I’m currently working towards getting certified in basic first aid and CPR. I feel these will make me a better caregiver to the elderly, but also a better prepared mother.
I achieved my first aid certification last night. Most of the class was online lessons, but there was an in person demonstration of how to use an EpiPen which is an important skill that you don’t have time to stop and read the instructions for when in the heat of the moment.
Next week is CPR. That course is fully in person. I’m looking forward to it.
I still want to get my EMT certification. Again, I feel it’ll have me better prepared in an emergency, but also I want to volunteer my services at things like pride. Or even street medic protests. Though my best friend will beat me to death with a flip flop over that last one.
I enjoy learning. I really enjoy learning useful things. And has my brain heals from brain damage from prolonged lack of blood, I’m finding myself capable of learning again.
Speaking of healing, I say my cancer doctor the other day. I am confirmed in remission. I bought us cake about it.
This came up in my Facebook memories and hit me super hard. I walked the stage with a nearly perfect GPA and top honors. But here I sit 2 years later with too much brain damage to attempt grad school. Grad school being why I needed perfect grades.
I was dying. I didn’t know it was cancer, but I was very much dying and I knew that. I couldn’t get anyone to listen to me, but I knew. And yet I forced perfection on myself. I asked for extensions instead of just skipping the occasional assignment. I studied while in the hospital. I wrote final papers right after surgery while on opioids.
I pushed and I pushed myself to perfection. Nearly killed myself striving for perfection. All so I could have a perfect GPA so I could get into the grad program of my choice.
And now? I can tell the difference. How smart I used to be, versus where I’m at now. Yes, I’m still intelligent. But not like I was. I can feel the difference and I can tell I’m no longer cut out for grad school. I was already going to be struggling because of Autism and ADHD. But brain damage to?
I am so angry. But I’m mostly sad that I put so much importance on my grades. C’s get degrees but I nearly died achieving perfection.
My path looks different now. I spent all of therapy coming to terms with all of the above and all of the below.
My best friend is Marissa. Granted, we don’t call her that. We call her Coffee. I’ll continue to call her Coffee on these pages. But her name is Marissa. I think it’s good to attach a real name to her existence now and then.
We’ve been best friends for a few years at this point. It all started with her sending me photos of the various animals in her life on Tumblr on a bad night and then before I knew it was had a friendship unlike any I’ve ever experienced. I’ve blogged about best friends before. If you’ve been here you know those usually blew up in my face. There was the ableist girl from high school. Tried to steal not just my spouse but my kids too last time Robin and I separated. There was Nate who was emotionally constipated and forbid me to have any emotions around him ever.
Coffee. I don’t have words. We have faced a lot of the same struggles, though there are plenty of differences. She is strong where I’m weak, and vice versa. I can honestly say that while it’s strictly platonic and nonsexual, I am absolutely in love with her. She is my person. She is one of my chosen sisters and I would do anything for her and know she would do anything for me. She’s held my hand through the process of nearly dying, losing my wife, and just every low moment of the past few years. She’s not afraid of my emotions and low points. And she approaches my BPD with common sense, compassion, and basic human decency. She’s also not afraid to call me out if I need to examine and rethink my behavior. She’ll enable me buying a children’s fishing pole to go “cat fishing”. But she won’t enable me treating people like shit. She makes me want to be a better person and helps me dig deep to find who that better person within me is.
And everything that she does for me, I strive to do for her in kind.
She is more than I could ever have hoped for in a friend.
And together we have built two really solid and healthy friend groups, with some overlap. A found family full of love, acceptance, neurodivergence, and queerness. My life is so full of love these days, but I found this chosen family with Coffee by my side. And through her love and guidance, I became a person worthy of their love. I do a lot of hard work. It wasn’t all Coffee. But she offered solid support and feedback.
There is a point to this.
Coffee is going to school to get a degree in running an agricultural-based business. The plan is, she and her husband Pete will buy some land in probably Kansas and they will run a lavender farm. In 10 years when my babies are all grown and out of the nest, I’m following them to Kansas and I’m buying a house as near theirs as I can and I’ll help them run their farm. Coffee will make sure I have a thriving wage and health insurance. I’ll also do what I do now, caregiving, on the side to help add enrichment to my life.
My path is no longer taking me to grad school at OSU and a PsyD that I’d use to diagnose especially women with Autism and ADHD. But that’s OK. Because my path is now taking me to Coffee, and her little family, and that’s even better.
