Today was frightening (for me)

First I realized I had to go to the vet and get Keegan a refill on her arthritis meds. It’s a complicated entrance to the place and I almost also get anxious getting in there. It wasn’t something I was looking forward to.

Then, while the mail brought a good piece it also brought a bad piece.
There was a collection notice for $230 and some that said they were collecting for AT&T. What?! I knew my bills were up to date and I knew it couldn’t be an old bill because they wouldn’t have let me start up service if I still had an unpaid bill from years and years ago.
So I called AT&T, finding the correct number took a bit, and finally talked to a rep who said that they’d been getting reports of scams on their customers. He said don’t pay it. But as soon as I get access to a fax machine I’ll fax it to their fraud customer service department.
All better, but once the adrenaline gets started it takes hours and hours to tamp it back down, sometimes days. This is the real struggle for me. Adrenaline triggers lots of things, most of them not good.

The good piece of mail was the letter verifying that my student loans are in forebearance; but I had to take this to the school and wait in line with lots of people around me so I could present it to the financial aid office. I did this but apparently the person in the student loan office is still at lunch because the hold hasn’t been removed yet. I can’t register until the hold is removed. If the one class I can take isn’t full by the time all this gets sorted out I’ll be taking trigonometry. Otherwise I’ll be waiting until next semester; which wouldn’t be a terrible thing.

Now I’m at home waiting for a couple phone calls. One letting me know that Keegan’s prescription is ready for pick up and one letting me know the hold has been removed.
So I made myself a smoothie with some frozen fruit, a couple tablespoons of yogurt, some stevia, and a tiny bit of water. Yum! Healthy and good for me.

I’m afraid my blog is boring now.

But I have to admit that I prefer it that way.
Life is still complicated for me but the daily ins and outs and the small achievements I’m proud of don’t make for interesting reading.

I attempted to register for school today and found out that I had a hold due to a delinquent student loan. I *thought* I had put all of those in deferment when I was living in my truck (or the week before most likely). But apparently I missed one.
So I can’t register for school until that is dealt with. And we all know I don’t have the money to pay that back right now. I’m really glad that I didn’t take out any financial aid for the last two years.

After 2 days of getting answering machines and being on hold interminably I got my next psych appt made (the one that gives me all the various chemicals that keep me on par with the rest of society).

I ran my mile tonight, actually a mile and a quarter. But even better, for my training, was that I did 3/4 of it all at one time tonight. I’ll stick with that pattern for the rest of the week. 3/4 mile, break, 1/2 mile.
Hopefully sometime next week I’ll be able to do a full mile with no breaks. And gradually build from there.
My goal is mostly to get in shape, but to encourage that I want to be able to run a 10k (6 miles) by January. It’s a very doable goal.

Small things every day

Today was a good day.

It was a music day mostly, cello and drums.
But I did get my mile run in.

The things that were the most difficult though were the little daily tasks, paying an unexpected bill, scheduling appts, keeping an appt, and spending far too long in the management office waiting to sign a new pet addendum.

Tomorrow is a rowing day. My goal will be to make it to practice and stay for the entire time.

I did it!

I went to crew practice today!

Only 3 people from the team showed up though so I went out in a single.
All the medium skill level boats were in use so I took out one of the racing singles. I figured I’d flip (and swim) since its been so long since I’ve been in a single. I bobbled a fait bit but once I got my balance I ended up doing quite well!

It did show me how out of shape I was, like I needed any more demonstrations.

Anyway, I was feeling really good so I asked my buddy Sam to go to Ikea with me. I got a blanket finally. And a few more bookcases/shelves.

After we got back to his place we did a little bit of bow shooting. I really like how some of his latest works are turning out.

I did do my mile in two 1/2 mile increments.
My next goal is to run a full 30 minutes and focus on time running instead of milage run.

Today I did well.

I practiced my cello and spent a few minutes on my drums as well. I spent some time studying both Hebrew and Spanish. I painted a couple pages of colour for installation on my closet. I took the trash out. And I made a few “southwestern” rolls (California rolls with a Texas flavor).

My sole goal for tomorrow is to go to crew practice and get home again.

first week home in review

The first couple days I was pretty lost. I slept a lot, wandered around my apartment just looking at stuff, and tried to figure out where to go next.

