Behind the door

Bah. Back to pain. Something else is wrong. I’ve had root canals and tooth problems; this ain’t that. This is an ice pick inserted at my temple and turned round and round for 2-3 hours at a time. This is my ear feeling full and sore, pain radiating down my neck, difficulty swallowing. And sleeping! Twelve to 16 hours a day has become my norm. It’s backing off slowly. If Sunday hit a 10 on my pain scale and Monday/Tuesday were 8, I’m around a 6 to 7. I can sit when it hits – most of the time. But I’m thankful for sleeping so much so I don’t have to be aware of it all the time.

Have an appointment with my GP tomorrow. Will take her thru it, including all the hot spots under my ear, in front of my ear, and at my temple. Don’t want to eat because that’s what seems to set it off. Even now – been eating mush. Really don’t have to chew, just move it around with my tongue and swallow. That’s still too much. Two hours later, I’m pacing and holding my head. Just willing myself thru it until it eases off. Then I’ve got to sleep.

Gods, there are moments when I’d like to just rip my entire face off. Yank all the teeth, cut off my ear and ear drum, rake out my throat. Anything. Even tho the level of pain has dropped, its persistence is driving me nuts.

Looked and found info on a condition termed TMJ, and that’s what I think is going on. My jaw doesn’t click, but other than that, I’ve got all the symptoms. I know docs hate patients who self-diagnose, but I also hate docs who don’t see the obvious, so I’ll mention it. I have to live in this pain box; I know where the limits are. You can think I’m being overdramatic, if it’s just a tooth. I know. I also know what it’s like from the inside, and let me tell you, your diagnosis is wrong. Don’t know what can be done. As usual, I’ll have waited too long. Had I seen my GP earlier, there’d probably be no question. But now some of it is backing off – mostly because I’m not moving my mouth at all, not talking, and barely eating or swallowing anything. I spend hours managing the pain that comes from what little mouth movement I do. And I sleep. I can’t go to my classes, I can’t go out, I can’t really do anything. Hell! I can only sit long enough to write this because (1) I already took a pain pill, (2) I haven’t eaten anything and (3) I lit up a J as soon as my eyes opened.

Too much.

No desire to sit on this thru the holidays. No desire to put up with it for one more day. Don’t want to eat anything today. Fuck.

Taking old ativan tabs. My brother had some left over. They’re 2 years out of date, but he’s kept them in the cool and dark, so they’ve still got a some potency left (and honestly, I didn’t care if I poisoned myself just so long as the damned pain eased off). They do seem to be helping, and if I’m correct about it being TMJ, they should help. Knock me on my ass, tho. Which is fine – I can sleep right now because I’m relaxed rather than being worn down by pain.

My appointment with the dentist isn’t ’til the 28th. Hoping for two things. One, that my GP backs up my suspicions on this TMJ thing, and two, that the seizing is long over before I have to crank my mouth open for an extended period of time. Right now, brushing my teeth is tough. Keeping my mouth open wide enough and long enough for work to be done…ugh. I don’t even want to think about it.

One thing has happened with all this sleep: the bags under my eyes are at their lowest level since I was 40. I knew I was tired most of the time. But several days of 12 hours plus sleep…that’s real tired. Maybe I need something to help keep me down on a regular basis.

Doing my best to stay positive. Telling myself that even if my GP does nothing, the pain is slowly getting better. I just don’t want to invest months in this. Barely talking, sleeping so much, dealing with it, dealing with it day after day even when you think ‘that’s it! that’s the last pain!’ but it never is… No wonder I’m so fucking exhausted.

Sent a text to my language teacher yesterday ditching class. Can’t talk or concentrate. All I’d do is rock back and forth in my chair holding my head. Why bother?

Planning to sleep to tv today. Have to take my pills, so I have to eat something. Ow. I’ll put that off as long as possible. Will take an ativan half an hour before eating. Maybe that’ll give it enough time to relax the area so it doesn’t seize up. Get thru the inevitable bout of pain post eating; I’m anticipating it now. Then sleep. Probably all day. Try to eat in late afternoon so the pain hits in the early evening. Shitty, right? Plan life around when you want the pain to hit. But that’s where I’m at. Get it done early enough that I can sleep by nine at the latest.

