Poem – First and Last

In a strange burst of newly-married enthusiasm,

I first cooked for you.

Homemade champagne pastry for an apple pie,

using fresh apples.

I’d never done anything like that before.

Or since.

It was the last time I cooked for you.

No matter what I did,

I would always be the girl who took your preferred son away.

What I didn’t tell you was the cat walked on the pastry

before it was cooked.

The wrinkles in the crust hid any soft paw prints.

The heat killed any bacteria,

I suppose.

We’re still linked through my children,

although my marriage to your son is done with.

You could have had him back,

but by then, even you realised

how truly odd he is.

The last time I served you a cup of tea

was your husband’s funeral.

You didn’t drink it.

Your grief was years old,

having lost him to dementia four years past.

I can only presume my efforts

were not up to your English tea standards.

Or maybe it was me

who didn’t fill your cup.

*****

A little prompt from Poets and Storytellers United. ‘The last time.’ I ranged over a number of topics until something about my ex-mother-in-law rang a tiny bell.

Trans Cranial Magnetic Stimulation update – the last of 2 treatments per week

The other day, I noted that I hadn’t received a new calendar of dates, so yesterday, after brain zapping, I said: “I’ve only got one appointment booked in after this one.” Clinician and I busied ourselves making more appointments, two per week.

Then….hey, maybe I’m supposed to have only one. So, she looked at the in-house psychiatrist’s notes, and lo, one appointment per week as of next week. To be honest, with my anxiety ramped up again(still not at the level it used to be, I’d put it at maybe 5-6/10), I’m a little nervous to be dropping back to one treatment per week.

The depression I’m not worried about. I had a sharp rise to my current level of ‘good’ early on, back in April-May, and really haven’t looked back.

But that anxiety…..hmmmm.

Last weekend, I had two big things scheduled for the Saturday – catch up with a friend I haven’t seen in 46 years, and the first Key Word Sign workshop in the afternoon. Too much, too many people, far too rushed in terms of driving. I had severe jitters and shakes for a couple of days.

The thing is, Fear of Missing Out, and endless curiosity about the world means that I WANT to do so much more than I currently do. I have a big case of the ‘I used to be to’s. I used to be able to do all sorts of thing in a single day. Possibly that’s why I have anxiety now. Possibly, I ran rough-shod over my own nature and intuition for too many years, and that’s why I’m where I am now.

It’s an ingrained habit – say yes to All The Things. This dates back to….oh, possibly my early childhood, when I became aware for the first time that I wasn’t having the ‘normal family experience of siblings. My two brothers were/are twenty years older than me, so by the time I was three years old, both were married and gone from the family home. I grew up an only. And because Dad worked and devoted his spare time to the baseball club, and Mum was at the sewing machine day and night, trying to keep the family afloat as a dressmaker, I spent most of my time alone. When I started school, I realised I was missing ‘family life’.

I think I got it into my head, or someone must have told me, that I was boring. Which, to my mind, was the worst thing in the world. Can I blame my Venus in Aquarius for loving the eccentric, the weird, the unusual, the unique? Anyway, it started with odd reading habits, following my nose through Moorabbin library.

Then, I remember in my late teens and early twenties, choosing to ‘do stuff’ because it would, and I quote “feed my writing”. Thanks, writing books, for informing me that, in the scheme of things, I lead a pretty enclosed life.

It wasn’t until my 40’s that I faced the fact that most of the stuff I went and did….well, it wasn’t to feed my writing, because I rarely wrote about the stuff I did – hot air ballooning, zip lining etc. I did these things just for the experience, and the constant worry that I’d be in a nursing home, crying for all the things I never dared.

Hence the habit of yes to this, yes to that, yes to something else. Which leads to stuffing 5 things into a day, which leads to discombobulated and rushed Satya, which leads to anxiety. Which is now an ingrained brain habit that’s proving fucking hard to kick.

My anxiety is the most over-protected, Victorian, vapour-riddled maiden aunt ever.

“Oh my, get the smelling salts. I’m all of a dither!” At the slightest request. The slightest request!!

I had one blissful month in May where my anxiety shut up, and my brain was quiet. No suicidal ideation, no depression, and NO ANXIETY. Just quiet. I also wasn’t asking anything of myself besides: get up, shower, get dressed, go to TMS, come home.

As soon as I asked anything of myself, bam, thin edge of the wedge.

Yes, I’m fucking cross. I expected better than this.

So, back to curating my calendar. I went to the gym yesterday. Thus, nothing else beyond a couple of house chores, and a poem on my blog could be asked.

Today, free day, and I’m tempted to say: “I’m gonna do the things. Have an Experience, because I’m essentially boring, and it’s a wide world out there, and I must have dinner table conversation.”

