Tag Archives: new behaviors

To See . . . .

I actually DO get things done, daily. The house is still overwhelming. Here’s what I did yesterday:

  • Worked on raking the lawn (not finished)
  • Cleaned my car (exterior) and waxed the hood
  • Peaches cleaned and peeled
  • Cleared ugly food (leftovers which have become science projects or are about to) from fridge
  • Two loads of construction debris taken to the dump
  • Three loads of laundry started, two completed
  • Work on the cleaning plan
  • Regular household trash taken to the dump.
  • I did two loads of dishes, DH did another. (The fridge cleanout generated a lot of things to wash!)
  • Cleaned the toilet, sink and tub
  • Bought more freezer containers
  • Figured out a way to store the 2nd hose on the boat steering wheel I’d kept for the purpose, though I’d never actually done that.

Here’s what I’ve done today, so far (10 a.m.):

  • Swept and mopped the kitchen floor.
  • Started the load of laundry (3rd load from yesterday) in the dryer.
  • Started the first load of laundry in the washer.
  • Culled melons and cut them prepatory to freezing.
  • Went through the peppers, prepatory to dealing with them
  • Cleaned the broom, bucket and mop, although I haven’t gotten them put away, yet.
  • Dealt with the dirty, wet rags.

As of 11, you can add: dealt with the peaches, blueberries, and melon (cut, labeled & stored). Dishes washed from that effort.

Also, I can see myself sliding down the fanatic scale: from hoarder to OCD. Some of that I want to encourage, some if it, as I’ve said before, I really want to avoid!

  • I vac’d the end of the broom after I swept the floor to get the dust bunnies off of it.
  • I asked DH yesterday to shut off the hose for me when I was done washing my car, but told him to not put the hose away as I didn’t like the way he coils it. (True.)
  • Found a place to put the bucket away yesterday with the soap, shop towels, car wax, etc. inside of it so that all the car washing tools are in one place, and it looks tidy (all in the bucket).
  • Told DH this morning that the little vac needed to be cleaned very soon, because I’d cleaned up a wet mess and it would not be good to let the remains dry in the vac. (He does this most of the time; I’m allergic to dust mites!)
  • Found a place for one of the bigger flashlights to be stored when not in use. It has been clutter  — as it floated. It had no designated place to be put away. (There are many things like this in our home. Too many!)

Ping Points


Seems I’ve always been focused on what’s over there, beyond the horizon. I know now that what bugs me the most are messes on horizontal surfaces: counters, floors, chairs, etc. Perhaps the two things are related — I don’t know.

I can handle a sink full of dishes, but not a sinkful and counters cluttered with dishes too — that’s too much. So I can handle one sinkful of dishes, but not TWO! (Or, I can’t stand the dirty dishes cluttering up the horizontal counter?)

The laundry room I’m okay with stuff on top of the machines — as long as it’s folded. The quantity doesn’t seem to matter, it’s that the laundry is folded and not heaped.

As someone who never let myself “see” the mess, it’s interesting to notice that not only now do I see the clutter, but I also have limits where the disorder starts to bug me.


Life sure is different. . . .

(Images are not mine, but came from images.google.com)

Waiting for the Shoe

The shoe? You know, the one that drops.




In short, I’m waiting for the panic attacks to start, again. I’ve been working on the cleaning plan, working on the memoir, working on the garden. None of it full bore, none of it to completion. . . but the house/yard is neater. The memoir retype is sloooowly getting done. Things are being worked on, sometimes in an orderly fashion.

And no panic?

One of the last “Aha!” moments I had with my therapist before she retired was the bit about finishing things. You have to understand, it was as if I were a prisoner or war or in jail or something.Almost everything I owned, everyone I knew, everything I said or did, wore, etc. was possibly taken, broken, denigrated, etc. I doubt anyone had any idea how confined I felt at the time: how scared I was that whatever I was doing or had or said would generate an attack. I was 3-12. It was a long time ago. But what happened in those years gave me the abuse behaviors and the PTSD which determined how I lived for the next 50 years. It’s been less than 10 years that I’ve been “well” enough to set aside the terror of being crazy, of being damned.

