Tis The Season

Every year around this time, I seem to take a nose dive into the abyss of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). I am uncertain how many years I have suffered, but I became acutely aware a few years ago. During my first recognized bout, I decided that I no longer could visit the grocery store for my weekly supplies. Before I even noticed I had a problem, I found myself in the local store parking lot lacking the will to get out of my car and walk through the doors into the chilled arena. I sat in my car for an unspecified amount of time, losing the battle, driving home with an empty car and eventually empty stomach.

Knowing that my daughter had to eat and fearing child protective services knocking on my door, I resorted to ordering all my groceries online and had them delivered. The amount of time selecting each individual item from the list on the website most likely took me much longer than driving to the store and doing it myself. The more frequently I placed orders, the easier it became. The website remembered my order from week to week. When my groceries were delivered, I felt judged by the person who dropped off my goods after the realization I was not elderly.

As I unpacked the items, I always would remember the one item I forgot. All orders had to be over $50.00, so I would do without until next week. That year was the winter of delivery. When the sun returned in March, I was able to get in my car, drive to the store, and walk through the doors without a second thought.

I know this will happen every year, but I feel there is little I can do to change the months of darkness that I tend to wade through. Each season tends to bring about different nuances of this abjection. Luckily, in the last few years, grocery shopping has not been affected. Surprisingly, I don’t stay in bed or miss work, and I keep up on my running and the gym .

Last year, during my long runs I had to change my running course for those 3 months. I had an overwhelming urge to jump from one (or maybe two) of the bridges. I knew I would not take the plunge. I didn’t classify myself as suicidal, but just incredible curious about the water below. Perhaps I wanted to see if I could beat the 50/50/50 rule. The rule says that a 50 year old has a 50% chance of surviving 50 minutes in 50 degree water. I figured I was close enough to the 50 year old mark to give it a go.

Interestingly, researchers have found the urge to jump off a bridge or veer off a mountain side cliff is surprisingly common. A not so recent study found that this urge to jump occurs in both people who report to having suicidal thoughts and people who have never shown this self destructive urge. This is referred to as the “high place phenomenon.” Every time I am up high, I want to plunge to the floor below. It is terribly freaky to have the impulse to do this every single time I am up high.

I describe it more like a Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) that makes me feel obsessed with plummeting. There are many theories regarding why this happens, but they are exhausting to list as they might only partly apply. However, since all I could think about while running across the bridges was to leap over the side, I decided to not temp fate and stay on one side of the river. When the light returned in the Spring, I could then resume my runs across the beautiful bridges without the overwhelming thought of hurdling over the side.

Unfortunately, this lovely season is upon me once again and I feel the effects. I am still grocery shopping and I am running across the bridges, at the present. However, this seasonal affliction tends to make me look up at the universe and challenge it to maybe smite me. Or I have the urge to lay in my front yard, cover myself with the falling leaves, and become one with the earth. However, all the while I am conflicted with the need to start Thanksgiving prep, Christmas shopping,decorating, and then attempting to ring in the New Year with some sort of positive attitude. Thinking, at the same time, each winter is just one big disastrous ground hog day where I always see my shadow causing me to white knuckle through weeks of complete feculence.

I am doing my best to cope at the moment. I oscillate between half-assing and not giving a shit to wanting to wrestle someone. My chosen sparing partner can be willing or unwilling. I’m not picky. I believe I have three months until my light will come back on. I am only half terrified of what will transpire between now and then. My other half, that is not terrified, doesn’t care about such things. This is the half that has the urge to poke a sleeping bear or try to start or break up a drunken bar fight, depending on the night and the bar. I should be on the hunt for vitamin D and a SAD therapy lamp, but I’m not. However, if you happen to have one or both those items, I’ll wrestle you for it.

Have a Mother F***ing Great Day!