There’s very little left to life when you’re compartmentalizing agonizing pain.

I’ve got pretty good at it over the years, tho. Sad to list it as one of my special skills, but, there it is. I’m pleased enough to sit here without feeling the need to nurse my head. To breathe in and experience little pain.

The big pain sits behind a door marked PAIN. And that’s where I want to keep it.


Sick of it. Literally.

Felt it start yesterday afternoon. The scratchy throat. The cough that hurt. This morning I awoke with full blown laryngitis, an annual side-effect of my summer allergies. I’m sucking lozenges, gargling with salt water, drinking juice, and taking it easy.

Suck-ola. Found myself getting angry at my doctor without ever actually visiting: I’m well aware that if I made the foray over to her office and actually wrangled an appointment within the next 48 hours, I’d be told to suck lozenges, gargle with salt water, drink juice, and take it easy. The only reason to go is to have medical proof that yes, once again I am ill. Seems I must justify myself to the medical community before anyone takes me seriously. As usual, I’m physically drained with this, and don’t want to do much more than vegetate in front of the tv. So, as usual, I’ll do that first line of defense on my own and see if it clears itself up.

Script: 4000 words and climbing. I’ve barely begun act 1 scene 3, and have a lot of territory to cover in the next 2000 words. But I’m allowing my characters a bit of verbosity. Easier to cut than to stretch a story. I like my soviet agent. A lot. She’s menacing without being outright threatening. My characters are fleshing out and surprising me. One is funnier than I expected. Another more vulnerable than I thought. And it’s not just the women; the men are more than I expected, too. These disparate roles are ready made for personal conflict.

To round off my life, my brother is on a kick of disregarding me and my personal space. Dirty dishes left piled in the sink. Washed dishes left in the rack, never put away. Miscellaneous shit, like an extra water bottle I’d emptied and put aside for personal use. Oh, was that yours? I didn’t know. Well, did you put it there? No? Then what makes you think it was left there for you? Did you imagine Santa Claus came in overnight and left you a present? Hanging his rain-soaked clothes directly over my face towel, thereby soaking said face towel with underwear and sock drippings. Get the picture? Feels like I don’t exist, my work doesn’t matter, and half the time I’m just in his way.

…Was gonna write ‘I’m sick of it’ and then I realized I really AM sick of it. Literally. Funny how that happens so often in my life.

Well, let’s make this a short illness. Pick up the box of tissues, the lozenges, the water, my pills, and head off for a nap.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.


Fighting that down side. That ever present, soul dragging weight that refuses to let me feel good about myself. I know it’s bad. My work out routine should effectively kill off any bad feelings – yet here I am, day after the gym, working to feel anything other than flat or slightly irritated.

I wanna hide inside today. Watch too much tv, and smoke.

Got an email from the director. Seems we’re all getting together on one evening for promotional pix. Oh, don’t be so impressed. Our promotional pix will consist of someone grouping us together and capturing the moment on their smart phone (they’re all too modern to own an old fashioned camera). And, with no costuming or make-up…Can you see where I’m going here? I don’t expect much.

In fact, I don’t expect to be in the promotional photo at all. I expect the mysterious board will choose the prettiest people to be in the ad. Oh, they’ll take my photo a few times. But use it? I really don’t think so.

No serious writing yet. A few outline adds. A few times of looking at the outline and having my bro come in, look over my shoulder (the worst possible thing you could ever, ever do to me), and break my concentration to the point I close everything down. *sigh* And I’m glad his writing is going so well, his book has so many thousands of words, so many pages, so many graphics, so much. I’d like to concentrate on my own now, thank you very much.

Doing okay with the getting out of the house every day vow. At least, so far. Thinking I might take the metro down to one of the city’s charity shops today and take a look around. I really need something other than my six summer t-shirts and one set of shorts. Not that anyone has said anything to me. But I feel it. I don’t like it.

