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Change is terrifying.

It occurs to me that getting rid of stuff is akin to fear of the unknown, and more specifically to change, and change is terrifying. Allowing for change may be better, and it may be worse, but it won’t be static. Even if I am unhappy with my old patterns, or my old way of doing things, it is known. There is safety in knowing, but unless I am willing to leap into the unknown, odds are against things getting better, but the odd of them getting worse are unknown, which has consistently felt like a better bet. I think I have been wrong in the past, or at least fearful, and felt some level of safety in static.

I fear, at some subconscious level, that I will get rid of the wrong thing, or make the wrong step. Even when things are (or appear to be) at their worst, I fear that I will make them far  worse still by making a change, by letting go. What if I can never get (thing x) back. It is more important now, to decide what I want, and what I don’t, and move through the process of change. There are deep-seated, formative belief systems at play, and it is time for me to examine them and to allow myself to believe in better, nay in great.

If I get rid of the wrong thing, or make the wrong move, or even feel like I might. I need to remember, that nothing is permanent, or irreplaceable. Stuff is just stuff, and the unknown isn’t all bad. I’ve made it this far, after all.

I may elaborate later, and I may not. I reserve the right to allow myself to have boundaries and filters.

That is all, for now.


I have so much STUFF, even after previous purges. I think I have been, subconsciously waiting for it to all magically disappear. Surprise! That isn’t how it works at all! Duh!

I’ve just been moving boxes like some kind of maniacal shell game, to make a place for my son to have a room of his own while he’s here, and to organize some vague semblance of sorting areas. I am finding things I can easily toss in the process, some I can possibly sell, and others, that are just easier to sort once they are better categorized. I have been avoiding my avoidance behaviors and just schlepping along. Not much progress made, but it is a start (once again) and that is something.

Lovely writing freinds!

What is compulsive hoarding

It’s time to move. To make decisions, and to do it quickly. I have to not only get back to working on getting rid of stuff, and getting this blog going again, but on myself, and on my own self esteem and worthiness as well.

I have to make some big decisions in my life and how to go forward.

I will attempt to get back to my three times a week or better presence here.

Wish me luck and send good thoughts, I’m going to need all the help I can get!

I got this link from my mom.  I haven’t had a chance to do more than glance at it yet, but I think it is worth sharing.

UCSD Specialty programs: OCD

My mom sent me this link. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, as I’ve just pulled it up. I will read it, but right now, I have to get back to work on getting rid of stuff.
The Next Coming by Jewels Joyce Marcus

The Writers of the Mendocino Coast got together with local artists in what’s called a Ekphrasis in which one medium of art attempts to relate or describe another. Sixteen writers and sixteen local artists split into two groups. Eight writers submitted a story or poem, each of which was randomly drawn by eight artists. Each artist painted or photographed a visual interpretation of the written piece. In the other group, eight artists submitted their paintings or photographs to eight writers who then wrote a story or poem to interpret the work of art. Last Saturday, at the Artists Co-op in Mendocino, the writers and artists met and saw the results for the first time. I don’t have the painting this poem by Jewels Marcus references, so I Googled American children in Poverty for a picture that would capture the emotional essence of the portrait it was written to interpret. I hope you will share this poem with every parent you know.

The Next Coming

I’m not who you think I am.
Days of lush lazy lawns pregnant
with carefree laughing children
are long gone.
I’m your daughter’s daughter.
The new messiah.
The coroner.
The next coming.
I’m walking on the backs of discarded plastic bottles,
across seas, in search of salvation and clean drinking water.
I’m sifting through un-majestic purple mountains of trash,
for the tainted treasure of tasteless scraps
to fill my aching empty guts.
I’m roaming radiated deserts for evidence of my inheritance.
I’m your judge your jury your coroner
stuffing the giant cracks you left in the scorched earth
with the putrid, swollen bodies of my kin.
I’m your daughter’s daughter
needing to grow new lungs to filter the filthy air
new hands to claw over continents of blackened concrete.
I’m the one left after the last holocaust.
The one you didn’t want to notice, too busy
entertaining yourselves for one third of your lives.
I’m not who you think I am.
I’m the minister the preacher the teacher.
My hopes and prayers like wolves sent out to devour our fears.
I’m the new messiah. Walking on water.
The coroner. Burying your future.
The next coming.

