabbed was Mike's from our wedding. Fitting. He would appreciate how this sale has gone - and how realtor & I were ready for this particular buyer - so, here's to Mike and all he taught me.

Time to burn bridges in Rambo style and move ON.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on December 24, 2017, 08:41:04 PM
Wow, kudos and WHEW!

What amazing timing.

Very Merry Christmas....and what a gift to have that happen now.
I'm feeling all Waltonsy just thinking about it.

Yay! Now you can make one home real home, without cobwebs.

Oh goody.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on December 24, 2017, 11:35:44 PM
Congrats, Amber.

Here's to a New Year with less stuff, and more time, for the things and people we love.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on December 26, 2017, 09:39:50 AM
Looks like today is list day.

That's when I gather up/sort/re-write the 20 some lists floating around. Make decisions about what is important/not... going forward. Some things will have no start date, because I'm also going to prioritize the order things need to happen. Some things have to happen FIRST before I'm comfortable doing the other things.

It's cold right now; I need to split more kindling and get some insulation up.

2 weeks till Holly's party. Number of guests is growing - sigh - as are activities, which I'm not so sure I want to have happen with that many people around. It's just my normal dislike of chaos and not being able to keep track of that many people all at one time. I don't want anyone getting hurt. Hol's nickname is "General Mayhem"... and while I know she's very safety conscious - and looks out for her "crew"... well, crap happens when you're around a force of nature.

And then, there's that "thing" it seems a few of us have... about having everything "perfect" when people come over.

I tried splitting kindling a few days ago... and haven't quite found my "oomph" or the right tool yet that I feel comfortable using.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on December 31, 2017, 10:13:37 PM
OH, how I HATE Ns. And no, I'm not ashamed of that.

My 1st husband, Hol's Dad, after 25 years - 25 years mind you - asked her to apologize to her step-mom for calling her a bitch... when Hol was 15 and under extreme duress - covering her sister's butt, and being blamed for everything... right before she left and moved in with me and hubby #2.

Hol DID IT and wound up having a really good time with step-mom. It's Dad who has the problem; and Holly & step-mom worked woutside of that... got past it... and everyone knows now. Except Dad. Who is still in his own world about things.

I feel horrible for Hol. But damn, she did GOOD. Compassion for the stepmom... and no mercy for Dad. She still has self-destructive tendencies as a result of eating all that. But she had a good friend close by - an experienced good friend... and mom's just a phone call away. She'll be alright after she's slept some. She just came back from 3 weeks at sea on a sailboat. I haven't heard all the stuff she did that would make my hair whiter yet.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on January 01, 2018, 01:12:27 AM
Mountain Viking women of a certain age are SUPPOSED to have long white hair. And to smoke a pipe. And wear colorful clothes and be eccentrically beautiful. That's you, I know it.

What a wonderful beginning to a new year for Hol, the grace of an apology plus reconciliation...and even a new friendship with stepmom. Hope she forgives her Dad and can be at peace there too.

How good it is to hear these things.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on January 02, 2018, 10:15:20 AM
I bet that sailboat felt 10 feet long at the end of that trip. 

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 03, 2018, 05:03:08 PM
Party prep underway. I'm really sick of my "just so" standards... so time to start breaking the mold.

Hair is shorn and styled... and I look & feel like an honest-to-god human being again! New stylist is GOOD and a sweetie. I'm going to like her.

A few more cleaning runs to make... then I can transfer down to the studio and get the last bit of that spiffed up. Debbie helped me a lot when she came out last week. We've been hard at it down there, because it's easy to work/party in the same space... LOL.

I may not need a fire tonight; one less thing to fuss over and hop up every 30 minutes to deal with. I have nuke'em chinese for dinner too. So I'm good to go for a bit. Will maybe futz in the kitchen pre-chopping pizza toppings.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on January 03, 2018, 08:15:30 PM
What day is Hol's party?

I wanna send y'all a mental toast while the mountainside is ringing with good vibes.

How lucky is she to have a mom who knocks herself out to do up a F*** Forty!

DON'T wear yourself completely out before the fun begins, okay?

Loved hearing you say you got over "just so"...just so you can enjoy this.

You deserve it.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 03, 2018, 08:55:17 PM
Sat afternoon... until people drop into bed. LOL.

I found my bookshelf for the bedroom was delivered... in 3 separate boxes (2 were 6 ft long) that each weighed a ton. I hauled 'em inside because the weather out here feels like snow. No not the east coast storm... this will arrive courtesy of the Great Lakes. They won't come upstairs until there are some strong people here.

Freddie is making spending the night inside a regular thing. Silly cat who used to make me hold the door open, waiting for him to make up his mind... now sneaks in right behind me. And he ASKS to go out in the morning! He's one smart cat. Black kitty (more feral) MIGHT - just MIGHT - have a litter of kittens somewhere outside. Based on some mews I heard one morning. She's been getting food whether freddy is out or now. I even change the ice out for fresh water for her.

Going to town basically ruined me for doing much once I got home. Gonna call it a day and get up early tomorrow.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 11, 2018, 08:28:41 AM
Going to little cabin today and moving out rest of stuff... that the buyers aren't expecting to have left for them... and trying to get home & unloaded before rains set in. Dropping off keys with the realtor.

Then, I'm going to try to have some blessed downtime... peace & quiet... normal day to day chores for a bit. Let myself drift/dream/assess where I am... and where it is I think I'm going. I've tried to pull out my book & write for 2 weeks... and just haven't gotten there. The seed catalogs have been saved for this point in time, too.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 12, 2018, 09:38:16 AM
DANG I'M TIRED. 4 hrs on the road... collecting/packing/toting down the narrow spiral steps to ground level with the jeep... packing every square inch of the jeep... and getting home before dark or rain sets in. I had to "let go" a few things that simply weren't going to fit in the jeep. Slept 11 hours... and slept GOOD.

Moving very slow today and not wanting to do a damn thing, even though I need to unload the jeep and park it, at the very least. Mio-mio is playing armchair kitty and resting her head on the remote tray...

I think maybe I can work up enough energy to take a shower and get dressed. Then, I'll go from there. The post-it list has a few "want tos" on it, a have-to, and that doesn't require any physical energy - just patience.

Good thing my data plan reset, so I can watch the tube without getting awful emails from ATT about my overages. Pffffft... I'll just write 'em a bigger check. Bite me. This time of year, I need to double my data allowance. Too yucky to do much outside (despite the warm up) and too tired to feel motivated. It's slug time.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on January 12, 2018, 09:45:46 AM
I'm not surprised you're tired, Skep, you're such a busy bee anyway and with a party and then all that driving and lugging things - I think some feet up and doing as little as possible is called for - hopefully with cats to keep you company :) xx
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on January 12, 2018, 10:14:12 AM
Wow. So the little cabin is sold and you're out of there as well as the beach!
This must feel good -- having home downsized and centered on one place.
Good for you, Amber. Less is more (unless it really does become a
huge compound with more work for you than ever!).

You might wanna watch the massive exertions (says Hops who barely
moves her flabby ass...). Anyway, all I mean is, stay safe.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on January 12, 2018, 10:23:16 AM
Letting things go....letting perfection go.....it sounds like heaven, Amber.

The decision to sell a problem property on  Bimini is done.  Now the contractor flies out at the end if the month to assess the job and materials list,then we do the job in February.....not pig stinking hot at least, but I dread most of it. 

Reading that you've completed your sales feels hopeful to me.

Your plan is coming together, Amber.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 13, 2018, 08:50:34 AM
Well, trying to sleep almost a dozen people after the party spotlights a couple things that could be improved for larger groups out here. The two bathrooms upstairs are awkwardly tiny. It's OK for the guest suite... where Holly & my friend Debbie usually stay - but in the bunkroom that sleeps 4, it's more of a logistical problem. They have to be pretty intimate friends.

Then, there's the silly 1/2 bath right inside my front door... I drew a half moon on it with sharpie early on in the party - and informed everyone it was the "outhouse". Honestly - there are SEVEN, count 'em, SEVEN - bathrooms between the house & garage/studio. I think the outhouse would make a better guest coat closet.

The kitchen functions well when there are only 3 people (no cats or dogs) in it. It's efficient, but NOT a lot of counter space... so one of those 3 is grabbing the utensils/dishes/pans that have finished their duty and washing them. It's just not enough space for more than that. Matt was even reusing my large mineral steel skillet for different things. Dining room table has two leaves... and will seat 8; there are two stools that can be pulled up to the counter behind the range - when it's not being used a bar - so I was still short a seat or two, if it hadn't been the cooks holding down the fort in the kitchen.

I see an outdoor kitchen in my future. But given that the temps were below zero that night - LOL - that might've been challenging too. I have a good spot on the back deck that is currently occupied by an old/trashed hot tub. I've been trying to find someone to come remove it for a year. More design work in the rebuilding phase.

And I'm thinking about a bunkhouse... somewhere. I need to spend more time exploring the back 40 and decide if guest cabins make more sense than one large structure. Think self-contained tiny houses. MAYBE... all that is still in MAYBE land.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on January 13, 2018, 09:03:55 PM
I'm overwhelmed just thinking of all those items on your list today.

