Monthly Archives: December 2018

My Many Loves

Had a reason to go into the attic this morning for DH. Grabbed a wad of papers from an open box I’ve been working on for some time. And, yes, they all got tossed.

old letters.jpeg

(image via images.google.com, it is NOT mine)

I found a letter from someone I have no idea who it is?

And writings of mine about being in love, with my ex husband and 2 former boyfriends. Since we’ve been together for 40 years now, that means all of this predates that. I’ve been hauling these around for more than 40 years???

Sigh. They’re in the recycling bin. The sigh isn’t because I regret purging this, it’s because I’ve carried these papers around for so very long! I thought I’d gotten rid of all such things when we lived in Florida, 25+ years ago. I know I pitched the letters from my ex-husband at that point, and thought almost all this sort of stuff had gone too? Obviously not!

J

My Heirs Are Happier!

I spent part of today going though a box of papers. [Papers and books make up much of the boxed “stuff” here.]

 

paper piles

(from images.google.com, image is NOT mine!)

I found our original mortgage paperwork, from 1982? Why we still had this I don’t know. The only thing I can think of is that until a while back, I just moved boxes back and forth mostly and didn’t go through them often, so this got moved, from California to Georgia to Florida to New England and then within New England, until I found these papers again, today.

Out they go into the shredding pile!


One more foray into the stack of boxes found something long missing: the photo album. Now I can file the pics in one or two manila envelopes here which have been waiting for this event.

fireworks

No More!

For seven years, well, more than that, I’ve been writing about culling things, getting rid of things, and learning to cope with the panic attacks, PTSD and other related dramas.

I’m totally sick of this! So, I have a NEW life goal, well sort of. It’s to get past all the stuff and see what else there is to do?

To that end, I have:

  • Told the antique store I’ll be leaving mid-February.
  • Talked to another antique shop about buying a few pieces.
  • Decided that whatever I keep for the spring flea market I will price before I box it up, so all I have to do in March or April is load it into a car and take it to the market.
  • Decided what things here need to be wholesaled?
  • Decided to have a sale at the antique store, running from 1/1 – 2/15. Half off the big pieces and heavily discounted “get organized” pieces: bins, baskets, etc.

Hopefully, by the end of April I’m done, or if I’m not done, that the pieces still here are designated to go to that consignment shop, this auction, or whatever.

No more!

house with bookcase.jpeg

(via images.google.com . I picked this because of the bookcase. The images with 2 items on a shelf are NOT realistic for us, both collectors and readers!)

Benchmarks along the way:

  1. Completing the move into the smaller storage unit. In Feb. 2019
  2. Closing that unit.
  3. Removing the bedroom boxes. (in process 12/27/18)
  4. Removing the kitchen boxes.
  5. Clearing enough from the attic that the bays can be built.
  6. Clearing enough from the porch so that we can walk from the corner to the door the long way instead of the way it is now, along the drip edge of the roof. 5/2019
  7. The shed is culled.
  8. The wood shed is culled.
  9. There’s no misc. stuff stored in the crawlspace.
  10. Nothing queued in the living room to go out.

That’s a lot to do in four months, but like I said, I’ve had it! Two things will limit this:

  • If the PTSD/panic starts up so badly I can’t cope.
  • If physically I am causing myself pain from the work.

 

Baby It’s Cold, Culture, and Change

I first heard the idea that “Baby It’s Cold Outside” as a rape rant a while back and thought it a bit far fetched.

I listened to it again and although I could see the point, it still seemed a bit “off?”

Then I read Shatner’s comments, and something there seemed wrong, although I couldn’t articulate exactly what it was.

A short response to Shatner’s comments changed that. The comment, which I cannot find to quote, was something like, “You’ve missed the point. It’s not up to the guy.”

And the sun burst through the clouds for me.

Okay. I realized my cultural take was that rape is an act of violence. Anything up to violence wasn’t rape. But I am the same generation as Shatner, where, when I was young, women were ornaments, expected to be the “moral guardians” of their families, live for their families, and put up and shut up with whatever men wanted of their bodies. The penultimate Barbie doll outfit when it was new, when I was little, was a bridal dress.

I am a rape survivor, no matter how you parse it, I was raped. It was a violent act. I probably as a young woman put up and shut up 50 or more times with men going farther and using my body more than I wanted them to. I wasn’t discrete, careful or picky enough for a long time (rape survivor and PTSD both contributed there).

But I also described that rape, for years, to men, and even male psychologists said to me, dismissively, “Oh, you were date raped.” as if that made it less of a rape?

I was culturally programmed to “put up and shut up” because of when I was raised. All those June Cleaver, Betty Crocker and Barbie stereotypes contributed. And the sexual revolution changed a lot, but all that stuff still lurks under there, because that’s what being a woman was when I first saw myself as a girl.

This isn’t a bludgeon to beat men with Mr. Shatner, it’s a major cultural shift. I saw the song for years as a seduction song, not rape. And, although there’s no violence in it, I can understand now why someone could see it as rape, because the male character is ignoring what the female says, and that’s not acceptable any more.

sheet music

For years, I thought I’d processed the rape, I could talk about it right? Then about 20 years afterwards, I heard a show on NPR about date rape and this teen-aged guy said something like, “You can’t pay attention to what they say! They think they can’t act like they want it, because they wouldn’t be the right kind of girl if they did. So you can’t listen to them.”