Jewels Joyce Marcus c2012

For locals, all the art with accompanying stories and poems will be the program at this Wednesday’s (the 17th) Writers of the Mendocino Coast meeting.
6 p.m.
in the Mendocino Hotel’s
Garden Room

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Labels: children in poverty, Jewels Marcus, Writers of the Mendocino Coast

Today, I stepped back. I went and picked up stuff that I could have let go.

I’ve been pretty good about not picking up random stuff, and in letting things go. I think part of my trip about collecting and hanging on to things is trying to save things, or more accurately in trying to save people, by way of their things.
I have picked up some stuff recently, under the guise of storing it for friends.

Today, I went to make sure two friends who had recently moved had the things they needed,before they were thrown away by the new tenants, and ended up “saving” things they had already let go, because they are useful things

The great thing about this is the epiphany about why I save stuff, and how all that stuff gets jumbled and collected around me as an armour. I use it to brace myself against the inevitable, as well as to hold on to the past, both my own and others.

I have been trying to work outside of myself, and I know that I need to let things fall away, not just physical things, but emotional things and constructs and paradigms I have been clutching at for longer that I can remember, or even knew I was doing.
This blog is a part of my being willing to let go of all that other that is outside of me.

I am enough, even when I don’t believe it it’s true. I am flawed, and that is not unique.

I hide behind walls of stuff, and am going to come back to actively working on it. For now, that means I am going to come back to writing this blog and acting in ways that I am led to. I document here, for myself, to track and to have a way to see my own path and progress where it is made.
I have been expending energy on surviving, for a lifetime. Shifting, is what is important to me now, to beyond survival into living and being okay with who I am . Making change and shedding what I have outgrown, and embracing the things in myself that are good, and admitting to the good, to letting my core be my armament, my armature, rather than barricade myself in fear against what I am.

It’s back to baby steps, and that first damn step is always so difficult.
It is time, as another friend pointed out to take care of myself, and to become who I am.

Bad Panda Records

We’re thrilled and proud to announce the debut LP by Dumbo Gets Mad (facebook) and our first physical release!

The digital release of Elephants At The Door is available just spreading the word with your friends. You will be asked to login to Facebook or Twitter, edit the proposed tweet/wall message – and click the download button. Simple. We invite you to download the mp3s (or click the artwork cover!), print the artwork, burn the cd-r, spread the word, share it with everyone you know and support the artist as you can (buy the vinyl if you love it!).


Dumbo Gets Mad - Elephants At The Door

(if you don’t have a Twitter or Facebook account, please get in touch at badpandarecords at gmail dot com)

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Press pack available: [

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I need to keep reading and re-reading this one!

When I Have Time by Sara Rosso

If you’re new here, you should probably read my biography just to give you a better sense of who I am. In short: I do a lot of stuff. I’m curious. I love learning. I take risks. I speak my mind. I dare.

The risks I take are reinforced by a belief that I owe it to myself to at least try. I’ve always seen myself as a bit of a Jack of all trades, rather than an expert in one subject, but I’ve come to believe that’s a blessing rather than a curse. Releasing myself from the aim of being an expert or being perfect at something means that I have the complete and utter freedom to try. And fail. Hell yes, fail. Even often!

But trying, definitely.

I’ve spent a lot of time talking with (girl)friends about what’s next for them. I mentioned that I wanted to have…

View original post 1,685 more words

I have been working on my kitchen for, in the neighborhood of, twelve hours today, granted, not with the solid kind of steam I would be able to contribute if I were cleaning house for someone else.

Earlier, I was feeling domestic and hopeful, as if,” Well certainly, there is no reason I cannot tackle this entire kitchen from start to finish, in one swell food, one solid day of work!” including rousting about in cabinets and getting rid of all things (food-wise, at least) that are older than my daughter, as well as dealing with all of my kids and my own schtuff located in the kitchen. Perhaps you will recall a few posts ago, I mentioned there were canvasses in the kitchen and very large ones at that. Oy, what a Pollyanna! I didn’t take before pictures, as they were too humiliating. I have during pictures, and while it’s true I’ve made progress, I am not done, and I feel like a terrible waste of human flesh at the moment. -Harsh? -I know, I should not deign to judge another human as harshly, I think, I hope not at least.