Maybe consider bumping out the kitchen.... doubling the size.  I love the idea of a 3 season outdoor kitchen, but you're right about it being too cold in the winter for it.  It's been in the teens and below lately.... so much wind, it's felt below zero at times.  No way outside kitchens would work in that.

Maybe an outdoor pizza oven?  They only takes seconds to cook a pie.  How much entertaining and over night guesting do you plan on?  Maybe a big open living room and kitchen with many guest bedrooms with private baths, rather than separate cabins with separate utilities and all that goes with.  I picture a big fireplace and high Cyprus ceiling in the main room.  I'm sure there are rules to septic systems to help figure this out.

I'm excited for you, Amber. 


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 14, 2018, 10:55:22 AM
LOL... I'm still in the idea-gathering phase Lighter. I don't really WANT to entertain much - but the kids do - and I want the kids to enjoy the place that is "home" now for them too, so the entertaining comes along with it.

I got half a bookcase put together yesterday because Ronnie stopped by to "catch up" and hang out. I wanted to run a bunch of my ideas past him... because he sees things with a guy's mindset, one who knows the weather and land well and his input - and his list - helps keep me grounded. I think I'm going to have to formalize our relationship about work here a little bit. And today... I think I'm procrastinating finishing up the bookshelf... because I know the fun part comes right after: arranging books, boxes & knick knacks/pictures and I want to thoroughly enjoy that part. Weird me, I know.

So while the ideas are flying around in "maybe land"... I'm puttering around. I did commit myself to a living room project this past week though. I FINALLY found a storage/entertainment unit that suits the style I'm going for... to fit next to the fireplace. It won't even ship till the end of the month but that gives me time to clear out the rest of the clutter I made, bringing stuff home from the little cabin, without pushing myself.

Having private living space for myself - and separate accomodations for guests - eases a lot of my dread of big parties. A "bunkhouse"... with a central cooking/living space... and semi-private sleeping space... and a couple shared bathrooms would work. And it could remain "primitive camping" style... ie, composting toilets, etc. You know what a dogtrot house style is? Say, two bedrooms/bath on each side and central cooking/living in the middle. Functional 3 seasons of the year - and with appropriate enclosures/wood heat... bearable in these frigid temps too. That's all that was missing from Holly's party - a bonfire.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on January 14, 2018, 01:52:16 PM
I'd love to hear all about Hol's party, Amber...did she LOVE it?

Did you manage to yourself, despite all the work?

How many people, and how many nights did they stay?

What was your favorite part?

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 14, 2018, 02:28:04 PM
We started prepping toppings for pizzas on Friday. I made dark chocolate rum cupcakes with salted caramel (w/rum) buttercream frosting with sugared pecan topping... on Thursday. Friday late afternoon, Autumn & the littles arrived for our Christmas. We had a real simple supper and went to the studio and played for a bit... before it was shower & pj time for the kids... and we started watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. They lost me around 10... and from what I heard everyone else called it a night shortly thereafter.

Sat, people started rolling in around 3 pm. I already had a fire going downstairs... Holly inflated an air mattress and shifted things in the bathroom, to open up facilities for another couple people to sleep downstairs. Had 4 in the bunkroom, Holly & Matt in the guest suite, the 2 downstairs... and one passed out in the chair in the studio before everyone else trooped down there. Just like summer camp... I'm sure there are incriminating photos...

We decided getting food in people before 5 pm would be a very wise decision. Matt made 2 kinds of filled soft pretzels that were excellent, even if the baking soda did explode all over the range top... LOL. Bill & Melina brought pizza dough...... and honest to god, professional fireworks. I think we went through 8 pizzas. Several people took turns as dishwasher. I gave a quick tour outside while it was daylight so people could see the environment before a very long night. About 9 pm, Bill and Holly started setting up for the boom-booms. It was -13 and windy that night; the pond was frozen so Bill thought using the dock to launch over the pond would be the safest. Silly me... I thought he was talking about the kind of fireworks you can buy at stands around here on the 4th of July.

Bill is the head of the Special Effects dept that Holly's with. Freddie was inside that night; Holly's dogs too. I didn't see the other outside cats for a couple days after those fireworks. We were outside about an hour or so playing & oohing and aahing over the big booms. We shot off some mortars with a Navy-style flare gun from the porch... bottle rockets... sparklers. I still have sparklers left over.

It wasn't long after we migrated to the studio that Matt - who had to prep breakfast and was playing "sheriff" for the party - decided I was ready to sleep... which was after about 8 hrs of straight partying. I'm not cut out for that. They were up till about 4:30 am. Breakfast turned into brunch since Matt & I started multiple pots of coffee around 7:30 - 8 am. Mimosas followed along with a nice strudel and breakfast burritos. People started wandering away around 3 pm.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on January 15, 2018, 07:53:05 PM
Sounds like a blast.
You will be crawling with company clamoring to come for parties,
or weekends, or whatevers.

I'm beginning to really see how much the isolated mountain home
still has to do with family -- giving them all a space to get to nature,
get out of cities, and just relax.

Bravo, what a great thing to do!

And I bet the locals loved your fireworks, too. You'll soon be
the fascinating female in the area...everyone will want to get to
know you.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 16, 2018, 08:58:50 AM
Ha. If they think I'm that fascinating, I hope they bring their tools and younger backs! (Hey, hold my beer Tom Sawyer.... and watch THIS... LOL...)

We're expecting snow, so I gotta move my butt this morning. But I'll be back. I'm in dream/plan/reassess mode... along with LOTS of sleeping. That always turns over some rocks and all kinds of crap tends to crawl out.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 16, 2018, 01:05:03 PM
OK - with the weather - there are a lot of projects on hold for now. But, they also need the "planning" of the major elements - like fence for the garden and the yard - and then, how I plan to lay out my garden. Because of the slope, I think terracing/levelling beds is going to be a major feature. In between the levels... on the sloping sections... I think I'll plant more "permaculture" things; berries and such. Where the slope ends... it makes a really sharp triangle with the stream/driveway and is awful to mow with my bigger rig. So... I think this is going to be a small orchard. It's the most protected area from the west winds; north wind will go over top and the stream - while it's just wet weather, will still be keeping the moisture in, in that area.

I don't have bunnies, so far. At least I haven't seen any. But there are lots of voles, chipmunks, raccoons, possums, groundhogs, the turkeys and deer. So that whole area will need to be fenced against them, and the stray bear (which I also haven't seen). There will be compost bins in that area for the usual garden stuff... and one or two bins closer to the house for kitchen waste, too.

There's wood storage to design/build to pre-season wood... a splitter and better chipper to buy/store... working out an agreement with Ronnie & his "crew" about cutting wood for themselves/and me... and lot of stuff to move to the "barn". It's supposed to be in the 50s next week..... so until then.......

I have all the stuff I brought back from the little cabin to figure out where it's going to go. An office to clean up, and try to find furniture for... flooring to replace down there. Two new hanging lights for the foyer/living room that a sane person will be able to reach & change bulbs in (and they'll still get LEDs). More movies/music to sort through and purge. And in Feb, I'm supposed to be taking delivery of a huge storage/entertainment center in the living room. Finally found something that will look right. And I need to get some new stain and try to darken the new wood behind it before it gets here.

I'm going to change the furniture in the bunkroom too. The set I have now is simply too big and I don't have people staying there that often. The garage stuff needs sorted and made ready for pickup by the auction folks.

And today... I can finally sit and think about that.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on January 16, 2018, 05:41:23 PM
The only (remote) way I can relate is the three-month period when I was renovating my new house with a contractor who had worse ADD than me, so the total job required about 30 separate contracts. Here you go, Dave.

This is our contract for the windows. I pay you half now and half when the last one's in.
This is ..... for the roof.
This is.... for the collapsed outside stairway
This is.... for the iron poles unaccountably stuck in the ground
This is... for the new (Habitat) extra window
This is .... for the bathroom
This is.... for the cork
This is...for the marmoleum (hah those were actually on the same one)

And then separate ones for drywall, paint, electrical, basement crawl space, guttering, drains, on and ON.

But my thing went on for three months and yours sounds as though it's going to go on forever! I know that's not so, at some point you've have all systems in place and functional and will be able to paint, read, think, live, relax.

I am rooting for it to come soon. As to the kids worrying about your energy level? Jeez. High bar.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 16, 2018, 06:30:11 PM
LOL... well, these are just the post-its on the wall in the "want to" section Hops. Things FUNCTION, right now, so I have time to read, flit about the internet doing my "thang" ... which is pointing out the obvious mostly. And I know from painful experience how I can bite off more than I chew... so we'll SEE.

Oh yeah... then the logical order of things comes into play, too. Like, getting a big tractor/dozer in for the terracing BEFORE I fence it in... yadda yadda...

So all that gets done in this hibernation phase - the planning out - the what I really want to do, when... and just what do I really "need"... as in, really NEED versus, what I think I'm "supposed" to do. Maybe I only get the kitchen beds done this year. And plant those.