CRAZY. I AM DRIVING MYSELF CRAZY.

Why can’t I just lie on the couch all day, reading rubbish?

I am a work in progress.

Trans Cranial Magnetic Stimulation – in the midst of maintenance

I don’t know what maintenance session I’m up to. Certainly, I’m in the first month of it, going from 4 acute sessions a week to 2-in-a-row sessions. It frees up my week, and so far, my brain is holding on to the changes wrought.

Depression has not been an issue since about week 5 of acute phase. I simply don’t go there any more. There’s certainly stuff to be sad about. Just as I booked a 5 day trip up to Queensland to see my grandkids, Queensland went into lockdown, and so, my plane tickets are back in the system, on hold. I have a year to rebook and use them.

I’m still muffled as to emotions. I’m still on 20mg of Citalopram, which has been my maintenance dosage for many years. I just don’t feel emotions right on the dot of having them. I have a delayed reaction, and if I remember rightly, I always have. I thought it was a big old repression thing. You know, just not taught how to have the big emotions bc white middle class repressed family. Then I thought it was birthing trauma – premature baby left in hospital for 6 weeks at a time when big city hospitals would have fed, and changed babies, but not had the time to give them much attention, and my querelous, repressed mum not being told she could come in a visit me. So, me getting the message of ‘what’s the point in screaming?’

Now, I realise it’s probably an autism thing.

Whichever way, my emotions are muffled, so while I’m resigned to not visiting my grandkids just yet, I was kinda half expecting I wouldn’t go, and the missing them hasn’t quite hit me. It’s always a background thing anyway, but when my plans are stymied like this, I tend to feel it more.

My anxiety requires some managing, but still isn’t debilitating. I went into the city with two girlfriends last week. I didn’t try to cancel my plans. I didn’t get so exhausted as to cry afterwards. I didn’t sugar-load as a way to cope.

I can now look forward to more outings like this, where I’m not freaked out by the idea of being out, in company, all day. So much so that I’m having to rein myself in somewhat. I may not have as much anxiety and be able to do more things, but I still have thyroid issues and/or residual fibromyalgia issues that limit my energy levels.

I’m much better than I was, but I still want more, more, more.

How I Interpret a One Card Oracle Deck pull

Another first in a series of ‘how I do’. It’s come to my attention that amongst my friends and fans are many who want to be able to read oracle cards or tarot, but all the reading of the instruction book that comes with the deck hasn’t helped.

So, TarotBabe is here to help you out. You’ve seen that I do plenty of readings and tarot play for myself. But how did I get from “it’s 1985 and I’ve just purchased my first deck, Tarot of the Cat People, and hey, it feels like I know what to do with these” to “let’s just have a play and see what comes up, I completely trust what I get”?

For your delectation, the first of a new series of how I read a one-card pull.

Intuitive Card Reading 1: from the randomly grabbed Spirit of the Animals Oracle by Jodi Bergsma.

Loon: now, first off, the Loon isn’t a bird native to Australia, so I know very little about it. The card’s meaning says: Intuitive. Listen to the song in your soul, trust your intuition as you have a way of knowing. Emerge from the busy life and seek more solitude. Recognise that you are unique and that you are loved.

I asked for general guidance for the day. This morning, I woke up tired, and we had a carpet steam cleaner in, which has isolated me to the couch in the front room, in the sunshine, while all around me, the carpet dries. This, of course, won’t be everyone’s situation, but the situation has caused me to Stay Put, always a struggle for me, and to listen to what is being said inside me. Intuition.

Just this morning, I was writing about intuition, feeling, and going where I’m lead. Last night, I was idly thinking of concocting a tarot spread to ask ‘what is it I really, really want?’ Well, I think I have my answer here, without needing to fancy up a tarot spread. Listen to my own intuition, because I already know.

There is a booklet that comes with this deck, so now that I’ve had a quick look at how the basic meaning of the card might apply to my life, let’s see what the LWB (Little White Book, which isn’t actually white in this case) has to say. “Elegance, singer, communicator, visionary, dreamer, loyalty, family, fidelity, freedom’s call, spirit messenger.” The thing about oracle cards is that they are incredibly flattering. Yes, thanks, I’ll claim all of those, even if they don’t really apply. But, how to take those wide-ranging labels and see how they fit into my question: guidance for today? Am I meant to practice dance to work on my elegance(she says, sitting cross-legged on the couch, a little slumped, wearing old green stretch jeans, and a thick, bulky mustard-coloured windcheater, and slightly sweaty, because the sunlight is lovely and strong)? Am I meant to sing some songs? I’m certainly communicating right now, through this post. And yes, I would label myself visionary, mystic, priestess, witch, dreamer, and sometimes a spirit messenger. Am I meant to have a conversation with someone in my family? If so, who? Any hints, oh oracle deck? You can see where beginners can come away from a one-card pull completely puzzled. Fidelity? Stick to my path, my family, my husband, my writing, my witchcraft? So many choices. Freedom’s call. Is it time for me to up sticks and have some time away from family and husband, and responsibility?

