Getting There

If I close my eyes and pretend hard enough, I can almost forget what it’s like to actually get up and go somewhere every morning to earn a living.

I had surgery last Wednesday – everything went well, I was back home by early afternoon, and they gave me druuuuugs maaaaan. For a few days after that I could only manage couch or bed, had to be assisted up and down, and just kind of lay around all listless and blah. Michelle came over to keep an eye on me Thursday and Friday while Bill was at work, and I was generally spoiled rotten and waited on hand and foot.

I’d highly recommend it, except you’d have to go through the whole surgery thing so… yeah. Unless you can convince people to wait on you for no reason. In which case, share your methods please.

Things were improved by Sunday so I dialed back on the drugs (maaaaan) and now I can ALMOST get comfortable enough to sleep on my side, and can MOSTLY get up and down without hurting. I’m still trying to take it way easy, and laughing/coughing/sneezing still makes me feel like someone’s jamming an ice pick through my belly button.

I never realized how funny Bill was until it hurt to laugh. And now of course when I’m trying NOT to laugh, every funny thing makes me feel like I want to go off into giddy peals of breathless hysteria whether it’s THAT funny or not. Case in point, seeing this on the internet yesterday nearly made me pass out from the pain, and I still have no idea WHY I think it’s that funny:

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I have a follow up appointment with my doctor next Wednesday, and if she clears me I’ll be going physically back to work next Thursday. I’ve been working from home since yesterday. I don’t really miss going to work, but I’m starting to realize that I don’t mind going to work. Apparently I’m a creature driven by routine (and italics). Plus I like the folks I work with.

Oh, circling back to the follow up appointment thing. Bill says that after my surgery the doctor came out to talk to him, and showed him color photographs of my insides – my liver, my appendix, and various other bits. He was FASCINATED and told me to try to get copies while I was at the doc’s next week. I don’t know if I should be horrified, grossed out, intrigued, or what.

So my question to you is, would YOU want to see photos of your insides? Would you want to see photos of MY insides?

Pieces

Bill and I recently attended a funeral for the daughter of one of his co-workers. During the service, the minister invited everyone in the audience to let go of the dark things they think and feel inside, and to give them up to God. He asked this in the memory of the girl who had died – she’d suffered from mental illness her whole life and succumbed to the hopelessness she experienced every day. She decided to end her life.

It was heartbreaking.

We were given pieces of paper that dissolve in water. Write one or two or three things, the minister said, that you’d like to give up to God. Then walk up to the front, place them in the water-filled vase, and watch them disappear.

I’m not an overly religious person. I have faith, I believe in God, I think we go somewhere when we die, and I try to be a good person. I don’t ask God for things and I don’t lean. But I was touched by this little ceremony, and as I watched more and more people file up front, I grabbed a pen.

Thoughts came out that I didn’t really realize were pieces of darkness inside me, until I wrote them down. Well, more like I knew they were there, but didn’t acknowledge them for fear of giving them teeth and roots and claws. Don’t look them in the eye, and they don’t exist. You can’t see me you can’t see me you can’t see me…

I’m not worthy of love.
I will be alone.
I’m not genuine.

I sat there and blinked at the paper for a moment, then walked up front and dropped it in the vase. I stirred and watched it dissolve and wondered where the hell that came from.

That experience has been on my mind ever since. I think the exercise itself was worthwhile – it caused me to pause and reflect and look inward. We tend to acknowledge what irritates us more than what we fear. We tend to “improve” ourselves by giving up a bad habit or getting into a good one, rather than address fundamental, foundational stuff. Stuff that has nothing whatsoever to do with anything other than what is inside of us. Stuff that nobody else can affect. Stuff that nobody else causes.

The whole “not worthy of love” and “alone” thing I kind of get. I mean, I get where those feelings came from. It doesn’t take a PhD to connect the dots between those feelings and my childhood, the deaths I’ve experienced among family members and friends, the religious claptrap that lead to the awfulness of my first marriage, and all that jazz.

But why am I afraid that I’m not genuine? What does that even mean? Wouldn’t I know? I’m honest, I’m loyal, I care, I have great friends. I’m not fake by any means.

I’m just spitballing here, but I wonder if it’s connected to one of my mantras: “Fake it ’til you make it.” I’m not confident in my abilities, so I try hard and I fake confidence and LOOKEE THERE, I’m successful and the confidence becomes real. I’m depressed, but I engage and I smile and un-hermit myself and WELL NOW, I feel better. I try not to impact other peoples’ moods with my own, so I coast along pretending to be whatever the situation calls for, until I’m no longer pretending.

I don’t think any of these things are bad. I don’t think they make me dishonest.

I want to absorb more ripples than I cause, and I kind of like that about myself. I think other people have come to expect that trait from me. I don’t think I resent it.

I would know, wouldn’t I?

What a strange thing, to find a corner of my mind I didn’t know I had.

Charlevoix lighthouse as seen from the water.
Charlevoix lighthouse as seen from the water.