It’s been a minute since I last really wrote. March started out rough and just kept on going. But I’m determined to bring life back to a sense of normal and that includes writing. I’m going to ease my way in by starting not with the trauma of March 2021, but instead what kept me going.
I got my 3rd stimulus, I’m not even sure when, and did a lot of important things with that money. One of those things was to set aside money for my 2021 garden. I hesitated to garden this year. I won’t have Robin’s help and it just feels overwhelming knowing that I alone am in charge of making sure things like watering it daily happen. But those who love my made it clear I needed a garden, so I set the money aside.
Then in the thick of things in late March, I started planning. My first goal was the little flower bed out back that sits along between the back porch and patio. My hibiscus and rose from last year didn’t make it. But surprisingly, my blueberry bush is already showing signs of green. After hemming and hawing over it for a bit, I decided to plant two more blueberry bushes with the goal of having a thick wall of blueberries about 3-5 years from now. Next up was mulch. Only, last year when I watered my bushes, the mulch in the bed kept floating away. So I decided this year I would buy and install edging to keep the mulch into place.
Again, I am really glad those who love me made me set aside money for my garden from my stimulus. I set aside way more than I need for plants and pots and dirt. Which means I can do little things beyond those that encourage growth. I bought two beautiful sets of wind chimes because I wanted a set for my garden, but I won’t be able to hear them from my room, so I want a set for there too. I also bought this 3-foot high birdbath that will live amongst the plants. I’m going to put rocks at the bottom of it and turn it into a bee watering station. Because there is no life without bees, so we must do our best for them always. I also bought a compost bin with my tax return so I can make good rich dirt. I’m already filling it with things like eggshells and produce that went bad before we could eat it. While my garden will feed my belly, the things like the wind chimes and bee watering station will fill my soul.
Next up, as soon as it’s consistently above freezing at night, I have some pots of herbs to put out. I put 3 out about a week ago, but was over eager and it froze a few nights in a row. I should have checked the weather. They may still live, but I bought 3 more just in case. If anything I’ll have twice as many. Otherwise, I still have the 3 new ones.
I’m waiting to see if my strawberry survived. It’s too early to tell. In the meantime, I’ve decided that one strawberry plant is not near enough and bought myself a fancy stacking pot system.
I bought the 4 petal in purple and that bad boy will be able to hold 20 strawberry plants. As an added bonus, it’s compact enough that if my strawberries can’t survive the Ohio winter, I can pull them inside. That said, there is a strawberry farm like 5 miles from here, so I have every reason to believe my berries with survive and thrive.
I’m about 5 weeks off from being able to buy any plants for my garden. Mother’s Day is when I’ll begin in earnest. I have big plans for this year’s garden though. I’m going to grow beefsteak tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes for all my red sauce needs. I’m growing Thomas some jalapeno peppers. I’m growing cucumbers for Iris. And finally, Sammy will get a pot of flowers as payment for helping me.
I’m depressed right now. March 2021 was nonstop trauma. I’ll be ok, but I’m using this garden and planning for it as self-care. I’m deeply looking forward to dirt under my nails and I grow and eat my efforts.
As you may know, I wrote a memoir about 6 years ago. However, I’m far enough out from the project that I know I could have done better. Like better editing for one.
Anyway, I paid the editors that my friend Joy Demora works with (read her book!) to give it a read to see if I had, I don’t know, I guess solid bones. Did I have a book worth spending hundreds of dollars and hours to edit was the question?
Turns out I in fact do!
My initial book is too ambitious trying to be like 3 things at once and that is not working. But they like my voice and they suggested a focus that will potentially sell.
So I’m going to spend the next year or so in rewrites with that focus in mind and resubmit my book to them and get started on editing with my tax return that I’ll see next year.
I have a lot of work to do but I feel confident that I have a story worth telling and the voice needed to tell it. I feel really good about this.
In related news, I also have a children’s picture book I released around that time that is currently undergoing a major art overhaul featuring the art of my good friend @ain-individual. I have seen sketches and concept work and am really excited for this project! I’m not sure when that book will be re-released into the wild as art takes time and 2020 was shit so it’s only recently been kicked into gear but it’s cute and I’m excited to share it when it’s done!
I work evenings now. I’m usually gone when Sammy goes to bed. Which wouldn’t be a problem, if Sammy didn’t have crippling anxiety.