Starting Monday I was back at my part-time job taking care of some dogs of some friends of mine every day at noon.
That started the routine.

Tuesday I tried doing some of the old things in my routine, running on my treadmill, studying my languages on Rosetta Stone, practicing my instruments, cleaning my apartment.

The mid-week was slow progress. I still spent a lot of time pacing around my apartment, trying to remember where I was and what I had set out to do.
But I did go grocery shopping, twice.
The first grocery run was mostly fruits and veggies and since the food was so poor at the VA hospital I was starving for fresh fruits and veggies. I think that’s all I ate for two days.
The second grocery run was a bit more balanced.

Yesterday, Thursday, I felt like I might be starting to get a hang on routine again.
I got my languages done for a second day in a row. I did time on my treadmill for the 3rd day in a row. I finally spent some time on my drums. And I cleaned up my kitchen a bit.

Today, I’ve done my languages, done my mile on the treadmill (I’m up to doing a 1/2 mile at a time, without a break, and with good form), and I washed all the dishes in the kitchen.
I was thinking of trying to get some time for some tethered swimming in the apt pool but it’s not open; I can see out my window that the maint. man is adding chemicals so no swimming today.

Still.. I feel like I’m starting to get my feet under me again.

Whoa. Discombobulation.

Tonight I was lying in bed half asleep when I heard what I think was one of those little two wheeled scooters going by outside my window.

But for whatever reason, I was back in my truck, homeless, listening to how close people were going to get to my truck and wondering if there were police near by who were going to roust me.
It’s hard to describe how all the thoughts I had happened in such a short time span.

Eventually I woke all the way up and was able to figure out where I was.

It has left me with a strange feeling that I haven’t figured out yet.


I gained a lot of weight while I was at the residential program. Not a big surprise.

So now I’m back with my routine I was following before (the routine I was actually losing weight following).
Of course I’m starting from nil again. All the progress I’d made 2 months ago is lost. But I’m hoping that maybe it will ramp up a bit faster this time.

I did a mile alternating walking and jogging on my treadmill, both last night and tonight.
I can’t do it all at once yet though. I take 3-4 minutes between each quarter to stretch my calves and relax my achilles tendon. I did better tonight than I did last night.
It’s a very long very slow road.

The President is in town and traffic is fucked.

I went the wide way around this afternoon to avoid the Presidential traffic. But it seems that either his plane was late or when they said the President is in town from 4-9pm they meant that he landed at 4.
I was the last car through the intersection when they stopped all traffic on one of the smaller freeways.
I had planned to stop by the VA and take care of some stuff but all the exits were blocked off.

I’ve never seen so many police and secret service in one place before. But perhaps that just pays tribute to my determined ability to avoid such high profile events.

I was followed off of the interstate by a shiny black (very shiny) SUV who pulled off behind me and then did a U-turn to enter the freeway on the other side. I didn’t stay to watch but I assume s/he used his/her bright shiny flashing lights to clear a way to the front of the line that was waiting for traffic to be allowed forward again.

Applying what I’ve learned.

One of my biggest fears about being home was that I wouldn’t think to use the tools once I had other things on my mind. Not so.

Yesterday I found myself listening to a very ingrained teaching, “if you aren’t working as hard as you can then you’re being lazy. And laziness is a sin and will be punished.”
Who made this rule up? (probably Puritan forefathers but that beside the point for this instance) Who is going to punish me for relaxing, truly relaxing?

That sentence, “If you aren’t working….” is what we called a “stuck point” in class. A “story”, or belief, that we tell ourselves out of habit with no regard to its veracity.

The first step is recognizing the story/belief.

The second step I’ll do today.

Good day so far!

I’ve mostly been cleaning up, organizing, stuff like that. But I did connect with a couple people and will hopefully meet up with them this coming week.

I did 1/4 mile on my treadmill and will do another 1/4 before I go to bed this evening.
It’s difficult to build back so slowly but I’m out of shape so badly I know I’d hurt myself if I tried to increase any faster.

Keegan seems content to be back and spends a lot of time on her fluffy dog bed watching me scamper around.