Six Month Recap

You will have noticed that I haven’t blogged in a good long while (duh). I’m trying to get back into the habit. It’s harder than I thought it would be to just get started. I’m faced with the decision – just pick up from here or try to recap the last six months? Bill says he didn’t realize how much he counted on my role as family historian until I stopped blogging. I guess I might be sorry in the future that I let the last six months’ worth of happenings slide by without mention.

I also stopped writing at Beyond Megapixels and put the site on hiatus (the content and archives are still up, though). Until just a couple of months ago, I hadn’t picked up my camera since we were at the cabin in January. I’m finally getting back to photography for pleasure, but I really burned myself out on all the freelance stuff I did last year. So I’m just now coming back around to thinking about looking for some more freelance writing and photography assignments.

Yes, glaring signs of depression. I’m back on Wellbutrin and I’m working through things, and I’ve been feeling quite a bit better lately. Well, with the exception of some stuff that I’ll get into in a bit. As you (or at least long-time readers) can probably imagine, the destruction of our Maine plans really hit me hard. So it took me quite a while to work my brain back around to the realization that things, in general, are good. My life is blessed and I’m enjoying it. I love the new job (well, I’ve been in the position a year now) I have at AcronmyCo, and I got a promotion earlier in the year. It’s nice to be appreciated.

So. To get caught up, you’re getting bullets. Sorry, I know you hate that.

- Okay, let’s just get the heavy stuff out of the way first. A few months ago I went to the doctor because of a pain I was experiencing in the lower right side of my abdomen. Signs didn’t point to appendicitis, so I was advised to… ahem… “eat more fiber” and that was pretty much that. A month later I went back again. I still had the same pain, and her advice didn’t resolve the problem. So they took an x-ray, didn’t find anything wrong other than trapped gas (sorry, TMI), and I was sent on my merry way. Then during my annual physical a month later I mentioned that I was still experiencing the pain in my abdomen, and the doctor finally sat up and paid attention. An ultrasound was performed, and come to find out I have a baseball-sized cyst on my left ovary. On the opposite side of the area causing me pain. Which is a puzzler.

So, I was instructed to go to my OB-GYN for a consultation. They scheduled me for some blood work and a CT scan, and determined that the whole shebang needs to be removed. Cyst, ovary and all. It’s a complex cyst, which along with the size (10 cm) is a slight cause for concern. But the bloodwork came back absent of tumor markers, and they scheduled me with a regular surgeon and not an oncologist, so that’s good. So! That puppy is getting removed on August 20th, after which I get to enjoy a two-week convalescence.

I also had a mammogram during the course of my physical. They had an “inconclusive” result for my right breast, so I was sent to another lab for a deeper scan and an ultrasound. After a PAINFUL hour of squishing, pressing, and manipulating, the doctor reviewed the results. They found a small lump that was cause for some concern, so I get to have a biopsy on August 15th to check THAT shit out. I know they tend to be overly cautious about these things, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Still, what the fuck, body? Time for the 40,000-mile tune-up? (You know, because I turned 40 in July. Heh.)

So! Other than the bullshit of having to go through surgery, and the minor EEEEK! going on in the back of my mind, I’m confident that everything will be fine. It’s just… man. You know?

- Robert and his fiancee Jenna got married a few weeks ago, and we headed out to Cheyenne for the wedding. They asked me to be their photographer, which was a great opportunity for me to keep my camera in my hands. We were really excited about seeing our Wyoming family, and seeing Robert – especially since we haven’t seen each other face-to-face in almost two years. So, I have a new daughter-in-law and a new granddaughter! Robert’s new in-laws are lovely, lovely people and made us feel like we’ve all been a family for years.

As usual, we had a blast traveling with Amanda. She’s seriously one of our favorite people, in addition to being our daughter. We ate too much and may have possibly caused some consternation for the good people of Domino’s during one late-night pizza delivery order (I’ll only show the video to a select few). We had a lovely cook-out at Robert’s new in-law’s house and enjoyed the effects of the storm that rolled in.

Wyoming Rainbow

We enjoyed another cookout with Bill’s side of the family, though part of that visit was spent in the basement when the tornado sirens went off. I was all, “HOLY SHIT.” Everybody else was all “Eh, happens all the time.” Meanwhile, Bill was wandering around outside LOOKING FOR THE TORNADO.

Anyway. Wedding photos are here. Here’s on of my favorites:

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- Bill and I went to Michigan back in June for Aaron and Michelle’s wedding – he was a groomsman and I was the matron of honor. That whole wedding weekend was AWESOME and was the reason I finally started taking pictures again. We hung out in the lakeside village of Charlevoix and their wedding was held at Castle Farms which OH MY GOD. WHAT a place to get married. We stayed together with over twenty people in a rented house within walking distance of the village. We played Cards Against Humanity every night, and frequented the Bridge Street Taproom so often that we became regulars in the short time we stayed there. The ceremony and reception were absolutely stunning – beautiful in all its details and so very much fun. It was truly depressing to have the party come to an end, and Bill and I VERY MUCH didn’t want to go back to Arizona when it was time to leave.