Heard from a friend, whose life makes mine look like a fairy tale. Honestly, I could write down everything that’s happened to this person and it would read like the most made up soap opera of all time. He’s had more bad news, naturally. Sometimes I wonder if he ever has anything happy happen to him at all. I never hear about it. Once in a while he’ll describe things as ‘fun’ or ‘pleasant’, but most of the time he talks about his pain, his anxiety, his money worries. And I’ve never heard him crack a joke. Twenty-five years of knowing this person. No jokes at all.

Makes me feel pretty lighthearted and frivolous in comparison.

Trying to cut back on caffeine at the moment. My morning coffee consumption just crept up and up, until I was almost at 5 large cups. I’ve read caffeine isn’t good for irritable bowel syndrome, so I want to cut back on it and see how my tummy does. Easier said than done. Caffeine really affects me, and cutting back one cup in the morning for two days in a row has already resulted in caffeine headaches and general sluggishness. Well, better now than in autumn, when I have a schedule I need to adhere to.

Maybe I’m due a day off. No cleaning, no exercising, no language, no rehearsing, no errands. Sit, and wallow.

I know my mind is not all happy-happy. Woke up yesterday with five bruises on my arm from my own fingernails. Seems I crossed my arms over my chest at some point in the night, then dug my fingernails into my flesh. That’s not an act of a happy subconscious.

And rain clouds are coming in. It’s not supposed to rain today!

That’s it. I’m wallowing. I liked the idea the moment I wrote it. I’m too tired, too full-on lately. Haven’t had an afternoon off since I don’t know when. Take a nap. Chill-ax.


Reverse Hibernation

Tired. Like, down to my bones. Every limb feels heavy and stiff. Slept 10 hours and considering a nap. Trying not to, ’cause naps fuck me up more than it’s worth most times, unless I’ve been on a crying jag (which I’ve not)…then it resets me.

Consciously smoking. Cutting down. Reigning in. …It’s as much a pain in the ass process as active listening is right now.

Just want to sleep.

My brain has shut down. It refuses to think of anything more than putting one foot in front of the other. It offers no inspiration, gives me nothing from story-land to occupy my time.

It’s bleak, but comforting. And I think this is the way death comes to us. It tires us down, bit by bit, until we welcome the unending slumber. At least, I hope so.

I hope that’s the way it happens.

Happy thoughts to while away the day, yes?

Ugh. I hate my body when it’s like this. Far beyond just exercise back lash. Fronts have been moving through the area, and long observation has lead me to the conclusion that fast moving weather fronts affect my RA. Summer is always hell. I use selective denial, and choose to remember summers as fun. But the truth always hits me mid-way. Summer tires me out terribly.

Been rehearsing my role. Really have the first seven pages down. Recorded in my partner’s lines for the last half of the script. Now it’s repetition. Perfecting. I keep finding deeper and deeper nuances of body language to use. So much can be said with a turn of the head.

Trying not to worry. Tough, when I’m like this. If I could keep active, keep going…then maybe my mind wouldn’t go so dark. But I struggled to get the dishes done. It was a big job, or it felt like it. Going outside, committing to other activities…I’d drop over unconscious within an hour. I need an extra boost of caffeine to even begin reaching a state of ‘normal’ alertness. A big boost.

Feels like I’m slipping into some reverse hibernation. Sleep away the summer rather than the winter.

…On a cosmic level, that makes sense somehow…doesn’t it?

The Old Fashioned Way

Three a.m. …Three a.m.!

I tried to stay in bed. Honest I did. But the season’s first buzzing insect came in and dive bombed my ear – probably something that, if I heard like a normal human being, wouldn’t bother me but I DON’T hear like a normal human being – and that was it; I couldn’t stand the noise, my head started to race and after an hour of tossing and turning I said fuck it and got up. If I’m dead tired by the time my lesson begins, I just won’t go.

In that strange way that my life persists in unfolding, waking up so early was a good thing. My bro left the windows open last night, and guess what’s happening outside the windows? Yep. Full on storm. I’d have had a very wet kitchen and living room if I hadn’t got up.

As it is, I sit now in the dark, a cup of coffee and a smoke by my hands, listening to the howling winds and pounding rains.