The two blocks I walk from the parking lot to the office isn’t far. Two blocks seem pretty insignificant when you think about it, especially when considering Portland blocks. They seems to be much smaller when compared to the streets I walked in Philadelphia. However, the encounters that occur within these short blocks are not inconsequential.

I have seen more naked body parts, people sleeping on the sidewalks, an occasional  person in the process of vomiting, people urinating, and even had a women take a swing at me. Most of these events take place before 9 o’clock in the morning. Way too early to bob and weave and I am not sure there is ever a good time to view a stranger’s penis, I believe.  Sometimes all this happens before my first cup of coffee, so I consider my surviving the blocks to the office an overwhelming accomplishment. Nonetheless, I doubt the consumption of coffee, prior to or after, would soften the impact. However, I would like to think that having a healthy level of caffeine induced agitation might give me the upper hand with some of these encounters.

A few years back, I walked by a man as he was urinating on a parking meter. This man actually lives in the building located right next to my office. He literally was urinating 100 feet from his apartment. I glanced in his general direction, trying to make sense of what I was seeing and apparently this was upsetting to him. He began yelling at me in an animated manner. Of course, I did not react, as I really didn’t want to have a conservation with this guy while he was holding his willy in his hand, and I didn’t have the time to wait until he put it away. I suspect our discussion would not have had a productive outcome anyway.

Interestingly, this man has become part of most of my mornings as I walk by his building and into my office. He is incredibly verbal. He stands, typically, leaning on a parking meter, muttering to himself about various topics. His unrest is just below the surface. After the urinating incident, it seems he decided to put me in a special category. When I pass by, he pays close attention. If I glance in his general direction, he will almost instantly go on the defensive and he calls me a “mother f!@%er*”.  I didn’t immediately understand these two words were directed at me until I noticed that every time I glanced over at him he throws them my way.

At first, I was sorry that I agitated him. I would go out of my way to avoid upsetting him. I would look down and walk fast. Being the source of anyone’s irritability, especially in my line of work is not uncommon. I have to admit I do become a bit numb to being the unpopular person in the room. Maybe that’s why I  sometimes  would forget myself and look his way and boom!  He’d toss those two words right at me. I would feel bad. To be clear, I did not feel bad for me, but for him. To be the source of anyone’s displeasure, either irrational or real, makes me uneasy even if I might be a little numb to it.

However, something changed after I accepted a new position at my job. Now I go into the office much more and I tend to have the same level of agitation brewing just under the surface. I noticed he does stop what he is doing and he does focus on me as he sees me approaching. Now when I see him, I look directly at him. I attempt to make eye contact and like friction to a match, I hear those two magnificent words hurled right at me. This interaction is quick and there is no escalation. All I know is that when I do not see him on my way to work, I don’t feel quite right. These two words are like heroin in the veins of an addict. It just feels so good.

I have not seen him for about a week and I am as concerned for his well being as I am for mine. I am hoping that this unseasonable cold weather has kept him in his apartment, keeping warm. Nonetheless, his self care is impacting my morning routine. All the coffee is not giving me the dose of optimism I get by hearing his daily affirmation. I suppose I am a bit like a masochist, but with words.  I am willing to accept that good morning and good day do not do a darn thing for me anymore. If you see me out there, don’t waste your breath on me by using an empty greeting. If you are willing to accept that I need to have a good morning too, then by all means…I cannot wait to see you.





Don’t Be Koi

A few months ago, I met up with my friend and we ate at a local sushi restaurant. We decided to dine outside and we were sat at a table near a fountain that contained some Koi fish. The sound of the fountain, the the red flashes from the swimming fish seemed nice enough. Throughout dinner kids would walk up to take a look at the fish, so I decided to take a gander after I finished eating.

As I walked over, I thought about how relaxed I was after sitting in ear shot of the trickling water, and pondered the long term effects of having a fountain with fish might be something I would like to incorporate into my lifestyle. I made it to the fountain and looked in. As I  leaned over the edge, I saw about 12 fish staring up at me. The Koi were wide eyed and looking at me. All were opening their jaws wide like a yawn and then closing their mouths in a manner that seemed nervous or anxious. Every fish was looking in my direction with this intense need or want in their eyes. I couldn’t tell which, as I often get want and need confused on a regular basis.