All of the photos that I took are here, and here are a few of my favorites from various sources (alt text indicates the photographer):

But oh... those summer nights!

By Darrell Christie Photographyt

Photo by Ray Weidman

Photo by Ray Weidman

- I turned 40 on July 20th. We spent the day at Aaron and Michelle’s, swimming and eating cake. I purchased tickets to see Jersey Boys (for the third time), and the show was last night. AWESOME, as usual. Umm… so, yeah. That’s all I have to say about turning 40. Huff.

- Michelle, Amanda, Liz (Aaron’s mom) and I had an overnighter at the Junipine Resort in Sedona in May, for a girls-getaway-slash-bachelorette party prior to Michelle and Aaron’s wedding. Our cabin overlooked Oak Creek, and it was so lovely and peaceful and quiet. I loved being able to fall asleep listening to the creek. We went on a booze-and-munchie procurement run, rocked out to a playlist with multiple personality disorder, ordered room service and teased the poor delivery boy, and caused low levels of mayhem. The trip up was marred by a fender-bender on the highway (Michelle was driving, HI STRESS NICE TO SEE YOU), but nobody was hurt and the car was still drive-able, so we didn’t let it slow us down. Then on the way BACK we discovered a branch of Vom Fass hidden in a corner of Tlaquepaque which we were TOTALLY geeked about. I thought the closest store was in Jackson Hole. So, yeah. Stocked the hell up on Sour Cherry Vodka, various whiskies and rum.

- We traded the Dodge Ram in for a Ford Mustang GT on Mother’s Day. No need for a 4×4 truck when we’re not moving to Maine and we already have a Jeep. It’s a FUN car, and it’s been so long since we HAD a car that the novelty still hasn’t worn off. Weird to have to sit down into a vehicle, rather than climb up into it.

- My niece Sable (my sister’s oldest, and only daughter) came out for a visit in late May. She lives in Maine but was on a US tour, of sorts. She models and had gigs in Boston, New York, Florida, Colorado, Arizona, and California. She stayed with us for almost a week, introduced me to Vegan food that wasn’t disgusting, and just kind of chilled. On the last day of her visit she and I drove up to Sedona. We had a prolonged lunch, shopped a bit, and then I dropped her off with a friend of hers that happened to live in the area. They road-tripped it to California the next day. It was great to catch up with her – we haven’t had the occasion to just spend one-on-one time together, since I moved away from Maine when she was just a toddler. SMART kid, and having the time of her life.

- Bill, Aaron, Michelle and I got dressed up all fancy for no particular reason and had dinner at House of Tricks in early March (food decent, service AWFUL), followed by drinks and dessert at Rula Bula.

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- Bill and I had a Valentine’s Day to remember. We both decided to really go all-out for each other. Bill spoiled me by having flowers delivered to me at work the day before Valentine’s, then a huge box of gourmet chocolate covered strawberries delivered on Valentine’s day. I re-created our “pizza on the roof” date (one of the first dates Bill and I had was when we sat out on the roof of my house and shared a pizza – I thought I’d written about that before but I can’t find an entry on it). I made him stay downstairs while I set the scene – a blanket, a few pillows, a dozen candles, a pizza, a bowl filled with ice and beer, a couple of snifters of whiskey, and my iPad with a new “Valentine’s Day 2014″ playlist. When it was almost dark outside I lit the candles, then lead Bill upstairs. I’d taken the screen off of the window in the guest bedroom and he was mighty confused when I told him to go out the window. Then he saw what I did… and I’ll just say that it was a great surprise and a rousing success. It was a beautiful night and a wonderful memory.

- In early January we continued the tradition of renting a cabin in Flagstaff during/around the holidays. Aaron and Michelle joined us for a couple of nights, and Amanda stayed a couple of nights as well. It was a repeat of the previous visit with a lot of lounging in front of the fire, playing inappropriate card games (Cards Against Humanity in this case), eating and imbibing.

Amanda is the Dog Whisperer:

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Okay! I think that pretty much catches us up. Everything else that happened is mostly minutia – work, being grown-ups, hanging out with friends and family, playing with the pups. Bill and I head to Indy next week for our annual MotoGP trip which we’re REALLY looking forward to. Long time readers will recall the dude we always meet there – though he’s put his online persona on hiatus and doesn’t use his real name on the ‘net. Didn’t get to see him last hear since we had to cancel the Indy trip after the whole Maine Moving Debacle, so we’re doubly excited this year.

Oh! And I heard from my ex-husband last week – a voicemail, thankfully, left on my work phone while I was at lunch. First time in ten years. Psycho nutjob now accuses me of stealing his identity and opening up/racking up credit cards in his name. THE FUCK? Why am I still on his radar, and why does he automatically think of ME when something goes askew in his life? Apparently I’m hard to forget.

Further details forthcoming as the situation unfolds. Hopefully, that voicemail is the beginning, middle and end of it.

Leave me comments! How are YOU?

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