My son feigns terror, oddly expressing just how I am feeling!

Stuff I’ve been sorting. There was a fish tank on the table earlier actually. Additionally, I may have finally found the connectors I need to set up my stereo. Just think, I only packed it all away about three years ago!

What to do with all of this? Some will stay and some will go.

Made for dishes, and perfect for a stereo, especially now that I’ve located the wires (hopefully all that I need to get the bugger up and running, as music makes life better, and I’ve been forgetting that lately!

On the up side, I, along with my step-mom, picked cherries from Gran’s cherry tree today. That would make Gran happy.

Also, the first tomatoes in the garden I planted with one of my students in his yard:

as well as some lettuce and more tomato plants.

Lots more lettuce:

A beautiful sunflower that is blooming right outside the room he shares with his brothers:

More sunflowers:

Even more sunflowers:

More beautiful tomato plants with blossoms waiting to become fruit:

Okay. I feel a bit better now.

I am a domestic Goddess, in the same way that Hera is. I am not perfect AND I keep trying.

Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow to either quote or paraphrase Murrow, I believe.

In any event, time to sleep so I can get back to it tomorrow with fresh eyes and a better attitude!

I am behind in writing, and doing a bit better in action.

On the 17th, I loaded my truck up and donated a large amount of stuff to the Ark for the Animals Thrift store. So much so that Judy, my friend and manager of the store told me there is no more room for donations at the moment. No obviously, I did not fill up the entire store, by any means. I did do my fair share, however. I filled the front of my truck.

As for the back, it was pretty loaded as well.

I donated my Minolta color enlarger, the paper safes, and tray that go with it; at least four boxes of books, my grandmother’s microwave, toaster oven, and ironing board, her shower chair; clothes and toys of all sorts, and just stuff, stuff, stuff. I can tell I’m on the right track because I cannot even recount what I actually donated and would be even less able to do so were it not for the pictures I took for the blog. I will keep that in mind as I’m going through stuff and remember, almost exclusively, the stuff I have is just that: stuff. Even the good stuff is just stuff.

Back to the kitchen. I’ve made room for my lovely red Kitchen Aide mixer on the counter, but need to get rid of more stuff so I can settle in and use it!

Cheers all, and happy sorting/tossing/de-hoarding!

Here I am again, second time in a week, I think this is the most progress I’ve made in some time -two postings in a week, that is.

So, first, a word about these posts, I’ve said it a while ago, when I began posting, but I feel it is worth reiterating: This is not a literary post, per-say. I edit only in a cursory fashion, and do my best to write in a somewhat visceral fashion, post pictures if I have them, and post in a projectile-puke-and-run sort of way. I say this to remind myself not to be too harsh on myself as I go back and re-read with editing eyes, but also to keep any other readers focused on the main point of this darned blog. I am just to make progress with hoarding, and stuff and the issues around hoarding, more than with writing here, and if I give in to my type a-ish traits (which believe me, play a strangely large role in all of this for me) and over think/over edit I won’t get any writing/sorting/tossing done, or certainly much less. Having said that, thank you for being kind with me linguistically and literarily. I actually do know how to write/edit etc., but that is not my primary purpose here . . .

I have just got off of the phone with my step-mom (Thank you, again Cin!). She is going to help me, this weekend, to go through Gran’s linen closet and decide what to keep, what to send with her, what to get rid of … Some of the things in there are already mine, but I haven’t sorted out what’s what. She is also going to take down Gran’s string of cards with me, as well as taking home Gran’s rose china and some other stuff. Essentially, she allowing me to give myself permission to be here, to settle in and unpack, and admit that this is where life is, and what it is, which, for once in an anguishingly long time is not a miserable thing.

I am struggling with worthiness, and faith in plenty, not even mostly on a physical level, but am ready to get on with it, and to find my place in my own life. There are great pits of sorrow that are waiting to be trolled, but I believe there will also be wells of hope and memories that can bring balance and recognition of worth and renewal of faith, not just in life-the-universe-and-everything, but in myself as well.

In the meantime, I believe I will focus on the kitchen which currently contains some gigante canvases that I, for some reason unbeknownst to me am storing there, as well as cupboards full of food that are older than I am, and possibly even older than my dad.