The fish held my stare for longer than I wanted and for every second that passed I became ridden with the weight of their expectations.  I felt immediately guilty I would never be able to live up to the standard they were setting fourth with their pleading gazes. I am certain they were only wanting food, but the intense look in their eyes made it appear like they wanted something more.  As I walked away, I realized that I needed to, or is it wanted to… go back to therapy.

I replayed their incessant gazes throughout the evening after leaving the restaurant, much like the replays during a football game. It was similar to the plays that are reviewed over and over, either horrific or amazing, depending on the circumstances. I am not sure what spurred my mind to do so, but in several of the replays if I concentrated enough, I swear, with my limited fish lip reading skills,  one fish actually mouthed, “I need school clothes!” I never considered that a Koi pond would be the measurement for me to understand the state of my mental health, but it seems so.

I haven’t returned to this restaurant yet, but plan to as I used to frequent this place a bunch. I can only surmise I have been waiting for it to get cold enough that there is no chance that I would have the choice to sit outside. Knowing myself the way I do, I would most likely choose to have a second encounter with the fish, if only, to gain some type of understanding about the current state of my mind. However, I am not certain my mental fortitude is in a place where I can withstand the weight of the agonizing gazes that wait for me in the bubbling water.








I’m Not Going to Eat Your Face!

I recently cleaned out my pantry and came across several uneaten chocolate Easter bunnies. It appears that they were a collection of my daughter’s and my past leftover Easter goodies, and this family of bunnies seemed to multiply with as much ease as the  real ones. I had about 5 in total and I didn’t feel comfortable with all those eyes staring  back in my general direction, but I could not bring myself to eat them or throw them away.

Since I can remember, I have always had a problem with eating candy that were made in the image of any particular animal. I felt horrible chomping off a leg, ear or arm. Every time it made me over think the joy of the simple sugar rush. This issue was brought up yearly for me when commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Easter bunnies and Jesus. Perhaps I have issues with eating chocolate Easter bunnies  due to guilt over my general religious apathy.

However, tying this to religion would most likely make it more complex of an issue than it really is for me. I have tried in the past to ignore the intense pain of sadness as I rip the bunny’s ears off, leaving the rabbit looking like it is a severally injured with a head wound that proves fatal for both of us. I get weepy, and somewhat despondent every time. It ruins my day and I spiral for a few hours, feeling like a murdered the real animal.

I don’t believe in most of my attempts to fully enjoy this holiday, I have made it past the ears. I have tried to go at it in the other direction, starting with the feet, but this leaves me feeling no better. I get sad and the more I look at what I did, the more I self loathe about my decision to wound this poor animal. I strive to belong to the group of people who can rip off the bunny’s head and chew it to pieces without a second thought. I hope to get there someday.

The most conflicting part of this for me is how much I love those candy eyeballs some bunnies come decorated with, and I can’t resist. I have made the mistake of picking one or both of those eyes off and eating the candy, leaving my bunny winking or blind. And it torments me.

This really does not make a lot of sense, since I have no problem eating any type of meat, poultry, or fish. However, I have sobbed at a restaurant when I mistakenly ordered quail, after it was delivered to my table looking like the tiny bird that it is most certainly.  I also realize I can’t eat a whole baked fish when the head is still on, as it gives me a shaming stare from my plate. No thank you, lesson learned.

Those happy expressions staring back from these candy animals, and the fact that they has no anticipation of fear at all for what is coming their way. It gets me. Next Easter, I might leave the bunny on the store shelf and find other things that  will fill my daughter’s basket, but I don’t want to deprive my daughter of this yearly soul crushing joy. For me, I will pretend not to notice when the bunny goes missing, and I’ll believe that it happily hopped away.






