The Titanic Had a Plan, Too

Planning is part of my DNA.  Knowing a plan is just the tip of an iceberg was something I had to learn.

As I waited this past winter to move from Iowa to Oklahoma, I tried to imagine what difficulties might be in store.  I knew leaving my therapist and managing without one for a while (I finally meet her this week) meant working as many Tools as I could, including complete acceptance of where ever I landed on the bipolar scale each day.  I expected leaving my friends and UU church community might stir up some ancient loneliness and tendencies to isolate.  I imagined the culture of the Plains might take some getting used to, or that the food might be a little different.  I wondered if living closer to family would challenge my communication skills, my boundaries or shake up what I’ve come to consider my limitations.

What never even crossed my mind was the weather.

I knew it got hot here in the summer, but I was not ready for 95 degrees and 96% humidity the first week of May.

It stupefied me.  The humidity seeped into the crevices of my skull and expanded like Gorilla Glue.

My nephew, the rancher, gave me lots of good advice:  Get any running around done in the morning, then high-tail it home to air conditioning for the rest of the day.  I told him I must be losing weight with all the puddles of sweat in my shoes and no appetite.  He said he thought the same thing when he moved here back in his college days, but it never did work that way.

Well, shoot.

Now, Iowa can be hot and humid.  In fact, my friends tell me it is right now.  But, I don’t ever remember opening my front door at 7:00 in the morning and walking into a swampy cement wall.  It takes a moment or two to find the air and pull it into my lungs.  I feel like Ed Harris in The Abyss.

I can’t tell if my depression is worse because of the weather, or if it’s the normal run of my rapid cycling doing its thing.  I know I’m bored with my own whingeing and try to keep my mouth shut.  I must say it does help to hear locals complain and that the weather service issued a heat advisory yesterday.  It’s not just me, then, being a weenie.

Knowing my A/C will be on until October makes me worry about my expanding carbon footprint.  To that end, I’m determined to recycle and to look at other ways I can assuage my environmental guilt.

I know.  I’ll make a plan.  That will solve everything.

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Back at the Table

It’s been a long while since I sat at the studio table and fiddled with my piles of art fodder.  All I’ve been able to do for several months is doodle in my art journal—which is exactly what I needed to dissipate the anxiety and bipolar flares brought on by moving.

Spreading out in my new digs means using the living room as my studio, with a whole wall in the kitchen devoted to wet work (not the CIA/NSA kind).  All the supplies in the photo at right used to be crammed onto that little shelf unit on the far left and in the containers on the table.  How did I do that?

I’d become an expert in carving out space in my little 450 square foot apartment and fitting everything together like a jigsaw puzzle.  So much so that arrangement is still a little wonky here.  New space, new jigsaw.

I sent for an IKEA file cabinet and a two-drawer unit to sit on top.  Now I can file new techniques I want to try.  All the books I rip pages out of sit together.  All my vintage photos are within arms reach.

But, I didn’t christen the Studio for a long while.  And I didn’t worry about it.  Eventually, the stress would ease.  Eventually, the bits and bobs I love would call to me.

Of course they did.  And I went back to making the larger versions of my Penny Positives—little collage pieces on 3.5 X 2.5 playing cards. This morning I took pictures of the thirteen I’ve finished and put them in my Etsy shop.

It was a grunt.  Mornings used to be my most productive time, but I’m still struggling with early morning depression and thick mental fog.  Most days, that lifts.  Sometimes not.  But, I’m determined to tick one, small task off my To Do list each day and to reinforce a new routine.  Hard work, but necessary.

So, for anyone who was waiting for me to make those Penny Positive cards, there are a few in my Etsy shop now and more on the way.

Bit by bit, breath by breath, life, work and my mental shenanigans are finding their way back to the Table.

Pinch Me

Five days settled, which means I’ve ticked a few things off my Master List:

Furniture rearranged and boxes unloaded.  Check.

New bank account opened and changes reported to Social Security.  Check.

Internet connected and (HooHoo!) a Netflix subscription ordered.  Check.

Most important wall hangings up with the rest on hold.

I’m thinking more about fabric, fibers, flowing funk.  Must ponder this a bit.

Modest IKEA and summer clothing orders finalized.  Check.

Cats settling down and loving actual window sills that offer views of pregnant robins and mourning doves.

Today, I’m off to start applying for Medicaid, then browse a big antique mall for an idea that’s percolating.

I know its early days, but we all love it here.  We love the funky, older construction of the duplex, the friendly neighbors, the bend-over-backwards landlords, the wealth of shops and amenities, and the joy of family rediscovered.

So, pinch me.  I think I’ve come home.

(P.S.) My Etsy shop is open again (the link is in the sidebar at left).  Not that there’s anything new yet, but some folks wanted to know.  And there WILL be new stuff.  Soon.

Ignition

So long, Iowa.

Thanks for giving us eleven years of sanctuary and for teaching me how to live bipolar.

Next stop: Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Countdown to Muskogee . . .2

What to rescue from the Merry Movers tomorrow: cleaning supplies, cat supplies, overnight supplies for one more night in the (empty) apartment.

Last minute chores: prescriptions, laundry, clean out the refrigerator, final trash run, take the modem back to Mediacom (so long for now, Internet).

Breathe.

Countdown to Muskogee . . .3

It starts with a blast, like a 7th-grade tuba player. The door slams open. In flood the Lists, the Forgottens, the Hangnail Details. Tumbling like Bingo balls in the brain’s wire cage, rattling, spinning too fast to grab.

The bed gets too hot. All the achey body parts fight to be heard. Cats, sensing weakness, put on their high heels and walk on tender shins.

So, up. Grab the phone and drown out the din with Sudoku. Never let sleeplessness add to the chaos. Just let it in. Let it wear itself out.

Soon enough, the fuzzy drift starts. The bed, cooled off now, waits; the pillow, reshaped, whispers—delicious after starvation.

Countdown to Muskogee . . .5

 WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY
Until 4:00pm CDT, Sun Apr 15
 *
 MARSHALLTOWN, IA (50158)
as of 4:59 am CDT
26°
SNOW
feels like 13°
 *

Countdown to Muskogee . . .7

Last session with my therapist, Megan.

Tears and gratitude.

Countdown to Muskogee . . . 8

“. . . the ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self, the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.”

—David Whyte

Countdown to Muskogee . . . 9

Between bipolar-fed emotions and apathy.

Between nit-picky preparations and diversionary RedBox rentals.

Between reaching out for one, last, meaningful human interaction and being totally done.

As a Libra, my sign is the Scales. The alignment of the heavens stamped my forehead with “Balance.”  Bipolar disorder is the antithesis of balance, but maybe that was the message all along.

Seek. Hold the extremes and everything along the continuum. Notice. And try to ride the teeter totter with joy.

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