I’m trying to figure out the organization of my main room. I think I’m ready for a small couch or something similar but my treadmill takes up most of the room and I’m not willing to give up my treadmill.
It’s my nap time so maybe something will come to me in my sleep. Hmmmmm..

Routine is a startin’

I had dinner with some friends tonight. We got time to talk and laugh. 🙂

Monday I start my dog sitter routine again (silly doggies).
Tuesday and Thursday I start back with my rowing club women’s team practices.

One day a week I want to swim and one day a week I want to bike.

Today I got on my treadmill for 1/4 mile. So I’ve started that routine again already.

Nothing like jumping back in!

Trying to settle in

So I’m home. And all combobulated. I can only vaguely remember my prior routine.

This morning I’ve spent unpacking mostly. I’m trying to put some order into my place as well. I wasn’t here that long before I left for the program, in fact, I spent a longer time in the VA domiciliary than I’ve spent in my own apartment.

I’m going to take a nap, I still wake up very early. Then spend more time getting things put away (or thrown away) so tomorrow I can start doing my languages again, my exercises, and finish making my apartment a safe haven.

All out of order. Tue evening, 5-29-12

Theres no immediate wifi access here so even though I’m going to be writing posts they may get uploaded in a different order.

I’ve started meeting some of the other women on the floor. The women have a locked ward in that it takes a special key to get in. The men can’t get in and the women in the other programs who aren’t on this floor can’t get on.
It’s actually a good system and they’ve done their best to make a safe place complete with a TV lounge and a very nice bathroom. A good bathroom goes a lonnnnng way.

It still feels like a barracks though.

Dinner was better though the “protein” was still a mystery. But there was milk and canned pears. And canned chicken soup with the broth and little noodles.

Several of the women here are my age. I was hoping for this, hoping it might give me an easier peer group.

There’s supposed to be 8 women in the program and I think 5 of us are here so far. The rest of the women on the floor are in different programs.

I doubt I’ll sleep tonight, I usually don’t when there are bed checks, something about strangers coming into my “safe” space several times a night.
But at least I’ll have Keegan with me.

I am tired though.
My roommate isn’t supposed to show up until tomorrow so I may try and get some sleep this evening before all the bed checks start.

They had bad childhoods 05-29-12

I remember when this phrase hit the news in the late 80’s, as a reason for so much of the petty crime.

I remember some people vehemently arguing that it didn’t matter what their childhoods had been like; that abuse and neglect didn’t mean a person didn’t know right from wrong.

I think, I’ve finally made a decision about my own views on the topic, 20 some years after I first became aware of the argument.

My breakthrough thought came from a conversation I had with my new primary care doc when I entered the VA system. She was getting a general health history and that included enough of a mental history to determine if I needed mental health care (I was already in the mental health side of the system but I’m glad she was checking).

She was asking about any abuse etc etc and since I was already thoroughly tired of this repetition (see “already in the … system”) I was a bit curt with my answers. I didn’t want to detail the specifics yet again to a doc that I knew wasn’t going to be involved in the care.
So after a few details, I said “you know, all the normal stuff”.
I was surprised at the force of her answer when she said “that stuff isn’t normal!”
My reply surprised even me, “it was for me”.

Now, take a kid who grew up in a bad environment. A kid who dealt with stuff I’ve only read about, every day.
If what I knew was not normal, damaging, destructive, etc etc, how could I ever expect a kid who grew up in exponentially worse situations to know what normal is?

Children learn by mimicry, they learn to survive, and whatever they live with is normal.

If a kid sees his siblings or caregivers beaten for no reason at all, or for the slightest excuse of an infraction, what is that kid going to believe is normal? What is that kid going to do when s/he’s playing with a smaller kid who then doesn’t play the game just right?

It may be true that everyone, or most everyone, is born with a basic decency (or that may just be wishful thinking), but if that basic decency decreases the chance of survival then is it any surprise that it is learned to be a detriment, a weakness, and ignored as soon as possible?

Is it really any surprise that what “society” thinks of as the innate knowledge of right and wrong is completely irrelevant to the child growing up and surviving in such terrible conditions?

Yes, I believe “they had a terrible childhood” is a valid part of a defense.

How to re-educate a child grown to adulthood in this environment, how to keep others safe from them if they cannot undo the years of survival training they’ve had so far, these are different topics.

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