Blueberry cobbler

After morning class, I washed my hands and started to bake. It’s that time of year, and I’m finally delighted at the upcoming holidays, for the first time in a long time. I had to practice with a new variation of my bread recipe, cinnamon brownies, baked veggies. I finally made my first blueberry cobbler too, it was crazy delicious. Most of my baking experiments end up feeding staff at work, I just like playing with the magic and chemistry of the kitchen. It’s one of the better ways to battle the blues. The tactile sensations of stirring, measuring, and the fantastic way it makes my home smell…ahhh the little things that keep me feeling resilient and hopeful.

I spent the rest of the afternoon working my way through my sewing projects pile, and giggling with the addition of sparkling wine and the wonderful release of doing something tactile and creative. It’s like my soul took a deep breath for the first time in a while.

Love to all

Head Over Heels – JD McPherson
Love On The Brain – Rihanna
No Roots – Alice Merton
Packed Powder – Blind Pilot
Rain is Falling – ELO
I Wish It Would Rain Down – Phil Collins
Somebody Else – The 1975


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Adornment lessons

Never buy art when you’re drunk. My friend thought it was hilarious to buy me a painting that I can’t even show here, it’s so terrible. It was from a street fair, with lots of cool local artists that I wanted to support. This artist even had lots of fascinating work. And I picked an image that is a serious “Wtf do I do with it now?”

It must have been the shot of tequila he got us, because I can’t imagine hanging a graffiti style mafia cat with a cigar on my wall – NEVER. Maybe it’s the alcoholism that runs on my paternal side – small amounts have a huge effect. A beer or two and I’m nearly completely without boundaries or inhibitions, and at risk for all kinds of crazy things. This time it was bizarre art and a photo op with a bunch of firemen. Think I need to stick to weed.

You Don’t Know – Berlin
When It Rains, It Pours – Luke Combs
Bend Me, Shape Me – The American Breed

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The stiletto blade of truth

Out of the blue, someone can say something that resonates down to the bone. Days, weeks, months of words not penetrating too deeply, and then the stiletto blade of truth slips through the rusty chain mail that was supposed to work as armor.

I met a funny and super hot man on my commute home, so I started taking that route home regularly in hopes of running into him again. We ended up going out for drinks and doing that whole kindred spirit thing. I adore that his house is full of cool art everywhere, and funky sophistication. Leather furniture, erotic art, lush plants, a grand piano – totally my scene – and even better that he’s gay so I feel a lot safer. We can talk about raw shit, then go have an elegant drink somewhere and just laugh about the absurdities of life. He gave me one of the best insights that I’ve ever gotten from anyone, including family, beloved counselors, expensive shrinks, priest – it was amazing. I love when someone can see so clearly, and they aren’t afraid to let you know. Hard as it may be to hear, sometimes we need to hear the unvarnished, un-pretty truth. Damn though, he dug deep in that wound, but it helped clean some gooey yucky things out.

Funny how a combination of letter and sounds will do that to your soul. Something about hearing them at that time, in that place, it shifted my perspective significantly. It goes to show yet again that there are reasons that we meet people, and often the unexpected ones offer the best life lessons.


Mind Over Matter – Young The Giant
Believe – Mumford and Sons
Son Of A Preacher Man – Dusty Springfield
I Fink You Freeky – Die Antwoord
Cold Little Heart – Michael Kiwanuka
Hurricane – Luke Combs
I’ve Changed – Josh Joplin Group
Come Back And Stay – Paul Young

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Graduation Day

The change started slowly, one scale at a time. The gleaming curves of the small silver scales had the same consistency as her fingernails. Their appearance was accompanied by itching and burning, and a strong fishy smell. For the high school senior, self conscious Lena, it was a special kind of hell. A swimmer since her toddler years, now she spent nearly every waking hour in the pool or river. The scales were scary, but kind of cool too. So far, she’d been able to hide them under old t-shirts, but lately she’d taken to wearing long tight skirts as well – they made her feel better. Her legs had begun to ache unbearably  – “just a growth spurt!” her mother cheerfully told her, but she couldn’t help but worry.

Late the next May, when the weather was warming up and everything was bursting into bloom, she woke up in the middle of the night. Cotton sheets soaked in sweat, entire body seized with pain. She convulsively reached for a cramping leg, and shuddered in shock at the feel of her own scale-covered limb. The remnants of her dream remained in her head – visions of deserts, heat, dry, and without even thinking about it she bolted out of bed, yanked open the door, and ran down the hall, down the stairs, and out the frontdoor. Her parents, jolted awake, sat up in alarm at the sound of running footsteps and a slamming front door. Larry looked out the window to see his young daughter running down the street in her white nightgown. He shook his head, certain he was still asleep, because Lena seemed to be – gleaming in the moonlight?

