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Minikin's Journal

Routine Ramblings of an Occasionally Interesting Housewife

Dizzy died today
I posted something long and beautiful when Ouchie died. Tonight I'm just too tired to put together a full post for Dizzy. She was failing. Tigger got to spend all weekend with her last weekend. Tonight he was home to help bury her. Flood took it okay until now. She'll have to sleep alone tonight and she's not happy about it.

Tomorrow I'll write what Dizzy deserved.

Flar Hates Flood
Well, that’s what he says anyway.

Picture of Flood as a puppyFlood arrived at our back doorstep during a heavy downpour, when she was only 6 weeks old. Knight and I noticed her when our outdoor cat, A picture of our outdoor cat, WerthersWerthers, was stalking her. The creek was out of its banks the next morning, so the kids suggested we call her Flood. At the time, we already still had two Scotties in the house: Dizzy and Ouchie. Dizzy is Tigger’s dog, and Ouchie was Critter’s. Flar thought two dogs were enough of a handful and didn’t want to keep Flood. Flood is my dog.

A picture of DizzyWhen we first got Flood, she was smaller than the scotties. They were litter-mates who had never outgrown puppy fighting. They taught Flood how to fight and stole her food. When she got bigger than they, she would stand her ground and fight them when she thought they were after her food. Her worst trait now is aggressiveness toward other dogs. She’s relatively well-behaved in neutral territory on a leash, but when we established a picnic blanket at the dog park she fiercely guarded it. Sigh.

A picture of OuchieFlar grew up with only Scotty dogs for pets. Another strike against Flood is that she is tall enough to reach food on the kitchen counters. Our first Scotty, Quatre, was so well-behaved that you could put a plate of pizza on the couch next to her and she wouldn't eat out of it. (Unless you told her it was for her.) Flood considers anything that is “abandoned” in the kitchen to be fair game. She will also loom over you while you’re eating, in case you need help finishing. When she’s on good behavior, she will sit and stare at you. Since she’s sitting and attentive, she looks like a good dog to those who don’t know her better. ;)

Flood’s name is ironic, as she was much easier to house train than the scotties. Their attitude is, if you’re not in the room, it’s a reasonable relief zone. They ask to go outside by staring at you for maybe 5 seconds, then wandering off to find privacy. Flood will start with staring, progress to whining, then actually bark if you ignore her.

When Flar was growing up, his family’s scotties didn’t bark. Quatre didn’t, Zesty only did to ask in (for herself AND Quatre, it was the daughter’s job apparently), but Dizzy and Ouchie barked for pretty much any reason. They taught Flood to bark. Flar holds it against Flood, not the scotties.

Flood has a bad habit of slamming against the back door to try to open it. That used to work until we started using the dead bolt. The door is steel with a glass panel the length of it. Apparently strong stuff, since it’s still there. In an attempt to break her of this, Flar taught Flood to bark to come in .. by letting her in at the first bark. But he didn’t ignore the slamming — he yelled at her for it. Now she is much more likely to bark than slam, but he won’t let her in either way. And he complains about the barking.

A picture of Flood on the couch where she sheds.Scotties shed their hair in a manner more similar to people. It kinda collects in corners as dust bunnies until sweeping happens. Flood is a short hair and sheds more like a porcupine. She loves the car, but the first thing she does when she gets in is release hair in a cloud like a porcupine shooting its quills. [*]Right -- they can't actually shoot their quills, but I swear she shoots her hairs. Her hairs appear to be equipped with micro-barbs, as they are very difficult to get out of fabric once they set hold. Flar is allergic to cats and not dogs, but he claims to be allergic to Flood’s hair.

Flar calls Flood names and jokes about killing her. But way, way back… In 2005, I got the privilege of taking the boys on a train vacation, circling from Cincy via Chicago to LA, San Antonio, Orlando, DC and back to Cincy. While we were on the leg to San Antonio, Flar was hospitalized with pneumonia. He was released after an overnight, but he was still pretty weak. The next day, Flood got hit by a car. Our house is pretty darn close to our road, the traffic rarely stays under the 35 mph limit, and there’s a hill on the approach from the west that obscures our section of the road until right before you get to it. Flood had gotten out and was ignoring Flar’s attempts to retrieve her. She was hit before the driver could stop. There was a lot of blood. It was late evening.

Flar picked her up and drove her to the emergency vet. They put her in doggy ICU in critical condition. They gave her antibiotics and pain meds. She had a pneumothorax for which they had to stick a big needle in her side to release the air and allow her lung to reinflate. She didn’t end up with any organ damage, but she had a lot of internal bruising.