All the time I spend doing this... second guessing myself... and looking for inspiration/ideas... saves me a LOT of time when it gets down to the doing.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on January 17, 2018, 08:14:44 PM
You have so many projects, Amber.  I'm trying to get out from under projects,and you're embracing new ones.  Good Lord, you are tackling them like a champ

Just shifting my sofa into my dining room,creating a keeping room, is feeling overwhelming right now.  That's what getting snowed in did for me today.....time to problem solve furniture arrangements.

:: Shaking head::..

Not my strong suit.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 18, 2018, 08:17:47 AM
Lighter: right now, they only exist in my imagination and on a list or post-it somewhere. Right now, my OCD is insisting that I finish up some of the things that were made possible by last summer's project FIRST.

I haven't been able to sit and write - letting the stream of consciousness bubble out - to get a sense yet, of what my intuition is directing me to work on next. And instead, I'm kind of stuck in a "responding to events already set in motion" reality... where what I feel drawn to doing today gets interrupted by someone, somewhere else, saying "I need you to do this now". LOL. And even though it's all part of my mental "master plan"... it basically blows up any intention I had for the day. Gone with the wind.

So, as cold as it's been, feeding/cleaning the woodstove downstairs takes a lot of time. What I really NEEDED, was the insulation up under the floor over the garage. Insulation I had delivered before Christmas... but then got too busy to deal with. Which... as fate would have it... turns out to be a GOOD THING, not a BAD thing, this time. Because I've now realized that one of the entry doors downstairs wraps around the west side of the garage and this is where a lot of the draft I feel on the sofa is coming from.

But I have made a lot of progress, even on the Amber-does list and I'm taking a vacation, dammit. Yes, I have all this stuff swirling up in my head I want to do... and it's totally cluttered and chaotic. So....... I'm choosing to take a break, let some things finish up (like the sale of little cabin closes Monday; beach house Friday)... maybe make some more space in my main garage workshop (priority) and since it's going to warm up enough to be ABLE to work in the garage under the house... start with the places I KNOW need to be insulated. Get some of the tasks off the list... before scheduling more upgrade/design/construction projects. I've got some things I want to do for ME, too.

I am still noticing a little down-swing in mood: sadness, regret, guilt... in letting go the things Mike participated in with me. I guess it's always going to be there. But it's now more like a cloud passing overhead... and doesn't last long anymore; doesn't overwhelm me. And I would guess, that this proliferation of "Ideas of Mass Imagination" are all things that have been carefully put aside, tucked away, saved for "someday"........... and this is some day. LOL. It does get a little noisy in my head some days.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on January 18, 2018, 09:08:26 AM
I think you're managing this transition with amazing resilience and attention.  Walking that edge of dizzying guilt/sadness.....
noticing it.......
stepping off the edge, then paying attention to how that feels to experience what comes next.  That takes letting go, over and over.  In small and large ways.  You're holding on to what comes next, and planning for more.

Part of the sadness might be acknowledging Mike wouldn't have wanted what you're building...... wouldn't have wanted you doing these things at all.  His comfort zone was something else, and you lived in that Zone for a long time. 

You're moving away from the life you shared with Mike, and distancing yourself is sad.  No way around it, and without judging, if possible. It was sweet and there was comfort.

 It's also empowering to dream of your own wheelhouse.  Be the architect of new plans, then build Amber's world.  Of course it is.  Yes, it's very different than Mike's, and touching all his things, choosing to put them away to make room for you.....feels like.... betrayal at times?  It's ok to simply acknowledge, sans judgement..... it's just a story, Amber.

If Mike could see you, he'd be thrilled to see you grow, and stretch.  He'd have tremendous gratitude that you were content to sit by his sleepy side, and love the life you shared before.

I think Mike would be amazed, and eager to see what you're building.  He'd be so proud of you.  He'd be eager to see where your intuition leads next.


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 18, 2018, 11:31:15 AM
Aw, gee thanks Lighter! One thing that's helped me oh, so much... is supporting other widows through the fresh stages of this transition, around my other forums on the internet. They all have different experiences and coping mechanisms. Some sink so deeply into grieving, they feel they can't breathe. Others stay busy and cheerfully coping - until that all wears out - and kaboom, now they're grieving. Age doesn't seem to make a difference to what kind of experience they have. I guess it's my age cohort, that there are a lot people going through this, it seems.

Just FYI - since it seems a lot of people don't know what to say - in the long run, it seems it doesn't matter. (I'm the only one I know that took offense at some clumsy people; I'm weird; not the norm.) What seems to be the most helpful, is regular check-ins with them. Listening to their feelings or struggles with the bureaucracy that surrounds death - and there is a LOT of this. Just being there, in other words. Of course, I had the amazons... and we have this down to an art now. LOL.

But the useful big brothers were a big help too. There's a lot of weird thoughts & feelings a person goes through in this transition - and my "brothers" let me get it out of my system (safely) and helped me grab the rails of perspective again... charting a course that seems (at this point) to be fitting me pretty well. And when you have the history of childhood issues many of us have been through that process is even more daunting and fraught with pitfalls. Everyone I opened up to, helped keep me going through and past all that.

Yes, every single thing I let go of that was Mike's or that we acquired together... echoes those feelings. But it's getting easier now, to do what I think makes sense for me. I don't have as much emotional whiplash because of the decisions.

Holly got me an old book: Women Who Run with Wolves. She's reading it - and it seemed significant enough to her, to get me a copy so we can talk about it. (That's the technique I used to get her self-educating.) I've never read it, believe it or not. But at this point - I'm feeling like I can't even get into it; we'll see; I'll persist with it. I'm finding the jungian language, and the overwhelming non-rational dreamy quality of it to be just dreck. Someone spewing words looking for a real concrete thought. So far, at any rate.

I liked the magic realist authors; Isabel Allende was one I read a lot of. So, I don't know if the time just isn't right... if my experiences over the past couple years put me past the "exploring" nature of her exposition and right into a "knowing" phase... or if I just don't want to peel the cover back on too much of that stuff right now. But I think I can approach it as a way to get inside Holly's head and "see" a little of what she thinks she's dealing with.

[Fair Warning: it seems I'm emptying the "hard drive" in my head right now... lots & lots & lots of stuff has been going on in there... and like a crop of sprouts... is starting to grow to the sun right now and popping up everywhere. LOL. Chatty cathy time again, in other words.]
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on January 19, 2018, 02:54:14 AM
Skep, I know my situation is different to yours but what you said about people regularly checking in is so true.  I've lost about ninety percent of my friends over the years, simply because I haven't been able to get out and the phone's been the only way to keep in touch.  The friends I've still got are the ones that just kept ringing - not necessarily that often, or for very long, or regularly, but every now and again they'd pick the phone up for a chat.  It's so true that there aren't really right words, it's more about contact and making the effort.  And I agree with Lighter, what you're doing is amazing.  I don't think Holly needs to be worrying about your energy levels (which I think you mentioned on another thread somewhere!). xx
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on January 19, 2018, 01:21:34 PM
Amber, I'm late to get going today so only time for one remark (loved your post, btw!):

I always thought of that book as inspirational to pre-woke women awaiting the arrival of courage.

Well, two:

It's very difficult to run with the wolves while you are carrying an axe and shouting back over your shoulder to contractors.


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 19, 2018, 05:22:59 PM
LOL... you'd be amazed what a lamb I am with contractors. I tend not to show my real "get of out my way and let me do it" attitude around them, until I know I won't scare them off.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 20, 2018, 01:32:19 PM
OH MY.... the idea factory and list producer in me, remains busy. But at least I'm getting it into some semblance of categories/organization. Still, technically "on vacation"... so today I'm trying to finish up washing the bedding I brought back from little cabin, swapping better pillows for ones that probably need to get stored for repurposing, or just stored.

I'm going to do a little more online shopping for the living room. Couple things have been on my wishlist for awhile, and it's time to indulge myself. The granddaughter has a birthday in a couple weeks too. So, I need to find her something pretty and spring-y... she is such a funny combination of "princess" and tomboy. I've got till July to worry about her brother's birthday.

The eldest D - the one Holly and I have tried to rescue from herself, for over 20 years - seems intent on self-destructing. Any time either one of us has a twinge of guilt - that somehow we didn't intervene earlier, or pull off a major interhuman miracle - it's offset by the list of things we've done to support her, help her, and the number of times we've shown her "the way". Neither of us is willing to jump in and be "responsible" anymore - A has to learn to be the responsible one.

The situation is escalating right down the toilet. I made up my mind, after the 10 days we spent trying to at least get help for the kids, that since A works overtime to prove me & Hol ineffective... that I had to focus on taking care of the rest of the family. Hol is working on accepting that A is just this side of slowly killing herself and is no longer in control of herself. Legally, there's not a damn thing we can do. A is 41 now. Even if she should find herself in hospital - the new HIPAA laws could possibly prevent us from making decisions about her care. As far as we know, there is no health POA.

Oldest grandson will be 18 this year - and no way no how is he prepared to function as an adult in this world. Physically, and emotionally, he's more mature than his mom. But he can't even pass the written part of his driving test, since he was forced into an education system that did the minimum for special needs kids. Oh, he can actually drive. Whether or not, he understands the rules of the road is another question. Youngest boy, does have a father who is concerned and would be part of the picture to the best of his ability. This one, I fear, has even worse emotional problems and very little resilience. But none of the learning disabilities.

