Welcome to my Parlour ...

On August 26th, 2010, my mother passed beyond the veil.
This event has become a catalyst for change in many and often profound ways in my life.
This is my way of chronicling those changes so that I may, at a later date, have the ability to review and reflect upon them.

~ Go dtugtar breith orainn dá réir ár ngníomhartha. ~
(Let us, by our actions, be judged)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

JtD - Entry #29 - Final

Just two thousand and seventy words to go and I will have hit the fifty-thousand-word goal … that’s pretty amazing. And methinks I will end it today if I can. We’ll have to see if my intention is backed up by sufficient access to hit the mark or if I will have one final ‘get me over the top’ post to make tomorrow.

I’m not trying to self-sabotage, just being aware that I can run out of steam and words pretty quickly … often without warning. I’ll type the period at the end of a sentence and that’s it. I’m sitting there with a blank mind that is trying to distract itself back into old habits (facebook, etc) and it takes significant effort to steer my thoughts back. Which is why I have so many posts that go off in random directions without warning.

It would be a lot easier if I wasn’t adhering to a strict minimum of number of words per post, for regular blog posts, a short one is not a bad thing. Few folks online have the patience to read through multiple paragraphs as a matter of routine, unless it is something that is either instructional or really important to them personally.

The net really seems to encourage the sort of simplification of mind that began with Sesame Street … I have nothing against that show having watched a lot of it as a child myself and watching my sons growing up with it as well. But it has a set pattern of short segments that just about encouraged a short attention span. There are actual studies that have been done on the subject which show that it becomes increasingly difficult for a child to learn to focus for long periods of time the more they are exposed to the short segments of that and similar shows (which patterned themselves after SS’s successful model).

It has all fed into the dumbing down of the proletariat that has created the current state of social crisis. Keep them under-educated and easily amused and they are easily controlled.

JtD - Entry #28

I spent the day in Abbotsford yesterday, hanging out with D so I got exactly nothing written but I had a really good visit with her and her mother, C. I’m counting it as a win despite falling behind yet again because my alternative was to spend the day alone with my thoughts and I was swift enough to recognize that was not a good place to go with things. Due to my recognizing that and acting to prevent it, I had a good day yesterday and it’s translated into a decent day today.

I’m noticing a startling increase in muscle weakness, particularly in my legs … the last few days, climbing stairs has been more problematic, my balance has been less sure and the pain has been much higher. I took the dogs on our usual walk around three blocks today and, instead of strengthening, my legs were noticeably less sturdy and I had to move slower than normal. I suspect that this is a result of my sitting on my fanny too much through the last six months.

Without the kids to run after, I just haven’t had the impetus nor the need to move as much as I had been with them. I know I’m gaining weight pretty quickly too … I’ve reached that point where I have noticed the size change in how my body feels (not to mention how my clothes are getting tighter). Really need to bring that under control or I’ll be hitting four hundred pounds before I’m sixty.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

JtD - Entry #27

So, it looks like Yule just isn’t going to happen here this year. I have no heart for decorating nor celebrating while games continue to be played and the kids are denied their visitation. It’s not even December yet and I want it to be over … Bah Humbug is not remotely a strong enough sentiment for how I feel about it all this year. I’m way past Grinch and somewhere on my way to Krampus. Not in a good mood today but I am doing my best to keep it away from K. She has done absolutely nothing to deserve it.

Because of my foul mood I’m having trouble finding that little figment that was amusing my imagination yesterday. Unhappy thoughts and feelings really get in the way and more pain than the usual day is pretty much the capper for it all. However, let’s see if I can recall enough from yesterday’s funny little daydream to see if I can write out a proper description for her.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

JtD - Entry #26

And now for the non catch-up post and I haven't a clue what to write about :p

I don't want to leave it until tomorrow because then I'll have the same problem all over again.  I already have more catch-up posts than I'm really happy with as it is. Not that I'm going to beat myself up over them ... catch-up or not, I have managed to get to within a few days of the end of the challenge I set myself and that I can be proud of as it's better than I have done at any point in the last five years that I have been a member of the NaNoWriMo website. It's still not a reason to slack, however .. and I didn't slack yesterday. I was legitimately ill and that prevented me from getting my post made despite my going to sit in front of the computer with every intention of getting it done. 

It is so much easier to follow the thread of a story than to try to come up with a different topic worth writing about each day. This strongly reminds me of the kind of creative fatigue I would experience when I did the 365 photo challenge. Or when a co-worker and I challenged each other to do a special thrity-one day ancestor photo a day during one of the October's I was in Calgary. 

JtD - Entry #25

Well, yesterday was a productive bust.

Sounds like an oxymoron, right? 

Not so … We had to get up early and take K to the retinal specialist for her monthly eyeball injections. The scans show that her left eye is improving quite quickly … the inflammation has gone down enough that the fovea (central focus point of the retina) is visible again. Still needs to come down more but the doctor is quite pleased with the improvement. The right eye however, whether it be due to it having been the worse affected or it’s just slower at responding to treatment, is not progressing as well. It has a large number of cysts (holes) where the acidity of the blood caused burn damage and the inflammation hasn’t really changes. It is still better than the first set of scans, just not as well improved as everyone was hoping.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

JtD - Entry #24

And now I need a topic for today’s post … heh. The last one came so easily as to almost flow. It was nice to feel that again.

Oh wow ... on a whim, I just tried a topic generator and the results are hysterical … nothing useful but oh so funny:

1.       The History Of Dog
2.       10 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About Cat
3.       20 Myths About Kid
4.       Think You’re Cut Out For Doing Dog? Take This Quiz
5.       10 Signs You Should Invest In Cat.

Like I said … useless but amusing as all get out – at least to me.

JtD - Entry #23

Took the day off yesterday from writing. My wrists are getting sore and whenever that tell-tale hint of pain happens in the hands, I listen. I have experienced carpal tunnel syndrome before and it took time and diligence for me to calm it down so I didn’t need to seek allopathic (western medicine) intervention. I’m long unused to doing this much consistent writing and, I guess, it is taking it’s toll physically.