The river called, and Lena didn’t feel the rocks, pavement, grass, and finally sand underneath her feet as she ran. The pain was too great in her legs, and she could only focus on imagining what a relief it was going to be to get in the water. By the time she made it to the nearest dock a half mile away, she was completely winded, her parents were calling the police, and the entire neighborhood heard her screams – although no one was exactly sure if they were victorious or painful. When it stopped, people flooded the streets of the tiny town, stopping in shock at the sight under the lights of the beach. Lena had been born again, flesh and bone bonding, changing, and turning into a long tail. Scales of blue and silver reflected the sparkle on her skin, and her long silver hair blew gently in the breeze off the lake. She was clearly enjoying the spectacle she made, sitting in the shallow water, a real life mermaid.

Mayor Hadley was the first to realize the possibilities, and he let out a whoop of joy and started clapping. After a hesitant pause, everyone joined in and crowded forward to marvel and exclaim – was it science, magic, and where were her parents? Larry and Grace burst through the crowd and didn’t even stop in their headlong plunge into the water to embrace the new, startlingly fishy form of their child.


That was fun; I had that story idea stuck in my head for a while. Not sure about the ending though.

Into The Ocean – Blue October

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The Carolinas

One more week before I get on a plane and go somewhere new, somewhere with stories I’ve never heard but have read a lot about. I used the $500 I had in savings (don’t laugh, that’s more than I’ve ever kept, it’s expensive AF to battle for mental health for so many years).

The decision to go was easy when I realized I was so depressed that I couldn’t see much of a future. Those are the times when I have to hit the reset button in a big way. Sometimes that means an infusion of healthy food, sleep, mountain biking, and/or social connection, or whatever I can manage. Other times it’s something like skydiving, travel, or changing jobs. I’m sometimes sad that I don’t have the daily terrors of roofing (ie the effing ladders from hell, and my cursed fear of heights/vertigo) to reset my brain chemicals, so I have to use other methods.

I work hard to have good habits, pick healthy things, but I understand very well the urge to go with whatever addiction gives you that rush that makes your brain feel better. How many people just made bad choices in their quest to self medicate their mental state?

I’ve certainly racked up some terrible choices, and I’ve had professional “help” all along the way. Sometimes I imagine it like “How would I phrase this in the form of a Catholic confession?” Bless me father, for I have sinned. It’s been 7 years since my second suicide attempt and I haven’t been to confession since I stopped seeing my last therapist. I don’t want to shock you with all the other stuff: Can I say a few prayers and let the past go?

What the hell, maybe some travel will help. I already feel better after camping with friends, perhaps this will give me another, much needed boost.

I’m Not Over – Carolina Liar

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Carrying a torch

What a night; camping with some of my old roofing buddies – damn, I love those guys. I went with a female friend – she and I roofed together and she’s pretty damn fearless and awesome for a whole bunch of reasons. It was balm for my soul to be invited to hang out with her and to go camping with a huge group of guys – with their kids running around and learning to drive out in the fields, and us just throwing discs and hanging out around the campfire with beers and intensely delicious BBQ. Roofers though – of course they light their flammables/campfires with a giant propane torch. Classic.

My one buddy took me on a motorcycle ride and that was exactly what I needed. Add that to some time at a good river swimming hole in the sunshine, and then a quick stop on the way home at the dude’s for a quickie, and that was a nearly perfect weekend. It certainly helped me feel a LOT better.

Control – Broken Bells
Fight Fire With Fire – Kansas

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The searing light of reality

One of the worst things is waking up and the first thing you think is “Holy fuck, what did I do???” Whether it’s opening your eyes to see an ICU sign and equipment everywhere, or the cold light of sobriety giving everything the searing dose of reality. So it went this morning. I should have realized how deeply it was affecting me – the suicide of yet another beloved celebrity artist. Reading about that all day yesterday hit me all the way down to the bone, but I’m so used to acting like I’m fine, hoping that my emotions and brain chemicals catch up.