And I still, in my 60s don’t finish things, or hardly ever. I brought up the panic that I feel when I do finish things. I immediately go into hyper-critical mode, every flaw or fault is examined and derided, internally at least. Frequently I toss it out, if it’s knitting or crochet, I’ll take it apart. I find some reason NOT to finish things. So I brought this vexing problem up with my therapist. Who did, what she did, for years: look at me and say something which just blew me away: “Since you felt whatever you did was subject to attack — why would you finish things? You were much safer if you didn’t.”

And given how I felt, yep, that makes total sense.

Now I can see the home emerging from the house clutter. I can see the pattern of the food system emerging. I can see patterns of cleaning. All new, all at the same time.

And I’m waiting for that shoe. There’s always been a shoe. I’d rather avoid it this time, so we’ll just wait a while.



Not that I’ve done a whole lot, but my attitude is different. The last post, the “making my mark” thing just makes me sorry. How pathetic and sad it is that my young self felt that way. How bizarre that it took so much time & work to uncover it. But trauma is like that.

It’s an onion of healing. Your body won’t let you remember/deal/figure out what you can’t handle. In my case, because the source of much of it is so long ago and far away, it’s obscured by time and perspective. Learning to pay attention to what my body/mind is trying to tell me has taken a long time and much work.

I’ve only ever had one full blown, complete “flashback” which included “lost’ memories and all. That was 30+ years ago. That one I got time of year, location, incident, smell, look,  the incident, in short the details — all at once.

Since then, I have had one other, which definitely was a flashback, but it wasn’t the complete memory like the full blown one. DH and I were lounging on our bed one summer day He was just holding me. It wasn’t intimacy, just closeness. All of a sudden he shifted a little, or I did — I jerked back and screamed, “Don’t hit me!”

Of course he was puzzled, and frankly, so was I.

I felt the ghost slap connect with my face. I *felt* it. I was also surprised I could move. I felt as if I were pinned to the bed and couldn’t do more that flail my arms & legs around.

For much of my life, something would happen and I’d have a “flashback,” a return to my miserable emotional past. The ghost slap pushed those buttons. It propelled me back into the old feelings: helpless, unlovable, insecure, damned, and crazy. [The hodgepodge of old feelings is what I normally, in conversation, call a flashback; it is, and it isn’t.]

When things like this occurred, it took me a while to pull myself out.

The emotional “flashback” used to terrify me, because I couldn’t change whether I went back or not, change the “flashback” or grow out of them  — and I still can’t. It makes healing a double-edged sword. I’m happy to do so, but it means when I see something a new way or remember something, I have to deal with the emotional content the new perspective triggers, deal with the emotional flashback, and then after that, I get to go on with my life. For much of my life this has been a four-step process:

  1. Remember or recast something new.
  2. Deal with whatever emotional issues this brings because of its content.
  3. Deal with up to two weeks of emotional backsliding/flashback.
  4. Move on into my now-improved life.

I did NOT go back to the hurting little girl this time! I had the tear in my eye when I wrote the post. That’s it. No step three!!!

I haven’t done a flurry of cleaning either, but you know? I’ll take it. I avoided needing at least two weeks to get my emotional house back in order. Or even three days, which is the shortest I’ve managed not too long ago.

After nearly 6 decades of the other behavior, this is definitely a win, and I will take it — you bet!!!


Okay, maybe I’ve flipped to the other side?

That is, maybe I’m becoming OCD? Wouldn’t that be kind of funny? My dad always said I went from one extreme to the other, then found my center. I mentioned this to DH the other day, who arched an eyebrow at me and said sarcastically, “Oh really?” Obviously, he’s learned that about me as well.

So, what makes me say this? Well, it’s a wax actually. A month or so ago I tried to make hand lotion from 4 simple ingredients, mostly a natural wax and oil. It didn’t work. I had a block of stuff that sat around and didn’t have anything to do with it.  I decided  use it as furniture polish. Why not?

