Friday, May 13, 2011

Some Vacation That Turned Out To Be


Kind of on the spur-of-the-moment, I decided to take a week of vacation this week. We're still in the thick of the warehouse move (my part is pretty much finished) and my shop is choked with a great deal of the contents of the old props warehouse. Moving all this antique knick-knackery is kind of killing me, because I'm so ridiculously allergic to dust. I've been taking allergy shots for about six months, so I can only imagine how bad things would been without the shots. As it is, my throat keeps closing up on itself, which isn't exactly fun.

So, I had the idea to stay home, and do all sorts of projects. I'd get a lot of work done on the house, maybe carve some rubber stamps, maybe go to the beach with Robb. I'd even -- finally -- do a little bit of taking care of myself. I would get my first haircut since Robb broke his back. (I know it's crazy, but when he got hurt, I put my entire life on hold, and now, much later, I'm still unable to give myself permission to do "frivolous" things for myself.)

Only, somehow none of these things actually got done.

Instead, I got sick with a strange ambulatory cold. Most of the time, when I get a cold, I just go to bed and sleep for a couple of days. Not with this cold. I've been roaming, zombie-like, around the house and yard, unable to focus on anything, and feeling like crap. This has been going on for almost a week.

And just when I finally start feeling better, Robb gets sick. What a drag.

At least we have a lovely place in which to be sick.

The weather has been beautiful, and I did manage to get a tiny bit of work done in the garden. But mostly, the garden is taking care of itself. Two of the hop plants (Sterling on the left, and Nugget on the right) have crested the roof-line of the garage. The roses are blooming. The persimmon tree is in crazy bloom, and if looks are to believed, we're going to have an insanely gigantic persimmon harvest. Even more of my plum grafts have "taken." I think I have about half-a-dozen different varieties of plum grafts on one tree. The bees are doing well. The yard is fluttering with butterflies and native bees.

Right before Robb got sick, he baked a couple of beautiful loaves of bread. This photo is a bit of a cheat. It's a picture of some bread Robb baked last fall, that I thought was exceptionally pretty. I don't actually photograph every single thing that is produced by our kitchen. That would involve either admitting to how messy I am, or doing a better job of cleaning up, neither of which I'm willing to do.

I made a big batch of marmalade in the midst of having the cold. And just like the last batch, it didn't "set up" properly. I even cooked up a second batch of pectin, but it didn't seem to do the trick. I think I'm screwing up because I'm biting off more than I SHOULD chew, making batches that are just too big. Larger batches of fruit take longer to boil (makes sense) and apparently with pectin one has to move QUICKLY or else the pectin over cooks and loses its gelling properties. The problem is that we have so many lemons that it's hard to make small batches.

I guess I should admit that I really don't know much at all about making jams. The downfall to being self-taught, is that there's nobody to say "if you only learn one thing today, THIS is the one thing you should learn." I'd love to have someone show my what to watch out for, so that I don't keep making the same mistakes over and over again. I could say the same thing about knitting, or spinning, or, or, or.

Now I know that part of what I'm feeling is the residue of being sick, and also sadness for losing a week of vacation time, but I'm going to admit that for the past year or more, I feel like I've been standing right on the edge of a chasm of depression. I've been stuck, with my toes right up against the abyss, unable to move.

I've really been stuck, and I've been having a singularly lousy time. I feel like I'm watching my own life from somewhere on the outside, and that life is going nowhere, fast.

It has been a challenging year. Not challenging in a good way. Not challenging in the way that results in growth. But challenging in a way that could be only described as suck-tastic.

I tend to be pretty good at just "pushing through" the bad spots. But I've somehow lost something, and am feeling very worn-out and sad and lost these days. I know that part of this is the cold speaking, but a lot of it isn't. I think that it's being sick that allows me to admit how I've been feeling, instead of just ignoring it.

And admitting that something is amiss is the first step in figuring out how to fix a problem, right?


Anonymous said...


I think the haircut is the first step in the right direction. Allowing yourself some guilty pleasures will help too! You have held your own reins so tightly that you are choking yourself! Let go a little bit and take care of yourself!

And remember... as I nurse, I sometimes subscribe to the theory of, "Better life through pharmacology!"


Megan said...