There are no pictures today, as my daughter has my phone so she can call me when she is done at the movies, and my camera batteries have been temporarily enveloped by The Stuff.

Stuff, Stuff, Stuff! No wonder one of my favorite words is cosas (“stuff” in Spanish) very useful in so many settings, hee hee!

I did deal with the stuff in the back of the truck. sorted into recycling and trash and is waiting curbside now, so WAHOO to that.

Also, a lovely aside. I went to a friend’s house today and she had just read my blog for the first time. She told me she wanted to take me out to her garage so I would feel better. I always doubt people when they tell me about their stuff. In any event, It did make me feel better, not because her stuff is worse than mine, or better, but just that it is stuff and that she is trying to deal with it. Seeing her disheveled side didn’t make me care for her any less, I wonder why it has that effect for me regarding myself. Hmmm… I will begin to look at the inverse of the golden rule, and not just the straight shot of it. I suppose I deserve the same chance I give to others.

Okay, enough typing, off to work. I will check in later on in the weekend.

Lastly,time for a happy picture up-date after that darn fuzzy-headed stern one from last fall. The hair is making a comeback.  ; )

Here I am feeling terribly happy, down right sunny. Portent (in the very best possible terms of the word)of things to come, with any luck.

Sunny Day in Fort Bragg

Writing this blog is horrifying, I must admit.It has forced me to evaluate myself. I am not an exhibitionist, even though it may seem so, rather, this blog has served me well in the past for self moderation, motivation and feed back.It is akin to having sex with the lights blaring if you’re not particularly fond of your physical self. I have found it to be useful, and am still working on getting back into the swing of things.

I am trying hard to get my house in order, both proverbial and otherwise. I have started school for a new credential in order to teach the moderate to severe special education program next school year.

I spent HOURS, in my horrific rat infested garage yesterday trying to sort, and then simply pulling things out and cleaning. I did manage to sort out quite a bit (that seems like nothing compared to the over-all amount of stuff) to get rid of. I also filled, or nearly filled, the back of my truck with boxes to recycle and rat leaving and things the rats got into.

Stuff, stuff, and more stuff. Drowning in a sea of stuff. Learning to swim, as it were.

Oy, so much stuff!

Stuff sorting

Then I swept up the part of the garage I unburied. Phew. I am hoping to get back at it again today.

a small clean space.

I realized that not only since I’ve been here, but for years, in fact most of my adult life, in fact most of my life I’ve been depressed and overwhelmed my both my emotional and physical life.
A good friend asked me when I was going to stop being depressed. The answer is now, and I think the way to do it is to take control of my own life. I have been living for other people for so long, and even when I haven’t been doing so knowingly, I’ve been struggling with the idea of if what I was doing was right or wrong in the eyes of my family, or society, or whatever. Funny how all that time, I was mostly working under that heavy load without even really realizing I was carrying it around.
I am hoping to clear out much of the physical, as well as psychological and emotional crap in my life and be present. I think this is going to take a hell of an effort on my part, but I think it can be done. I finally believe, or at least am willing to look at the idea that not only to I deserve to be well and happy, but that it is okay, in fact great to have a bigger life, not in terms of anything physical, per say, but that I can be present and even booming, if I feel like it.
I want to deal with my physical stuff and turn the garage into a studio space that I can make art and write in. My experience in life has been that the more I do, the more I can do. so, I am hoping to get my s*** together and be able to spend more time with actively in my own life, of my own choosing being present.

stuff to donate

more stuff donate

... to the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump!

I found that I quite like getting rid of things. The hard part is not just pitching the whole lot. I think that is baby out with the bath water mentality.

getting there...

It may not seem like a heck of a lot, but the garage now has room for a washer and dryer, which will help with the chaos in the house, and I can move my glass kiln from the front seat of my truck to the garage. AND, the sidewalk is clear again, and I didn’t just shove it all back into the garage willy nilly. I am going to pat myself on the back instead of listening to the naggy bits in my head that remind me I didn’t get done. I suppose there is no done, only movement, at least as long as one exists in the physical land of the living.


While cleaning out a box, to get rid of its contents I found the following fortune, “Be definite now, worry about precision later.”