No blessed idea what will happen with them - at this point in time - should A succeed in not existing. I am for all intents & purposes a fiction in her life. It's like trying to influence the wind. And many times, my attempts to reason and show her a way forward, backfires. Hol does a little better - all the time aware that what she thinks she knows about a situation with A could all be lies - and continues to give A solid advice without any hope that A will take it as a lifesaver. So far - she's not.

It completely mystifies me that a person could be so far beyond help. And determined to stay that way, uncognizant and uncaring of how that impacts those who do care about her. She's always saying no one cares. Despite the long years of examples to the contrary. It's like her goal in life is to leave no choice but to abandon her. WTF? My mind can't understand that; my emotional side aches for the tragedy of this... but this world, this country, this system isn't providing me any options either.

All I can do is watch. And be prepared for what anyone with two brain cells could see is coming. And resolve to firmly reject - continuously - all those attempts to make Hol or me guilty as to the result. It is truly not our fault and we have given decades of time, money and actual assistance to try to prevent this. There is nothing that we haven't tried left. It just sucks.

And yet, I've just about exhausted all the emotions surrounding this person. When you've given above & beyond the call of duty... it gets used up. There's just the hole left. And it sucks too. It's even hard to feel grief about this... because of how much effort was put into trying to make sure it didn't have to be this way. Neither of us can BE HER for HER.

And we're tired. There is much to do in our lives - things that do give results for our efforts. Yet this is always there in the background; the knowing; the plain and simple lack of a way to help. Or even to persuade A that she needs help that we can't provide.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on January 20, 2018, 01:52:52 PM
I am so sorry. I understand how heartrending this is.
Addiction is just defeating thinking and NO amount of reason cures it.
It includes self pity, arrested development, and neglect of family.
And some people do let themselves die. It is very tragic and you are RIGHT
to accept the detachment you're forced to adopt to not drown along with her.

It's not exactly parallel but our wakes do cross in this.

Strange as it sounds, my efforts to emotionally survive in the six years
since my D "vaporized" me from her life, well into poorly managed bipolar...
those efforts did finally get me to a place of peace.

Now I am living my own life, and though she comes into my thoughts and
sometimes there is pain...generally I accept that she is gone.

Anything different would be a new relationship, and I would be a different
woman/mother. And I'm not expecting it nor even hoping for it at this point.

Now and then my sorrow for her rolls over me but I let it go through and
beyond. She truly is beyond my reach.

I almost think it's harder for you because you do still have contact, even
if mostly through Hol.

I'm so sorry.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on January 20, 2018, 03:07:36 PM
That does sound so hard, Skep, you never stop being a mum, do you?  Which is why it's hard when your grown up kids keep making crap decisions and you can't do anything about it.  I wish things had turned out a bit better.  You are right to say that you and H should keep reminding yourselves not to feel guilty.  No-one can make people change paths if that person is really resistant to doing it for themselves (or if they do change it's only for a short time before they go back to the way they were).  I can only hope A does see there's a different way at some point xx
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 21, 2018, 09:53:52 AM
Thanks. It's a weird place to be in. To be past the sadness, grief, and the urge "to do something to help". I struggle with the idea that I'm abandoning her - but it's not true. I'm still here should she find her way back. Genuinely.

Hops, yes the wakes cross. Yes, one clings to merest whiff of hope - even when rationally one knows it's not likely that real change will occur. In my case, there have been so many times that she's seemed to get it, understand, and promised to take herself in hand... and it was just the addiction using my inexhaustible hope for it's own purposes. That's a level of anger perhaps only you would understand. A foreign, unusual type... and it doesn't even lash out anymore.

I've even given her my penultimate "secret formula" - that you have to matter to YOU - to no avail. And she's made it clear how little other people matter to her. Or maybe that's the addiction and she's being held hostage by it... somewhere, way inside.

I guess it's come up for me again, because Hol thinks the spiral is escalating... and she is trying to find a way to deal with it herself. She knows and understands where I'm at with it... but she feels a bit differently. Which is OK. They are sisters, despite how much mothering Hol has done of her sister. And Hol looks way further forward trying to anticipate and ready herself for things she thinks are inevitable. I've learned to just take it as comes, because the feelings to specific things simply can't be predicted ahead of time. And whatever they turn out to be - they are bearable. I no longer fear soul-wrenching grief as much practice as I've had... and no matter how non-fuctional I am dealing with it. And I'll still go out of my way to head it off or avoid it... until I just cave and give in.

But this is different somehow. Being resigned to whatever fate has in store and since I'm not permitted to "fix it"... and all attempts have been thrown back to me as total failure, with anger and hostility on top... it's really hard to let myself care. Defensive shield, I guess. It's certainly not the same as releasing the outcome. She doesn't care that I care, when the addiction is in control.

SIGH. So it is what it is. And not a damn thing I can do about it, except take care of myself, and the rest of the family.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on January 21, 2018, 10:51:05 AM
I think it's how we protect ourselves, Skep, we do care but we know if we acknowledge that or keep putting it out there it's just something that gets thrown back at us and hurts us more.  So we bury it down deeper and get on with what we need to do.  I think the litmus test of whether you care or not is whether if that person reached out to you, genuinely wanting help to change and fix their own problems - not for you to fix them, but to help them fix themselves - would you help?  And I think the answer for all of us is yes.  Funnily enough I was thinking about my mum again today, and the sisters I no longer have contact with.  If any of them reached out with a view to having a relationship but acknowledging it couldn't be the way it used to be (with me taking x, y and z amounts of crap and just absorbing it all) then I'd say yes in a heart beat.  They can't, so I don't - but the care is still in there somewhere, deep down, and I expect it is with you as well.  It's hard.  Holly seems to have her head screwed on for the both of them :)  I'll keep hoping A sees a chink of light somewhere and asks someone to help her change direction at some point xx
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on January 21, 2018, 05:04:27 PM
Oh yes, Tupp. In a heartbeat.
The heart-space is there for her absolutely. Always will be. It's why I'm leaving her a house.
It's just a still, peaceful space that doesn't need me marching in and out, cleaning and keening.

If the host of this heart is to survive--meaning me--I can't do that. Have to close the
door (it's not locked) into that space and just rest in faith that I'd be able to enter it again
if she came knocking (appointment slip to family counselor in hand).

She and that heart-space will always be part of me.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on January 23, 2018, 04:10:33 AM
I think that's what's so hard when we have to 'give up' on someone for the sake of our own health/sanity/other family and so on.  Turning away from someone you love is so difficult, especially when it's because they have health or addiction problems (and maybe they're two sides of the same coin?) because you know it could be different if they dealt with the issue.  But they can't or won't and so you have to choose to either sacrifice yourself (and a lot of us do, for a long time) or sacrifice what you have with them.  Rocks and hard places :(
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on January 23, 2018, 06:47:48 AM
Amber and Hops:

These posts freeze my heart, and make it hard to breathe. 

We can't save anyone from themselves, even though it seems it should be a mother's super power, imo. 

I'm praying for the best possible outcome for your daughters.  I'm praying for all our children.


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 23, 2018, 07:11:34 AM
Well, remember my theory about some people just don't have a maternal instinct? At 41, with a 17 & 13 yr old, you'd think A would step up and be the "mom" right? Apparently, not. She can't even mother herself - with lots of constant coaching on how to do that. There are just some things about the human condition and "people" I am never, ever going to be able to comprehend or do anything about. It is truly as if they live in another parallel universe. Another reality.

More PLEASANT ramblings...

I have spring fever. Badly. And I am now in a position where responsibilities are being lifted off of me - less to think about, remember, take care of... so the creative wavelengths are kicking in, and revving up. Instead of being flooded with emotions, I'm flooded with IDEAS of things to create/build/plant and I'm having to work hard at grounding myself back in priorities, practicality, sanity... LOL. So I'm having to indulge the nesting instinct, the futzing perfectionist, the artist... with a flurry of DIY projects and more house decorating/refining my "vision" of the new "style"... etc.

I'm giving up post-modern pirate and moving on to an eclectic combo of industrial, rustic and Viking Shield Maiden. Plenty of little feminine touches (think: blush PINK & furs) scattered around. And lots of strong, earthy materials: wood, steel and stone.

There is a dearth of the spring bulbs I love here. A few lonely, struggling clumps of Daffs along the driveway is IT. Holly's going to have time this season to work on some metal projects in the shop (went back to work on production yesterday)... so I need to design my kitchen/herb garden. I have a pretty big area and lots of rocks to work with... so I need to plan out paths, sections, and decide what might do well, where. That got pushed to the back burner last year. An outdoor kitchen - rough hewn, durable, and protected from wind/weather somewhat. A bunkhouse that is big enough for a ballroom... LOL. Or tai chi classes... or who knows?