Like a Dog

I often fantasized about what it would be like to be a dog. Especially, on any given Monday morning. I would much rather stand guard over my house, and never leave it, ever. To have someone feed me every meal, tell me how good I am, and invite me into bed every night to cuddle. Well, that sounds almost like heaven.

I imagined I’d be a lady of leisure, only pretending to watch the house. Letting my person dress me up in dresses, overalls or tutu’s. Wearing wigs, of my person’s choosing, and giving permission to paint my nails without any fight. No shame here. In my mind, I would have even greeted him or her at the door and quite possibly peed a little.

Days full of naps and nights full of mindless sleep, without one damn little care in the world. My only wish would have been for a doggie door. I don’t think I want to be escorted to a bathroom. Dogs always look so pathetically vulnerable squatting in front of others.

I surmise I would have derived some pleasure while watching my person pick up my hot turd, with a flimsy piece of plastic. Especially, if I was forced to poop in public. Conceivably, wishing for a small, unnoticed hole in that bag. I am certain I would have been a little, bitchy dog that growled and wagged my tail when someone petted me.

What could be better than being a dog I thought? I might have even been okay with the spaying and neutering. The thought of getting a bone now and then without any worries seems pretty nice, and I can’t count how many times a day I find my dogs “grooming” themselves. I thought I’d be just fine in the canine form.

However, this past weekend I took both my dogs to the vet for a check up and all this fantasizing about being a dog came to a halt. The visit was normal enough at the start. The doctor was thorough. I actually never encountered a vet who attempted to build rapport with a dog. He inspected teeth, fur, joints, and eyes. I even felt the urge to run around the room with my dogs, so he could watch their gaits, hoping to win a ribbon or two.

After finishing with most of the checkup, the vet then disclosed that he would end the appointment with the needed vaccines and a anal examination. In my years of owning dogs and the countless check ups attended, I don’t recall this ever happening. I was immediately anxious for my dogs. If I went to my doc for a physical, I would be a bit concerned with an announcement of an anal probing. This would be something that would have to be discussed many, many days prior to the appointment, and I still might cancel anyway.

For some unknown reason, I decided to pay serious attention to my dogs during this part of the exam. I stared intently in to my dog, Rainy’s face (before, during and post anal exam), and then did the same with my second dog, Jazzy, locking eyes with her. I am not certain what I initially was looking for in my dog’s faces. Fear? Protest? Maybe a raised eyebrow? I don’t know. However, I realized after this procedure I most likely have changed my mind about wanting to be a dog.

If I didn’t know it was happening at the time, I would have never been able to guess. Both of my dogs did not react at all. Nothing. Not a whimper, a yelp, or even a growl. There was absolutely zero recognition they had experienced a finger up their bums. I believe I need to be of a species that is capable of acknowledging when their posterior has been breached, good or bad.

As I reflect on this past appointment, I am still not 100% percent certain I have changed my mind. There are variables I need to consider. The vet could have had a gentle touch. I am sure he must conduct these sort of examines daily, and might be an expert. I mean, he did not wine or dine them or bring them flowers, but the dogs didn’t seem to mind in spite of it.

Perhaps my dogs are just used to having their butts be the center of attention, especially seeing how dogs greet each other. Maybe they have friends with poor boundaries and are frequently subjected to an overly inquisitive nose. Or my dogs could be two dirty bitches, outliers from the norm. I will never know. But I didn’t feel right about being a spectator, despite my intrusive attention to both of my dogs in the moments of this event.

On the way home from the vet appointment, I kept looking at both my dogs in the rear view mirror while driving them back to our house. They both were innocently sitting in the back seat glancing out the window with tongues a wagging, not a care in the world. I felt the need to process with them, but they seemed perfectly unaffected. I realized I was the one who was not the same.