…C’mon. Gimme some thunder and lightening.

Got to the gym on Tuesday, felt damned good about it, too – evidenced by my post. La-de-dah. Is it perhaps possible to have TWO good days in a row? Or is that just way out of line?

Wrestling with formatting the script. Damn, damn, damn. Now I remember why I searched out software for my computer. Bleeding frustrating internet connection and cloud service! Meh. Sorry; I know I sound like a crotchety old lady when I talk about technology these days. But REALLY?!? I’ve lived long enough to see phone service start from shit, go to great, then go back to SHIT with the advent of mobiles. I was there at the hail of the business computer system. Oh, we’ll go paperless, they said. You know what happened? Twice as much paper was WASTED because of the manner that everything got printed out, and copies had to be run because COMPUTERS FUCK UP. And audio? Children, don’t even get me started. I know y’all can’t hear, anyway.

Grumble, grumble, grouse, and bitch.

You know, progress is a clear step forward. Not half a step forward while your other foot slides back into the muck. Humanity’s slipping. Sacrificing quality for speed. Not a big surprise. So many on the planet think it’s okay to sacrifice all sorts of things for another buck.

Haven’t you paid attention? You don’t have more time with all these electronic gadgets. You aren’t better informed. Just the opposite. You’re down to reading tweets as news, and spend all your time with your heads buried in your phones playing games or messaging or doing some bullshit that’s NOT NEEDED.

Like anyone CARES you just took the biggest dump of your life.

Goddamn it!

……Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. I hate starting a day this way. 

Prospects for going to class are diminishing rapidly. *sigh* All I want to do at this point is get my head on straight. After that – class or no class, sleep or no sleep, gym or no gym, work or no work – doesn’t matter.

Oh, I’m off. Well off. Bad dream? Some storm rider, come into my dreams thru the window? Don’t remember. Only remember the buzzing insect, the tossing and turning, then the storm.

It’s a mini bad day. I get them once in a while. Only real solution is the old fashioned one: let it run its course. Get up when I can’t sleep. Write. Watch tv. Nap when I can. My entire schedule will get turned topsy turvy, but them’s the breaks. I’ve tried these days the other way: pushing thru. Does not work well. I snap and bite and generally drive people off. Better to hermit the day away, and fall asleep to the pounding rain.

I don’t need to justify myself


The endorphins have it.

Finally! Feeling energized and if not maniacally positive, I’m at least not thinking the absolute worst. All it took was a few battering my body until it’s ready to drop exercise sessions. I say “all it took”; but yesterday as I was pushing thru my morning pool time I wouldn’t have agreed to such a blithe comment. Somehow I kept digging deep, using every bit of strength for each movement – and it showed later. Exhausted on a level that only prolonged, deep level exercise can get you to. Pushed thru that, as well: dishes, shopping, and making homemade soup all went on the chop block and got accomplished.

Not sure if I slept last night; I think my condition was closer to complete unconsciousness.

Today I’ve submitted a proposal to a theater group for a play based on the WWII Night Witches. Not sure it was the strongest submission I could have done; I thought long and hard about doing something on Laura Ingalls Wilder, with whom I’m well familiar (the theatre group in question requests scripts based on real life women). The Night Witches were Russian fighters, and I’m worried that the fact it’s based on Russian women will result in all those American prejudices rearing their heads and get it kicked out of consideration before I’ve even begun. But I’ve wanted to write about these women since I first read about them a few years ago, so I went with it.

Pulled info for a women’s blog that actually pays money for articles.

Trying to channel my writing. It’s great to free-write, do whatever catches your fancy, but that makes it difficult to write for a living. To write for a living, you’ve got to be able to direct your talent. Write to a purpose. Now I’ve two projects that are directed writing. I’ll see if I can handle it.

Thank the Goddess Wednesday falls in the middle of the week! That was my first thought this morning, and it made me laugh at myself. Wednesdays are mini-breaks for me, in between exercise days and language days, work on the computer and housework, reading and writing.

I might just laze around on today’s mini-break. Feet up, films on, curtains closed. That, despite my not getting to my language work or reading, or my contract work for my bro. I am just that flippin’ tired.

