around here… mid-November, 2017

Kate Pierson of the B-52’s way back in the early 1980’s

What’s going on around here:

:update on P.T. (our little parrot) :

I’m writing this on Tuesday morning- about eight days after taking PT to the vet for the diagnosis. He’s still slowing down and breathing heavily, but he’s also still eating, drinking, pooping, grooming himself, and occasionally he’ll give a little “who can be the loudest bird in the house” show.

We’re still giving him his meds every morning, putting him with his brother Herbie as much as we can before the two of them have an argument over something and we separate them back into two cages. PT is much happier when he is with Herbie, but he’s also more aggressive, and Herbie doesn’t realize PT needs to rest, so they argue and flap at one another and it exhausts PT very quickly. So we have to put them back into the two side by side cages for a bit, let them rest, and try again.

I’m just trying to help PT stay as well fed, well rested, and as happy as he can be. He’s still slow and resting a lot with pretty heavy breathing, but then he’ll fly a few circles around the room or start jumping around his cage and chirping and when those things happen, it’s hard not to get optimistic. Like I said before, I’m mainly just taking it day, moment by moment. It’s just that we don’t know what we’re looking at. At first, I thought it would be a matter of days, but here is a week since the diagnosis so I just don’t know. Every morning I’m relieved to wake up and see his little fuzzy head looking back at me.

 

:internally/emotionally:

Moment by moment, it changes. I feel overwhelmed and ungrounded. Restless and exhausted. But there are little sparks of stuff- mostly creative ideas and energy, some sense of “okay”-ness. Not happiness, for certain, but not absolute OMG THIS SUCKS, either.

I know it’s kind of a drag, me being so “blah” right now. But I feel strongly about not sugar-coating what I’m going through for the sake of appearances, or forcing myself to power through it. I think that’s kind of a disservice- times of emotional heaviness deserve to be recognized and worked through, rather than glazed over. If you keep slapping band-aids over deep wounds, they don’t heal- they just keep festering deep underneath. I feel like maybe I have been doing a lot of that for a few years and that’s why these same issues and feelings keep popping back up. I want to work through them, not bury them. I apologize if this is getting repetitive but I’m trying to be brutally honest. I know I appreciate when I read someone else’s blog and they share both the good and bad- it reminds me I’m not so alone.

 

:daylight savings being over:

I know I’m one of the very few who loves it when Daylight Savings ends, but it was *just* what I needed.

When you live in a tropical location and there are no seasons (except Hurricane Season and Tourist Season), and you still have responsibilities and a schedule that that follows the traditional four seasons – like school, work, etc.- , any bit of anything “seasonal” (like it getting dark a little earlier) is a huge boost. I miss the seasons like crazy, so I take anything seasonal- a temperature dip by a few degrees, end of Daylight Savings, decorations for fall/winter holidays and just really try and get as much pleasure and comfort from those as possible.

It’s much easier for us when it’s broght in the morning and dark at bedtime. Grace has a much easier time waking up at 6am and getting off to school at 7am when the sun is out. And when it gets darker earlier in the evening, it’s kind of a cue to her (and to all of us) that the day is winding down and it’s time to get ready for bed.

I just like that what’s outside our window matches what’s going on inside our windows for this period of time.

 

:tom and grace:

School. Work. Soccer. Student Government. Homework. Hurricane Repair. We’re sort of all back to somewhat of a routine. It’s not our “regular” routine but I’m trying to really adapt to how things are always in flux. I’m trying to find my own rhythm as well- I’m waking up earlier and trying to get a lot more done in the mornings before I work out and get in the pool- after that my day is pretty much all about taking care of my health stuff (elliptical, swimming, taking care of my foot, other stuff I don’t talk about here) and when it’s all over, around 5-ish, on some days I have absolutely no energy or focus to do anything else but something very routine. So I’m trying to use mornings to get “meaningful” things done (study, homework and writing for school, writing these entries, get “busywork” done on creative projects) and also sort of set myself up for the afternoon- if I walk into my studio when I’m tired and things are out of my desk, ready to go, or I’m in the middle of a project that I started in the morning, it’s much easier to just sit down and pick up where I left off rather than have to make any decisions about what to do and where to start.

I also find it much easier to sit in my studio and get right to work when it’s dark outside- so the Daylight Savings thing being over is a bonus in that situation, too. Whenever it’s light outside I get this intense restless feeling that I SHOULD BE OUTSIDE and sitting at my desk feels so forced. But when it’s dark outside at 6pm, I feel good about coming in here and working at night.

 

:in school:

It’s the first week of my second “semester” at Sravasti Abbey (I’m studying Buddhism via their online program) and this week’s lectures (six of them) and readings focused on this issue of rebirth. Since it’s only been a short while since Tom’s cancer diagnosis, it felt very peculiar to dive into a topic like that- the whole focus of treating and eliminating cancer is to prolong life, the whole thing with Hurricane Irma was about being safe, the whole thing with PT is about prolonging his life, and it seemed like an abrupt about-face to start this semester by studying, learning about, and contemplating an issue related to death.