I was then reminded of an old friend of mine who dropped acid a bunch of times and told me that after he came down from his high, he never felt the same. He told me his whole reality shifted after each drug induced trip. I finally understood what he meant now. Who knew that dropping and acid and watching my pets’ anal examinations would produce the same affect. I believe that next time I will use the “just say no” slogan to being a spectator and my “trip” will include walking from the examination room to the waiting room.

Root Lessons

My job has been a point of contention for the past several months. Prior to this I loved my job. I never dreaded Monday, ever. However, presently I dread Monday through Friday. I recently took a vacation to get a much needed break and then added a sick day to further contemplate my work situation. On the way to drop off Ella at school on my last day off, I asked my seventh grader if she would rather switch jobs completely or go for a supervisory role in a job that has been causing strife. Ella stated neither, ” I don’t ever want to do what you do.” Touche, Ella. I don’t either, but here I am.

With the whole day ahead of me I had so much optimism. I decided since I had all this extra time I would dye my own roots instead of going to the salon. In the midst of this adventure, I remembered an incident in 2nd grade when my the teacher asked me to correct some papers. I never was asked to be a helper, mainly because this teacher didn’t particularly like me. I wore glasses and I would sometimes forget them in the morning and would come to school without. This teacher would yell at me for forgetting. I remember being anxious on the bus when I would realize I didn’t have my glasses on days I forgot.

When I would arrive at school the teacher would zero in on my naked face and yell, “Where are your glasses!?” with more emotion and contempt then necessary to be honest. I would try to tell her that I didn’t need them to see, but to correct a condition that is called a strabismus. This is when an eye turns in due to a muscle weakness issue and the glasses are supposed to help. Unfortunately, as a 2nd grader I don’t believe I knew the term or was good at communicating my health issues to this teacher, because she was always super pissed about my lack of glasses. On one particular day, she asked me to hand out papers, but then grabbed them out of my hands stating loudly ” Oh, forget about it, you can’t see!” Oh, Miss Horn, I could see. I could see that you were a wretched bitch, but I am getting off subject.

The day she asked me to grade some papers I was over the moon. I remember the grading utensil was this awesome wax red pen that needed to be peeled instead of sharpened. I felt pretty important. However, I realized when I was grading the other papers, I had the right answers misaligned when I was comparing them to the students’ answers and marked several papers with LOTS of red before I realized my mistake. There was no way to correct all the red. Well, I felt the same panic today while I was attempting to dye my roots. I was so far in there was no turning back before I realized I was in way over my head. I just had to keep going in spite of myself.

If my teacher would have seen the disaster that occurred in my bathroom today, she would have confirmed, not just by the forgetting of the glasses and wrongly marked papers, she was right. The little shit couldn’t see! No glasses would have helped me today. My lesson is no matter how bad your work is going don’t dye your own roots.


I sit here today in this coffee shop assessing the carnage that 2018 has left in its wake. I try to start each year out with the best intentions, and I rarely think that a entire year is just bullshit. Don’t get me wrong, there were a few bright spots in this one and I can count them. I am thankful for them. Otherwise, I might be playing my ukulele on a street corner, in a aggressive, agitated manner singing lyrics to off color themes that somehow suit only me. Just like a true musician.

My New Year’s resolution have typically been to lower my standards. I don’t believe it is possible to lower my standards to depths that have never been attempted in order to ring in 2019. My standards are presently at rock bottom, and to get any lower I will need to dig a hole. Seems too optimistic for me to pick up a shovel to start digging today, but I think I will keep the shovel close by, just in case.

2018 has hurt my feelings, my spirit, and I think it even called me fat. 2018 has been that toxic friend that came to my house hungry, ate my cooking and then told me that my food gave them explosive diarrhea all over my bathroom. The aftermath to be cleaned by me. I am still scrubbing, but I just cannot get ride of the stench of 2018. Not yet.