And damned if I didn’t see another dust bunny scooting around this morning. Ran back under my bed, naturally. Bloody annoying things.

BIG NEWS! The theatre group has finally – FINALLY – posted notices for open auditions. Scheduled for next Thursday and the Tuesday after that. I’m fairly certain I don’t actually want to join this group, just use their gathering to find enough people for my own project. Acknowledging that makes me feel pretty petty, and I want to add all my reasons for this unseemly behavior. But I won’t add all my reasons; they should be self-evident.

And I don’t need to justify myself.

All I Want

I am deeply depressed. And angry. And wrestling with yet another headache.

The bee-yotch in my water aerobics for ancient bodies who always fucking gets in my goddamn way told me to ‘let op’ and yelled ‘ow’ when I accidentally half landed on her foot in the goddamn fucking pool because she’s too goddamn fucking lazy to lift her goddamn fucking feet and fucking move at a decent fucking pace. I did NOT hit her square in the face and I think I deserve a gold fucking star for such incredible restraint. The instructor played Toto’s ‘I miss the rains down in Africa’ and I started to cry because I miss Ulla so fucking much. My brain isn’t doing ANYTHING in Dutch anymore. I can barely remember ‘hello’ and ‘how’s it going’. I’m sick to death of these goddamn fucking headaches.

Thought about putting a personal ad out there. “World’s loneliest and most un-lovable woman seeks friend to hang out with. Absolutely no country and western fans. Absolutely no Trump fans. Must be tolerant of smokers and tokers. You’re either poor like me and enjoy pizza and bad films, or rich and willing to pay my way. You don’t get upset when I say ‘fuck’ every other word. You don’t judge, but take me as I am – sometimes manic and sometimes depressed. Good sense of humor absolutely necessary.”

Wonder if there’s anybody out there who’d respond to that.

It’s honest. That’s about all I can say about it.

And yes, I told my bro I’m more down in the dumps than usual. He’s well aware of it and doing his damnedest to lighten my load.

I’d like to just sit and rot today, so that’s pretty much what I’m gonna do. Smoke. Play games. Fuck off. See if maybe I can get my head straight so I have a slim chance of actually making it to my language lessons this week.

Maybe there’s tumor in my brain. Maybe that’s the cause of all these fucking headaches. Wouldn’t that be nice? To be told that yes, there’s a physical reason for it. Hmph. I just ain’t that lucky. I know it’s stress. I know it’s ‘all in my head’. Ha fucking ha. Fuck you.

Doesn’t help that everyone in the fucking pool turned around and looked at me like I just landed from goddamn fucking Jupiter when some AC/DC came on by accident and I whooped out and said ‘leave it on!’. Fucking hell.

Fucking OLD goddamn fuckers. Gimme a fucking break. Not one of those people could be born before 1940. That means they were all pretty young in the 60s. So why are we listening to shit like ‘chirpy chirpy cheep cheep’ and Frank Sinatra? How about some goddamn Jimmy Hendrix or Led Zeppelin? Or even some Golden Earring – the ONLY Dutch rock band to have any hit in the rock charts? No. Lame goddamn fucking music! How the hell is anybody supposed to fucking feel good when you play lame goddamn fucking music the entire time?

Fucking just kill me, why don’t you? It would be less painful.

Still not over this blind rage bullshit. Obviously. The people I don’t want to kill right now are limited to less than 5.

I’m not sure if I count myself among them.

Run. Hide. That instinct is very strong in me right now. It’s the only thing I know for sure that will keep me from hurting anyone.

Wibbley-wobbley. See the ever-tilting woman loose her balance over and over again. Marvel at how far she falls.

Goddamn it.

…….Such a long pause there my screen saver activated.

This sucks. I’m getting hungry for breakfast, finally, but I don’t know that I can motivate myself to get up and make anything. Why bother? I’m fat, so I don’t actually need the calories. And food…continuing this bullshit…I don’t know. Wish I could just turn it all off. Not die, just turn the world off. Make everyone and everything freeze for a day or two or twenty. Go away. No more talking, no more noise, no more people telling me this or that, no more words I don’t understand. Quiet.