Not really unexpected considering I am out of shape in just about every way that matters … One of the things this challenge has done is really bring home to me how much the functioning of my brain has changed since it became injured. I think in a completely different and, to me, distressingly random way. No longer the easy organization that I remember and expected and it’s brought home to me just how much more work I’m going to have to do to train my mind back into a writing worthy track.

I’m going to do my best, once I hit my fifty thousand wordcount on or before the thirtieth of the month, to continue writing daily … just perhaps not the strict seventeen hundred per day that I have had to maintain or catch up to currently. I need far more practice to reorder my thoughts and develop the necessary discipline of concentration.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

JtD - Entry #22

Ugh ... today is taking it out of me.

Not so good as yesterday … definitely more fragile but then hearing that another friend of G’s committed suicide two days ago and then receiving word from Ka that she intends to continue with until formally ordered to stop by the courts tends to knock the legs out from under me.

She’s offering phone calls and video chat with the kids but then follows up with not wanting to have any communication with me other than email. A fine example of just how bizarre her thinking is. I’ll have to get something set up between the two lawyers so that we can at least see the kids … no point in giving her any ammunition to use against us concerning not making effort to see them.
Ugh ... I HATE this … will be so grateful when it is finally dealt with.

Nope ... really just don’t want to write today.

Monday, November 21, 2016

JtD - Entry #21

Ahh, me … This is what I get for drinking coffee yesterday. Three thirty-nine in the morning and I am WIDE AWAKE.

Such joy … and they forgot to put my shot of peppermint into the thing too so it wasn’t a very enjoyable drink either. I’m not actually a big coffee fan. Not sure why anyone would like that flavour but the need get my eyes open and focused was a bit more pressing. Would have been fine too except I wasn’t thinking too clearly at lunch and I accidentally ordered a coke.

I drank almost a third of it too before I realized my mistake … coffee plus Coca-Cola plus me equals awake most if not all of the night. Despite yawning my head off while sitting at my computer, the moment I lay my head down on the pillow my eyes are wide open and all possibility of sleep has fled beyond my reach.

Haven’t a clue what to write about ... I’m a bit topic’ed out right now but I still have nine days and sixteen thousand and eighty-three words to go. SO, if I can just get today’s post out of the way that will get me seventeen hundred words closer to my end goal; give or take a few. I always go over a bit because I’m in the middle of a thought or a sentence.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

JtD - ENtry #20b

I had to end my previous post because my mind, and thus my writing, was starting to circle back on itself. As I mentioned at the bottom of that entry, it’s a very difficult and pernicious habit to break because it was such an enshrined part of my thought processes that it took me well into my mid to late forties to recognize that I was doing it. And, as most well know, one needs to be able to admit that one has a problem with something before it becomes possible to fix it.

I have developed a somatic device to allow me to combat such circular thinking and. Most of the time, it works too. I can stop a circular (and any deleterious) thought in its tracks by employing the gesture. And, after using it for almost two years now, I can actually get up to a minute/minute and a half of silence in my skull following the break.

Provided, that is, I catch myself doing it … preferably at the beginning of the circular cycle before it gets started and can build momentum. That’s the trick to it … catching it as close to the germination point as possible. The longer the tail-chase has been going on when it is finally noticed, the more stubborn it will be about being halted.

The actual gesture itself doesn’t matter so much as being present in your head and then being consistent about using the same one each and every time the thought-break is needed.

JtD - Entry #20

Still in breach *sigh* L

Yet another Sunday passes without being able to see the kids … and this one is the first breached visitation after the judge explicitly warned Ka’s counsel in front of her last Tuesday that she best cooperate with the order else it would count against her in judgement. So now she’s actively hanging herself with the rope she’s been given.

What is it with me that this breaks my heart? After everything and how she’s acted/acting towards us, I still just can’t bring myself to be angry with her … none of this is her fault. Yes, she is making blindingly bad decisions that are hurting her children and the rest of us but she literally does not have the ability to do otherwise. Nor can I bring myself to hold her actions against her …

*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

Saturday, November 19, 2016

JtD - Entry #19

I don’t often share re-post memes on Facebook but my friend Ge posted one that I felt was very worthwhile. It’s an appreciation meme that asks the reader to like the post and the poster will respond by telling something they like about that person.

With all the ugly that’s been going on … and is still going on ... and is likely to continue going on, sharing something that promotes kindness seems to me a pretty good idea. So, I shared it. Three people have, at this point, taken me up on it and I have responded to their likes with an honesty that left me with tears in my eyes for each one … which actually has put me in a good headspace for all that it’s leaving me a bit weepy.

Honestly haven’t a clue where I’m going with this post but that seemed like a really good place to start. The way things are set up in society right now, there isn’t a whole lot of honest appreciation being delivered to the everyday person. And it really only takes a very little effort to be kind to those folk around us. I learned that lesson a while back at, of all places, a Costco.

JtD - Entry #18

Well … today was a rare good day.

And I mean a really good day. Took K to see the podiatrist and his feedback on the effects of my honey/propolis/myrrh paste treatment was incredibly positive. So good, in fact, that he has postponed the testing for the walking cast for a month and instructed me to continue what I’m doing.
It’s one thing to know something intellectually … to do your homework and gather all the evidence upon a given topic before putting it into practice … and quite another to have that knowledge and the execution thereof validated by a medical professional.

I’ll be honest … because of the way the callus forms around her wound, it can become difficult to tell if things are getting better or worse. The callus itself is an ugly thing that turns black and becomes very hard and compact. As a result, in the last week I have been operating more on faith that it will work (faith in my knowledge and the research I’d done to determine ingredients, quantities and application methods) than any actual visible cues of improvement.

Friday, November 18, 2016

JtD - Entry 16/17

Yeah ... I’m still very fragile and it’s telling. I’m also behind again and need to write almost five thousand words to get caught up to today.