As grateful and thankful as I want to be, I feel I need to send 2018 off in a manner that is fitting, at least to me. 2018 has left me with a bad attitude and a unrelenting right eye twitch. I am presently seeking a level of Botox that has never been tried in order to quiet my twitch and any or all emotional responses that 2018 tends to evoke. I am hoping that if I happen to shed a tear in public again, all witnesses would think that it is just due to my inability to blink in a manner that seems consistent. I would like the Botox to give the impression to others that I am relaxed, calm, composed, happy or dead. Whatever works.

With my Botox doing its job, I will be there tonight counting down the end of 2018, maybe a little too loudly. I will not try to dwell in the events of 2018 that shaped this year. I am not sure 2018 taught me any good lessons. Actually, 2018 reminds of a grade school gym teacher that liked playing dodge ball a little too much with the kids and I was the slow one with the welts. However,I’ll be there tonight anxious watching your demise. I will be the one with a drink in one hand and a shovel in the other, just in case.

A Ghost Story

I stayed in a old hotel in wine country that is said to be haunted by a man named John. Once I stayed here with my sister and she refuses to ever stay here again. She had an encounter in the bathroom of this establishment and for the rest of her stay, I had to go everywhere with her, including the bathroom. I never doubted my sister’s experience, I was actually over the moon about it. During my recent stay at this hotel, some interesting things happened that make me want to stay here more often.  The incidents were small and could be easily explained away by any skeptic. However, if I could get Josh Gates from Expedition Unknown to join me there for a weekend. It would be a dream come true.

I have been watching Josh Gates for years. For those who do not know of him and his TV shows, he investigates popular unsolved events. I started watching Destination Truth years ago.  Josh and his crew would investigate places that were said to be haunted and he would also hunt for evidence regarding mythical creatures like Big Foot and the Chupacabra. I found his show to be fascinating. I was addicted to Josh for a bit.

The other night while I was sleeping, I was awoken by unfamiliar sounds that I couldn’t figure out. At first it sounded as if maybe Ella left some magazines sitting on her bed and kicked them off in her sleep. I got up to inspect, but I found nothing that could explain the sound. This shuffling sound brought me to almost every room of my house, but I could not find the cause of the noise. By the time morning arrived, I was tired but excited about the possibilities of the cause of the sounds, until I wasn’t. I guess I was a bit slow, reluctant or just in complete denial to realize that the noises could have been caused by a mouse.

I’m a reasonable person, mostly. The prospect of my house being haunted was the less terrifying option to perhaps having a mouse. At least with a ghost you don’t really “have” to do anything, as long as it is not the dramatic “GET OUT” kind of phantom.  It could be a roommate of sorts that doesn’t need a bed. On hot days, you can request that it walks by at a regular pace, contingent your location, so you get the cold air conditioning effect that some tend to get when a spirit brushes past.

I could see us becoming close and forming some type of relationship where he/she will agree to be the big spoon at least 50% of the time, cause I like to be the big spoon too. Perhaps, that is a bit much, but if it wants to set my alarm clock off at weird times and throw things randomly across my room that’s just fine too. I doubt I would notice much, considering that I have 7 different active alarms set on my phone that go off weekly at odd times that I fail to inactivate, and my housekeeping skills are atrocious. A ghost would not change the dynamics of my household much.

However, the thought of having a mouse in my house is terrifying! Coming face to face with a mouse makes me weak. I might have to move or just burn my house to the ground. To set out on a mouse expedition seems too daunting. I mean, why would I cover the entire square footage of my home (it’s only 750 square feet, but this is beside the point) to find something I am not interesting in knowing I have, and then what? Do I put a collar on it, name it Carl and teach it to use the toilet?

I was sharing this concern with the man I am presently dating. I let him know that I was still hoping that my home was haunted and not adopted by a needy vermin. I was informed that he would break up with me if my house was haunted. I didn’t share that I most likely would be spooning with my ghost, so his decision seemed almost fair. I have been ghosted, but never dumped because of a ghost. Dating after this would be interesting, I wonder if I would put “must like ghosts” on my  online profile. Things to ponder.