I keep starting, and stopping. I feel so overwhelmed with stuff, and with life in general. To date, the only success I’ve managed on a regular basis with dealing with my stuff, both physical, and metaphysical is in this format of blogging. To that end, I am beginning again, a gain. Even if it is not up to (my) snuff, I am going to continue what I started quite a while ago.

Since I last posted much, very much has happened. I am not even sure what my last post was. Suffice it to say that during that time I seemed to have lost track of myself, and much of the world around me. Gran passed away on March 7th. She was ready, and I think we were all ready,  but still, I miss her terribly. The kids and I live full-time in her house now, and I feel incredibly odd acting as if I live here, as if I have a right to live here. But the fact is, I do live here, and I suppose I have at least as much right as anyone to do so.

I reserve the right to write more about the past in the future, but for now, I am trying desperately top move forward. Nearly everything of Gran’s has been moved out, and nearly all of the kids and my things are here. I am having the hardest time settling in. I don’t know where to put anything, so everything is everywhere. I am not posting pictures, as I am mortified, and have misplaced my camera in any event.

Moving right along, I will post this, and see what kind of settling-in business I can get into.

Wish me luck, please.

contemplating a less in life, to facilitate more

Wondering how to leap ...

I am putting the app back on my site to raise money for “To Write Love On her Arms” It is a suicide prevention site. I was thinking about it, then found this video (I wasn’t even looking, honestly, so it seems like a bit of kizmet) feature=player_embedded#
a little (okay, a lot )cheesy.
Also, or
Also, I am putting the application back up.
p.s. I am working on posting again, really.


All puns intended. I hope to revisit this idea.

Today my son moved some furniture for me in the kitchen so that the room , small as it is, has become two rooms, the kitchen, and room for a living area which in turn will leave me more free (psychologically) to take over what has been (in theory at least) our living room.

I am planning on having not only a bedroom and a place to sleep, but a private place of my own where I can write and do alll things art: Screen prinitng, painintg, linoleum cutting, whatever tickles my fancy.

This post, much like so much of the stuff in my life started out as filler. I feel it is turning out to be at least a little more. Let us see where it leads.

The images in this post are from a series I shot in my home town of Colma, California, about 1998. I’ve been dragging them around with me for each move I’ve made susequently. It hit me, as  a child, how even in death some people had so much and some of them kept it locked up visible only throught tiny peepholes, while others shared what they had with the world around them . This has so much worth exploring, both then as well as now.

Tools for Planning

I’m not sure where to begin, and I guess that is, in large part the point. I have been feeling lost for a long time. feeling as if I were floating, adrift in a sea of stuff, of ideas and theories, of “what-ifs”. I realized, recently it was in large part to the fact that my schedule and any sense of regularity with in it has been none existent since before my back surgery. It has been deteriorating since I moved here, and in truth, it really only consisted of “work”, and “not work” prior to moving here. I’ve rarely if ever scheduled in fun or relaxing, and have avoided home, not my children, just home, as much as possible. This has not been conscious, but I have been becoming aware of how uncomfortable my home makes me, where ever it may be, since I’ve been bound to this chair.

The first step of getting myself pulled together, and on track is finding and using a good planner. If I had my way, and enough excess cash I would have a PDA, then I could schedule my life, Gran’s life, my kids lives, take notes on writing thoughts and meetings, post to my blog if I felt really compelled, all from one small hand-held device (if it had wireless capability) but enough dreaming. I got myself a birthday present. The beautiful orange planner pictures above. It has times slots from 7 am until 8 pm on one side n lovely graph paper for notes, planning, sketching, planning out a room, whatever, on the other. See below:

Inside this year's planner

My friend Molly came over yesterday and helped me find the edges of sanity. We took some things back over to Gran’s and made a path, a physical one that led to a psychological one. She talked me through a lot of garbage in my head, and moved things for me that I am not capable of at the moment. I even donated a very well liked rocking chair to the thrift store. As much as I like it, the rice cooker was sitting in it more than we were. Speaking of the rice cooker, I may very well get rid of that too and find a pot with a lid that fits well instead.

The path we made helped me move forward in quite a few ways. More about that tomorrow!