Court went ok on Tuesday … the presiding judge was the same one we’d had for the mediation and he was not of a mind to beat around the bush. Watched him with the trio of lawyers who were called up before us cut one of them off and cut to the chase with surgical precision. Not a chap who enjoys letting the lawyers ramble on … very much a “let’s get ‘er done” type.

Was an interesting experience … G’s lawyer got his order for the ministry files on the case all the way back to January 2014 (which will include the information from the Merritt office although we all noticed how the ministry lawyer was deliberately trying to exclude the Merritt office ... eh well, we’ll just subpoena the pair we need to have testify for the April trial. Ka’s lawyer tried to claim she hadn’t had time to read and prepare for dealing with the breach situation ... our lawyer pointed out that she’s had a whole week and the breach was continuing. End result on that … another two-week delay while they try to get together documentation to prove that K & I are mean and horrible and shouldn’t be allowed near the kids.

Then came the matter of the PAC and the 211 on Ka … well, I was apparently faking being ok better than I felt (mind you, I had taken the strong anti-anxiety and an Advil before walking in to the court building so I can’t take much credit for that). Ka’s lawyer indicated upon our arrival that her client was not in agreement with having to take the exam so we knew we were in for a fight. We were expecting to have to book a day long trial to go over the circumstances of why the thing is necessary but then Ka’s lawyer misspoke herself. She attempted to use the fact that Ka was being singled out as the sole individual to be tested and I suddenly found myself staring into the judge’s eyes.

Disregarding proper court protocol (lawyers do the talking and clients only speak when bidden to by the judge), I said “well then, we’ll all take it and I’ll pay for it.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

JtD - Entry #15

Well, it was the usual tango at court today ... we got the order for the 211 & parental capacity test by agreeing unanimously to all (K, G and myself) undergo the same as we were asking of Ka to take. Not the tack the opposition lawyer was expecting us to take so they found themselves backed into a corner of their own making with no way to refuse. This constitutes not only a major vistory (that stupid parental assessment was all I have wanted to have done from the beginning ... it was what the ministry was supposed to have had done but then chose to ignore their own protocolsbut to ignore the insistence from the ministry office in Merritt). but a major expense ... I will have to pay for four of the things now in order to get Ka's done.

For the second time, the opposition counsel has delayed dealing with the breach of the court order however they have tipped their hand as to how they plan to proceed with regards to this. Apparently they are going to try for a variance at the urging of the ministry workers with a potential for us to have Skype time with the children ... which is unacceptable to me as it means that I'm going to get to watch the baby if and when he feels like being on screen instead of actually being able to interact with them. This has me quite concerned as it puts our interaction with the grandchildren even further at the mercy of Ka and her extremely controlling partner. 

It's still not going to avail them much as they are eventually going to end up in court in front of a judge with the social worker from Merritt on the stand explaining why the Abbotsford office have not behaved in good faith towards the children. 

Yeah .. I'm really quite upset about this now that my relief at getting the PAC and the 211 ordered.  I have no doubt that they will try to come into court with documentation concerning how being around us is not good for the kids ... having listed us as toxic and all.  And April is still a long time away.

Blargh ... the games continue. And I hate them. If we had not been naive enough to trust the ministry to do their job .. had we not been generous enough to try to allow Ka a chance to get it together ...  we were given the opportunity to take custody but opted to give Ka time to take the PAC so we could know the degree of her parenting skills and what supports are necessary to be put into place.

So here I sit, arguing with people who aren't here because my mind is occupied with presenting me every worst case outcome and I have this ridiculous need to thry to find a counter. As if I have nothing better to do than chase my tail in circles until I have worn a groove do deep I can't climb out of. Need to break this by changing the subject at least until I am able to discuss that tidbit with my lawyer. 

Cat is trying to comfort me ... she's a sweet kitty whom we got when she decided her previous owner (5 years ago) was not doing his job any more and she braved both our unhappy felines to get to the food dish. Because she was semi-feral she is far closer to a fully psychologically mature cat than most housecats.  She is also ferociously loyal ... she resisted K's mother's best efforts to steal her like she stole our other two ... poor Llaele and Hecate who both ended up paying with their lives for just being cats and choosing to live with the one who enforced no rules and ultimately starved to the point that they had to be put down because, in her progressing dementia, J failed to notice that her own cat wouldn't allow them near the food dish.

Eowyn lives because, while she was friendly enough with J, she just never allowed herself to be wooed away from us. She's a beauty of a big feline with a panther's skull shape which gives her a singularly regal look ... part of the reason we renamed her to the Shieldmaiden of Rohan from her original name (Rhodie). She is as skittish as she is sweet and, now that she's getting on in years, she's becoming more and more of an indoor cat who seems to quite enjoy the new house . The only drawback i have with her is that I am allergic to her dander ... she sheds furiously all the time and, when you pet her,  your hand becomes covered in both fur and dander. Within moments my eyes start to sting and wather and my nose to itch furiously. 

There is one person, however, whom she prefers beyond all others and that is my elder boy, S. On the rare occasions that he comes to visit, she practically turns into a lapdog ... will flop onto her back as soon as she sees him, baring her belly to him. She, by rights, ought to be his cat but everytime I try to suggest it to him, he balks. because he claims that he can't afford to feed and litter her. I suppose I can't really fault him for that, I'd far prefer that he refuse to take the cat than fail to care for her properly. But still, when one sees how very much she loves it you kind of have trouble not thinking it's a shame they aren't together.

We are starting to consider getting a new Shih Tzu ... M'Lady is getting on in years and Wookie would really benefit from having a younger dog to play with. He'd have a blast ... having already demonstrated his temperament towards other animals when Captain Solo joined the household (miss that little rascal). Not sure it would be fair to Eowyn however ... she really wants to be a one person cat and we are shared by too many in her opinion already. Not that she wouldn't be able to adjust to a puppy, it just would take her a while to forgive us. Middle aged kitty isn't necessarily going to take well to a rambunctious fluff though there are ways to mitigate that by giving her high up places she can take refuge in. 