All stuff floating around in my wacky head right now. Be interesting to see what floats up to the top and actually gets put on this year's list.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on January 23, 2018, 11:49:34 AM
It sounds amazing, Skep, keep us all posted with what happens when, it's very exciting :) xx
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 23, 2018, 04:10:15 PM
Some of it may not happen for awhile. I like having enough free time now, to do things like get my hair cut well... go out for lunch, etc stuff. LOL. Since I got up so early today, I've already accomplished today's task - blend in the patches of new pine with the old logs - for today. Tomorrow, I'll caulk the drafty places.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on January 23, 2018, 06:45:02 PM
Oh I've always wanted a big industrial space for working out.... with mats.  Light flooding in.... powerful overhead fans.  Your bunkhouse project sounds terrific. It can be so many things.


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 25, 2018, 10:21:51 AM
Rethinking the bunkhouse idea, Lighter. Holly had an idea, which didn't make any sense to me, given my original vision - but on second thought, it has a lot of merit. We'll get a chance to pursue that soon.

Somehow I used about 800 gals of propane last month. That works out to about 3 grand for ONE MONTH. I have lots of useful big brothers consulting - one who ran a propane company for awhile. So, I'm putting that issue on my list too.

FINGERS CROSSED - buyer for the beach house wanted to move closing up to today. I don't know what time, but this time tomorrow the funds should be joining the little cabin proceeds in my account, and that mortgage paid off.

Right now, I'm a bit kerfuffled about choosing things on the list. Lots to think about... choose... plan... prioritize... and just plain old enjoy with a big rednecked grin on my face. I've already indulged myself in some shopping for the house. Finally found an entertainment unit that I like, goes with the new style, is the right color... and will fit in the space next to the fireplace. Been looking/thinking about that for a year. Some other smaller things; finishing touches too. And that basically takes care of the main floor. So, on to downstairs and upstairs... and the garage/studio.

There are outside things... rather big projects. But it's not quite nice enough yet to do a lot outside. The mud makes footing pretty treacherous, since the ground is frozen pretty deep this year.

And I feel like I just want to slow down for a bit on the big things until I can really get out and walk around more and look... lots of LOOKING... before I make commitments with contractors again. I knew what I was getting into last summer and because it was so important, there was no resistance to having my house open most of the time - bugs - and contractors here 4 days a week.

I can relate to Tupp's "weird feeling" - LOL - there's a huge weight that's lifting off of me right now. And I don't have to BE grounded, until it's time to file taxes - it'll be awhile. So, while I don't have a plan yet - and won't until I make some choices - I'm just going to let the imagination have free rein for a bit. Let it play... and see what gets discovered. February is my least favorite month of the year; thankfully it's also short. The weather - here - can be really crappy that month too. So, it's the perfect time for to let the ideas settle down into some semblance of practicality and yet still feed the fun side too.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on January 25, 2018, 05:51:22 PM
SOLAR? (And if it's possible for your home, do it fast. Trump's anti-solar tarif will make it much costlier.)

Next best, geothermal?


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 26, 2018, 06:53:11 PM

Mission to simplify life ACCOMPLISHED. Only took 2 years and 3 months to deal with Mike's death, chart a course and sail it. LOL. Both little cabin & beach house responsibilities - gone. Money in bank to fund crazy ideas about this place. Which is way bigger than initially purchased.

I'm still letting it all sink in. Probably need at LEAST the weekend, for it to settle, that this place is ALL I need to worry about now. Hol will show up late tonight to have a girls weekend (even though she's expecting to work, it's mostly going to be design/plan phase; and getting her acquainted with financial aspects of my life).

This smells like more freedom... and I'm loving it!
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on January 27, 2018, 04:13:27 AM

Mission to simplify life ACCOMPLISHED. Only took 2 years and 3 months to deal with Mike's death, chart a course and sail it. LOL. Both little cabin & beach house responsibilities - gone. Money in bank to fund crazy ideas about this place. Which is way bigger than initially purchased.

I'm still letting it all sink in. Probably need at LEAST the weekend, for it to settle, that this place is ALL I need to worry about now. Hol will show up late tonight to have a girls weekend (even though she's expecting to work, it's mostly going to be design/plan phase; and getting her acquainted with financial aspects of my life).

This smells like more freedom... and I'm loving it!

Aw, Skep, that sounds lovely!  I'm glad those things are sorted out and a bit more weight has gone from your shoulders :)
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 02, 2018, 09:32:48 AM
Coming back down to earth now. Took awhile.

I have NOT been able to focus my brain on much of practical worth. Just been bouncing around doing a little of this, a little of that... have gotten out of the house to go do different things and am "collecting" the pieces needed to begin tackling new projects down the road.

I played a little more with the online dating app... and got cold feet almost immediately. The "profiles" are so 2-D (like cardboard cutouts) and useless to me, that anyone who does manage to get a bit of humor or ego through the invisible wall of the website, are the ones who appear the most "human". Otherwise, I feel like these personalities are all just robots. And I find myself getting angry at them, of all things. Especially the ones who post their long list of "rules" about what they will/won't do or what is/isn't "acceptable" to them.

Pfffft. Like people are always zero or 100% anything all the time. They've so heavily defined the shape and depth and quality of the "hole" they're trying to fill, they aren't open to anything OTHER than that; they are limiting themselves so much it makes me wonder if they've ever lived a life with other people before.

And in part - it's the format of the website software that is causing some of that limitation and forcing people to focus on "looks" and availability (ie, location) more than anything else. The other thing that I've looked for and not found yet - is a way to block people that turn out to be nuisances/stalkers. The tools for talking to each other... leave a lot to be desired.

I figured I wasn't being "fair" in my assessment initially, so that's why I spent more time looking again. But I am actively turned off, insulted, angry and deep-down bothered by this phenomenon or means of "meeting" people. My account is active for a bit... so I'll keep at it, when I'm bored. But seriously not worth wasting my time "hoping" in that space.

My reaction isn't much different than how I felt in the 80s in the big city "meat markets" where people looked for relationships... temporary and otherwise. I want to ask some of these guys if they need to look at my teeth... before they decide it's OK to just TALK a bit. I don't operate in that realm of reality when it comes to other people - I see them as humans - a complex mix of lots & lots of things. Most people are really interesting in their uniqueness. Software tends to flatten all that tapestry of richness into something.......

stereotypical. That's what it is; that's why bugs the hell out of me about that "interface".
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on February 02, 2018, 11:22:22 AM
Oooo! Oooo!
I have as you might guess, so many opinions about online dating!

(I have met many very nice men. No chemistry but decent people. Wearisome chore to arrange the coffee dates--and I distrust correspondence flirtation that goes on and on, it sets one up for disappointment by the time actual chemistry is observed in person. Judith Sills says, meet QUICK. But...once in the coffee shop, out of people-curiosity, I almost always enjoy meeting them.)

But in the meantime, during the search, my two most-favorite peeves were:

1) "No baggage. I don't want any woman with baggage." (from 70 y/o men, divorced, etc.)
2) "No women my age. They've got to be 5-10+ years younger." (from the age-range they set)

My courteous, compassionate internal responses are:

1) I have lived more than six decades on this earth as a woman with successes, failures, wounds and healings and lessons learned. I am extending goodwill and courtesy to you and welcoming your life story with curiosity and an open heart. How about you take your no-baggage expectation, roll it up in a little tube, and figure out where it might fit.

2) You are entitled to a younger, healthier body to serve and delight you, but we are expected (en masse) to be content and turned on by older bodies that will slow, burden and most likely predecease us. But we should never object that you've ruled out all women your own age before even meeting, and should accept gracefully that this prejudice is our lucky fate. Toodles.

Ai and yi.

But Amber, notwithstanding...if you can, without driving too far or sacrificing too much....I do encourage you to go do the coffee dates anyway. Each time you meet a new man is PRACTICE. Looking at it that way lightens up the whole thing, and if you stay seriously in the PRESENT, you can have some interesting conversations, observe new personalities, hear meaningful stories...and the worst you risk is some boredom. It just reminds one that we are alive, vital, free to choose, and just as free to gently email a No, afterward. ("Thanks for taking the time to meet me. Although I enjoyed our conversation I realize that for me, it's not a romantic fit. I do wish you the best of luck in your search, and hope you soon find the perfect partner.)

The most important phrase in that template no-note is "for me." That is not up for argumentation and does not require defending. (So the rare fellow who would persist after receiving that message can be immediately blocked. In fact, I eventually got into the habit of sending that message, written in a gracious and genuinely kind tone...and then immediately blocking. So I closed off from any further stress over what HE would think. I was being honest and responsible and kind, and I was not in charge of protecting or helping him manage his own response. Fortunately, later in life I think more men are sanguine about it. It's true for women too, I have received the same kind kiss-off. No harm no foul.)