That’s all I want.

Beating a dead horse


Still not thrilled with life. I laugh at funny circumstances and jokes. I can appreciate the sun shining in the sky and smile at the autumn leaves. But that’s my outside me – the coat I wear over the real me to keep anyone from looking too closely. She can smile. The inside me is sad. Over a lot of stuff. Getting old, driving people away before they can hurt me, never quite reaching that brass ring…there’s a lot on my mind lately. None of it’s nice, or pleasant, or calming.

Made a start on the script. Found a line tucked away in my head (thank you, dad, for some of the most colorful cursing on the planet; I could never come up with that on my own) and thought it was perfect to get me going. And it did. But what followed became an angry, foul mouthed outburst, not a funny monologue. The more I looked at the angry words, the more angry I became. I realized that my anger was just sitting there, a churned up pool with a calm surface. Haven’t dealt with it. Haven’t overcome it. Just been ignoring it.

And no, I don’t want to ‘work it out on the page’. That gets tiring, too. I just want it gone.

I’d rather talk about how people screaming in the road at 5 a.m. on a Sunday must be some sort of proof of the lack of dignity in a neighborhood. How such shits live around me. Obviously people with (1) no volume control on their voices, (2) no shame in yelling at the top of their lungs, and (3) no consideration for anyone else on the planet other than themselves. Obvious, also, that they are not Dutch. Most of the problems I experience with noisy neighbors are not Dutch related. They’re people who’ve emigrated here but who don’t yet understand the culture. My answer this morning, after yet another morning of being woken up by these people fighting and screaming in the street just below my window? Make ’em integrate or get ’em out. Harsh, I know. I’m a harsh woman. I work my ASS off to fit in no matter where I go. The people I’m bitching about in this paragraph do not. They go on about their lives and expect everyone around them to adapt to their loud, uncouth manners. It sickens me.

Or let’s talk about how I’m just stuck professionally. I’ve seen some of your pages – even a few with thousands of followers. Thousands? Really? Anyone want to tell me how that happens? Because the one way I know of making it happen is to pay some company to “find” a bunch of people to “follow” you. In other words, it’s as fake as Trump’s tan. Either that or you’re a social media whore. One of those people hooked into a dozen (not an exaggeration) social media sites that repost every little thing you do – ‘Just took a dump!’. Don’t you get sick of splaying your legs like that? Don’t you crave a bit of privacy? Don’t you feel damned foolish pushing yourself like that?

I mean….you DO know you can get people to like just about anything if you expose them to it enough, right? Just because you’re making it through exposure doesn’t mean you’re actually any good.

And I’m still jealous of the numbers. Jealous of the ability to do all that, because I bloody well can’t. I have neither the stomach nor the vagina for it. So I take pot shots at people who might not deserve it because I want the thousands of followers, I want the book deal, I want the stuff I hear everyone discussing about their oh-so-perfect lives.

My life is far from perfect.

My personal inflation index is set at the same point it was when I was 12. I had this theory when I was younger that as I grew up money would lose some of its gasp factor for me. If you gave me a $50 when I was 12, I was damned impressed and a bit intimidated to have that much cash on me and in one bill. Problem is, I still feel that way. I’ve never earned enough to become lackadaisical about cash. Fifty is still a lot to me. As is twenty. Even a ten feels like a lot most days. I’m poor, dahling. No way around that one.

If raging would do me any good I’d be up throwing the furniture around. The inner me would like me to do that. The outer me doesn’t want to clean up later. Or make excuses.

Just not sure how to get out of this. How to make myself feel better so I can truly move on. Been doing all they tell you to do. Still feels pretty shitty. I’d like to take some of those ten point lists and shove them up some very ripe asses today. Yes, I exercise. Yes, I eat right. I avoid alcohol and (now) other drugs. I get enough sleep every night. I write. I talk. I bloody well try all the things you tell people fighting depression to do- not just try, but DO and DO with all I’ve got in me – and it’s still not helping. I suppose you could say all of this has kept me from actually sitting on the floor with a razor blade in hand…again. But I sure as fuck don’t feel okay. And I don’t want to hear from someone across a desk that I should try this or that and they’ll see me next week, same time, for an hour. No. Absolutely not. If you’re gonna give me that shit, I’m gonna demand you live my life alongside me for that entire week. You should have to suffer like I do, motherfucker. Not see me for an hour, give me some pat speech you’ve used on a hundred other patients, then send me out while you get up and take a coffee break or call your best friend to talk about your dress pattern or how much you drank the night before.