Had been considering getting a white from the lady in Vancouver, Wa who breeds and sells the 'imperials' but the price she wanted for a pet contract (must neuter and no breeding or show rights) was out of this world ($3000USD plus cost of handling the border and customs). I'm afraid, as lovely as her pooches are, I just could not justify that high a price ... the exchange rate alone would kill me. And it would take a minimum of eight months, saving $500 monthly, to get together enough fundage to pay for that. 

Conversely, a pet contract with the Stoddard's at Ovations Kennels where we got M'Lady and Wookie is between nine hundred and one thousand dollars. And, should they have any available, we can pick the little fluffer us ourselves with no need for border guards. I know the quality and the temperament. The only real question would be when ... when would it be better to get the new dog. Part of me thinks that we should wait till the kids are back with us because the puppy would be a good support and exercise in responsability for Amaya. But I'm just not sure.

I guess it all will end up depending on how mych this court stuff is going to cost us. Going to veer away from that topic again ... not too sure where to go from here. Had to medicate to that I could manage the court stuff ... counting that as a bit of a setback but not too much of one as that is a valid reason for using my anxiety meds which I would have used them for before my recent episode following the election results. 

Every day is a bit better than the day before it and I even managed a sense of cautious optimism after court today ... made a point of going to visit D at the shop so I could share the bit of good news with her and her mother, C. I really appreciate those two ... they are such funny and caring folk. Kind of funny, eh? That my happy goto spot is their shop. Whatever works, I suppose. I'm not really in a position to be picky and it is somewhere I feel very comfortable.

Still about three hundred words shy. Not too happy with this entry because of how if rambles ramdomly from one topic to another. 

Perhaps it's a good sign that I'm starting to feel the need to be writing something with more structure ... something of value. Still unsure what to write but I've been fairly consistent with this challenge thus far ... even though I have not written the required amount each day, I have made a point of getting caught up as quickly as I was able.

I've now reached the halfway point in the challenge as well ... day fifteen and my word count is up to date as of my publishing this post.  Only fifteen days to go before this is completed. I suppose I can be kind of proud of myself for this.

I've done better than any year previous ... where I lasted only a couple of days before either becoming distracted and running out of time or just plain quitting on myself before deleting my meager attempt and doing my best to ignore the failure. There have even been whole years that have passed where I just haven't bothered even trying. 

So here I am, rocking in at almost twentyfive hundred words after a half a month of refusing to give up or get so far behind that I cannot possibly catch up. That would count as an accomplishment even if I don't currently feel like it is one. But that's just me being too hard on myself at this point ... not an unusual practice all things considered. 

~1704 words

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

JtD - Entry #14b

Ah, insomnia ...

Yup, now this is territory I'm very familiar with. Don't enjoy it much but it's well known to me. 

I'm completely off the anxiety meds again ... 

Still pretty fragile but making strides towards reclaiming my normal again. Still have to avoid certain topics, particularly online where the ugly congeals and coagulates into a steady stream of toxicity as the world tries to sort itself out, but moving forward again (much to K's relief).

Went to knit night and had a pretty good time. They really are a lovely bunch of ladies ... caring and supportive despite the differences among us. Got a few rows of my shawl done before I managed to mess it up ... grateful I have a lifeline in but wishing I had advanced it before I experienced my gaffe. Tried to help one lady with a crochet pattern but the instructions defeated me ... I grasp complicated patterns rather easily but the simple ones tend to defeat me and that's what happened this time. Kind of felt bad about that but she insisted it was ok.

Won't be too hard to fix the problem with the shawl, so long as I am careful to keep track of the row count as I go backwards. I might even be able to slip a stand of the lifeline through an area that I know was correct before having to frog backwards. The pattern is starting to come together and I quite like how the Maidenhair yarn and the silk complement each other. I'm hoping it turns out as nice as I think it will ... shall have too wait and see.

Caught sight of one of the guild members (Spinners & Weavers) completed weaving projects and was really impressed with how lovely the combination of colours she chose was. Can't wait till we've managed to put a few years behind us so I can start thinking about learning to weave and mabey get a loom of my own. 

Well, I guess I ought to wrap this up and try to get some sleep. Court tomorrow afternoon and it's kind of an important one so I really ought not go in looking like I've been hag-ridden. 

Wish me luck.

~374 words

Monday, November 14, 2016

JtD - Entry #14

This piece is going to be about Honour ...

It's not been an easy lesson for me ... due to growing up in a dysfunctional household as the eldest child of an alcoholic, I'm afraid I didn't cotton to the lessons of honour and Face early on. 

When you grow up in a situation where you don't know from one day to the next whether you will be dealing with a fully rational adult or the "monster" (my childhood term for that thing Mum became when she was drunk ... I made a very definite disivion in my mind about the two. One was not the other ... simply two different beings residing in the same body.), you really don't have time to worry about the finer points. 

I learned survival skills instead of morals and ethics ... not that my folks didn't try to impart those lessons, it's just that they didn't avail me much when I was trying to keep the monster from harming myself or my younger sibling. Honour wouldn't protect me from a drunken rage ... Truth didn't avail me anything ... Courage - that one's a toss up: is it courageous to throw yourself between your enraged parent and the child who had deliberately provoked it and take the beating meant for her? Or is that simply a misguided sense of duty as the eldest to whom parting instructions from the absentee parent was "take care of your mother and sister"? 

Yeah ... in my childhood world, being able to scent the air for the faintest hint of alcohol was a far more useful skill than telling truthfully what had happened to the absent one upon his return only to have him fail to address it or make anything change. Took many years for me to understand that I was partly to blame for that end of it ... the child me assumed that my Da would understand that when I said "Mum drank and she and J fought." I meant "Mum got falling down the stairs passed out drunk and then J deliberately provoked her to the point where she was beyond reason and I had no choice but to step between the two so J had time to lock herself in her room .. which pissed the monster off even more so I got knocked down the stairs and givent a good beating before I managed to get her calm enough so I could put her to bed to sleep it off." I recognize now that, had I stated the latter instead of the former, my father may well have had a far different response.