He did offer to help me to get to the bottom of this mystery, and  he did not seem to be put off at all with the possibility of a wayward mouse. That’s something. If it was the other way around and he asked me to help him, I most likely would say, fuck this! You are on your own! It seems I feel the same way about mice as he feels about ghosts.

Do I really want to get to the bottom of the noises?  In my mind it was a mouse or a ghost. Either way, I lose. After the investigation, I will most likely have a new pet or have to update my dating profile. Both prospects are equally horrific in my mind.

As I said previously, I am a reasonable person. Most reasonable people would think that the likelihood of my house being haunted is slim to none, but most don’t know my luck.  When I see a bird sitting on a wire that I have to walk under. I have a small, but short internal battle with myself every time, because I want to force myself to walk directly under the bird with the hope of get crapped on, because I hear that it is good luck.  I believe that I am getting off on a tangent, but it’s important to point out that I am desperate enough to get shit on if it would make my luck go in a positive direction.

To be clear and to get back to the subject at hand, I don’t feel that having a ghost is unlucky, but going through the whole rigmarole of online dating is epitome of bad luck. I hope to change all this bad luck with either not having a ghost or a mouse. For now, I will just buy a Mega Millions  lottery ticket and take a walk. I’ll be on the look out for birds who look as if they have full stomachs, perched above.












I Made A Friend

Over 12 years ago I developed horrible stomach issues. I visited the doctor and had several endoscopy tests. I had so many of these tests that I actually looked forward to them, because I can’t express to you how much I LOVE the medication that is used for sedation. The medication used is Midozolam, it’s also called Versed.   This drug induces drowsiness, relieves anxiety and prevents one from remembering the events. How I love thee.

Every time I have a unfortunate lifetime event, I think about how if I were psychic and if I had endless access to this medication, well, life would be WONDERFUL. Every time I woke up after one of these procedures I felt as if my mind just had a vacation. I would leave from this outpatient incident feeling like a woke up from a month long vacation where I was not required to use my brain once. The reality was that I just didn’t remember any brain use. I find this equally blissful.

However,  once my mind recovered from its vacation after the procedure, my stomach would return quickly to its crappy state, and the test never told me what was the matter.  I tried eliminations diets, not allowing myself to eat or drink anything that made life worth living. Nothing really worked, and the only thing I regretted was the food, wine, and coffee that I restricted for as long as I did. I drank straight aloe vera juice, popped expensive probiotic pills like Tic Tac mints . Still nothing seemed to stop my stomach from churning in its sick like way. Imagine having a nauseous, upset stomach from sun up to sun down regardless of what was eaten. Even plain water upset my stomach.

I am not sure if I searched the internet or if a friend told me to try kombucha. For those who may not know what kombucha is, it is a drink made by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria. I started by buying a few bottles from my local grocery store. It became evident that after a few weeks that my stomach was acting less bitchy, so I bought more. However, at almost 4 dollars a bottle I thought deeply about making it by myself, and a friend eventually gifted me with a starter kit to make my own.

The kit is simple. It comes with a big glass jar, sugar, tea, and a SCOBY. A SCOBY stands for: Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. This is the one of the most necessary ingredients for making kombucha, aside from the glass, tea and sugar. The SCOBY comes in a small shape that looks like a round, tan frisbee. When all of these ingredients are put together, after a few easy steps, the fun starts.

I have been brewing kombucha for 10 months. The small SCOBY has grown, big. Actually, it’s massively terrifying.  I have two batches of kombucha brewing at the same time. I used the original SCOBY to make a brother or sister to keep the other one company.  They both sit in my living room, because it tends to be the warmest place in my home, next to my fireplace. Their placement also ensures that my guests don’t stay too long.