Okay, I'll quit vicariously dating now! Good luck with doing it or not doing it, whatever feels right for you.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on February 02, 2018, 12:43:18 PM
Hopsie, you are so funny: "take your no baggage expectation, roll it up in a little tube and figure out where it might fit" :)  Lol :)

Skep, I have much the same reaction to online dating.  I do think our consumer driven society has made dating a bit like ordering food at a drive through; people have a set list in their minds and kind of expect it delivered into their laps.  One profile I read had a long list of requirements in a woman, including her BMI and instructions on how to measure it because the guy was getting frustrated with women who were bigger than his specification turning up :) Lol.  I suspect as well that the true gems find it hard to shine on websites; they don't tend to do the endless boasting about their achievements, they're often a bit shy or get tongue tied and pictures only give you the surface bit, you can't tell if they're kind or loyal from those.  But I'm intrigued to hear some stories so I'm hoping you'll go on a few dates at least :) xx
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 03, 2018, 11:00:44 AM
I am cackling over here about "roll your requirements up in a tube" myself. OMG. I desperately need to figure out where I left my warped, twisted & sick sense of humor when it comes to this process. Even when Hol got that mischievioius, devious look in her eye and said: MOM. You could have so much fun with this. Make up stuff. Be creative. Don't even worry about THEM... they're doing it too. Even then, the reaction I had - but but but, this is SERIOUS stuff here.

And I think, that this is the way I've always approached this part of life. In a way, I'm projecting that hole in me that needs filling too... and it's a life or death seriousness I have about it, even if I don't make silly lists about people. And I'm looking based on my past experiences... and out of hand rejecting everything that comes along... and the reasons are legion and right there, thanks to my past. I don't think I want to re-run any past relationships... but the patterns are there; in my emotional "brain"... and of course, I'm doing the comparisons to the patterns, the deep-down non-verbal need to attach, and the rational hypervigilant, analytical - oh, no way, jose - judging.

I even tried talking to Dieter, my "guy in charge" at the shop about this. LOL... he put on his "dad" hat, knows I have that over-achiever energy... and told me to slow down, and be patient... that this will happen all in good time. Most of the time, I'm too busy to even think about it. I just don't have room in my head right now -- until I take a break like this -- to add anything else. I don't want to be that frazzled, going in that many directions at once, I kinda LIKE a more relaxed pace to things.

I think I'm putting the cart before the horse again. I'm still learning a lot about me - in this space of solitude - that I couldn't feel or see before, because there was always a relationship involved. I'm more fair in my self-judgements, and more validating than in the past... and resistant to the "shoulds" and asking "well, why NOT?"... than in the past. I know what the past me was trying to attach to, and WHY. And it would make sense that I don't need to learn those things again.

But I can't know what I'm looking for in a relationship or a guy (I know what I like; just not what the magic combination is) until I know the "new me" a little better. Yeah, I can always take my usual approach of "fly by the seat of my pants" and "surf life"... it's a good cure for boredom, but usually involves drama. Hmmmm. Guess the new me isn't as spontaneous - and that's not a word anyone would describe me with, old or new me.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 03, 2018, 12:11:24 PM
Just following up on that idea...

I've been feeling kinda "stuck" - as in, unsure of what's "next" for me - not wanting to commit to even having the electrician come out and hang my new chandeliers... feeling like I needed to write out the dreck in my head... and making the ASSUMPTION that it was more Mike processing... and then, not ever opening the dang journal. Just floating & drifting along, distracting myself with this & that. Trying to talk to Ronnie about projects some... getting his feedback... and still not able to really organize myself and put me in gear again.

Not Mike processing. Not this time. This is "me" processing... feeling, noticing, knocking out the routines and trying something different... or not trying anything at all. Keeping some, looking for others, letting some old crap go... and it's all me. I keep listening for echoes of Twiggy in this space; she was pretty active in the first months of adjustment to life alone - a bit freaked out and scared. But there are only faint, gentle nudges in directions - that I'd already been thinking about anyway.

It's like I put off dealing with the "me" work in progress... until I'd reached this plateau of change, healing from the grief, etc. And now I just need to put in the time here - on me, for me - and try to sense what has changed and how I'm different now.

Hmmm. I wonder how long that's going to take? Spring is on it's way, and I still have important things to work on around here, when February is in the rear view mirror. It's a significant change for sure, that I've actually put myself "on the list"... with specific improvements started.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on February 03, 2018, 01:22:07 PM
Hi Amber.

Reading your post what cane up for me was the anger you have with the on-line dating process.  There's an old African saying..... I'm paraphrasing here....
Anger is a lazy form of grief..... something like that.

That might make sense here.  Maybe not.

About all the live, die information about what perspective dates will and won't accept....
I like information.  I tended to give information like that in dating scenarios.  Sure, it hasn't worked out for me, but I understand the need to have important issues declared.

I hope you write in your journal soon. 


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 06, 2018, 09:19:35 AM
I don't think it was grief fueling the anger this time, Light. It's how the medium - online dating - forces people to condense, and flatten, and limit their expression of who they are and what they "say" they are looking for into a job description/resume scenario. It's cold and inhuman - and that's what I'm reacting to, I think. Like looking at/talking to a robot.

I've been spending a fair amount of time trying to support some new widows, as well. One in particular is having a huge emotional storm and she's made several repeated comments about wishing she'd died with him, that have me herding her a little bit. Daily or twice daily check-ins to "take her emotional temp"; that kind of thing. Without trying to pressure her or criticize the intensity of the emotions. I know what that's like when you're drowning in it. She's not engaging much with people either. And I'm trying by asking questions, to get her to open up a bit - without violating a need for privacy, which I understand well.

So, because my rational mind knows I tend to relate to other people's difficulty, through the emotional lenses of my OWN... I'm working really hard on that reflex right now. It's as pernicious with me, as that professorial "we" I fall into a lot. I do fear for her safety - at least emotionally - right now. But that's the last thing I'm going to tell her. I'm just there checking to see how she's doing throughout the day -- as well as some others in that group. And trying to help her find her own way through.

So, I got asked to tell my loss story - again. And I did. That's something I needed to do, to be able to see where I was... and where I am now. I didn't know that until I finished up the story and started having conversations about some of my discoveries from that process with some others. I think that's why I had resistance about the journal, too btw. I had no desire or need to dive into those feelings again... even though it kept coming up as I dealt with the woman I'm trying to help. That empath reflex is kind of a curse sometimes.

The process of sharing my story with the other widows HELPED clear the deck again. I'm back in motion, making decisions, organizing things getting ready to move into spring/summer work season again. And I'm deliberately choosing not to swamp myself this year with commitments. I need to get caught up on some things I need to deal with - and can't sub out to anyone - and then, see where I am before I get the cart before the horse.

I also have to slow the pace down enough, so that I have time to revive some of those neglected areas of my life - that I put on hold while dealing with last summer's projects.

Other than that - it's F E B R U A R Y. My least favorite month. I'm sick of winter and being cold... but it continues. The holidays and fun are past. It's either too cold or too muddy to work outside... so blech. I've been going through my stack of saved "ideas" for decorating that have been sitting around for a year and actually ordering them. Living room is going to change "flavor" in the month or so.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on February 07, 2018, 07:22:06 PM
Amber....the wet mucky water logged earth is moss heaven.  I'm in the yard pulling weeds, and planting happy moss.... it's lovely.  Sorry it's not a productive time for you out of doors right now.  I always have big containers if moss waiting to be re homed... The ice and snow don't bother it.  I can drown it, so have to watch that, but it's hard to kill stuff, which works well for me.  When snow melts there's new sporophytes everywhere.  I'm shocked that weeds seem to grow in the Winter too, but I'm trying to stay on top of it.

It's good you're working through the mourning process alongside your widows.  Sometimes we're willing to go to painful places for the sake of others, IME, but not for ourselves.  I'm interested in what you say to the widow wishing she could follow her husband. 

I want to pick your brain on some renovation matters.  Will do it on another thread.

I'm glad your in motion again.  I'm resisting some icky paperwork things myself.


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 08, 2018, 08:08:22 AM
This is true what you say, about what we'll do for others that we won't do for ourselves. At least, with me. But I also think, this is akin to when a grad student takes a freshman by the hand, and gets them acquainted with the college "universe". Still getting organized, and trying to get some useful input from the widow in question... it's kinda hard when people clam up and you don't even know which part of the process they're really dealing with because their only expressions are so cryptic; or in "code".

On the other hand, it does put me in danger of re-injuring or re-opening my own wounds... and the Amy thing is right now, a big issue with Holly - who is having a tough time with some things I've accepted; but she hasn't. This just came out of the blue at me last night. I "think" I know a) what she wants and b) her problem with why it's not going to happen. But every time I get close to being sure of things like this... it goes in another direction.

So, the rest of the group is going to have to jump in and help support our struggling birdy widow, until I can get the Holly-meister to grok a few things about boundaries, over-responsibility, and mental illness. She's not emotionally accepted some things, and that burr keeps rubbing her the wrong way all the time. Of course she's miserable over it.

I know my limits better than I used to and I can't possibly keep my wits about me, trying to field two things like this at once... especially since I have to work hard to protect myself in the process. I don't want to screw up or drag someone down the wrong paths... I want them to find their own, do the work themselves, and then own the results... whatever they end up being.

I wish it was time to play in the dirt here Lighter. But it'll be at least another month or more. I still have plenty to do, as piddly and insignificant they are in the scope of "life"... they are still important.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on February 08, 2018, 12:47:29 PM
I'm still learning how to erect and enforce boundaries.  Good luck to Hol figuring it out regarding her sister, and nephews....so hard to accept self destructive choices and pd's in loved ones.   We have to learn how to sit still and do nothing when we're feeling like our skin might come off....that we must DO in order to save people we can't possibly save, IME.  I'm aware, just not in control enough to lay down feeling responsible and get on with life.  There's hope of peace in understanding it's possible.....in contemplating not feeling like I can fix or change others or outcomes.