I wish I knew how to help or what support to offer. I, too, have become aware that I've lost touch with the underlying sense of joy in being that used to be part of life -- and I haven't been through remotely the same stresses that you have in recent years. How to get it back? Totally unknown. Trust in the ability of your super-strong toes to hold onto the crumbling cliff and hope that another little earthquake will result in the chasm in front of you being filled instead of yet more sheered off, perhaps.
You do amazing work -- professionally, creatively, personally. Knowing that you make the world more beautiful might not help to hear when you are having trouble seeing it for yourself, but you do, and I hope you find something that brings you back to enjoying it as well.

Kurious Jo said...

At some point (or perhaps for some people?) it seems like it's harder to be the caregiver than the injured party. As we get older I find myself grateful that Todd is doing okay and that the roles are not reversed because I would not handle it as well as he does. I've come to the conclusion that in these long range situations too much compassion doesn't help but adds stress. I don't mean it as a slam to Todd or anyone - it's just something that occurred to me recently. If the roles were reversed, I think I'd do what your doing . . . and you know it's not what I'd want Todd to do. Just musing here. Hope you can relax and find your footing soon.

Anonymous said...

I think that it is a good sign actually...I think that you finally feel safe enough to let all those feelings out that you must have felt but not having had the time to feel during the last years. Feelings that has bottled up inside of you during those years since Robb fell and broke his back.

You have been so strong during this time, helping him all the way. Putting your own feelings back, in order to get life back together again for both of you. But now at last you and Robb have created a good life for the both of you.

and now at last, it's time for you to take care of your self! having a hair cut is the first step. but at some point you will have to deal with all those feelings that you must have felt during those years, that you have not taken care of, because there was not the time or place to do so.

You will do fine! but it may take some time. Give your self that time, in the same way that you have given your relationship with Robb time:)

Anonymous said...

Lisa, I know that you will get out of this "trough", as we all seem to have our ups and downs. When you do, you will remember what joy feels like.

You know how you have bee people who help you learn about bees and garden people and letterboxing people? There must be jam people near where you live who would love to pass along their ancient jam wisdom to the next generation. Seek them out.

Hope you and Robb both kick this bug soon.

from Leah in Centralia WA

ASL Girl said...

I hope you feel better soon Lisa! Being sick and feeling under the weather is no fun at all especially when you want to get things accomplished! Despite all of this though, you posted an amazingly beautiful picture of Smog! He is a changed boy since you first posted about him. What a beautiful coat of fur he has now!!!!! Kudos to you and Rob for giving Smog a wonderful home to live at!!!

Kristin said...

Slow down girl. You're trying to do too much and you're lucky you've only got a cold. If you keep it up, living on adrenaline and what feels like a crisis for all the things "you think" you have to do, you may become susceptible to a disease. Rest and don't butcher yourself with worries and guilt. Practice the art of doing nothing for an entire day once a week. Feel better.

Beaucastle said...

I only know you through this blog and Faux Forum but you have such a wonderful spirit. You surround yourself with beauty and create good constantly. When times are tough, we protect ourselves with adrenalin. When things start to get better, it is easy to mistake the lack of adrenalin with depression... and maybe it PSD. So do take care of yourself. And shine some of that inner goodness back on yourself.

And, of course, keep writing. All of our lives are better for having you share your life with us.

Nancy Lewis said...

How about when I get a little past my newly fractured ankle, I come over to take my blog-pen-pal out for tea?

MommaWriter said...

Gosh, Lisa. I'm right there with you too. I've been feeling like someone up on a pillar, not the least bit sure of which way to jump off...but knowing I can't just live on a pillar. It's lonely and sad out there!

I like Bandaid's suggestion that a haircut might be the first step in the right direction. Even thought I've had a bunch, maybe a whole new hairstyle would help me...or finally covering up all that grey stuff.

But it's hard to get motivated. I hope if/when you find some new joy in life you'll be blogging about it and I'll use it for inspiration!


Beaucastle said...

There is a typo in my comment... it should be PTSD... Post traumatic stress disorder.. fix if you want to or can.

Nataline said...

Hey, some days aren't good and life can be really hard sometimes. I'm glad you're admitting it. Makes your blog so much more honest than other bloggers that insist on a rosy-eyed view of the world.

K said...

I just stumbled across this post from atlasquest and was so moved by it.
I'm not even sure what to say, other than Thank You. I hope you're in a good place right now.


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