Unfortunately, Sammy does have crippling anxiety, with a side of depression. The worst of it is at bedtime.
One night I was lamenting that I would give anything for Sammy to have a dog that could go to bed with her every night. A furry friend that Sammy could find comfort in when I’m not there. I’d train the dog that Sammy was his human and he could help her not be scared.
The catch is, our rent goes up a couple of hundred dollars and we’d need to pay a hefty security deposit if we got a dog. And while we could mostly afford the basics of dog ownership, we can not afford extra rent.
Then my best friend suggested an ESA dog and it’s like suddenly the skies had cleared. ESA dogs and their disabled humans are a protected class and legally our landlord can not charge us extra rent or a security deposit for one. And Sammy is in for real, legitimate need.
I spoke to Sammy’s therapist, and she is in huge support of the idea. She’s looking into what she needs to do on her end, then she’s going to write a letter that basically prescribes Sammy with an ESA. We’ll take that letter and a print out of the law to our landlord and have them add that to our file.
Then we’re going to go to the shelter and find a pitbull or pitbull mix that responds to Sammy as the sad puppy she is. Pitbulls make excellent ESA dogs.
Together we’ll train him with the standard set of obedience commands like sit and stay. I’ll also train him to sleep in Sammy’s room at night. Since he won’t be going to the grocery store or other errands, the basic discipline commands are all he really needs. I’ll also train him on how to be walked by the 9yo, who isn’t very strong. We’ll walk her together right now, but as she gets older I want her to be able to take her dog around the neighborhood by herself, without the dog pulling on the leash.
I told Sammy about the decision a few days after I made it. She’s in research mode very concerned with learning how to train, the best food options, the best dog beds and toys, and “we’re going to get the dog chipped, right mom?”
It took her all of 24 hours to name the dog we don’t have and that we’ve never met. I campaigned for Ativan since the dog would be helping her with Anxiety. She considered it but eventually settled on Toby. Her only concern was the Toby was a boy’s name and the dog might be a girl. I pointed out dogs don’t have a gender and that blew her mind but settled the problem.
We’ll welcome Toby into our life within the next 6 months.
I made a goal of getting back into sewing in 2021, at some point during the quarantine. A bit later I dug out my old machine and tested it to see if it worked, because I vaguely remember there being a problem. And I was right. I couldn’t get the needle and bobbin to do their thing.
I set it aside and ordered some oil and new needles as well as more bobbins with the plans of tinkering with it to see if I could get it to work. That was weeks ago and it’s all just sort of sat in my living room waiting on me since. I was afraid to try and fix it, because I was afraid of failing.
Anyway, I finally sat down with it this weekend and I managed to get it working which means I’m on track for my 2021 goal of getting back into sewing.
I am going to wait until 2021 to really start because I’m crowd sourcing getting my bills paid at the moment and there just isn’t any allowance for me to go and buy fabric. Hopefully by January I’ll have steady income again and can go to the fabric store without guilt.
My first project will be a couple of pairs of flannel sleep shorts for Sammy. I’ll get an extra half yard of flannel to remind myself how to do the thing (it’s been 18 years) but then I’ll go to town on shorts for her. Flannel is easy to work with and shorts are a simple enough project. This will help me getting into the swing of using the machine. Plus what little gorl doesn’t like flannel sleep shorts, espcially if she picks out the fabric herself?
Once I’ve mastered flannel I’ll get a pattern for a decent a-line skirt and some decent linen or whatever and start making myself skirts. I’ll be using more expensive fabric, but will have the skill needed to treat it right. A good linen in forgiving and sturdy as hell. It’s also priced with the idea that my great-grandchildren will be able to wear these shirts, in mind. So expensive, but worth it. I will not be working with polyester. Polyester is plastic. So 100% cotten, linen, wool, silk, etc only.
Once I’ve masters that, it’s over for you bitches, and I’m moving on to cotton dresses in my favorite 1950s cut and style. I love dresses like this:
So the thought of making my own out of cute cottons is giving me life.
I can also make my own flannel shirts and not be limited to plaid flannel (Not that there is anything wrong with a standard plaid flannel. But…)
I will have the power to do what I want, and no laws of fashion can stop me!
Anyway, I’m too broke to fabric shop right now which is OK since getting back into sewing was my 2021 goal. But in the meantime the machine is working, so assuming I’m working too, there is nothing holding me back come the new year.