New Beginnings

In an effort to start the new year off well, I am attempting to get back to blogging and boxing three times per week again. Boxes will have to be small, as I have a 20 pound maximum lifting allowance, which may be pushing it. The limit was was raised from the original 5 pound allowance after the surgery, which I think I am healing from quite nicely.  Pain is quite well controlled and I am becoming accustomed to the numbness, all the while hoping and waiting for its swan song.

I didn’t take pictures of what I worked on today, as it was rather spontaneous and I didn’t have my camera with me. Instead, I’ve included my New Years card image. Hope you like it as much as I do. I must confess, I am quite pleased with the way it turned out. This is slightly different from the final version I will be using on the card, but nice here, I think.

There are so many things I am interested in, so much that I would like to do and accomplish in my life that I often get overwhelmed and don’t have a clue where to begin, in much the same where that I don’t know where to begin with my stuff.

My friend Laurel has all of the equipment to start a press. This has been a dream of mine for the last two decades. To be able to print, to make plates, set type, produce finished printed products, possibly even books makes me a bit weak in the knees. Her hope, and mine,  is that this will be a printing cooperative with about five people total at the core.    We are thinking of starting with some broadsides and blank journals. To that end, I’ve been searching high and low for my linoleum cutter, as I have blocks that fit like peas in a pod in the press and want to make some images. I was tempted to buy a new cutting set, but when my son asked what I wanted for Christmas I requested he buy it for me instead. Fortunately, circumstances had not allowed that yet.

I went over to Gran’s this morning to let out the chickens, brush her hair and have a little visit. I was feeling pretty spunky, more than I have since before the surgery, so I decided to go out to the garage and see what, if anything I could tackle. (Just to jog the memory, I have stuff in my house, my grans’ garage an in a storage shed. I am trying, at the moment, to get the garage consolidated to the point that the things from the storage shed can go there and I can continue the consolidation process and eliminate the need for a storage shed.) I worked on small boxes and things that were larger, but light. I worked through quite an area and found some things that rats had found tasty (I threw those away, or recycled them If they were eligible). I found a reasonable pile of clothes that were packed away clean, that we haven’t worn in the last year and a half that I will donate to a local thrift store, possibly the Ark thrift store where my freind Judy works and which supports our local humane society. I found some new clean white caulking, which my dad was just in need of (hopefully he hasn’t bought any yet). I found some things I will donate to Redwood pre-school just up the street,a nd a bunch of other goodies, including art supplies which helped to inspire me to at least think about making art again at some point. And I found … my linoleum cutter, so I have been able to get to work on a pear print I’ve been pondering for quite some time.

I suppose the best place to begin, with stuff, with life, is wherever I am.  I need to be willing to jump in at any given point and go from there. Today was a reminder of that.

I am going to do my very best to get back to posting and pitching three times per week. Wish me luck!

Here’s mud in your eye, and to a very Happy New Year with wonderful surprises and new opportunities!

An Avocado ...

is an Avocado ...

except ...

When an Avocado is Two Avocados .

Avocados aside, perspective is paramount to how we understand the world around us, it is for me in any event.

I was in the kitchen this morning, getting ready to make coffee and I looked up and saw the first avocado and thought, “I thought we had two avocados, that’s weird.” I got hung-up for a little moment on where the heck the other avocado went. It didn’t really matter, I just wanted to know. I continued to think about the avocado as I retrieved milk from the fridge and moved toward my waiting coffee. I continued to look at the avocado as I went and noticed that there were, in fact, still two avocados and that they had lined up in such a way, or rather, I had aligned myself in such a way as to be able to see only one of them.

The real significance of this, is that it is impressively easy to become caught up in my own point of view, or in one point of view and to be convinced that what I think I am seeing is the whole picture. This is true whether it is about organization and how much stuff I have (good, bad, or indifferent), what kind of progress I am making in  particular area, and just generally an important reminder about (my) ability to perceive my own part of the whole including where and how I fit in it. It is important to remember that I am not omniscient or all seeing and not just as a reminder of my own failings, but of my humanity. I can only do what I can do, work with what I am aware of and have faith it is is the right thing and move forward.

That’s it for now, other than to say that I needed A reminder of why I decided to write this blog, to out myself in a public way. I need and want to keep plugging along and doing what I can do, as that is, truly, all I can do. For now, this will be be more meta-cognitive and less active than it had been as I am, necessarily,  more more meta-cognitive and less active than I had been.