I think I about have it licked with my oldest dd17 then realize I don't, but there's huge hope in practice.

I'm conflicted about what it means to me to stop the patterns, to focus on my business and let others learn from example to do the same, but that's what it is, I think.

Being consistent is difficult, even if we understand, IME.  What seems to be hard is making peace with myself if I do manage healthy boundaries.  I know it's relief....
and release of wasted unhelpful struggle, yet.... it's hard to keep it in focus.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 08, 2018, 12:58:25 PM
Well, I think Holly heard herself say exactly what I'm going to email her later on. She is so verbal - and so very good at expressing herself verbally - that if I want to be heard, I'm better off writing her.

It's already done in draft form; I'll send it later today. She already knows - given the gist of her texts today - what she's doing to herself.

I just checked the extended weather forecast - looks like temps are gradually easing their way toward spring. This will be the last super cold night for awhile anyway. So I'd better get my office files put together. The minute it gets decent outside - I have big work to do.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 09, 2018, 08:29:11 AM
Still processing here.

I should know better than to feel to much compassion/empathy for people to the point that I rub all my own wounds the wrong way. The widow I've focused on... Holly... and oh my... the feral black kitty showed up last night in terrible shape. Very sick; I'm guessing some kind of respiratory problem and as much I felt sorry for the poor thing and wished I could help it...

I grabbed Freddie, put him inside for the night... and then emptied and washed the porch bowls in extremely hot soapy water. Kitty went away some time later. I'll take a walk around this morning when it warms up and try to find it. With Freddie going in/out... he could drag something contagious inside to mio-mio. So he's going to make the trip to the vet's, for shots.

Mio-mio is still having box issues. But she's back to her old self... playing... even chasing Freddie around and ambushing him. LOL... he is SUCH a wussy-cat. Twice as big and less then half as old as she is... but she is senior cat inside and rules the roost. She goes to the door hoping he comes in now. Puts up a big fuss... and then settles down close to him, when he's inside. She doesnt fool me.

I hope Hops posts an update soon. With all the stuff going on in her life, I'm wondering how she's doing? Hope she hasn't caught the crud that's been going around.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on February 09, 2018, 06:02:38 PM
Hey ((((Youse))))--

Thanks for asking about me!
I'm okay but kinda swamped.

Got filmed for a local documentary about my state university's shameful "coeducation" (not) history, which I was directly affected by...it was nice. I felt as though a story that has made a profound mark on me for my whole life (and many other girls who weren't welcomed to speak then either), is now on celluloid (hah) and out of my chest. Glad I did it.

I'm generally very tired but pretty good...feeling engaged in my work and my novel and...sorta...in the relationship with B. I'll write about that over on Heist soon.

Tonight gotta focus on winding down and sleeping earlier--was awake until 330 this am and put in a long day with the Gent. Poor guy is failing and I feel like his companion in the end days.....

Hugs to all,
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 09, 2018, 07:07:06 PM
ooooo.... that's tough Hops. Talk about boundaries. You can lean on us, you know. I'm not always "on point" - I know that - but I'll do my best.

Got a bunch of crap going on... all while looking like nothing is going on. Sheesh. What a phenomenon. I truly think the Gods have fated me NOT to have a simple life. Try as might.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 10, 2018, 08:34:00 AM
To explain my cryptic-ness...

Amy called last night. She was her genuine self - mostly. Said she'd been in an emotional "hole" for 4-5 days... and that she can't work like this (she's the EMT side of medical transport; scary thought)... and that what she really wants, right now... is a referral to a therapist who can help figure out why she's compelled to be self-destructive (with a strong will, determination & purpose) and stop doing it.

SIGH. Here we go again. Part of me doesn't believe her statement that she knows she really needs help. At all. But it is exactly the thing that I - and Holly - wish for her, so that perhaps we can have something approaching a family relationship. What choice was there, except to offer support to her in this endeavor? At the moment, it's just moral support - but the "plan" includes her not hesitating to ask mom for financial support to be able to stick out the therapy, if needed.

I'll be checking back in with her early next week, to see if she's following up on what she said she wants to do. It was eerily spot-on with those private prayers one offers up in hopes that a person "wakes up" and begins to matter enough to themselves to finally find the path back to the light. So, to protect myself I can't allow myself to hope that she's truly serious this time.

At some point, if it does look like she's going to follow through... I'll let Holly in on it. But for the time being she needs to focus on her own life and stop obsessing on her sis... and trying to substitute for Mom in Amy's life... when Amy and I have been working through the communication issues and trying to establish some 'thing' between us. Some trust. Maybe I'm being led down the delusional garden path again... and if so, I can bear the disappointment a little better than Holly can right now.

One baby step at a time... so I don't get massively hurt again.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on February 10, 2018, 10:10:07 AM

All you can do is what you're doing.  Allow Amy to find her way, not try to save her, and support her journey in ways that make sense to you.

Making sure she has access to mental healthcare is something you can feel hopeful about.  Even if she doesn't make the most of it, or can't yet. 

Hops, glad you're doing OK.  Looking forward to your update: )

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 11, 2018, 07:53:20 AM
Well. Come to find out, it was Hol who told Amy to call me. And Amy who said she hadn't talked to her sister... for whatever reason. Hol thinks it's because she's afraid of being tag-teamed by us. I didn't keep a secret very long either, huh?

But it was because I wanted to shore up Hol's awareness of needing to protect herself, too. They were so close in age, they were treated like twins often. (I tried to discourage that, but Grammas are invinceable.) The kid is going through anticipatory grief for her sister... and worry about the boys.

So, more info from Holly... is that Amy's substance abuse problem is beginning to affect her healthwise. And we're back into the do-se-do of propping up each other in our "boundary maintenance"... and no, Holly isn't buying that hope of "this time... we can save Amy" either. But we'll walk that again, this time at more of a distance... to see if Amy's able to a) really seek out help and b) stick with working through the substance issues and then tackle the underlying emotional causes.

I don't THINK I'll need the bunny hat again. But yes, I still have it. Mike got me that, after the 10 day "intervention" trip we tried a few years ago. He didn't know what else would comfort me... and the hat was PERFECT. I could put it on as a "sign" I was feeling sad (she who buries feelings deep)... and look in the mirror and see a rediculous "me" looking back at myself. So, grief didn't drag me down into my own "hole".
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on February 12, 2018, 12:50:46 PM

Words fail as wakes cross.
I am glad you know about self-protection.
And shoring up Hol's understanding of the same may work, if it's one statement you've never made to her before. But if it's just a repeat that might be a sign from life that Hol has to figure out what co-dependency is on her own. You COULD send her a good reliable book about it, to relieve yourself of being the authority. (Just in case you slide down the slope I lived on -- fixing, advising, controlling, panicking, rinse and repeat....). Which wound up being toxic to us both.

One pragmatic thought. I got to a place where when financial help was needed for health issues, I made it my policy to mail the check made out to the provider, either as an exact amount or as a kind of "retainer" (for example, to cover therapy).

This allows one to know: 1) If the provider cashed it (which would indicate services used), and 2) When.

Leaves you somewhat in the loop, anyway. And you can detour around your D's untrustworthy patterns without insult or offense, simply in an accounting kinda way.

You're probably already doing that, but fwiw.

So much support to you and Hols and A--and her children--

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 12, 2018, 07:42:05 PM
Thanks Hops - that's a good idea, about making the check out to the provider. Hol has been doing her own work on herself. Co-dependency was a theme. She's a good researcher... and thinker, after she's read a lot of different takes on a subject.

A sounds like she's a real mess - or she's insisting on drinking to excess to blot out whatever thoughts are tormenting her. Thought crossed my mind, that she sounded like she was regressing... to a persona of when she was about 10 yrs old. I wish I knew if some mental illness presents as if a person is high or intoxicated... or if extreme substance abuse causes that kind behavior. She keeps babbling the same phrases over & over... like "maybe I'll make some dinner", when I suggested it might take her mind off things a little bit to do something for someone else (like take care of her kids who've got to be terrified)... and repeating parts of thoughts repeatedly, until I reminded her about the "rule of 3"... the kids liked to drive me nutz in the car, repeating the same line from a movie or a song over & over. So I told them they could say it 3 times total... and after that, there were no warnings about me getting mad. Turns out Holly had to do the same thing, when she talked to her.

But she says she has an appt with a counseling service on Thursday. We'll see if she remembers (I'll prompt her Wed night) to go. She seems to be diving deeper into irrationality. Friday night, she was pretty clear and her genuine self - even if she did repeat herself a lot.

If all that sounds cool calm & collected... LOL... right. I'm not sure how well I can protect myself in this situation... so I'm leaning on ye olde "intellectual" perspective crutch to not let my imagination run away with me. I have the bunny hat; worst case scenario. But I can tell it bothers the crap out of me. All I want to do is talk to people...

about ANYTHING normal.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on February 12, 2018, 11:58:34 PM

My Dd17's T said DD's regression into her little child's voice was indicative of the age she was when she experienced the trauma she needed to work through.  He heard that voice, and saw a clue.