Rebirth is a tricky issue for me- it’s one of those issues of Buddhism I’m not entirely sure about. But I try and remember two things: the Buddha said very clearly that people who study his path need to basically take what he was saying and really consider it before accepting it as truth- if there’s anything that he taught that didn’t resonate with a person, that person didn’t have to whole-heartedly accept it in order to remain a Buddhist. “Check it out and see for yourself” was kind of the Buddha’s motto, and it’s the one thing you’ll hear a Buddhist monk or nun tell you over and over when you’re studying with them.

Also, rebirth is kind of like heaven and hell- it’s just thinking about what’s next. I was raised (sorta) Catholic, so we always had the Heaven and Hell thing hanging over us. Rebirth is similar in a lot of ways- depending on the choices you make in “this” life, you can either be reborn as someone in a “higher” realm, or someone in a “lower” realm.

But I’m not sold on the idea of a conscious life after death, just from a scientific standpoint, although I will say that I’ve always had a weird feeling like there *is* something after, I’m just not entirely sure that I can even fathom what it is. It’s kind of like how my brain can’t fathom the idea of multiple universes with different laws of physics floating around outside our own physical universe, even though that’s a serious scientific possibility.

So I’m just keeping an open mind, looking into the possibilities, etc.

Speaking of the potential of multiple universes, I REALLY really really want to take some classes in astrophysics and astronomy and physics in general. I did a little bit of that in college but science/math is not exactly my wheelhouse so it was just out of interest rather than solid academic experience.

But whenever I hear a physicist on a podcast or a TV show (like “Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman” on the National Geographic network) talking about some of the more complicated and abstract theories of the universe, expansion, black holes, even string theory- a weird little thing sparks inside me. It’s not just a spark- it’s like a little detonation of sorts. I’m desperate to understand it, to be able to read all the academic papers and journals and find out more about what different scientists are thinking and studying as far as the past, present, and future of the universe. If I understood more, I think I would be obsessed. I already gobble up space news like a fanatic.

I’ve always been obsessed with space and the planets. I even had a weird thing in the summer before 6th grade where I became obsessed with the idea of UFOs and literally couldn’t sleep at night because the idea of them both terrified AND electrified me. (If there is such a thing as rebirth, I was definitely an astronomer in a past life. Or maybe a space traveller from another realm- the possibilities are endless 😉 and it’s fun to imagine and wonder.)

 

:reading:

This week I have been re-reading Tova Mirvis’ “The Book of Seperation” which is EXCELLENT. I got sent a review copy and read it during the whole Irma thing, and it was so good that I wanted to re-read it as soon as I got a chance to really sit down and focus on it. This week I dug back in and it is such a great book.

It’s a memoir of how Mirvis decided to leave her Orthodox Jewish faith, and part of that meant leaving her marriage because it was formed based on the idea that both she and her husband would practice and raise their kids in the faith- their faith was almost a third partner in their relationship. So she basically had to let go of everything in order to find her own way.

Her story and the beautiful way she wrote about the agonizing struggle to be herself vs. the dutiful wife and daughter who followed all the rules resonated a lot with me right now- a lot of the book was about Mirvis living through the difficult question of whether or not the people she knows still love her and respect her if she decided to leave the faith and choose her own way. I’m sort of doing that now with my parents- can they love and accept me if I finally decide that the person I am and the person I want to be doesn’t match up with the person who *they* want me to be? Does it mean I’m a bad person if I decide that my own well-being is more important than their approval? Can I still have a relationship with them if we don’t see eye to eye on this thing that they so believe in (their vision of the person I should be) but I know is invalid for me?

Great book- I highly recommend it.


:hearing:

When I cleaned out my iTunes folder, I rediscovered two of Tori Amos’ albums I’d sort of forgotten about: “From the Choirgirl Hotel” and “To Venus and Back”. They are both sort of eerie and spacey and creepy and for some reason they completely slipped off my music radar. I’ve been listening to a lot of songs from them and they give me goosebumps. I haven’t listened to any of Tori Amos’ recent stuff (I kind of gave up after the three albums she put out in the 2000’s didn’t resonate with me at all) so I don’t know if she’s ever gone back making music that’s similar to the songs on those two albums, or if those two albums are just outliers.

I found a bunch of other stuff during my iTunes clean out, as well- a lot of Talking Heads songs I had as random mix songs that I’m now completely in love with, REM’s brilliant album “Murmur” (I think “Pilgrimage” is one of my favorite songs of all time- it’s just perfection), and a newfound obsession with some of the early B-52 songs (Rock Lobster, Planet Claire). Not just the songs, the whole thing they had going on in early 80s. I watch their old videos and performances and they *astound* me. So creative and fearless. So very inspiring to me right now. Plus, I love how Jetsons they all look.

The B-52s in 1979

Hope you had a good start to the week. ❤☀

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