Anyhoo ... learning the importance of honour and the significance of Face was something I came to later. I was easily into my thirties before I fully imbraced it and much of my understanding came from my research into the Scottish side of my heritage. I didn't know there was a Scots component to my bloodline until I got a letter from my natural mother through the adoption agency that handled my case back in 1967. I knew in my heart that I was Irish and that belief was sustained in her letter as her side of the family hails from the Emerald Isle originally. My natural father's family hailed from Scotland ... likely part of the original exodus back in the sixteen hundreds. Never having felt any pull to that land, even when I was there, I felt the need to learn as much as I could about their history and culture.

Then I read about the betrayal of the MacDonalds ... the massacre at Glencoe ... the outlawing of the MacGregors ... and I learned that the Scots and Irish share a point of view. Honour is borrowed from your descendents, your Name is borrowed from your ancestors .. all that is your own is your Word and Actions. Gaels have LONG memories and there is still a great divide within the Scottish peoples as the descendents of the responsible Campbell clan have yet to achieve forgiveness for their craven actions over four hundred years ago. 

As a result of coming to that understanding, it became gradually increasingly important to me to not stain what I have borrowed from those who came before and after me. I came to really take to hear my family's motto. My father's family were Protestant Scots who were transplanted back to Ireland by the British in an attempt to secure their hold on the Catholic Isle ... we are a Sept of the Clan McLeod and our motto is: Let us, by our actions, be judged.

Once I internalized the lesson of not bringing shame to my children or my name, it was a minor leap to also make part of my core values that my word and my actions must be in harmony with that motto so that I may accrue some personal honour which then can become the basis for self-respect and self-esteem and allow me to better deal with those inner demons who are only too happy to show me every dishonourable thing I did or said during my less than sterling childhoon and adolescence. 

Not too long ago, a good friend of mine (who happens to share the Scottish ancestry) had her Honour called into question by an individual who ought to have known better. Not only that, but what my friend ended up being called is one of the greatest insults in pagandom as well as fighting words to anyone who has Irish, Scots or Scandinavian heritage. She was called an Oathbreaker ... also know as Warlock in neo-pagan circles ... for not living up to one person's unreasonable expectations. This, to me, is unforgivable as the person who was so named is probably the one person I have known in almost fifty years of life who least deserves that label. 

Possessed of a great and giving heart, she comes as close as she can to embodying the Nine Noble Virtues of Heathendom to which she is called. She gives of herself constantly and rarely asks for anything in return. She wrestles with being the a special-needs mother and all the hardship and loneliness that brings with it and is still the first to offer a helping hand should someone else require it.

At this point I get a bit too emotional because this angers me ... that someone who was being unreasonable to begin with would utilize that insult as, I suspect, a method of motivating my friend to give in to what the speaker wanted of her ... to me at this stage of my spiritual development is unthinkable ... deplorable. That is a serious charge to levy against someone and should only be done in the case of something extremely serious ... not something so trivial as the maintenance of a group's website and a failure to understand that the special-needs mommy of an autistic two year old might need to put more focus onto her homelife than the needs of a coven with delusions of grandeur. 

It's probably best if I leave it off here ... else I'll be doing the equivalent of frothing at the mouth in an ranting rage right quick.

~1212 words

Sunday, November 13, 2016

JtD - Entry #13

And so, on to day two without extreme medicating. Sleep was a bit hit and miss last night even with the pills in me, but that is actually closer to normal so I’m not concerned. I tend, normally, towards the insomniac end of things. As long as I make it through today without needing to take a pill, I will forgo the night time dosage and see if I can complete my return to that state which is normal for me.

Being able to go back to only taking my anxiety meds in emergency situations or as preventative measures (as opposed to taking as close to the maximum allowable dosage for several days running) will make me a much happier camper. It will also make K a much less worried one.

I feel bad for her, she is the one who gets to watch her spouse of nearly twenty years fall to pieces, act in a manner that isn’t normal for her and there’s not a damn thing she can do to help. All she can do is stand off to the side and watch me fall apart … it’s not a role she’s very good at. She has a ‘fixer’ personality … if something is wrong she needs to be able to act to make it better. So she ends up feeling helpless on the sidelines while I fight my battles inside my head … it would be easier on her if there were a troll to roust from under a bridge or a dragon to slay. She’d probably take them on willingly … with gratitude … because that would be something concrete she could do to fix the problem.

But you can’t fix mental illness … this is a war that only I can fight against a normally invisible adversary (when it gets really bad my inner demons show in the cracks in my usual pretense of ‘all’s well’). The sooner I can go back to fooling everyone that I’m good because I appear to have things well in hand, the sooner she will be able to stop hovering like a jittery old hen.

I’m so lucky to have her in my life.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

JtD - Catch-up #4

I’m two thousand seven hundred and thirty words behind on my NaNoWriMo goal … the upside here is that will bring my current for Sunday. Still, I am one heck of a lot closer than I was when I opened my eyes this morning. So, I can do LONG posts or multiple posts if I really have to, good to know.

Between the two posts I made so far today , I managed a word count of three thousand six hundred and three. I count that as respectable and, as seventeen hundred of the words I need to write actually count for tomorrow’s post, I’m going to count it in the win column. I’m really only one thousand and thirty words in arrears.

Kind of proud of myself, to be honest … even though I was falling apart and, for four straight days, unable to function (sorry, being medicated to that degree doesn’t count as functioning … it’s more a drastic preventative measure) … I still managed to get out of bed, dress, walk dogs and post something. Might have had a ridiculously short word count but I managed to not completely allow the situation to defeat me, even temporarily.

JtD - Entry #12

I am behind … very behind. I sit at sixteen thousand two hundred and ninety-four words on day twelve. I _ought_ to be in the vicinity of twenty thousand.

The whole election thing really knocked me off my pins … I did better today – managing around thirteen hundred and a bit words and I did manage to post two other pieces, exceedingly brief thought they were. So I at least managed to put something down but it’s not enough.