Ah. There’s the anger I was looking for. I see it’s tied to therapy. Again. Well, gimme my leather. Time to beat that dead horse one more time.

Cranking up the intensity


Today’s the day.

Oh, my sore ass!

In the gym. Half an hour on the bikes, half an hour on the treadmills. Kept my heart rate between 128 and 130. Then onto free weights. Two sets of 30 reps each, 4 positions hitting biceps, triceps, deltoids, and full arms.

I crawled back home, barely able to stand upright because I’d used up absolutely everything that was easy for my body to use. Felt like I hadn’t eaten in days. Begged my bro to go downstairs and buy some fish from the guys out front. Scarfed down two and half sandwiches before I felt like I wasn’t gonna cave in around my midriff.

This morning was my one on one language lesson. The other student showed up briefly but had to leave to take her kids to the doctor. So very happy I get a flu shot every year. This year’s variety includes a fever and a bad cough. Our instructor made us read from a random paper, then talk about what we understood. Ye gods! Once again I heard how clearly I speak. Yes! Bleeding yes! I should hope so after driving myself batty with vowel sounds. And I can read well. Very well. Better than the other student, by far. I just don’t understand all these words I pronounce and read so bleeding well. That’s pretty much where everyone agrees I’m at: I just have to widen my vocabulary. My grammar is good to excellent, my pronunciation for words I know superb. But cramming more words in too fast can make me forget other things and confuse me. I’m committed to the long haul here.

Went down to the theatre group last night at the very last minute. Got the email in about 5:30, and they were meeting by 7. Pulled my act together, grabbed the script and out the door. I was obviously VERY focused on handing off that piece of work. There was one of those meet and greet things in the lobby where the theatre group generally meets, and I spent 15 minutes searching for them – which included a short time of locking myself out of the building in a sealed off construction area that I had NO chance of getting out of. Did I panic? Did I even sweat? No. Just banged on the door unashamedly and yelled ‘help’ ’til someone heard me. I’d hoped to find the group early, talk to the director a bit about the script. I had less than 30 seconds. When I said I’d written it for the group the director’s eyebrows shot up with interest, so I must have said the right thing. He promised to take a look at it last night. Then it was sit and enjoy, watch and learn. It was just the director, the actors, and me – no one else. lol! I guess I’m the only hard core person who wants to show up at all these things. Every once in a while the group would break, and they’d explain the next scene so I could enjoy it fully. And I made a couple of suggestions to the actors, which they readily accepted and adopted to great effect. Plus I found out that if they ARE going to have me do the sound during the shows, the first time I’ll see the equipment is the afternoon before opening night. They have to pay for the venue, and a full dress rehearsal the day before would cost more. Understandable. A bit of a crunch on me, perhaps, but I’ve got my ace in the hole – my brother, the superior sound engineer, who’s promised to show up on the afternoon and help me check the equipment. All in all, a great night. I felt accepted and included and had a lot of fun even tho I just sat around. I hope I can join them a few more times before their performance.

So I been a good girl. Been such a prat, as a matter of fact, that I over did my homework – as usual. Fully wrote out things where one word answers would suffice. Dat’s okay. I be ahead of most in the Friday group. An’ I do so like to shine when I cans. An’ I can shine. Bright. Put on those sunglasses, baby. I’m cranking up the intensity.

Even Sloths Make Progress


I’ve been out living what I preach. It’s bloody exhausting.