Greetings and hello.

Long time no see, no write, no nothing.

I know, I know, It seems I’ve been a slacker. In truth my back blew out, to be precise, my L5,S1 disk. I was out of commission, entirely flat on may back, from Halloween night until well, I mostly still am, actually.

I had neuro-spinal surgery at UCSF on Friday, November 13, for what was an emergency condition, of I understand correctly. Turns out the back pain I had been experiencing for quite a while was not something I could just suck it up and get through, try as I might. My L-5 disk ran , like an estuary, into my spinal column and was pressing against the nerves leading to my left leg and foot and up my back. I am fortunate to have a fantastic Neurologist in town, Dr. Glusker.

In fact, let me back up and say, I have been very fortunate and blessed in the members of the medical community who have been looking after me since my move here among them are Dr. Tara Mcleer at the Mendocino Coast Medical Clinic; Dr. Eric Frazier, chiropractor extrordinaire ; Dr. Peter Glusker, Neurologist, have all been so important in the parts they have played in keeping this whole thing from being a complete night mare. I am so blissfully lucky that my disk didn’t rupture, that I am predominantly free of pain and that I seem to have a pretty good chance of having my left leg and foot come entirely back to life. Thank you very much, all you and all of the support staff involved.

I suppose you don’t need a play by play of all the down and dirty details, but suffice it to say that for once in my life, I had a serious medical condition that was taken seriously. It was acknowledged, diagnosed, and dealt with with rapidity and skill. Dr. Glusker examined me and then sent me for an MRI (surreal art that capture the body’s inner working, and I must here thank the fantastic MRI tech for her good work as well as the radiologist who read them at Mendocino Coast Hospital -thank you).The MRI confirmed and possibly even expanded on his suspicions which led to a diagnoses. He referred to me to USCF, to the top neuro-spinal surgeon in the state for goodness sakes, Dr. Philip R. Weinstein.

I am having such resistance to writing/doing the blog again, but feel I must jump in again where I can, so instead of coninuing with this post, trying to get it right, I am simply going to post it.

I am including below, well below, pictures of the progression of my incision healing. There was an internal stick poking out, which was hampering healing. I think that is a nice sort of allegory to what happens with my house, myself, and hoarding. There is an internal bit poking out and getting in the way of progress, surgery and healing aside. I am searching for that protruding stich, so I can deal with it.

Space inserted in case you don’t want to see incision pictures

Space inserted in case you don’t want to see incision pictures

Space inserted in case you don’t want to see incision pictures

Space inserted in case you don’t want to see incision pictures

Space inserted in case you don’t want to see incision pictures

Space inserted in case you don’t want to see incision pictures

Space inserted in case you don’t want to see incision pictures

Space inserted in case you don’t want to see incision pictures

Progression of healing from 3 weeks after surgery

Helping Women Survivors of War Rebuild Their Lives | Women for Women International.

Having nothing to do with hoarding, other than I am hoping to have a copy of the images to help with scientific illustration, I am scheduled for an MRI at 11:45 today.

I am very curious about the results.

That is all for now.

Waiting to see what is going on in there …

potato flower 1

What do you see?

I am still in a prone position.

I was feeling much less hideous today, and so after my kids both got off to school (late I might add and with the helpof my son’s teacher -thank you Penny) I decided I should deal with the kitchen at least moderately. I found that in standing long enough, just to go to the bathroom and get ready to do dishes my left side from lower back to the tip of my toes became numb, cold and painful. Somewhat dejectedly, I have returned to my recliner.

Backing up, for a moment, I should say that I have had some very lovely offers of help. My house, however, is keeping me from accepting the offers. In much the same way that I am  too terrified to post more than isolated snippets of  the inside of my house, I am also entirely horrified of letting anyone in the door. I am afraid I will prove once and for all, that I am not worthy, that I am too screwed up to coexist with people I call friends and people I don’t know. This is all under the surface, of course. It doesn’t usually sit on top of my psyche trying to suffocate me. When I am home and not drugged into submission, it pops up and extends tendrils of doubt and self loathing deep into my being. These are the entries that take so long. The ones about more than stuff, more than learned behavior of hanging onto things for a rainy day. I suppose now is as good a time as any to explore the depths of my psyche, not much else to do. I suppose, this is my upside. I am always looking for one.