Not too happy with myself but what else could I do … one in the afternoon and I’ve still managed to refrain from taking any anxiety meds. Which isn’t to say that I’m not experiencing severe anxiety, I just need to see if it is yet decreased to a point where I can resume managing it without the heavy crutch I’ve needed since Tuesday.

Wow … part of me is having trouble wrapping itself around the fact that I have lost nearly a whole week. I have a vague memory of visiting with Danielle on Thursday but I cannot bring anything into sharp focus. It’s all likely a matter of the medication’s action. I know the sleeping so much for one who is normally insomniac is equal parts heavy duty anxiety meds and a deep seated feeling of desperately not wanting to live in this world anymore.

K went and spent time outside of school with one of her professors – they are putting together an independent study for K that has the potential to become an actual course for other students. Apparently the professor asked about me and was unsurprised at hearing that I was having a very rough time with the outcome of the US election.

Can’t go far with this train of thought cause I already have tears rising to obscure my vision.

Need a different topic to post about considering I have some four thousand odd words to catch up with.

Court was a huge waste of time and money as the opposing counsel died. No, that’s not a typo nor did it happen in front of us. It does explain why my lawyer had been having no success at reaching her, however. She was trying to fax, call and email a dead woman …

Got an email from my lawyer’s office the day before to inform me of this fact that the reality that our court date was going to avail us nothing because the replacement lawyer needs to be given time to get up to speed and get possession of the previous one’s files. I sat there staring at the screen in disbelief for several minutes before I read the contents out loud to K. Who had pretty much the same reaction … exclaimed “what?!?” had me re-read it and then leaned over to see my monitor and read it for herself.

Good side … the replacement lawyer seems to be far more reasonable (based on a first impression at the court building on Tuesday). Bad side … everything got set over for one week to allow the lawyer to get up to speed and so that’s yet another weekend where we do not get to see the children.

Also, I cannot bring myself to feel bad or sad for the deceased … as a matter of fact my inner munchkins sang a rousing chorus of ‘ding-dong the bitch is dead!’ once I got over the shock of reading the last thing I ever expected to see in an email from my lawyer that day.

Not very nice of me, eh?

JtD - Entry #11

Well ... I'm up, I'm fragile but I am (thus far) unmedicated.
Ten in the morning and I'm awake and typing ... I'm cautiously optimistic.

This is an improvement ... up until this morning, I have not had the strength to go without my anxiety meds for any length of time. Last night's dosage wore off during the night and I am testing the mental waters to see if I can, at very least, begin to step my dosages back down to their original scripts (use as needed). 

My Dr acknowledges that I am his 'odd duck' patient. By virtue of the parents I grew up with (a Psychiatrist and a Registered Nurse and Midwife) I have always had a greater understanding of illness and how to manage it ... by virtue of my own chidlhood and young adult interests, I have a broader internal medical dictionary and knowledge of how to apply it ... by virtue of my career training and other schooling, I have a larger toolbox at my disposal for dealing with issues that may arise to me or around me. To top it all off, I have a store of 'Old World' remedies ... shared with me by my Northern Irish Mother ... to deal with those persistent physical issues which might confound modern medicine.

As a result of that 'odd duckie-ness', my physician has a greater sense of trust towards my discernement and so he frequently writes me a single (non-refillable without going in to see him in the office) script with the "take as needed" instructions on it. This state of trust happened gradually, over years of observing my demonstrated preference to avoid using prescription medications in favour of alternative or complementary treatments should there be any option. For years we managed my depression and insomnia in such a manner ... until the day I sat in his office and specifically requested anit-depressants. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

JtD - Entry #10

Day three of being very heavily medicated. Very. Heavily. Medicated ...
Ability to experience fear, panic and anxiety is, as a result, very hampered ... too many synaptic junctions are filled with neuroblockers to allow me to be more than oassingly aware of just how bad my current stress lelves actually are. That's the upside ... no panic attack because not really able to feel the fear. 
The downside is that it doesn't leave me with much in the way of functional brain cells ... so there won't be a post today.
this is setting me greatly behind in my word count goals.
But it is what it is ... and it is not going to happen until I can significantly scale back the meds.
Hopefully sooner than later.

~129 words

Thursday, November 10, 2016

JtD - Entry #9

Oh my dear gods ...

Yeah ... Faith in humanity is at an all time low. Twenty minutes after nine in my morning and not only have I been up for hours already but I am more heavily medicated than I have been in a very long time. That 'thing' isn't in my head any longer ... The efreet is out of his bottle and that part of hell that hadn't frozen over is gathering itself in preparation of kicking down the stall door and breaking loose into the world.

Well, that didn't get far... 

It is now nineteen minutes after ten in the evening the following day from when I began that post and I am still no less heavily medicated than I was when I attempted to write the above. 

Between my medicated state and my reaction to events of Tuesday, I ended up having to give up on life ... I put myself to bed and slept straight through until around eight pm last night, got up to eat and take more meds then went right back to sleep until eleven this morning. Traveled into Abbotsford to visit with my friend Danielle where she works (which is luckily somewhere I can hang around, stay out of the way and enjoy equal parts quiet solitude and good company). Then, when K picked me up after her class, we headed south across the border for what is likely to be the last time in a very long time (depending on how long the Orange menace and his Reds reign).

We have too much to lose and not nearly enough to gain to make traveling into the land of poisoned minds worth the risk. 

Sounds harsh, eh?.

Perhaps it is, but I doubt it. I've witnessed enough US presidential races in my near fifty years of life to be able to say, without fear of contradicting that this was the worst ever. Saddest part is that, for those who wasted their votes on third party candidates with no hope of being elected and no real plan should the miraculous happen, the inability to understand that there is a time and place for voting with your conscience (when a bullying puppet isn't inciting half the population to hatred by appealing to the lowest possible common denominator, vowing to move the country back down the civilized scale) and a time and place for voting strategically to protect those who are most at risk ... those one candidate has vowed to put in danger. And why? Because they don't want to take responsibility for their role in the worst outcome coming to pass. All for the sake of being able to say "I didn't vote for him" and then wrap themselves up in defensive indignation that others dare hold them culpable. 