A picture of Flood napping on Flar's lap.Flar got to stress about how expensive it is to care for a doggy emergency. He got to carry her when he had decreased lung function. He stayed up most of the night she was hit. It all put him back at least a day on his own recovery from illness.

But he saved her life.

Right, he “hates” Flood.

And wow, re-reading old journal entries to figure out when all this happened? It’s amazing he kept my whiney self.

This has been an entry for the home game edition of The Real LJ Idol writing competition: the Final Season, Topic 18 : disinformation.

On preferring calm
I used to be an adrenaline junky. Okay, I played with other natural substances too. I seriously believe that I managed to screw up my personal endorphin delivery system by flooding my brain with far too much of it, far too often. I only have to take one prescription SSRI, and it tends to keep me on an even keel. But I get to be extra careful with stuff that messes with the brain. Alcohol, caffeine, pain (and the lovely natural response to it), ditto for sex, and sigh, even roller coasters. And I'm supposed to get more exercise.

I’m working my way back to normal human being level of consumption for various of these pleasures. I can drink one serving of red wine without getting a migraine. Maybe two servings of distilled spirits. But that’s okay; my tolerance is way down, so now I’m a cheap drunk. It’s funny how quickly one can forget how good pain felt, but I am returning to the lovely burn in my muscles after a good swim or other physical workout. All the work I’ve done on riding out headaches instead of medicating seems to be carrying through to riding out pleasure as well. Spreading it out and away from the fragile grey matter.

But I could do without out stress hormones. I used to play with fear. Now I do what I can do avoid uncertainty and try to ride out the unknowns that I can’t answer.

But there’s no boxes left to prep and it’s only Tuesday. Tomorrow is going to be a “training” day. I pointed out to S that I’m not cross-trained on scanning, and she countered with “but You trained Me!?” Thus the quotes. When we got in the new software, we didn’t cross-train on all of it, cause they brought it in when we had hundreds of boxes in the pipeline. Hundreds of boxes that would need indexing. So I got to stay in my nice comfortable hole. Tomorrow I get to climb out and be all generally competent again. And hope for more boxes.


Looks like I’m going to be sleeping in again on Thursday.

This has been an entry for the home game edition of The Real LJ Idol writing competition: the Final Season, Topic 17 : "Scare Quotes"

Living in Paradise
"Now and in time to be, Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born."

-- William Butler Yeats

My ear doesn't so much hurt as there's this annoying pressure on the wrong side of the tympanic membrane. And the drops taste terrible.

I was two WEEKS old when I got my first ear infection. Not two months or two years like many other children. My mother found out early on that infants in pain do not a pleasant sound make.

I was seven when I started taking allergy shots at my ear doctor's recommendation. And got my tonsils removed 'cause they were no longer fighting for the side of good. I never got tubes in my ears like some kids, but my left ear made its own similar opening, by healing into a flap instead of a closed hole after one of the countless infection-related perforations.

Some people merely enjoy the role sinuses play in reducing the weight of the skull [*]Yep, it would either be solid bone or empty space. Empty space has gotta connect to the outside for various biological function reasons. So why have the skull bigger than than the space of the other stuff? Cause rounded surfaces shed impact more effectively. I listen to a lot of weird comparative biology podcasts. and providing a useful place for air in the skull to minimize the effects of pressure changes. Then there are those of us who suffer from allergies.

That handy mucous usually just traps dust in the sinuses and ferries it out of the body through painless & unnoticeable drainage. But for some of us, it increases in volume and viscosity and just serves as a growth medium for anything that wanders in.

My nose never ran; my eyes didn't water -- the pressure just built up into sinus headaches that were my only symptom of allergies. The allergy shots don't work fast. The most successful strategy is removing/avoiding the allergens.

Not so very long after I started taking allergy shots, we moved to Iceland. One of the fun facts I learned about Iceland in 1969 was that there were no native trees; every tree growing there was an import. The volcanic island is young in terms of botanical development. There just wasn't all that much for me to be allergic TO. When my serum ran out, Mom and Dad didn't bother to arrange for more.

We moved to California. Sure, y'all are thinking lush green blah blah blah. Let's face it. California is a desert run on mountain run off and imported water. We lived in a bedroom community [*]It's a pretty common term in states where glorified subdivisions can get full fledged township status. Nowadays there's business in Foster City, but back then, the only retail was the kind you find in a residential subdivision of a town. built on new land formed into lagoon centered designs on the edge of the SF bay. No real dirt to speak of, so much as sand. It was great for growing backyard carrots - except for the occasional shells that carrots grew through. But not so many mature trees. And not the same species of grasses that I'd been allergic to in Houston. Combine that with the humidity -- low except for the night fogs, and most of my personal allergens were still scarce.