I have expected myself to be perfect for as long as I can remember. I have, of course, never been able to live up to that expectation. In some kind of internal and cosmic scale, it seems the better I do in one area (career, for example, or general perception by others of me) the worse I will do in another (hoarding, cleaning, organizing). Perhaps the correlation here is mythic, and not real, another way to defeat myself. I live so awfully much in my head it is hard to tell sometimes what is really going on. It does seem like there is an integral core in my make up that is self defeating that is constantly fighting with the other core that wants to excel, become exceptional and successful. They battle always and I’m never sure who is winning. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle and not at either end. If I can let go of my expectation of perfection perhaps that will allow me some faith, some ability to admit that I am not sufficient for everything on my own. I need other people. I need there help, their love, their kindness, forgiveness, their general humanity.

I would never expect another human being to act as their own mircrocosmos, self sufficient in every way.  Why then, do I expect that from myself? Perhaps if I free some of myself up from feeling like I must be responsible for everything I am involved in or for the needs of my family, I can feel better about not being able to provide everything, or change everything. I can let go of some of the crap I carry around, both psychologically and physically.

If you were wondering about the potato flower, I was wondering what you noticed first and in the most lasting kind of way about it? do you notice: beauty, missing bits, the bug crawling on it,  the leaves, the potato it will become? Everyone will most likely see it and remember it differently. Perception is channeled through our filters we can’t help that. We can, I can, be more aware of the filters and how they effect and affect my view.

If I were brave, I would admit, that this is not a great way to live and that not only do my children deserve more, not more actually, but better, and that I do as well. We are all worthy of living in a house that is homey, that freinds can come to at a moment’s notice without horrifying me. I should like to have enoough faith in setting personal boundaries that I can protect myself with the strength of my will and convictions, and not just with the depth of my stuff. 

If I were brave, I would take up more of the offers of help. It is not only my house that is stopping me, but my perception of weakness if I do. I suspect I may be here for long enough to get brave, to learn about the strength and pwer of not being perfect and accepting help without feeling diminished.


I saw my neurologist today.
He told me I need to be on 99% bed rest, where I am flat on my back. He is in the process of ordering an (emergency) MRI to see what, exactly, is going on with my back. Depending on the MRI results either some amount of bed rest will be the cure, or I will need to be referred to a spinal neurology specialist  for back surgery.
The upside is that I was working on some scientific illustration (actually more of a logo with a scientific bent) for a friend of mine while I was waiting for my appointment, The doctor saw them and liked them and now I will get copies of my MRI for illustrative purposes! Always an up side.
I will continue to post, but my posts will most likely be sporadic and possibly somewhat incomprehensible as I am currently taking a muscle relaxer and a pain killer.
Posts will most likely be about process, about figuring this all out, as even getting up to go to the bathroom, briefly is incredibly uncomfortable. I suppose I need to put more time into this end of things anyway.

 Apparently, the, “or not route” was the one I went on.I was ready to be moving right along. I hit a physical wall.  It keeps coming to me that all this stuff in my life is so very multi-faceted. There are hereditary and up bringing factors (nature and nurture); there are survival factors;( I am not able to successfully set up and hold my own boundary limitations,;so stuff keeps everything and everyone out for me, kind of a baby with the bath water, all or nothing thing; issues of worthiness and wholeness … the list goes in and on.

I have back slid. I was doing okay, then I started back sliding, around the time my back started giving me problems. It is excruciating (no exaggeration) to bend over, to stand, to sit, to lay down, to change position.

Things have gone to Hell in a proverbial hand basket.

Fast Ride in a hand-Basket. gee, the scenery looks familiar!
Fast Ride in a hand-Basket. gee, the scenery looks familiar!
3logs 3 boxes handbasket 003

Working like this is just plain dumb! Time for a change.

3logs 3 boxes handbasket 004

Things I've not taken to donate and things I've neglected to deal with.


I’m not sure how all of this is related, but I am sure it’s a process. I’m sure this won’t be quick. I was worried, when I first started that it would be. I am also sure I will turn this around. I have no desire to live like this. I can figure it out and change it.

This is not easy. Many things worth doing, and worth doing well are not easy. -A good point to remember. In the mean time, I will keep breathing.

inhale, exhale.