Yeah ... I do hold them responsible because I know full well that lives are at stake and this socialist minded person has a vastly different definition of civic duty than the shortsighted have demonstrated. Lives will be lost at Standing Rock this winter because the Orange megalomaniac in charge won't bat an eyelash at ruining lives to get his way. The US Supreme Court will be weighted to the crazy side for decades to come and ...

Oh what's the point ... 

Those whose posts I've had to mute on Facebook ... those who have caused me the greatest pain and are largely responsible for how heavily medicated I have had to be to get through the past two days are people I care a great deal about. People who are vehemently, and art great length, defending their "right" to vote for whomever they please ... it's in how they deliberately choose to throw those of their countrymen and women who most needed their support and protection under the bus of their own white privilege ... just because they, personally, were unhappy with the only alternative to evil who stood a chance to defeat him. 

They chose selfishly and aren't even grown up enough to take personal responsibility for the disaster their exercise of privilege has wrought. 
They can only wrap themselves up in self-righteous defensiveness, oblivious to their share of the blame for each life ruined between now and 2020.

And it will take decades for the full harm to be fully revealed ... 
While my heart breaks for people I don't know ... folks I never had a prayer of ever being able to protect nor help ...
And my mind paints for me, in traumatic detail, what lies ahead 
The Sight is an horrible gift and so I turn away, turn inward, and take as much medication as I can to try to shut out the world. 

I can't write any more tonight ... 
No clue the word count. Will have to check tomorrow if I can face the computer.

~812 words

Monday, November 7, 2016

JtD - Entry #8

Getting ahead of myself …

Well here’s an interesting turn of events. Perhaps because today is closer to a good day than I have had in a while … perhaps because tomorrow is court day (dealing with and I’m desperately needing to find things to fill my time so my mind doesn’t do horrible things to me … and perhaps, ever so slightly, because this challenge is actually working, I’m sitting at the computer when I already have today’s post made.

I got the dogs cared for and walked … have the laundry running … and some things that have needed doing since shortly after I moved in here accomplished. It’s not a lot and I’m having to take breaks in between things and that’s where possibility that there’s a change in me happening comes in.

I have today’s word count reached bringing my grand total to some twelve thousand three hundred and thirty-one words. I have broken the ten thousand mark. I could easily goof off – go on Facebook, surf for interesting things, or play Guild Wars 2 (my current game addiction … although not my preferred one. My computer has trouble running Lord of the Rings Online so I play GW2 instead). I am completely free to waste time on whatever diversion I wish and yet here I am, at the keyboard, cranking out another post.

Not that I am entirely distraction free, mind you. I am very worried about tomorrow. I can’t go into any details online because there is an active custody battle for two children going on. That also makes it harder to manage … if I wasn’t posting these online, I could vent to my heart’s content about how things are going, how I am handling it, and what is at stake.  But putting these up on my blog is what is keeping me honest about doing this challenge from beginning to end.

JtD - Entry #7

And, I ran out of Tecta …

Pantoprazole magnesium to use the clinical name. That would be the medication that makes it so that I can eat. It is what is called a ‘proton pump inhibitor’ and it works by preventing a large quantity of the cells in my stomach that should secrete acid from being able to do so.

You see, one of the unfortunate side effects of having an elevated adrenal stress response is that my stomach can – when left to its own devices – produce far more acid than is healthy for me. This excess can lead to heartburn, reflux (where the acid rolls back up my esophagus into the back of my throat repeatedly for hours … burning as it goes because it is ACID), and ulcers.

The heartburn and reflux are what I suffer from the most as the only part of the digestive tract that actually have the ability to withstand hydrochloric acid is the stomach itself. It has a mucosal lining wherein special cells secrete a sticky substance that shields the vulnerable tissues from the very destructive fluids used in the digestion process. With each time reflux repetition, more of that acid comes into contact with the non-protected lining of my esophagus and throat and after just a few times the damage begins to accrue.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

JtD - Entry #6

When I sat down at the keyboard to write the previous entry, I really didn’t have any internal motivation. Still experiencing adrenal fallout from the show on Thursday, waking up to what I did didn’t help. I really need to work on not doing the Facebook thing at my bedside because it upsets me more often than it entertains me. So. Many. Habits. To. Break …

Having managed to eek out the final 1700 word catch up piece, I now have to fulfill my requirement for today and then I’ll be back on track for tomorrow. However, I find myself no more motivated than I was for the previous one. The only thing that has me sitting here is a feeling of really not wanting to let myself down AND a memory of a scene from the movie Zootopia where the fox turns to the bunny and says “there’s no shame in quitting” and she responds with “yes. Yes there is.”

And that’s what I have going head to head inside my head right now. I think it might be a positive sign that the wee voice saying “do it” is actually just enough louder than the other to have me writing these words.

JtD - Catch-up #3

Discouraged and angry, I cannot find words to write much today and yet I am supposed (by my own expectation) write one large post or two shorter ones so that I can be caught up for tomorrow with my word count goals. My heart is just not in it today.

It’s no secret that my major mental illness revolves around people and nothing in my childhood or young adulthood set me up to either trust or even like them. The majority of my dealings with people have been of the negative variety, with me being very quick to walk away from anyone who I might judge to not be worth my efforts.

*gasp!* Yes, I judge people … I have standards … But more than that, because of my health (both mental and physical), I have no choice but to choose my battles very carefully. Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, is not my friend and it is a vital component in living ... under the umbrella of autoimmune disorder, I am labelled as hypersensitive (more easily understood as ‘allergic’ to those with less medical knowledge). This means that I react to a drop of the hormone, as produced by my own system, the same way most folks would respond to a teaspoonful.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

JtD - Catch-up #2

And here I am again … aiming to complete Friday’s word count to get me that much closer to caught up. That will leave Sunday to either write one big post or two smaller ones.