Yesterday was a day I’d like to repeat more often. The weather was perfection; warm sun but cool breeze and not a rain cloud in site. I felt good, better than good. Probably over did it. Walked quite a bit, even getting off the metro four stops from my house to make SURE I had a long, extended stretch. Put money on my chip card and I think I finally learned how to ask at the counter without screwing up the Dutch. At least, I didn’t get that smile that told me my grammar was off. Took a stroll to pick up more smoke for the house and wandered thru the shopping area downtown. Looked, and thought. Did my usual lotto card purchase and heard my favorite sound (so far): a bell. Won another free ticket. No money prizes yet, but I think this makes 6 free draws so far this year. Not too shabby. Did the dishes, made my bed, tidied up a bit, took a shower. Through it all I kept my cool and a measured pace, hurrying nowhere. Celebrated my full day with an indulgent night of telly and an AH cola.

Woke up late this morning. First sensation was pain as my feet hit the floor. Second was shock as I realized I’d slept thru to 8:30, an hour and a half beyond my normal time. Not only that; I felt/feel as if I could go back to sleep for another six hours.

I would not think that my schedule yesterday was such to warrant my condition today. Obviously I’m not up to it. Just another reminder of my RA. Damned disease!

So today I’m held up by my physical condition. It’s GOT to be a down day. I’ll do my back exercises and a short walk around the block, but other than that it’s films and games. Probably sleep, as well. I’d need a lot more caffeine in my system than I’m willing to have right now to stay awake the entire day.

All this push was generated by one thought: I HAVE no life. That came to me on Thursday, when I was out for a walk around the neighborhood. I passed a woman doing some gardening along the sidewalk, and she spoke to me. In Dutch, of course. I didn’t want to appear stupid, or say I didn’t understand her and have her turn away in disappointment as so many people do. So I tried to follow what she said. From what I DID understand and her gestures, I gathered that the city workmen came thru recently to tidy up the common area grass, but failed to weed out the invasive ivy climbing thru the hedges. That’s what this woman was doing: reaching down deep into the hedge, grabbing the stems of the ivy, and cutting them out as close to the ground as she could manage. It was a huge job; the area she was working on was at least 10 houses long, and two more hedges extended beyond that. I made some conciliatory noises, for she seemed to be bitching that the workmen hadn’t done the job and the ivy was taking over the pavement. I didn’t, however, know how to extricate myself properly from the conversation and ended up just waving and meandering away. The steps down that long hedge-way – for that was my direction – took forever. I berated myself mercilessly for not knowing the language better. By the time I felt I was no longer in the woman’s vision – and therefore out of the immediate shame zone – I was picking deep inside me, examining the shallow nature of my existence. The hours spent doing nothing. The excuses for not getting up and doing things, for that is how I saw it: as excuses. Whiny alibis muttered by a lesser me, unwilling to move beyond her sloth. The words came to me; I spoke them aloud. I have no life.

With that came a realization: that only I could change this. It was up to me to work at the language, it was up to me to get out and walk and get healthy, it was up to me to try to make some connection with people.

Thus, Friday. Pushing a little too hard, all the while taking it easy because damn it! I really was trying.

In all my introspection, I failed to take my physical condition into account. I SO want to believe I can do this. That I can have days like yesterday and not feel so fucking awful the next day. And on occasion, I can. Just not this time.

Damn it, this is not my fault.

It’s not the fault of my body, either. My body is trying desperately hard to give me what I want: a life. It’s doing everything it can to cope with the real culprit. Rheumatoid arthritis.

Somedays – like today – I really want some RA therapy. What I mean by that is I want some chump to dress up in a padded outfit and BE rheumatoid arthritis so I can pick up a stick and whack it relentlessly until I can’t lift my hand to strike it anymore. That would probably happen rather quickly, since the days I’m most angry are the days I’m most affected. Nonetheless, it would bring a welcome emotional release.

*sigh* Instead, I’ve purchased two new games for my computer (on sale), and have an old 1960s British film I recorded for viewing pleasure this afternoon. I figure the film will either be delightful or a welcome excuse to take a nap.

Off to take paracetamol. Again. Probably all day. Return to rest mode. It’s real hard for me to not think of rest mode as sloth mode. But what the hell. Even sloths make progress.

…And don’t they look HAPPY?