Realistically I know that I’m only ever a few steps away from that dark place of grief and pain, where despair and isolation are like quicksand. It hasn’t really been that long since I came back from the worst example of getting sucked down in it. Then I went out last night, had a few drinks and was surrounded by hardcore sexual activity, and boom, I cycled straight into full manic hypersexuality. It’s not ok, even though it sometimes seems fun as hell in the moment to go out of your mind in that phase. Today I crashed hard and want to crawl in a corner and die. Funny how not much alcohol when I’m vulnerable, and shit gets completely off the hook. I’m incapable of saying no at those times, my brain stops working normally, and waking up the next day is horrific. I didn’t even drink that much – three drinks over several hours but oh my god. I can’t even handle how crazy and irresponsible I acted last night. FML

Down In It – NIN

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Mother nature throwing down the gauntlet

Apologies to my readers for the swamp of depression instead of the auto porn or travel writing that I prefer to post. Shit gets messy sometimes. I write about my battles with PTSD, depression, and anxiety because it helps me process things, and  the act of formulating it into words is vastly therapeutic. I also dream of moments when someone who doesn’t understand these things, reads a post here and there and suddenly has an epiphany and a bit of sympathy for those who walk with these issues. We all got issues – mine aren’t unusual at all, but they are stigmatized still and intensely isolating.

This never ending panic attack feels like maybe it’s also allergies and some sort of vitamin deficiency. I can’t tell, nor do I want to be one of those annoying types who spends all their time obsessing on diets, vitamins, whatever. However, I should stop taking the pollen count as a personal challenge. I biked a huge 10 mile loop yesterday, and normally exercise helps, but breathing was rough even with my inhaler. So hard to tell sometimes if it’s a panic attack or a breathing issue – which comes first?



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ghost writer

Listening to the fire trucks and watching the fireworks from the deck, wishing I could make things work out better. Knowing already what I want to do, have to do, will come back as a ghost  if I don’t do in this lifetime –  is write and illustrate my own book. FFS, I need to get my ass in gear. I always have a bunch of stories in my head, and what would really be perfect is if I could get past my fear and write them down. Sadness is currently extra distracting me, and an undercurrent of despair keeps sucking me down.

I’ve been biking, and eating well, and focusing on doing all the things that make me feel better. No distractions are working, and I finally have to admit that I feel heart and soul crushed like it will never get better. My life feels so empty and painful, and it’s not helping to see fire trucks everywhere – another reminder of disastrous dating, and old wounds, and emotionally unavailable men who only offer sex – even though they try to wrap it up differently.

Thanks to that last dude, I discovered that I need to explore my sub side a bit – too bad men scare the living shit out of me, and that damn fireman was the only dude that I’ve ever met that I trusted to tie me up and explore that side. He was also the only guy I’ve ever brought to this house – which I regret, as I now have that energy haunting me here. Not that it matters, as he seems to be haunting me everywhere. I’m glad he doesn’t know.

Ghost Town – Cheap Trick



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The plan

I accidentally ended up chatting with the director of the ER when I went to scope out a potential job.  It looks fascinating but potentially high stress but wowwwwww so cool, and very different from the ER where I used to work. It felt like home though, maybe because if there’s anything I think I understand, it’s humans in crisis… and the intense organization and teamwork it takes to get them urgent health care. Being able to help in some way always makes me feel better. If nothing else, it takes my mind off of my own issues and forces me to see other perspectives, which is very helpful.

Given the number of cases that I see passing through the ER every day, particularly in the psych area – I guess I’m not the only one dealing with some emotional challenges at the moment. Such high energy out there, lots of people on hair trigger alerts. With the amounts of stress going on all over our country and in hot spots all over the planet – and everyone is getting connected enough to see these things – it’s no wonder people are losing their shit. I want to take more Emotional First Aid and Situational De-escalation classes, because you never know what’s going to happen out there. Wishing and hoping don’t help when physical or verbal action is needed.

At least the ER job would be paying. I finally decided to stop volunteering with the local emergency teams. I don’t have the time or money or heart to do it right now, nor do I feel at all able to see any firefighter – as much as I appreciate them and loved training with them. Maybe I’ll change my mind later, but the humiliation of having a panic attack and not being able to attend an event because of my reaction to the one firefighter – yeah that felt like it set me back years. Better to change things up and do other stuff for the time being.

At least trying to be of service and help others will help me feel a bit better. Super sad at the moment though. When it’s high summer, stunningly beautiful out, everything is fine… and I feel agonizingly crushed with depression like my beloved just died, it’s even harder to talk about it because people understand it even less. I feel so awful that I even made a plan, and it hurts my soul to be back to thinking that way again. Dammit. I want to work in the ER, not be hauled off to another one. Medical bills already sent me into bankruptcy once when I finally crawled out of the wreckage of that last crash. Ambulance rides, ER, ICU – that was expensive in so many painful ways.

It Hurt So Bad – Susan Tedeschi
Sometimes It Hurts – Stabbing Westward



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