On Thursday night, I took one of every anti-anxiety medications I have and one powerful pain pill along with my normal prescription meds and my spouse and I drove into Vancouver to see comedian and Fluffy Guy Gabriel Iglesias at the Orpheum. We had fairly good seats, being that he is K’s favourite entertainer. She secured floor seats (right aisle, row 5). We didn’t do the meet and greet, like we had when we saw him in Vegas, mainly because we are having to be very careful with our money right now. As with the Eric Idle & John Cleese event, had we not purchased the tickets when the show was first announced months ago there would have been no way we could have afforded to go.

The lawyers are bleeding us dry … which, I suspect, is the precisely aim of the opposing counsel. It really looks to me like she is being deliberately obstructionist in an effort to waste our money before we can put our case to a judge. Considering we have agreed to pay for a ridiculously expensive capacity assessment exam (we’re talking 12-15,000 just to have our opponent sit the thing, I understand why she might think this to be a sound strategy. It’s not going to work … but I can understand why she might be trying it even if I think she is a repulsive human being for it. If she takes it too far, there will be a formal complaint to the BC Bar Association. Considering she yelled at me across the mediation table, I’m thinking that it’s perhaps past time that she move from partly retired to fully so.

This year has been absolutely brutal … and not just on us but in general and across the board. I mean, last year was pretty full of ick – what with K’s whole diabetic hospitalization and all – but there is a certain irony to being able to look back on all of that and say to one’s self:

                “Heh … wow. Who could have guessed that 2015 was the dry run warm up for 2016 …”

JtD - Catch-up #1

Well, there you have it ... after two successful days of posting my 1700 words ... I manage to fail and miss two whole days.

Being that I really do want to succeed with this challenge that I have set myself, I have no alternative but to play catch-up. Which means that my next two posts will need to be 3400 words to bring me back on track by the end of tomorrow. Well, that or I do one mammoth post of 5100 words … not something I feel I can accomplish at this stage.

I have an idea for a non-fiction book that might prove saleable to a witchy publishing house that has been turning over in my head for about three years now, but I’m not certain that would be something that would be prudent to delve into at this time. Not because I don’t think I could manage to write out my ideas in a coherent manner but, rather, that … due to an experience I had back when I was much younger (1996), quite naïve and just freshly entered into this unknown realm called the internet … I have had firsthand experience at how carefully one must guard one’s own copyrights and intellectual property (it also had the effect of teaching me how to properly respect that of others).

I, having become part of an online community, took part in what seemed at the time to have the potential to become a proper little magazine (it ended up lasting just over a year and largely because of the events I am about to relate). I submitted happily to the first six issues without carefully reading the disclaimers the individual who was editing the thing had placed at the bottom of the introductory page. It had been included from the very first issue.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

JtD - Entry #2

Well, here I am again … sitting at the keyboard with the intention to reach today’s word count goal … and I’m finding it harder to decide even where to begin.
Not that I don’t have thoughts bouncing around my skull that I could hunt down and drag out into daylight, it’s just that I am torn between commenting on certain events that transpired yesterday and the fact that I just don’t feel capable of getting what I want to say out in a professional and sufficiently detached manner. I know where I’d like to go with it, just really do not feel that I could make it even a quarter the way to my goal on that topic alone. Which I ought to be able to do … except that I just tried and ended up deleting all five hundred words on account of the fact that, as soon as I moved away from recounting facts into my opinion of what the underlying problem might be, the words dried up and all I was left with was raw emotion and a frustrating sense of helplessness.

What I’d like to discuss has to do with how much of ourselves we are sharing in social media and how we have no accepted rules of etiquette to go with the use of our mobile devices … which, when combined with how the very act of engaging in social media is an exercise in random reward operant conditioning with the user a willing dog for the training, pretty much becomes a guarantee that when the situation is sensitive it will be handled incorrectly. 

The concepts of “Polite Conversation” and “Polite Company” seem to have very much fallen out of favour with society, if the behaviours of individuals utilizing their mobile devices for social purposes at inappropriate times and places are to be viewed as an example. How frustrated am I that I cannot even get upset with our youth when they transgress my sensibilities about appropriate conduct when the devices haven’t been around long enough for such rules of etiquette to have been sufficiently developed that they could become a cultural or social norm. When we elders of the first generation to not be intimidated by such technology cannot, by and large, control our own addictive tendencies and figure out how to prevent ourselves from becoming tragically hooked on that “need to check for an update” … how on earth can we expect the younger and more manipulatable generation to be able to avoid the trap?

There is a time and place for sharing and there are limits to how much ought to be shared and, as brought home to me through recent events I am only tangentially affected by via the impact it had on a dear friend and her children, since we adults cannot control our dependence upon mobile devices and the satisfying release of hormones in the brain that is derived from narcissistically plastering the aether (internet) with the most vulgar minutiae of our daily lives, the etiquette that could have prevented a great deal of trauma being communicated to a large number of impressionable young minds at exactly the wrong time and place doesn’t yet exist.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Journey to Discipline

Once … easily a couple of decades ago or so, I could write.

Sit down with any scrap of paper and just start scribbling away. Story ideas bubbled up to the surface of my mind and out through my pen with ease. I spent days thoroughly fleshing out characters for those tales into journals and notebooks while nearly every moment that wasn’t spend on school (daydreaming most of the time) or other mundane (to me) activities were immersed in either reading the tales of others or writing my own. Words were my element … and I could weave them together with a skill that was far beyond my years.

I rarely finished any one because new ideas were always superseding them. And, it seemed, any time I got a decent way through the tale and/or was content with how what I was writing was turning out … well, then something would go seriously sideways in my day to day and the script would be lost, thrown out or otherwise abandoned. And not usually through my doings, but rather by the actions of another.

Then, as I suppose it does to most of us, time and life got in the way. Responsibilities, duties and the soul draining bustle of being an adult leeched the imagination right out of me. I stopped reading … stopped writing … stopped living. I was too busy surviving and somewhere along the way my muse and I parted company. It slipped away so stealthily that it took me years to notice.