The LWB talks about how loons have a complex system of communication and are highly intuitive. The communication I’ll wear, but who says they’re intuitive? The author of this booklet? Loon scientists? First Nations peoples who have developed a relationship with the Loon, and observed it for centuries and come up with associated meanings for it? Because I know so little about loons, I now nip over to Google for some quick research.

Genus Gavia. Family Gaviidae. Order Gaviiformes. Aquatic birds with webbed feet, about the size of a duck or goose, distinctive call. Some difficulty walking on land(earth, the practical world) due to their build. At home in water(Water, the realm of intuition, emotion, feeling). Migratory birds capable of long flight, after a struggle to get airborne.Find food by sight, swallow small stones as gizzard stones.They nest on land, the male choosing the nesting site.This gives me some correlations. So far, it feels like I’m being asked to use my intuition to feel into what my next step is, rather than think on it, or seek the earth/practical route. To be at home in water more than in the air, or on land(Air and Earth).

Now I turn my attention to the card itself. It’s a study in browns and blacks, with the bright red eye of the foremost loon catching me own eye. It’s a water-based picture. All the loons are in water, behind some water reeds. The reeds are brown, not green, and this tells me that it’s not high summer, but possibly towards the end of summer when grasses start to brown. The chicks are out of the nest, swimming with their parents. One chick is looking trustingly at the foremost bird. The background bird has its wings spread. Is it merely stretching, or is it readying for flight? The babies are not old enough to migrate, so perhaps it’s just a stretch.

So, what do I have here? Family, trust, the possibility of flight or stretching myself further, intuition, a distinctive call, emotion. Ah, now I see. I have a ticket to take me to Queensland to see my daughter, son-in-law, and my beloved three grandchildren on Thursday, coming back next Monday. With the current covid cases in Queensland, particularly the few on the Sunshine Coast where they live, the trip is in question. Am I safer here in Melbourne? Whether I go or not has been much on my mind, obviously more than I first thought. Yesterday, I said: “Well, of course I want to go, but if I don’t, not much has changed, has it?” But, this card tells me my feelings run deeper than this, that I do want to go, that I am hearing the call of my daughter, and those three kiddies. That family is paramount to me.

When I pulled this card, I thought it was about my life path, and my brand new exploration of the Goddess Hekate. I thought it was an urging to keep on with that. However, some research, and some deeper looking at what’s actually happening in the card shows me another interpretation all together.

Thankyou Loon, for showing up today, and showing me what’s really on my mind.

I hope this helps you see a little into how I approach a card for a daily ‘pull’.

Before yoga 31/5/21

When I’m not in lockdown, I wake, and muck about until 9.30am, then make an effort to shower, get dressed, and drive to 10.30am yoga with YogiBore. When I am in lockdown, like this week, I’m up, showered, dressed, washing on, and fitting in a blog post by 9.50am.

I did clap my little hands at the thought of not having to drive everywhere for classes. I did clap my hands at the thought of yoga, tap dance, belly dance, and Active Seniors in my own living room. Of course, not clapping my hands at the thought of plague.

The sun is streaming through my living room windows, Puppy is sitting on the pouffe, panting slightly in the warmth, and looking outside, hoping to spot a dog and bark himself stupid. Penny the Cranky black cat has just come in for shouting, hissing, and brushing. Angel the Ginger is no doubt draped over a heating vent. Last I saw of Tilly TinyPony(long haired black and white cat) she was padding around the back yard. And Chloe Ballerina kitty(tabby cat) is out doing whatever Chloe does.

PizzaBoy is upstairs, updating TwentiesPerson’s calendar to reflect that there are no Recreation and Special Interest Groups happening this week through our service provider, Interchange Outer East. TwentiesPerson is, by the sound of things, in the kitchen, doing whatever they’re doing. If they’re in the pantry, I often call out: “Mousie mousie, I hear a mousie.” It’s still amusing to TP after all these years, and they stick their head through the doorway to the living room and grin. Then wave whatever they’ve fished out to eat. Mostly junk food.

And me? I’m on the green couch, enjoying the sun, watching incense smoke drift lazily towards one of the windows that I’ve opened a crack. I’ve had dodgy sleep patterns this past week, which may be related to lockdown, and might be Not Enough Exercise, Satya. Despite that, this morning I feel okay. A bit anxious that I’ve decided to attempt rewriting an older story of mine. But, I have all afternoon to play with that. Right now, blog and a bit of email deleting. Either answer, read, pay, or delete.