I told DH about this later. When I relayed the comment by the kid, I started crying and cried for days. (Hit a chord, ya ‘think?)

And yet, despite all that, my first reaction was still if there was no violence, there was no rape in “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”

I’m culturally programmed; we all are. But the programming has changed.

Hallelujah — It’s about time!

 

Christmas Bread and Dear Bosch

Every year on Christmas Eve we bake bread for the neighbors. It gets involved. We all but sterilize the kitchen first, for one thing.

Last night we self-cleaned the oven. Today I’ve cleaned all the counters around the stove and sink, sterilized them and the sink. DH, as I write this is scrubbing oven racks, the dishwasher is going, as is the washing machine with a large wadge of dishwashing flannel (I gave up on sponges this year.), dish towels and counter rags (I use washcloths).

This year we’re baking 12 loaves, we’ve done up to 16. We give 2 to families with kids and 1 to those without.

We started this years ago when DH was out of work. We just couldn’t come up with the $ to bake cookies or do more elaborate gifts. It’s a single-rise bread, which is the only way we can start this production on Christmas Eve morning and be done before dinner!

After 25+ years now, it’s a tradition, and so we’ve continued it.

But we’re using a lot of our appliances, of course, and that reminded me I keep wanting to write a letter to Bosch.

Dear Bosch,

We love your products. We have various Bosch bits in our cars, a water heater, tools, a dishwasher, range, etc. As I said, we love your products. They’re made with the usual German precision, except when they aren’t, and then they’re a PITA!

  • Why wouldn’t you make oven racks which actually fit in the oven without fussing?
  • The manual for the range says you offer dehydration racks. When we asked Bosch USA about them, quoting the manual? They said there never were such things. (?)
  • Why didn’t you make your “buttonless” controls easier to actually start the machines they’re on?

 

Bosch, obviously, we don’t mind waiting while we save for products we think are well made and will last. I like what you make, and have for decades now, but sometimes….

Wimp

I wimped out. I was supposed to have a colonoscopy and endoscopy this week. I cancelled it.

Why? Because my PTSD brain had decided that I would die under the anesthesia. Crazy, right? But it wouldn’t go away. Every time I did anything about the procedure, it would show up, again and again.

Don’t tell me it’s irrational. Thanks I know that already.

I got tired of crying about it.

Also, different than in years past? I didn’t grit my teeth and just do whatever, so that others wouldn’t know I was scared or think less of me. I was scared and yeah, you can think less of me if you want; I have no control over that anyway.

For one of the few times in my life about something pretty big, I let myself wimp out.

Different? Yes. I kept telling myself it was no big. I kept telling myself it was my crazy PTSD, anxiety-ridden brain going off the deep end.

It wouldn’t go away.

Finally? I was supposed to watch this 40 minute thing for the hospital this morning, and that put me over the edge.

So I wimped out.

On the one hand, it’s nice because I’m actually being honest. (Unlike all the times from dissecting a frog in high school, to almost anything else, up to and including submitting the memoir to a publisher, because I thought others would think less of me if I didn’t.)

And, the pay off? I’m pretty sure if I wasn’t dead, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. But if I was? Well, it’s hard to write and live this life then ‘eh?

And I want a chance to do that living. I owe DH a clean house. I owe myself the chance to see what, if any, impact the memoir can have. I want that. I want to see what kind of other life I can have!

panic

But there’s a large part of me that’s saying “I’m done.” The work which started when I was born 3 months premature, fighting for my life, is complete. And, if I’m really, truly going to be honest here? That’s what really scared me. I wasn’t sure if they put me under I’d  want to come back. So, I blamed the medical profession, but it was just me.

You know? I have no idea who I am if I’m not fighting. And I’m not, not really any more.

Maybe I’ll get a chance to grow up/grow past the stupid childhood before I’m 70? You think?

In Limbo

I’ve been avoiding this place, because I’m ready to and have indeed done much of the work to split the two main topics into two blogs, well three.

Frankly, I’m waiting on  the publisher and I’ve been working on the house in my usual semi-organized way.

But none of the “next steps” can be done until one of three things happen:

  1. I decide to take the mask off I have here just because.
  2. I decide to do #1 because I have a publisher for the memoir and news about that.
  3. I get the house clean and the book finished about it, and have THAT book to promote.

I haven’t forgotten about this place. Have thought 100 times I should write a blog about a topic — but I’m not ready.

image from workitdaily.com via google images

(image from workitdaily.com via images.google.com)

After 10 years of work, from rough stories because I thought I might need an online memorial (had an operation in 2008) to more refined to yet more refined, to finally being far enough away from the stories that I could use my professional skills and pull a book together?

After 3 editors, 3-5 computers, 3 word processors, a file which was so corrupt it had to be retyped, etc. I am done.

And done in I think too, or maybe exhausted is just a better word?

Having the memoir done and knowing it’s pretty good has changed me in some weird fundamental way. I don’t really have anything else to say right now.

I’m done.

 

 

(But Happy holidays!)