These fermenting vats look like a holding tank for the blob. If you ever saw the movie, you know what I am referring to. The movie frightened me as a child. The remarkable difference between the blob and the SCOBY is that the SCOBY looks more like flesh. Every week, I need to remove it from its home in order to harvest its hard work. I can’t help but get full body chills when I have to touch it. It seems to want to hold my hand when I grab it out of the jar.  I pretend not to mind. I don’t want to make it feel bad.  I’m sure it has grown some feelings over the last 10 months.

I also think it might have grown some sort of brain over the past several months, because it seems confident. I often tell Ella to seek math advice from SCOBY when she has homework.  At the least, I think SCOBY likes the conversation and simple math seems to be something that it might be able to manage.  SCOBY seems engaged during the conversations I tend to have with it. I wholeheartedly believe that it listens to everything that is said, kind of like Alexa or the Echo devices that people have in their homes. I can only assume at some point SCOBY will begin to answer my questions about what the daily weather forecast will be or maybe play my favorite song.  I have high hopes.

I believe that SCOBY will be my best companion as long as the temperature remains between 68-78 degrees Fahrenheit. Summer will be tough, I hope that our bond is strong enough to get through it without air conditioning as Portland summers keeps getting hotter and hotter. Once it grows arms, I have all these knitting patterns that we can try and I have an endless amount of weeds that it can assist me removing.  Now that my gut is cooperating, the options will be endless.







Don’t Forget To Bring a Towel

I cried at work yesterday. I cried while in the process of interviewing a person during an abuse investigation. I had to stop, because I, like some, do not have the ability to 7 not cry, ever. I am not saying I pride myself on this, but I have put some work in on deadening any and all emotions, over the past twenty some years, that my work can bring up. I consider yesterday a system’s failure of some sort or maybe it was a plumbing failure. I don’t know what happened, but I do know THAT cannot happen EVER again.

When I do not have total control over things that I typically have control over, I tend to lean to extreme measures on gain back the lost power. I am not unlike the dedicated religious folks that prove their love of HIM by self-flagellating or mortification practices. However, instead of attaching a razor to string and attacking my backside or deciding not to eat, speak or sleep on a floor without pillow, mattress or blanket. I just want to dig a hole and bury myself for an undisclosed amount of time. It was pointed out that burying myself might prove to be too difficult, and I typically never ask for help. Therefore, I have decided that I will just lay in my hole, face down, after a hard rain. This process probably will have to be repeated.

In addition to the time in my hole, I have also decided to institute another practice that will employ my friends, co-workers, and everybody that has to deal with me for more than 5 minutes. Recently, I was treated to the best massage I ever had. However, during the massage the masseur decided I was looking around “too much”, so he just threw a towel over my face. No words were spoken between us, just a towel thrown over my face without warning. It was fabulous.

I realize how wonderful this could be if I could repeat this towel over the face thing in other day-to-day life situations. I would provide friends with cold towels infused with herbal scents or warm towels, based on the circumstances. For example, while waiting in those long checkout lines at the grocery store, just throw a warm towel over my face. I’m always so cold in supermarkets anyway. I would calmly pass the time. Perhaps, this could also work during staff meetings, when told I need to add some ridiculous process to my already overloaded work responsibilities, just throw a cold towel infused with jasmine and chamomile directly over my face without hesitation. I would peacefully acquiesce. The scenarios are endless. I could bring towels everywhere. Under the towel would become my happy place.

There is something absolutely freeing about having a towel covering my face. It reminds me of the time in child’s development called object permanence when a child feels that they cannot been seen when they are covering their eyes. Having a towel over my face is interesting similar for me. Of course, I know that people can see me, but I like people not having the option of looking at or seeing my face. I do not like people giving the opportunity to see or read my emotions. If I could only wear a paper bag. In the meantime, I believe I will just train all who know and interact with me to throw a towel over my face at the onset of any emotion, mostly negative fervor. However, I will let the decision up to the towel holder until I spend enough time in my hole deadening all my emotional responses.