Thursday, April 07, 2016

Ocean of Emotion

What have you missed since I last blogged?

Not a whole bunch. Me being lazy and reading a lot.
My mom getting the munchkin brigade to CLEAN THEIR ROOM.
Michael and I applied for our passports ... not that we have a trip planned yet or anything.
I cut my hair (it needed it. Now, instead of being between my shoulderblades, it's jaw-length. And, overall, it feels healthier).

Michael and I went to Chef's Night Out in Eugene.
I, of course, FREAKED OUT before heading down ...

  • What do I wear?
  • It's a stinking CHARITY EVENT (Don't get me wrong, I love philanthropy)!
    There will be men with their TROPHY WIVES there!
    I will bring shame upon Michael!Shame on his company! Shame on his cow!
    (He doesn't have a cow, you say? WELL, THERE'S THE ONE THAT I'M HAVING NOW!!)
  • What if I'm overdressed? What if I'm underdressed?
  • What if I have to TALK to people and I say something declasse? 
  • What if I spill my drink or food?!?
  • Do I look like I'm trying to hard?
  • ... Oh, hell. Fix the undereye makeup. Add some damn green liquid liner. It'll distract from the waves of fear and desperation you're giving off.
You think I'm kidding ... the plethora of rabidly-begging-for-input texts that I sent Michael and the tear-stains on our coverlet prove otherwise.

By the time I got down there (after wonderful C [who I Visit Teach] came to watch the kidlets came over, Bruise and Bucket arrived home from school, and I kissed everyone good-bye), after some en-route car karaoke, I was better-prepared mentally to deal with ... people.

I should say that I DO like people. Dealt with in small groups, I'm FIIIIINE.
But, well, when I don't know them and I'm not performing as someone else and when I feel fat and I'm on my period and there are angry bees that hate me in my head ... I'm ... vulnerable and more than a little sick-in-the-head.

Just keeping it real for you all.

I mean, usually, I can accept that, yes, there's more of me to love than average. I've got curves that won't quit. I love food ... and don't love to exercise. Or sweat, actually. Give me a book, a BLT, a rainy day, and a cuppa rooibos chai ... I'm a happy camper.

Put me into a social situation that involves dressing up more than in a jersey knit ... with strangers ... who have money (our tickets were given to Michael's company since they worked on an awesome project to combat hunger) ... and, well, I go into crisis-social-mode, obvs.

Good times, good times.
Once we GOT there ... and the pre-event schmoozing was over (so I didn't have to pretend like I knew what I was doing there), I could be proactive and go on the hunt for sampling bazillions of yummy things (I'm not that into chicken livers or pork pate. Good to know. But, DANG SON, I found some Ginger Lemonade that I can buy over at Market of Choice ... now I have TWO go-to drinks there [The other is the Rose Lemonade that you can pry from my COLD. DEAD. HANDS. ... though I also like the Dry Sodas -- esp. Lavender, Rhubarb, and Blood Orange.]).

Michael and I practically ate ourselves sick ... but there were SO many things to try ... and we hadn't even tried them all. And we didn't have seconds of anything!
(The Wild Duck cafe's Beer-Cheese soup? Yum. And there was a cantaloupe salsa with avocado. And a roasted-carrot chicken curry. And a rosewater panna cotta. And a sweet potato cobbler with lavender-caramel sauce ... and more ... and it was all really good).

See ... social events = STRESSFUL.
Food events = GOOD.
So, once it changed to a FOOD EVENT, I was good. No more stressful than getting lunch at the county fair, right?
(OH gosh, I sound like some antisocial bumpkin ... probably because I am rather a somewhat-antisocial bumpkin.)


Also, my Nana has been moved into an assisted-care home. With her dementia, it had to happen.
But, still ... I ...