Yesterday I tried it. Part of my weekly list of things to do includes cleaning doors. There’s wooden doors in the house, with wooden trim.  I started using the wax on two of the doors. The wood loved it and so did I. No nasty chemical smell I’m allergic to, no haze to breathe either. [Because I’m short, almost always spraying something means I end up in a cloud of whatever it is as I have to spray whatever above my head.] I ran the block in a line down the panels and rubbed it out. The doors got cleaner, look good, and as I said, NO chemical smell, no cloud to breathe! 😀

I liked that so much I did the three stairs I’d caulked Sunday. That looked great too! Today? Today I did the stringers on those stairs and part of the posts that support the stairs. I still like it.

So I confess: for the past two days I’ve been rubbing my house with wax. This is a post & beam, log house there is a LOT of wood here. It would take me a year or more to go over all the exposed wood and I have no intention of doing so.

But if you’d told me a month ago I’d be rubbing wax into the house, two days in a row I’d have said, “You must be talking about someone else!”

There are worse things I guess, but . . . it’s bizarre!

New Organization

What I asked for as a holiday gift was an organizer, but my problem with organizers is almost always that what I want/how I want it isn’t the way someone else sets up the organizer. I decided the Martha Stewart stuff that Staples was selling looked like it might work, and so far it has, mostly.

Because I’m trying really hard not to just buy more stuff, making elaborate plans I won’t keep, I’ve done this piecemeal over the past few weeks. The first pieces I bought were a small notebook and dividers. They look like this:


I got a red one, these are the small binders btw.  It replaced my old, tatty kitchen binder — which I bought when we lived in California, about 30 years ago. I also got a set of dividers, which worked well too. Success! No extra stuff, what I already had is now neater and more presentable.

The second trip I bought a black binder, full 8.5 x 11 size, and calendar pages. The binder works, the pages not as much, I don’t like filling in dots when I finish something for example. My problems with it are minor, like the example. I can live with it.

The third trip was yesterday. I got another small binder, black. The idea is that the big binder is a “master plan” and the little one is my carry around piece. I know myself well enough to know that although I love the amount of space available in a large binder, I’ll carry it around for a day or two, then “forget.” I also bought lined paper, removable “to do” list pads, and the binding disks that the “to do” lists require. Those look like this:


The list pages look like this:


(All images were copied from the Staples website. I have no claim to them whatsoever. I am assuming that the images are (c) Staples or Martha Stewart or Avery. Please do NOT use for commercial use copied from my blog!)

You can’t tell from the image, but the list pages have mushroom shaped holes; they’re made to be removable.

You can’t put the pads on the disks without cutting part of the backing card away. Did that. Got them”disked” together. (Had to mangle them some to do so?) Found a place to store the extra pads.

Hmm.  There are 5 disks left over. I needed somewhere to store something; I had not expected to store ANYTHING except the extra pads. I bought the disks to group the extra pads together in one organized place. The pads take 7 disks, the package of disks holds 12. There were 5 little pieces of plastic to find a home for!

I finally stuffed them in the left inside pocket of the big notebook. I was not pleased. I put them twice in the small notebook’s pockets and they fell out.  I did NOT want more loose little bits!


Went to put 1 pad in the notebook. Nope, ain’t gonna work, the hole spacing is different between the disk holes and the three-ring binder rings. Okay, I understand why they did this: Why allow people to combine the types instead of making them buy both? Yes, fine Avery and Martha, but you think you might have considered selling removable lists for those of us who really like 3-ring binders (which you also sell)?

I got out my hole punch. This doesn’t work all that well, the list pad falls out. Okay, remove just 2 pages. They still want to fall out. I’m going to have to put reinforcements on them. If I do that and then cut the base of the reinforcements so the lists are still removable, I’ll have recreated the “to do” lists myself. Fine, I’ll do it, but after I use the three pads up, I think I’ll just make my own removable “to do” lists instead of buying new “Martha” ones.

AG! Then I’ll have 12 plastic disks to either pitch or find another way to use! Even with the best of intentions, new materials, forethought and careful planning — disorganization, more work, and stray STUFF results. . . .

I just can’t win.

I filled another target section 12/26/12 and forgot to post it, so it’s here:

Dec26 Target annotated copy copy jpg