Bit of a nothing blog post, you say? Well, some of them are like that. People who show up for the poetry are stunned at the witchcraft, and mental health stuff. The people keen on mental health stuff say WTF at other things. But, as Marge Piercy once wrote: “To me, it is all one vision.” It’s all me, and if this morning’s blog post is rambling, reflective, a bit of this, and a bit of that, it will still be comforting to see, in the midst of life, I have quiet, content moments where my house is at peace.

Trans Cranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy – before session 11

Do I continue to notice changes? Well, I don’t have the surge I had right at the beginning (It’s hard to believe that by the end of this week, I’ll be halfway through my acute treatment plan of 30 sessions!). Things seem to have settled down, and I’m not on the edge of mania like I was. Last week was pretty tiring, with treatments Tues-Fri afternoons, and a headache that lasted through till Saturday afternoon. I sprayed magnesium through my hair onto my scalp in a vain attempt to get the muscles in my scalp to relax. Seeing my chiropractor Saturday morning relieved a lot of the skull, neck, and jaw tension. Also, making a gum rub from coconut oil and tea tree oil(very diluted) to treat some mild gingivitis helped. I’m not clenching my teeth against the infection in my mouth.

Anyway, I’ve enjoyed a Sunday and Monday without headaches, and it’s back to it this afternoon with my 11th treatment.

Subtle differences? Let me tell you – my ex husband’s presence gives me a lot of anxiety, or has done, up until Friday. It was our offspring’s 29th birthday on the 8th, so my ex husband (my grandkids refer to their three grandpa’s as Grandpa{my husband PizzaBoy}, The Fat One{my ex husband}, and The Bald One{my daughter’s father-in-law}. Do I dare refer to him as The Fat One? No. I can bring better energy than that to the table. ModelTrainMan will do.) visited on the 7th. Normally, I’d be in a state by Friday morning. This time, either I had less anxiety, which is probable, or I was simply too headachey to care much. I not only spoke to him, but encouraged him to stop talking to me and go spend time with TwentiesPerson. I also told him I was undergoing TMS, and that as TwentiesPerson’s father, he should know if medical treatments are being pursued within the family.

It also gives him a heads-up that I’ll be dealing with my depression and anxiety a lot better, may come off my muffling meds, and be even sharper at our next Victorian Civil Admin Tribunal review of TwentiesPerson’s financial guardianship.

I only realised during treatment on Friday afternoon that ‘hey, I didn’t get all fretty and withdrawn around ModelTrain Man!’

A small realisation, but an important one.

This afternoon, I get to go through the quizzes that I did at the start of the programme – those ‘in the past seven days, how often have you experienced…’ quizzes that help assess where you’re at. So, at session 11, it’s review time.

The Daily Blog: the tide is out

My daughter and her family live in Queensland. We live in Victoria. They came down for Easter, and all their school holidays. They stayed with us last night. Mostly they’re staying with her in-laws. They have more bedrooms available, a bigger back yard, and less animals to flare up the second kid’s allergies. I am no longer cut out to be around kids and active family for long periods of time. I was glad to stagger into bed last night, but it took me ages to wind down, and then I slept poorly. All that breathing and snoring in the front room, plus lights on in the hallway so if the boys needed to get up to go to the toilet, they can find their way.

This morning, the house was awake and active early, or rather, earlier than I’m used to. I dragged myself out, for a cup of tea, and the four year old said: “Grandma, can we play dobinoes?”

“Yes darling, we can play dominoes.”

So, without my brain being awake, we played dominoes.

It’s nearly 11am now, and about 45 minutes ago, they took off to visit friends. The tide has gone out in the house. What’s left are toys and cushions scattered on the floor, a blow-up mattress with bedding piled on it, the dishwasher full of dishes, extra towels airing on the line, my daughter’s cochlear implant charger on a chair.

The cats are creeping out of hiding, and the dog is dozing. The house feels empty, the way it did when my daughter moved out ten years ago. How quickly this rental house, built as a family home for two parents and four kids in the 1970’s, girds itself up to receive a big family, and all the wildness that goes with that. It’s like an old lady picking up her petticoats and gamely having a go at hopscotch.

I’ll go around with a sage bundle today, and settle the energy again. I’ll burn some incense and play some Deva Premal. Only Deva. Not Miten. I can’t abide his groaning away on single phrases from what should be a complete song. Get over it, Miten. I’m not a fan. Let Deva shine.

The house will settle itself down again, and we’ll find out, eventually, when my daughter and the grandkids will sleep over again. And the house, and I, will gird up our loins, and play hopscotch.