Then we returned to Texas, where my allergies took hold mightily. But I didn't resort to the shots again until we moved to Kentucky. Don't let anyone fool you. This may be called the Bluegrass region, but that grass is green. Louisville is currently number one worst city for allergy sufferers.

Lucky for me, six years of allergy shots did the trick and I can generally survive medication- free.

We live in Paradise, but each year when Spring starts reviving the bare trees and brown grass of Winter, to allergy sufferers, it is indeed the rebirth of a terrible green beauty.

This has been a home game entry for The Real LJ Idol writing competition: the Final Season, Topic 16 : A Terrible Beauty has been Born.

Date Night, Act 2
[Note for audio readers.]Note for audio readers. This is a conversation between two individuals; in order to be more inclusive to varied gender couples, I have not included narrative to differentiate the speakers. Instead, I've used visual formatting which places one speaker to the right of the page, and the other to the left. For listeners, please keep in mind that the speaker changes at each paragraph break.

"I can NOT believe I sat through that."

"It was better than huddling in the rain with miserable dogs."

"I told you, that freak storm came outta nowhere! So what was up with that stage?"

"They’re a low-budget, experimental troupe."

"Yeah, I got that from the lighting scheme - they had two settings: night and just before dawn."

"The settings were represented."

"Yeah, all at once. Couldn’t they afford grips?"

"It’s part of the minimalist gestalt. You bring in all the scenery, all the props — the actors never leave the stage."

"Oh, so that explains the hats. But I didn’t get the settings at all."

"Surely you recognized the setting for his soliloquy? The dawn light over the rose? You needed more?"

"Oh, I don’t know. Maybe some actual lines? And don’t call me Sherly."

"In a play so familiar, everyone could recite the lines for themselves."

"Ah, so THAT’s what all the murmuring was in the audience."

"Yeah, right about when you pulled out your cell phone and started texting."

"I wasn’t texting. I was ..."

"Already planning next week’s date, right?"

"No, I was ..."

"Too bad, because all the whining means you’re setting a higher bar for yourself next week."

"Junior League!"

"That was last month."

"Just tell me this, what was the deal with the dagger? Wasn’t it too short for a duel?"

"No, the crossed canes represented the duel; remember they spotlit those for the one plot-required outdoor day scene?"

"Oh, I thought that was lightning."

"The dagger ended the play — when it reflected the lamplight in red, she fainted as she grabbed it."

"Next week, I swear, the Planet of the Apes made-from-TV movie marathon in Eddy’s Basement!"

"You wouldn’t!"

[Description of Image]An image from the Prague tourism site, of Juliet discovering Romeo dead, in the ballet by Sergei Prokofiev.

This has been an entry for The Real LJ Idol writing competition: the Final Season, Topic 15 : Chekhov’s Gun.

Out of my shell
I hate small talk. I suck at it. When I was a bitty one, I was shy as all get out, and just kept my nose buried in a book. Kids don’t have to lead conversations, and it’s a no-brainer to answer kindly questions with monosyllables. We moved around so much, if I had a friend at all it was because she (or rarely, he) was outgoing and befriended me. Once we were friends, small talk wasn’t necessary. We could talk about real stuff. Like boys. Or what tongues taste like. Or whether the ducks really liked noise, or they knew it meant we were there with food. When I’m around family or friends, I can generally talk a blue streak.

The dentist chair is a place of relief. Direct questions, fingers in the mouth the rest of the time, no need to think up stuff to say.
The hairdresser, on the other hand? One popular slogan used to go “only my hairdresser knows for sure.” Yes, the ad campaign was for coloring products, but you’re in that chair for hours, depending on the process, and who knows what might come out of my mouth. I only get my hair cut once a year, and that’s not simply budgetary.

I’ve been accused of over-sharing. I guess I have two conversational modes: mum’s the word and open book. A bunch of years ago, I was in a hard place. I’d lost a relationship due to emotional chaos on my part, and while I’d sought medical treatment for the brain end of things, I was looking for more reliable emotional support. The kind where you can’t do damage by being needy, which meant I was looking past my remaining partners for an overflowing fountain of unconditional love, no hidden price tags. So I started going to church again.