I'm praying for the best possible outcome for you, Hol, A, and your grandsons. 


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on February 13, 2018, 09:00:43 AM
That is a heart-wrenching description, Amber.
I am so sorry.

I remember the cold fear and hot pain.
Please take care of yourself, I know you know,
but...it's hard to remember at times.

love and comfort,
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 13, 2018, 09:13:38 AM
I can definitely see the correlation, if there is a buried memory that's so fearful to look at (or was, at that age) that it becomes a "poison arrowhead"... constantly dripping a timed-release poison into your being. I have said as much Amy; that she needs to explain to a counselor that she thinks there is something like this fueling her cycles of repetitive seeking out more self-destruction. And she wants to learn what it is and how to stop it from controlling HER... while it may never go completely away, she doesn't need to keep trying to resolve the same situation over & over (IRL) looking for a better outcome. (I suspect that's not the whole issue here.)

But I also explained that that was MY experience. She will get more and better help finding someone who can be impartial, has no history with her, and is trained in how we create these things in the first place... and how to undo that tangle of crap. Her crap isn't the same as my crap; and she has to own her own crap to be able to do something about. I can't.

All too often, she seems to look to enmesh; to "be just like Mom"; and with an invisible (to her) ton of heavy hostility. I've looked at that and honestly can say I have no idea what that's about. I figure she feels safe unloading on me, so I'm the one that gets dumped on. It's the only explanation that makes sense... unless I'm missing something. And that's entirely possible. But we won't know until she knows what the burr under her saddle is.

Meanwhile - its asking way too much of myself to try to engage with this widow who's only statements are that she wants to die and simply will not answer direct questions about whether that's a fear about living alone... having a self that isn't (co)dependent on a hubby that isn't coming back... and seems more than anything else, to be throwing out these cryptic scary statements because she can't talk back to any of the loops in her head or explain herself any other way. I'm limiting myself to practical suggestions on living alone in another thread... trying to give this widow positive feedback... and keeping my distance. Let the others try to reach through her steel gates of silence and figure out whether the statements are figures of speech, in an attempt to express pain/grief... or if they are more than that. She did tell me she wanted me to keep talking to her and asking questions and making small-talk and suggestions.

Maybe that's kinda like my wanting to talk about anything except what's feeling bad in me and is worrying me. I dunno. Going to plain old limit my time over there too... and get my butt in gear in real life. Too much time spent in my head, picking at navel-lint, and speculating... trying to design bridges in my head to solve stuff that isn't my business or job... no matter how much I might care.

I'm going to keep plugging away at my "indoor" list. Warmer drier weather is coming and then I've got a LOT I want to get started on this spring. Concrete, specific projects with immediate results... and benefits for my efforts. And yes, I'm still giving myself time to melt into a puddle of tears at how heavy this all feels, right now. Might as well; it's the only real relief right now.

I think maybe my list needs to be made into a map now. Go from ideas to "timeline" and "journey" in making the ideas "real stuff".
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on February 15, 2018, 11:23:24 AM
Skep I hope you can get through this without getting dragged too far in to it - I mean that in a kind way :)  It's so hard to watch people we love go through bad times, and harder still not to leap in and rescue and make it all better.  I often feel like I want to die - not in a 'I'm going to rush off and kill myself' way, but I do think/wonder if there is some sort of deep seated thing in me that keeps surfacing and that hasn't really worked itself through yet.  Sometimes I feel like being dead would just be a way to stop everything going round and round in my head at times.  Equally I know how distressing it is for other people to hear it - so I think A discussing it with a counsellor (as you suggested) would be good, partly because I think that the counsellor then takes some responsibility for dealing with it (ie, if they feel it is a serious threat they will call whoever is needed and be taken more seriously because it's a therapist).  CBT helped me with those sort of thoughts as well but I do feel there's some sort of deep seated something in there.  Maybe it's similar for Amy but, as you rightly say, she's the only one that can dig into that and try to deal with it and get some sort of stability into her life again.  I think getting on with some real time stuff for you is a good way to keep busy while she tries to work through things. xx
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 15, 2018, 12:35:16 PM
Thanks Tupps, I really am trying to do a better job of protecting myself this go-round. And being prepared, too.

IF there really is a defined trauma trying to become conscious for Amy, it would make sense that it would surface this way. There are clues starting to show up... in some of her ranting/ravings/babblings. But I'm not letting myself get too involved in trying to piece those together. Just keeping her focused on the concrete actions, of getting herself to where the "help" is. Part of my brain just automatically tries to do this... and it's a dangerous thing to do.

I'm trying to keep my brain too busy right now, to indulge. It could be years before Amy really gets down to the nitty-gritty of the issue - IF, she ever does - IF she really gets help.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 16, 2018, 07:37:54 AM
Change of pace day...

going over the mountain for a haircut, pick up new glasses, do a little shopping. I wish I'd been settled enough to get a massage scheduled... it's been TOO LONG again. And I really need my shoulders worked on. Next trip.

We'll see how many stops I make today, before I run for the hills again. LOL. Having lunch with my friend, it's a long weekend for her... she's always visiting me... and part of my wish to move back here, was to be able to visit HER and others for a change.

Amy meets a therapist today. It was either something she did/didn't do (don't know which) that meant she couldn't see the "bargain" counselor... and will get someone who charges a good bit more. I'm hoping that means they have deeper training too. I'll be checking in with her later to see how it went. Meanwhile, I'll be incommunicado on the road today.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on February 16, 2018, 11:19:59 AM
I hope you have a good day and happy distractions, Amber. You so deserve it.

You know, something I hear is that in a way, I wonder if you sometimes feel you ARE Amy's T, and would like to let go of that position?

A boundary thing to consider might be...what about if you don't call her and ask for information about the new T, or how the session went. I completely and totally understand why you'd be interested in knowing, but wonder if A might do better NOT reporting to her mother about this.

You could release your involvement in her deep stuff, which is really hers to heal. She may or may not be able to heal it with a T's help...but I do wonder how it might feel to have an authoritative and confident mother prepared to make summary or quality evaluations of an intimate, difficult process. If I had weak boundaries or were very ill it might be impossible to say No to expectations that I share T content, or "report" on that experience. But it's hard to imagine sharing it with a parent.

Could it be possible that A will do better in this situation if you do not involve yourself, other than paying for it if you want to? (And could it be possible that you will do better, too?)

I'm not sure and it could be a faulty intuition. I do loads of those.

Love to you,
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on February 16, 2018, 11:47:39 AM
Thanks Tupps, I really am trying to do a better job of protecting myself this go-round. And being prepared, too.

IF there really is a defined trauma trying to become conscious for Amy, it would make sense that it would surface this way. There are clues starting to show up... in some of her ranting/ravings/babblings. But I'm not letting myself get too involved in trying to piece those together. Just keeping her focused on the concrete actions, of getting herself to where the "help" is. Part of my brain just automatically tries to do this... and it's a dangerous thing to do.

I'm trying to keep my brain too busy right now, to indulge. It could be years before Amy really gets down to the nitty-gritty of the issue - IF, she ever does - IF she really gets help.

I think you're right to protect yourself, Skep.  I know when I was having therapy and lots of weird stuff was going on for me - very strong emotions, physical flashbacks, lots of health related symptoms with no clear cause - we talked a lot about repressed memories/forgotten trauma and basically my T said the thing to focus on was dealing with the feelings and managing them as they came up, rather than focusing on trying to work out what was causing it.  It was good advice for me and maybe for you as well - not to focus on the why but to focus more on the here and now - and first part of that being looking after yourself in whichever way is best at the moment.  I hope A starts to get the help she needs but also hope that you're able to put yourself first and keep your own health at the forefront of your mind xx
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 16, 2018, 04:27:09 PM
Oh... I don't want to be involved in her actual therapy unless I'm asked to be and I'm not planning on inquiring about the "gory details" at all; just general questions about how she's doing. Right now, I'm just making sure she follows through with what she SAYS she wants... because it is so easy to sabotage herself and then say "I forgot"... much of what she SAYS is fantasy and she'll deny even saying it.

That's all. IMO, it's really important that she owns this whole process, beginning to end, and earns her self, in the end -- with no "family" intervention. But since she doesn't seem (some days) to realize it's time to cook dinner... for instance... I'm just riding herd to get her to help, without nagging her at all about it. I still don't know if she actually went today or not.

It's kind of a double bind, because if I don't check in - then "I don't care" about her... but if I do, and the words are wrong... then she's defensive. So I'm holding off a little while long before calling. It was a long day in town today... Debbie and I talked for 2 hrs... but I got everything done I needed to do.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 16, 2018, 06:48:32 PM
Sigh of relief... Amy went; seemed to hit it off OK; came home with "homework"... did it and is slowly feeling like she has some control over her life  & is engaged in classes for her re-certification as an EMT. All volunteered info, btw. Every 2 week schedule for now.

Sounds like a positive experience and good start.