I'm supposed to write her a letter every couple of weeks ... because I know that I want to keep in touch with her. And she can't hear well enough over the phone. And she doesn't have a computer, let alone know how to email or anything.  ... But ... it's tough. I don't always say how I feel. Because I don't want to be all "Hey, Nana. Your dementia makes me mad. I love you. But dementia sucks. And I know that it has to be worse for you. But it's sad. And it makes me feel like I've lost you and am mourning you before you have died. Because it's like part of your IS dying NOW. And I hate that. And it makes me feel selfish that I'm griping about the fact that I still HAVE you and I CAN visit you ... and it's not the same. ... Even if I could visit, which I try to when we can ... there's a part of me that wants to break down and cry about your state of being you-but-not and I just want to go back about 18 years to when I could walk with my dad down to your house and you'd feed Sarah, David, and me strawberries-fresh-from-the-garden with a splash of cream and a heaping spoonful of sugar. And Sarah and I would dress up in your costume jewelry and nightgowns and feel so grown up and we'd go and "help" Pop-pop mow Mrs. Weatherbee's field and tramp about in the garden and everything. I miss the smell of the attic at your old house back home. I miss riding in the backseat of your peach-colored Chrysler. I buy Freedent gum to keep in my purse because that's what you always had. And coffee candy. Even though it makes me feel like the most rebellious Mormon girl. Because these things remind me of being a little girl at your house during summer afternoons. And I was so very content then, without grown-up responsibilities ... and I really miss that. I really miss you. And I HATE that dementia has taken you away from us ... from me ... before death has. Because it makes me mad. And it makes me sad. And it makes me feel powerless and vulnerable and ineffective. Because I have NO IDEA how to fix this or what to do... I mean, I GET that I need to rely on the Lord and all. But it's not the easiest thing to do all the time. And I'll be walking in a store or in the library and I'll be hit by this WAVE of GRIEF, hard enough that I find myself breathless, reeling in its wake ... and I ... I ... I just don't know what to do.  And I don't like that. And I don't know if it will be any easier when you're fully gone or if I'll just feel more guilty for not knowing how to appreciate you more while you are here. I love our visits, even if you are more and more childlike each time I see you ... I'll admit, though, that after I get into the car to go, I mostly just want to curl up into a ball in a corner somewhere or lose myself in a story ... because I don't know how to handle losing you more and more. And that makes me feel selfish. And guilty. ... But I'm glad that you ARE around. That Bruise, Bucket, and Bubbles get this chance to know you here, as their great-grandmother. That they are able to witness your love for and fondness of them. That they're able to catch some time with you. I barely knew any of my great-grandparents ... so I know how lucky they are. I think I'm mostly just mad that, even though I've got my heels dug and and am shrieking for you not to go, that the dementia keeps dragging you away, piece by piece, until I'm grasping at the grains of sand running through my fingers as those grief-waves wash over me, leaving me soaked and chilled and frustrated-to-tears by my ineffectiveness. But I love you. And I want you to know that one fact. If you know nothing else, I just want you to remember, to KNOW, that we love you."

...

I mean, I could write that to her. It'd be honest. And one reason I don't like the letters/cards that I send to her is because they seem disingenuous ... all prattling on about how we love her (true) and what the kids are doing (true) and that we're fine (true) and we miss her (all too true) ... but that elephant is in the room and I am averting my eyes from its presence. And that feels dishonest. But it doesn't feel proper/kind/whatever to bring it up -- "I hate dementia. Dementia sucks. Dementia is ... I don't know what it is, but I don't like it." ... even if I did say those (true) things ... it might upset Nana more than it'd change anything else. So ... well, I don't see the point of doing it. 

I don't really know of anything else I ... strike that. I can report that Michael and I have now been married 15 years and ... some-odd days. I'm refusing to math right now.
And we went to the coast and ate good food and bought clothes.
I now have a rainjacket that fits me. And has a hood.
Michael got some new slacks, shirts, and ties.
We ate Monte Cristos at Gracie's Sea Hag ... and they were worth the wait and the effort!
We also went to Ripley's Believe it or Not ... just like on our honeymoon (but it was MUCH better weather this time).

And, I had signed up to sub for a Relief Society Lesson.
I figured that, hey, I'm teaching Sunday School ... why not just add on another lesson, right?
Originally, it was for March 6 - Joseph Smith.
Then it was bumped to March 13 - The Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Okay.
THEN it was rescheduled to be the Teaching for Our Times Lesson - "Strengthened Through His Atonement" by Dallin H. Oaks.
And, did I mention that it was Easter Sunday? The Sunday that our Ward choir was performing in Sacrament meeting?
Yeah, no biggie, right?

Well, I crammed. A LOT. I'd been studying multiple talks by apostles and people (all the ones that Elder Oaks referred to in his talk. And a few more. Because WHY NOT?) ... including an excerpt from Lighten Up by Chieko Okazaki.

Well, I referred to the outline I wrote. The classroom clock wasn't working. My phone (with its clock) was in my purse. Along with the tissues that I really needed.
But the sisters all participated in the discussion.
People said that it was good.
I survived.
And I'm glad that it's over.
But it felt like it went well.

And I was VERY tired that evening.

And THAT's really, as far as I can tell, all I really have to report. 
Now, I should write that letter to my Nana.

Counting ...

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