Now, there’s a lot of folks that might argue against this being a surefire solution, but I lucked into a church that followed Christ’s teachings pretty solidly, without a bunch of the rigamarole and rules that have accreted since His time. Mind you, I crawled back into my shell big time. Sure God would love me no matter what, but we were dealing with people in the meantime. The paster seemed pretty okay, in fact kinda spooky, since every single sermon and drama seemed to be written especially for me. But it got kinda weird, going to church with just me, myself and I, and occasionally my older son — who approved of the music and the lateness of service time - 11:55am.

So I decided to join a small group. Nowadays they’re called life groups, cause they’re not so small anymore. I was working nights, so I got matched up with a group of ladies who met on Friday mornings. The first time I showed up, they introduced themselves, and I thought OMG that woman’s household is more full and complicated than mine. But the rest of the women did seem kind of churchy.. Lots of smiles, not people I’d spill all my ugly all over. So I came, I listened, I occasionally talked — shallow stuff, I'd learned a little about small talk by then. I mostly worked on staying awake, since we met about 2 hours before my ordinary wake-up time.

Gradually, I figured out that these ladies were real people with their own messed up places and craziness and that they cared about me. Eventually, I told my over-sharing level of story in group and later learned that I inspired “if she can tell her story, I can surely share mine” in more than one lady. I was finally in a place where I could answer “do your friends know?” with of course they do, it’s church!

Then I started working days and I had to change life groups. I'm still working on finding my comfort zone with a new set of ladies. But I know that any topic is open, and we share a genuine love for each other. That's what church communities are supposed to be all about.

This has been an entry for The Real LJ Idol writing competition: the Final Season, Topic 14 : Confession from the Chair.
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Hospitality, Love and Tolerance
The Yoo Hoo Lady

I’m a Navy Brat. When my Dad was stationed at the Air Force base is Keflavik, Iceland, I was 7 years old. We moved there before our home on base was available, so we started out in a duplex off base. Our neighbor was Icelandic. All I know about him was that he spoke English very well, he had a color TV, and he was a (*gasp*) Communist. It’s hard to remember what is was like during the Cold War, when all Communists were The Enemy. He seemed like a nice enough fellow. He was really helpful the day the Yoo Hoo Lady came to call.

It was a Sunday afternoon. My brother and I were playing in house quietly while Mom and Dad took their afternoon nap. For as long as I can remember, Mom and Dad napped on Sunday afternoons. It wasn’t until I grew up that I wondered if they actually slept during their so-called naps. Anyway, this particular afternoon, the quiet was broken by a strange call in the front of the house.

“Yoo hoo!” “Yoo hoo!”

My parents got up to investigate. There was a rather plump Icelandic women inside the front door. She appeared to be intent on rousing the household. Mom whisked my brother and I back into the living room, so I have the rest of the story secondhand.

Daddy was having difficulty understanding the Yoo Hoo Lady, so he went next door for help from Our Neighbor the Communist. It turns out that the Yoo Hoo Lady was drunk, and she came into our house looking for a bathroom. Once Daddy understood, he pointed her to the half-bath in the front hall, and then he and Our Neighbor the Communist helped her to leave when she was done.

We found out later that the customs of hospitality in Scandinavian countries are strong enough that anyone is to be granted entrance to a household if they need to use the toilet. This is why most of the house plans include a half-bath very near the front door.

Hospitality is valued very highly by many cultures, and it especially makes sense in those locales where to deny a guest entrance might mean their death - such as the very cold climes and the very hot, dry climes.

Sodom & Gomorrah

It’s been a while since I listened to a sermon about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, wherein the minister taught that the sin of the city was failing to provide hospitality. This was exemplified by the treatment of the Angels who visited Lot, but I don’t remember exactly how the treatment was a violation of hospitality.

What had always puzzled me was that Gomorrah is always included in the same breath with Sodom, and there is not even a confusing account of how they sinned. I once read a very entertaining essay about how the sin of Gomorrah was Boredom. I don’t remember any more of the details beyond Parcheesi and Charades.


When Christ was asked which is the most important of the commandments, he is said to have chosen Love:

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’"The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” [Mark 12:29-31 NLT]

His life was spent illustrating what truly it is to love. He loved without regard to person or sin, accepting and forgiving all who came to Him.

His most difficult teachings were regarding Forgiveness and Tolerance.

He did not withhold forgiveness from anyone, regardless of the depth of their sin. He called on us to do the same. Tolerance? More than that, we are called on to reserve Judgement only to the Lord. Judgement is not merely a selection of punishment. It’s the very definition of whether an act is a sin at all. If we are to leave this judgement to God, then how can we define anyone as a sinner? How do we, mere mortals, dare say that this act or that act is clearly sin or not sin?

Tolerance assumes there is sin to overlook. LOVE denies the action of judgement at all, and simply calls on us to extend understanding. When we draw lines, say that this action can go up to this line and no further, we deny the other our obligation of love. Some folks say “hate the sin, but love the sinner.” What is a higher ideal is to acknowledge any personal bafflement or distaste, acknowledge of hurts, but extend the search for understanding or admit our own limitations. Our own sin.

I may never be able to understand the hearts of those whose acts have caused great pain. That is as much my lack as any insufficiency in their hearts or minds.


What is more wondrous and completely alien from my understanding is the ability of God to do just that. Love the heart of each person, in spite of the brokenness inside.

This has been an entry for The Real LJ Idol writing competition: the Final Season, Topic 13 : Open Topic.

Dear Diary
Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.
- Dr. Seuss

Dear diary. Today I got to ride a pony! It would be so cool to have a pony of my very own. I would brush him and pet him and ride him and we would have so much fun together.

It's kind of fun to do the impossible.
- Walt Disney

Dear diary. I can’t believe which was more impossible. Climbing that bare hill, or stopping at just that kiss. I thought I would be stuck forever when I got to that bare spot, but there he was to pull me up, just when I needed it. How could I resist kissing him? How on Earth did I manage to stop kissing him?

There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is having lots to do and not doing it.
- Andrew Jackson

Dear diary. I can’t believe I managed to finish that paper on time. Two weeks to write it: to do the research, to outline it, write it all out, edit it back down, then type it out. But no, one afternoon at the library followed up by carrying around five books in my backpack for two weeks. Then staying up half the night with a six pack of soda, only to fall asleep with the typewriter still on top of me in bed.

What did I do with all that free time?

If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.
- Katharine Hepburn

Dear diary. How can it feel so good and yet be so wrong?

People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.
- Dale Carnegie

Dear diary. I love the look on people’s faces when I prattle on about the latest science discovery. “Why does she pull staples and type numbers for hours?” I can hear their inner surprise that I could be so smart underneath all the rote tasks. What other job could free my mind enough to live in the world of ideas all day?

Fun is good.
- Dr. Seuss

I fill my life with fun on purpose. The blackness can creep in when I’m not looking.

Somedays it’s great fun to play hooky for even an hour and shut out the world of do this, be that.

Do you want to play a game?

This has been an entry for The Real LJ Idol writing competition: the Final Season, Topic 12 : Barrel of Monkeys.

Hedging my bets
I’ve never much believed in the present predicting the future. Well, maybe more than my mother-in-law did. “Have you noticed that gas prices have been getting lower the further south we drive?” I commented, as we were driving to Atlanta. “Quick, stop here so we can buy five gallons!” Yeppers, it might start going back up at the very next stop. But only buy five gallons, to hedge our bets.

Flar used to play roulette, betting on the Big Numbers theory of probability. I’ll admit it was the worst grade I got in my math sci major, but I swear I remember Dr. Pfeiffer telling us that the Big Numbers theory is malarky. Nevertheless, Flar would wait to bet on red until black had hit so many times in a row. Me, I like splitting my money a gazillion ways to play multiple numbers on a single spin. He tends to come out ahead for the evening, but I get the more exciting stories.

Diagram of a roulette betting layout, with five purple discs marking my bets.  One disc is on the line between 1 and 2.  The second disc is on the corner between 2, 3, 5 and 6.  The third is on the corner between 8, 9, 11 and 12.  The fourth is on 16, and the fifth is on the line between 25 and 28.This particular evening, I was placing my bets on 12 numbers altogether using 5 chips. We were at a table with three other players. Two were just your average Las Vegas tourist, but the third was a beautiful young Asian woman, whom I’ll call Tai [*]in a list of popular Asian baby girl names, it means prosperous and talented. She was dressed in a silk cocktail gown, with her hair swept up in an elegant knot. She had been placing large bets on single numbers while we shared the table. I was enjoying the game: the chips spread over four numbers paid most frequently, but the bet split only two ways paid often enough to keep me playing. Flar commented that the only bet I had placed on a single number, 16, had yet to pay off.

Tai immediately put a hundred dollar bet on 16, covering my dollar bet. Both of the other players added one of their chips. At that point, Flar was the only one at the table who hadn't joined in. I explained that all of the numbers came from significant dates, and that the 16th was our wedding anniversary. At this remark, Tai gave Flar such a look. One of those steady stares that spoke volumes. She was obviously challenging him to join in, so he put down a five dollar chip on the stack.

The ball landed on 16, and the whole table cheered.

I kinda don’t play roulette anymore. I’ve got my one story.

This year started out with a series of medical challenges. I had a hysterectomy late last year, and the recovery-at-home time lasted through the first week of this year. Just as I was set to return to work, I got the flu. That put me out of commission for most of the next week. Then two weeks later, I broke and severely sprained my ankle. I am just now seeing the light at the end of this tunnel of recovery. If I were to judge by recent events, I’d be worried about what will happen next.

Instead, I’ve decided that three’s the charm and I’m done with being a couch potato. My doctor says it’s okay to get in the pool, so we added me to Flar’s club membership, and I’ve started swimming laps. My initial goal is 30 minutes, three times a week. So far, I’ve been to the pool thrice. The first time, I swam 10 whole laps. I thought that was pathetic until I found out how many calories I burned swimming those 500 meters. The second trip, I swam 12 laps. Today I managed 11. I don’t expect to increase my distance every time, but I’m determined to stick with it. There’s nothing like hobbling around on crutches and trying to hop on one foot, to make me finally lose patience with the extra 100 pounds of weight I carry around daily.

Picture of me going through the Orange Arch in the latest Color Me Rad 5K.  I'm already covered with pink and yellow constarch, and there's a pouf of orange cornstarch in the air around me.  My right hand is resting on the handle for my knee walker and my cane is visible, hanging from my purple basket on my walker.While I was still using the knee walker, I walked in a 5K color event. This weekend, Flar is going to walk with me in another 5K. I’ve earmarked five more to enter over the next five months, and I’m recruiting walking partners to keep me committed. I may have spent the last six months off my feet as much as I could wrangle, but this marks a new beginning.

This has been an entry for The Real LJ Idol writing competition: the Final Season, Topic 11 : Recency Bias.

10:59 pm

124 hours 5 minutes elapsed

4:02, 7:02, 7:30, 5:52, 4:48, 6:45, 4:10, 4:05, 5:34, 10:33, 7:12, 6:56, 5:18, 7:09, 8:21, 2:55, 3:12, 4:12, 4:09, 14:11 intervals.

14 hours 11 minutes. Too late to take a split dose; the ankle isn’t what hurts now anyway. Too late for the nausea — it won’t hurt to empty the waste bin before bed, though. Too late for water, but sips are in order. Late enough to try Excedrin. Protein & caffeine will help in the morning. Sleep would help. Maybe chocolate. One kiss.

Kisses on the forehead felt good. Quiet feels best, too late for dark. Too late for keys. Little pulsating backlit crystals of piercing pain. Good old-fashioned black on white, blue lines.

The journal is titled “Tears” and for years it’s lain empty. The truth is that when it’s really bad, the tears make focusing on pen and paper impossible. Even double spaced, grade school printing is beyond me.

Tears might help, but I’m already beyond the tears. The calm is there, in reach.

This is the last trial of the break that happened 111 days ago. Did I need the pain meds for this last surgery? Don’t know. Definitely not this long.

11:05 pm 14:17

Enough time invested now to stick to Aleve. After the Excedrin gets rid of the migraine. Until I’ve got my head back, it’s no alcohol, no opiates - okay none period unless I’m in “real” pain again, and opiates are never on tap for the migraines. Nothing to mess with the confused transmitters up there. Settle them down. Find calm.

Keep Calm PosterThere’s a certain zen place, a calm place, where pain is just another input. Square breathing. In. Out. Focused thoughts. The pain is there. Let it spread, attenuate, dissipate. Don’t let it pinpoint. Tense. Relax. Let the pain flow. Ebb. The release, the explosion that comes from focus and tension and building, that isn’t mine anymore. Pain is.

Keep calm and let the pain go. Flow, slow, oh. Let it wash away.

And bonus, journaling the sensation moderates it. Journaling about pain makes it an object to study rather than a torture to endure. Other sensations, emotions cause tears. I can explore these here as well.

This has been an entry for The Real LJ Idol writing competition: the Final Season, Topic 9 : Keep Calm and End This Meme.

Author’s note: 23 hours 21 minutes. The pain is gone, the walker is parked in the bedroom, and now there remains only the challenge of walking and laying the last bizarre dream to rest. Situation normal, brain holding steady.